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New Square, NY - Letter: Spitzer Sought Mischief, Not Murder, in Rottenberg Attack

Published on: August 20, 2011 09:23 PM
By: Read full article at The Journal News
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New Square, NY - A community group has circulated a letter claiming Shaul Spitzer just wanted to make mischief on the early May morning that he’s accused of trying to kill a dissident resident and burn down the man’s house with his family inside.

Spitzer, 18, is charged with trying to kill Aron Rottenberg, 43, who defied Skver Grand Rebbe David Twersky by not praying at the rabbi’s synagogue in the village.

Three board members of the New Square Kehila issued a “special letter for Skver followers and friends.” The Kehila deals with charity and other communal affairs.

The letter-writers state that after gathering the facts, “the most important thing we have learned is that the teenage boy did not intend to harm anyone.”

They argue that the incendiary device went off when Rottenberg went after Spitzer, who is accused of tossing one device on the back porch.

“He never wanted to burn a house with five people inside,” the letter says. “His design was mischief on Lag Be’omer night, not arson.”

The Lag Be’omer holiday involves lighting bonfires to honor the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who is linked to a Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire. In Israel, the holiday is celebrated as a symbol of the fighting Jewish spirit.

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The letter condemns violence, says Rottenberg was unjustly attacked, calls for community peace and says “disagreements in a community have to be solved by adults with reason, not by teenage boys with mischief.”

The letter staunchly defends Twersky and the New Square Hasidic Jewish community against criticism and ridicule.

Read full article at The Journal News. The letter here 


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Read Comments (38)  —  Post Yours »

3

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:36 PM Track5 Says:

We don't know what indented To do, we know what he did,and his act is not acceptable no difference what his intention were,And there were a couple houses that burned down prior to the lag homer incident,and the skever rebbi is the commander of chief of skver,so he supposed To condemn this attacks,and he didn't, so he has to take the full responsibility.

4

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:40 PM VeyIzMir Says:

Mischief with gasoline and matches? Ummmmmm........ Not!

5

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Yea yea... Blah blah...
Shame on u so called rabbis and shame on u new square,
Isn't the halacha that u have to hear both sides before u give out a letter (psak halcha), was Mr Rotenberg there??

6

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:52 PM shtill Says:

The fact that Spitzer had no muderous intentions are probably true and very believable. I just fail to see how this letter changes anything. It does not address the alleged terrorization of a family for months. It also does not address how a teenager learning in yeshiva can stoop so low and what will be done to avoid such acts in the future.

7

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Not even one person even in New Square believe this letter,

8

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:52 PM newtransplant Says:

You sure that shouldn't read 'three 'bored' members......

9

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:57 PM Anonymous Says:

"The letter staunchly defends Twersky and the New Square Hasidic Jewish community against criticism and ridicule."

Of course. Blame the victim as usual. Unfortunately, the Feds were advised to stay away and they listened due to political pressure from above.

10

 Aug 20, 2011 at 09:57 PM shosh Says:

Regardless of the intent he has to accept the consequence of his actions.

11

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:00 PM Anonymous Says:

"His design was mischief on Lag Be’omer night, not arson.”
How stupid do these Skvere think people are to believe this lame attempt to excuse what was clearly an intent by Spitzer to intimidiate Rottenberg and possibly inflict fatal harm. Fortunately, the prosecutor has indicated he will vigorously prosecute the case and seek the maximum sentence. Hopefully, spitzer will spend much of the rest of his life in prison for what he has done and so that none of Twersky's other followers ever again engages in such "mischief".

12

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:14 PM Ari48 Says:

Being that I am in the New Square mailing list , I received the letter this week , the fact that there are many spelling and grammar mistakes in the letter makes me believe that the letter was not sent out by New Square , they would never send out a letter like this that is doing more harm them good !! The Lag Bomer mischief story is a farce that no one would believe anyway !!

13

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:18 PM Sherree Says:

The question should be asked, if mischief was his intent then why Rottenberg's house? And had he done it to someone else's house or to the shul, would they still come to the same conclusion and write the same letter?

14

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:19 PM SHOU-B Says:

Is the next ploy is to claim insanity ? This is NOT a game of cat and mouse, you disobey the law you suffer the consequenses
regardless of nationality or religion.
Mischief ?? more appropriately described as "hooliganism"
uneducated teenagers going wild.

16

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:46 PM DB_from_LI Says:

He went there with an incendiary device but only wanted to cause/make some mischief? Even toddlers know "play with fire....... get burned"! What did he think was gonna happen?

17

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:56 PM Vozizalt Says:

Dear Skvere,

Get with the program! You may be absolutely correct regarding his intentions, maybe they were pure mischief.
What you and the Rebbe fail to get, is in your "letter" you describe a "YID".
The Rebbe nor the board, NONE of you, have said his NAME. He is not just a YID, he is a person. Until you ask Mechilla as a community to the YID, you will only continue to see tzorris. SAY HIS NAME. Call him up, ask him if he needs some help. Tell him you all amde a mistake, say your sorry. Ask him to return his daughter to Yeshiva. Give him an Aliyah, maybe the community wounds will begin to heal.
The "boy" Spitzer is a side show, not the underlying issue!

18

 Aug 20, 2011 at 10:59 PM Anonymous Says:

The feds? Where were they by kletzky when we needed them??? I know for fact they came down one night had a meeting with shomrim for half hour and never came back or followed up

19

 Aug 20, 2011 at 11:05 PM onlyTruth Says:

I quote from the letter "indeed the device he put on the man's back porch was too primitive to do any real damage"

Molotov cocktails do burn down houses. Do a search on Google. Here is a quote from one article. "OKLAHOMA CITY - Molotov cocktails were found at the scene of a fire that burned down a duplex in northeast Oklahoma City Wednesday, authorities said."

As far as I know fire is "very primitive".
It was created on Motzai Shabbos over 5,000 years ago. Still In 2006, 412,500 houses burned down and 2,620 people died in those house fires.

So indeed the device (as they call it) could have burnt down the house with its occupants. The victim actually prevented the death of his family members.
Then they have a chutzpa to put the blame on the victim using his own words.

"The Lag Be’omer holiday involves lighting bonfires to honor the teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai."

What a "honer" for Rabbi Shimon it would have been to burn 5 people.

20

 Aug 20, 2011 at 11:16 PM Feivish Says:

Reply to #12  
Ari48 Says:

Being that I am in the New Square mailing list , I received the letter this week , the fact that there are many spelling and grammar mistakes in the letter makes me believe that the letter was not sent out by New Square , they would never send out a letter like this that is doing more harm them good !! The Lag Bomer mischief story is a farce that no one would believe anyway !!

If its not official they should declare that this letter is a fraud, the same way they did with a letter of Rav Wosner of Montreal

21

 Aug 20, 2011 at 11:23 PM Abe Says:

What a disgrace of a letter. They totally miss the point. The whole world believes this was a botched hit on a dissident with the shots called from the top. This letter will only reinforce that belief. No letter no sense of outrage that a Jew was nearly burned alive for practicing his religion as he saw fit. No the umbrage is about the ridicule their community is receiving - all very deservedly so!

22

 Aug 20, 2011 at 11:34 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Anonymous Says:

The feds? Where were they by kletzky when we needed them??? I know for fact they came down one night had a meeting with shomrim for half hour and never came back or followed up

What are you suggesting the federal authorities should have done in the Kletzky case if the Shomrim were unable to do anything. That was a local crime and not a case for federal involvement. At least in the Rottenberg case they can file a civil rights violation case and seek justice for the victim.

23

 Aug 21, 2011 at 01:18 AM jnuss Says:

Soon the headlines will read as follows:
Hamas sought Mischief, Not Murder, in Israel Attack

24

 Aug 21, 2011 at 01:33 AM lazerx Says:

mischief? trying to burn down a house in the middle of the night with a family sleeping inside? if you belief that this is mischief than you will believe anything. This is attempted murder and Spitzer deserves the penalty, and the Rebbe should be investigated as to why he let things get out of hand by his chassidim. The Rebbe, as a communal leader, bears indirect responsibility for such a terrible thing to happen.

25

 Aug 21, 2011 at 01:49 AM yosher Says:

We do not hear from Squer Rebbe nor from gedolai Yisrael anywhere... she-hoya bee-yedayhem limchos ve-lo mochu!

26

 Aug 21, 2011 at 01:55 AM Ben Says:

The New Square community shares the blame and I wish the same on them as I do Muslim extremists

27

 Aug 21, 2011 at 02:05 AM allmark Says:

Reply to #13  
Sherree Says:

The question should be asked, if mischief was his intent then why Rottenberg's house? And had he done it to someone else's house or to the shul, would they still come to the same conclusion and write the same letter?

You are exactly right. Just a bit of teen age mischief taking a gasoline firebomb to a person's house who has been the subject of a series of vicious attacks. Kids will be kids...right.

The way the article is written it implies that really, it is Rottenberg who is to blame. It was his fault that by reaching out to Spitzer the injury occured.

Don't the authors of this letter have any sense of shame??

28

 Aug 21, 2011 at 03:25 AM The Silence is Deafening Says:

This ugly incident has left an ugly scar on the New Square community that will never ever heal.

29

 Aug 21, 2011 at 08:20 AM Shaul in Monsey Says:

I'm not sure what the goal of sending out the letter was other than to make me sure that Spitzer deserves a good 20 years in jail. Maybe we'll get lucky while he's away and he'll go off the derech and convert to another religion, oh, wait, he's already done that.

30

 Aug 21, 2011 at 08:53 AM Track5 Says:

Reply to #25  
yosher Says:

We do not hear from Squer Rebbe nor from gedolai Yisrael anywhere... she-hoya bee-yedayhem limchos ve-lo mochu!

25 is right, not only did Skverer Rebbi had to condemn this attack, nor all gedola yisroel should've come out and condemn such an act, chasidic, litvish,& sephardic, should of stood up and protest such an act,they should of called up skverer Rebbi and demand an explanation, I guess we"re the generation of moshiach and we can't expect from our leaders such honesty, we"re waiting anciently he should come, then we"ll know who are the real tzadikim, the bus drivers, the dry cleaners, the hard working fathers, that didn't afford to fly every week to Swiss-land for vacation or to La to pick up a check,and after 10 hours hard work they went to daven and learn an hour with their blue shirts, and then they ran for a mekimi/chesed/or chavirim call, they might be the tzadikim of our generation.

31

 Aug 21, 2011 at 09:35 AM onlyTruth Says:

Reply to #25  
yosher Says:

We do not hear from Squer Rebbe nor from gedolai Yisrael anywhere... she-hoya bee-yedayhem limchos ve-lo mochu!

He was sort of mochee. At a siyum for bucherim he said something like "dos iz nist de derch fin skver. inzer derech iz given darkai noam..."

But that is not enough.

32

 Aug 21, 2011 at 09:44 AM Anonymous Says:

18 years old! what was he doing @ 4:00 A.M. in the street's ???

33

 Aug 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM Paulie123 Says:

What a gelechter. Soon the rabbis of New Square will insist that Levi Aron was also only up to mischief and did not intend any harm on poor leiby kletzky ah. What an upside world we are living in

34

 Aug 21, 2011 at 11:53 AM J-R-S Says:

Reply to #6  
shtill Says:

The fact that Spitzer had no muderous intentions are probably true and very believable. I just fail to see how this letter changes anything. It does not address the alleged terrorization of a family for months. It also does not address how a teenager learning in yeshiva can stoop so low and what will be done to avoid such acts in the future.

>

How ridiculous. What does that even mean? WHY is that "probably true"---do frum yidden USUALLY light fires on people's porches with gasoline as a joke? Even innocent, naive chasiddishe yungeleit know how fire works.
Your other points are valid.

35

 Aug 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Ben Says:

The New Square community shares the blame and I wish the same on them as I do Muslim extremists

That's precisely the type of immature, unnuanced overstatement that typically brings frum discussions down to a juvenile level. There's no justifying anyone, in or out of Skver, making excuses for evil acts---but you don't equate every individual living in a very conformist community who fails to condemn something... with people (Muslim or otherwise) who murder innocent men, women & children. If you can't see the difference, you're actually the one who's morally blind.

Yes, it's utterly important, on principle & for our own neshamos, to recognize and protest evil. But we can't judge someone who fails that test as if they'd actually committed the evil; that's clearly ridiculous & distorted, and few people would pass the test. How many heimishe/frum people would join other Americans in an anti-slavery march, if that were happening today?

36

 Aug 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM Anonymous Says:

This letter is an an Al Sharpton-style apology. Remember Tawana Brawley? That was the same kind of "misunderstanding."

37

 Aug 21, 2011 at 12:31 PM ilovehashem Says:

I do not put the blame on the 18 yar old teen but on his parents and community , Its the terrible upbringing and not giving your children the right chinuch.
A child who is born into such a community that shuns anybody who does not look like them or stick to thier ridiculess rules of not dovening in any other shuls but thier own. A community who does not teach ahavas Yisrael then it is not suprizing to me that a child is able to do what he did , they teach thier children that it is ok to hate jews that are not like them , they have a holier the though attitude.
Wake up new square community wake up new square rebbi and preach to your people that the torah is not about wearing shtriemels and peyos but about ve ahavta le reecha kamocha no matter what type of a jew you are and where you doven. Teach your children that violence in not ok that they should respect every jew .

38

 Aug 21, 2011 at 01:07 PM josebar Says:

Criminal neglegence-----------is called shogeg karov lemazid you go to the aray miklot for the rest of your life b/c H picked you to punish you b/c your not a good person -sim0n min hashamayim .American law attempted murder-u didnt mean it ?????????? your an adult and therefore chayav . Why didnt the Rebbi cherem them ziddle them out ????? He didnt visit the choleh right away----- bezayon .Show the world we punish criminals.

39

 Aug 21, 2011 at 08:34 PM BPHocker Says:

If all he was looking for was mischief why didn't he go to the mikva where most of the skvere mischief occurs?

40

 Aug 21, 2011 at 11:30 PM josebar Says:

Looking for mischief??? A frum yid?? A Chasid?????????? dos iz a rosho oiusvurf Shygatz. Send him to jail this chilul Hashemnick. Show the world we dont tolerate shlecte yidden,who burn other people ,a roitzaach

41

 Aug 22, 2011 at 01:42 PM Anon Says:

What a bunch of immature, dumb, and senseless comments

42

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