The moral hypocrisy of some Orthodox rabbis has now reached a new height, and their morals a new low, as five New Jersey rabbis were arrested on charges related to bribery, money-laundering, and illegal trafficking in human body parts. What was lately the undisputed domain of Tony Soprano is now the turf of Rabbi Sopranowitz.
The Sopranos didn’t sing and maybe the Sopranowitzes won’t either, but plenty of tunes came out of the mouth of a rabbi’s son named Sol Dwek. He was arrested three years ago and faced a stiff prison term when he thought better of it and not only ratted out on his old pals, but whooshed them into a law enforcement vacuum cleaner. And that sucking sound they didn’t hear was being recorded on a device strapped to Solly’s treacherous bosom.
And so, the end of the line for three mayors, a couple dozen other government officials, some civilians, and—count them—five Orthodox rabbis. Alright, they’re swamped by the 150 Joisey officials arrested since ’01. Alright, Da Gahden State is da mos’ corrupt in da whole U.S. of A. But rabbis? Orthodox rabbis?
Maybe it figures. When you’re a stickler for the fence (no, not that kind of fence) around the Torah, when you shout Shabbes! Shabbes! at every little kid who rides a scooter into your neighborhood, when you yell at your wife that she might miss the candle-lighting time by a second, when even glatt kosher isn’t really good enough—well, haven’t you stored up so many points with the Almighty that you can ignore little mitzvahs like Thou shalt not steal?
But then again Orthodox rabbis are obsessed with cleanliness. Maybe they thought it was a mitzvah to launder tens of millions of dollars. Through Jewish charities. In Israel. Okay, Bernie Madoff could have bought and sold these yarmulked clowns with his pocket change. But at least he stuck to ripping off his own landsmen, so it wasn’t quite such a shanda fir di goyim. These guys robbed New Jersey.
Wait, it gets better, in case you haven’t heard. Some of these kosher culprits—maybe not the rabbis themselves, but folks they were involved with–were buying human organs. In the Holy Land. And reselling them at huge profits on the not-so-holy Jersey Shore.
Maybe they saw the corruption of the rabbis running the huge, filthy, and exploitative “kosher” slaughterhouse in Iowa, and they said, hey, we can do better than that! So instead of double-dealing cow parts they triple-dealt human ones.
These guys would drive over their grandmother to get away from a cheeseburger, but turning human kidneys into cash? No problem!
Two of these rabbis are, um, spiritual leaders of congregations. One of them is Saul Kassin, 87, the heir of a great rabbinical dynasty. He sat shiva for his daughter Anna, now 62, when she intermarried 40 years ago–despite the fact that she stayed Jewish, teaches in a religious school, and tutors bar and bat mitzvah kids. That’ll teach her!
So he’s a huge crook, so what? At least he considered his daughter dead for four decades, even though she still speaks well of him, obeying the fifth commandment while he breaks half the others. Surely breaking his daughter’s heart over and over again will get him a front seat in the world to come! I’m just not saying which end of it.
These pathetic holy rollers hailed from the Syrian Jewish community of Brooklyn. That doesn’t matter except that they’re a small, proud, faithful group of Jews who now will never rub off the stain on their reputation. They’re not saying much at the moment, but I hope they’re thinking about the difference between a little mitzvah and a big one.
Hint: super-glatt-kosher meat is a little mitzvah. Not stealing and not bearing false witness? Those are big ones. I don’t know exactly which mitzvah covers why you shouldn’t deal with folks who buy kidneys cheap ($10K) from poor people in Israel and sell them dear ($160K) to fat cats in Jersey, but I’m guessing that’s a big one too, maybe more than one. For starters, how about not desecrating a body made in the image of God?
As for giving your daughter the cold shoulder for forty years, that’s no mitzvah, that’s a shanda–a shame.