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Washington - Chabad Seeks Default Judgment Against Russia

Published on: July 28, 2009 04:35 PM
By:  The BLT
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Washington - A Jewish organization asked a federal judge for a default judgment against Russia today, following the country’s exit from a long-running lawsuit over a priceless religious library.

Lawyers for Chabad-Lubavitch, one of the world’s largest sects of ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews, filed a motion today at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accusing Russia of flaunting U.S. law by ducking out of the suit.

On June 26, Russia filed a notice informing the court that it would no longer participate in the litigation, which it called “incompatible with its rights as a sovereign nation.”

Russia, represented by a team from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, had already litigated the case through a motion to dismiss and an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which ruled that all of Chabad’s claims could go forward.

“[Russia’s] refusal to accept the decision of the Court of Appeals and their disobedience of this Court’s orders and contempt for this Court’s processes warrant the entry of a default,” Chabad’s filing states.

Chabad’s lawyers — Nathan Lewin and Alyza Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, Marshall Grossman and Seth Gerber of Bingham McCutchen, and William Bradford Reynolds of Howrey — said they would seek a default shortly after Russia abandoned the suit.

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Even, if they convince Judge Royce Lamberth to rule in their favor, collecting on the judgment could be difficult. It unclear they will be able to seek Russian assets in the U.S., or if they will have to seek compensation in a Russian court.



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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 28, 2009 at 03:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Rabbi YY Schneerson did flee their country. He was clearly in violation of the laws of the Union when he set up secret synagogues, underground day schools and mikvaot. If he really wanted to hold onto the library, he should have followed the rules like everyone else and behaved like a proper citizen.

2

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:09 PM Yaakovsladder Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Rabbi YY Schneerson did flee their country. He was clearly in violation of the laws of the Union when he set up secret synagogues, underground day schools and mikvaot. If he really wanted to hold onto the library, he should have followed the rules like everyone else and behaved like a proper citizen.

Proper citizens who did follow the rules were being shot and exiled to Siberia. What would you like him to do, abandon Yiddishkeit because some self professed athiests were passing laws outlawing Yiddishkeit? We are all compelled by the Torah to follow laws the countries in which we live. This only goes so far as the laws do not contradict Halacha. The Soviet Union's laws banning Religion clearly did this.

3

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:14 PM cub fan Says:

are you blind to the work that he did for our fellow jews and the foundations he layed by leaving russia and coming to america? the rules that you are claiming he broke were set up by those who's only goal was to destroy the jewish people, is your dislike for the lubavitch chabad movement that deep that you write such nonsense?

4

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Rabbi YY Schneerson did flee their country. He was clearly in violation of the laws of the Union when he set up secret synagogues, underground day schools and mikvaot. If he really wanted to hold onto the library, he should have followed the rules like everyone else and behaved like a proper citizen.

1. Rabbi YY Schneerson did not flee their country. He was exiled in 1927 and took his library with him.
2. The library in question was confiscated by the Nazis Y"S after the Rebbe escaped from Poland during the war. The Russians assumed ownership of the library following the war and took it back to Russia.

5

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:48 PM he truth Says:

I'm not 100 percent sure but maybe someone can clarify this. The schnierson family was considered a honory loyal citizens since the bal hotonya. At the time of napolion, as rabbi yy shnierzon was claiming when he was arrested. It was then that they tried to deny his honory and take away the title with the library

6

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:41 PM is this hisgarus be'imos? Says:

Does this constitute Hisgarus Be'Imos? Just asking.

7

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:39 PM Aryeh Says:

What do the goyim know from sefoirim? They tried this schtick in Alleppo as well. I tell you what though, if this works, I want to file suit against the Vatican to recover our keilim as well.

8

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:15 PM Chaim S. Says:

I seriously can't believe that someone would actually rationalize the Russian's actions by condoning what they did and basing it on the fact that the Rebbe Ztzl fled torture and persecution for the illegality of teaching Torah. He should have followed the rules and abrogated the Torah? This guy is real? No matter, Chabad will win as Chabad won the last time they tried to reclaim the Rebbe's library. Didon notzach then and didon will be menatzeiach now.

9

 Jul 28, 2009 at 05:36 PM Plain Jew Says:

This law suit is uncovering the treachery of the Soviet Regime. If the current government goes along with it, it means that they have not rejected their tyrannical past.

10

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:29 PM Ruvi Says:

This case is a waste of time because russia will never give it back and maybe there will get a small judgement.

What the case did do is piss off Putin and comp who have given to chabad hundreds of buildings for yeshivas and schools and have given them much more than the value of these Sefarim which most have no real value and the handwritten notes chabad already has copies of most of them

11

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:28 PM Anonymous Says:

If the library was confiscated by the Germans and the Russians defeated the Germans, why do they owe anything to Chabad?
It would be like G-d forbid America being conquored by the Afghans, and the original Indian trilbes suing Afgahanistan for land that America took from them.

12

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Rabbi YY Schneerson did flee their country. He was clearly in violation of the laws of the Union when he set up secret synagogues, underground day schools and mikvaot. If he really wanted to hold onto the library, he should have followed the rules like everyone else and behaved like a proper citizen.

You must have voted for Obama because when he confiscates your property you are going to let him take it

13

 Jul 28, 2009 at 04:17 PM Anonymous Says:

I'd like them to get the books back, but I am puzzled how and why this is in U.S. court. If I am a Russian citizen who used to live in the U.S. and claim that the Library of Congress has property that belongs to me and that they took it while I was in the U.S. , could I sue the U.S. in a russian court to get the books back? Would the U.S. agree to have ownership of the books decided by a Russian court and obey the order of a Russian court?

14

 Jul 28, 2009 at 06:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Ruvi Says:

This case is a waste of time because russia will never give it back and maybe there will get a small judgement.

What the case did do is piss off Putin and comp who have given to chabad hundreds of buildings for yeshivas and schools and have given them much more than the value of these Sefarim which most have no real value and the handwritten notes chabad already has copies of most of them

Are you in the pay of Berel Lazar? Most of us real Lubavitchers see through the treacherous alliance between Lazar and the government in which Lazar has become an impotent rav mi-taam and we want nothing of him or his attempts to keep the sforim in Russia.

15

 Jul 28, 2009 at 05:57 PM Anonymous Says:

I wonder politically if this is the best way to go about it. Would the U.S. let a foreign court decide whether it lawfully owns something? As a matter of pride, the Russian government is not going to let a u.s. court tell it what to do. Aren't there any other political/diplomatic routes to take. Couldn't Chabad let the Russian government save face by, for example, paying a small honorarium for having taken care of the books all these years in exchange for their safe return? I just don't see how a ruling by a u.s. court is going to get the books back.

16

 Jul 28, 2009 at 06:50 PM Smart & Sober Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Are you in the pay of Berel Lazar? Most of us real Lubavitchers see through the treacherous alliance between Lazar and the government in which Lazar has become an impotent rav mi-taam and we want nothing of him or his attempts to keep the sforim in Russia.

Most of us real Lubavitchers...

Who are "most of real Lubavitchers?"

This is a conflict of interest between those Shluchim who live in Russia (spreading Yidishkeit) and are at the mercy of the Russian government for everything and are therefore wary of antagonizing it, and a group of dedicated people who want the books to be finally returned to the rightful owner since it is not just books, but the physical legacy of the many of the Chabad Rebbeim.

This is complicated and not clear cut even for "real" Lubavitchers.




17

 Jul 28, 2009 at 08:24 PM Snag Says:

I'm sure that one day soon this priceless collection of Sherlock Holmes books will make its way to the rightful owners, the yorshim of Berke Gurary.

18

 Jul 28, 2009 at 08:35 PM Anonymous Says:

I think it is silly that people talk such garbage about Lazar.
When you are at the mercy of those Russians we will see if you act any differently.

19

 Jul 28, 2009 at 07:27 PM Anonymous Says:

but the Rebbe himself wanted the seforim back and sent rb. cunin on many missions to russia as well and things were looking up for a while. dedan natzach.

20

 Jul 28, 2009 at 07:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
Smart & Sober Says:

Most of us real Lubavitchers...

Who are "most of real Lubavitchers?"

This is a conflict of interest between those Shluchim who live in Russia (spreading Yidishkeit) and are at the mercy of the Russian government for everything and are therefore wary of antagonizing it, and a group of dedicated people who want the books to be finally returned to the rightful owner since it is not just books, but the physical legacy of the many of the Chabad Rebbeim.

This is complicated and not clear cut even for "real" Lubavitchers.




Those of us who really know the score see that Lazar is not even able to stop deportations.

Besides last time I checked the Rebbe asked for those sforim to be brought to NY. This is not just something we want for ourselves. For my part a library in Bronnaya is just fine for the sforim. But the Rebbe said otherwise and that is the end of it.

And if certain parties want to keep them in and pretend to be shluchim then they are not doing their job and will end up ois shaliach anyway.

21

 Jul 28, 2009 at 09:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

but the Rebbe himself wanted the seforim back and sent rb. cunin on many missions to russia as well and things were looking up for a while. dedan natzach.

But did the Rebbe say that suing in the U.S. was the way to get the library back?

22

 Jul 28, 2009 at 09:24 PM Smart & Sober Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

Those of us who really know the score see that Lazar is not even able to stop deportations.

Besides last time I checked the Rebbe asked for those sforim to be brought to NY. This is not just something we want for ourselves. For my part a library in Bronnaya is just fine for the sforim. But the Rebbe said otherwise and that is the end of it.

And if certain parties want to keep them in and pretend to be shluchim then they are not doing their job and will end up ois shaliach anyway.

Al Todin Es Chavercha At Shetagiah Limikomo

23

 Jul 29, 2009 at 06:12 AM dovid's friend Says:

This is has nothing to do with Chabad. This is an issue of yiddishkeit. May we be zoche to see all of the heilige seforim in yiddishe hands so they can be preserved and utilized for limud HaTorah!

24

 Jul 29, 2009 at 01:45 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Snag Says:

I'm sure that one day soon this priceless collection of Sherlock Holmes books will make its way to the rightful owners, the yorshim of Berke Gurary.

And whom exactly might that be, being that he didn't have children?

25

 Jul 29, 2009 at 09:36 AM Tam Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

Are you in the pay of Berel Lazar? Most of us real Lubavitchers see through the treacherous alliance between Lazar and the government in which Lazar has become an impotent rav mi-taam and we want nothing of him or his attempts to keep the sforim in Russia.

Please respect Rabbi Lazar. He was selected as chief Rabbi by local Rabonim long before he had anything with Putin.
Having said this, he is limited in what he can do, and all avenues most be explored to get back the Rebbes library.

26

 Jul 29, 2009 at 09:31 AM Tam Says:

Reply to #5  
he truth Says:

I'm not 100 percent sure but maybe someone can clarify this. The schnierson family was considered a honory loyal citizens since the bal hotonya. At the time of napolion, as rabbi yy shnierzon was claiming when he was arrested. It was then that they tried to deny his honory and take away the title with the library

The term "Honor loyal citizens" granted by Czarist Russia had no meaning to the Communist regime, where everybody is a brother. In context, it appears he that knew very well this title had no meaning. The officers asked him who he is, so he played dumb and tolled them that he is very well known having the title of "Honor loyal citizens", and if they do not know who he is, they must have the wrong address. They should leave now and can come back next day.

27

 Jul 29, 2009 at 09:46 AM Yehuda Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

If the library was confiscated by the Germans and the Russians defeated the Germans, why do they owe anything to Chabad?
It would be like G-d forbid America being conquored by the Afghans, and the original Indian trilbes suing Afgahanistan for land that America took from them.

Isn't that what the Arabs are doing to Israel & yhe US seems to have no problem with that. And what's worse is that the Arabs (so called paletinians) never had a claim to the land.

28

 Jul 29, 2009 at 09:43 AM Yehuda Says:

Reply to #5  
he truth Says:

I'm not 100 percent sure but maybe someone can clarify this. The schnierson family was considered a honory loyal citizens since the bal hotonya. At the time of napolion, as rabbi yy shnierzon was claiming when he was arrested. It was then that they tried to deny his honory and take away the title with the library

What you say is true. They were honorary citizens under the czars. Under the communists this did not hold true.

29

 Jul 29, 2009 at 09:42 AM Yehuda Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Rabbi YY Schneerson did flee their country. He was clearly in violation of the laws of the Union when he set up secret synagogues, underground day schools and mikvaot. If he really wanted to hold onto the library, he should have followed the rules like everyone else and behaved like a proper citizen.

I believe he took the seforim when he left Russia to go to Riga. It is only when the Russians captured Riga that they took the seforim to Moscow.
Regarding your comments that he should act as a normal citizen. When yiddishkeit is being threatened one has to do whatever is required to make sure that yidden have the opportunity to learn & do what is required of a Jew. According to you if the US will c"v come up with laws that do not allow Jewish education, bris, kashrut, mikvah etc. you will happily follow thos new draconian laws.

30

 Jan 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM ShulaS Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Rabbi YY Schneerson did flee their country. He was clearly in violation of the laws of the Union when he set up secret synagogues, underground day schools and mikvaot. If he really wanted to hold onto the library, he should have followed the rules like everyone else and behaved like a proper citizen.

Are you for real? If Jews had followed all the laws enacted against them through the history, where would we be?

31

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