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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:
Rabbis, Chasids, and Jewish Institutions Department
1930s-era Jewish gangster


"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.
Robert Rockaway,
But -- He Was Good to His Mother. The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters, Gefen, Jerusalem, 1993, p. 116-117



"Four 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."
Jewish Week,
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."
Charles Silberman,
A Certain People. American Jews and Their Lives Today, Summit Books, NY, 1985




  In 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."
Donald Baker,
The Extravagant Lifestyle of Old Court's Levitt, Washington Post, August 11, 1985, p. A1


"Honesty, 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 insertion of the Jewish people into history."
Shalom Carmy,
Jewish author,
Religious Zionism: A Symposium, Tradition magazine, 1994,
p. 45]



The 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,
"was accused of swindling at least $150 million from hundreds of Orthodox Jewish investors ... in a massive real estate investment scam...
[His] potential cooperation with law enforcement authorities is sending shivers throughout the frum [Orthodox] world because of potential
involvement by the Internal Revenue Service into investors who used unreported cash in the investment scam."
Eric Greenberg,
Schick Scandal Shocker ..., Jewish Week, May 17, 1996,
p. 6




"Stamford Hill-based Hachzokas Torah Vechesed is the latest strictly Orthodox charity to be rapped by the Charity Commission over management issues. An inquiry was launched after commission officials were alerted by the charity's bank to an attempted withdrawal of more than 40,000 [pounds] in cash. Concerned at such a large amount, the commission discovered that the money had been kept "for a visiting rabbi to take to Israel,' according to its official report published this week. 'It was clear that this money was not the charity's property and that the charity had been simply used as a conduit for funds ... Eleven strictly Orthodox charities have been the subject of reports published by the commission in the last two years."
(Rocker, Simon. Watchdog's Criticism of Orthodox Charity. Jewish Chronicle (UK), November 8, 2002, p. 6)


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."

Voter 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."

Judge 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."

Millionaire 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 — along with three of his four co-defendants — 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."
[Same Isack 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."

Robin 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."

Scam 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 — principal of the 4,000-student Beth Rachel all-girls school in Williamsburg — 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."

Group 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."

Huge 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 freedomsite.org]
"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 13, 2001
"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."

Chassidic Rabbis 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 officials said."

Anguish 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 all down."

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 Scheme.
The Canadian Jewish News
. June 7, 2001
"A Toronto rabbi has been sentenced to a year of house arrest and must pay
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."

Veteran 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."

Synagogue 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."

A 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)."

Local Board of Rabbis Applauds Parole OK.
Jewish Bulletin [of San Francisco], June 29, 2001
"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."

Mr. Rich's Roster. [Jewish] Forward, February 16, 2001
"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 moral compass."

Friends 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."

Shameful Display in Paradise. Jewish Week, February 16, 2001
"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 community’s 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 God’s name. Jews who break the law in God’s name and turn Torah into an instrument of thievery are bringing Judaism into disrepute. However, with the honorable exception of the Orthodox Union’s David Luchins, I cannot find a single example of a religious leader who has spoken out publicly against their reasoning."

The Chutzpah vs Den of Thieves. Columbia Journalism Review, February 1992
"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 and corrupted."

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."

3d New Square Convict Freed,
The Journal News [New York], January 18, 2002
"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."

Ex-HUC [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."

Elifant 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 dollars."

Muslim Merchants 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.'"

Rabbi vs. Rabbi,
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 Barron’s 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, Cunin’s 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 manipulation scheme.'"

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."

Synagogue 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."

Lanner is sentenced: seven years in prison,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, October 7, 2002
"From a corner of the jury box in room 246E of the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold, Rabbi Baruch Lanner turned to face the gallery, fixing his gaze on his sobbing, teary-eyed mother, Guzi. 'What did she ever do to deserve this — the total social demise of her own son?' he asked, tearfully. In a few moments, the disgraced rabbi — who was once regarded as a role model for Jewish youth — would be sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing two former students when he was principal of Hillel Yeshiva High School in Deal."

Rabbi charged with molesting 14-year-old girl in Los Angeles,
Sacramento Bee, August 12, 2002 LOS ANGELES
"A rabbi who also worked as a high school teacher pleaded innocent to charges of molesting a 14-year-old girl six years ago. Rabbi Michael Ozair, 33, was charged with three counts of committing a lewd act and one count of oral copulation on a child under 16. He entered his plea Thursday and was jailed in lieu of $95,000 bail, the district attorney's office said Monday ... Ozair is the rabbi of the Happy Minion congregation in Westwood and teaches at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles."

New woman in the rabbi's life? Friends of Victoria "Miss Vicki" Lombardi link her to Neulander,
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 13, 2002
"He is Rabbi Fred J. Neulander, accused murderer and former leader of Cherry Hill's Congregation M'kor Shalom. Jailed for the last two years, he goes on trial again next week for the 1994 murder of his wife, Carol. She is Victoria Lombardi, formerly Victoria Budinger, also known as 'Miss Vicki,' who gained national attention back in 1969 when, at 17, she married kitschy pop star Tiny Tim on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. An estimated 45 million viewers were watching that night when the shy Haddonfield teenager tied the knot with the ukulele-strumming falsetto, 20 years her senior. Eight years later, she was divorced and back in South Jersey, where she flitted in and out of the celebrity spotlight as a dancer, a model, and the owner of a 'new age' gift shop. Now she's around the edges of the media glare again. Folks have been talking about the Miss Vicki-and-The Rabbi connection in Cherry Hill for more than a year. There are several different versions of how and when the two met. Some say it was at a cocktail party. Others say it was one of her family members who made the introduction. They flirted. He sent her flowers. They dated. They developed a relationship, said the friend. It began sometime in 1998 and continued even after his bail was revoked and he was jailed in May 2000. Friends said she is currently driving a car owned by the rabbi, and that his mail is forwarded to her Haddonfield apartment. The car, a dark green Toyota Camry sedan, is the same car his wife, Carol, used to drive, they say."

Convicted Criminal Rabbis,
Jews to Islam

Man Testifies Paid by Rabbi to Kill,
Newsday, November 1, 2002
" A man who confessed to killing a rabbi's wife told jurors Friday that he bashed her head with a lead pipe and then took her purse at the rabbi's instruction to make it look like a robbery. 'I heard her say, 'Why? Why?' Like why was I doing this,' Len Jenoff testified on the 8th anniversary of Carol Neulander's death. Rabbi Fred Neulander is accused of arranging the murder so he could continue an affair with a Philadelphia radio host. Neulander's first trial ended in a mistrial last year after a jury could not reach a verdict. Jenoff said Neulander promised him $30,000 and a job in the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad if he killed Carol Neulander. The rabbi gave him a $7,500 downpayment a month before the murder, he said."

Bust drug money ring. Say Hasidim laundered 1.7M for Colombian gangs,
New York Daily News, November 2, 2002
"An international money-laundering ring run by New York Hasidim washed millions of dollars in cocaine proceeds for the Colombian cartels, prosecutors disclosed yesterday. The group laundered at least $1.7 million for the druglords, holding secret meetings with the Colombians in Miami and midtown Manhattan, according to papers filed by Manhattan U.S. Attorney James Comey. The suspects were brazen - up to $500,000 would be laundered at a time. One of the suspects, Avraham Zaltzman ... Yesterday, FBI and Customs agents arrested Zaltzman and Aaron Bornstein, both of Borough Park, Brooklyn. Bornstein runs an interior design business there, and Zaltzman is a part-time printer who spends most of his time in Israel, officials said. A third man who was believed to be the ringleader, Akiva Apter, remained a fugitive. Three others were named as unindicted co-conspirators. The case came together in April after agents busted one of the co-conspirators - a man who speaks Yiddish and Spanish - and got him to cooperate. The informant agreed to secretly record hundreds of conversations with his partners. He told the agents that between early 2001 and the day they caught him, he had delivered $1.7 million in drug proceeds ... About a half-dozen Hasidim showed up for [Borenstein's] arraignment. His lawyer, Paul Schectman, declined comment, as did prosecutors. Zaltzman was jailed pending a bail hearing next week. He requested a prayer book and prayer shawl while behind bars."

Hassidic link to drugs barons. Ultra Orthodox US Jews accused of 'cleaning' Colombian coke cartel cash,
The Observer (UK), November 10, 2002
"The Observer British and American drug-busting authorities claim to have smashed one of the most bizarre money-laundering services ever operated for Colombian cocaine cartels: a circle of ultra-religious Hassidic Jews in New York. The ring is said to be one of the biggest to be 'cleaning' profits amassed by the Colombian coke barons, with the strange twist that it is run by a group from the Jewish community that acts as moral and spiritual guardian of the Orthodox faith. This is not the first time the Hassidim have been exposed as involved in the big-time drug trade. Last year, the trial ended of a circle run by Sean Erez, a Hassidic who oversaw a massive ecstasy smuggling operation, drawing recruits from the young Orthodox community. In that case, the drug was smuggled in boxes worn either under traditional Hassidic hats or next to the heart, intended to contain prayer scrolls, or else packed into white athletic socks ... [T]he Manhattan District Attorney's office told The Observer that a ringleader is still being sought and that the case may go far wider and deeper than the $1.7 billion [Abraham] Zaltzman and [Aaron] Bornstein are accused of laundering. A warrant is out for the arrest of a third man, Akiva Apter, who remains a fugitive and who sources say might prove to be one of the most important 'cleaners' of drug profits in America ... . Zaltzman spends half his year in Israel ... At their arraignment last week, both men were supported by a small crowd of Hassidim in the public gallery ... The ecstasy smuggling case last year, along with other Hassidic involvements in the drug trade, sent shock waves through the orthodox community, which this case will echo. Erez, a Canadian-Israeli with US residence, recruited young Hassidim to smuggle what they were initially told were diamonds from Amsterdam. Hundreds of thousands of pills and grams of pure MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) were brought in. Arrests of dealers from California to Houston were sourced back to the Hassidic ring ... Wiretaps showed smugglers reluctant to take flights on the Sabbath and one of Erez's agents was picked up in Montreal with a suitcase full of ecstasy because she had refused to take the bus to New York on a Saturday."

Good Priests, Bad Rabbis,
Ukrainian Archive
"Jewish control of the media permits Jews to launch a preemptive disinformation strike at others for sins of which they themselves are most guilty. For example, when Jews themselves have been among the leading war criminals throughout the interval of living memory, they stage show trials featuring the exaggerated or imagined war criminality of others. What the evidence presented in the present letter suggests is that Jewish clerics find themselves in an extremely vulnerable position. Rabbinical sex crimes are widespread and egregious. Rabbinical doctrines and practices would, if exposed to Western eyes, be considered more backward and savage than those of the Taliban. And rabbinical economic crimes are staggering. The response of Jews to their high, and perhaps increasing, vulnerability is not to reform themselves, but to attack others. Already losing their war against Islam, Jews launch a second front against Christianity — one might think an ill-advised tactic, but given the flight of their intelligentsia away from Judaism, those Jews who still remain find themselves without the intellectual resources to devise a superior plan."

Breaking News. Professor Steps Down Amid Probe,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 12, 2002
"Financial irregularities have led to a leadership change at the Institute of Judaic Studies in Heidelberg, Germany. Theology professor Manfred Oeming confirmed last Friday that he replaced Michel Graetz as program director at the request of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Graetz reportedly agreed to step down during an investigation into allegations that some institute funding was stashed in a hidden account."

Rabbi Watch,
Rabbi Watch
"Because there are so few Jews in the world, the ratio of one criminal Rabbi is equal to 200 pedophile Priests, we must address this epidemic within Judaism." (Rabbi Morris Gonemsky, Rabbi Watch Interview 22 Tamuz 5762)
(Lists of links to articles about criminal/sex offender rabbis and other Jewish officials, including Cantor Howard Nevison; Cantor Joel Gordon; Cantor Phillip Wittlin; Grade School Rabbi, in Chicago; Israeli vice-consul Aryeh Scher - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement; Jewish Big Brother Volunteer - Eric Hindin, Newton, MA; Judge Ronald Kline, CA; Mashgiach (Kashrut Supervisor) David Webber; Canada Ohel Counselor - Simcha Adler; NY Rabbi Aaron Bornstein; Rabbi Abe Weider; Rabbi Aharon Stephanski; Rabbi Akiva Apter; Rabbi Amnon Edri; Rabbi Ariyeh Deri; Rabbi Avraham Zaltzman; Rabbi Baruch Lanner; Rabbi Charles Shalman; Rabbi David Weinberger; Rabbi Edgar Gluck; Rabbi Eli Gottesman; Rabbi Ephraim Bryks; Rabbi Fred Neulander; Rabbi Gerald Hersh; Rabbi Hertz Frankel; Rabbi Isack Rosenberg; Rabbi Israel Grunwald; Rabbi Jean Thorboum; Rabbi Jerrold M. Levy; Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman; Rabbi Joseph Jacob; Rabbi Joseph Prushinowski; Rabbi Juda Mintz; Rabbi Kalmen Eisenberg; Rabbi Leon Edery; Rabbi Lewis Brenner; Rabbi Lubavitcher x; Rabbi Mahir Reiss; Rabbi Maier Lehmann; Rabbi Mark Blazer; Rabbi Michael Kneitel; Rabbi Michael Lerner; Rabbi Michael Ozair; Rabbi Mordechai Elifant; Rabbi Mordechai Samet; Rabbi Mordechai Yomtov; Rabbi Moses Perl; Rabbi Moses Weiss; Rabbi Moshe Millstein; Rabbi Nachum Goldberg; Rabbi Nathan Adler; Rabbi Nathan Indig; Rabbi Pinchas Lew; Rabbi Rachamim Anatian; Rabbi Richard Marcovitz; Rabbi Robert Kirschner; Rabbi Sean Erez; Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman; Rabbi Shelomo Helbrans; Rabbi Shimon Levita; Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach; Rabbi Shmuel Boteach; Rabbi Sholam Weiss; Rabbi Sidney Goldenberg; Rabbi Steven Greenberg; Rabbi Steven Jacobs; Rabbi Steven Kaplan; Rabbi Tzvi Flaum; Rabbi Yaakov Levado (Gay Orthodox Rabbi); Rabbi Yaakov Weiner; Rabbi Yarachmiel Hershler; Rabbi/Psychologist - Avrohom Mondrowitz; Rabbi/Rosh Yeshiva Ze'ev Kopolevitch; Rabbi/Yeshiva Teacher Ze'ev Sultanovitch; School Counselor - Eugene Loub Aronin, TX; School Teacher - Lawrence Cohen, NJ; Scoutmaster - Jerrold Schwartz, NY Teacher; Georges Schteinberg, Rio de Janeiro; Brazil Teacher/Track Coach - Adam Theodore Rubin, MD Tel Aviv Arts School, Tel Aviv, Israel the Kosher Butcher in Chicago; the New York Society for the Deaf's Home the Rogers Park JCC, Chicago Illinois; The State of Israel Vs.Sex Offender; Yehudah Friedlander
Mass Molestation Cases Not Including Clergy: Case of Ohel Counselor - Simcha Adler, NY; Case of School Counselor - Eugene Loub Aronin, TX; Case of School Teacher - Lawrence Cohen, NJ; Case of Jewish Big Brother Volunteer - Eric Hindin, Newton, MA; Case of Judge Ronald Kline, CA; Case of the Kosher Butcher in Chicago Case of the New York; Society for the Deaf's Home Case of the Rogers Park JCC; Chicago Illinois Case of Teacher/Track Coach - Adam Theodore Rubin, MD; Case of Cantor Michael Segelstein, Las Vegas NV; Case of Teacher - Georges Schteinberg, Rio de Janeiro, Brazi; Israeli vice-consul Aryeh Scher - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Case of Camp Counselor - David Schwartz, Culver City; CA Case of Scoutmaster - Jerrold Schwartz, NY; Case of Tel Aviv Arts School, Tel Aviv, Israel; Case of Mashgiach (Kashrut Supervisor) David Douglas Webber, Canada

Hasidic and Yeshiva Scam and Scandals,
Jews to Islam
[Lists, with links to articles, about various frauds]

Lack of Ethics: a sermon,
by Rabbi Gregory Marx, Congregation Beth Or
"I have a confession to make. I read the newspaper Jewish-style. I look for those articles that are about Jews and things that affect Jews. All events can be interpreted by the question, 'Is it good for the Jews?' 'Economy falters.' Is it good for the Jews? Middle East flare up…Is it good for the Jews? All heroes and criminals are subject to that probing question: are they Jewish and will their behavior influence public opinion about the Jews? ... Tonight, I want to talk about other types of Jews who are in the news. And it doesn’t make me proud. I read recently that Jews from Israel are the leading importers of Ecstasy into this country. That’s right, the drug lords of New York speak Hebrew. Last summer, New York police seized over one million Ecstasy pills from Israelis David Roash and Israel Ahkenzi. They had a street value of forty million dollars. Those of us who travel on El Al, are not only with Yeshiva students and Zionists, we are traveling with drug dealers as well. And who are the carriers? According to the Jerusalem Report, Bobover Chassidim are paid $1500 and a free trip to Europe for carrying up to $500,000 in cash to Amsterdam and returning with a load of Ecstasy. They travel back to Israel with 30,000 to 40,000 aspirin-sized pills, which are then sent to America, Australia and New Zealand for sale. Colleagues that I work with have deeply disappointed me. In Florida, a colleague of mine is currently in prison, serving a multi-year term for soliciting minors on the Internet. He solicited a 14-year-old boy and was caught establishing a liaison with the youth. In his depravity he decided not to prey on his Bar/Bat Mitzvah students, but went instead to outside youths that he met in Internet chat rooms and subsequently dark parking lots. We still await the beginning of the retrial for a south Jersey rabbi who is accused of hiring a troubled man in his congregation to bludgeon his wife to death. Then there are the cantors from New York and Harrisburg who are accused of molesting young boys in their own family and beyond. And of course, a neighboring synagogue suffered for the past year, having discovered that its trusted employee allegedly embezzled over $1.2 million. While the staff was taking pay cuts in order to stem the financial hemorrhage, two employees were allegedly cutting checks to themselves for thousands of dollars a week. More often than I care to admit, Jews in the news are not making us proud ... Four Chassidim ripped off the government to the tune of millions and millions of dollars by getting federal grants for schools that didn't even exist! And that didn't stop their fellow Chassidim from coming to the defense of their cohorts by claiming they didn't keep any of the money for themselves. The chief rabbis of the community defended their actions, because it was strengthening the religious efforts of the community against the evils of secularization. What is happening to our community? Rabbi Elimelech Naiman was given a prison sentence for mail fraud and misappropriation of government funds. He was the deputy director of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Borough Park. Rabbi Jacob Lustig got 3 years’ probation and a million-dollar fine for skimming more than 2 million dollars from his synagogue's bingo proceeds. Rabbi Hertz Frankel got nabbed for cheating the government out of six million dollars. Recently, Rabbi Yizchok Fried was arrested for dealing in drugs. Two Chassidim were jailed for rigging an election in England! And headlines in the New York Post and Daily News told the world of the arrest of 14 Satmar Chassidim of running a multi-million dollars 'full service fraud factory,' which bilked banks, credit card companies, individuals and the IRS of millions of dollars. These are just a few from within the Orthodox community! And there's no comfort in knowing that it's found amongst non-Orthodox Jews as well - like financier Martin Frankel, who was accused of stealing more than $200 million from insurance companies. And a Chicago area Conservative cantor and his wife who recently pleaded guilty to charges of involvement in a prostitution ring. Let’s not forget Ira Einhorn, who promises to embarrass our community for years to come. Do you remember this annoying little man’s hunger strike at Graterford prison? He was protesting his high carbohydrate diet. What did he want salad nicoise? And look at Ed Mezvinsky, who took refusal to accept blame to extreme lengths. This first generation American Jew rose to prominence as a congressman and chairman of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee, only to go down in disgrace. When faced with a federal indictment for defrauding friends and family out of more than $10 million, he frivolously blamed his behavior on mental illness and an anti-malarial drug. Not only have Jews in the news sunk to moral lows, but worse still, they have failed to accept responsibility for their moral wrongdoings. I will never forget officiating at the funeral of a mother of two infants who was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband. Her two children are too young to remember the events that changed their lives, but when they mature, they will sadly come to understand their loss of innocence, the intrusion of violence and the betrayal of trust that turned their lives upside down. One parent gone, another in jail for the murder. I know that it goes on all around us. It’s part of the daily news that makes up Philadelphia and the larger world. But I’m not talking to the larger world. I’m talking to our community. You’re the only ones who will listen. We Jews are supposed to be a light unto the nations. We are supposed to define our characters by our behavior. And judging from the past years, we are in terrible shape ... We are here to remind the world, that deeds not faith redeem the world. If we lose sight of this teaching, if we forget to live like decent people, then we loose the essence of our faith. We become irrelevant. The world won’t need Jews anymore. With all these recent revelations and scandals, it's not so much my concern what God thinks about it, and it is not even my concern what non-Jews think and say about it. My deepest concern is how our own Jewish children feel about it! A congregant told me that she swelled with pride when she discovered her elementary school-aged children avidly reading a front-page story in the Philadelphia Inquirer. But then she was horrified to learn what article they were reading. It was the headline about jury selection for a rabbi accused of murdering his wife. Who would have dreamed that a Jewish standard bearer would gain national prominence before children’s eyes in this way? ... So yes, 'Why be Jewish?' is being asked by many. And 'Why marry Jewish?' is being asked by many more. Can I still say because of our moral passion? Can I still say, that it’s because we Jews have historically taken the ethical high road? What do I say when our children are bombarded every day with stories of Jews who are corrupt and murderous. The fact of the matter is, sad to say but it must be said, our people are no longer known chiefly for our goodness."

N.Y. Times Gives Jacko's Ex-Rabbi Another Shot,
by Roger Friedman, FoxNews, December 23, 2002 [under the heading: Pinocchio Loses by More Than a Nose]
"I am sad to say I read yesterday's story in the New York Times about Shmuley Boteach and got a little ill. Samuel Freedman, a good reporter, writer and author of interesting books, evidently was sold a bill of goods on Boteach. His report on Shmuley's WWRL radio show with Peter Noel made it sound like Michael Jackson's onetime rabbi was on the up and up. But readers of this column know otherwise. Back on May 23, 2001, we revealed the truth about the 'Kosher Sex' rabbi who started a bogus charity with Jackson. To this day there has no been no accounting for the money Boteach and Jackson raised for their Time for Kids/Heal the World Foundation. Indeed, the event they held on Feb. 14, 2001, at Carnegie Hall — a symposium on children — has never turned up in tax returns. London newspapers reported that Boteach was ousted from the L'Chaim Society of Oxford University for mismanagement of funds. (He allegedly used money from the charity to maintain a lavish home. Boteach insisted it was his right to do so.) He was also reportedly banned from having a pulpit in the U.K., although during our conversation last year he denied that. The New York Times also didn't bother to look into the infamous L'Chaim Society, Boteach's New York charity. The most recent tax return available, which covers all of 2000, states that the New York edition of L'Chaim Society took in $203,185 in donations but paid out $240,164 'for administration.' There are no funds listed for 'Program Services.' In May 2001, this column discovered quite a lot about the so-called Oxford L'Chaim Society of New York, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Oxford University in Great Britain. I wrote: 'In 1999, the British government criticized (Boteach's) L'Chaim Society of Oxford, London and Cambridge — an organization that was supposed to support and promote Jewish thinking and life on the Oxford campus — when they discovered that Shmuley (his name is Shmuel but he loves the nickname) had been dipping into the funds ... An article dated June 1, 1998, in the London Daily Telegraph clearly states: 'Ah Shmuley. The shame, the disgrace. (He's been) publicly reproached by Elkin Levy, president of the United Synagogues; forced to resign from the synagogue in Willesden where he preaches, accused of conduct unbecoming, bringing the rabbinate into disrepute.' The resignation was apparently in response to the publication of Boteach's controversial book, 'Kosher Sex,' which has been a bestseller and was excerpted in Playboy."

Marijuana Mitzvah? Support Growing for 'Guru of Ganja',
[Jewish] Forward, February 14, 2003
"To the federal government, Ed Rosenthal is simply a drug pusher, an enemy combatant in the war on drugs. To folks like Jane Marcus, however, the Bronx-born Rosenthal is a hero — a Jewish hero, in fact, whose cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes qualifies as a life-saving 'mitzvah.' Which explains why delegates to last weekend's regional convention here of Reform Judaism's national synagogue body were seen sporting buttons, distributed by Marcus, in support of Rosenthal, who was found guilty on January 31 of felony charges of cultivating marijuana. The case made national headlines when jurors complained after the trial that they had never been informed that Rosenthal was acting within city and state laws protecting medicinal use of the drug. ... Rosenthal and Klein are members of Temple Sinai in Oakland, where Rabbi Steven Chester said the federal government's prosecution, while legal, was clearly 'immoral.' 'Whether or not one agrees with medical marijuana, the way the whole case was tried was just a travesty,' he said, adding that he would be meeting privately with Rosenthal and Klein to strategize how he and the congregation could show their support ... Rosenthal [is the ] author of numerous books on marijuana cultivation and a longtime columnist for the pro-marijuana magazine High Times ... Now, as his lawyers prepare post-trial motions in advance of his June 4 sentencing, he hopes the Jewish community at large will support him. Rosenthal, who dropped out of college in 1967, had a brief stint as a stock broker before becoming interested in marijuana cultivation and helping launch High Times. His books on growing marijuana have sold at least a million copies, and he and Klein — married for 15 years — now operate Quick Trading, a home-based publishing business offering Rosenthal titles such as 'The Big Book of Buds' and 'Marijuana Law: Don't Get Busted.'"

Rabbi Busted in NYPD Perv Sting,
New York Post, February 21, 2003
"A prominent rabbi was arrested yesterday on charges of trying to pick up a 13-year-old girl in an Internet chat room. Israel Kestenbaum, 54 - who works for the New York Board of Rabbis - is accused of multiple counts of attempted child endangerment and attempted dissemination of indecent materials to a minor. Kestenbaum, of Highland Park, N.J., was arrested at work after a monthlong probe, during which police say he solicited the girl for sex. But the 'girl' was really an NYPD undercover detective, cops said. Kestenbaum allegedly arranged to meet the teenager on Sunday at a Starbucks at the corner of Dey Street and Broadway downtown. She didn't show up, of course, but police sources say cops have video of the rabbi looking for her. After his arrest, police sources said, Kestenbaum indignantly challenged cops, saying, 'Don't you know who I am and who I know?' Police said they confiscated Kestenbaum's computer. His career involves helping Jewish people who are infirm and homebound, and he has contributed to books on the topic ... The Board of Rabbis named Kestenbaum one of its 'Rabbis of the Year' for helping people in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks."

Gutnick, sister in battle over $13.5m,
brwe.com, (Austrlaia), February 22 2003
"A bitter family feud is headed to trial with mining magnate Joe Gutnick [who is also a rabbi] fighting his sister over a $13.5million disputed loan. Mr Gutnick's sister, Pnina Feldman, the founder of the diamond exploration company Diamond Rose, and her husband, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, had sought to have the matter heard in a Jewish religious court. But after four years of trying to recover the loan from the Yeshiva College, the Bondi school run by Rabbi and Mrs Feldman, a date was set yesterday for the case to be heard in the NSW Supreme Court. The dispute stemmed from a $5 million loan Mr Gutnick gave the school in 1994 at a time when it owed the Commonwealth Bank $24 million and was at risk of closure, both parties to the case said. He claims he is owed $13.5million - the original loan plus interest ... Mrs Feldman said she remained hopeful of resolving it before a Jewish court of arbitration, out of the public eye. She has already put the case to the Beth Din, or Jewish court of arbitration, in Israel, but the matter was not resolved. 'As religious Jews, that's where it should be; and as family, that's where we wanted it to be, not in the public eye,' Mrs Feldman said. 'I'm ill from it. He's just doing this out of a vindictive vendetta. I'm the older sister. My husband and I have done nothing in our lives other than help him. For two rabbis to be fighting in the court I think is an absolute total disgrace for the Jewish people as a whole and for the individual family, and it's just torn our family completely apart.'"

Rabbi, Ethics Overseer, Denies Child Pornography Charges,
New York Times, February 22, 2003
"Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum, an ethics watchdog for a national pastors association and a chaplain of the year for his work at ground zero, assumed a different role yesterday, that of defendant in a child pornography case. The rabbi pleaded not guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to five felony counts of attempted dissemination of indecent material to a minor and 10 misdemeanor counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a minor. He was arrested at his office at the New York Board of Rabbis on Thursday after being taken to the 17th Precinct station house on East 51st Street for questioning. The police said he had engaged in erotic electronic conversation with someone presented to him as a 13-year-old girl named Katie and had arranged a tryst with her at a Starbucks in Manhattan. In fact, he was talking with an undercover police officer. Yesterday, an assistant district attorney, Jennifer Steiner, said that computers at the rabbi's home in Highland Park, N.J., had been searched and that the police had found at least one image of child pornography and messages to another under-age girl. Rabbi Kestenbaum, 54, was expected to be released yesterday on $5,000 bail, pending the surrender of his passport. He faces four years in prison if convicted. The rabbi's lawyer, Raymond Granger, said, 'My client has pled not guilty and will fight these charges.' He noted that the rabbi was a member of the ethics panel of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, a professional group. The rabbi has a reputation as an expert in chaplain affairs. He founded and directed the Jewish Center for Spiritual Care, which was set up to provide pastoral services to the homebound and infirm. The center is part of the New York Board of Rabbis, which immediately placed him on administrative leave ... Rabbi Kestenbaum is married and has six children. The board, an association of 700 rabbis in the metropolitan area, named him chaplain of the year last February for his ministerial work at ground zero. Rabbi Kestenbaum also contributed to a handbook called Jewish Pastoral Care and has appeared as a featured speaker at chaplain gatherings, including a symposium last year sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York. Before joining the New York Board of Rabbis, Rabbi Kestenbaum was director of the Jewish Institute for Pastoral Care of the HealthCare Chaplaincy, a chaplain training institute. New details of the charges emerged in court yesterday. According to Ms. Steiner, Rabbi Kestenbaum entered a chat room called 'I Love Older Men' and held instant-message conversations with 'Katie.' Katie was actually Detective Mike Smith of the New York Police Department's computer investigation unit, Ms. Steiner said. The rabbi asked Katie whether she had ever been with an older man, and asked her for a physical description of herself, including her bra size."

'RUBBER' RABBI ALL SET FOR SEX: D.A.,
New York Post, February 22, 2003
"Manhattan prosecutors revealed creepy details of a New Jersey rabbi's alleged online pursuit of a 13-year-old girl yesterday - including the black bag of condoms and lubricants they say he brought to their first 'date.' 'We could meet and kiss,' prosecutors say prominent rabbi Israel Kestenbaum, 55, typed in his overture to a male undercover cop posing online as 'Katie' ... Prosecutors also revealed yesterday that Kestenbaum - a married father of six from Highland Park who serves on the Manhattan-based New York Board of Rabbis - may be charged with additional related crimes. In their ongoing search of the rabbi's computer, cops found 'at least one image of child pornography,' prosecutor Jennifer Steiner told a Manhattan judge yesterday morning. 'Further, police also found evidence that the defendant engaged in electronic instant message conversations with another young girl," the prosecutor added."

Temple suspends accused cantor,
Boston Patriot Ledger, February 25, 2003
"Robert Shapiro was suspended from his duties as hazzan, or cantor, at Temple Beth Am shortly after allegations of sexual assault were raised, an official of the congregation said yesterday. Shapiro, 69, was instructed not to enter the North Main Street synagogue or officiate at religious services, said Mark Itzkowitz, the temple’s general counsel and a member of its board of directors. Shapiro, the temple’s hazzan for a quarter-century, pleaded innocent Friday to three counts of rape and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded woman. He was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim and her family, and the Tower Hill Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Canton. The incidents allegedly took place during the past year at the nursing home and temple, said lawyer Bruce Namenson of Quincy, who represents the alleged victim. Itzkowitz said temple officials first learned of the allegations Feb. 7, when the victim’s family met with Rabbi Loel Weiss, the congregation’s spiritual leader. Within an hour of that meeting, police were contacted, a criminal investigation was started and Shapiro was suspended with pay, Itzkowitz said'... Itzkowitz said Shapiro was ‘beloved by the community.’"

L.A. program offers help after arrest of rabbi for pedophilia,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (from Jewish Week), February 26, 2003
"In the wake of the arrest last week of Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum in a police Internet sex sting operation, the director of a Los Angeles-based residential treatment program for Jews with addictive and behavioral disorders believes a similar program is needed here and has offered to assist. 'If we can share what we have learned in our 16 years of existence, we would be glad to help,' said Harriet Rossetto, director of Beit T’Shuvah, believed to be the country’s only residential program for Jewish adults. Rossetto said three of the 110 Jews in her program are rabbis there for sexual addiction. She is convinced that their cases, as well as the arrests in recent years of rabbis accused of sex crimes, are 'just the tip of the iceberg' ... The call for a treatment program for rabbis comes after a string of much-publicized cases involving Jewish clergy charged with sexual abuse of minors. They include Rabbi Baruch Lanner, who last June was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing two girls when he was principal of a New Jersey yeshiva in the 1990s. Rabbi Lanner is free pending an appeal. Also, Cantor Howard Nevison of Temple Emanu-el in Manhattan was charged last spring with sexually abusing his young nephew. That trial has not begun. Rabbi Kestenbaum’s arrest is not the first involving a rabbi accused of using the Internet to lure minors. In December 2001, Rabbi Jerald Levy, 58, of Boca Raton, Fla., was sentenced to six years in federal prison for downloading child pornography and luring teenage boys to meet him for sex ... In the aftermath of two highly publicized child abuse cases involving a rabbi teaching at a day school and a kosher butcher, the Chicago Rabbinical Council a number of years ago established a special bet din, or rabbinical court, to address allegations of sexual abuse of children."




* Not Enough? There's much, much more about INTERNATIONAL PROSTITUTION RINGS, THE HISTORY OF JEWISH CRIME, DRUGS AND THE 'RUSSIAN MAFIA,' and other NOTEWORTHY JEWISH CRIMINALS.

More articles about corrupt rabbis here


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