Cleveland (Jan. 31)
A resolution was presented to the city council last night for an immediate investigation of the forcible detention of Rabbi Jehudah H. Levenberg, for questioning in the bombing of the Danches Poultry Market on January 18th.
The resolution was introduced in the form of an emergency issue by Councilman Herman E. Kohen.
Mr. Kohen’s demand provides that Mayor Ray T. Miller be requested to direct Director Frank J. Merrick to investigate the action of the police department to determine which members of the department are responsible for “such outrageous conduct and take such disciplinary measures as the case may warrant.”
Rabbi Levenberg, besides being Dean of the Cleveland Yeshivah, is spiritual leader of three major orthodox congregations in the city. He was taken into custory by police at 3:00 A. M. after the bombing of the Danches Market had occurred.
The resolution further asserts that Rabbi Levenberg, “one of the outstanding Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Cleveland and considered as such by Jewry of the country, was held incommunicado at the Central Police Station for 14 hours. Furthermore that police abused and insulted the members of his congregation who called at the station for the purpose of making an inquiry as to why their rabbi was detained.”
It was learned yesterday that Mayor Miller had received telegrams from all parts of the United States protesting against the conduct of police in the case of Rabbi Levenberg. Police Chief George Matowitz has been instructed by Director Merrick to look into the case immediately and make a report to him.
Police, according to the resolution, accused Rabbi Levenberg of being a racketeer and of having a criminal record. Such accusations, the measure asserts, are “wholly unfounded, false and ridiculous,” and that a great injustice and humiliation had been perpetrated upon Rabbi Levenberg and every member of his three congregations.
“The wanton disrespect of the rights of the citizens of Cleveland was an affront to Jew and Gentile as well, and was a direct insult and outrage to the Jewry of Cleveland,” Mr. Kohen’s resolution reads.
Mrs. Danches, owner of the poultry market, the bombing of which has implicated the rabbi, told police that Rabbi Levenberg and another man had come to her house to collect tax on killing of chickens and that these men had threatened her after a dispute had arisen. It was the second time in a month that the poultry shop had been bombed. The truth of Mrs. Danches’ statements to police are being questioned, and the threat is reported to be unfounded.
The local B’nai Brith will co-operate with the Federation of Orthodox Congregations to control racketeering among Kosher butcher shops and markets.