Fourteen people were arrested yesterday for a series of fraud charges spanning welfare, mortgages, rigged appraisals, and evading repayment of loans. It was organized by, and included, many members of Rubin family, prominent members of Satmar.
The Satmar PR machine went into full gear with “You should not paint with a broad brush” type of claims, and “Don’t judge a community for the actions of a few” etc. They basically throw their hands in the air and say “It is not like WE control what they do.”
This is absurd. We are talking about one of the most dictatorially controlled religious communities in the very controlled ultra-orthodox Jewish world. They control every action from what makeup women wear (little to none); to what literature they read (punishment for reading People Magazine meant spending time in a locked in a room with a “Torah Therapist” & rapist Nechemya Weberman); what kind of phone can be used (smartphones are confiscated by the Modesty Committee); and how one must behave as a rape victim (shut up!).
Imagine what would happen if they put up the following sign:
It is a violation of numerous Jewish laws to lie on a welfare application/loan application/tax return. Those that do this will be spit out by our community. They, their children, their siblings, and their siblings children will be denied use of our schools, shuls and cemeteries.
That would probably solve the problem but would create another in its place. They would now have to figure out how to survive honestly after preventing their youth from getting the education necessary for success in the modern job market. They would also have to replace many in their leadership who are culpable of these acts.
Instead, their fraudsters plow charity dollars to subsidize their community and when they get arrested they instruct their students to pray for the freedom of these great charitable benefactors.
In my book, donating stolen money does not make you a good guy. In fact, it is not even charity if it never was your money.
It is time for people to stop talking about Satmar as very religious. They are a community with a shocking tolerance for fraud which happens to be obsessive about some religious observances.
It is time for people to stop talking about Satmar chesed (charity/kindness) unless it can be confirmed that the dollars supporting the endeavour are clean.
P.S.- I do know that Satmar Bikkur Cholim which provides food to the sick in NYC hospitals is based on volunteer labor in cooking and delivering the meals and I am not directing my attacks at their wonderful volunteers.