Just outside the city of Shiraz, in Iran’s stark and arid south, lies the gravesite of Cyrus the Great, founder of the first empire in human history to declare religious tolerance for all its peoples. Cyrus, acclaimed in the Bible for allowing the Jews exiled by Babylonia to return to their homeland and rebuild their Temple in 538 BCE, lies in an unadorned and simple stone tomb, a reflection, historians say, of the man’s humble character.
Implicitly rebutting several senior government authorities, the Central Jewish Committee of Iran last week publicly asserted for the first time that 13 Iranian Jews currently imprisoned on suspicion of spying for Israel and the United States are innocent.
Putting its own resources on the line, the committee, which serves as the umbrella group for Iran’s 25,000 Jews, also announced it was prepared to raise money for attorneys to defend the imprisoned Jews.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, on trial for corruption, has told intimates that he is considering running his wife, Shoshana, in his place this fall if he is forced to withdraw from his re-election campaign, Borough Park and Democratic Party sources have told The Jewish Week.
But according to one widely respected local leader, if Hikind is convicted on any of the federal felony charges, “The community would be less supportive [of such a move] than he might imagine.”
A key prosecution witness has been harassed and threatened in an effort to intimidate him from testifying in the trial of Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Rabbi Elimelech Naiman, federal prosecutors claimed this week.
The alleged tactics, by members of the Ger chasidic sect, have not been tied by prosecutors to either of the defendants. And at the judge’s urging, Naiman, a Ger leader, has obtained rulings from Ger religious courts in Jerusalem and Brooklyn demanding that any such actions cease.
The courtroom light switches off, the overhead projector flicks on. And once more, the prosecutor speaks dryly of checks, contracts and budgets as the documents are projected on screen to the jurors. There are checks from the Council of Jewish Organizations of Boro Park — then Brooklyn’s largest Jewish community council — and its spinoffs to the political coffers of Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and other political campaigns.
There are government contracts sponsored by Hikind and awarded to the council for social service programs.
Just two weeks from trial, the federal corruption case against Assemblyman Dov Hikind took a surprising turn last week when one of his two codefendants suddenly pleaded guilty to paying off the Brooklyn political leader.
Paul Chernick, a top official of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Boro Park, then Brooklyn’s largest Jewish community council, told a Brooklyn court last Thursday that he had made illegal payoffs to Hikind in exchange for government grants Hikind secured for the council.
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.
Just back from a mission to Israel for college newspaper editors, the incoming editor in chief of the University of California at Irvine weekly was asked by a reporter about his reaction to the massacre at Hebrew University.
"Obviously it feels closer to home because I'm a university student myself," said Abel Pena, a 23-year-old senior, referring to the July 31 bomb blast credited to Hamas that killed nine people, including five Americans. "But I don't want to rush to any kind of judgment on the action that was taken against the students."
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.