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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yad Ephraim at Work Before the Holidays 


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pederast Tutor Yona Weinberg, Sentenced to Prison 

A Bar Mitzvah tutor convicted of sexually abusing two boys was sentenced Tuesday to just over a year in prison by Kings County Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach.

Yona Weinberg, a 31-year-old social worker from Flatbush, was convicted in June of numerous counts of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Weinberg was originally charged with sexually abusing four male students. He was acquitted of numerous charges, including the lone felony count.

If Weinberg had been convicted of all crimes, Weinberg faced up to seven years in prison. He was facing a possible two years in prison when he was sentenced Tuesday. Hon. Reichbach sentenced Weinberg to 13 months in prison.

The alleged victims, who were 12, 13 and 14 years old, were Weinberg’s students at the Khal Beth Abraham synagogue, where Weinberg gave Bar Mitzvah lessons. At least one alleged victim was Weinberg’s client at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, where Weinberg was a social worker.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=4&id=31028

6 comments

World's Fastest Nudist Gets Tacos In Williamsburg 

Move over Naked Cowboy, New York's got a new nudist sensation.

The rather conspicuous World's Fastest Nudist was recently spotted chowing down on some tacos in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And while he doesn't have a guitar or a failed mayoral campaign, he may just give the Naked Cowboy a run for his money for New York's most notable naked guy.

Not much is known about the "WFN," although he claims to hold over 400 nude-speed records and his real name appears to be Donnie.

So, is he a crazy guy running around naked? A viral marketing ploy? Or really the World's Fastest Nudist who just runs everywhere?

You decide.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/29/worlds-fastest-nudist-get_n_302852.html

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Monday, September 28, 2009

The holiest day of the Jewish calendar observed at a Catholic Church 

Yom Kippur, considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, is being observed today in synagogues and in some cases, churches.

The holiday culminates the Days of Awe, or the Jewish High Holy Days. It is a day of fasting and prayer among Jews and is known as the Day of Atonement. Observant Jews usually take the day off from work, and spend the day in services or in synagogue to repent for their sins against God. Jews believe that God seals the book of judgment on this day.

Yom Kippur officially began at sunset on Sunday, and will end with the sounding of the shofar and breaking of the fast this evening.

Because of the nature of the holiday, observant Jews and their visiting relatives can crowd synagogues, so it’s not uncommon for Jewish congregations to have Yom Kippur services in larger venues like high school gyms or in the sanctuaries of Christian churches.

Temple Beth Shalom, which has an estimated 1200 individual members, has grown so much over the years that space is usually a concern for Yom Kippur, Rabbi Alan Freedman said. A year ago, Father Larry Covington at St. Louis King of France Catholic Church offered the church as a worship space during High Holy Days.

“The space is so magnificent that I think it added a certain dimension to the services,” Freedman said, referring to Rosh Hashana, or the two-day Jewish New Year celebration, which began on September 18th.

The ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are devoted to self-examination and repentance. “The idea is that this is a time to mend relationships and to look at ourselves,” Freedman said. “It’s also a time to seek forgiveness and ultimately turn to God to help us move our lives in better directions.”

A shared Catholic church pulpit between a rabbi and a priest on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar holds particular significance.

“There’s certainly some symbolism to this since Jewish-Catholic relations have not always been easy ones,” Freedman said. “But while that history is something that lingers in the background, holding services at the church was initiated in friendship.”

The Rev. Covington said that offering the church to Beth Shalom was a small gesture of hospitality. “There is no way that these gestures can repair the kind of damage that Christians have caused Jews over the years,” Covington said. “We hope that even small gestures like this one can begin a better future of gestures of goodwill between Jews and Christians and growing in a deeper understanding of our own tradition as it has emerged from the Jewish tradition.”

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/faith/entries/2009/09/28/the_holiest_day_of_the_jewish.html

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

G'mar Chasima Toivah 


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iPhoning Jews heed G-d's call 

A new iPhone application pictured allows users to type personal prayers into their phones, which are printed out by a rabbi in Jerusalem and placed in the Western Wall, just in time for Yom Kippur.

The mobile-app "Send a Prayer" is run by Jewish Web site Chabad.org and mobile-development firm Munera, and costs 99 cents.

More than 1,000 prayers have been sent on a virtual pilgrimage since the app was launched before Rosh Hashanah -- 10 percent of them from the New York City area.

"Everything in this world was created for a divine purpose. All forms of modern technology can and should be harnessed to make the world a better place," explained Meir Simcha Kogan of Chabad.

One can also send a prayer to the grave of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson in Cambria Heights, Queens. A rabbi prints and delivers prayers.

And you don't have to be one of the chosen people to participate -- all denominations are allowed to take part.

"There is definitely a new generation of young people searching for meaning and ways to come closer to God," Kogan said.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/iphoning_jews_heed_god_call_IxNXsqtHdQZreI36qL7tLO

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

‘Innovative’ federal funding benefits Brooklyn yeshivas 

Thousands of private school students, mainly in yeshivas, will be getting remedial help in the three ‘Rs’ on the federal government’s dime.

The money comes through the city’s Department of Education (DOE) through a provisionin the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s Title I program.

The new services that began last week are worth about $24 million annually, and came after the DOE worked over several years with several Jewish organizations to ensure that yeshivas have the ability to receive instructional tutoring services in reading, writing and math from third-party vendors.

The need for third-party vendors stemmed from the fact that the teachers’ union contract does not allow teachers the flexibility to accommodate the late afternoon hours of a typical yeshiva’s secular studies program.

“A good education is the key to a lifetime of success. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to turn our public schools around,” said Mayor Bloomberg in announcing the initiative.

“We also haven’t ignored the needs of other schools in our city, including yeshivas, which are an important part of the fabric of our City. Even though city government is prevented by law from funding parochial schools, we have taken innovative steps to maximize Title I funding,” he added.

Sephardic Community Association Executive Vice President David Greenfield said the move will affect about 14,000 yeshiva students as well as four Catholic schools and several Islamic schools in the borough.

However, it affects mainly yeshivas as they have duo curriculums and the secular curriculum often doesn’t start until late afternoon when non-union vendors are needed for small group remedial sessions, said Greenfield.

Greenfield said the DOE already awarded vendor contracts through a competitive RFP (Request for Proposals) process to four tutoring firms including Brienza, Catapult, Higherschool and Nesi - all of which have experience in other large cities doing Title 1 work in public and private settings.

The money also comes after a 2007 report on the issue concluded that 30,000 students in Brooklyn yeshivas are missing out on approximately $48 million each year in Title I services which they are entitled to, but not receiving.

“The federal government established a program intended to benefit all struggling students, in both public and private schools alike, yet most yeshivas were not able to take advantage of this program,” said Greenfield. “Now, thanks to the Mayor and the cooperation of the DOE, we can all be optimistic that no student in New York City will be left behind any longer.”

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2009/09/25/park_slope_courier/news/park_slope_courier_newsotbwnxe09252009.txt

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Video from Daughter of Sholom Rubashkin 



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Apathy only makes the bloc vote stronger 

Hats off to state Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and Haverstraw Supervisor Howard Phillips for requesting a probe into a $1.6 million grant for a chicken slaughterhouse in New Square. ("Haverstraw official seeks grant probe," Sept. 5.) However, no one should hold their breath waiting for an investigation to start. During the 2007 election, a Monsey man convicted of vehicular homicide in Pennsylvania was transferred to the county jail by a Pennsylvania judge with support from Rockland jail administrators. It is illegal under New York state law for the sheriff's department to accept such a transfer. In addition, the prisoner was also allowed to go home on certain weekends. Although an investigation was called for to see if Sheriff James Kralik had a role in the transfer, the silence was deafening. In the end, the sheriff lost the popular vote in the towns of Clarkstown, Haverstraw, Orangetown and Stony Point, but won the election by approximately 3,000 votes because of the Ramapo Hasidic bloc vote, which the sheriff has long courted.

Fortunately, leaders like Zebrowski and Phillips have the courage to come forward despite the usual scare tactic of being labeled anti-Semitic. These issues are about power, money and politics and nothing to do with religion. The public has a disdain for present-day politics, but this apathy only makes the bloc vote that much stronger. So, whether it is primaries or general elections, be educated about the issues and please get out and vote. It is our only hope.

http://www.lohud.com/article/20090925/OPINION/909250311/1016/OPINION01/Apathy%20only%20makes%20the%20bloc%20vote%20stronger

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

From voting for Bloomberg twice to a strong Thompson supporter 



Yanky Daskal of Brooklyn South Safety Patrol, Boro-Park Shomrim, explaining to Lisa Chow from WNYC Radio why he changed from voting for Bloomberg twice to a strong Thompson supporter, in front of Agudath Israel of America’s Boro-Park Senior Center where Bill Thompson visited.

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Furor over rite confounds butcher 



Moshe Lefkowitz has been conducting the kapparot ceremony for ultra-Orthodox Jews for more than 30 years. So he can’t understand what the recent fuss has been about.
The ceremony, which involves the circling of live chickens over the head of the faithful and later slaughtering them as a means of atonement for sins, has invited fines from the county Health Department, which says health codes have been flaunted, and the ire of some neighbors.
Lefkowitz, 59, said his community was saddened by the furor over the ceremony and its description as something violent.
“I am proud of our customs,” said Lefkowitz, a butcher who walks with a cane. He said he has lost almost all of his sight. “It’s very difficult to explain some things to people who do not believe.”
Lefkowitz said he wouldn’t pay the fines the Health Department has imposed because he believes it is trying to wrest money from him. He said he tried as much as possible to comply with the rules, but that the county had unrealistic expectations. He called some of the fines “ridiculous.”
“I’m trying to control the chickens, but the chickens are doing what they are doing. I don’t have Pampers for them,” he said, referring to complaints by the Health Department that there were chicken feces and feathers on the ground. “They told me to clean it, but when I cleaned it with water, they gave me a fine. The dogs are doing a lot more contamination in the river. ... Feathers on the chicken, the wind is blowing it. It’s not something I can control.”
A spokeswoman for County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said that if Lefkowitz refused to pay the fines, legal action would be taken against him.
Lefkowitz has paid $1,400 of the $3,000 fine levied against him for the 2007 ceremony and none of the $6,500 levied against him and Congregation Birchos Yosef, owner of the property where the ceremony is held, in 2008.
More fines could be forthcoming for the four violations that have been issued against him for this year’s ceremony, which concludes early Saturday.
“We would pursue legal action as we would do with any individual or business or organization that has been fined and hasn’t paid,” said C.J. Miller, Vanderhoef’s spokeswoman.
On Wednesday morning, Lef­kowitz stood in the parking lot of Congregation Birchos Yosef and fielded calls on his cell phone, even as he complained about incessant interruption from people. As a father of 13 with 39 grandchildren, he keeps busy.
Lefkowitz is a man in demand in the week when the ceremony is held, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Hundreds of families call him to book tickets for the ceremony, which are sold at $10 each.
Each ticket entitles the buyer to a live chicken, which is believed to become a repository for that person’s sins.
When the faithful arrive at the Route 306 location, they can choose from female or male chickens depending on their own gender — women and girls pick female chickens, which are easily identified by their thinner and stiff legs and their pink crown, while men pick male chickens with red crowns and squat, thick legs, Lefkowitz said. The chickens are also segregated by gender into separate tents.
Depending on how much they want to spend, families can buy a chicken for each member or make do with one chicken for males and another for females.
At the end of the ceremony, the chickens are taken to another location to be slaughtered. On Thursday and Saturday, he said, the chickens will be killed at the site in accordance with rules set down by the county Health Department during an Aug. 25 meeting that included a representative from Vanderhoef’s office.
Lefkowitz did not say how much money was generated by the sale of tickets. The money supplements his income as a butcher. In the past, the money has paid for his children’s tuition and their weddings, a ramp to his front door for his wife’s wheelchair and an upgrade for her car, among other things.
Though he benefits from the income from the kapparot, Lefkowitz said, he was performing a public service by organizing the ceremony for the community, much in the same way his father, also a butcher, did it in New Square decades ago.
Few people have the interest or the ability — as he does as a kosher butcher — to organize the elaborate event, he said.
“In these days some people don’t have the stomach to do it,” Lefkowitz said.

http://www.lohud.com/article/200990924001

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer's Subway Pug Saga Comes to an End... For Now 

Chrissie Brodigan, the pug owner whose shocking arrest gripped the city this summer, has had her final ticket dismissed. Issued for disorderly conduct because Brodigan was vehemently arguing with arresting officer Joel Witriol, the ticket was ultimately tossed today because it was written incorrectly (as were the other two, in addition to being manually altered after the fact). Brodigan's lawyer speculates that Witriol may have intentionally made mistakes on the tickets so they would be dismissed on a technicality and ensure that Brodigan could not challenge the charges on their merits.

Brodigan has filed a complaint with the CCRB over the incident, as have two witnesses. But she tells us, "There's no real satisfaction in having the charges dismissed because the tickets were written incorrectly; rather, the real issue is that they should have been dismissed because they were unlawful and in violation of my civil rights."

Brodigan ultimately lost her job at Plum TV in the fallout from affair; the termination may have been prompted by unsubstantiated witness accounts published by the Post, claiming that Brodigan shouted anti-Semitic slurs against Officer Witriol, who is one of the city's only Hasidic cops. But the Post's only attributed source, Viane Delgado, has yet to come forward to defend her shocking comments about Brodigan. Viane! Speak now or forever hold your peace inside some tabloid hack's imagination.

http://gothamist.com/2009/09/22/subway_pug_saga_comes_to_an_end.php

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hikind will endorse Councilman John Liu in his runoff bid for the post of Comptroller 



Brooklyn Democrat Assemblyman Dov Hikind announced today he will endorse Councilman John Liu in his runoff bid for the post of New York City Comptroller.

“John’s vision for the City’s future and his willingness to denounce bureaucratic waste and government mismanagement really impresses me,” Hikind said. “He has assiduously represented his constituents’ interests for the last eight years during his tenure as a city councilman. I know he will bring that same commitment as comptroller.”

Hikind added, “If New York City is to ever dig out from its perilous financial state, we will need an outspoken and fiscally knowledgeable watchdog in the role of city comptroller. John Liu fits that description perfectly. I am thrilled to endorse him for this crucial government position.”

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Hikind to support Paterson in Governor re-election 

Joining the ranks of other stalwart supporters like former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) has indicated that he intends to support Governor Paterson should the Governor decide to seek re-election in 2010.

“Governor Paterson has long been a friend to me and to the community I represent. More than that, I truly believe that David is capable of leading New York State in the right direction,” said Hikind. “There is no question that he has had a difficult first year, but all transitions are hard. I believe the Governor is entitled to the benefit of the doubt, and more importantly, he is due respect from his colleagues.”

Hikind continued, “The Governor has worked under extremely trying circumstances, and I am confident he will continue to work to resolve this state’s most challenging issues. I look forward to supporting his candidacy if he chooses to run for re-election in 2010.”

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Clips from the Chabad telethon 


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Monday, September 21, 2009

Jewish groups protest Saturday Iowa caucus 

Eighteen Jewish organizations asked the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to change the 2010 Iowa caucus to avoid Shabbat.

Both party's caucuses have been scheduled for a Saturday -- Jan. 23, at 1 p.m. -- and that "effectively disenfranchises members of the Jewish community," says the letter to the state's party chairs, the Democrats' Michael Kiernan and the Republicans' Matt Strawn.

"Jews who observe the Sabbath could not work on caucus day to support their candidates of choice," the organizations write. "Worse, since caucuses do not allow for absentee voting, there would be essentially no opportunity to participate in this important process. This is utterly inconsistent with the values of our pluralistic democracy" and will "force members of the Iowa Jewish community to choose between their faith and their civic duties."

Iowa party leaders said this summer that the schedule was chosen to encourage greater participation in an off-year election.

Groups representing the four major religious streams, the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Republican Jewish Coalition signed the letter. It was coordinated by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

http://jta.org/news/article/2009/09/21/1007986/jewish-groups-protest-iowa-caucus-scheduled-on-shabbat

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Business big shot: Paul Reichmann, Property developer 



Paul Reichmann is likely to allow himself a wry smile as the rejuvenation of Canary Wharf continues apace.

The veteran property developer, 78, was the driving force behind the creation of the landmark development in London’s Docklands 22 years ago, after securing the personal backing of Margaret Thatcher, then the prime minister. She all-but-sealed the Wharf’s future as the de facto alternative to the City after agreeing to extend the Jubilee Line to the site.

The Vienna-born Mr Reichmann, the son of a wealthy egg merchant and part of a family of Orthodox Jews, spent much of the subsequent two decades on a roller-coaster ride — he lost control of Canary Wharf twice, thanks to a shortage of tenants and the downturn in commercial property values. Last week, Mr Reichmann effectively ended his association with Canary Wharf after it emerged that Songbird Estates, the controlling shareholder, had bought an 8.45 per cent stake that he had owned. Mr Reichmann’s holding was pledged against loans from Dresdner, the German bank that was bought by Commerzbank earlier this year. Commerzbank sold the holding on Friday for £112.5 million.

Mr Reichmann first lost Canary Wharf — which for a time was the world’s largest property development — in 1992, when his Olympia & York developer was forced into bankruptcy with a debt bill of $20 billion.

Although the collapse wiped out most of Mr Reichmann’s personal fortune, he quickly rebuilt his empire. In 1995, after teaming up with investors including George Soros and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi billionaire, he bought the Wharf back from its lending banks and became chairman, later floating the company.

But in 2004, a takeover battle for Canary Wharf erupted, one that pitched Brascan, a Canadian developer, against the Songbird consortium, which included Morgan Stanley and British Land. Mr Reichmann, a Canadian citizen, threw his weight behind Brascan, but Songbird won the contest with a £1.9 billion bid.

Crisis loomed again for Canary Wharf last year after a sharp slide in property values left it close to breaching its covenants. But late last month, Songbird agreed a £1 billion rescue refinancing backed by the state of Qatar and China Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund. Songbird will flesh out the details at its half-year results this week.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/construction_and_property/article6841789.ece

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Friday, September 18, 2009

K'Sivah V'Chasima Toivah 


Wishing all of K'lal Yisroel a happy and healthy year.

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Read the new Chaptzem article in the Country Yossi Family Magazine 

Make sure to pick up your free copy of the Country Yossi Family Magazine and read the brand new original article 'My Kingdom For a Pair of Shoes' written by Chaptzem, the only Heimishe blogger to make the transition from cyberspace to print.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hasidic Jew bites Ukrainian policeman in kosher food row 

A Hasidic Jewish pilgrim bit a Ukrainian policeman while other pilgrims smashed a television camera in a row over kosher food, Channel 5 television reported Thursday. The incident took place in the central Ukrainian city Uman', a pilgrimage site for one of the nine main branches of Hasidic Judaism.

The conflict began after Uman' police attempted to shut down a group of kiosks operated by the pilgrims, according to the report citing Svetlana Lipinska, an Uman' city official.

The owner-operators said they were providing kosher food acceptable to Hasidic teachings, unavailable elsewhere in Uman'.

The Ukrainian law enforcers alleged the kiosks were not registered businesses, violated city health codes, and should be shut down.

One kiosk operator bit a policeman's finger, and others smashed a camera operated by a local television station, as law enforcers moved to dismantle the kiosks.

Police intervention came after city officials consulted with pilgrimage organizers, and according to a Unian news agency report were told by Daniel Dayan, a leader of Uman's Hasidic community, that the kiosk operators were engaged in business outside normal pilgrimage activities.

The central Ukrainian city Uman' is the site of an annual pilgrimage by some 25,000 members of the Hasidic branch of the Jewish faith during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

One of the leading early activists of the Hasidic movement, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, is buried in Uman'. A visit to his grave is the highpoint of a pilgrimage to the city.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/286097,hasidic-jew-bites-ukrainian-policeman-in-kosher-food-row.html

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ORTHODOX UNION LEADERS MEET WITH OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS 

National lay and rabbinical leaders of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (the “Orthodox Union” or “OU”) traveled to the nation's capital on September 14th and 15th for the Union’s annual Leadership Mission to Washington. The two-day mission was organized by the OU’s Institute for Public Affairs.

After a meeting of the Union’s Executive Committee, Monday’s Mission program was kicked off with a gala dinner honoring Mr. Elliott Abrams for his recently concluded service in government. Mr. Abrams served as the Deputy National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush and held responsibility for policy toward Israel. Mr. Abrams was presented with an award for his service to the United States, the Jewish community and the State of Israel. In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Abrams stated “the OU is to be commended for its principled advocacy that did not sway according to the prevailing political winds.”

On Tuesday, the delegation began its meetings with America's policymakers at The White House for briefings with senior Obama Administration officials. The Orthodox leaders were greeted by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to the President, and had briefing sessions with David Axelrod, Senior Adviser to the President; Dennis Ross, Senior Director for the Central Region on the National Security Council; and Joshua Dubois, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Partnerships.

Among the key discussions of the White House sessions were the threat of Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons and the state of Obama Administration’s efforts to re-start Israeli-Arab peace talks, discussed with Dennis Ross.

http://www.ou.org/public_affairs/article/58708

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Over 1.5 Million Expected in over 10,000 Synagogues 

The National Union of Israeli Synagogues has released figures regarding expected attendance at synagogues in the Jewish State during this year's upcoming High Holidays. According to the Union, over 1.5 million Israelis are expected to pray in some 10,500 synagogues spread throughout the country. The Union says half of the synagogues are Hareidi/Hassidic while the other half are National Religious/Traditional.

In the enormous new Belz Hassidic synagogue, located in the Romema neighborhood in Jerusalem, more than 10,000 people are expected to attend services.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/171167

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cleveland OB-GYN is Ohio's only female mohel performing bris ceremony 



Her full-time gig is as an OB-GYN who practices at University Hospitals Suburban Health Center in South Euclid. But when duty calls, Dr. Karen Jaffe becomes a mohelet, or a female mohel, a central figure in one of the most revered traditions in the Jewish religion.

The brit milah -- or bris, as it is more commonly known -- is the ritual circumcision of a newborn Jewish boy, usually performed on the eighth day of life. The procedure, the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis, is an outward sign of the covenant between God and Jewish people.

Jaffe is the only female mohel (rhymes with "oil") in Ohio and one of only a few dozen mohelets in the United States. Traditionally, mohelim were Orthodox men who received special training to perform circumcisions. Often that training was handed down from father to son.

The need for more mohelim became apparent as the number of American Jews belonging to the religion's Reform and Conservative movements grew. Two problems existed:

One was a religious issue. If the father is Jewish but the mother is not, for example — or if the mother is a convert but is not recognized as such by Orthodox Jews — many Orthodox rabbis or cantors choose not to perform the bris.

The other was the scarcity of people qualified to do a bris.

http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2009/09/cleveland_obgyn_dr_karen_jaffe.html

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Vote John Heyer for City Council - Democratic Primary 


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Monday, September 14, 2009

Experienced Suicide Bombers Available for all your Terror needs 



http://ramallah.craigslist.org/sks/1369788370.html

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Dov Hikind: Why I am Supporting Brad Lander for City Council 

In the nearly three decades I have served as an elected official for the 48th Assembly District, I have learned that the most important aspect of the job is constituent services. If Sendy, Joseph or Angelo have a problem they need help with, their primary concern is whether their elected official is receptive to their problem and dedicated to resolving it as best as possible. The most essential component of being a public servant is not one’s stances on ‘hot topic issues’ or public policy matters, but rather, their ability to advocate and solve problems for their constituents.

I have met with many of the candidates in the 39th Councilmanic race, and have reviewed their backgrounds, experience and accomplishments. After due consideration, I determined that Brad Lander is not only the most qualified, but he will also be the most receptive to the constituents of the 39th Council District. His dedication and sincerity have impressed me, and I truly believe in my heart that with God’s help, Brad will be a great councilman once he is elected.

A second, more serious issue concerning allegations made against Brad has both revolted and disgusted me. I have read and heard critics of Brad state that he is anti-Israel based upon remarks he made a decade ago. I have spent my entire life fighting for Israel, and would never support someone who I felt did not support Eretz Yisroel. Sometimes, in a fit of passion, we have all made statements that can later be misconstrued. We should only judge people based upon their current actions and not on comments they made long ago. Brad takes pride in his Jewish roots, and I am convinced he is and will continue to be a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people.

It is for this reason that I have endorsed Brad Lander in the 39th Council District. I urge you to support him as well. Please vote on September 15th for Brad Lander.

With best wishes for a happy and healthy new year,

Dov Hikind
Member of Assembly

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Struck boy is family's second tragedy 

A heartbroken Brooklyn family on Sunday buried a 9-year-old son struck and killed by a car - just five years after the boy's younger brother tragically drowned.

The sobbing father of Joshua Ganzfried escorted the small wooden coffin from Congregation Kehilas Yakov Pupa as about 500 Hasidic Jews packed the Williamsburg street.

Shlomo Ganzfried, 38, lost a 2-year-old son, Amron, on June 26, 2004.

The tot drowned in a pond in Westchester County after wandering away from a service his parents were attending at a synagogue.

"His son should go up to heaven and hold his brother's hand and go up to God," said family friend Sammy Gumbo, translating the dad's Yiddish sermon.

"It is a second tragedy," Gumbo, 36, said. "The father is heartbroken. But he is a firm believer in God."

Joshua woke up early Saturday to join other neighborhood boys studying Jewish prayers in exchange for candy.

The third-grader was part of a gifted scholar's program at the synagogue called chevera tehillim, Hebrew for "friends of psalms," neighbors said.

The boy was walking alone just a block from his family's Flushing Ave. apartment when driver Novella Bilkerdyk, 54, plowed her Honda into him.

She was arraigned for driving with a suspended license and released, said a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

"No one said goodbye," Shlomo Ganzfried cried to the crowd.

The family has six surviving children.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/09/14/2009-09-14_struck_boy_is_familys_second_tragedy.html

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Rabbi Wolfson writes letter asking all to vote for John Heyer for City Council 

Rabbi Wolfson Letter

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Belz campaigning for John Heyer for City Council 


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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Subway U.S.’s largest kosher restaurant chain 

What’s the largest kosher restaurant chain? Mendy’s? Six branches; seven if you count the meat and dairy counters at New York City’s Grand Central Station.
Dougie’s? Five branches in New York and New Jersey.

Don’t even bring up Nathan’s Famous — it stopped making kosher hot dogs altogether.

The dark-horse winner is Subway, the made-to-order sandwich giant, which opened its ninth kosher franchise Aug. 18 inside the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center in North Miami Beach, Fla. New Subways opening in Indianapolis and Skokie, Ill., will make it 11 by the end of the year. Five more are planned for next year.

Subway is not the only fast-food chain with kosher branches. Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, has 33 kosher franchises, mostly in New York, according to company spokesman Andrew Mastrangelo. They serve dairy breakfast sandwiches, but not full meals.

Subway, the second largest fast-food franchise in the world, didn’t set out to be No. 1 in the kosher market. Staffers at company headquarters in Milford, Conn., seemed bemused by the news.

“Really?” laughed Kevin Kane in the marketing department.

Sure, 11 kosher stores pales in comparison to the 22,000 non-kosher Subways in the United States, or to the hundreds of halal Subways in England and the Arab world. But it’s more than anyone else is offering.

And it’s a creative solution for Jewish community centers that want to offer kosher food but don’t want to take the financial risk themselves. Some would rather offer no food than violate kosher law.

http://www.kcjc.com/200909118735/news/subway-u.s.s-largest-kosher-restaurant-chain.html

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Bar Mitzvah of Zisha Noe at Masbia kosher soup kitchen in Boro-Park 


   

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Fire damages KJ school dormitory; no one injured 

A late-night fire damaged an unoccupied storage area in a school dormitory on the night before the teenage boys staying there departed for a four-week vacation.

Kiryas Joel Public Safety Director Moses Witriol said that a manager of UTA Mesitva of Kiryas Joel — a religious school attended by several hundred Satmar Hasidic boys, ages 16 and older — discovered a smoldering mattress on the first floor of the three-story building about midnight Wednesday.

All occupants were evacuated without injury as a blaze erupted, he said. Fire departments from surrounding communities responded to help Kiryas Joel firefighters with the fire, which was put under control in about an hour, Witriol said.

Witriol said the cause appeared to be electrical. Fire Chief Joshua Blumenthal couldn't be reached for comment.

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090911/NEWS/909110349

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Rabbi Sues Town for Right to Synagogue 

After seeking permission for more than 2 years to turn an old Victorian home near the Town Green into a synagogue, an Orthodox Jewish organization filed a civil rights lawsuit against Litchfield and its Historic District Commission. A Methodist Church sits two doors away from the proposed site of the synagogue.
The federal complaint claims that the town used its architectural standards to violate the Chabad Lunavitch's right to practice religion under the federal Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
"In addition to burdening the plaintiffs' religious exercise, defendants have made statements disparaging plaintiffs' religious uses," the Chabad and its rabbi say. "This targeting is the direct result of the defendants' opposition to plaintiffs' religious sect."
Rabbi Joseph Eisenbach claims, "This targeting has been based in large part on anti-Hasidic animus." The complaint cites comments made by several people in town during the review of Chabad's planned changes to the home.
According to the minutes of a Litchfield Historic Commission meeting, its chairwoman "noted her own objections to the stone, which is not indigenous to the district, feels the clock tower is not appropriate, and the Star of David may not comply with the district."
An attorney for one of the selectwomen stated that the proposed improvements and use of the building should be reviewed as if it were a "strip joint."
Rabbi Eisenbach said he planned to replace the home's slate foundation with stone from Israel and build a steeple to display the Star of David. He also sought to expand the home to accommodate a community center.
It would be the only synagogue in this quaint New England town.
The rabbi says his temple has outgrown its space in a strip mall, next to a Dunkin Donuts and a Senor Panchos. He claims that the small space limits not the practice of the Jewish faith, and has forced him to turn away parishioners.
To accommodate its growth, the Chabad bought the old Victorian home near the Town Green. A Methodist Church sits two doors down from the proposed site of the synagogue. Rabbi Eisenach say says Christian religious facilities in the historic district were allowed to modify their building in a manner that exceeded what Chabad has proposed.
Kenneth Slater of Halloran and Sage and Frederick Nelson of the American Liberties Institute represent the plaintiffs.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/09/11/Rabbi_Sues_Town_for_Right_to_Synagogue.htm

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

H1N1 (Swine Flu) Community Forum - TONIGHT 

Assemblyman Dov Hikind
Invites the community to a
H1N1 (Swine Flu) Community Forum

Thursday evening September 10th, 6:30 PM

At

Beth Jacob of Boro Park
1371 46th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11219


Listen, Ask and Learn

How will the Swine Flu virus affect me?
What can I do to better prepare myself?
What is the City of New York doing to prepare its residents?
How safe are our children?

And More

Presenters will include

Dr. Stuart Ditchek, MD
Pediatrician - Brooklyn, New York

And

Michael A. Congo, MPH
Certified Health Education Specialist
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

And Others


For more information please call 718.853.9616

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Satmar Endorses John Heyer for City Council 

Satmar Endorsing John Heyer for City Council

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ari Noe of OTR MEDIA holding his son's actual Bar Mitzva at Soup Kitchen 

Prominent philanthropist and public activist Ari Noe wears two hats - one is lavish, the other simple. The proprietor of OTR Media, a New York City billboard company, is equally comfortable schmoozing with New York city politicians and hosting legislative breakfasts, as he is serving food to the city 's impoverished.

So when it came to celebrating his son's Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish ceremony that marks a boy 's transition into adulthood, Noe decided to honor both: Tonight he will be celebrating at a huge ballroom in Williamsburg among a list of city dignitaries that includes both prominent politicians, candidates in next week’s election and rabbis alike, and tomorrow Noe will be celebrating at Masbia, the Brooklyn based Kosher soup kitchen, where he will serve food to the poor.

But while tonight 's event promises to be quite an extravaganza, Noe 's heart lies elsewhere. It is no coincidence that tomorrow 's celebration at Masbia, the only Kosher soup kitchen in New York, marks the actual day on the Jewish calendar when Noe 's son, Zishe, turns 13. For his real Bar Mitzva, Noe and Zishe will celebrate by making those less fortunate feel a little more fortunate.

Currently Masbia has a program that solicits couples about to get married to sponsor a night 's meal at the soup kitchen, but Noe is taking this tradition a step further. Not only is he sponsoring the night, but he is holding his son's actual Bar Mitzva in the soup kitchen. Guests who arrive to eat there will be surprised to find extra lavish food, and joyous music to accompany them. Ari is no newcomer to Masbia. In the past he has donated billboards for Masbia's fundraising use, and sponsored hundreds of meals for the city 's poor.

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The Jewish Press endorses John Heyer 

The Jewish Press urges support for John Heyer. A devout Catholic, Mr. Heyer shares our community’s views on a broad range of issues, including family values and parochial education. By any measure his joining the City Council would be a positive development in terms of issues dear to our community.

There is, however, another important dimension to the race in the 39th district. We have long been turned off by politicians running for local office who, seeking our community’s support, express their undying support for Israel – though of course they know full well that foreign policy issues will never come across their desks. To be sure, having a plethora of public officials favorably disposed toward the Jewish state is not a negative. But the sheer pandering is what raises our hackles.

Yet it is a different order of business when a candidate for local office is on the public record as being virulently anti-Israel and derisive of Orthodox religious practice in his private capacity. To support such a candidate would send the message that public identification with anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian sentiment is not all that significant a matter to us. And that is not a good thing.

Sadly, Brad Lander, the current frontrunner in the District 39 race, is someone who has spoken out quite forcefully against Israel. In addition, he has voiced objection to Orthodox control of Israeli religious life and used derisive terms to describe certain Jewish practices – referring, for example, to bris milah as “religious violence” during his son’s circumcision ceremony. Incredibly, he has nonetheless garnered support from prominent members of our community, including at least one elected official. Mr. Heyer deserves our community’s support in terms of the issues facing the district. It is also important that our community sends a message of its own that we will not support anyone who opposes Israel.

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Lipa Schmeltzer's BINYAN ADEI AD 


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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chosson on a hog 


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25,000 Jews flocking to Uman 

Some 25,000 Jews from all over the world are set to make the annual pilgrimage to the central Ukrainian city of Uman.

The first two groups of about 60 Hasidic Jews recently arrived in Uman, home to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, founder and spiritual leader of the Bratslav Chasidic movement, to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

In the period before the Sept. 19 start of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, the Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service predicts the arrival of 25,000 Jews from all over the world to Uman to celebrate the holiday. On Sept. 15 alone, 22 direct flights from Israel to Ukraine will ferry groups of pilgrims to area airports.

About 100 air planes will fly between Tel Aviv and Kiev in the next 10 days.

The Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service expect that most of the pilgrims will arrive in organized groups at the Borispol International airport as well as the airports of Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Lvov and Vinnitsa, and some others will take flights going through Hungary, Romania and Poland, which are less expensive. Some others will drive into the country.

At the airports and train stations special areas will be designated for the pilgrims to pass through customs.

Passport control will be conducted directly on the planes during the chartered flights from Ben Gurion International Airport to Kiev's Borispol Airport and then the Jewish pilgrims will move to buses in Borispol.

Rebbe Nahman was born in the city of Medzhybizh in 1772 and died in 1810 in Uman. Since then, Uman has become a mecca for Bratslaver Chassids, particularly on Rosh Hashanah.

Uman city authorities told JTA that all necessary services are ready to properly receive the Jewish pilgrims.

http://jta.org/news/article/2009/09/08/1007686/25000-jews-flocking-to-uman

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Monday, September 07, 2009

John Heyer meets with Rabbi Moshe Menachem Weiss and Pupa Dayen of Boro-Park 


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John Heyer for Brooklyn city council visits office of the Weekly Link magazine 


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John Heyer meets with Grand Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger of Bobov 


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Ben Barber pledged to raise for Bill Thompson $100,000 in matchable donations 

Binyamin (Ben) Barber’s house in Brooklyn had people coming and going all evening, he had pledged to raise for Bill Thompson $100,000.00 in matchable donations. And according to the crowd that’s exactly what happened. Dozens of Builders, developers, architects, small-business-owners, ticket-receivers, and lots of private school board members, all of them disgusted with Bloomberg’s arrogance with the needs of the people, opened their wallets to fight him.

Story and picture sent in by a Chaptzem reader

Pictured above: Bill Thompson tapping the back of City council candidate Isaac Abraham at a fundraiser in the home of Binyamin (Ben) Barber

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Pupa throws their support behind John Heyer for City Council 

  

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Belzer Dayanim throw their support behind John Heyer 


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John Heyer with Rabbi Yaakov Perlow and Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz 


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Williamsburg businesses fear eminent domain will steal their livelihoods for Broadway Triangle 

If the city's controversial plan to develop Williamsburg's Broadway Triangle goes forward, at least six small businesses will get the boot - and others will be left with an uncertain future.

While the loudest battles over the plan to build 1,895 low-rise apartments on the 31-acre Triangle site have been over the allegations of political corruption, little attention has been focused on the fate of the existing small businesses in the area.

Sara Gelb, 52, started Excellent Bus Service, on Bartlett St., with her husband 25 years ago with one bus. She now has 18, and recently started running service between Brooklyn and Toronto.

She said that while the neighborhood does need affordable housing - 905 of the new apartments would be affordable to low and middle-income tenants - it needs skilled jobs just as badly.

"I don't know what we're going to do. I still can't believe that they could actually take away somebody's property," Gelb said.

Michael Retek, 35, runs Smartek, which makes irons and other garment-care products, at another threatened Bartlett St. property.

"It just doesn't make sense," he said. "When business is so tough, in a time when everybody's cutting jobs and downsizing, let these few businesses live."

He rents the space from his father, Abraham Retek, who also rents to a printing shop next door. "I'm not willing to sell it. Why should I sell it?" Abraham Retek said.

Aaron Jacobowitz, 44, said it took 14 years to build up a customer base at his Bartlett St. flower shop, Floral Expression. Losing the property and relocating would mean starting from scratch.

"It's a back-room deal," he said. "We're determined to fight it all the way to the end."

Opponents charge the land was handed over to two politically connected nonprofits without a fair bidding process. They say Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the Hasidic group United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg used their ties to Brooklyn Democratic boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg) to be tapped as developers. Lopez and the groups have denied the allegation.

http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/2009/09/06/2009-09-06_businesses_fear_eminent_domain_will_steal_livelihoods_for_good.html

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Shomrim nab alleged perp in Boro-Park 


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Go ahead, make my high holiday 



It's high noon for the high holidays.

Fearing jihadists will attack synagogues during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a group of badass rabbis has developed a program to turn your average shul-goer into a lean, mean fighting machine.

The group, which calls itself the International Security Coalition of Clergy, was founded by Rabbi Gary Moscowitz, who boasts a black belt in karate, teaches martial arts and was an NYPD cop for nine years.

He's teaching others basic and advanced fighting moves -- how to take down a terrorist by the neck, how to use a table as cover from gunfire and how to execute a nifty running somersault while drawing a gun -- that he says can be used by Jews if they're attacked by terrorists during prayer.

"Jews are not like Christians," Moscowitz said. "If I turn my cheek, I'm coming around to make a kick."

Moscowitz said he doesn't think Muslims in general are a threat, but "extremist groups are."

"We're just worried about the safety of the houses of worship that are being threatened with rhetoric on regular basis and extremism," the 52-year- old rabbi said.

Moscowitz said few people took him seriously until May, when the FBI busted homegrown Muslim terrorists for allegedly plotting to blow up synagogues in The Bronx.

Since then, he said, his phone has been ringing off the hook and he created a 100-hour course for synagogue self-defense.

Moscowitz said NYPD officers aren't qualified to guard synagogues because they don't know members of the congregation.

"A terrorist could put a yarmulke on, say, 'Happy holidays,' and blow the place up," he said.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the rabbi had been fired in the early 1990s from the force, but didn't know details. Asked about Moscowitz's criticism of the NYPD, Browne opted for a biblical-like statement.

"Blessed are the tight of lip," he said, "for they shall resist speaking ill of the ill-informed."

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/regional/go_ahead_make_my_high_holiday_hLuhUCAbI9z2DATpOzJkIO

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Friday, September 04, 2009

TheCoolJew interviews MBD 

Find out why he does not listen to any music but his own, why his name is MBD, his life growing up, his thoughts on Avrham Fried and much more in this powerful interview from TheCoolJew.com. The Interview features a few minutes of sound from the new album Kulam Ahuvim.


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Homowack Main Building Vandalized 



The owners of the girls' camp that recently had been operating at the former Homowack Lodge have been fined a total of $19,500 by the Sullivan County office of the Department of Health (DOH), according to a story in the Times Herald-Record. The group — who are members of Congregation Bais Trana, a Hasidic sect based in Rockland County — had been operating the camp without the necessary permits from the county and the Town of Mamakating.

The fines are a result of numerous and persistent health code violations, which include overflowing dumpsters, mounds of kitchen waste and other debris, and a swimming pool that was being used despite the fact that it contained unsafe water. The children also had free-run of the facility — the buildings of which were left wide open and contained numerous hazards, including exposed wiring and a pervasive black mold problem — and were not being properly supervised.

The county said, however, that it would be willing to settle the case for far less money, $12,650, if the owners would agree to bring the facility up to code. DOH has scheduled an administrative hearing in Monticello on September 23, and the state Attorney General's office is apparently seeking a court order permanently enjoining the camp from operating in the future. There is no word yet as to whether the two state agencies might be working at cross-purposes.

And, in a development late last week, the main building was apparently vandalized, when several windows were broken. The portion that was vandalized is the section that is closest to the road; however, it is also the section that contained the sanctuary, at which a number of young men had been engaged in religious studies during the period when the camp was in operation.

http://www.shawangunkjournal.com/2009/09/03/news/0909031.html

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Yiddish article about Lander sparks gay marriage debate 

A Borough Park newspaper article about Brad Lander has called the 39th City Council candidate’s views on gay marriage into question.

At the same time, candidates in the race to replace Bill de Blasio are claiming that Lander’s political ideologies are different in the conservative Orthodox side of the district than they are in Park Slope, where residents are more liberal and progressive.

Der Blatt, which is printed in Yiddish by the Satmar Hasidim, came out with an article last Friday encouraging readers to vote for Lander, who they said “strongly opposes various types of abominations and immoral laws.”

The article was aimed directly at Orthodox readers, who equate “abominations” with homosexuals.

Eyebrows were raised almost immediately, especially since Lander has repeatedly said that he is for gay rights and gay marriage.

But the article didn’t just talk about Lander’s opposition to abominations. It also goes on to say that “it would be a desecration in the name of God to support the other candidates who support laws permitting abominations and who do not at all address the problems we are concerned about even if such candidates happen to be Jewish themselves” -- a swipe at Lander’s Jewish opponents in the race.

The Lander campaign immediately denied any involvement in the article, which is in effect a paid advertisement. At the bottom of the photo, among pictures of Lander speaking to Orthodox leaders, are the words “Paid for Brad Lander for City Council.”

Lander’s campaign wrote Der Blatt demanding a retraction. The campaign also alerted the city’s Campaign Finance Board, asking for guidance on how to deal with this situation.

Claims of ignorance sounded hollow, however, when this paper acquired a copy of the advertising invoice for the article.

http://www.yournabe.com/articles/2009/09/03/brooklyn/brooklynntchfjg09032009.txt

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John Heyer campaigning in Boro-Park with his Wife 

Sent in by a Chaptzem reader

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Loads of candidates vie for Brooklyn Council seats vacated by seekers of higher office 

Five Democrats are vying to replace Bill de Blasio (D-Park Slope and Carroll Gardens), who is running for Public Advocate. Early frontrunner Brad Lander, ex-director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, is locked in a tight race with information technology director Josh Skaller.

They agree on most issues - both oppose Atlantic Yards and support making the Gowanus Canal a federal Superfund site - but the race has still gotten nasty at times, with barbs flying over campaign finance and even school choices for their young children.

Lander touted his credentials as the only public school parent in the race - he says it helps him relate to "parents who are trying to get into pre-K...or grappling with high-stakes tests" - which Skaller branded as an attack on his 8-year-old son, Wolf, who has special needs.

Skaller charged Lander got "unethical and possibly illegal" help from the Working Families Party. Lander struck back with charges Skaller didn't pay rent on a campaign office.

Ex-Borough Hall aide John Heyer is the lone candidate to oppose abortion and gay marriage, support tax breaks for private school tuition, and oppose Superfund. He said he'd focus on "quality of life issues" and is courting support in the Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park.

Gowanus Canal Conservancy Director Bob Zuckerman said he'll pursue property tax rules to help mom-and-pop businesses own their own space, while attorney Gary Reilly is touting an express F train and a car-free Prospect Park.

Reilly insisted it's anyone's game. "You're not talking about big media buys. You're not talking about television and radio," he said. "You need basically to persuade between 4 and 5,000 people to vote for you."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election_2009/2009/09/03/2009-09-03_loads_of_candidates_vie_for_2_seats_vacated_by_seekers_of_higher_office.html

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

HIKIND TO HOST H1N1 COMMUNITY FORUM 

On Thursday, September 10, 2009, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), in conjunction with leading medical experts, will host an H1N1 Community Forum to address growing concerns about the swine flu, which, according to former New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden, has already spread throughout all five New York City boroughs. The H1N1 Forum will take place at Beth Jacob of Boro Park located at 1371 46th Street at 6:30PM.

Authorities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that the H1N1 virus has infected more than one million Americans to date and claimed over 300 lives nationwide, 64 of whom were New York residents. Certain groups are considered to be at high risk of serious complications. These include persons 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.

“Considering all the speculation and fear surrounding the H1N1 virus, there is no doubt that there is a great need for this kind of forum,” Hikind said. “This lecture is intended to be an educational public service. Without the facts, misinformation may prove to be as deadly as the H1N1 virus itself. ”

Renowned board-certified pediatrician, author, and professor of medicine, Dr. Stuart Ditchek will present, as will Mr. Michael A. Congo, MPH, Certified Health Education Specialist with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. There will be time allotted for a question-and-answer session. “I really encourage everyone to attend the forum to learn more about how to best protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting this potentially deadly virus,” Hikind added.

For more information about this event, please contact the Office of Assemblyman Dov Hikind at 718.853.9616.

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City Council candidate John Heyer meets with Rabbi Aaron Weltz of Satmar 

 

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Rhode Island man accused of taunting Jew faces charges 

A Rhode Island man who was seen taunting a Hasidic Jew with racial slurs later charged officers and was subsequently subdued with a stun gun and arrested Tuesday night, according to a report by the Wareham Police Department, reports the New Bedford Standard-Timese.

Michael Watkins, 37, of 726 Post Road in Warwick, R.I., was reported to be taunting the man at a Stop and Shop, and the responding officer observed the suspect’s vehicle traveling west on Cranberry Highway, according to police. The report notes that the vehicle at first failed to stop, and Watkins, the passenger, was seen throwing a shotgun out the window.

The vehicle eventually stopped, and when the officer stepped out of his cruiser, Watkins charged police yelling and screaming, according to the report. After Watkins refused to come to the ground, he was subdued with a stun gun and brought into custody with the aid of other officers, police said. The shotgun that had been thrown out the window was later found to be loaded.

The driver, Emily R. Putney, 19, of 185 North Fitzwilliam Road, Royalston, was also arrested. Putney has been charged with failing to stop for a police officer, carrying a dangerous weapon, and possession of a large capacity firearm. Watkins has been charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, possessing a large capacity firearm, carrying a dangerous weapon, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card, a firearms violation with two prior violent crimes, and a violation of civil rights.

Both will be arraigned in Wareham District Court Wednesday morning.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20090902ri_man_accused_of_taunting_jew_faces_charges/srvc=home&position=recent

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rabbi Arraigned for Allegedly Molesting Boys 



An Upstate New York rabbi is accused of molesting two boys.

The rabbi, Yaakov Weiss, who teaches in Albany, appeared in court to answer to charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with two of his male students, both 13 years old, according to an Aug. 26 article posted at Fox23News.com.

Weiss, 29, was accompanied by his wife. One of the couples’ three children also accompanied Weiss to court, the article said.

Another Aug. 26 article on the case was published at Albany newspaper the Times-Union, and said that the rabbi allegedly struck and kicked one of the boys, and urged the other to deny that anything untoward had taken place.

"Just say nothing happened," both articles reported the rabbi allegedly told one 13-year-old.

The Times-Union article said that Weiss was accused of having improper sexual contact with the boys in a ritual bathing pool called a mikveh. One boy was allegedly assaulted in June of 2007, and the other later that same year.

Weiss, who opened the Chabad of Colonie and the Chabad Hebrew School, defended himself in an email sent to the Time-Union in 2008 by claiming that the charges were baseless and the story of the sexual molestation a fabrication "generated by an individual who has been antagonistic toward Chabad of Colonie from its inception and continues to be envious of continued success."

Weiss, the article said, wrote that the accusations were "his way of getting rid of us."

The Fox News article quoted Weiss’ lawyer, Arnold Proskin, who said that Weiss had hundreds of supporters.

"Public support is absolutely outstanding," claimed Proskin.

Added the attorney, "This is just something that makes the hair on the back of your neck tingle and I’m not saying it as a joke.

"It just bothers me greatly," Proskin went on. "It bothers a lot of people and we’re defending this matter."

Proskin also suggested that the case going before the Albany County grand jury was a matter of publicity on the part of the prosecution.

"There’s no advantage," Proskin said.

But the District Attorney for Albany County, David Soares, was cited in the Fox News article as explaining that the grand jury was presented with the case as a result of the special victims unit’s involvement.

Said Soares, "We prefer to try our cases in a court of law and not in the media."

http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=95786

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