How the Rabbis In Chelm Solved the Problem of the Stolen Money

My Friends, this is fiction. Any resemblance between Chelm and Kelm/Lakewood or between Yosef in the story and Yosef Kolko is intentional. I first posted this story 7/8/13. But it came to mind again because Reb Yisroel of this story reappeared recently in the Five Towns with the same chochmos.

Meir Baal Hanais Chaluka Box Jewish Encyclopedia 1906Once upon a time in Chelm, Reuven, Shimon and Dina were students in a yeshiva who were given pushkas (charity boxes) to collect for Tomchei Shabbos (sabbath food). The pushkas had locks on the bottom. The only ones who had the keys were the teachers who were gabaoim (treasurers) for Tomchei Shabbos.

Nevertheless, a Reb Yosef  (Joseph) in one Yeshiva kept taking money out of Reuven’s Tzedakah box. When the story came out, Reb Yosef said, “I didn’t do it.” Eventually he had a new story.

Modeh ani. I did take the money from Reuven’s pushkah, but you should know he is no ordinary boy. He sat in my car and opened the bottom of his pushkah because he is no ordinary boy. He is a boy who desires nothing more than to have grownups steal from his pushkah. He has a magical way of opening his pushkah in front of you while you are driving a car and making the contents irresistible. He seduced me. Continue reading


How To Succeed in Kosher Without Really Trying

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky

I am reposting this year-old item (5/26/13) about the 2013 Doheney Kosher Meats scandal in LA from the Frum Follies archives because because the Passover season’s kosher concerns are upon us and Belsky is again in the news, this time for defending yet another rabbi crony from charges of sexual misconduct (Five Towns Angry at Belsky Over His Defense of Disgraced Rabbi Weinberger).

This post argues that Belsky, once again, violated fundamental ethical guidelines about avoiding conflicts of interest and issued a ruling for LA that conferred enormous financial benefits on his son-in-law, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz.

Owning a well-run, established business in a growing market is nice. But a monopoly in the same market – now that is splendid. Los Angeles may be heading to a kosher meat distribution monopoly.  Until shortly before Passover 2013, LA was divided into two kosher meat silos. Most of the kosher supervision (hashgachah) in town was provided by the Rabbinical Council of California (RRC). Every restaurant, caterer and retail shop under the RRC had to buy their meat from the RRC certified distributer, Doheney Kosher Meats. The smaller Kehilla Kosher certification (under Rabbi Avrohom Teichman)  required their establishments to buy meat from Western Kosher.  In effect, there was a meat distribution monopoly within each hashgachah.

Then a tsunami overturned this tidy arrangement. According to the LA Times,

Continue reading

If Zimri Lived in Lakewood He Would Have Been Treated Like Kolko

Rabbi Mordechai Betzalel Klein of Lakewood issued a pidyon shvuyim appeal on behalf of Yosef Kolko. He doesn’t actually name Kolko who is serving a 15-year sentence for molesting a teen boy, but the phone number in the notice belongs to Kolko’s parents. He refers to Kolko as “innocent.” I actually prefer Zimri who was not a hypocrite and was quite open about his sexual misconduct. This brings to mind Continue reading

FULL TEXT of the Victim’s Statement at Sentencing of Yosef Kolko

GavelBelow is the victim statement read at the sentencing of Yosef Kolko on Thursday, October 17, 2013, 11:05-11:09 p.m. After the statement, Prosecutor Laura Pierro spoke about the victim’s bravery, suffering and integrity. At 11:17 Judge Francis Hodgson pronounced the sentence for the seven counts which included oral sex, attempted anal penetration and other offenses. The sentence of fifteen years was the maximum allowed under the mid-trial guilty plea. However, under New Jersey law he will get out of prison and go on probation somewhere in middle of his 13th year of imprisonment.


The first thing I would like to do is, to strongly encourage all victims out there currently suffering in silence, to stand up for themselves and others. I would like to let them know that they can and should, no matter what some people say or think; no matter the repercussions. It’s the right thing to do. Continue reading

Belsky Harmed Kolko and His Victim’s Family

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

On Friday I reported on Rabbi Yisroel Belsky’s outsized role in advising Yosef Kolko. His advice got Kolko a prison sentence of 12 years and 9 months as I predicted. Belsky’s outrageous attacks on the family of Kolko’s victim forced them to move out of Lakewood.
One of my very astute regular commenters, Kevin in Chicago, eloquently captured some of the tragedy of this outcome in his response to my story on Friday.

Thank you, Yerachmiel Lopin, for your reporting, and may Hashem bless Judge Francis Hodgson for having his priorities straight — not letting the sentencing be again postponed out of consideration for the victim’s family, and sending a clear message that attempts to “game the system” will Continue reading

Kolko’s Decisions Were Driven by Belsky, Belsky, and Belsky

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

Rabbi (sic) Yosef Kolko

One of the most amazing revelations at yesterdays hearing and sentencing of Yosef Kolko was how much Rabbi Yisroel Belsky was his Svengali, calling every shot. According to testimony by his previous attorney, at every stage, Yosef Kolko consulted with Belsky and took his advice. Continue reading