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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Williamsburg’

Mayer Herskovic Accused of Leading Beating of Brooklyn Black Gay Man [video]

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Mayer Herskovic, a Hasidic man who is on trial for his role in an assault on gay African-American Taj Patterson that left the latter blind in one eye, was accused on Wednesday by the victim of being the “ringleader,” the NY Daily News reported. Herskovic is looking at 25 years in prison for his role in the attack. His DNA was found on the heel of Patterson’s sneaker, which was found on the roof of a nearby building.

Police presented security camera footage showing a large group of Hasidic men converging on a street corner.

Patterson, 25, testified in Brooklyn Supreme Court that on Dec. 1, 2013, around 4:30 AM, following a birthday party, he was walking home to Fort Greene through Williamsburg, and was chased on Flushing Ave. by three Hasidic men who screamed “something negative” at him. Moments later, Patterson testified, as many as 17 more Hasidic men joined the attack.

“They threw me to the ground, dragged me on my knees, told me to ‘stay on the ground you [expletive].’ I was kicked in the face and saw a flash of white,” Patterson told the court.

He testified that he was pinned down against a chain-linked fence and was kicked and punched by his assailants. “That same individual who stood in the middle of the three men kicked me in the face, the ringleader,” said Patterson. But he was not able to identify Mayer Herskovic as one of the assailants to police or to Judge Danny Chun. He was, however, able to punch the alleged leader and break his glasses, the defense found out during cross-examination.

Patterson has undergone three surgeries to treat facial fractures and severe retinal damage that’s left him blind in one eye.

Charges were dropped against two Hasidic men who had been indicted in 2014, and two other men, Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler, pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment and were sentenced to 150 hours of community service and a $1,400 fine.

JNi.Media

Hasidic Men Sentenced to ‘Diverse Community Service’ Picked Chai Lifeline

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

The prosecutor in the case against Pinchas Braver, 22, and Abraham Winkler, 42, who last May pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment related to the brutal beating of gay black man Taj Patterson in Williamsburg on December 2013, recommended to the court that, as part of their plea bargain, the two men perform 150 hours of community service in a “culturally diverse neighborhood outside of where this unlawful imprisonment took place.” But, according to the NY Daily News, the two men’s attorneys told Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun Tuesday that they would like to serve those hours at the very Jewish-identified Chai Lifeline, a volunteer-based non-profit organization headed by Rabbi Simcha Scholar, which cares for children suffering from serious illnesses.

Judge Chun told the defense attorneys that “the people have concerns with the organization, under the plea the community service was to be in a culturally diverse atmosphere.”

A short debate ensued over whether or not Chai Lifeline qualifies as a culturally diverse facility, and whether it really is far enough outside Williamsburg to suit the apparently educational goals of the recommended community service.

The judge finally delayed the sentencing by one week, to give the prosecution a chance to check out Chai Lifeline.

The Chai Lifeline website features images of mostly religious Jewish children and adults, which is just fine, and the burgeoning charity organization, with multiple regional offices in the United States and affiliates in Canada, England, Israel, and Belgium, and its huge Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, NY, should only be praised for the holy work it has been performing since 1987 — but culturally diverse it probably isn’t, nor need it be.

The parties will return to the court room next Tuesday for the sentencing.

David Israel

The Times Detects A ‘Strong Odor’ In Williamsburg Controversy

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

We find it ironic that the controversy over separate women’s swimming time in a Williamsburg, Brooklyn public pool broke even as Americans are grappling with the issue of transgender rights.

In large part, much of the media insist that gender is a state of mind rather than a function of genitalia – to the point that a transgender person must be allowed to use a bathroom appropriate to the gender he/she identifies with rather than one appropriate to the genitalia he/she was born with.

But some of those same folks – in this case the editorial board of The New York Times – find it off-putting and unconstitutional for a municipal authority to provide a far lesser accommodation to Orthodox Jewish women seeking to observe traditional notions of modesty when swimming.

In a March 25 editorial titled “Transgender Law Makes North Carolina Pioneer in Bigotry,” the Times condemned North Carolina for “passing an appalling, unconstitutional bill that bars transgender people from using public restrooms that match their gender identity….”

A few weeks later, in its April 18 issue, the Times, in an editorial titled “Transgender Bathroom Hysteria, Cont’d.,” described reaction to the North Carolina statute:

 

After the withering backlash against North Carolina for passing a discriminatory law…it would stand to reason that lawmakers and governors in other states would think twice before peddling bills that dictate which restrooms transgender people can use.

And yet, state legislators in Tennessee, Kansas, South Carolina, and Minnesota are pushing similar absurd measures….

Laws to address non-issues [like the need to restrict transgenders] can have serious repercussions. The hastily passed bill in North Carolina, which said people must use public bathrooms based on the gender on their birth certificate and prohibited local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances, has been roundly condemned by corporate leaders, civil rights groups, and religious leaders….

If lawmakers who might want to follow North Carolina’s example aren’t moved by appeals to equality and human rights, they should ponder this reality: The price of bigotry is becoming quite steep.

 

Fast forward five weeks. In late May the New York City Parks Department announced it was going to end a policy of setting aside several hours a week for “women’s swim” at a public pool in Williamsburg. The sessions were instituted about 20 years ago, without much fanfare or incident, as an accommodation to Orthodox Jewish women who, due to their religious beliefs, would not swim together with men.

But someone apparently filed a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights claiming men were being discriminated against. The commission notified the Parks Department that the swimming arrangement was in violation of anti-discrimination laws and had to be ended. The Parks Department agreed, but after New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind intervened the department withdrew a statement announcing the end of the program and said the future of the women’s swim program would be reviewed.

This, in a June 1 editorial, is what the great advocates of transgender choice on the Times editorial board had to say concerning the Parks Department’s about-face on the Williamsburg pool controversy:

 

Four times a week this summer – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:15 to 11 a.m., and Sunday afternoons from 2:45 to 4:45 – a public swimming pool on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn will be temporarily unmoored from the laws of New York City and the Constitution, and commonly held principles of fairness and equal access.

The pool will instead answer to the religious convictions of one neighborhood group…. Orthodox Jewish beliefs demand modesty in dress, and a strict separation of the sexes, and those are the beliefs to which the taxpayer-owned-and-operated Metropolitan Recreation Center will yield…. The city’s human rights law is quite clear that public accommodation like a swimming pool cannot exclude people based on sex. It allows for exemptions “based on bon fide considerations of public policy,” but this case –with its strong odor of religious intrusion into a secular place – does not seem bona fide at all. [Italics added]

 

Tellingly, the Times did not cite a single one legal authority supporting its legal conclusions.

And although no one seems to have protested the women’s swim time for some 20 years, the Times followed up on its offensive allusion – one “redolent of anti-Semitic smears,” as our op-ed contributor Jonathan Tobin puts it on page 8 of this week’s issue – with this dripping bit of angry sarcasm:

 

[T]he summer sun shines equally on the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox, and that plus the New York City humidity make everybody uncomfortable and hot under the collar…. There is no just way to tell a sweaty Brooklynite on a Sunday afternoon that he should be ejected onto Bedford Avenue because one religious group doesn’t want him in the pool…. Let those who cannot abide public, secular rules at a public, secular pool find their own private place to swim when and with whom they see fit.

 

And all of this says nothing about a glaring omission in the Times’s take on the matter: Although there are many examples around the country of Muslim women being provided with the same accommodation in public pools as the Orthodox women of Williamsburg, the Times completely ignored that in its denunciation of the Williamsburg program.

To be sure, the Times in 2008 reported on a controversy at Harvard over its having set separate gym hours for Muslim women. But it did not editorialize about it.

Nor did it editorialize about the city of Toronto’s various accommodations of Muslim women – but it did carry a giddily positive news report about that program, headlined “In Toronto, a Neighborhood in Despair Transforms Into a Model of Inclusion.” Times reporter Dan Levin wrote:

 

Her face framed by a yellow hijab, Idil Hassan watched her young daughter splash with other children at the Regent Park Aquatic Center, an architectural jewel of glass, wood and chlorine in the middle of Canada’s largest housing project.

The center has given Ms. Hassan, a 34-year-old nurse, the ability to do something more than just watch her child: she, too, can join in.

On Saturday evenings, mechanized screens shroud the center’s expansive glass walls to create a session that allows only women and girls to relax in the hot tub, swim laps or careen down the water slide, a rare bit of “me” time treasured by many of the neighborhood’s Muslim residents.

“I wouldn’t come before because my religion doesn’t allow women to be seen uncovered by men,” said Ms. Hassan, a Somali immigrant. “It’s really helpful to have that day to be ourselves. I even learned to swim.”

 

As far as we can tell, only the Orthodox Jewish women of Williamsburg have been targeted by the Times’s editorial writers over this sort of thing.

What is it with the Times and Orthodox Jews?

Editorial Board

75 Children Contract Chickenpox in Williamsburg Outbreak, Failure to Inoculate Cited

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

The New York City health department this week reported an outbreak of chickenpox in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. According to the report, 75 children have been infected by the virus since March. Also, 72% of the children who were infected had not been vaccinated. The median age of these children is 3, but the report cites victims as old as 10.

Back in 2013, NYC health officials reported 30 cases of Measles — 26 in Borough Park and 4 in Williamsburg. A Health Department spokesperson said that “there have been two hospitalizations, a miscarriage and a case of pneumonia as a result of this outbreak. All cases involved adults or children who were not vaccinated due to refusal or delays in vaccination.”

Normally, Chickenpox is prevented through inoculation with the Varicella vaccine given by injection just under the skin, one dose of which prevents 95% of moderate disease cases and 100% of the severe disease. Two doses of vaccine are considered more effective than one. If given to those who are not immune within five days of exposure to chickenpox, it prevents most cases of the disease.

The problem is that by reducing the number of vaccinated children, the community at large is exposed to a greater risk. Vaccinating a large portion of the population also protects those who are not vaccinated. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends routine vaccination only if a country can keep more than 80% of its people vaccinated.

Jennifer Rosen, director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at the city’s Immunization Bureau, issued a release saying, “Please ensure that your patients and staff are up to date with varicella vaccine. Infants, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons are at risk for more severe disease and complications. Complications include pneumonia, bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissues, meningitis, encephalitis, birth defects and death.”

According to Department of Health press secretary Christopher Miller, the outbreak has been confined to Williamsburg. DOH has reached out to the Williamsburg ultra-Orthodox community with pamphlets in Yiddish it distributed at an Hatzolah health fair last Sunday, and through local Jewish schools.

According to Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, there will be a meeting Wednesday of community leaders, healthcare providers and school officials with the Department of Health to discuss bringing an end to the chickenpox crisis.

JNi.Media

109 Whooping Cough Cases over 12 Months in Brooklyn Ultra-Orthodox Communities

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) The ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities of Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn are experiencing an outbreak of Pertussis—also known as whooping cough or 100-day cough, the website Failed Messiah has revealed, based on an Health Alert Network email.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease, with initial symptoms similar to the common cold—runny nose, fever, and mild cough. This is followed by weeks of severe coughing fits, with a high-pitched whoop sound or a gasp. The coughing may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the name “100-day cough.” Patients are known to cough so hard they vomit or break ribs. Children younger than one-year may have periods of not breathing. The lag time between infection and the onset of symptoms is seven to ten days. The disease may occur in patients who have been vaccinated, but the symptoms are typically milder.

The email, sent by Jennifer Rosen, MD, Director of Epidemiology and Surveillance at the Bureau of Immunization, and Jane R. Zucker, MD, MSc, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Immunization, dated October 19, 2015, reads:

Dear Colleagues:

An outbreak of pertussis is ongoing among the Orthodox Jewish communities in Crown Heights, Williamsburg, and Borough Park, Brooklyn. From October 2014 through October 2015, 109 cases of pertussis have been reported to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, with an increase in cases over the past four months. The majority of cases (90%) are children under 19 years old (median age 4 years), of whom 52% were unvaccinated or not up to date with pertussis-containing vaccine. Infants less than 1-year-old account for 34% (n=37) of cases. Of the 37 mothers of infants with pertussis, only 3 (8%) received the recommended tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccination during their most recent pregnancy.

Five infants were hospitalized, including one who had pneumonia.

Instructions to Health Alert Network (HAN) Subscribers included a request to distribute to all Primary Care, Infectious Disease, Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Laboratory Medicine, and Infection Control Staff the following message:

• An outbreak of pertussis continues to spread among Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

• Ensure that children are up to date with pertussis-containing vaccines.

• Vaccinate all pregnant women with Tdap during every pregnancy.

• Obtain diagnostic testing and report clinically suspect cases promptly to the Health Department.

• Provide early treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent ongoing transmission.

To control the outbreak, health workers were urged to:

1. Recall patients who are not up to date with DTaP and Tdap vaccines

2. Vaccinate pregnant women with Tdap during every pregnancy

3. Report suspect cases

4. Follow droplet precautions

5. Obtain optimal specimens for diagnostic testing

6. Provide prompt antibiotic treatment and/or post-exposure prophylaxis

In healthcare facilities, a dose of Tdap is routinely recommended for all healthcare personnel (HCP). HCPs should observe droplet precautions, such as wearing surgical masks, while evaluating suspect pertussis cases. Precautions should be observed regardless of the vaccination status of HCP. HCP with known unprotected exposure to pertussis and who are likely to expose pregnant women or neonates should receive PEP. Other HCP should either receive PEP or be monitored daily for 21 days after pertussis exposure and treated if pertussis symptoms develop.

Clinicians should report all suspected cases of pertussis to DOHMH. Do not wait until laboratory confirmation to report. Early reporting allows DOHMH to investigate cases and assist the facility in identifying those who need post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent further infections. To report a suspected case, clinicians should call DOHMH at 866-692-3641.

JNi.Media

Hasidim Love Mayor de Blasio: Fewer Traffic Tickets

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

(JNi.media) Here’s a good reason to like your new mayor: he, or, rather, his police dept., doesn’t fine you as much as it used to. According to a report in the NY Post, police have issued fewer tickets to drivers in the Hasidic community of Williamsburg, because, apparently, the de Blasio Administration wants to keep them happy. “They pander and he gives them a lot of what they want,” the source, a former mayoral liaison, told the Post, saying, “De Blasio is known to have tight ties to the Hasidic community.”

This may or may not be true (it probably can’t be proven), but the Post checked out the stats, and it turns out that moving violations in the NYPD’s 90th Precinct, in northern Brooklyn, which is also the neighborhood of Williamsburg, have dropped 32% since de Blasio took office. Now, out of the population of about 130,000, only about 70,000 are Hasidim, and the rest are a mix of newly arrived hipsters and African Americans, Hispanics, Italians, Poles, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans. The claim that those 32% fewer tickets are only Hasidic would be even harder to prove. But insinuation sells papers, doesn’t it?

The Post’s source insisted religious leaders “get in with the Police Department and do their thing. … I’ll tell you one thing, they didn’t all take driver’s ed and change their driving habits.”

Brooklyn Community Board 1 member Simon Weiser credited the drop in tickets to campaigns in local Jewish newspapers calling on drivers to use safety belts, and an increasing use of hands-free phones. More than 25% of moving violations issued in Williamsburg are those two things: driving without the beslt and holding the phone to your ear while driving. There have been 50% fewer cellphone summonses since 2014.

Stats don’t lie, but people often do. The Post tried to get out of the NYPD whether there has been a change of policy regarding moving violations in Williamsburg, but received no response. However, since the NYPD works with a quota system, it’s possible they didn’t have to tell the cops in Precinct 90 to be nicer — they could just reduce the quotas, which brought down the number of moving violations ticketed.

JNi.Media

Wave of Hate Crimes against Jews in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Area

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Two violent anti-Semites attacked a 65-year-old Jew in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Monday night in the latest of a wave of hate crimes, CBS-New York reported.

The attackers were teenagers, one of them a girl. They punched the man in the face, leaving him with bleeding while they laughed. A neighbor told CBS that he heard the victim’s screams and ran to help, when the attackers fled.

Late Sunday night, a young Orthodox Jew was hit in the head with a glass bottle, and in another incident, surveillance cameras showed two Hareidi Jews being struck by paintballs. Several minutes later, a paintball hit another Jew.

Police said that the paintball and glass bottle attacks were not linked.

Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg told CBS:

Basically people start thinking, ‘Can I allow my child to be out even during the day?’ And even adults, at night it’s scary.

No kidding?

It is questionable if anti-Semitism really is not on the rise in the United States. It really is the same as it was 100 years ago, but more overt instead of covert.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/wave-of-hate-crimes-against-jews-in-brooklyns-williamsburg-area/2015/07/08/

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