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Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’

‘Non-Compliant’ NY Yeshiva Students Ejected from Flight

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The senior class of Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn was kicked off a flight Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Atlanta on Monday for being “non-compliant.”

Flight attendants said the students did not stay seated and continued to use their mobile devices in advance of takeoff, despite their requests as well as from the captain.

Chaperones interviewed by CNN said the flight crew overreacted and that some of the 101 students had to be told twice to sit down and turn off their devices, but that they all complied.

One of the students, Jonathan Zehavi, told CNN that the class was targeted because they were identifiably Jewish.

“They treated us like we were terrorists; I’ve never seen anything like it,” Zehavi said. “I’m not someone to make these kinds of statements. I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.”

The airline gave the students travel vouchers to continue on to their trip’s destination. The students went on several different flights, some taking up to 12 hours to meet up with the group.

Street Poll: Jewish Voters Divided on Brother Anthony

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

On Sunday, the media were given a unique opportunity to assess Anthony Weiner’s support among Jewish voters. At the Celebrate Israel parade on 5th avenue, the WSJ and the Daily News conducted many interviews with Jewish voters who had mixed feelings about the only Jewish candidate running for mayor in the Democratic primary.

“I have no desire to vote for him,” said Alan Walz, a 54-year-old legal assistant who lives in Queens. “Whether he’s Jewish or not is irrelevant to me. It’s about whether he’d make a good mayor, and based on his indiscretions, I won’t put him in office. He’s already made his bed.”

“The thing you most need in a mayor … is moral integrity, and this man has trampled on integrity,” said Sandy Lebowitz of Midwood, Brooklyn, once Weiner’s political base. “How dare he come here because it’s [politically] convenient.”

Karen Gordon of Riverdale, the Bronx, also said Weiner was unwelcome. “He embarrassed himself, and someone like that shouldn’t be elected,” she said.

“In some ways, your community is the one that’s going to judge you the harshest,” one prominent Jewish leader. told the Daily News,  “There’s a Yiddish word for it: shonda. It’s like a shame to the community.”

Others were more forgiving.

“I was disappointed when he quit, so I’m glad he’s back,” said Ellen Kamaras, a 57-year-old accountant in the Brooklyn section of Mr. Weiner’s old district. “Not that I’m condoning what he did, but I always thought that he was good for the community.”

“Weiner for mayor!” yelled Jack Gindi of Flatbush, Brooklyn, who said he could ignore Weiner’s personal foibles.

“The man can and has served well for the people of New York City, and what he does in his private life and whatever else he’s done in the past, I’m willing to overlook for the sake of New York City,” he said.

Queens Rabbi Moses Birnbaum predicted many Jews would end up as Weiner followers, if not on Twitter. “Judaism believes in redemption,” he said. “As far as the unfortunate episode over the Internet, a lot of my people have said the media have fixated on this, when you consider the people serving in Congress who have violated laws, like tax laws, they think he shouldn’t have resigned.” Speaking to reporters Sunday before marching in the parade. Mr. Weiner played down any specific appeal he has to Jews. “I’m very comfortable with the issues that are important to middle-class voters in this city, and I’ve represented a district that had a heavy Jewish population for my entire career,” Mr. Weiner said. “But frankly the things I’m talking about in this campaign are unifying themes. It doesn’t matter where you live, it doesn’t matter what your faith is, you probably believe that this city has become harder for the middle class to live in.”

Hikind Joins Bloggers to Accuse Greenfield as a Phony Blogger

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

“I’m not insinuating that David is the only person that uses the Dov Gordon pen name, but as it pertains to politics, he is far and away the only person writing about inside baseball,” Stefanie Fedak, Greenfield’s former chief of staff, told the CityandStateNY website.

Greenfield laid off Fedak 18 months ago, and now Fedak is spilling the beans.

Greenfield confirmed Fedak’s version, according to a source close to the city councilman and who was quoted by CityandState.

However, an official statement from a spokesperson for Greenfield staged to the website, “Your story is a vicious lie being spread by an obsessed and disgruntled former staffer who was fired nearly two years ago. The Clintons have Vince Foster nuts, President Obama has his crazy birthers and Councilman Greenfield has lunatics who think he writes daily news columns while maintaining a very public 70-hour-a-week work schedule. All of these conspiracy theorists should be institutionalized.”

“Dov Gordon” is a frequent blogger for Yeshiva World News.

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, far from a close friend of Greenfield, alleged that Yeshiva World’s coverage of him “mean-spirited” and “degrading.”

“You can criticize me; that’s not the issue, we can all be criticized at times,” Hikind said in an interview with the website’s Nick Powell. “This is way beyond that … this is someone with an agenda. … One of the most interesting things is, there’s one person who’s always very popular with Dov Gordon: David Greenfield.”

So who is Dov Gordon?

CityandState searched but did not come up with a final answer.

Powell wrote, “City & State searched public records for people named Dov Gordon, but was unable to identify anyone with that name who admitted to writing for Yeshiva World.

“A report by journalist Ross Barkan refers to a Dov Gordon as the spokesperson for an organization called Save Flatbush, which ran an ad in the Jewish newspaper Hamodia condemning the City Council’s proposed redistricting of south Brooklyn.

“The report, including an interview with this Dov Gordon, was posted on Barkan’s blog in February, two months after Pete Appel had speculated whether Greenfield might be Dov Gordon. City & State sent an email to Save Flatbush asking if the Dov Gordon that worked for the organization also wrote for Yeshiva World, but received no response.

“The Flatbush Jewish Journal also posted a letter to the editor from someone named Dov Gordon in late January. The letter criticizes unnamed elected officials for failing residents in a redistricting process that had allowed the community to be divided up.”

Brooklyn Woman Admits Stealing $1 Million from Jewish Cemetery

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

A Brooklyn woman pleaded guilty to charges that she stole $1 million from a Jewish cemetery on Staten Island.

Ilana Friedman, 51, admitted to grand larceny in Staten Island Supreme Court on Tuesday. Friedman, former director of the United Hebrew Cemetery, stole the money over a six-year period.

Friedman and her husband, Arthur, the cemetery’s former president, agreed to pay $1.1 million in restitution. Arthur Friedman did not face charges of theft, DNAInfo reported, but court papers accused him of failing to oversee his wife’s activities.

“The Friedmans abused their posts at this Staten Island cemetery to enrich themselves,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. “This law-breaking husband-and-wife team will now pay for their shameless misconduct.”

Solving One Problem, Sort of…

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

My issues with Satmar notwithstanding, I must give credit where credit is due. The Williamsburg area where Satmar Hasidim live has quietly created a trend of development that is somewhat counter culture – in a good way. In an era where gentrification has become standard for urban renewal Satmar has had its own – much more affordable version of that going on in its outer edges.

Gentrification is what happens to slums (or at best neglected neighborhoods) where the poor live when a city council and developers get together to try and eliminate those slums. Developers will buy out dilapidated buildings and either demolish them to build new upscale living quarters or rehabilitate existing structures that in their hey-day were quite upscale themselves.

When the original tenants moved to the suburbs (what used to be called white flight) and the poor started moving in these neighborhoods became neglected – some of them turning into slums. The residents could not afford to keep up the buildings and they became run down. That is an oversimplified – but I think fair description of what has happened.

Developers – seeking to attract singles or a working couple with no children whose incomes are well above average and expenditures far less that the average family would build housing suitable for this demographic… making them unattractive for most families and too expensive in any event. These dwellings are steeply priced. As an article in the New York Observer points out – in the trendier section of Williamsburg, a half a million dollars will barely buy you a studio apartment.

Satmar developers, ever mindful of the need of their growing community, have taken a different track. They have lobbied government officials successfully and have received zoning variances enabling them to build housing on what were once commercial and industrial zoned areas of Williamsburg. And they have built brand new and affordable housing for Satmar families where that same half million will buy a three-bedroom condo in a new elevator building.

True these structures will not win any architectural awards. “Strolling down Bedford Avenue, you’re greeted by a solid wall of new six-story brick buildings” says the New York Observer. They are obviously more functional than aesthetic. But they do have a clean and new functional look to them. In an area where a modest lifestyle is promoted, this type of housing is ideal. And again from the Observer (here comes the good part): “the ultra-Orthodox have succeeded in building thousands of units and keeping the neighborhood affordable for families—on private land, and without public money!”

I have been to these neighborhoods and seen these buildings. They are a far cry from the impoverished conditions I used to see there just a decade or so ago. It appears to be populated entirely by Williamsburg Hasidim.

And yet, I can’t help but feel that there is something missing from this seemingly idyllic picture. For one thing a half million dollars isn’t pocket change. The ‘modest’ incomes of most Satmar Hasidim doesn’t seem like enough to buy one of these units. Even if you factor in low down payments – there remains the very high mortgage payments. Which begs the question, where do these families with 6, 7, 8 or more children get the money to pay for that? It would therefore appear to be that only a more upscale (by Satmar standards) family can afford these units. Either that or some of these families must be getting subsidized. And if so, where is that money coming from? Philanthropists? Government welfare programs?

The building boom also had some controversy attached when public land was bought along with private land. From the New York Observer:

Black and Latino leaders claimed that the affordable housing complex—to be built on city-owned land, some of which would be seized by eminent domain—would give a disproportionate number of units to the ultra-Orthodox, as traditional public housing projects nearby had in the past.

Rabbi David Niederman, leader of the United Jewish Organizations, begged to differ, saying that both the public and private aspect of the rezoning are needed. “We believe in supply and demand,” he said. “Imagine if 200 people are fighting for one unit”—something that New Yorkers outside of Hasidic Williamsburg won’t have to try very hard to do. “Prices are going to go up like crazy.”

I personally see no problem with what Satmar did. They lobbied for the land and they got it. Black and Latino leaders could have done the same.

Mezuzah Arson Suspect Has Long Record of Crime

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Neither robbery, drugs, assault nor weapons can keep a man in jail and stop his appointed rounds of setting fire to mezuzahs containing verses from the Torah.

New York police are on  the prowl for Rubin Ublies, suspected of torching 11 mezuzahs in a Williamsburg apartment building on Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. He also is thought to have torched another mezuzah in the same apartment complex the following day.

Despite his Jewish-sounding first name, he is far from Jewish. An Hispanic, Ublies, age 35, also has a long record of crime, ranging from robbery, drugs, assault to weapons – and now arson, if he is caught and convicted.

The arsonist began his hate crime on Monday on the 13th floor and worked his way down to at least the third floor, burning the mezuzahs on the way while the residents were away.

Councilman David Greenfield is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Brooklyn Anti-Semites Mark Holocaust Day by Burning Mezuzahs

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Anti-Semitic vandals torched more than 10 mezuzahs on the doorposts in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn apartments Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is not known if the attack was carried by an individual or a group. The attacks took place on at least 10 different floors.

New York police are considering the arson as an anti-Semitic crime although officials said they did not know if the timing of the attack was coincidental or not. There was little damage to the apartments except for the burned mezuzahs.

“This was a brazen act of religious desecration,” Councilman Stephen Levin told The New York Times. “It’s hard to explain just how deeply painful this is to the religious Jewish community. It’s a blessing on a home. It’s a profoundly hurtful thing to do.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brooklyn-anti-semites-mark-holocaust-day-by-burning-mezuzahs/2013/04/09/

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