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The butler did it with the havdallah candle in the beis medrish

Actually the Skverer Rebbe’s butler did it with an incendiary device and a container of gasoline on someone’s porch, but nevertheless this is the worst case of shul politics I’ve ever seen. San Jose even has a failed breakaway minyan that is still there despite the fact they rarely get a minyan and the reason they broke away is long gone, but if I decide to go there I could pretty much guarantee that no one, not even my Rabbis butler would try to burn my house down while my family slept.

Normally I would say that there’s no way the Helige Skever Rebbe (whom I have visited in the past for brachos with my father) would be responsible for telling his butler to burn a families house down, but unfortunately I don’t have much faith in the Chassidic leaders anymore.

So the guy decided to leave your shul, but still live in the community, big deal. You don’t need to kill the guy, do you? Then again, this guy probably knew it was coming considering the fact he was watching his back porch surveillance camera, who the hell has surveillance on their house – unless they knew someone was out to get them.

Now what on earth is the Rebbe doing with a butler, I know the Lubavitcher Rebbe had several secretaries, but a butler? Does he have that extensive of a wine collection, maids and cooks too? I wonder what his wine cellar looks like. Maybe that’s where he keeps his selection of flame throwers and other incendiary devices for those that go to a different shul than he mandates. I really hope that the Skverer Rebbe had nothing to do with this and it was just a dumb kids idea of how to solve a classic case of (the shul I live near is the one I don’t go to) or else some shit will hit the fan.

Comment from the post on Vos Iz Neias:

There is an official rule from the founding Skver Rabbi that everyone should Daven in the Main Beis Medresh. A few years ago a Minyan was started in Friedwald Nursinghome, OUTSIDE the community – which is according to the rule. The community decided that this is a threat (meaning ppl would start going there), so they made a new law, that Davening in this place is forbidden. When the participants didn’t obey, they started all kinds of terror tactics to get them to obey. Happenes to be that this attempt to burn down this house did not workout. You can rest assured that if it would workout well, and the house would be down in ashes the community leaders wouldn’t even blink – if nobody would be caught. In the past there were windows shattered and tires flattened on a regular basis. I hope this will serve as a wakeup call. The problem here is, that politicians turn a blind eye because they love the block-vote the Skver provides every time.

{ 69 comments… add one }
  • Sergeant J May 23, 2011, 1:26 PM

    I had hoped this was satire….

  • Skvere Misnagid May 23, 2011, 1:28 PM

    Every skvere chusid knows that David Twerski has a short fuse. When he found out that there was a minyan at the Friedwald home yom kippur he was furious and called a meeting with his two oldest sons and his ‘rushei khilah’. He ordered them to do everything to stop the minyan by all means. He argued that today it 20 people and tomorrow it will be two hundred. He is paranoid that he loses his power. Although, I admit, it’s not all paranoia, there are countless people in New Square who pray in the main shul only out of fear of what might happen to them. Anyway the same night of the meeting, five people had their car windows shattered. The skevere mosdos expelled the kids of all the people who went to the Friedwald home, and they were ordered to leave New square. Some have left, but others like Rottenberg were not about to take a loss on their homes so they ignored the khilah’s orders.

    A few weeks ago, the khilah decided that they are going to get rid once and for all of everyone they don’t want to live in New Square, including someone whose wife had a personal beef with David Twersky’s duaghter in law, a yungerman who attends college, and other mchitzufim who pray at the Friedwald home. They launched anew a campaign of terror. They shattered Rottenberg’s house windows Friday night after the rebbe’s tish, kept making spoof calls late at night, and that glued posters on his doors and windows with massages that he better leave. As a precaution, he installed surveillance cameras on his property. This past Shabbat afternoon three people, two known hooligans and a rosh hakuhl, were spotted on his property examining the surveillance cameras, that’s why he was anticipating an impending attack. ( I just got a report that the two hooligans were arrested in connection with attack.)
    Did David Twersky know that they were planning to burn a whole family alive? I don’t know, but he certainly knew of, and probably authorized, the attacks in general. As every New Square resident knows, nothing is ever done in the community without the permission and consent of the higher ups. By the way, David Twersky hasn’t come out yet to condemn the attack.

  • anon May 23, 2011, 1:32 PM

    One word: CULT.

    • daniel May 23, 2011, 4:35 PM

      exactly. the charedim and chasidim have become like al qaeda. when will common sense come back to orthodoxy?

      that being said, i know a lot of you on here don’t like the term ‘modern’ because it makes it sound like a lazy jew. but to me, i classify the OU, the RCA and chabad in with “modern”, because to me, modern means “not insane”. so you can be frum and modern.

      • Rabbi May 24, 2011, 12:52 AM

        Yeah, thanks for lumping us all together. Appreciate your ignorance.

        • daniel May 24, 2011, 3:40 AM

          no need for the sarcasm. “modern” does not mean “liberal” or “leniant”. to me, it means the most observant you can be of the halakah in modern times, while still recognizing the benefits of modern society (internet, politics, communicating with those outside of the community). “modern” doesn’t necessarily mean lenient.

  • BoxedWhine May 23, 2011, 2:51 PM

    I, for all my cynicism never thought it could get this bad. What? Did the thugs think that this family deserved to be burned alive just because they go to a different minyan? What are we? The mob?

    • Anonymous May 24, 2011, 11:55 AM

      how about just not being mekabel all the loshon horah?

      • Sergeant j May 24, 2011, 12:16 PM

        We are not in the old country. You can’t just set fires here, you also can’t automatically assume the media and government are out to besmirch Jews. But at least with your call of loshon hara, you are not saying the event did not happen. Something needs to be done about hate mongers who condone, even by omission, attacking families in the midle of the night.

  • Kruise May 23, 2011, 3:31 PM

    Theyre almost like the Taliban

    • A. Nuran May 23, 2011, 3:42 PM

      Give ’em time. The Taliban have had more practice, so they’re better at violence.

  • A. Nuran May 23, 2011, 3:48 PM

    Nothing very funny about this, is there? The servants of a paranoid control freak try to murder a man, his wife and children in their beds because of differences about where they pray. We Jews disagree with each other loudly and enthusiastically. We don’t kill each other over it.

    This is terrorism pure and simple. I hope the police investigation is thorough and all the guilty get put away for a very, very long time.

    • John May 23, 2011, 4:23 PM

      Agreed whole heartedly!

  • A. Nuran May 23, 2011, 3:54 PM

    I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this a just about perfect example of that overused term “chillul hashem”?

  • Mendy May 23, 2011, 3:56 PM

    Who is David Twersky?

  • Aliza T. May 23, 2011, 4:01 PM

    even the usual defenders have nothing to say this time. This is plain sick! This is what happens when you let the religious power get out of control. The rest of the Hareidi should world take note!

    • A. Nuran May 23, 2011, 4:22 PM

      I peeked in at VIN. The arsonists had a surprising number of supporters.

      • Anonymous May 23, 2011, 7:27 PM

        Oh cmon, that’s not true (admittedly surprising)

        • A. Nuran May 23, 2011, 11:33 PM

          I was surprised as hell.

  • Yoreh K'chetz May 23, 2011, 6:25 PM

    Probably all that bottled up frustration due to the “special” gown their wives have to wear on mitzvah night to match their shaved heads.

    A friend of mine was kicked our of skver many years ago. Guy is part of hatzolo, chaverim, chesed shel emes and a slew of other organizations that he volunteers for. Their loss is our gain.

  • UltraOrthodox Jew May 23, 2011, 8:58 PM

    By setting fires and breaking windows on Shabbos these thugs were making it quite clear that they are not religious, not frum, not Orthodox, not chasidim, and not shomer halacha.
    If they call for setting fires and breaking windows on Shabbos because someone was “poresh min hatzibbur”, they are ignoring ALL halachic poskim since the beginning. These folks are borderline apikorsim if they insist they are doing this “for religion”, they are definitely creating a Chilul Hashem, they are definitely violating several very serious Shabbos prohibitions, as well as committing various beyn adam lechaveyro laws.
    To those readers unfamiliar with halacha, I will translate my comments above: these people are no more frum than I would be Irish if I put on a green shirt and said: “I am Irish”.

    • Heshy Fried May 23, 2011, 11:03 PM

      Ah but being frum is about what you wear and how you talk, not what you do

    • G*3 May 24, 2011, 6:52 AM

      > These folks are borderline apikorsim if they insist they are doing this “for religion”,

      I understand what you mean, but let’s be clear: being wrong about halachah does not make one an apikores, and no sane apikores would try to kill people for disagreeing with him. So far as we know, the teenager who did this is a frum Skverer chossid. He’s not an apikores, he’s a rasha.

      > they are definitely creating a Chilul Hashem, they are definitely violating several very serious Shabbos prohibitions, as well as committing various beyn adam lechaveyro laws.

      He tried to BURN A FAMILY WHILE THEY SLEPT, and your worried about chillul Shabbos!?

    • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 1:24 PM

      No True Scotsman, anyone?

      • Anonymous May 24, 2011, 1:28 PM

        weak, sometimes its valid. eg
        “No scotsman is chinese”
        “what do you mean? Jackie Chan is a scotsman and hes chinese”
        “No hes not a scotsman”

        “Ha You cant say that !”

        sometimes you can

        • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 3:58 PM

          In this case it’s a fair critique.

          There are deep-rooted organic problems in this community and others like it. Corruption, violence, theft, cultish behavior, massive fraud and more. They won’t get better unless they’re recognized and then addressed. UltraOrthodoxJew prefers to bury his head in the sand and say “We can just ignore them by saying they’re different, and the problem will go away.”

  • Telz Angel May 23, 2011, 9:09 PM

    There’s a s’fardi guy who insists on saying Burchu at the end of Maariv even though the shul is ashkeshnoz. It pisses me off so much that I was thinking I’d burn his house too. The chutpah. Maybe this story gives me the chizuk to just do it. Thanks Hesh for posting this, my neighborhood sfardi guy is going down. He can take his tassel shoes, white leather siddur with the fancy ornate symbols on hashem’s name, his super hot wife…. Oh wait. If I burn his house down then his hottie wife won’t come to shul. On no, that won’t do. No not at all.

    Dang, he’s saved. Maybe I’ll slip some vodka in his arak at kiddush instead. Burchu at the end of Maa’riv sure pisses me off. That and telemarketers. And Obama. Oh and those damn clamshell plastic things on everything I buy that I can’t rip apart with my fingers. Burn their porches, all of them.

    • daniel May 24, 2011, 3:42 AM

      finally! someone to brighten the mood a bit.

  • Bsamim Smoker May 23, 2011, 10:56 PM

    “Now what on earth is the Rebbe doing with a butler,”

    Oh c’mon Hesh, don’t you remember that mishna the says you must check the first to rows of the wine cellar for chametz erev Pesach. THATS WHY THE REBBE NEEDS A BUTLER

    • Frumsatire Fan May 24, 2011, 6:59 AM

      I have a different theory. These days, the only place where there are butlers (and maids in uniforms) are those Japanese roleplay cafes. Maybe that’s what’s going on there — with a bit of ninja-warfare-themed roleplay on the side.

  • Dr. Shrink May 24, 2011, 3:44 AM

    If you read the news article in the Journal News today, it is horrifying to see how no one wants to say their name when interviewed out of fear of retaliation. This is no different than Taliban instilled fear tactics.

    • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 9:45 AM

      Except this is happening in the USA its completely out of! i dont know how the gov’t let’s them get away with this…..oh wait yes i do its a large voting block

      • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 9:46 AM

        should say out of hand!

  • Sometimes-a-dox May 24, 2011, 6:49 AM
  • Avrumy May 24, 2011, 8:36 AM

    From the JTA news service: “Spitzer [the arsonist], one television station reported, is said to be a live-in butler for the sect’s rebbe.

    The attack took place during the holiday of Lag b’Omer, which is observed by lighting bonfires.”

    Lag b’Omer – ironic
    Also, I wouldn’t be shocked if you replaced “butler” with “lover”. This “butler”, Spitzer, is 18, not so together in the head and an easy mark for a predator.

  • Devorah May 24, 2011, 9:19 AM

    I know the family (I’m not skver but live in Monsey) and you couldn’t hope to know more eidel, zeese people. Terrible and disgusting thing to happen, and a chillul Hashem for the whole Frum velt, since no one out there can distinguish from one community or chassidus to another.

    • G*3 May 24, 2011, 10:10 AM

      This comes on the heels of the “Der Tzeitung” fiasco. There are probably people saying, “The Chassidim are too holy to publish pictures of women, but arson and murder are just fine.”

      • Avrumy May 24, 2011, 10:27 AM

        Ain’t it the truth. Pathetic. Sigh.

        • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 10:31 AM

          Well at least all this exposure can possibly be the start of some form of awareness about the crazy culture these ppl have

      • John May 24, 2011, 10:34 AM

        only stupid people would say that

        • G*3 May 24, 2011, 8:05 PM

          > only stupid people would say that


          The average person can’t distinguish between MO, Lakewood yeshivish, and Chassdim, let alone between Chassidic sects. That doesn’t make them stupid, just ignorant of the small variations within the tiny group that is Orthodoxy.

          Anyway, let’s look at the facts.

          1) Chareidi publications, including Skverer publications, don’t publish pictures of women. Any media source that did publish pictures of women would be roundly condemned.

          2) There had been no official condemnation of the attempted arson by the Skverer authorities.

          It follows that the powers that be are more concerned about the publication of pictures of women than they are about arson and murder.

  • Monsey Reader May 24, 2011, 9:27 AM

    Butler is just an english word for a “house yungerman”. The older rebbes have one — some one to help out in the house, help him walk etc. Look at the pictures of the Bobov Rebbe walking. He always had someone with him.
    On a more serious note — I used to know this fellow. A real nice and hard working guy. Its a shame that Square is run the way it is. Drive down Washington Street and read the signs stating which side of the street is for women and which is for men. Its a communist state. There has never been a democratic election there. The same guy has been mayor for over 25 years. No one runs against him. The rebbe owns a multi million dollar house along the Hudson River in Nyack (about 10 miles away), which he uses as a “retreat”. Go figure

    • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 11:45 AM


    • G*3 May 24, 2011, 8:08 PM

      > Its a communist state.

      Totalitarian theocracy. Communism is an economic theory.

      • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 9:39 PM

        Besides, if it were Communist everyone would be working.

  • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 10:32 AM

    I noticed there is no mention of this whatsoever on the YWN. is there a possible explanation for this?!?!? silence is an agreement!!!

    • ploni May 24, 2011, 2:13 PM

      you really expect YWN to post anything that says anything bad about frum jews?

  • Mike May 24, 2011, 10:46 AM

    Thank you hashem for not making me a chusid!

  • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 10:57 AM

    I think we have to start protesting them like they would protest. We could all show up in bikinis so they couldn’t hold a counter protest and call for an investigation into the hierarchy

    • A. Nuran May 24, 2011, 1:26 PM

      One thing we can do is boycott what they sell. I remember the Skverer have kosher dairy and meat businesses which are popular outside their communities. The first thing to do is stop buying those products.

      • Yoreh K'chetz May 24, 2011, 1:41 PM


        I don’t think anyone’s going to officially boycott a given sect for an internal problem, and I’m not sure it would do anything anyways.
        Take the Chabad boycott of Satmar products during the 80’s as an example. Didn’t change the Satmar view of Chabad at all.

        I think it’s up to the state and the victims to ensure that the perps get prosecuted to the full extent of the law, as well as those that ordered the “hit”. Kind of like what they do in mobster trials.

        Of course, that would probably spawn a massive pidyon shvuyim campaign like what happened with those kids busted in Japan and with Rubashkin.

        Leave it up to Jews to find the silver lining (aka profit) in every situation 😉

        • UrbanOut May 25, 2011, 5:12 PM

          Chabad didn’t boycott Satmar with the hopes of changing their view on Chabad. They did it with the logic that since the Sarmar Rebbe did not condemn his Chassidim’s vicious acts toward Lubavitchers (beatings & forced beard shavings) they cannot bring themselves to eat food with his hechsher.

          As for comparing an arsonist/murderer to Sholom Rubashkin..yup, that’s pretty much what everyone’s been doing. He’s got a larger prison sentence than murderers and hijackers. So way to go, you’re comparison is one that’s all too popular.

          • Yoreh K'chetz May 25, 2011, 5:41 PM


            The Satmar boycott is a load of BS. Chabad will eat satmar certified food when it’s convenient, and as for the “how can we trust their kashrus” thing, I know plenty of Lubavitchers involved in things worse than shaving a beard, Rubashkin is a prime example (talk about trusting his shechita).

            Yes I know, he’s the Lubavitch martyr, I supposed the next thing is for some quacks to say he’s moshiach because he’s suffered for our sins.

            • UrbanOut May 25, 2011, 9:01 PM

              The Satmar boycott is pretty much a thing of the past with Lubavs, being that it’s a new Rebbe and all, also was for the time being, not an everlasting takanah.

              Props for the Moshiach line, that is funny:)

              No one is saying that Rubashkin is a martyr, just that his sentence/treatment is grossly disproportionate with his crime.

            • UrbanOut May 25, 2011, 9:05 PM

              Also, I was not discussing how good or bad shaving one’s beard is, rather, I was stating that Satmars did the worst thing possible to real Lubavs.

            • UrbanOut May 25, 2011, 9:19 PM

              Hey, only my second comment gor in! Let me retry:

              Satmar boycott is pretty much a thing of the past, it was a temp thing not an everlasting takanah.

              No one is saying Rubashkin is a martyr, just that his sentence/treatment is grossly disproportionate to his crime.

              Props for the Moshiach line, ’twas funny:)

              • Yoreh K'chetz May 26, 2011, 7:40 AM

                Urban out,

                Not sure why that ban on Satmar ever ended. As far as I know, their leadership never officially apologized, but I do know that the local Satmar merchants that felt threatened by the boycott apologized the day the boycott was put in place. Not that it means anything anyway…

                Lubavitch has a problem with any meat that isn’t Lubavitch. They won’t eat Belzer or Sephardi shechita, both of which are done at the same processing plants here. As we live in a Chabad community, I sometimes get my kids friends bringing their own meat when they come over for Shabbos or BBQ (when I don’t have any lubavitch meat).

                As for Rubashkin, I agree that he was dealt with pretty severely. But then again, you can’t expect any better from a state that’s never really seen Jews before he arrived.

                Back to his meat plant, it’s very interestesting to note that Lubavitchers ate his meat products up until the plant was sold. Normally, if your butcher or shochet is caught pick pocketing or shoplifting, no one would ever eat his meat again. This guy was committing major fraud, and yet the Lubavitch community tried to turn him into a saint. To add insult to injury, now that the plant is run by a “misnagged” who also happens to be a huge baal tzedaka, they have a problem with the shechita.

                Really, it stinks of corrupt politics and has absolutely nothing to do with the achdus Yisrael and Ahavas Yisrael that Lubavitch loves to preach about.

        • jpeditor August 30, 2011, 11:12 PM

          “Leave it up to Jews to find the silver lining (aka profit) in every situation ” with a smiley, no less!

          Self-loathe much? with “Jews” like you, who needs Skverer to embarrass us?

      • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 6:52 PM

        Well i dont keep kosher or eat meat so im not buying from em

      • danielGA May 25, 2011, 7:09 PM

        anyone know what all the brand names of these products are? and if they even have them down here in GA? i’d participate in a boycott, but seeing as how their brand might not make it down this far it might not do much…

        • Yoreh K'chetz May 25, 2011, 7:23 PM


          You can check out their hechsher at: http://www.hechshers.info/kashauth/154.htm#701
          I doubt a personal boycott by one individual in Atlanta would get noticed…

          In general, most sects of chassidim won’t mix into other sects internal affairs, that is very likely why you don’t see mass condemnations by other chassidic leaders. However, other skver leaders should condemn the act in writing and in public.

          Like I previously said, this is a criminal matter, and best left in the hands of the police.

    • Seriously? May 26, 2011, 7:17 AM

      I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d look very good in a bikini.

  • AngryChick May 24, 2011, 12:19 PM

    When i heard what happened, i almost choked. Seriously?!?! If the guy doesnt want to daven with you, leave him in peace! at least he’s davening, who cares where? Ugh this incident made me so grateful that i have my priorities straight. May Hashem send Mr. Rottenberg a refuah shelaima.

    • Aliza T. May 24, 2011, 6:57 PM

      uh…is angrychick supposed to be a play on angry birds? was that intentional?

  • Devorah May 24, 2011, 4:01 PM


  • Jdubb May 24, 2011, 8:23 PM

    Wow this is absurd. It’s time the authorities get involved and end this thuggish behavior. This is not Poland in 1790.

    • anonimo May 26, 2011, 10:23 AM

      the gedolim of the Polish shtetls are holier than we can ever fathom, so who are we to repeal their laws against reporting Jews to the non-Jew authorities. V’Esav soneh et Yaakov, all goyim hate us and are only looking for another excuse to start another Holocaust, only the Reform and Conservative protect the mosers.

      /sarcasm, but i’m sure there are crazies who believe such nonsense

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