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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Riots II

I am still trying to settle my thoughts on the riots and have posted comments on many blogs, including Life-of-Rubin, Orthomom, and Emes Ve-Emunah, which express my believe that we need to condemn this wrong in no uncertain terms. I have responded to comments on my blog in the first post that attempt to minimize this terrible, disdainful behavior. I think there is no secret where I stand and I don't think that the possible, or even likely, wronging of an elderly man is any excuse to cause mayhem or burn a police cruiser.

Unfortunately, this riot brings out the fact that we have serious issues in our communities,* and it brings out those issues for the entire world to see. Being that this is the case, we should all be doing a serious cheshbon hanefesh and trying to pinpoint the issues, and what changes need to be made.

Please chime in. I'll add my ideas latter.

*Note: While I believe that what happened in Boro Park would not happen where I live, or in many an "out of town" community, I believe the underlying attitudes and behavior patterns that could have lead up to this behavior are present in many communities, not just the Boro Park Chassidish community.


Anonymous said...

what do you mean our community? You don't live in boro park and you are not hasidic. You are an outsider, you aren't even willing to put yourself in their shoes. You don't understand where they are coming from. What do you mean our community?!

SephardiLady said...

Number 1: That should read OUR COMMUNITIES. I'm making the correction now.

Number 2: While I believe that what happened in Boro Park would not happen where I live, or in many an "out of town" community, I believe the underlying attitudes and behavior problems that could have lead up to this behavior are present in many communities, not just the Boro Park Chassidish community.

As such, I consider this a reason for every frum Jew, from the West Coast to the East coast of the US and beyond to do a cheshbon hanefesh and figure out what we should be doing better as a community and as individuals.

And, also, let me tell you that mass group behavior is alive and well in plenty a Yeshiva and plenty a Bais Yaakov.

SephardiLady said...

Also, the Holocaust mentality is alive and well outside of the Chassidish community, although to a lesser extend since we have more contact with the "outside."

Y.W. Editor said...

Chassidim do it again!

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Attitude towards Non-Jews probably has something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Arthur Shick is interviewed in NY Times

Arrested Driver Blames Police and Protesters for Brooklyn Melee
The man at the center of a melee on Tuesday night in Borough Park, Brooklyn, today criticized both the New York City police and the hundreds of Orthodox Jews who protested in the streets for hours after his arrest, even setting a police car on fire.

Arthur Schick, a 75-year-old caterer who was stopped by police on Tuesday for talking on his cellphone while driving, said he was not aware of the protest that ensued after police hauled him away until he was released from a holding cell at the 66th Precinct house hours later.

In an interview today in his home on East 17th Street in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Mr. Schick said both sides were wrong.

"The riots were 100 percent wrong," he said. "Protest is good, but it has to be done in a legal, proper and civil manner.

"I came to Borough Park in 1938," he said. "Such behavior is really uncalled for."

He said he had filed a complaint with the police department's internal affairs office for the way he was handled by the two officers who pulled him over, saying they had roughed him.

The police arrested two men in addition to Mr. Schick, but no serious injuries were reported.

At police headquarters today, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said he believed the police acted appropriately in the way they handled the matter on Tuesday night, when hundreds of people from the Hassidic Jewish community chanted protests, with some setting bonfires and igniting a police car as word spread that Mr. Schick was being mistreated.

"I believe the response was appropriate to the situation," Mr. Kelly said during a meeting with reporters and leaders from the Hasidic community at police headquarters in Manhattan. "I'm satisfied with the response."

He said two officers were assaulted during the confrontation, including Sgt. Angelo Russo, one of the arresting officers, after someone in the crowd attempted to pull him down during the arrest.

Another officer at the scene, who Mr. Kelly did not identify, was kicked by Chaim Appel, 37, Mr. Kelly said.

Mr. Appel, who faces an assault charge, is due to be arraigned today, a law enforcement official said.

Mr. Kelly identified the third man arrested as Chaim Gillig.

Mr. Schick complained of soreness in his hands today but seemed otherwise fine during the interview, and said he would be seeing a doctor about his injuries suffered when police forced him into a van after they arrested him.

He said the incident began around 6:30 p.m. when he was leaving Schick's Bakery, a neighborhood institution that he owned 40 years ago, after placing an order there for someone he knows.

He said he was driving down 47th Street in Borough Park, about to make a left turn, when "out of nowhere a police car appeared with lights."

Police later said they saw him talking on his cellphone even before he got into his car.

Mr. Schick said one officer approached him.

"He ran out of his car in a very hostile way," Mr. Schick said. "He said, 'Didn't you see my lights?' I said, 'No, I didn't see your lights.' "

The officer told him he had been using his cellphone while driving, which is against New York State law.

He aid the officer asked for his license and registration and insurance papers, which Mr. Schick said he provided. The officer went back to write him a ticket.

Mr. Schick said he then got out of his car to ask the officers for their names. He said one of the officers got out of his police car.

"He said, 'Get back to your car.' I said, 'Officer, can you give me your name and your partner's name?' "

He said the officer grabbed his own lapel and thrust badge towards Mr. Schick.

"He said, 'I'm officer Russo, can't you see it?' But he refused to give me his partner's name. I just said, 'Please give me the name of your partner.' I didn't scream at him. I didn't raise my voice," Mr. Schick said.

"Out of nowhere he started cuffing me," he said.

He said both officers began "pushing and shoving me."

Mr. Schick said a police van arrived shortly, and they asked him to get into it.

"It had a high step," he said. "I asked for help getting in. They wouldn't help me. Instead they pushed me into the seat of the van face down."

He said that by this point there were about 100 people watching and loudly commenting on what was happening.

He said that at the police precinct house, he was held in a room for about four hours, cuffed to a bar and with leg shackles. He said was held for about four hours until they finally let him go.

At a news conference in front of the precinct house, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and City Council Member Simcha Felder said they would ask for an investigation into how the police handled the matter.

But Mr. Hikind seemed to blame both sides for the escalating tension that culminated in the protests and fire.

"The behavior of hundreds of young people lighting fires, destroying trash cans, invading police cars, is inexcusable," he said. "We in the community will address that."

As for the police, he said that if officers had cooperated more with people in the community, the tensions would not have reached the level they did.

"Last night this police department was ineffective," he said.

SephardiLady said...

Anon-I've read the story all over.

What are you trying to tell us by posting it here?

Just because the police are in the wrong, doesn't make it right to riot, burn a police car, and cost the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in police time.

SephardiLady said...

P.S. Thank G-d that Mr. Arthur Shick was unequivocal about that! We all should be.

Jewboy said...

First Anon- You don't have to "understand where they are coming from" to realize that their behaviour was disgusting. Just another example of New York Jews run amock, thinking they own the world.

SephardiLady said...

Jewboy is correct. I don't need to understand this behavior anymore than I need to understand murderers, rapists, looters, child molesters, tax evaders, or drunk drivers.

When the behavior is unequivocally wrong, we should all call it as it is.

And, if we don't, we are sending the wrong message to all of the children in our communities.

Anonymous said...

Arthur Schick is an honorable man, brother of famous writer and activist Dr. Marvin Schick and uncle of blogger Joe Schick. I assume we may hear from them sometime down the line about what happened.

The Schick's are not what would be called Hassidic, rather various stripes of orthodoxy.

They came to Boro Park B.C. (Before Chassidim - there were some there then, but alot less and they were not so visible and dominant there as now). They have deep roots there. Most are in other areas now, but some still remain there. Arthur does not live in BP now. Boro Park has changed alot over the years. It's a different Boro Park now.

Anonymous said...

It is now dominated by Hungarian Hassidic types. Many of these types are militant and have a strong group mentality. It should be said though that Sariel Widawsky of Schick's stated that the first fire was set by someone who didn't look like he came from the community.

SephardiLady said...

Hi Anon,

I am really looking forward to Marvin Schick and Joe Schick speaking out about this.

As you can see, I am an active reader of Joe's blog and Mr. Schick's column.

I think that in many ways the issues that we are facing are related to Marvin Schick's most excellent article that is reference in the link above.

I am very much looking forward to hearing from both of them. We have already heard from Arthur Schick who seemed clear that he was treated wrongly by the police. But, he was also unequivocal about how terrible these riots are.

Anonymous said...

SL - how many times and when were you in BP ? There are some Sephardim there, but they are not too visible. There are some Yemenite minyanim too.

SephardiLady said...

Anon-I've been to BP plenty of times. I told a story in the comments section of the last post. I have some friends and distant family (they are Ashkenazim) in BP.

I don't know how any of this changes the fact that a serious chillul Hashem took place for the whole world to see before Pesach?

almost_frei said...

I agree with you 100%. There is a problem in the chassidic community. It is a problem of leadership. If anyone thought the recent bust up of Bobov and the coming bust up of Satmar, as well as many other smaller 'dynasties' is not effecting the chassidic communities at large, they are mistaken.

The lack of derech eretz shown by the so called rebbes is just being magnified by the youth in der gaas.

The hefkeros and vildkeit we have nebbech witnessed in the Satmer B"M last fall and the nasty breakup of Bobov gave carte blance to what we saw a few nights ago in BP.

This new level of ahzus is just the start. How many chasiddeshe youngsters will we have to lose to observat yiddiskeit before new erliche leadership takes hold?

We will all have to give din v'cheshbon for what is happening.

Otir said...

I came accross your blog, because I had also been very disturbed at first when I saw the news on Tuesday and when I felt I also had to tell somethings my kids about how wrong these behaviors were.

I was very dismayed that this is what people see from the "outside" as the religious Jews. I am even more dismayed when it gives reasons for other Jews to point at Chassids and slander them as a "whole", because they add bad behaviors to behaviors that have offended them otherwise.

I feel so uncomfortable being a Jew but not a Chassidic Jew, and loving them for how they love Torah. It is like a shattered dream, I know I cannot expect someone to be "perfect", just because this person claims a certain way of Jewish life, when I myself am so far from being where I'd like to be spiritually, to say the least.

But this was sooooo wrong. I hope that tomorrow night a lot of these youngsters will think about what they did and agree that it was wrong and apologize.

SephardiLady said...

Almost-Interesting comments with a lot of basis. I am always sickened when I see protests, like the one with R. Sheitman came from Israel to America. Even more sickening with the infighting between Rebbes and dynasties. All of the fighting is unproductive and just drives away people, if not religiously, emotionally.

One may not need not to say elu v'elu on every issue, but not every issue is important enough to have a fight over.

Otir-The chances of the youngsters apologizing is low. What really needs to happen is for authority figures (parents, community members, Rabbonim), to organize community service programs so the perpetrators can work off their debt to society.

That would be a kiddush Hashem.

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