Footsteps Board Now in Crosshairs of OTD Activists

The sexual assault accusation that was leveled on an off the derekh (OTD) member of Footsteps, as reported here previously, has now morphed into a new campaign: to purge the Footsteps leadership More »

“Forward” Stirs the Pot on Recent Intra-OTD Sexual Assault Allegation

NOTE: The following is an opinion article. It is a follow-up to a previous article we published. It is meant to refute a slanderous and prejudiced article on the topic published today More »

OTD Sector Roiled by Accusation of Rape

A Note about sources for this article: Some of the information here was gleaned from the nominally private Off The Derech Facebook group. Group rules urge members to be mindful of the More »

Open Orthodoxy Makes Inroads Into Hasidic Williamsburg

The recently revitalized GreenPoint Shul on the Northside of Williamsburg is now headed by Open Orthodox clergy and is attracting New York City residents from many Jewish stripes, including Hasidic neighbors from More »

Is Gezel Akum (stealing from idolators) permitted?

In response to the recent federal indictment of some dozen haredi denizens of Lakewood, NJ over defrauding the federal government, a tiff broke out between two prominent figures in Orthodoxy over whether More »

Brakel Doomed After Being Banned by Rabbi Sternbuch

R. Moshe Sternbuch, Chief of the Jerusalemite “Haredi Community” rabbinical court and its second-in-command, issued a long-awaited and highly-influential halakhic decision today banning the brakel breed of chicken. The decision spells doom More »

The Brakel Controversy: R. Landau Forbids. R. Karelitz Permits

A controversy is presently stirring in Israel among haredi Rabbis and poultry experts: Is the “brakel” kosher? The Brakel (alternately spelled braekel) is a breed of chicken originally confined to Belgium. It More »

Federal Indictment of Satmar-Aaron School Officers in Fraud of At-Risk After-School Meal Program

A federal indictment was filed on August 10, 2017 in the Eastern District of New York against two officers in the Aaronite-Satmar Williamsburg school system: Elozor Porges and Joel Lowy. The indictment More »

In OTD-Haredi Custody Disputes Courts Should Use “Marital Lifestyle Choice” as Standard

NOTICE: The following is an opinion piece prompted largely by the Weisberger v. Weisberger case. I urge you to read the HN factual report on it before you proceed, if you are More »

NY Court Awards Partial Custody of Hasidic children to OTD Divorcee, Setting Precedent

New York State Supreme Court’s “Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department” today awarded partial custody of three Hasidic children to their divorced OTD (off the derekh) mother, Chava Weisberger, overturning a lower court More »

Saul Klein Identifies Luxury as the Great Pitfall for Hasidim

In a telephonic lecture this past Tishoh beav, Saul Klein excoriated the haredi trend to pursue luksus (luxury) at the expense of basic necessities and a profanation of God’s name. The 40-minute lecture was given in a program called hotzi shiur (half measure) accessible on the Kol Mevaser telephone hotline. Klein belongs to the Old

Myths and Facts about Conscription of Yeshiva Students

Statement 1: The IDF is arresting haredim who do not conscript. Myth. The arrests that can be seen in many Youtube-published videos are for obstructing traffic or throwing rocks at police during anti-conscription demonstrations. The IDF does not currently try to apprehend military service evaders and it is doubtful that it ever intends to do

Interview with Abraham Klein Sheds New Light on the Malky Klein Drug Overdose

In a 70-minute interview last week, Abraham Klein, father of recently deceased Malky Klein relates the full story of his daughter’s life which ultimately led to a fatal overdose on heroin last month. Many details about the girl emerged in the interview, including the circumstances that led to her ejection from high school and a

Satmar Brothers Divided Over How to Cope with Conscription of Yeshivists

It would have been hard to imagine this a few years back, but R. Aaron is now emphatically opposed to activist campaigns to protest the conscription of yeshiva students in Israel, such as the demonstration his brother R. Zalman organized in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in June. Despite his fealty to the Satmar dynasty’s legacy opposition

New York State Law Specifies that Arbitrations May Take Place on Sunday

A New law recently passed by both houses of the New York state legislature specifies that statutory arbitrations (that are legally binding on the parties) may take place on Sunday. This new law at last puts to rest a a centuries-old confusion and uncertainty regarding whether arbitrations are considered judicial proceedings and prohibited on Sundays

The Campaign to Rescue The French Children by Satmar-Zalman

Satmar-Zalmanites are at present engaged in a campaign to “rescue” French children from the Zionist snare that allegedly seeks to lead them into apostasy (shemad). It is the latest spiritual rescue initiative in a string of many spearheaded by Satmar over the past half century. Such rescue campaigns are premised on the belief that Jewish

In Defense of Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans

R. Shlomo Helbrans, Rabbi of the Lev Tahor yeshiva in Monsey, NY, drowned to death this past Friday while ritually bathing in a river in Mexico. While conspiracy theories do exist that implicate such elements as the Israeli Mosad and aggrieved family members of his adherents, circumstances at this preliminary juncture don’t seem to corroborate

Hasidic Masses Head for the Country

This weekend marks that time of the year once more: country time. Thousands of hasidic families pack up all their goods and relocate from New York City to the Catskills country for about nine weeks starting with the first weekend of July and ending with the last weekend before labor day. By convention Thursday (June

A Spate of Suicides Hits the OTD Community

Three unrelated suicides rocked the OTD (Off The Derekh) Jewish sector in recent weeks. They are all reputed to be drug-related but it is not clear that they were all deliberate -some of them may have been accidental overdoses. The first one was by Meyer Nick Green. He was born in New Square and and

Weberman Defense Fund Turns Out to Be Slush Fund

OPINION Remember the fundraising event last month for Nechemiah Weberman whose defense claims that the sexual molestation allegations against him are pure fabrications? Now it turns out that the money wasn’t intended to defend him. You obviously don’t need to convoke the entire town and solicit thousands of contributions for defense alone –even if he is guilty,

Kosher Delight Self Destructs Leaving Trail of Debt

Kosher Delight, the decades-old popular Kosher eatery in Manhattan (Broadway between 36th and 37th Streets) closed this week for good after 28 years in operation amid suspicious circumstances. Ostensibly they were unable to meet their financial obligations. Customers are circumspect, however. After being in business for so long and with a steady stream of customers, it

Carlebach-style Hasidic community Expands into Borough Park

About one year after a Carlebach-style shul was first opened on Penn Street in Williamsburg, the inchoate movement picked up some steam and expanded this week with the opening of an additional synagogue, called The Shtiebel, in Borough Park — Williamsburg’s less devout sister neighborhood in Brooklyn. The Carlebach movement is known for its ecstatic liturgy and