A Brooklyn native voluntarily returned to New York from Israel and pleaded guilty for his role in a drug-money laundering scandal involving members of the Bobover chasidic sect, two prominent Orthodox community leaders and a Colombian cartel.
In the unusual scenario, Michael Halberstam agreed to a plea bargain last month with the office of the U.S. Attorney's Eastern District. His surrender contrasts with recent episodes (notably the Samuel Sheinbein murder case) in which the United States has attempted to extradite Americans from Israel.
When Fan Wiener read in her local daily newspaper that the nation's Reform rabbis had voted to push for more Jewish tradition (including eating kosher) the 79-year-old Dallas grandmother thought of bolting Reform Judaism.
"She called me and threatened to quit the two major Reform temples she belongs to," says her son Thomas, a Philadelphia attorney. "She said she didn't intend to become a Conservative or Orthodox Jew."
Freehold, N.J.: She was 14 and an incoming freshman at a yeshiva high school in New Jersey. He was 45, a married rabbi with three children, and the principal of the yeshiva at the shore. He was also one of the most prominent Orthodox Jewish youth leaders in America.
Yet once a week, the rabbi would call the 14-year-old student at home, proclaiming his love and promising she would be his wife someday.
At school he would summon the teenager to his office, where he would grope her private parts while she sat powerless and disgusted.
Freehold, N.J.: Were the Venetian blinds open or closed? After nearly three weeks of court testimony, the question about the level of privacy in a yeshiva high school principal's office was at the crux of the defense's case in the trial here of Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the disgraced former national Orthodox youth group leader.
Freehold, N.J.: Marcie Lenk's first response on hearing of the guilty verdict last Thursday in the trial of her former mentor, Rabbi Baruch Lanner, on child sexual abuse charges was a sense of relief.
Lenk, a 36-year-old Ph.D. candidate in religion at Harvard University, has been part of an informal network of former National Conference of Synagogue Youth members who have been struggling for many years to convince Orthodox authorities to prevent the 52-year-old Rabbi Lanner from having any contact with children.
Charging that the FBI is being compromised by political concerns, activist Rabbi Avi Weiss is seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to discuss why the July 4 shootings at Los Angeles International Airport have not been classified a terrorist incident: in apparent neglect of the Justice Department's own guidelines.
The State University of New York has suspended all of its overseas programs in Israel, citing last month's terrorist attack at Hebrew University where nine people (including five Americans) were killed, The Jewish Week has learned.
Freehold, N.J. - Rabbi Baruch Lanner, once a prominent national Orthodox youth group leader and New Jersey yeshiva high school principal, was convicted late Thursday of sexually abusing two teenage girls while they were his students in the mid-1990s.
Brian Burstin has been praying at Congregation Talmud Torah of Flatbush in Brooklyn since 1967, when he was 11.
Before that, his parents were members at the stately yellow brick Modern Orthodox synagogue on Coney Island Avenue, near the busy Avenue J kosher shopping strip in the Midwood section. The shul's late Rabbi Leo Landman, one of only three spiritual leaders in the synagogue's 80-year-history, performed Burstin's wedding.
Despite objections by U.S. law enforcement officials, an Israeli court this week approved an unusual $3 million bail agreement for the founder of the chasidic New Square community, who is fighting extradition on charges he stole tens of millions of dollars in federal education and housing aid.