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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’

Jewish Carpenter Sues NYC Over Alleged Anti-Semitism

Monday, May 12th, 2014

A Jewish carpenter is suing New York City’s Housing Authority (NYCHA) after allegedly being threatened and insulted with anti-Semitic epithets while working for the city.

Manhattan resident Mitchell Imberman, age 60, had trouble for years with men working under him, according to papers filed in a federal lawsuit in the Brooklyn District Court. The problems began in 2009 at Bushwick Houses, the New York Post reported Sunday.

Imberman alleged that one employee said, for example, “I don’t like taking orders from a Jew supervisor.” A second worker was fired after months of leaving numerous threats on Imberman’s cell phone, court papers allege.

His superiors added to the abuse when he asked for their help, Imberman charged.

In the lawsuit he said he was called a “filthy Jew,” a “dumb kike” and other obscenities. His tools were stolen, swastikas were painted on walls where he was assigned to work, and feces were placed on his chair.

Imberman is still employed by the Housing Authority and is seeking unspecified damages in compensation for the abuse. The NYCHA refused to comment in response to requests by the New York  Post and The Associated Press.

Former Head of 92nd Street Y Commits Suicide

Monday, May 12th, 2014

The former executive director of the famed 92nd Street Y died last Friday after hanging himself in his home in Seagate, an oceanfront community in Brooklyn, New York.

Sol Adler, 60, was found shortly before 11 a.m. by his wife Debbie, police told reporters on Saturday.

In 2012, Adler had been fired from his position after an anonymous letter sent to the board of directors accused him of a long-term relationship with his personal assistant.

At the time of his dismissal, after 20 years of leading the Y, Adler’s salary was $430,000 per year. His son-in-law, an ex-convict and a director of facilities at the Y, was also fired under suspicion of taking kickbacks from vendors. A number of other employees also were purged as well “for engaging in and failing to report suspected in appropriate behavior,” according to a letter to staff written by the board at the time.

The 92nd Street Y doubled its programs and brought in more than $80 million during Adler’s tenure as executive director. Police said there was no question of homicide in his death.

NYPD Cop Arrested for Anti-Semitic Grafitti in Boro Park

Monday, May 5th, 2014

A former New York City police officer allegedly suffering from “mental illness” was arrested over the weekend for spray painting anti-Semitic graffiti in numerous locations throughout Brooklyn’s Chassidic neighborhood of Boro Park.

Michael Setiawan left the force in 2007 after two years of service, allegedly due to depression, according to a police source quoted by the New York Daily News. His younger brother, also a police officer, later committed suicide (in 2011), police added. Neighbors living near the family home told the newspaper that Setiawan “has got problems” but said “he’s a good guy.”

Currently age 36, the suspect is accused of having spray-painted 15 cars, three buildings, and a girls’ school with hate-filled words and epithets aimed at Jews.

The words “F — you Jew” and “Jew cheap s—-“ were sprayed on to the walls of the Bnos Zion Bobov School on 14th Avenue. Those phrases along with other words and swastikas were also sprayed elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The vandalism created havoc in Boro Park. Residents were terrorized; many are elderly Holocaust survivors with memories of how their nightmares in eastern Europe started — those nightmares began with similar epithets and words scrawled by the Nazis on the buildings around their homes decades ago.

Surveillance cameras caught sight of a bald man wielding a spray paint can on Saturday night in the graffiti attack who appeared to be Setiawan, according to a report published by the newspaper. He was arrested Sunday after detectives reviewed the footage and checked the registration of the car seen in the tape, a source said.

The former police officer was charged with 19 counts each of criminal mischief as a hate crime, and aggravated harassment as a hate crime in connection with the vandalism.

Local Jewish community leaders expressed shock that the perpetrator was a former police officer, but praised detectives for the quick arrest.

Haredi Grandfather from London Assaulted In NY

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A 65-year-old Haredi Orthodox man from London visiting New York for his grandson’s wedding was attacked early Tuesday morning in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park as he left the wedding reception.

The attackers smashed their victim’s face into the sidewalk, and he was treated at a local hospital for a split lip and chipped tooth.

Nothing was stolen, indicating the man was a victim of “knockout punch” attackers, but New York police and a Brooklyn councilman differ on whether that was the case.

A spate of knockout attacks in New York in recent months appeared to target identifiably Jewish people. Other incidents have occurred in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., as well as other states.

“Simply put, there is no place for this type of heinous behavior in our city, as nobody should be afraid to walk the streets of their community at any time of day or night,” New York City Councilman David Greenfield, who represents Brooklyn, said in a statement. Greenfield believes it was a knockout attack.

New York police are not calling it a knockout attack because the victim was not punched as they were in previous attacks, according to the New York Daily News.

The New Old Antisemitism

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing. Beatings. Swastikas. Boycotts. Brooklyn. Kiev. Sydney. Even from my comfortable perch here in “Jew” York City I have come to realize that there exists a huge gray area between Never again and Watch your back.

Not that antisemitism ever went away. In every generation we face enemies who hate us viscerally and wish for our demise, whether by their own hand or some other means. Many others are raised with tolerance and respect, yet drink the milk of a culture that paints Israel as the devil and Jews who support her as guilty by association. They may like us as individuals but still harbor suspicions about us as a group.

There was a quieting of sorts after the Holocaust. The West’s collective guilt at failing to prevent Hitler’s genocidal campaign lent us a certain sympathy, an inclination to accommodate our recovery as a people, to allow us to come back stronger even, with our biblical homeland restored. Discrimination still flourished, but violence was the province of goons like the Klan.

Today, we have anti-discrimination laws to protect us but, ironically, overtly anti-Semitic physical attacks have reemerged as a threat to Jews even in bastions of cosmopolitanism. In much of Europe today, wearing a kippah is an act of courage – or recklessness, depending whom you ask. Jewish schools are fortified like vaults, with security guards and cameras. Attempts to ban shechitah and bris milah have gained tremendous momentum and achieved some level of success.

Echoes of the Chanukah and Purim stories are converging now in a way not seen perhaps since the Spanish Inquisition: The threat encompasses neshamah and guf our freedom to practice our way of life, and our very lives. What’s going on? And more important, how should we respond?

It’s no secret that the resurgence of open antisemitism has a lot do with the influx of Muslims to Europe, and the misguided efforts of governments at every level there to accommodate – or, rather, appease – a culture that seeks hegemony, not acculturation. Even places that have not experienced this demographic shift have been affected by the rising tide of radical Islam globally and its alarming corollary, the creeping influence of the soft propaganda churned out by the media as well as political and academic talking heads.

On Purim, there’s a tradition to drink until one cannot tell the difference between “arur (cursed be) Haman” and “baruch (blessed be) Mordechai.” I fear that much of our world today has so imbibed the lies and demagoguery of Israel’s enemies that truth and falsehood have become fungible.

But anti-Israelism, if you will, cannot alone explain the rash of anti-Jewish violence. Did the perpetrator of a “knockout” attack in Crown Heights really think twice about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What about the Winnipeg girl who shouted “let’s burn the Jew” as she lit a high school classmate’s hair on fire (an injury compounded by the judge on the case who deemed it not a hate crime)?

One probable factor is that thing at the heart of so many human woes: money. The economic downturn, a crisis in some parts, has led to civil unrest in Europe and even here in the U.S. (Remember the Occupy-ers?) Tough times breed discontent, and discontent breeds scapegoating. And we know that Jews are the favorite scapegoat for the world’s problems. The caricature of the Jew as master financier and puppeteer of the universe still lives.

This new reality – the realization that we’re not as safe as we may have thought – brings one lesson from our history into sharp relief. In Megillas Esther, when Haman presents to Achashveirosh his terrible plot against the Jews, he says, “There is a people in your kingdom who are scattered and separated among the nations.” Yes, the Jewish community’s evolution toward de-centralization made them an easier target for Haman. But more profoundly, says the Ozarover Rebbe, Rabbi Yechiel HaLevi Epstein, their lack of unity as a people made them vulnerable to attack. What was the antidote for that? “Gather all the Jews together,” Esther told Mordechai – then I can go before the king and beg for mercy; then we will have a fighting chance against Haman’s armies.

The Jewish community today is bitterly splintered. Let’s put aside for now the alarming rate of intermarriage and the more than one-fifth of Jews who classify themselves as having “no religion.” Let’s even put aside the divisions between the Orthodox and affiliated non-Orthodox Jews. Within the frum community there is so much infighting.

It’s normal and healthy and in keeping with thousands of years of Jewish history for us to be diversified, heterogeneous – anything but monolithic. But the vitriol from the mouths of those considered leaders, and in turn from their followers, the use of Nazi imagery, the lack of civility – let alone respect – toward Jews who keep Shabbos and kashrus but differ in hashkafa or practice or politics is not only disgraceful but dangerous. A public demonstration, in galus, by Jews against Jews is one of the most tragic scenes of our times. We need Hashem’s protection, but we have to show Him that Am Yisrael Chai – the Jewish people, united in destiny and faith, live.

Small acts of reaching out, reserving judgment, and saving the hateful rhetoric for our real enemies are a good place to start.

NJ Chabad Rabbinical Student Killed in Garbage Truck Accident

Monday, February 24th, 2014

A New Jersey rabbinical student on his way to morning prayers was struck by a garbage truck and killed in Brooklyn.

Gedalia Gruntzweig, 25, a student at Tiferes Bachurim, a Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva in Morristown, was visiting friends in Crown Heights on Sunday for a pre-wedding party.

Gruntzweig, a Ukraine native, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cars driving near the scene indicated that Gruntzweig had the right of way, but witnesses said the truck driver, who was attempting to make a right turn, did not see him, according to the New York Daily News. The driver remained at the scene and no summonses were issued.

The Department of Sanitation released a statement sending its “deepest condolences to the family … and the entire Crown Heights community.”

Reward Increased in Search for Menachem Stark’s Killers

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The family of murdered Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark has contributed $50,000 to what is now a total reward to $72,000 for information leading to the killer of the Satmar Hasidic real estate developer. The New York Police offered $20,000 and the NYPD Crime Stoppers program pitched in with $2,000.

“We have increased the reward in the hopes that anyone and everyone who knows anything comes forward,” Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, the central planning and social service agency for more than 200 organizations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said in a statement, “There are seven orphans in Brooklyn, and a loving grieving wife – and we hope and pray there will be justice. We thank the law enforcement community for their hard work, and echo Commissioner Bratton’s call for the public’s assistance in solving this case.”

Stark’s body was found last Friday on suburban Long Island some 16 miles away from his office in the heavily Satmar section of Williamsburg, from where he was kidnapped the previous evening. He reportedly was suffocated before his body was placed in the dumpster outside a Great Neck gas station and burned, according to police.

Video footage taken from his office showed Stark being taken into a van after a struggle outside his office.

Police on Wednesday released a surveillance video showing a suspect in the kidnapping and believe Stark may have been squashed to death when kidnappers sat on his chest to subdue him after he was abducted.

Police also believe Stark, 39, was already dead when his body was set alight in a dumpster.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/reward-increased-in-search-for-menachem-starks-killers/2014/01/09/

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