"I can't believe it. A rabbi stole my money. A rabbi stole my money."
comments of prominent Jewish American mobster Joseph
"Doc" Stacher, arrested over the years for
"atrocious assault and battery, robbery, burglary, larceny, bootlegging,
hijacking and murder," then an Israeli citizen after
being deported from America in 1965. These comments were
made upon winning a lawsuit after being swindled by Rabbi
Menachem Porush of the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel Party.
But -- He Was Good to His Mother. The Lives and Crimes of Jewish
Gangsters, Gefen, Jerusalem, 1993, p. 116-117
years ago, Jewish banks in the Jewish state conspired in what has become
known as Israel's bank shares scandal. Of the four banks, one was owned
by Histradut [Israel's labor federation], one by the Jewish Agency, and
one by Mizrachi. Last year, a New York yeshiva that was the seat for a
grand rabbi was involved in a money-laundering scheme for area businesses.
Some of them were reported to be illegal. Two officials of the school
wer indicted and convicted. This year a prominent Wall Street figure and
a lay leader of the New York Jewish community pleaded guilty to insider
trading violations on what is said to be a massive scale. Several others
have since been indicted -- and most so far are Jewish. And then there
are the various corruptions plaguing New York: public officials betraying
the public trust by lining their own pockets -- and, or so it would seem,
almost all of them Jewish."
5-15-87, p. 25
"The scant attention [popular author
Irving Howe] paid to Jewish crime in World of Our Fathers, his
magisterial study of the [Manhattan Jewish] Lower East side is a good
example of the amnesia American Jews show about this part of their history."
A Certain People. American Jews and Their Lives Today, Summit Books,
1994, in the (Jewish) Forward's list of the most important
Jewish American leaders, Shoshana Cardin was noted as "chief
of staff of American Jewry" and "past chairman of almost
everything," from the United Jewish Appeal to the National
Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. The Forward also
noted that she "stood by her husband [Jerome Cardin] with dignity
when he went to prison for his role in a Maryland savings-and-loan
scandal." [FORWARD, p. 11-18-94, p. 11] Cardin was released
from prison early for medical reasons, but an associate -- Jeffrey
Levitt -- spent seven years behind bars. Levitt,
who was active in Jewish charities which fueled his "concurrent
rise in Baltimore's Jewish community," was well known in the
1970s "as one of Baltimore's most audacious slumlords."
As president of the Old
Court Savings and Loan Association, he was involved in what one
prosecutor termed as possibly "the largest fraud in the history
of the state of Maryland."
The Extravagant Lifestyle of Old Court's Levitt, Washington
Post, August 11, 1985, p. A1
fidelity, modesty, conscience, courage, altruism, love are†not unknown in the gentile world past and present.
That these qualities have
survived and sometimes even prospered is largely due to the
of the Jewish people into history."
Religious Zionism: A Symposium, Tradition magazine, 1994,
avalanche of financial fraud and corruption in Orthodox Jewish circles
pushed the Jewish Observer, a periodical of the Agudath Israel
Orthodox organization, to devote some space to the subject in its
Summer 1997 issue. "What might the sin of our day be?"
wondered Rabbi Aaron Brafman of Yeshiva Derech Ayson in Queens (which
had itself come under investigation for embezzlement a few years
earlier), "... I submit that the new sins to be concerned about
are those of geeiva and gezeila (thievery and robbery) -- dishonesty in money dealing."
[J. J. Goldberg,
Thou Shalt Not Steal, The Jerusalem Report,
October 16, 1997, p. 40]
Ironically, one of Agudath Israel's featured speakers at a yearly
gathering two years before was David Schick, an Orthodox investment
counselor, who lectured about ethics in business. He also chaired
that Agudath Israel of America national convention. A year later
he himself, notes the Jewish Week,
accused of swindling at least $150 million from hundreds of Orthodox
Jewish investors ... in a massive real estate investment scam...
potential cooperation with law enforcement authorities is sending
shivers throughout the frum [Orthodox] world because of potential
by the Internal Revenue Service into investors who used unreported
cash in the investment scam."
Schick Scandal Shocker ..., Jewish Week, May 17, 1996,
Kiryas Joel Rocked By Federal Raid. The Jewish
Week. April 6, 2001
"Federal agents converged on the upstate Chasidic community of
Kiryat Joel last Thursday, sealing off part of the community in an early
morning raid to catch an alleged ring of swindlers."
Fraud in KJ Continues, Investigation Shows.
The Times Herald-Record [New Jersey], October 17, 1997
"Voter fraud in Kiryas Joel is more widespread than once suspected
and persisted last year despite officials' assurances they would stop
it. The fraud extends into three counties, involves more than 170 fraudulent
votes and occurred in most of the village's election districts. Little
has changed since The Times Herald-Record last year uncovered
what authorities say is the largest double-voting scandal of its kind
in New York. In fact, it could happen again in next month's elections.
The Record reported last year that 84 people's names and dates
of birth were used 121 times to vote in two different places - Kiryas
Joel and Brooklyn - in the same election. In other words, each name
counted for two votes."
Slams Silence on $42m Fraud.
The age.com [Australia], October 14, 2000
"The true beneficiaries of a $42 million money-laundering scheme
were at large and masquerading as reputable citizens, a judge said when
jailing the head of a Melbourne Jewish family who controlled the conspiracy
... Transfers of up to $7 million a year before [Nachum] Goldberg's
arrest in 1997 were made under the guise of a fake religious charity,
United Charity, and secreted in bank accounts in Israel and Switzerland.
During the long investigation and court proceedings, the Goldbergs refused
to give information that would identify the tax evaders whose money
was laundered ... The judge criticised the Israeli Government over the
case. "When the investigators tried to follow the money trail they hit
a brick wall in the form of the refusal of the Israeli Government or
the Israel banks to cooperate," he said. He said Goldberg's accomplice
in Israel was his brother David, a bank manager."
NY Fraud Suspect on the Run.
Line of Duty, November 15-21, 1999
"A millionaire businessman who once owned part of Studio 54
and was partners with the owners of the Scores strip club is
the target of an international manhunt after jumping bail in Florida.
The search is on for convicted millionaire Sholam Weiss. The
FBI and insurance regulators are offering $120,000 reward for information
leading to the capture of Sholam Weiss, 45, who fled Oct. 18 while a
federal jury weighed his fate in the nation's largest-ever insurance
fraud. Weiss was convicted Nov. 1 ó along with three of his four co-defendants
ó of racketeering, fraud, money laundering and other charges and faces
life in prison in the looting of the National Heritage Life Insurance
Co. The company collapsed in 1995 under the weight of the $450 million
theft. Many of the company's 35,000-40,000 policy holders lost much
of their life savings. 'This man was essentially a financial predator,
and National Heritage was only the last in a long string of victims,'
said Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Hunt."
Yeshiva and the Mob. New York Daily News,
September 7, 2001
"A mob-controlled strip club used a yeshiva [Jewish religious school]
run by the city's biggest Hasidic sect to launder cash for crime boss
John A. (Junior) Gotti, federal prosecutors have charged. The scheme
orchestrated by the owners of Scores, the upscale strip club,
apparently was carried out without the knowledge of the Satmars, the
sect that operates Yeshiva Yetev Lev D'Jerusalem of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
At least one yeshiva board member, Isack Rosenberg, served as
a conduit for the cash, but says he had no idea it was going to Gotti
... Rosenberg's lawyer, Samuel Burstyn, said his client deeply regrets
involving the yeshiva in the transaction."
Rosenberg?: From the Orlando Business Journal,
February 11, 2000. Scroll down to COURTS: "U.S. District Judge
Patricia Fawsett rejected a request to order a New York businessman
to repay $3 million to policyholders left high and dry by the looting
of National Heritage Life Insurance Co. Isack Rosenberg is among
those convicted of stealing $400 million from the insurer."]
Sheetrit Appeals 'Berger Law' Vote. Jerusalem Post, June 28, 2001
"[Chaim] Berger, 75, fled to Israel just before US
authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of fraud and
forging documents. According to the United States, Berger and several
other members of the New Square, New York, hassidic community bilked
the government out of millions of dollars from various assistance programs.
The most important of the affairs involved education grants for an institution
that essentially existed only on paper. Berger allegedly arranged for
members of the community to be registered as students for the institution
which he claimed was a large college, when in fact it was a small yeshiva.
The students received grants for their tuition and the money was allegedly
returned to Berger and his friends and used to build up New Square institutions.
Another of the charges against him involved fraud against the Small
Business Association. In the 1990s, the US authorities launched a massive
investigation against Berger and his colleagues. In 1997, shortly before
the indictment against him was served, he fled to Israel and became
an Israeli citizen."
Hood Rabbi Jailed in Israel. Toronto Star
[Canada] [article posted here at a discussion forum], May 26, 2000
"An ex-Montrealer known as the Robin Hood Rabbi has drawn a seven-year
term in Israel for fraud involving an estimated $200 million ... The
rabbi [Joseph Prushinowski] allegedly distributed his ill-gotten
gains to unwitting Hasidic communities around the globe for housing,
education and charitable causes. Prushinowski lived in the Montreal
area with his wife and 12 children from the early 1960s until he fled
in 1987. The only exception was a three-year prison sentence served
in New York in the early 1980s for obtaining $1.5 million US through
worthless cheques. While here, he conducted worldwide frauds by telephone,
fax and telex. When he fled to Israel, he was wanted by RCMP, the FBI
and Scotland Yard as well as New York and Dutch police. He was also
profiled on the popular U.S. TV program Unsolved Mysteries."
Costs Bd. of Ed. 6M: Probe. New York Daily
News, April 16, 1999
"A Brooklyn rabbi stole $6 million from the Board of Education
by putting 81 no-show employees on the board payroll in a 20-year scam
that benefited his religious school, Special Schools Investigator Ed
Stancik charged yesterday. Rabbi Hertz Frankel ó principal of
the 4,000-student Beth Rachel all-girls school in Williamsburg
ó pleaded guilty last Friday to a felony charge to commit mail fraud.
Stancik charged that Frankel scammed $4.3 million in salaries and $1.9
million in medical benefits for no-show employees over two decades.
Most of the money went to the religious school, Stancik said. He said
about half the cash is still missing. At least 83 women got board paychecks,
kicked back the money to Frankel and used the medical benefits, 'but
never set foot in a public school,' Stancik said."
Says Aide 'Tarred' N.Y. Chasids. [Jewish] Forward,
February 2, 2001
"A federal prosecutor who objected to several names on President
Clinton's last-minute clemency list is now under attack from Jewish
groups that accuse her of 'tarring' all Jews as potential criminals.
The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Landis of New York,
reportedly urged the White House in a January 16 letter not to commute
the sentences of four chasidic men convicted of stealing government
student-aid and other funds, claiming the clemency would 'send a message
to that worldwide community that its pursuit of its own religious customs
justifies fraud against the government.' The letter, obtained by the
Associated Press but not released, prompted angry retorts from
two groups that seldom agree with one another: the Jewish Council on
Public Affairs, a liberal-leaning coalition of national agencies, and
Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox advocacy group. Both accused
Ms. Landis of stereotyping a group because of the actions of a few ...
In a possible reflection of the sensitive nature of the dispute, however,
no other Jewish organizations were willing to comment on the Landis
letter, including such normally outspoken agencies as the Anti-Defamation
League and the American Jewish Congress. The ADL
had objected once before to a federal investigation of student-aid fraud
by Orthodox groups, arguing that a 1993 probe risked creating an image
that such fraud was characteristic of a particular community, only to
be told by federal officials that it was."
Tax Scam Exposed, Montreal Gazette,
September 21, 2000 [the Montreal Gazette doesn't keep its
articles in its archive for longer than three months. The beginning
of the article, as quoted below, was
posted at the online journal USA Jewish. [The complete
article can be found at
"Hundreds of people and businesses in Montreal's Jewish community
are to face criminal charges or be required to pay tens of millions
of dollars in evaded taxes as a result of a guilty plea yesterday in
a Saint-Jerome court. The guilty plea by a religious group connected
to the Hasidic community in suburban Boisbriand capped a two-year investigation
of what federal tax auditors say is the largest-ever tax fraud involving
a religious organization in Quebec. The religious group, which is known
as Construit Toujours Avec Bonte and has links to the Montreal
Rabbinical College, pleaded guilty to issuing tax receipts for charitable
donations that overstated the amount of the donation. A senior Montreal
construction executive blew the whistle on the scam when he approached
Revenue Canada, now part of the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency,
with taped information in 1997. The resulting investigation saw federal
tax sleuths seize about $60 million in phony receipts from individuals
and businesses in the Jewish community, court documents say. Joseph
Gutstadt, president of Magil Construction International, the whistle-blower
who exposed the fraud, said in a telephone interview last night from
Israel: 'I'm happy that, at the end of the day, justice has prevailed.'
But Gutstadt said he was disappointed that Construit Toujours was fined
only $400,000, and that none of the administrators of the organization
or the rabbinical college were charged."
Rabbi's Criminal Record Raises
Questions in Community.
Raleigh News and Observer [North Carolina], June 18, 2001
"A rabbi who was convicted of a felony 10 years ago said Thursday
that he intends to stay in town and minister to students on the University
of North Carolina campus. Pinchas Lew, known as Pinny, has faced
growing criticism this past month from the Jewish community after the
discovery of his involvement in an attempted armed robbery. Lew acknowledged
his role as the get-away driver in an armed robbery that took place
in Decorah, Iowa. In the course of that robbery, a convenience store
clerk was shot but survived. Lew, a Hasidic rabbi, [is] part of the
Orthodox Jewish sect known as Lubavitch, lives in a house on Park Place
called Chabad where he conducts services ..." AND Rabbi
Facing Assault Charges Will Go on Leave. Raleigh
News and Observer, June 17, 20001. "A Hasidic rabbi who
was arrested this week and charged with exposing himself to a woman
in his home will take a leave of absence from his ministry to students,
a colleague said Thursday. Pinchas "Pinny" Lew, 31, was charged Tuesday
with misdemeanor assault on a female. A member of the Orthodox Jewish
sect Lubavitch, Lew conducted services for University of North Carolina
students in his Park Place house. His senior colleague in Charlotte,
Yossi Groner, the first Lubavitcher rabbi in the Carolinas, said he
received a fax from Lew on Thursday announcing his intention to take
a leave of absence."
Rabbi Involved in
Robbery Now Accused of Exposure.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, July 13, 2001
"A North Carolina community, already reeling from the news that
a local Chassidic rabbi took part in an armed robbery a decade ago,
is now dealing with the rabbi's recent arrest for indecent exposure.
Rabbi Pinchas Lew, 31, of Chapel Hill, was arrested on misdemeanor
assault charges on May 16 after a woman accused him of repeatedly touching
his genitals in front of her. The woman, a housekeeper in Lew's home,
reportedly said Lew had bolted all the doors and that she feared he
planned to assault her. She managed to escape through a back door. The
woman filed a complaint with police two days later and Lew was arrested
four weeks after the incident. He was released on a $1,000 bond. Lew,
married with five children, led religious study and frequently held
services in his home for college students ... After the local community
learned about the Postville incident [the Iowa town where Lew was involved
in the robbery], more than 100 members of the local Jewish community
attended a meeting to hear Lew talk about his criminal past. Coincidentally,
that meeting occurred on the same day he allegedly assaulted the woman
in his home. ."
Rabbi Awaits Trial for
Wife's Murder. Jewish Bulletin, July
"The 59-year-old [Rabbi Fred J.] Neulander stands
charged with capital murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Nov.
1, 1994 bludgeoning death of his wife, Carol, in their Cherry Hill,
N.J., home ... If convicted, he could face the death penalty ... Len
Jenoff, 54, [is] the former private investigator who came forward in
May 2000 and confessed that he and an accomplice, Paul Michael Daniels,
26, had beaten Carol Neulander to death at the rabbi's behest ... At
the same time Jenoff alleges the rabbi was talking to him about the
possibility of murdering Carol Neulander, Jenoff was fabricating scenarios
claiming that he was a CIA agent and was being considered for Israel's
espionage agency, the Mossad."
Latest from Rabbi on Trial for Murder: A Book,
USAJewish [originally at New York Times], November 5, 2001
"As he awaits a verdict in his murder trial, Rabbi Fred J. Neulander
has published a book on how to be a good rabbi. The 288-page book, 'Keep
Your Mouth Shut and Your Arms Open: Observations From the Rabbinic Trenches,'
is published under the pseudonym Rabbi Adam Plony. Today the
book was made available for mail order on the Internet, at www.disc-us.com.
Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli, publisher of Disc-Us Books in Sarasota, Fla.,
confirmed that the book was the work of Rabbi Neulander, but said it
had been in the works for years, and its publication was unrelated to
the murder case. 'The book stands up on its own and is an interesting
look at the day-to-day issues faced by rabbis and other clergymen,'
she said. Rabbi Neulander, 60, who headed a synagogue in Cherry Hill,
N.J., is accused of arranging the killing of his wife, Carol, in November
1994. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. The jury ended
its third day of deliberations today in State Superior Court here without
reaching a verdict, and will take Tuesday off while the New Jersey courts
are closed for Election Day."
Last in a Series:
'Conspiracy of Silence' Fuels Rabbi's Sexual Misdeeds.
Jewish Bulletin of Northern California,
November 1, 1996
"When women charge sexual exploitation by a rabbi, a conspiracy
of silence often ensues. The secrecy protects the perpetrators, leaving
victims alienated. Victims who speak out often find themselves ostracized
by their religious communities. And they say that when they turn to
the rabbi's professional association or their movement's congregational
organization, they feel unwelcome ... At the congregational meetings
that follow allegations of rabbinic sexual misconduct, synagogue members
often ostracize accusers. Some accusers have been called 'liars,' 'whores'
and worse, she said ... In one highly publicized case, Michele Samit
-- who does not claim to be a victim of rabbinic sexual misconduct --
says her community vilified her after she wrote a book about the relationship
between Anita Green and Green's rabbi, Steven Jacobs.
Green was the president of Shir Chadash/The New Reform Congregation
in Los Angeles when she was murdered in 1990. Her husband, Mel Green,
was convicted of ordering the killing, and is now serving a life sentence
without the possibility of parole."
Implicated in Colombia Drug Raid.
Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, June 20, 1997
"[Rabbi Bernard 'Beirish'] Grunfeld, 64, president
of the Bobover yeshiva and an executive director of Bobov's New York
institutions, said nothing as federal prosecutors charged him and 11
others in a conspiracy to launder millions of dollars in illegal drug
profits for Colombian drug dealers through the bank accounts of the
yeshiva and synagogue of Bobov. The largest Chassidic sect in Boro Park
and the second largest in the state after Satmar, it has perhaps as
many as 30,000 adherents. The complaint charges that Grunfeld and Rabbi
Mahir Reiss, 47, laundered tens of millions in drug money through
the bank accounts of the Bobover Yeshiva, Congregation Eitz Chaim and
Chaim Shel Shulem, believed to be a free-loan society and apparently
located at the Bobover World Headquarters on 47th Street. They are accused
also of helping the drug dealers buy an airplane that is commonly used
to transport illegal drugs. The rabbis and others allegedly skimmed
15 percent to 18 percent of each transaction for themselves, federal
of Victim Who Took Drug Rabbi's RX,
New York Post, August 12, 2001
"For three long years, Jean Brigleb saw top-flight specialists,
took the prescription pregnancy drugs Pergonal and Metrodin and followed
every instruction to the letter - and still didn't get pregnant. What
the former West Village woman did get was vomit-inducing nausea and
head-splitting migraines. She only recently found out why. Rabbi
Moshe Millstein of Borough Park, who was sentenced last week to
four years in prison, had sold $4.1 million worth of contaminated drugs
to pharmacies throughout the city and the nation in a monstrous scheme
to get rich quick ... Last week, an angry federal judge told Millstein,
'You might as well have been selling cocaine or crack - at least those
folks knew what they were getting,' before imposing the prison sentence.
Federal prosecutor Ken Breen said at trial that Millstein smuggled the
drugs from overseas and had them repackaged as FDA-approved medicines.
'He's a lying, manipulative criminal,' Breen charged. No one knows exactly
how many victims there are because investigators couldn't track them
Jail Deal for
Rabbis in Holcaust Scam. New York Post,
August 10, 2001
"A Brooklyn federal judge reluctantly agreed to a plea deal yesterday
in which two Brooklyn rabbis - one a former adviser to then-Mayor Ed
Koch - will serve 33 months in prison for swindling hundreds of
thousands of dollars earmarked for Holocaust survivors. Noting the 'wanton
fraud and venality' of rabbis stealing from Holocaust victims, U.S.
District judge Raymond Dearie said he 'might think twice about buying
into this agreement,' but said he'd been swayed by the two rabbis' apparent
lifelong service to the Hasidic communities in Brooklyn ... Rabbis
Jacob Bronner, 51 - who served for 12 years as Koch's unpaid
adviser - and Rabbi Efroim Stein, 55, controlled the non-profit
Project Social Care. The group received a $2.5 million grant in 1995
from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create
a counseling program 'tailored to meet the needs of elderly Holocaust
survivors,' helping them 'deal directly with the Holocaust experience.'
The rabbis then paid grant money to the Council of Jewish Organizations
of Borough Park in a deal in which the council kicked back the cash
to businesses controlled by Bronner and Stein. Several COJO officials
were convicted of fraud in the late 1990s. The pair also paid for nonexistent
goods and services from companies that also kicked the money back to
the rabbis. Funds were also paid to several of Stein's relatives for
nonexistent training; that money was then funneled into a Stein-controlled
synagogue. Dozens of letters of support detailing the rabbis' charity
work in Borough Park were submitted to the court, and a crowd of Hasidim
turned out to voice their support."
Rabbi Convicted in Tax Evasion
The Canadian Jewish News. June 7, 2001
"A Toronto rabbi has been sentenced to a year of house arrest and
a fine of $32,229, in a tax evasion scheme that issued false receipts
in the names of three registered charities ... Only Rabbi Edery's
age and poor health saved him from prison."
Rabbi Resigns in Wake of Only-In-Washington Scandal.
Forward, August 10, 2001
"The resignation of a rabbi in suburban Washington over a financial
scandal is the latest twist in what reads like a Clinton-era version
of 'All the President's Men.' After months of fighting allegations that
he misused hundreds of thousands of dollars from a synagogue discretionary
fund, Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman, 48, recently announced that he
would resign from his position at Congregation Beth El of Montgomery
County in Bethesda, Md., effective September 1 ... The resignation comes
almost nine months after Rabbi Maltzman, credited with expanding the
congregation from 450 to 1,000 families, was confronted about his management
of the charitable fund, known as the 'rabbi's discretionary fund.' Leaders
of the congregation say that they are hoping to put the controversy
behind them. The Montgomery County state prosecutor told reporters,
however, that his office is proceeding with its investigation ... Too
many questions, opponents said, still remain about why Rabbi Maltzman
has only been able to document the charitable use of $20,000 out of
the $500,000 distributed from the non-profit fund during the past 11
years. Detractors claim that he initially provided misleading answers
when asked about the discretionary fund ... As part of his severance
package, Rabbi Maltzman will receive a year's salary with benefits,
reportedly worth about $170,000."
Rabbi Didn't Steal Money. Cincinnati Post,
April 21, 1999
"The Kneseth Israel Congregation is rallying to the defense of
Rabbi Jacob Lustig and others after the alleged theft of about
$1 million in instant bingo ticket proceeds ... At services on Monday,
Rabbi Lustig proclaimed his innocence to the members of Israel Kneseth,
which includes about 50 Orthodox Jewish families ... Lustig, 71, and
two former bingo supervisors are expected to plead guilty to felony
theft of instant pull-tab money. Three others are expected to plead
guilty to gambling, sources report. The anticipated pleas - now scheduled
for May 7 - follow a lengthy investigation by Cincinnati police and
the charitable foundations section of the Ohio attorney general's office.
Lustig's expected plea includes the forfeiture of $1 million in personal
assets to the Cincinnati Police Division, sources said."
Sentence Without Ending. San Francisco Weekly,
January 17, 2001
"Bentzion Pil, the so-called 'used-car rabbi,' was sentenced
to nine months in a halfway house for a minor sort of money laundering.
One of his lawyers, Michael Stepanian, argued that home detention would
be more appropriate for the rabbi than a halfway house. His reasons
were pious: An Orthodox Jew has certain needs, like kosher meals or
not riding in a car on the Sabbath; conducting shul, or prayers and
study, would be more convenient for Pil if he lived at home; and as
a resident of a halfway house, the rabbi would not be allowed to "solicit
any funds for his ministry ... Soliciting funds -- about $25 million
worth, most of which has disappeared -- is why Pil was in court to begin
with ... Pil's sentencing was the final step in a long and drawn-out
legal case that had charged the rabbi with fraud in collecting and distributing
millions of dollars in charitable donations -- but which has left unanswered
the question of whatever happened to the money (see 'From Russia With
Sleaze,' Postscript, May 31, 2000)."
of Rabbis Applauds Parole OK.
Jewish Bulletin [of San Francisco], June
"Sixteen years ago, Robert Rosenkrantz shot dead the family
friend who cruelly outed him as a homosexual. Last Thursday, a Los Angeles
judge ordered Rosenkrantz, now 33, to be released from prison over the
vehement objection of Gov. Gray Davis -- but to the delight of the Board
of Rabbis of Northern California ... Rabbi H. David Teitelbaum,
the Board of Rabbis' executive director, said he was 'delighted to hear
the news' of Superior Court Judge Paul Gutman's ruling in Rosenkrantz's
favor. And while Rosenkrantz is Jewish, Teitelbaum said the prisoner's
religion was not a factor in the board's decision to call for his release."
Roster. [Jewish] Forward, February
"A glance at the extraordinary list of Israeli and American Jewish
leaders who lined up to support the pardon of fugitive billionaire Marc
Rich must raise a host of complex and deeply troubling questions
in the mind of even the most casual observer. Mr. Rich's endorsers included
leading lights from both sides of Israel's political establishment,
a pantheon of Israel's academic, cultural and religious leaders and
a brace of the most thoughtful leaders in American Jewish communal life.
The scope of Mr. Rich's roster allows only two possible conclusions.
One possibility, commonly heard in Washington and around the country,
is that the individuals involved were simply willing shills who helped
the accused tax cheat escape justice in exchange for a share of his
charitable largess. The other possibility is that Mr. Rich's back-channel
involvement in Israeli intelligence, through his business dealings in
Iran, Sudan and other trouble spots, ran deeper than has been disclosed,
and that his pardon was a matter of genuine foreign-policy interest
for Israel and the United States. If the first is true, it represents
a breathtaking indictment of the top ranks of Israeli and Jewish leadership,
who must stand accused of selling their credibility and honor in a pathetic
pursuit of cash. If the second is true, then we are witness to a frightening
rush to judgment by Washington's political and media establishment.
Sadly, both possibilities are all too believable. Few objective observers
can disagree that Jewish charitable fund-raising has become a juggernaut
in the last generation. The bottom-line in fund-raising campaigns has
turned into an absolute that trumps most other considerations in Jewish
community decision-making, from the qualities of leadership to moral
considerations of how donors earned their dollars. If Mr. Rich's multimillion-dollar
Jewish charitable giving were the only reason for his endorsers to line
up, it would only be an escalation in a trend that already exists. That
said, it would be an escalation of devastating proportions, suggesting
that an entire generation of Jewish leadership had utterly lost its
in High Places: Marc Rich's Jewish Fans.
[Jewish] Forward, February 16, 2001
"One-hundred people wrote letters that were included in a packet
urging a presidential pardon for alleged tax cheat Marc Rich.
More than one-half of the letter-writers are from Israel, including
cabinet ministers, intelligence officials, mayors, professors and cultural
icons. Others from Europe and the United States represent major Jewish
organizations and communal institutions, medical institutions, businesses,
yeshivas, museums and humanitarian organizations. Most of the organizations
mentioned on this list were among those that received funds from Mr.
Rich's Doron Foundation for Culture and Education, registered in Israel,
or The Marc Rich Foundation, registered in Switzerland."
Display in Paradise. Jewish Week, February
"President Clinton was a good friend of the Jews, but many of his
last-minute pardons were simply outrageous. Among the most indefensible
were those granted to Jews, but scarcely a voice of Jewish protest has
been heard. Instead, our community and its leaders have remained silent
in some cases and actually supported the pardons in others. The result
is that we have undermined our communityís moral fabric, jeopardized
our political standing, disillusioned our youth and compromised the
sacred values of our tradition. In short, the moral stain of this sordid
affair has begun to engulf us. The president pardoned four chasidim
from the Skverer sect in New Square, N.Y., convicted of robbing the
government of $11 million by setting up a fictitious yeshiva to receive
federal student aid money. Chasidic leaders and lawyers for the men,
with no apparent irony, have justified the commutations on the grounds
that many other yeshivas were doing the same thing and that the funds
were channeled back into their community rather than being used for
personal gain. For Jews, this is not simply another case of fraud and
embezzlement. This is a case of religious people inventing an imaginary
Torah institution to steal from the government, using the funds for
other activities of their religious community and then defending their
actions on the grounds that the money did not go directly into their
own pocket. Throughout there is an implication that in some way all
of this is religiously acceptable. Of course it is not. Their actions
are nothing short of a chilul Hashem, a desecration of Godís
name. Jews who break the law in Godís name and turn Torah into an instrument
of thievery are bringing Judaism into disrepute. However, with the honorable
exception of the Orthodox Unionís David Luchins, I cannot find
a single example of a religious leader who has spoken out publicly against
The Chutzpah vs Den
of Thieves. Columbia Journalism Review,
"One of the first lessons young reporters learn from a city desk
is that in a run-of-the-mill crime story the race or ethnic group of
the people involved is not 'relevant,' not to be included. Yet to censor
ethnic elements in an ambitious piece, one that tries to include a sense
of context and personal background, can be to succumb to a kind of racial
prudishness. ... Michael M. Thomas ... writes a money-world column in
The New York Observer. Thomas also writes novels, and his latest,
Hanover Place, was criticized for what a couple of reviewers
saw as a special problem -- that it depicted anti-Semitism in the financial
world with a bit too much enthusiasm. ... 'If I point out that nine
out of 10 people involved in street crimes are black, that's an interesting
sociological observation," Thomas says. 'If I point out that nine out
of 10 people involved in securities indictments are Jewish, that is
an anti-Semitic slur. I cannot sort out the difference' ... James B.
Stewart [in his book, Den of Thieves, about the Michael Milken
Wall Street scandals] charts the way through a virtual solar system
of peculation, past planets large and small, from a metaphorical Mercury
representing the penny-ante takings of Dennis B. Levine's small
fry, past the middling ($10 million in inside-trading profits) Mars
of Mr. Levine himself, along the multiple rings of Saturn -- Ivan
F. Boesky, his confederate Martin A. Siegel of Kidder, Peabody,
and Mr. Siegel's confederate Robert Freeman of Goldman,
Sachs -- and finally back to great Jupiter: Michael R. Milken,
the greedy billion-dollar junk-bond kingdom in which some of the nation's
greatest names in industry and finance would find themselves entrapped
Canadian Rabbi Sentenced for Drug Smuggling,
Canadian Jewish News, February 10, 2000
"Rabbi Eli Gottesman, 74, was sentenced to six months of
home detention for smuggling drugs and other contraband into an upstate
New York prison where he worked as a chaplain. Rabbi Gottesman, who
divided his time for 15 years between his home in Montreal and his chaplaincy
work among Jewish inmates in jails in the Adirondacks, was also placed
on probation for two years and ordered to perform 500 hours of community
work in New York state by U.S. Federal Judge Thomas McAvoy. Rabbi Gottesman
was arrested at the Federal Correctional Institution in Ray Brook, N.Y.,
in October 1998 for attempting to bring cocaine and marijuana into the
prison. The drugs were concealed in balloons in a shampoo bottle, as
well as in three watches and some jewelry."
New Square Convict Freed,
The Journal News [New York], January 18,
"Three of the four New Square men whose sentences were reduced
by then-President Clinton have been released from federal prison after
their shortened terms ended. The fourth man whose sentence was shortened
by Clinton in January 2001 is scheduled to be released in March. 'Obviously,
we are very happy these three men are back home with their families,'
said Rabbi Mayer Schiller, a spokesman for the New Square Hasidic
Jewish community in Ramapo ... Released from prison since December were
Kalmen Stern, Benjamin Berger and David Goldstein.
Jacob Elbaum is scheduled for release in March, since he began
serving his prison sentence two months after the other men because his
wife was pregnant ... In 1999, a U.S. District Court jury convicted
the four men of conspiracy, fraud, embezzlement and other charges. The
men were found guilty of conspiring to steal tens of millions of dollars
from the late 1970s into the early 1990s from government antipoverty
grants, loans and subsidies. They also created phony schools and educational
programs with phantom students to get federal money ... President Clinton,
on his last day in office, Jan. 20, 2001, ignored recommendations of
federal prosecutors and commuted the sentences of Goldstein,
Stern and Elbaum to about 2 1/2 years in prison. He shortened
Berger's term to two years. Once released, each man still must pay 10
percent of their gross monthly income toward repaying $11.6 million
stolen from the government through a phony school in Brooklyn. Clinton's
sentence commutations were among several of his last-day pardons investigated
by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan and the FBI. Investigators
were looking into whether Clinton shortened the men's sentences in exchange
for New Square's overwhelming vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the
November 2000 Senate race."
[Hebrew Union College] Administrator Charged with Embezzling $1.2 Million,
Jewish Bulletin, March 17, 2000
"The former fiscal administrator for the Los Angeles campus of
the Reform movement's seminary [Hebrew Union College] has been arrested
and charged with embezzling $1.179 million. Jean Thorbourn, 61,
forged numerous checks between 1989 and 1997 using a Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion dean's signature stamp and apparently applied
a considerable part of the money to finance production of independent
films, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Thorbourn, who also served as bookkeeper, had considerable latitude
in her job, and her supervisors were slow in detecting the embezzlement,
said Gary Judge, a senior investigator in the D.A.'s Office. The alleged
thefts first came to light in September 1997, when Rabbi Lewis Barth,
who'd been named dean of the HUC campus two months earlier, questioned
Thorbourn about an expected but overdue payment of $381,000. Thorbourn
said she had given the money to a friend, but a month later admitted
that the money was used to finance a film titled 'Jamaica Beat.'"
Jewish Deaf Treasurer
Arrested, Jewish Deaf Community Center
"Gerald Hersh, treasurer of Temple Beth Or of the Deaf was
arrested by Nassau County police on July 17th on charges of embezzling
more than $40,000 over a five year period according to NewsDay.
'The theft has had a very bad effect on us says Alice P. Soll
of River Edge, N.J. who has previously served as president. Her signature
was allegedly forged on 57 checks."
Denies Fleeing Over Itri Yeshiva Scandal,
Jerusalem Post, July 8, 1999
"Rabbi Mordechai Elifant appeared before the Jerusalem District
Court yesterday and denied he had run away from Israel after police
began investigating allegations last month that his former partner,
Rabbi Chaim Weiss, had stolen millions of dollars from his Itri
Yeshiva and its subsidiary institutions. 'The papers say I ran away,'
he told reporters after a hearing on his request to suspend an arbitration
decision involving a lawsuit against him and eight other people and
institutions. 'All I did was to save two girls and to bring back money
for the yeshiva. I can prove this.' Elifant refused to say explicitly
that former Shas Party leader Aryeh Deri was involved in the
alleged scandal. 'I don't have clear proof of Deri's involvement and
I don't publicize my intuitions,' he said. Elifant said he refused to
talk to police before leaving for Italy after his accusations against
Weiss were published in the press, because 'I am a religious man. Before
I talk to police I have to do two things - talk to my lawyer and talk
to [former head of the Lithuanian haredi community] Rabbi Shach.'
Last month, Ha'aretz published details from an affidavit which
Elifant attached to the request heard yesterday. In the affidavit, he
claimed that during the 1990s, while he was sick and incapacitated,
Weiss seized control of the Itri institutions and stole millions of
Sue Over Jewish Rivals' Vendetta,
New York Post, February 9, 2002
"A group of Muslim shop owners in Brooklyn say their Jewish neighbors
have made them an offer they can't refuse - and they're afraid their
businesses will soon be sleeping with the gefilte fish. The Turkish
immigrants have filed a $32 million federal lawsuit claiming that members
of the local Hasidic community conspired to run them out of Borough
Park - all because they wouldn't agree to buy out a rival shopkeeper's
store. 'We had a half a million dollars invested," said Melih "Mike"
Karamiloglu, one the store's owners. 'They killed the whole business.'
The suit's claims - which have been denied by defendants Leib
and Rachel Reichman - include racketeering charges under the
same RICO act used to bust big-time mobsters' ... [A] series of racist
fliers allegedly were tacked up around the neighborhood. They branded
the Islamic shop owners 'Arab . . . Jew Haters' and 'terrorists' linked
to Sept. 11. One even featured a picture of the exploding World Trade
Center and called the shop owners 'murderers.' Then the store was hit
with smoke bombs, and windows were broken, Karamiloglu told The Post
... In a twist that would bring back bad memories for every mobster
brought down by wiretaps, Karamiloglu caught the couple and one of their
alleged associates making what sound like threats on a secretly recorded
audio tape. Rachel and Leib could be heard asking Karamiloglu to buy
their store - or they will 'go to the synagogue' and do 'whatever is
necessary' to settle the situation. 'We have some friends,' Rachel says,
adding, 'I'm a volunteer in the DA's office.'"
Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles,
March 22, 2002
"Last Monday night, shots were fired into the front window of the
Living Judaism Center (LJC) in Marina del Rey and into a car belonging
to center board member Harris Toibb. Toibb is a major
supporter of LJC, which is involved in a public legal battle for control
of the property at 2929 Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey, currently
occupied by LJC and formally known as Chabad of the Marina. The struggle
has pitted two charismatic leaders against each other, and brings into
question the right to dissemination of Chabad Torah teachings in Los
Angeles. At press time there was an active effort within the Chabad
community to bring both parties to a mutually agreed beit din
(rabbinical court), which will bring a resolution between the sides.
If both parties agree to go to the rabbinical court, all civil litigation
will be revoked. The skirmish between Rabbi Shmulik Naparstek of
the LJC and Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin of Chabad of California
has been percolating for some years. The trouble began in October 2000
when Barronís magazine published the article 'Unholy Gains: When
stock promoters cross paths with religious charities, investors had
best be on guard,' in which Naparstek admitted that he received a gift
of stock from Australian financier Joseph Gutnick. (No charges
were ever filed against Naparstek, and he denies any wrongdoing.)
For the next year, Cunin and Naparstek traded letters over the matter,
and in January, Cunin fired Naparstek. Naparstek
then filed for control over the synagogue, and on March 4, Cuninís legal
team filed a counter-complaint in the Los Angeles Superior Court accusing
the Chabad of the Marina of ties to 'an alleged international stock
State Police Rabbi Dropped in Corruption Probe,
Newsday, May 13, 2002
"A prominent rabbi on the state police payroll and his wife fraudulently
charged the state more than $25,000 in travel and lodging expenses,
according to the state inspector general's office. Rabbi Edgar Gluck
of Brooklyn was dropped from the state police payroll when the report
was issued, state police spokesman Sgt. Glenn Miner said Monday. Gluck
served as a special assistant and later consultant to the state police
since 1984, making $40,000 a year, according to a report Monday in the
New York Sun. The findings have been referred to the state attorney
general's office for further investigation. The behavior could constitute
a felony, according to the inspector general's report. The investigation
began when Gluck's wife, Frieda Gluck, stayed in her Brooklyn
home even after her $68,000-a-year state job as an assistant secretary
was relocated to Albany. Since 1998, she proceeded to charge mileage
in her Lexus and other cars as well as hotel expenses while she and
her husband stayed in hotels and later in their Albany apartment, according
to the state report. Some of their fraudulent filings sought redundant
reimbursement for expenses by the couple on the same trip, in the same
car and in the same hotel, the report stated."
Says Popular Rabbi Diverted Money for His Own Use,
Seattle Times, May 23, 2002
"Rabbi Earl Starr, a beloved leader in the Jewish community
and for decades the senior rabbi of Seattle's largest Jewish congregation,
diverted synagogue funds for personal use over about 10 years, congregants
were told last week. Members of Temple De Hirsch Sinai were informed
in a letter sent to congregants last Thursday and at a meeting Sunday.
Starr, who retired last year, had diverted money given to the synagogue
by a local foundation, said Jon Rosen, president of Temple De
Hirsch Sinai's board of trustees. The money was intended to help pay
for scholarships and ecumenical programs. Some members of the congregation
said they had been told Starr diverted about $100,000."
* Not Enough? There's much,
much more about INTERNATIONAL PROSTITUTION RINGS,
THE HISTORY OF JEWISH CRIME, DRUGS
AND THE 'RUSSIAN MAFIA,' and other NOTEWORTHY