City Questions Circumcision Ritual After Baby Dies

NY Times

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg met with Orthodox leaders and health officials at City Hall on Aug. 11 to discuss a practice that some rabbis consider integral to God’s covenant with the Jews requiring circumcision.

A circumcision ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews has alarmed city health officials, who say it may have led to three cases of herpes – one of them fatal – in infants. But after months of meetings with Orthodox leaders, city officials have been unable to persuade them to abandon the practice.

The city’s intervention has angered many Orthodox leaders, and the issue has left the city struggling to balance its mandate to protect public health with the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.



Crown Heights residents are enraged by racist, anti-Semitic graffiti that was found scrawled on support columns in the Kingston Ave subway station.

The graffiti was first noticed Monday morning by a straphanger and when he saw it still there on Tuesday morning went ahead and made and the MTA aware of it.

“Death to the racist Jews!”, “Hitler had the right idea re the Jews just not enough time to get it right!” and “Al Qaeda has the right idea how to deal with Bush & Company” were some of the grafitti found scrawled on the support columns on the lower level of the station.

In an e-mail response to the straphanger, Melissa Glasgow of MTA responded in part: We sincerely regret the conditions you observed. Please note that all New York City Transit subway cars and stations are checked daily to ensure proper conditions, and any graffiti that is observed is removed in a timely manner as part of our regular cleaning cycles. In addition, uniformed and undercover officers from the New York City Police Department’s Transit Bureau patrol our facilities at all times to thwart illegal activity, including graffiti vandalism. Please be assured that your complaint has been referred to supervision in the appropriate operating departments for their review and appropriate corrective action. They will take this opportunity to inspect the location you mentioned and ensure a clean and proper environment for our customers and area residents.

Sium and Hachnosas Sefer Torah in Memory of the Shmueli Sisters, ob’m

A Sium and Hachnosas Sefer Torah will be held today (Thursday) in memory of the sisters Sterna Esther and Chaya Mushka Shmueli (aged 12 -14) who had tragically drowned in a pool in Virginia last year. The procession will start from the home of the Shmueli family on 722 Montgomery St. between Kingston and Albany and head towards 770 at 5:00pm.

Chabad Makes Major Inroads at Universities


Toward the end of the spring semester this past May, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi and about a dozen students celebrated a major victory at Tufts University. After nearly two years of vying for recognition as an official student group at the liberal arts college in Medford, Mass., Tufts’s student government finally recognized Chabad.

Rabbi Tzvi Backman and his wife, Chanie, will be Chabad’s campus emissaries, or shlichim, at Tufts, and they’re part of a rapidly growing group. Since 2001, nearly 30 new “Chabad houses” have opened on college campuses across the country, with an additional 10 slated for the upcoming school year.

Congregation Suspends Rabbi in Drug Arrest

NY Times

The congregation’s leaders were like disappointed parents. Earlier this month, their widely popular rabbi had been charged with possessing marijuana and driving while his ability was impaired by drugs, both misdemeanors. Now, the board of trustees at Congregation Sons of Israel had to decide on the proper punishment.

In the end, after a meeting that began on Tuesday night and lasted until 2 a.m. on Wednesday, they decided that the rabbi, Steven C. Kane, 50, should receive a 30-day paid suspension.

Yeshiva bochur killed in stabbing in Old City Jerusalem


A young British yeshiva student was killed last night after a Palestinian man stabbed him with a 30-centimeter kitchen knife in the Old City of Jerusalem, close to the Jaffa Gate, police sources said.

His companion, a fellow student from the United States, was moderately wounded. The two victims, both in their twenties, had been studying at an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva in the Old City.

After the attack, the American managed to reach a police station some 200 meters away and led police to his critically injured friend at the site of the stabbing.

New Cameras to Watch Over Our Subway System

NY Times

Officials unveiled the high-tech future of transit security in New York City yesterday: an ambitious plan to saturate the subways with 1,000 video cameras and 3,000 motion sensors and to enable cellphone service in 277 underground stations – but not in moving trains – for the first time.

Moving quickly after the subway and bus bombings in London last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a three-year, $212 million contract to a group of contractors led by the Lockheed Martin Corporation, which is best known for making military hardware like fighter planes, missiles and antitank systems.

UN commends Israel on Gaza pullout


In a move described by the United Nations as a “rare gesture” to Israel, the UN Security Council issued a special press statement yesterday commending Israel on its implementation of the disengagement plan in Gaza and the northern West Bank. However, the statement also emphasizes the centrality of the road map and the expected pullout from Gaza, and the central role of the Quartet in the process.

The statement, signed by the President of the Security Council, Kenzo Oshima of Japan, says that “the members of the Security Council welcome the beginning of the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, and they commend the ongoing implementation of this process.”

Israel Confirms Plan to Seize West Bank Land
for Barrier

NY Times

Israeli officials confirmed Wednesday that the government had issued orders to seize West Bank land needed to extend the separation barrier around the largest Jewish settlement, Maale Adumim, and link it up to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leadership said the developments confirmed its fears that Israel would try to use the Gaza withdrawal, and the international good will it has generated, to consolidate its hold on the large settlement blocs in the West Bank. Israel evacuated the last of nearly 9,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza on Monday, and cleared out two West Bank settlements on Tuesday.


At 10:30pm Tuesday night Shomrim were called to respond to an assault on Jewish boys on Eastern Parkway and New York Ave. when Shomrim arrived on the scene, they found there to be approximately 10 to 12 police cars parked there on the corner.

At 10:15, three Jewish teenagers walked into a grocery on the corner of New York Ave. to buy some drinks. They were then mugged at knife point but to the mugger’s regret, these boys were not going to let the mugger get away with it. The Jewish teens then chased the mugger and they both got into a fist fight. “He was too scared to use his knife, he was a wimp!” said one of the Jewish victims later after the incident. One of the three boys was arrested, and taken to the 71st pct. where he collapsed and lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital in handcuffs with police escort, in Hatzalah’s ambulance.

The Jewish community along with Crown Heights Shomrim are in an outrage. The police say that when they arrived on the scene they saw the Jewish teen punching the black kid, and that is why they arrested him. Shomrim were at the police station for hours after the incident arguing with the captain of the 71st. “the kid was mugged, and you arrest him?!” -Shomrim member. Another Shomrim member said, “you call [911] for blacks with knifes assaulting Jews and the police take their time, you call for Jews with knifes assaulting a black kid and look what happens-there were 15 [cop] cars on scene in seconds!!”

Members of the CHJCC were also at the 71st trying to get the kid out.

So far, it seems he will be released without further problems but we are still holding our breath.

Keep it locked to this website as we stay on top of this sad story of racism, violence, and hateful crime.

Bush Praises Sharon for Pullout

NY Times

BOISE, Idaho – President Bush praised Prime Minister Sharon on Tuesday for his “courageous decision” to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.

“This is step one in the development of a democracy,” Mr. Bush said at a news conference here, adding that his administration would work with the Palestinians to help them consolidate their security forces in the coming weeks.

“It turns out that the post-Arafat regime is one of different factions and different security forces that were really in place to kind of maintain his power, but not necessarily to protect the overall security of the Palestinian people,” Mr. Bush said. “It’s in the interest to consolidate the security forces, so that the government has got a vehicle and a group of folks by which to help enforce order.”

Mr. Bush said the Palestinian government would have to build confidence that it would serve its people better and that a peaceful Palestinian state could emerge.

Israel Completes Pullout Ahead of Schedule

NY Times
After breaking into a house in Homesh, Israeli security men were met by Asaf Zoldan, holding his son Aaron.

SANUR, West Bank – Completing an emotional pullout unmarred by serious violence, Israeli soldiers and police officers finished their evacuation of 25 settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Tuesday and said all settler homes would be reduced to rubble within 10 days.

Israeli officials and commanders have insisted that the evacuation of nearly 10,000 Israelis from all of Gaza and four settlements on the West Bank was providing a “hand to a brother,” not warfare at all. But its rapid conclusion in six days, after predictions of three weeks or more, took Israel by surprise and seemed a softer version of the Six-Day War of June 1967, when Israel won a lightning victory over Arab foes.

It was in that war that Israel conquered East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and began building settlements for strategic, religious and economic reasons.

President of Medgar Evers College Honored

Yesterday the 2 camps Lubavitcher Yeshiva and Oholei Torah day camp took advantage of the beautiful weather and had a concert/rally outside Lubavitcher Yeshivas building on Crown Street.

The singing rabbi, R. Chaim Fogelman was the concert and the children danced at times to his music, and a community award was presented for “Outstanding Community service” to the president of the Medgar Evers Collage, Dr. Edison Jackson.

Dr. Jackson had arranged for the Lubavitch Yeshiva day camp to use the college’s pool throughout the summer.

R. (Col.) Goldstien presented Dr. Jackson the community award.

A Picture is worth a thousand words

Pics from AP
Israeli security forces scuffle with a resisting Jewish settler during the evacuation of the northern West Bank Jewish settlement of Homesh, Tuesday Aug. 23, 2005. Thousands of troops pushed into two northern West Bank settlements, Homesh and Sanur, Tuesday and began clearing out hundreds of extremists holed up inside, in the last phase of Israel’s dismantling of 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

More pictures in extended article.

Christian Messianics Active in Crown Heights


Missionary material is being dispersed to homes of Crown Heights’ residents. COL has received warnings of several Crown Heights residents to alert the public to this. If you are approached with this material, make sure to tear it up and to alert the Shomrim patrol to take care of these intruders.

Fuel spill causes 16-mile backup on New York Thruway


A fuel spill on the New York State Thruway in Orange County caused a 16-mile backup on Monday afternoon.

The 80-gallon spill resulted from a tractor-trailer accident at 4:19 p.m. on Interstate 87 between Harriman and Sloatsburg, about 45 minutes north of New York City.

All southbound lanes and one northbound lane were closed until 7:40 p.m.

The accident occurred when 42-year-old Maria Astadjov of Quebec swerved to avoid debris while traveling northbound on the Thruway, said Trooper Manuel Rodriguez.

A van and tractor-trailer traveling behind her swerved to avoid a collision, sending the tractor-trailer through the median and into the southbound side of the highway.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 54-year-old Thomas A. Spagnola of Hagaman, was taken to Samaritan Hospital in Suffern for minor back and neck injuries.

No charges have been filed, Rodriguez said.