The Haredi Political Deal with De Blasio Is Killing Haredim

A massive funeral was held in Hasidic Williamsburg for Rabbi Chaim Mertz on April 28, 2020 in direct violation of NYS Governor Cuomo’s executive order for social distancing. Metro NYC’s Haredi community is already suffering from staggering high death rates from Covid-19. Living in large families in crowded housing, this sort of event will doubtlessly add more bodies to the death toll, particularly of their elderly, like 71-year-old Rabbi Chaim Mertz, who died of Covid-19.

This is part of a larger pattern where the Haredi community has repeatedly breached rules on public gatherings for weddings, prayer groups, school classes, ritual immersions for men, and ironically, for the funerals of elderly rabbis who died from Covid-19.

NY Mayor Bill De Blasio made a show of outrage, Tweeting (here and here):

Something absolutely unacceptable happened in Williamsburg tonite: a large funeral gathering in the middle of this pandemic. When I heard, I went there myself to ensure the crowd was dispersed. And what I saw WILL NOT be tolerated so long as we are fighting the Coronavirus.

My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.

But nothing was done to disperse the crowd. According to the NY Post, “A spokesperson for the NYPD said officers on scene did not ticket or arrest anybody.” In fact, the police knew about it in advance and accepted assurances that attendees would all wear face masks and maintain social distancing. But it is hard to actually accomplish that with large crowds which is precisely why there are restrictions on large gatherings. The existing infection rate is high in the Haredi world. By the end of the day, dozens were doubtlessly infected and brought it home to their large families.

Haredim howled in outrage over Jews being singled out and they got non orthodox Jewish organizations to join in. I suspect the non-orthodox were more concerned about secular Jews being lumped in with Hasidim as distancing violators. But the Hasidic outrage was certainly feigned by many of the Hasidic political leadership (the askanim) who know perfectly well they will have a hard time ever getting a mayor as obliging as Bill De Blasio. A player who knows the game well, former city councilman from Borough Park, David Greenfield, said as much in a Tweet.

What is going on is political theatre where De Blasio makes believe he enforces the law and Haredim make believe they comply. It reminds me of the Communist era joke in Russia: “The party makes believe it pays us and we make believe we work.”  We are dealing with an old pattern preceding De Blasio and extending beyond NYC. Haredim have amassed voting power by often voting in a bloc. Deploying that bloc in otherwise low turnout primaries is especially valuable in overwhelmingly Democratic NY, where outcomes are often determined in the primaries. Continue reading

Satmar Anti-Abuse Activists Leak Video of a Principal Molesting a Boy to Force His Dismissal

scales of justice and childA very  disturbing video** was leaked onto WhatsApp of a school principal abusing a pre-pubescent boy who appears to be about eight years old. The viral video was taken from a hidden camera planted in the ceiling of the office of the principal of the Satmar (Aron faction) lower school (cheder) in Kiryas Joel, NY (KJ). Rabbi Moshe Hirsch Klein, the principal, is seen seated with the boy forced between his legs and with body and pelvic motions suggestive of masturbation. He uses his hands to alternately caress the boy’s body and face, and to pull him back as he repeatedly tries to get away. At times he also seems to be kissing the boy on his lips. The boy is obviously upset. Thankfully, the boy’s face is not visible and his identity is not disclosed through this video.

The online discussion of this episode offers up competing narratives. One camp reports that some teachers in the school were disturbed by the principal’s pattern of sexual abuse but could not get the higher ups to remove him. So, in desperation they planted the camera to furnish convincing proof of their complaints and then leaked it on WhatsApp, a very popular social medium in the Hasidic world where many rely on smartphones to get around the ban on home computer ownership. It is not clear whether they first tried showing the video to the higher ups in the Satmar system whose ultimate decision maker is the grand rabbi, Aron Teitelbaum. Continue reading

Alan Dershowitz Announces a Sequel to His Best-Seller, “Chutzpah” (Satire/Parody)

Alan Dershowitz (photo by Sage Ross) GNU License

Alan Dershowitz (photo by Sage Ross) GNU License

Back in 2012 I posted a satire about Dershowitz in connection with his defense of Hasidic pervert, Baruch Lebovits. Eventually Lebovits pled guilty to eight felony counts of oral sex with a minor. Dershowitz is back in the news with allegations that he had sex with minors procured for him by convicted child sex abuser, Jeffrey Epstein. (Epstein is one of a number of his child molesting clients along with Roman Polanski, Baruch Lanner, and Lebovits.) As is his style, Dershowitz is fighting back. I am reserving judgement on who to believe, but either way I find Dershowitz unsavory. It seemed like time to re-post this oldie but goodie.

Alan Dershowitz has signed a contract for a sequel to his best-selling book with Little, Brown & Co for a two million dollar  advance. In his first book, Chutzpah, published in 1992, he argued that “U.S. Jewry should shed its second-class citizenship syndrome and show a little chutzpah in defining its relationship with gentile, Christian America.” His new book is tentatively titled, Much More Chutzpah: How Satmar Hasidim Do It. He intends to show how Satmar has mastered the art of sticking it to gentiles and Jews alike.

In an interview with this reporter from Publishers Weekly, Dershowitz said,

These guys are fearless. The whole world is condemning them from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to the New York Jewish Week, the Jewish Press, and the orthodox Rabbinical Council of America. They don’t give a damn. Hasidim have fire in their bellies and rocks in their hands.

Move over Meir Kahane. These guys make him look like a pussy. In the outside world Jews politely debate Israel policy. In Williamsburg I almost got lynched when I forgot to remove the Israeli flag from my lapel. But then  my good friends David Niederman and Moshe Friedman announced “He’s a Zionist mamzer but he’s Satmar’s mamzer; he is going to defend our molester, Nechemya and protect our real estate from victim lawsuits.” Then I was treated to some real Satmar chesed (kindness). Continue reading

A Reply to Satmar Defenders

Donating stolen moneyFourteen 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: Continue reading

Satmar Children Pray for Fraudsters

satmar school message to pray for arrested fraudsters rubin et al 11-13-14Fourteen members of Satmar were arrested yesterday (11/13/14) on federal charges of mortgage fraud and related crimes (click here for text of indictment). Some of them were simultaneously claiming poverty to get welfare benefits and using other identities to claim high incomes to get mortgages. Most of those arrested were from the Rubin family including Abraham Rubin who served time for trying to bribe witnesses against Nechemya Weberman who was awaiting trial on child sex abuse charges.

Quicker than you can say arrested, Satmar anointed them good people worthy of divine intercession. The children of the Satmar school system were roped into supporting them with a flyer urging them all to pray that the judge freed them. The text read: Continue reading