Your First Read For Sep 20


Rabbi to lead New York’s Muslim Day Parade

Rabbi Marc Schneier, president and founder of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, will serve as honorary grand marshal of Sunday’s Muslim Day Parade in Manhattan, JTA reports. He was chosen in recognition of his pioneering work in the field of Muslim-Jewish relations, marking the first time in the parade’s 32-year history that a Jewish leader has been chosen to lead the event.

The annual Parade is organized by the Muslim Foundation of America.

Borough Park man indicted in intimidation scheme

Three people, including Samuel Israel of Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood, were indicted yesterday for participating in a scheme to pressure an alleged sexual abuse victim not to testify against Israel for allegedly abusing her as a child, according to JTA. Israel was arraigned along with Tanya Freudenthaler and Vincent Paro, a private detective, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.

In March 2016, Israel, who served on the board of the Boro Park Y, was arrested and indicted for sexually abusing the woman when she was 12 years old. He declined a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for five years and was freed on bail. According to Gonzalez, Israel allegedly paid Parco in July 2016 to film compromising videos of a relative of the woman to intimidate her not to cooperate with the investigation.

‘Madoff of Landlords’ pays $3 million to avoid High Holy Days in jail

​The day before the start of the Days of Judgment, a New York landlord nicknamed “Bernie Madoff of landlords” agreed yesterday to a judge’s demand that he pay $3 million to avoid spending the High Holy Days in jail. Steve Croman​, handed over a $3 million check in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday, allowing him to delay the start of his jail time until after the holidays and observe Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur at home, according to the New York Post.

Croman, who will spend a year in jail, had pleaded guilty to charges of grand larceny, tax fraud and filing a false instrument. He faced up to 25 years in prison on charges of harassing rent-stabilized tenants so he could lease their units at market rates and inflating his rental receipts in order to fraudulently secure $45 million in bank loans.

Israeli Army to assist victims of Mexico earthquake

A delegation of 50 soldiers from the Israeli Army’s Home Front Command is expected to travel to Mexico City today to assist local teams after a large earthquake devastated portions of the country yesterday, the Times of Israel reports. The delegation is made up mostly of engineers who will help assess the structural integrity of buildings in Mexico City and other affected areas, and will include only a small number of search and rescue personnel, and no field hospital.

The army’s chief rabbi granted the delegation special dispensation to travel, as they will be in the air during Rosh HaShanah, when such activities are generally avoided under religious law.

Accused racist killer seeks to replace Jewish lawyer

The white supremacist who murdered nine people at an African-American Charleston church last year is seeking to fire his attorneys because of their race – one is Jewish, the other Indian – because they are his “biological enemies,” according to Buzzfeed. In a handwritten petition Dylann Roof is seeking to remove and replace the court-appointed lawyers who are working to appeal his conviction of murder and federal hate crimes.

Roof has been assisted in his defense by court-appointed lawyers since the unemployed high-school dropout was arrested. During the penalty phase of his trial, Roof took the lead in spite of a court-appointed lawyer, David Bruck, known for his experience in capital cases. During preparations for the hearing, Roof threatened to kill Bruck if he ever got out of jail.

Israel shoots down Hezbollah drone in DMZ

The Israeli Army yesterday shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah after the drone entered the demilitarized zone along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights, Haaretz reports. The Israel Air Force’s aerial defense command fired a Patriot missile and destroyed the drone.

The remotely piloted vehicle, intended for intelligence gathering missions, took off from Damascus International Airport and flew to the southwest toward Israel. The drone was intercepted by the missile fired by an anti-aircraft battery located in the Galilee, and fell inside Syrian territory in a region controlled by the Assad regime near the city of Quneitra.

D.C. synagogue mounts gun-violence display for Rosh HaShanah

For the second straight year, a Washington, D.C. synagogue has put up an attention-grabbing display to coincide with the High Holy Days, according to radio station WTOP. The display, a “Memorial to the Lost,” features 250 T-shirts on T-shaped poles on the grounds of Temple Sinai in Northwest. Each shirt carries the name, age and date of death of a 2016 victim of gun violence in the D.C. area.

The display will remain on display through Oct. 1.

“This is a time of year when we think about our own mortality, we think about the meaning of our lives,” said Rabbi Hannah Goldstein. “We also think about sins, and the things that we are apologetic for, and our misdeeds in the year past. On Yom Kippur, we talk about a communal atonement, and I think this is a moment for us to see this display, and be woken up and reminded of how many people are dying in a way that we believe is preventable.”

Shin Bet uncovers terrorist cell in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood

An eight-man terrorist cell in Jerusalem nicknamed the “Ghosts of Silwan” was uncovered and dismantled by Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), police and the Border Police undercover unit, the security organization said yesterday, the Jerusalem Post reports. The eight, all Israeli citizens, were arrested in connection with planning to carry out shooting attacks on Israeli vehicles and other targets in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

According to the investigation the cell members were involved in previous attacks in the Silwan area such as throwing Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and stones at security forces and security vehicles.