Yeshiva Claims Not to Have Noticed $50k of Unauthorized Checks

Rabbi Reuven Feinstein

Rabbi Reuven Feinstein

According to news reports, in 2011 Yehuda Rubin stole blank checks belonging to Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem (MTJ) from the Yeshiva of Staten Island office, wrote them out to unauthorized parties and got them cashed, without the yeshiva noticing. According the Forward, “Rabbi David Ceder, the [Staten Island] yeshiva’s head of security, told the Staten Island daily that he had no knowledge of the case.”

Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money to slip by their notice. It makes me wonder whether there was inside collusion, astounding incompetence, or irresponsibility.

Rabbi Reuven Feinstein heads the Yeshiva of Staten Island and his brother, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein heads MTJ  and the two are organizationally intertwined. Reuven Feinstein is also famous for taking three million dollars from disgraced conversion huckster, Rabbi Leib Tropper and not apologizing for it afterwards, which I parodied on Frum Follies. These two brothers have fallen far from the integrity and diligence of their illustrious father, Rav Moshe Feinstein. Unfortunately, the Haredi world passes control of yeshivas and prestige by inheritance, regardless of the exact qualifications of the sons.

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11 thoughts on “Yeshiva Claims Not to Have Noticed $50k of Unauthorized Checks

  1. This story is very similar to one that happened several years ago in my son’s yeshiva. In our case, the Rosh Yeshiva didn’t report because of the ‘stigma’ of going to civil authorities, and he had trouble admitting that to me, but eventually did.

    I argued the point to no avail. Rabbis just believe that you can’t report. I have no idea why. I’m sure this wasn’t Rubin’s first score against a yeshiva. Predators like this sell themselves to many institutions as quite successful fundraisers or the like.

    So to answer your question, I believe it is ‘gross incompetence’ fueled by a complete misreading of Halacha.

    • Choosing not to prosecute is criminal because it allows the fellow to go on to it to other charitable organizations. Yet another instance, if true, of using teshuvah as an alibi and ignoring the clear exception to the mesirah ban, people who are a hazard to the community.

  2. The article clearly states that the checks belonged to MTJ of Manhattan, not YSI.
    And just maybe Rabbi Ceder doesn’t want to speak to the media

    • If Rabbi Ceder does not want to speak to the media he should just honestly say that, using whatever polite form he prefers. But he did speak and he did say something. Yes you are right, the money was MTJ money though the business interests of the two Feinstein brothers appear to be overlapping and perhaps, fused. I have edited for accuracy.

      • I see no reason to impugn he integrity of Reb Dovid shilta because his brother, Reb Reuven, shlita, may have used poor judgement in getting involved with Tropper, who btw, unfortunately fooled many other big rabbonim and gedolim.

        • It is interesting how those that were fooled took money from Leib Tropper. I assume all these rabbis were familiar with the verse, Exodus/Shmos 23:8.
          וְשֹׁחַד, לֹא תִקָּח: כִּי הַשֹּׁחַד יְעַוֵּר פִּקְחִים, וִיסַלֵּף דִּבְרֵי צַדִּיקִים.
          Thou shalt take no gift; for a gift blindeth them that have sight, and perverteth the words of the righteous (JPS 1917).

  3. Did Rav Elyashev zatzal take money from Tropper? I am asking because I really do not know the answer to this question,but I do know that Rav Eliyashev and his close talmid Rav Eisenstein were taken in by Tropper’s manipulative charade. I just dont understand how so many people were fooled. Maybe it is about shochad, as you suggested, but did all of the foolishly duped Rabbonim accepted money from this menuvel? Just wondering…

  4. Some took no money but were persuaded about him by many others who did take money. All too often, the Charedi world, even its sharpest poskim with great integrity, judge people and phenomena by the opinions of others and their reports rather than by directly interrogating the facts. How else to explain Natan Kamenetzky’s claim that Eliashiv and others banned a book they could not understand because almost all those who banned the book cannot/could not read English.

    Moreover, they banned the book without ever bothering to talk directly to the author.

    Personally, if someone was vouching for someone else I would want to know if they had any conflicts of interests. But somehow it is automatically assumed that this never comes into play.

  5. Repeat after me: due diligence, due diligence, due diligence
    If someone wants a letter to a judge on behalf of a pedophile, what should the rabbi or psychology professor first engage in? “Due diligence”
    Someone wants a rav to write a letter blasting a large group of rabbonim for casting out a serial adulterer.. what should the rav do? “Due diligence”
    Someone engages in affinity marketing and wants to get all his friends / co-religionists etc to invest in his sure-fire get-rich-scheme? “Due diligence”

    DUE DILIGENCE!

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