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New York - A Visit To The Village of New Square By Ami Magazine

Published on: June 5, 2011 10:37 AM
By: AMI Magazine By Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter
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Rabbi Frankfurter spent several hours last week in New Square with Rabbi Twersky and community activists who are still reeling from the arson attack. Photo by Shmuel Lenchevsky for Ami magazine Rabbi Frankfurter spent several hours last week in New Square with Rabbi Twersky and community activists who are still reeling from the arson attack. Photo by Shmuel Lenchevsky for Ami magazine

New York - As reported last week by VIN News about the upcoming story in this week’s Ami Magazine that presents an exclusive interview with the Skverer Rebbe, Rabbi David Twersky, who speaks out in depth about the horrifying events that occurred in New Square less than two weeks ago.

Below is the full article:

A few years ago, as the end of the summer approached, I did what many fathers do. I loaded the family car with suitcases and boxes containing a summer’s worth of clothing and other objects, and drove with my family from the Catskill Mountains to Brooklyn, New York. As we were traveling on the Palisades Parkway, and I was struggling mightily with the constricting 55 miles per hour speed limit, I suddenly heard a loud POP. Then the car seemed to be swerving to one side. I understood instantaneously that one of the tires must have blown out. To experience a blowout while driving is always unsettling. To have one occur on a busy highway with your family in the car can be, well, traumatic.

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I managed to exit the parkway, and brought my car to a stop on a quiet road somewhere in Upstate New York. Being in unfamiliar surroundings, I thought I was in no man’s land. But before I knew it, a Jewish woman stopped her car and graciously offered to assist us. One of the first things she said was, “You know that you’re near the Skverer Shtetel.” I confessed that I wasn’t aware of the fact, as she contacted the Chaverim of Skver to assist us.

Before long, not only was the tire mishap resolved, but we had packages of food delivered to us from people of Skver who had heard of our plight, containing homemade cookies, cakes, and sandwiches. Many of the Chaverim volunteers even offered to let us spend the night in their homes. In addition to thanking these altruistic individuals profusely, I shot off an email on my Blackberry to my dear friend Rabbi Mayer Schiller, a Skver Chassid, telling him about the unique benevolence of his community. His matter-of-fact response was: “Skver is renowned for its chesed.”


That wasn’t my first encounter with Skver and its Chassidim. In my youth I spent a Shabbos in New Square, and had witnessed both the benevolence and the piety of this singular community up close. Then came the shattering news of last week, which the Jewish world is still trying to come to grips with. Aaron Rottenberg, a 43-year-old resident of Skver, suffered third-degree burns across 50 percent of his body during a confrontation after 4 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2011, Lag Baomer, with Shaul Spitzer, 18, after Spitzer allegedly tried to place an incendiary device at the rear deck of the Rottenberg home. Purportedly, Rottenberg is part of a dissident group that refuses to pray in the town’s main synagogue due to differences with the Skverer Rebbe. The present Rebbe’s father, who founded the community, asked that all of his followers pray at the village’s synagogue. The implication is that this alleged villain wanted to set fire to the Rottenberg home to take ‘revenge’ for Rottenberg’s ‘traitorous’ behavior.

This horrific and appalling story is beyond commentary or even condemnation.

But in addition to all else, this horrendous story is coupled with irony. The prior Rebbe of Skver, one of the foremost Chassidic leaders of the prior generation, asked that his followers pray together precisely because he wanted to promote unity and communal brotherhood among his devout Chassidim. The present Rebbe, Rav Dovid Twersky, relayed that one the primary objectives of his esteemed father while founding this unique Chassidic enclave was that there should be unity amongst its inhabitants. The Rebbe shared that his father often said that his goal was that his entire community should feel like one family. He also mentioned a letter that his father wrote to his uncle, Rav Aharon of Belz, when he moved out to New Square, where the words unity and peace appear countless times. And that is the sole reason why his father established only one minyan for the tefillos of Shabbos and Yom Tov, according to the Rebbe—to promote communal unity. As the Rebbe explained it, there is nothing more destructive than divisiveness, and there is nothing that brings more blessings than peace. That the issue over having only one minyan on Shabbos should be the cause of rancor and bloodshed is tragedy coupled with irony and, indeed, unfathomable heartache for this gentle and selfless leader.

WITH ONE BRUSHSTROKE
Then there is the ancillary, but not insignificant, story: The seizure of this tragedy by non-Orthodox zealots as a means to besmirch not only the revered Skverer Rebbe and all of his followers, the majority of whom aren’t capable of even hurting a fly, but to also attack all of Orthodoxy. What better opportunity for countless bloggers to paint all Chassidim and G-d fearing Jews in one unflattering brushstroke than this tragedy? Many of these inciters are clearly troubled not by the unrest and the recent heartbreak in this community, but by its very existence. They would much prefer that there be no New Square than a peaceful one. The matchless Torah, avodah, and gemillas chasodim of this G-d fearing community are what irks them, not what one ruthless individual of Skver allegedly perpetrated against another.

Their campaign against the entire frum community has never been as shrill as now. We have yet to find an appropriate unified response.

A TRIP
Against this disheartening backdrop, I traveled this past Sunday to New Square, to visit the venerated Rebbe of Skver and the respected activists of this Upstate Chassidic community. Before meeting the leaders, however, I spent some time in the shtetel proper. To my great surprise, nothing could have been more tranquil and serene. The Chassidic children of New Square, with their long curly peyos, have lost none of their old world yiddishe chein (Jewish charm). In the supermarket, where I purchased a rather decent cup of coffee, it was business as usual. Mincha in the large shul, chanted in that distinctive haunting Charnobyler singsong, was what one would expect in a place like New Square. The mood in the Rebbe’s home did not seem out of the usual either. There were a dozen or so people of all stripes waiting to see him.

Rav Dovid Twersky, commonly referred to as the Skverer Rebbe, one of the most important of the contemporary Chassidic leaders, is the Grand Rabbi of the New York township of New Square. New Square is the Anglicized form of Skvyra, a town in Ukraine, where the Skver Chassidim hail from The Rebbe’s father, Rav Yaakov Yosef Twersky (1900-1968), survived the Soviet revolution and subsequent Civil War, as well as the horrors of the Holocaust and the Second World War. Following that war, he reestablished his movement in America. In the winter of 1956, he founded the village of New Square; it was the world’s first all-Chassidic village. His goal was to provide a spiritual haven for his followers, free of the assorted decadences of the contemporary world. From that winter, when twenty families moved from the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York City, to the former 130-acre dairy farm, the village has blossomed into a home for many thousands. In addition, it serves as a Torah oasis for tens of thousands of people who visit the village and the Rebbe throughout the year.

Since his father’s passing in 1968, the current Rebbe has led his followers through decades of unprecedented growth. He also frequently speaks to Jewish educators and their students, and has counseled thousands on pressing issues of the day.

Visitors to the Rebbe have expressed their awe that, despite the Rebbe’s strenuous schedule and evident piety, he is also at ease in discussing and offering advice on temporal matters ranging from finance to medicine to global political events. This Rebbe listens every day to countless individuals spilling out their troubles to him, and treats every individual with the same tireless patience and respect. Many have adopted Yiddishkeit because of the reverent way that the Rebbe treated them. My experience was no different.

FROM THE HEART
When my host, Rav Shulem Ber Fischl, introduced me to him, the Rebbe smiled warmly and asked me to be seated. I realized quickly that, as is often the case with devout and spiritual people, the Rebbe was as focused as ever in giving every fiber of his being to others. His seemingly added burden had not deterred him from providing loving, personal care and counsel to all who visited him. Indeed, I found that the Rebbe was highly uncomfortable being on the receiving end of one’s compassion and favor.

When he asked me whether I’d looked around in the shtetel’s various institutions, he humbly added that it was difficult for him to talk about the community’s accomplishments. “People come here for Shabbos,” the Rebbe continued, “and are surprised because I never talk about Shabbos here. To self-promote is not the way of my forefathers,” he said, with an almost bashful and self-conscious smile.

Self-concealment is indeed the trademark of the Skverer dynasty. The Rebbe’s grandfather and namesake, Rav Dovid of Skver, would frequently remark, “One must be silent (m’darf shveigen) and then be again silent. And when one tires from so much silence, then one must rest a bit and then continue the silence.”

Though the Rebbe apparently can’t promote Shabbos in Skver, others have done it in his stead. Rav Aryeh Z. Ginzberg, of the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center in the Five Towns, once described his Shabbos in Skver as follows: “Last Shabbos, Parshas Hachodesh, I, along with my family, enjoyed spending an inspiring and uplifting Shabbos in the town of New Square in the presence of the Squarer Rebbe, shlita. Indeed, it was inspiring, for Shabbos in New Square is not just an event, it is an experience.

“While I have been blessed to live in wonderful communities over the years, in Hillcrest and now in the Five Towns where the streets are filled with Shomer Shabbos Yidden of all stripes, it was that Shabbos in New Square that I truly shmeked dem Shabbos (smelled the Shabbos).

“Walking in the streets filled with snow, and the only sight in front of you is of children, and then more children, being escorted by their fathers to the large cavernous Bais Medrash for davening and for the Rebbe’s Tish, all rushing with a singular purpose and mission, all l’kovod Shabbos. Indeed, you could smell the Shabbos in the air.

“Only after spending a long and exhausting Shabbos, participating in all the tishen, from the Friday night tish that ended at 1:30 a.m.; or the Shalosh Seudos tish that concluded with Maariv at around 10:15 p.m., did I comprehend what truly makes the Shabbos experience in Skver unlike anything that I’ve experienced before.”

I told the Rebbe that there are people who are ready to have the world forget everything he has accomplished, to obliterate all this light and charity, because of the failings of one villain or of a few reckless people. He responded with a deep shrug of his shoulders.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms any violence or coercion under any circumstances. The use of force violates the very precepts upon which this community was founded. My father was willing to sacrifice his life for peace, and has tried to instill this trait in the entire community. This is a sad episode for all of us. We must also pray for the speedy recovery of all those hurt in this incident,” he said.

SERENITY AND SOUL SEARCHING
The Rebbe was clearly pained not only because this tragic episode happened in his town, but also because it is so distracting from the spirituality and holiness he strives for and tries to instill in others. Chazal say that even the mention of the word “murder” sullies one’s soul. The Rebbe clearly demonstrates revulsion towards not only to the terrifying idea of bloodshed, but also to the very word. His world is one of spiritual stillness and silence. This may be the reason why it took the Rebbe five days to issue a statement. After discussing the episode with me, he quickly returned to that calm sphere of Chassidic thought about the upcoming yom tov of Shavuos.

While the Rebbe conferred a sense of serenity, meeting with the activists in a private location was a tale of a community struggling to find some logic in this senseless and vicious occurrence. Instead of hearing public relations niceties, as I had expected, I partook in a two-hour-long intercommunity soul searching. I almost felt like an intruder as I watched the participants express their anguish and sense of loss. In the place of answers, I heard them voicing troubling questions. How did the attack, and the events leading up to it, happen? What came to pass in this beautiful town of Skver?

They collectively decided that they must take communal responsibility. This horrific attack on a fellow Jew cannot be pushed under the rug, they proclaimed.

The Chassidim’s love for this Rebbe is boundless, they said. Indeed, any rumors that there are splits in their ranks are just that—rumors. An overwhelming majority is devoted to the Rebbe wholeheartedly.

Everyone present was aware that it will take time, and more than just slogans, to regain what was lost. Just to overcome the innuendo may take years. But serious efforts to do just that are already in progress. Community leaders have gone from classroom to classroom in the schools, educating the students to renew their commitment to the ethos of unity, peace, and love. New Square has historically been a place of peace, charity and kindness. They have promised to put in added efforts so that the community will only foster harmonious relationships between the residents.

The Rebbe shared something with me that I find insightful and revealing. One of the Chernobyler talmidim, he tells me, offered an explanation why Mount Sinai needed to be lifted over the heads of Klal Yisrael in order to coerce them to accept the Torah, even after they have already proclaimed “we will do, and we will listen.” Moshe added an extra day of preparing for matan Torah, he said, because the Jewish nation didn’t yet feel fit to accept the holy Torah. Hashem didn’t want them to delay it further. He lifted the mountain as if to say, “The time to accept the Torah is now. The matter can no longer be delayed.”

“This attitude is in my mesorah.

“I too don’t feel ready for Kabbolas HaTorah.”

His matter-of-fact response was: “Skver is renowned for its chesed.”

That the issue over having only one minyan on Shabbos should be the cause of rancor and bloodshed is tragedy coupled with irony and, indeed, unfathomable heartache for this gentle and selfless leader.

It serves as a Torah oasis for tens of thousands of people who visit the village and the Rebbe throughout the year.

The Rebbe clearly demonstrates revulsion towards not only to the terrifying idea of bloodshed, but also to the very word.

They collectively decided that they must take communal responsibility. This horrific attack on a fellow Jew cannot be pushed under the rug.


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Read Comments (41)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:27 AM ohdear Says:

The article is very nice, and it all may be true. But if it can include a sentence
"after Spitzer allegedly tried to place an incendiary device at the rear deck of the Rottenberg home" how true can it be.
Spitzer did do it, that much we know, the alleged part if you will can include burning down the house.
What is going wrong with our jewish reporting, what happened to good old fashion honesty. If its news its got to be honest.

2

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:45 AM goodguy Says:

We all know the good things about New Square , But the Rebbi has to realize that to inforce the Tekunes of the Shtetal it cant be with force . We need to go to a Beis Din that both sides agree . Force will only destroy his Kehila

3

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:58 AM WiseDude Says:

I am pretty sure that most so-called "reporting" in heimeisher newspapers is not truthful reporting. It is usually sanitized and facts are changed or omitted in order to make up a story that is considered kosher. It may be a kosher story, but it is not a true story that examines the truth of the matter.

4

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:52 PM reblen Says:

This was a very nice article. The Rebbe שליט"א is a holy man who, to the best of my knowledge, is everything the article says about him.

However, the big problem occurred, in my view, because the Rebbe should have IMMEDIATELY come out forcefully and publicly very against what happened.

Instead, there was no official reaction at all, only the idiot who got on TV telling us about how he does not live in the USA. but in "Jewland", and only making the scenario look worse than it already was, even though that hardly seemed possible. Only a few days later was a statement issued, which looked only like after the fact apologetics.

The lesson here is clear. Our leaders must recognize that we live in a world where news is transmitted instantly, and opinions shaped very fast. They must stay ahead of the curve when the inevitable idiotic rasha does something that embarrasses the community, and speak up quickly and forcefully against the scoundrels and hooligans who gives the otherwise peaceful and loving community a black eye.

5

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:40 PM FinVeeNemtMenSeichel Says:

WITH ONE BRUSHSTROKE
Then there is the ancillary [] story: The seizure of this tragedy by NON-ORTHODOX ZEALOTS as a means to besmirch not only the revered Skverer Rebbe ...but to also attack ALL OF ORTHODOXY. What better opportunity for countless bloggers to paint all Chassidim and G-d fearing Jews in one unflattering brushstroke than this tragedy? MANY OF THESE INCITERS ARE TROUBLED [by New Square's] VERY EXISTENCE.... (emphasis and editing added)

Very effective means of squelching other opinions. The fact that so many of us outraged by this event are not only orthodox, not only chassidish but even skverers is belied and marginalized by that paragraph. We all know that this is wrong. We can safely dismiss this article as a fluff-piece.

BTW I love New Square and the Rebbe Shlita and have no intention to stop visiting there or attending tish when the Rebbe comes to town. I don't believe he ordered, approved, or isn't sickened by this crime. It's not only the Rebbe that has control of the situation in NS, and thinking like that is just plain silly. But this article does nothing to add much-needed credibility to this.

6

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:10 PM ExpatriateOwl Says:

"the revered Skverer Rebbe and all of his followers, the majority of whom aren’t capable of even hurting a fly..."

How about slashing tires and breaking windows? Perhaps that done by chiloniim who infiltrated New Square, disguised in black hats and peyos?

7

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
ohdear Says:

The article is very nice, and it all may be true. But if it can include a sentence
"after Spitzer allegedly tried to place an incendiary device at the rear deck of the Rottenberg home" how true can it be.
Spitzer did do it, that much we know, the alleged part if you will can include burning down the house.
What is going wrong with our jewish reporting, what happened to good old fashion honesty. If its news its got to be honest.

I am a cynic, and don't accept the sentences that cannot be true. However, your rejection of this one is off target. When it has not been verified exactly what occurred, one can make assumptions, but must note that it is "alleged". Otherwise, it is illegal to publish the statement. We know there was an incendiary device. But we don't know in detail exactly what the perpetrator wanted to do or tried to do. Our assumptions may be accurate. We do know that the scuffle led to burns on both of them (no intention of equating the perp and the victim). We are just limited in making statements with certainty. This sentence is worded correctly. That is not being defensive of the perp. It is the publisher's obligation for CYA.

8

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:21 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
ohdear Says:

The article is very nice, and it all may be true. But if it can include a sentence
"after Spitzer allegedly tried to place an incendiary device at the rear deck of the Rottenberg home" how true can it be.
Spitzer did do it, that much we know, the alleged part if you will can include burning down the house.
What is going wrong with our jewish reporting, what happened to good old fashion honesty. If its news its got to be honest.

The reason why it says "after Spitzer allegedly tried to place an incendiary device at the rear deck of the Rottenberg home" is because that's what it is, alleged. He never put a device on the porch. He was caught before he was able to.

9

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Sorry but I'm chassidish and I didn't get offended by this whole story I just think it offended the skvere chassidus showing the true colors about them. this article is trying to get all chasidishe people feel as if its a war against them!! And that's not true!!

10

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:21 PM NeveAliza Says:

Reply to #3  
WiseDude Says:

I am pretty sure that most so-called "reporting" in heimeisher newspapers is not truthful reporting. It is usually sanitized and facts are changed or omitted in order to make up a story that is considered kosher. It may be a kosher story, but it is not a true story that examines the truth of the matter.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that their reporting "is not truthful". What they report is true. They just don't report everything. For that very reason many of the "frum" websites are not even touching this terrible story on the belief that if they don't talk about it, it doesn't exist.

11

 Jun 05, 2011 at 01:01 PM allmark Says:

This article is as complete a whitewash as I've ever read.

Some questions that should have been asked to the Rebbe:

1) Is it acceptable for a New Square resident to daven at a different minyan?

2) Have any former residents been forced to move from New Square in the past?

3) Has the Rebbe ever spoken to Shaul Spitzer about Rottenberg?

4) Was the Rebbe aware of the nursing home minyan and if he was, what was his policy toward those who davened there?

5) Was he aware of any of the instances of vandalism at the Rottenberg home?

6) Was he aware of the numerous police visits to the Rottenberg house?

12

 Jun 05, 2011 at 02:02 PM Pickle Says:

"The Rebbe clearly demonstrates revulsion towards not only to the terrifying idea of bloodshed, but also to the very word. His world is one of spiritual stillness and silence. This may be the reason why it took the Rebbe five days to issue a statement."

Why is Ami magazine trying to answer lame excuses for the rebbi? I'm sure he has a very good reason that doesn't make him sound like a fool.

13

 Jun 05, 2011 at 02:26 PM Monseyer Says:

Hammas also has a large network of schools and charitable organizations and it does not erase the fact that they are a terrorist organization.

Skver is still trying to divert the subject rather than deal with the problem.

14

 Jun 05, 2011 at 03:09 PM therealkishke Says:

To my great surprise, nothing could have been more tranquil and serene ... In the supermarket, where I purchased a rather decent cup of coffee, it was business as usual ... The mood in the Rebbe’s home did not seem out of the usual either.

Doesn't Frankfurter see? That's just the problem. It's "business as usual"; whether in the supermarket or whether in the Rebbe's home. No one is shook up by the fact that the Rebbe's hois bochur just tried to murder four people, and ended up sending one to the hospital with serious burns over half his body. And we're supposed to believe that they're taking communal responsibility? When in the Rebbe's house all is calm? They should be tearing kriah and sitting on the floor in sackcloth. This article is an embarassment.

15

 Jun 05, 2011 at 03:11 PM therealkishke Says:

Reply to #11  
allmark Says:

This article is as complete a whitewash as I've ever read.

Some questions that should have been asked to the Rebbe:

1) Is it acceptable for a New Square resident to daven at a different minyan?

2) Have any former residents been forced to move from New Square in the past?

3) Has the Rebbe ever spoken to Shaul Spitzer about Rottenberg?

4) Was the Rebbe aware of the nursing home minyan and if he was, what was his policy toward those who davened there?

5) Was he aware of any of the instances of vandalism at the Rottenberg home?

6) Was he aware of the numerous police visits to the Rottenberg house?

allmark's points are very much on target. Frankfurter should have pressed the Rebbe with his questions. Instead, he let himself be awed by the important man, and asked nothing of import. It's a whitewash.

16

 Jun 05, 2011 at 03:40 PM peace Says:

what the world does not know ,that the rebbi does not have a bucher butler plus he does not live in rebbi house ,he sleeps in the waiting wher ethe rebbi sees people ,for yichud,! and never he doesnt have any connection with rebbi at all

he was sent by the few jiahads that where called upon before from bes din to stop ,but the khila never took real action against it,so they are learning the hard way .

and btw this jihads are ashamed to walk in the streets ,ther are looked down by the other 99 percent from skver

17

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

The reason why it says "after Spitzer allegedly tried to place an incendiary device at the rear deck of the Rottenberg home" is because that's what it is, alleged. He never put a device on the porch. He was caught before he was able to.

Sorry, but your wrong. They have video proof that a rag soaked in explosive material was thrown onto the poarch. It is not alleged, its what he did.

18

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:33 PM Am oretz Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

I am a cynic, and don't accept the sentences that cannot be true. However, your rejection of this one is off target. When it has not been verified exactly what occurred, one can make assumptions, but must note that it is "alleged". Otherwise, it is illegal to publish the statement. We know there was an incendiary device. But we don't know in detail exactly what the perpetrator wanted to do or tried to do. Our assumptions may be accurate. We do know that the scuffle led to burns on both of them (no intention of equating the perp and the victim). We are just limited in making statements with certainty. This sentence is worded correctly. That is not being defensive of the perp. It is the publisher's obligation for CYA.

I don't know whether you are really a cynic, but I do know that you are an uneducated am oretz.

Where did you get the idea that it is illegal to publish a statement that doesn't include the word "alleged"? You are 100% wrong about that. and there is no question on either side whether this was actual or alleged.

Get your facts straight before you criticize someone else, especially someone who was right in the first place!

19

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:38 PM delusional people Says:

Reply to #16  
peace Says:

what the world does not know ,that the rebbi does not have a bucher butler plus he does not live in rebbi house ,he sleeps in the waiting wher ethe rebbi sees people ,for yichud,! and never he doesnt have any connection with rebbi at all

he was sent by the few jiahads that where called upon before from bes din to stop ,but the khila never took real action against it,so they are learning the hard way .

and btw this jihads are ashamed to walk in the streets ,ther are looked down by the other 99 percent from skver

WOW, what a hard-hitting article!

This is a very nice puff-piece that should be good for tourism.

but the introduction of "Rabbi David Twersky, who speaks out in depth about the horrifying events that occurred in New Square less than two weeks ago"?

Really? Where in the article? speaks out in depth? who are they kidding?.

20

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:53 PM ChuchemAtik Says:

I agree that skvere didn't order this hit, as Susman suggests. But he was silent on previous attacks, which was a nod for the "jihadis" that they can get away with murder.
For the record, Ami wrote this in an email to a reader who commented on the article "It is biased to the extreme, guided by the precepts of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, regarding the laws of respect for talmidei chachomim and prohibitions against assigning collective guilt upon a community."

21

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:53 PM dvd571 Says:

bechies noruos when a few chometz crumbs were burned erev pesach but not a tear shed when a human was burned & thats called ahavas yisroel !!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH SAID

22

 Jun 05, 2011 at 07:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry, but your wrong. They have video proof that a rag soaked in explosive material was thrown onto the poarch. It is not alleged, its what he did.

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but when it comes to slander, you should be 100% about something before posting. Have you seen the video? I have spoken to people who HAVE seen it. The fact is that he did NOT throw any rag anywhere, he was holding it in his hands when he was jumped by Mr Rottenberg, and that's how they both got burned. And btw, its in Mr Rottenberg's report as well.

23

 Jun 05, 2011 at 07:38 PM ChuchemAtik Says:

I agree that skvere didn't order this hit, as Susman suggests. But he was silent on previous attacks, which was a nod for the "jihadis" that they can get away with murder.
For the record, Ami wrote this in an email to a reader who commented on the article "It is biased to the extreme, guided by the precepts of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, regarding the laws of respect for talmidei chachomim and prohibitions against assigning collective guilt upon a community."

24

 Jun 05, 2011 at 07:42 PM PR at its best Says:

Reply to #20  
ChuchemAtik Says:

I agree that skvere didn't order this hit, as Susman suggests. But he was silent on previous attacks, which was a nod for the "jihadis" that they can get away with murder.
For the record, Ami wrote this in an email to a reader who commented on the article "It is biased to the extreme, guided by the precepts of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, regarding the laws of respect for talmidei chachomim and prohibitions against assigning collective guilt upon a community."

Based on this, Ami admitted to doing this piece just for fluff? Why would he acknowledge that?

25

 Jun 05, 2011 at 07:45 PM DosIzNeias Says:

Reply to #20  
ChuchemAtik Says:

I agree that skvere didn't order this hit, as Susman suggests. But he was silent on previous attacks, which was a nod for the "jihadis" that they can get away with murder.
For the record, Ami wrote this in an email to a reader who commented on the article "It is biased to the extreme, guided by the precepts of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, regarding the laws of respect for talmidei chachomim and prohibitions against assigning collective guilt upon a community."

Not only the halacha says that you got to respect the community and those who weren't charged with a crime but common sense. Mordy Newman posted those comments on a different blog. He believes that people should rush to judgment. I've become an avid Ami fan since this article.

26

 Jun 05, 2011 at 08:30 PM ChuchemAtik Says:

Reply to #25  
DosIzNeias Says:

Not only the halacha says that you got to respect the community and those who weren't charged with a crime but common sense. Mordy Newman posted those comments on a different blog. He believes that people should rush to judgment. I've become an avid Ami fan since this article.

Is your name Yitzchok Frankfurter by chance? Because I think you're the only Ami fan after this article.
The letter to Ami simply asked if he "asked" Skvere Rebbe questions--not accused--jusked asked.
And Ami basically brushed him off saying that it never was intended on being a article fair to both sides.
I'm glad Ami is honest about not being honest.
Word on the street is that Ami shot himself in the leg with this one.

27

 Jun 05, 2011 at 08:49 PM DosIzNeias Says:

Am I the only one who listened to Sussman? He admitted he has no evidence linking the rebbe to the act other than the fact that spitzer is his butler. That aint a valid case.

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 Jun 05, 2011 at 09:06 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

To quote the editor's own words on the interview directly:

"It is biased to the extreme, guided by the precepts of the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch, regarding the laws of respect for talmidei chachomim"

In other words, it's a puff piece which sacrifices truth in order to curry political favor with the Skverer Rabbi.

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 Jun 05, 2011 at 09:57 PM Upset Says:

In the Navi in the book of Shumel we had big scholars who did wrong like Doeg, Achitofel, Shimi ben Gera and others. Torah Scholars are not exempt from wrong doing.

30

 Jun 05, 2011 at 10:24 PM monseygirl Says:

I personally love reading the Ami magazine each week. I find it refreshingly liberal. However the article on the New Square attack was a huge disappointment! From the content of it one can clearly tell that the Ami just used the last sensational news to attract attention and encourage sales. It basically just mentioned how wonderful Skver is and shoved all the issues under the rug and pretended it was a onetime incident. The Rebbe doesn’t look any better either, since he also just shrugs the whole thing off. If it really pained him he would come out stronger against it.

31

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:39 PM ItisPushit Says:

Monseygirl: The article is saying a lot, you just may not like what it is saying. And the Rebbe isn't shrugging anything off. Am I krazy, because I LOVED this article???

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 Jun 06, 2011 at 10:26 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
ItisPushit Says:

Monseygirl: The article is saying a lot, you just may not like what it is saying. And the Rebbe isn't shrugging anything off. Am I krazy, because I LOVED this article???

itispushit, Firstly, yes are "krazy", even if you can't spell simple words like crazy.

You may have loved the article, but that doesn't make it good, accurate, or newsworthy. You may get all your news from torah times, tv views and mishpocha, but that doesn't stop them from being puff pieces with no factual basis. The article did say a lot, but it did not deliver on its promise to provide a in-depth discussion or reporting on the recent embarrassment.

Monseygirl's comment was right on target.

It is interesting how inaccurate and inappropriate most of the self-styled and self-given names on VIN actually are! The only thing poshit here is that you apparently are a simpleton.

33

 Jun 06, 2011 at 11:09 AM monseygirl Says:

The article barely touched on the actual horrifying story and Mr. Frankfurter seemed more in awe of the Rebbe than delving into what happened. He also says "This horrific and appalling story is beyond commentary or even condemnation" No it isn't! It should be condemned in the strongest possible way and measures should be taken for these kinds of things not to happen again. Mr. Frankfurter should have had an in depth discussion about this with the Rebbe, we don't want to hear about how wonderful the Rebbe and Skver is, this is what we all believed (and know?) till now. The discussion should have been about the Rebbe coming out to his people and speaking about this. These actions have been done in his name (I'm not saying his command) for his honor. If he really is a great man he should forgive his honor because this is not what Jewish people do. It's not a commandement in the torah to only daven in the Skver shul if you live in Skver, however killing, stealing, hurting people, embarresing people..... this the torah forbids and those who do these things will be punished and saying I did it to defend the Rebbe's honor won't be an excuse in the next world.

34

 Jun 06, 2011 at 12:19 PM talking stam Says:

thank you ami for this beautifully written article. it is so sweet and heartwarming, a true fairy tale. i am thankful to ami for giving me a happy story, worthy of reading to little children before bedtime. i think someone should bring it to rottenberg to read, because he would surely benefit to take his mind off the pain and disfigurement he is suffering, with a sweet happy news article.

35

 Jun 06, 2011 at 12:42 PM chalat Says:

Sometimes “timing” is everything.
Dear Editor,
Your article about New Square would have been nice reading, if only your timing was a bit more tasteful.
I ponder why is it that specifically at this time when all are appalled by the horrors that so recently took place there did you find it necessary to write about the מעלות of Square?
Teshuvah is an uncomfortable process. Yes, it is embarrassing to own up to ones faults, and it is painful to look into the mirror and sit with ones עוולות. But that is precisely what one needs to do if one is concerned about their ערליכקייט.
For Square (or any of her friends) to be busy now with her מעלות (which I’m sure there are plenty,) instead of desperately searching for a way to right this outrageous wrong is simply deeply disappointing!

36

 Jun 06, 2011 at 03:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #35  
chalat Says:

Sometimes “timing” is everything.
Dear Editor,
Your article about New Square would have been nice reading, if only your timing was a bit more tasteful.
I ponder why is it that specifically at this time when all are appalled by the horrors that so recently took place there did you find it necessary to write about the מעלות of Square?
Teshuvah is an uncomfortable process. Yes, it is embarrassing to own up to ones faults, and it is painful to look into the mirror and sit with ones עוולות. But that is precisely what one needs to do if one is concerned about their ערליכקייט.
For Square (or any of her friends) to be busy now with her מעלות (which I’m sure there are plenty,) instead of desperately searching for a way to right this outrageous wrong is simply deeply disappointing!

I'm not the editor of Ami, but this is how I would respond.

I deeply appreciate your constructive feedback about how to choose which articles to publish in my magazine and exactly when to do so. However, I hoped that the readership would have received it differently. The article was not intended as a fairy tale, nor was it a whitewash for tragic events of the recent months. I hoped it would detract from the swell of viciousness and rage directed at a shtetl that is imperfect, but also exemplary in many ways. I also hoped that readers would recognize evils for what they are, and use the experience as a springboard to engage in personal "housecleaning". Everyone has what to fix, New Square included. Here, Skver got into the media, and the event was horrific.

But there is much more to do, everywhere, and I would hope that each of us begins that work at home. Smile to your spouse and children, guard yourself from lashon horah, practice better interpersonal midos, bring honesty and yir'as Hashem to a better level. Yes, Skver is now the focus, and a victim is hospitalized in serious condition. We need to daven for him (that's all we can do). Fixing? Begin at home.

37

 Jun 06, 2011 at 04:24 PM ChaimAron Says:

Reply to #36  
Anonymous Says:

I'm not the editor of Ami, but this is how I would respond.

I deeply appreciate your constructive feedback about how to choose which articles to publish in my magazine and exactly when to do so. However, I hoped that the readership would have received it differently. The article was not intended as a fairy tale, nor was it a whitewash for tragic events of the recent months. I hoped it would detract from the swell of viciousness and rage directed at a shtetl that is imperfect, but also exemplary in many ways. I also hoped that readers would recognize evils for what they are, and use the experience as a springboard to engage in personal "housecleaning". Everyone has what to fix, New Square included. Here, Skver got into the media, and the event was horrific.

But there is much more to do, everywhere, and I would hope that each of us begins that work at home. Smile to your spouse and children, guard yourself from lashon horah, practice better interpersonal midos, bring honesty and yir'as Hashem to a better level. Yes, Skver is now the focus, and a victim is hospitalized in serious condition. We need to daven for him (that's all we can do). Fixing? Begin at home.

Excellent comment!

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 Jun 06, 2011 at 05:00 PM chalat Says:

“Anonymous” nice try.
True, we should all be kind to our neighbors and smile at our spouses. But most of us don’t harass our neighbors when they refuse to daven in our shul.
Most of our children don’t taunt their classmates who chose to wear a different color yarmulke either.

Do we have what to fix? Of course.
Does our level of intolerance, egocentricity and totalitarianism raise to the level of those depicted in the Ami article? Absolutely not.

Why don’t you try to sell your coleade at a different stand?

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 Jun 06, 2011 at 09:03 PM ChuchemAtik Says:

This is the original letter by newman to Ami, sent BEFORE the article was published, which now circulates the blogsphere:
Dear Ami editor,
I commend you for doing what no one else was able to and get an interview with Skvere Rebbe concerning the burning incident. I implore you however to realize that you have an opportunity of a lifetime to make or break your magazine for the next decade with one decision. The world will be reading the article and will decide the fate of the Ami magazine based on this one question: will you ask hard journalistic questions or will you simply put a New Square spin on it?
If there is one question to be asked of Skvere Rebbe it would be the following: The world knows that the Rebbe’s word is the word of God. And the world knows that the Rebbe knows everything that is going on in New Square. And the world knows that the Rebbe was silent during previous acts of terror and violence done to Rottenberg and others. Why the condemnation only now when the Rebbe is facing a PR disaster of epic proportions?
Dear Ami editor, if you asked that question of the Rebbe—or at least if you raise it in your article—then we will respect and embrace this new publication of yours. If not, then you can peddle your publication to the Skvere Mikvah Yid, for the greater Jewish medium will not be stupefied and insulted by bad journalism.

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 Jun 06, 2011 at 09:07 PM MoisheHaKohen Says:

Ami defended his piece in an email where he rambled things like achdus and stuff like that. He was countered by a reader withe the following:
 
In the exchange of our correspondence you have managed to quote Rishonim (Rambam), Achronim (Shulchan Aruch) and Chasidus (Reb Elimelech of Lizensk) all to support your claim. This is not a new technique, others have done it before you. During the Moishe Finkel incident (of selling non-kosher meat) there were some holy people who were quoting the Chofetz Chaim and other sources claiming that this is Loshon Horah and slander. Somehow the Mishana that has eluded them has eluded you as well: (Avot 4:5) "Do not make the words of Torah a crown to magnify yourself or an axe with which to chop."

Ouch!!!

41

 Jun 06, 2011 at 09:09 PM zurechBechoishech Says:

Reply to #25  
DosIzNeias Says:

Not only the halacha says that you got to respect the community and those who weren't charged with a crime but common sense. Mordy Newman posted those comments on a different blog. He believes that people should rush to judgment. I've become an avid Ami fan since this article.

I liked from the letter best the story with viznitze rebe


A few years ago during the Hakofos on Simchas Torah in Viznitz Shul in Monsey there were some women who were leaning over the balcony of the women’s shul. The next day a clever chasidish zealot decided to take matters into his own hands and smeared honey on the gallery fence to prevent this from happening again. The very next day (not a week later) the Viznitze Rebbe made it known that if the villain doesn’t come forward, he will not forgive him in this world or the next. Sure enough the villain came running to the Rebbe where he received his punishment. Now THAT is what i call leadership and THAT is what i call zero tolerance for taking matters into your own hands. And you can rest assured, no Viznitz chasid ever thought of burning anyone’s house after that, or slashing tires for that matter.

Can anyone verify this story??

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