Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Suits Challenge Religious Leaders In Two New York Hasidic Enclaves

AP reported yesterday on lawsuits were filed  by religious dissidents in two New York towns that are essentially Orthodox Jewish Hasidic enclaves.  In a federal court lawsuit, followers of Brooklyn Satmar Rabbi Zalman Teiltelbaum who make up some 40% of the population of Kiryas Joel sued seeking dissolution of the city or alternatively a ban on religious leaders holding city office for 25 years.  Plaintiffs claim that the majority in Kikryas Joel, followers of grand rebbe Aron Teiltelbaum (brother of Zalman), have taken over the village and selectively enforce the village's property tax and zoning laws in a manner to discriminate against plaintiffs. It also alleges voting fraud and intimidation of voters.

In an unrelated state lawsuit, the family of a victim of an arson attack (see prior posting) is seeking $36 million in damages from New Square, New York's grand rebbe David Twersky-- the leader of the town's Skverer Hasidic sect. The suit claims that Twersky directed the arson attack that injured New Square dissident Aron Rottenberg who began attending a different synagogue outside New Square.