Close this search box.

Op-Ed: Casinos In Our Midst, And Rabbi Moshe Indig Of Satmar (Kiryas Yoel)

casinoA recent op-ed by the leading spokesperson for Satmar of Kiryas Yoel, Rabbi Moshe Indig, explained that on Election Day, Tuesday November 5th, New Yorkers will vote on “Proposal 1.” Prop 1 allows the state to build no less than seven casinos throughout New York State, including Sullivan County, where our children attend camp and where many of us and other observant Jews spend the summer.

Rabbi Indig urged readers to vote for Proposal 1 because, he feels, our best interests lie with voting for the casino industry.

Rabbi Indig is an honorable man, and we do not wish to call into question or disagree with any of his points.

Rather, this article urges its readers to think for themselves and not just listen to what others tell us to think.  Hopefully, we can all agree on this point, because Rabbi Indig is an honorable man.  Indeed, those who are urging us to listen to the casino industry advertisements and politicians in voting for gambling are all honorable men.

Rabbi Indig’s op-ed seems, however, to be doing our thinking for us.

He writes:

“It is therefore against the teachings of Torah and our Sages to impose our beliefs onto the Government.”

WHAT?  Did we just read this correctly?  It is AGAINST THE TORAH to vote against gambling?  It is against the Torah to be concerned for Yankee stadium like traffic?  And the exposure of less than wholesome people in our neighborhoods?  It is against the Torah to be concerned for the welfare of our non-Jewish neighbors?

Voting for what we believe in is against the Torah?  It seems it is, according to Rabbi Indig.


So it must be that somewhere in the Torah it says that we cannot vote for the law around us to be just like our Torah.  We must, therefore, all vote for Toiavah marriages too, according to Rabbi Indig’s reasoning.  The governor sponsored Toiavah marriages, and we must have hakaras hatov to him.

And Rabbi Indig is an honorable man.

But let’s do what is called a “cost-benefit analysis” to see whether we should listen to Rabbi Indig’s advice.  Surely Rabbi Indig would agree to do this, no?  He is an honorable man.

We will discuss the areas of Traffic, Risks to our Own Children, Increase in Crime, and the Ripping Off of New Yorkers by its Leaders.


Currently, there are two ways to get to the Catskills from the city:  The Hutchinson Parkway or the Palisades Parkway.  Rabbi Indig mentions the figure of $430 million dollars per year.  The summer months will certainly carry a disproportionate amount of these spenders, as do the weekend days.

Would these gamblers come from nowhere?  Would there be no extra cars on the roads on Thursday nights and Fridays?  At an industry average of $520 spent per gambler and assuming that over fifty percent of the gambling will occur in the three summer months that is over 400,000 extra cars on the Thruway and Route 17.  The trip to the mountains will add at least two more hours or more each way.  This would affect both the Palisades and the Hutchinson.

But Rabbi Indig says that it is worthwhile to sacrifice any traffic.  And Rabbi Indig is an honorable man.  Indeed. all the politicians who want to squeeze this money out of their citizens are honorable men.

Warren Buffet says that it is not honorable for state governments to be in the business of “making losers out of their citizens.”  But Rabbi Indig says that they are honorable.


What about our own children?  Does gambling cause people to develop gambling addictions?  And are our children completely immune to this?  Rabbi Indig seems to think that this is no problem whatsoever.  And Rabbi Indig is an honorable man.

Are there any Heimisha Yiddin with gambling addictions?  Do we care about them?  Do we care about their children, their wives, and the social costs of having gambling addicts in our own mishpachos?

Rabbi Indig does not think this is a problem.  He writes:

“There are multiple casinos easily accessible to Orthodox Jews in NYC and the surrounding counties yet only a very small percent of Orthodox Jews are into it.”

So he writes that if we have gambling, literally within five minutes from us, this will not affect too many Orthodox Jews.

Perhaps we should not care about these heimisha mishpachos that suffer from gambling addictions, and their lost houses.  Rather, we should have hakaras hatov to the politicians and forget about these poor brothers.  Rabbi Indig is an honorable man and he writes that the Torah says it is forbidden to vote against gambling.


Rabbi Indig says that we should not go against the desires of those around us.  He quotes the Heiligeh Satmar Rebbe in his campaign to help the casino industry.

But do we want others around us to be gambling away their homes and incomes?

One way to find out is whether we would want our kids doing it.  Imagine if someone were to suggest:

Say, you know our kids could use healthy snacks.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea to put slot machines in our chadarim, Yeshivos, Bais Ruchels and Bais Yaakovs?  The slot machines could fund the healthy snack machines!

We would throw them out faster than they could blink.  If anyone truly cared about the people of New York State, they would throw out the casino industry money in a flash.  Unless, of course, they were paid by the casino industry to accept their point of view.


It is true that gambling does bring in extra money and income.  They say that it averages about $35 per resident per year.  However, the extra social costs amount to some $180 to $235 dollars per resident per year.

Rabbi Indig says that they will hire more police to deal with the extra crime that gambling brings.  Rabbi Indig does not speak about the over-crowding in hospitals, the suicides, the lost jobs and houses that gambling invariably brings along, and the increase in other social services that society must bear.  Studies show that these numbers are significant and at least in ten states – outweigh the costs of additional revenues.


Rabbi Indig writes that this initiative “is strongly supported by the vast majority of elected officials..”

Casinos take money away from other industries.  Vacation places suffer and their incomes are lost.  Churches lose all their bingo income when a casino opens.  Shopping centers suffer.  And so do the businesses that cater to them.  The casino industry, who pay millions upon millions to the politicians and for advertising, conveniently ignores all this damage.

Did the politicians who want the casinos get money from the casino industry?  Hmm.  They are honorable men.

The casino gambling will also take away from the lotto money that goes to schools.

The experts who have conducted studies in universities claim that initially gambling does bring in more money, but the extra costs and spending in dealing with the problems that gambling nrings along with it are devastating.  The citizens lose out.  The only people that do profit are the casino owners.

But there are other people who do profit also – the people that get money from the casino industry.  The politicians allow the casinos to take money from the citizens of their state, and turn them into pathetic addicts.

Treating a gambling addiction costs over $5000 per month.  Ask the hundreds of yiddisher mishpachos that are suffering from this.  But not treating such an addiction is even more costly.  Rabbi Indig says we should listen to him and vote to have gambling within our midst, even if it will cause all of that traffic, crime and addiction in our communities.

Will Rabbi Indig help the wives whose husbands lost their homes in gambling debts?  Will he visit those who are in kosher addict programs?  Of course he will.  He is, of course, an honorable man.

Moshe Weiner .


Satmar (Kiryas Yoel) Approves Of Gambling In Sullivan County

Orthodox Jewry Organizes to Vote Down Gambling Referendum

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

42 Responses

  1. Leave him alone. Deep down, he doesn’t want it either. But you have to understand that the areas surrounding KJ are in favor. As KJ is in so much deep water with its neighbors, let them have this one topic they can tell their neighbors “We’re with you”.

    However, you should vote what’s right, not what KJ has to say publicly for appearance sake.

  2. When did he become a “rabbi”??
    Perhaps there is more to this story of pushing for the casinos (against the horoah of all gedolah yisroel)???
    Perhaps he is anticipating some backpack from the Governer’s office?

  3. I am not a chosid and I dont know the people involved.
    But one thing is clear.
    The writer of this piece does not think Rabbi Indig is an honorable man.
    This article discredits his reputation.
    Therefore it is loshon hora and should not have been published

  4. Who gave him the Title of Rabbi, does he have Smicha, could he even pasken a shaila, he just loves seeing his name and picture in the Newspapers and of course money.

    It appears that the Gambling Industry noticed that the vast majority of Orthodox Jews will vote No, so they promised money for the Aronim or this Indig guy,


    Op-Ed: We Are Not Fighting the Gaming Initiative Nor Should We

    By: Rabbi Moishe Indig

    On Election Day, Tuesday November 5th, New York voters will find on the ballot an initiative called “Proposal 1” allowing the State to sanction the building of seven Casino gaming resorts throughout the State, including in Sullivan County; the home of many Orthodox Jewish summer camps and vacation homes.

    This initiative is strongly supported by the vast majority of elected officials, from local to State Governments, from Liberal Democrats to Conservative Republicans; from Employers to workers. The referendum is extremely important to the New York State Government in general and to County and municipal governments in particular as they desperately need the influx of revenue that these gaming resorts will generate. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget office projects that the creation of additional “destination gaming resorts” will yield 10,000 jobs and $430 million in new annual tax dollars which according to a law passed by the Legislature needs to be spent toward schools, property tax relief and aid to local governments.

    Having said that, we also know that, we – as Orthodox Jews – don’t condone gambling in itself given the potential downsides that it can bring with it such as addiction, family and financial ruin. But on the other hand we are aware that the Orthodox Jewish Community has 1) thousands of Yeshiva/Kollel students who spend their time studying, 2) thousands of low wage earners, and 3) very large families all in need of Government Assistance. Furthermore, the Orthodox Jewish summer camps are religious institutions that occupy hundreds of acres of land in Sullivan County, with much lower tax obligations than if they’d be occupied by private or commercial entities.

    We as a community need to understand that we shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds us. We recognize that the State and local governments that help us in so many ways should have new forms of revenue that they so desperately need to pay their bills which includes assisting the Jewish Community. Furthermore, as part-time citizens of the Catskills, we developed a close relationship with the local and municipal governments and we appreciate the help that they are to us. They are all begging for more funds! As the Jewish principle of “Hakoros Hatov” – showing appreciation to those who are good to you, we should not fight an initiative that would help them. Additionally, our Great Grand Rabbe of Satmar, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum, fiercely opposed “Hisgaros B’umos” – provoking our non-Jewish neighbors. When we see the financial benefits that the State and local governments are set to gain from this initiative, when we see the millions in property tax relief this will bring to millions of New Yorkers, when we see that the Governor, Democrats, Republicans, employers and unions all back this initiative, we should not be the ones provoking them by actively opposing it. As Jews in “Golus” (Exile) we live at the mercy of the Government. It is therefore against the teachings of Torah and our Sages to impose our beliefs onto the Government.

    Let me be clear: Every citizen has been given the right to vote his conscious and what he/she feels is the right thing to do. But to organize a movement against the benefit of our government, on a referendum that will not infringe on our Torah and Mitzvos or on our culture and way of life, is contrary to the way we were taught by our Great Grand Rabbi of Satmar. Better yet, gaming to a certain levels already exists all over New York but Orthodox Jews mostly do not gamble because we don’t believe in it, but others do. We should not be here to change it especially that New York literally losses billions of dollars from the expanded gaming business that existing in the states neighboring New York. These billions can be here in New York and beneffit the very governments and neighbors on whose help and mercy we live.

    As for the worries that some people have if we expand gaming in New York, let me address a few of them:

    Traffic: For those of you who are concerned about the traffic congestion that the casinos will cause in the Catskills and elsewhere, let me remind you that we are causing the same amount of congestion during the two summer months that we spend in the Catskills! Take a drive up to the Catskills in middle of the winter, and compare the busiest winter day to the slowest summer day. It’s literally two worlds but when locals complain about it, we say that they should appreciate the business that we bring during the Summer. It’s a valid point but why should we not appreciate the business that the gaming industry will bring to the region? Besides, as part of the gaming plan and with the influx of additional revenue, roads and highways leading up the Catskills Region will be expanded. The Industry does not want its customers stuck in traffic.

    Crime: Those who claim that gaming will bring a rise in crime should be reminded that local law enforcement agencies – whether it’s the municipal police departments or the Sullivan County Sheriff, or the NY State Police – are all doing a superb crime-fighting job. The influx of revenue that the gaming industry will bring will permit these departments and agencies to expand their forces to secure the safety of the region. It’s for the benifit of the gaming industry, the locals and the state alike.

    The Fabric of Orthodox Jewry: Some are concerned that expanding gaming will lure more of our youngsters into gambling, but let’s be honest about it: There are multiple casinos easily accessible to Orthodox Jews in NYC and the surrounding counties yet only a very small percent of Orthodox Jews are into it. Expanding what is already out there will not change this reality. In fact, we all remember that the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn was up in arms about the Steiner Studio coming to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Alarmists warned that it will destroy the fabric of the neighborhood and that Williamsburg will never be the same, but more than a decade later, the Steiner Studio is there, the neighborhood is the same, and many locals don’t even know that there’s a movie studio in their own back yard.

    I understand the emotion that this issue may bring to the community but we need to move forward with due diligence; not emotion or fear-mongering. Based on all of the points I outlined above, I’m here to make our stance clear: we are not fighting, nor should we be fighting this gaming initiative known as “Proposal 1”.

  6. I stopped reading this nonsense when the author said that there are 2 ways to get from the city to the Catskills, and he omitted the Major Deegan/Interstate 87, the Saw Mill Parkway and the Bronx River Parkway. If you don’t know your way around New York, can you really know your way around the Torah?

    And No. 3 makes a good point.

  7. #3 deleted…..
    MODERATOR………. am I correct?

    Moderators Response: We deleted your comment. For people to understand why, here is a highly-edited email you sent YWN in 2007:

    YOU DONT KNOW (expletive expletive expletive deleted deleted deleted) FROM YOUR (expletive expletive expletive deleted deleted deleted)
    YOU (expletive expletive expletive deleted deleted deleted)

    he’s a rodef. for whatever reason.

  9. Dear Editor:

    In your recent issue you had an article devoted to one of the Satmar Rebbe’s upcoming visit to the Flatbush community. Your article indicated that the Rebbe is coming to collect to build school buildings for the large Satmar Mosdos.

    The Kabbolas Ponim was a beautiful event, The Kovod given was admirable. I was wondering why did we as a community financially support him and their mosdos?

    My issue is as follows; most families in the greater Flatbush community face tuition bills between $25,000 to $50,000 dollars. Why are we paying to build buildings for a chasidus that encourages their members to work for low paying jobs so they are forced to ask others for monetary or government assistance? Apparently they can generate enough contributions to pay for their substantial infrastructure and internal legal fees. They can generate enough internal contributions to pay for ads on their shuls letterhead opposing the state of Israel. They can generate substantial contributions to give to mosdos in eretz yisroel that promise not to take money from the medina. Their subsidized tuition bill per child is approximately $3,000. Their subsidized cost for camp is approximately $1,800 – for an entire summer!

    Is this what our community wants to support? Shouldn’t we redirect the funds to assist those in our community that are working two or three jobs and still can’t make ends meet?

    Perhaps our community should initiate a community wide endowment fund to assist in alleviating the tuition burden for those that can’t pay. At a minimum for the time being we should encourage our gvirim to contribute to our yeshivas and girls schools.

    Financially strained,

    Zolly Aron

  10. #7 (nfgo3) – Maybe you should permanently stop reading YWN and do us all a favor. Enough of your horrible comments.

    I am a recovering gambler, and I have a home in Monticello. I am outraged over this, and I plan on doing everything and everything to fight the Satmar chayos who are encouraging their community to vote yes.

    These are the same “vaad hatzniyus” animals who run around trying to get rid of advertisements from buses that they don’t like, and shoving their warped chumros down our throats. But all of a sudden the casinos promise a few bucks, and these people cave like a deck of cards (no pun intended).

  11. #12 I feel your pain. I have a child who is a gambler. If anyone knows anything about gamblers, do some research before you vote yes.

    Horrible and a chillul hashem that frum Jews are pushing for casinos in our backyard.


  12. YWN erred by airing this entire episode to the broad public. By doing so you forced Indig into no-win situation, where he cannot come out in favor or against the Casinos. It would have been best to keep this mater private, and let people vote their conscience.

    Moderators Response: To be fair, it was the Satmar newspapers who publicized this in the first place. See Friday’s YWN article

  13. rumor on the streets is that cuomo has sent his jewish (frum) liason Abe Eisner is running around to both satmars and skver that if they dont vote “yes” the state will cause them alot of problems….

    classy democrats at work again.


  14. to number 11
    you are 100% right
    try making a parlor meeting in willie for mir or chaim berlin or any other and see how many people youll get

    besides when you give money to the zallies why give it to them
    avoid the middle man and give it straight to nk or the other kooks who make mass demonstrations constantly

    who do you think funds them

    anyway I don’t know who indig is but by satmar the motto is gelt gelt and gelt again all decisions are focused on that

  15. Agree with #12, and can empthasize with his recovery also.

    That being said, I am not outraged nor am I surprised by anything that goes on in the “frum/heimeshe” world. Plenty of hypocrisies that go on, this is just another one of them.

  16. My take away from this piece is:

    . the author doesnt like Indig
    . the author either vacations in sullivan county and/or has lots of friends and relatives who do and is therefore applying NIMBY to this issue

  17. I am fervently opposed to any more gambling casinos because opening more casinos is placing a stumbling block before the blind and frequently taking money from those who can least afford it.

    Visit Las Vegas or Atlantic City and you’re bound to see frum Yiddin gambling. Some can’t even tear themselves away from the table to daven during zman tefillah. Money that could be used for mitzvos is being thrown away at the gambling establishments.

    Rabbi Indig should visit the existing casinos. I’m certain he’ll recognize some of his fellow chassidim gambling. If there must be more casinos in New York why not place them out at Montauk, far from the heimish communities?

  18. Moishe Indig is probably the only who can speak english amongst them . So he thinks he became the macher.My opinion is every one should consult his rav and do what he feels is right al pe torah . Why give Inding all this popularity he is having a field day , he is not worth our time.They are a lost tribe , Reb Yoiel ZTL” is not here to control them , so it becomes money or other monetary gains there after, and this is unfortunately the result. My heart goes out to anyone (as mentioned) who have any family or children addicted to Gambling, may hashem help them quickly and eliminate the pain caused to the family. May hashem also help the Satmar’s and all of us and fulfil our ruchniues and gasminues needs

  19. Rather, this article urges its readers to think for themselves and not just listen to what others tell us to think. –

    “THINK FOR OURSELVES”,,,,,very revolutionary thought!!

  20. #11, hold your pockets tight, don’t give any money to Satmar,they don’t need your money, b”h there are still many frum yiden in Flatbush and many other communities who believe it is great zechia and mitzvah to support Satmar mosdos even if they disagree on some issues.

  21. i see allot of hateful and/or stupid comments that some people are writing, obviously these people don’t understand whats going on, here it goes:
    we in our community have no more then 50k voters this is if all of Flatbush, BP, Willi. MNSY, Monroe go out to vote (which is not the case) now every state vote in NY is decided by a difference then way more people then that (more like 200k) this prop 1 will anyway pass (at least according to all real professionals in the field) this will bring in hundreds of millions a year in taxes for the state
    now we keep on crying we are discriminated against we don’t get enough support from Albany for our private schools ETC. so why would we be so stupid and announce on load speakers that we are voting against something Albany is fighting for, for a very long time??!!
    the yiddish papers could write what they want because if not of YWN it would never be out there on the street and Rabbi Indig wouldn’t have to come out so strong for it, it would’ve been just as any of the other hundreds of issues that we may or may not agree..Rabbi Indig represents one of the largest groups of orthodox Jews outside of Israel (whether you like it or not) and you all got to respect that. because he has a beard and wears no tie he is any less then other leaders?? his opinion is the opinion of thousands of ppl he represents…

  22. Based on Rabbi Indig’s logic we should demonstrate to have a casino built on Coney island avenue. Why not we need to do what’s best for those around us not what’s best for us.

  23. I cannot stop laughing. It’s against the Torah to impose our beliefs on the government? Wasn’t it Satmar that wanted separate buses?

    Didn’t Satmar of Monroe take a case TO THE SUPREME COURT!!!!! to get their own school district, even though they are religious.
    It’s too funny to even be real!
    Hypocrites, Liars and Thieves. Come to Monsey and see how our erliche yidden use lies and fake Torah to get what they want from the government.

    But it’s OK, cuz G-d knows, and that’s what matters.

    G-d is perfect,it’s his people who pervert the Torah.

  24. i live all year long in Sullivan County – crime cannot get worse in downtown Monticello or Liberty – the casinos can revitalize our community – a board member of a local shul told me that their shul would probably close if gambling doesnt pass – it probably will pass anyway – the question is what way should the heimishe tzibbur bet on this? if we opposed it and it passes, maybe they will throw us a bone – if we support it and it passes, maybe hakaras hatov – if we opposed it and it fails, i am scared antisemtism will go way way up because everyone here wants it to pass

  25. It is therefore against the teachings of Torah and our Sages to impose our beliefs onto the Government.”

    is the the same group that said we do not want bike lanes in our community

    what a hypocrite

  26. #32, you are you are the only normal comment I recognized, and I think that all of you should read over Indig’s OP-ED there will you see his strong points, and then let your voice out, not what you read in that stupid (sorry for the Author) article and what you hear on the streets!

  27. Like gambling has helped the area about TWO blocks of the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Most of AC looks like it went thru three world wars and a Met defeat.

  28. I wonder:
    a) How many readers are familiar with the allusion to Mark Antony’s hesped for Julius Ceaser in Shakespeare’s play of the same name?
    b) Of those who are familiar, how many would admit to it in public?

  29. #32 and #38

    Are you saying that politicians can’t count? It does not matter what the newspapers write, nor what Indig says. The votes will be tallied in every town and district. That is what the proponents of gambling will be looking at – the yeahs and the nays!!

    Also, please be note that Indig is no Rabbi. He does not live in KJ, and has his own political agenda.

    He does, though, speak for KJ (and the Rebbe) in an official capacity.

    I just read on another site that M. D. Niederman (of the Williamsburg faction) was pretty much threatened that if the votes pro Proposition 1 are not delivered there would be enormous political repercussions. Despite that, he came out publicly that there was no way that he would ever do so.

    I was also told that Skver is advising their residents to vote FOR the casinos.

    I cannot think of anything more destructive for us Yidden than bringing gambling into our own backyards.

    There are wives who no longer have their jewelry, their silver, and some, their homes — thanks to their husbands’ addiction. Families have been ruined forever — and this is with casinos being far away. Imagine the temptation when it is so close to home.

    Indig claims that we have to vote for Proposition 1 to curry favor with the politicians. No other town is as despised as Kiryas Joel by its neighbors — and with some justification. When the Rebbe zt”l was alive the leaders of KJ reached out to the principals of these towns and tried to work with them in every matter affecting them mutually. There were some very solid relationships forged in those times.

    After the Rebbe’s petirah — with the fire set in Yeled Shashuim (filled with new mothers and babies), shattered car and house windows, slashed tires etc….these actions were more than enough to alienate all of them. Top this off with the self-serving greedy individuals who never took into consideration the resentment of other villages in Orange County watching politicians trade votes in KJ for money. Now, Indig advises, we have to vote for gambling because we don’t want to upset our neighbors. Ha Ha!!!

    Also, Indig uses the Satmar Rebbe zt”l in his argument! The Rebbe’s morals could never be compromised. He would have been outraged at the mere thought of supporting such legislation. He built KJ as a haven AWAY from the city and its influence. How dare Indig infer that the Rebbe zt”l would have agreed to bring gambling into our midst!!!

    BTW, for all of you who are slamming the Satmar Rebbe (Wmsbg) for going into Flatbush for a fund-raiser, you are really despicable!!! There is no other group (with all its faults) that has donated more for Bikur Cholim, mikvahs around the world, pidyun sheviim, and for other moisdos all over, than Satmar. Wherever there is a Jewish cause – no matter where one belongs (i.e. Rubashkin of Lubavitch) you can count on Satmar being there – not only with money – but with time and total dedication!!

    They have had very special role models — the Satmar Rebbe zt”l and his Rebbetzin zt”l!

  30. about the point that Satmar is one of the most donaters, are you -#41-, 100% right, but about Indig’s words are you totally confused.
    If you will look over his writting will you see, that he never says that we all have to vote for the Casinos -which he’s also saying that it’s against our believe- what he’s saying is, that to make a whole campaign in the public against the whole State -after you sent a Section 8 and Food Stamps application- is plain againt our Torah, Yes, you will send home from your Schools with your Schools Letterhead to make sure that everyone is going out to vote for NO Casinos, and by that you are coverd by both -Torah and Goverment- and you are a mench in everybodys eye’s…

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts