Rabbi Bernard (Berish) Freilich sang the praises of Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson in The Blatt, the Yiddish weekly put out by followers of the Satmar Rebbe, Aaron Teitelbaum. At one point in his extended interview he declaims,
“I am, therefore, strongly optimistic, with the help of G-d, that [Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth] Thompson will do many good things for Jews as we have already seen with several cases in the last few weeks and months since he was sworn in.” (see Yiddish text at bottom of article).
Freilich is proud to say he attended Thompson’s swearing-in where Ken approached him personally. Some DA’s might have avoided Freilich, given his mixed record with Charles Hynes. According to Vos Iz Neias, in 2007:
A source who attended a $1,000-a-head fundraiser last night at the Rose Castle in Williamsburg for Rep. Ed Towns witnessed a double-take moment when he spotted Hasidic Rabbi Bernard Freilich hugging the very man who prosecuted him in a death threat case in the 1990s – Kings County DA Charles Hynes. Freilich was acquitted of felony charges of witness tampering in 2000. Hynes had accused him of making death threats against a young woman who accused her father of raping her, ostensibly in an effort to get her to drop the charges.
Michael Vecchione was the ADA prosecuting the case. Some of us suspect that Vecchione wasn’t just prone to wrongful convictions. In this case, we suspect, he contrived a wrongful acquittal.
By 2010, Hynes designated Freilich his Community Advisor according to the New York Times.
Freilich was the State Police liaison to the Jewish community between 1995 and 2011. He was forced to resign when the Albany Times Union revealed:
“The rabbi, Bernard Freilich of Brooklyn, submitted his resignation Thursday. It came as the State Police initiated an internal investigation of Freilich earlier this month prompted, in part, by a March 6 Times Union article that raised questions about his use of a State Police badge, vehicle placard and emergency lights.
“State motor vehicle records show Freilich, 59, has for years equipped his private vehicles with “official” license plates registered to an Orange County village where he is not employed.
“The records show Freilich was not required to submit proof of any official role he has with the village, Kiryas Joel, whose leaders declined to respond to questions. The insurance cards for the vehicle list Kiryas Joel as the registered owner, also raising questions about liability…”
Freilich has been telling folks in Boro Park he had a number of meetings with high level members of the Thompson team. Wolf Sender, Thompson’s Jewish liaison, is serving him poorly if he is not warning about Freilich’s spotted career. Perhaps Thompson should start Googling Haredi askanim instead of depending on Sender.
A man is known by the company he keeps. Thompson is not helping his reputation by associating with Freilich unless he is trying to be known in the Hasidic community as the new Hynes.
After sunset tomorrow, I hope to have some more to say about the four-page Yiddish interview of Freilich in this week‘s Blatt.
- Is Rabbi Freilich Happy At Our Expense? Is Henna Squeaky White?
- Replying to Bernard Freilichs Daughter