Op-Ed: Ezra Friedlander: The Stark Truth

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Shiva has just ended for the Stark family and the media frenzy has moved on to new targets. We have not. The horrific abduction and murder of Menachem Stark continues to shock our entire community to its core, and rightfully so.

As most know by now, the New York Post, headline and subsequent articles, created uproar the likes of which we haven’t seen in a very long time. What is still most troubling to me is the defamation of an entire community. When the Post references an entire group of people “Chassidic”, while reporting about an individual that is sensationalist journalism at its worst.

As was discussed ad nausea, aside from its despicable headline “who wouldn’t want him dead?,” the Post article was filled with stereotypes and inflammatory innuendo about the Chassidic community. As examples, “the millionaire Hassidic slumlord” “he is a Hassidic Jew from Williamsburg and we think he is a scammer” etc…

The use of the term “Hassidic Slumlord” is clearly inappropriate and intentionally provocative. Fair minded observers recognize the ramifications of negatively stereotyping individuals and communities. The Post, to no ones surprise, shrugged its shoulder and moved on to its next meal.

Let’s be honest. There is no justification for identifying the alleged misdeeds of one individual with an entire ethnic or social group. Portraying a landlord of Chasidic lifestyle as a “hasidic slumlord” is insensitive at best and disgusting at worst. In the aftermath of such a terrible tragedy I believe it was unconscionable. Lost in the blaring headline was an innocent family and close knit community reeling from the shock of Mr. Stark’s untimely demise.

I am a big First amendment supporter and the media certainly has a role to play in reporting the news. Its no great surprise, the Post seems far more interested in scoring cheap circulation points at the expense of a truly heinous crime than informing their readers with facts and information. To my personal dismay the coverage also symbolized the negative perception of Chasidic Jews overall and how they are viewed in the secular media. Like all sects and nationalities, one person or a group of people, should not represent the totality of that group. The word stereotype is mostly used in a negative connotation for exactly this reason.

As someone who is engaged in the profession of representing clients in the public relations arena, I am fully cognizant of the fact that perception is the first step towards reality. I’ve been trying to understand why it is that the Chasidic community seems to be held to a different standard.

Years ago, I was having a conversation with a non-Jewish friend of mine, a fellow who traces his heritage all the way back to the Mayflower. I asked him why Orthodox Jews are often perceived in a negative light.

His answer was simple. “Because you are different.”

I asked him to elaborate. And this is what he told me: “Anytime anyone separates themselves from the general population, be it by dress, tradition, or customs, they create a distinction that is inherently resented by others. That’s just the way it is.”

I didn’t really understand him then, but as time goes on I am beginning to realize how accurate his words are.

As I try to make sense out of the media’s coverage of this evil murder, I see no justification for any newspaper to have recognized Mr. Stark by his Chassidic identity. He was a Brooklyn born businessman who happened to be of Chassidic persuasion. I understand that reporting that would have been boring. Sadly, the media has allowed their insensitivity and dare I say, bias, to fester over time, and may no longer even realize that identifying a subject matter by his or her religiosity is simply wrong and unprofessional.

It should be obvious by now to even the most callous and indifferent reporter that Orthodox Jews are deeply sensitive to allegations of institutional impropriety. Other minorities and groups rightfully and vociferously protest being tarred and stereotyped as well. I would offer that people and groups that have bared the brunt of racism and intolerance over decades are especially attuned and sensitive to being paint brushed or labeled. I believe the NY Post’s front cover was greeted with outrage and condemnation by my community for this very reason. Clearly not understanding the origin and authenticity of that outrage, the Posts felt no need to apologize and that simply proves my point.

And so I ask myself how can we change the conversation and really get the media off our backs? I am more and more convinced that there are internal lessons to be learned from all of this. Perhaps our community needs to reassess how we are viewed by the secular world and how we must present ourselves outwardly to change that perception.

Entering the Business World:

We must educate our young and talented entrepreneurs who are entering the business world to their responsibilities. These young people are bright and capable, but most have had no formal training in the challenges of entering the workplace. Many come straight out of insular backgrounds and enter the business world without the benefit of a minimal education in secular and accepted business practices. As we’ve seen time and again, when certain violations do occur, they often become the subject of intense media scrutiny which shocks and dismays us.

The fact is when identifiable members of our community are alleged as being involved in criminality, it makes all of us the subject of sensationalist reporting. It is as if the media is lecturing us — “Look, you dress and act a certain way, you are holding yourselves to a higher standard, yet you don’t seem to be living up to those same high standards.” Certainly, the vast majority of our community is proper and law abiding citizens. But let there be no doubt, the media enjoys honing in on the few bad stories. That will never change. Yes, it’s unfortunate and unfair, but reality nonetheless. Maybe we might consider expending as much energy preventing misdeeds with proper education and preparation so we need not have to expend as much defending them.

That’s why I propose that any member of our community who intends to enter the business world be offered the opportunity to get formally trained in a fully accredited program in their chosen profession, be it real estate, finance, retail, or others. Very often, our children go straight from Yeshiva into the ‘real world’ without any practical training or knowledge of applicable laws and rules of business. I don’t pretend that this will solve all of our problems or end the double standard towards us in the media, but I believe knowing and understanding individual responsibility is a good first step towards a better future for our people.

I cannot stress enough how much negative damage is generated for all of us through media coverage like this truly tragic story. It reverberates way beyond the scope of the individuals in this story. It is not just about Menachem Stark and his alleged business dealings. It impacts every single Orthodox Jew who engages in any commercial activity with members of the non Orthodox world.

Yes, we need to confront and condemn newspapers like the New York Post who have defamed all of us and have behaved in a heartless manner towards a grieving family. But we are also required to address the rising stories of white collar crime and shady business dealings when we see them, even if they are few and far between.

As someone who is engaged in public relations in both the Orthodox and non- Orthodox Jewish world, I can only recommend that we address this issue both on an educational level and on a societal level. It is incumbent upon us to stop glorifying those individuals whose wealth is amassed through unscrupulous sources and not in accordance with our code of ethics.

Let me be very clear: I am not writing these words to address Menachem Stark. I am shaken by his murder and truly heartbroken for his family, not only for the obvious loss of a cherished husband and father but also for the fact that our reputation and that of our community were also assassinated along with him. I am writing this here and now because the conversation is unavoidable. We need to place value on the public’s perception of our community. This requires introspection.

It is my fervent hope that my words will be understood in its proper context. Believe me when I say that, as a proud Orthodox Jew, I am deeply hurt on a personal level when members of my community are unjustly and unnecessarily maligned. It need not be.
If my words will change even my own personal behavior then it would have been worthwhile to state my position public on this matter.

Ezra Friedlander is CEO of The Friedlander Group, a public policy consulting firm based in NYC and Washington, DC. He may be contacted at [email protected] Follow on twitter: @EzraFriedlander

46 COMMENTS

  1. “As was discussed ad nausea, aside from its despicable headline “who wouldn’t want him dead?”

    Two errors in this sentence its ad nauseum and the headline read who DIDN’T want him dead.

  2. Ezra is a hired gun for the right price he will say or due anything. Like back nyc’a current mayor Can a person that sells himself be beleived or trusted

  3. The reality is the new york post is not the issue, the reality is that the mosdos and yeshivot are more interested in obtaining funds than finding out how those funds were obtained. People are glorified for obtaining money, it does not matter if its through medicaid fraud or destroying other people in the process, and so every child should be taken out of the cheder and explained that with bad actions come bad consequences, not that an individual who may be engaged in questionable activity is a tzadik as long as he gives to various causes. Yet the community glorifies any individual who gives to any cause , so what are our children to think if we leave them with such misguided principals . people who dont pay vendors, etc. The notion that you can steal from the government leads to all sorts of theft. thats the reason that children are supposed to learn a profession etc. In this area jewish leadership has failed not one jewish communal leader has addressed the real issue here, which is how is that a thirty eight year old frum jew can be killed via a contracted hit . That of course would actually require the truth to come out. So lets blast the post and evade the real issue.

  4. Yes! This is the best paragraph of the entire article:
    “Yes, we need to confront and condemn newspapers like the New York Post who have defamed all of us and have behaved in a heartless manner towards a grieving family. But we are also required to address the rising stories of white collar crime and shady business dealings when we see them, even if they are few and far between.”

    Because, yes, we are different, and nonjews will always hate us “no matter what”. They always did and always will, until Moshiach comes. Yet, we can’t go out there and think that goyish money is free-for-all. There are serious halachos involved, how to deal w/money beyond Jewish community. If someone has a nisayon regarding this issue, he ought to revisit (or visit for his 1st time) sifrei mussar and Chasidus regarding Bitachon, because, one who truly believes that parnossa is from above (especially if he said parshas ha’man last week Tues) will not struggle w/ this problem.

  5. never mind, many frum yidden are ‘tzaddikim’ in their community and raise wonderful children, but when it come to doing business with the goyim, can do things that they should not do.

    This seems to be the case here.

    Let us not get blinded by his strimmel or the photo of his wonderful looking family. He seemed to have crossed some red line. let us not look perspective.

  6. Ezra may I suggest u take a mirror and take a deep deep look? Who if not ppl like u are glorifying ppl w/ o ethics.

    And This newest trend of self appointed reps of the orthodox community who do more damage than good.

  7. Mr friedlander,

    We just concluded in our synagogues these past few weeks that the children of Israel were granted redemption and exodus from Egypt because they distinguished themselves and were different. So what is terrible about being different so long as you are honest?

  8. A yid is not not supposed to break the law. A chassid is one that goes lifnim mishuras hadin. A chassid should be better. Instead of attacking the post we should look inward and figure out how and why a stereotype that chassidim are dishonest exists.

  9. I agree that we must educate our young people as they go out in the world, BUT aren’t most of the appropriate dealings on business already discussed in the Gemara ?

  10. Friedlander-
    GO AWAY!
    you are no friend of my community.
    Leave us alone!
    rationalizing the Post’s actions makes you complacent in their actions.
    Leave us alone!

  11. I CRY as I’m writing this cause I really wish this tzara in klal yisroel never happened & I wouldn’t be writing this.

    i totally understand what you’ve written in this letter. However perhaps if we started to see the other side of the story (i.e. Hashem’s side) then we would not be so shocked when tragedy strikes R”L)
    To help you understand this a little, here is a message from Hashem (i.e. won’t find in a sefer or newspaper neither is this from me or a rav) with Hashems side of the story included: Why is the economy so bad today? Why is the whole world going down? For the past thousands of years there was always Avoda zara in the world-from the molech to the baal to the asheira tree etc…-todays avoda zara is MONEY, we are a servant to money, we serve money, we bow down to money, we let money talk & rule us. Thus we leave Hashem no choice but to take it away from us Rachmana L’tzlan. But you can still save yourself from going down. if a person can use his money the right way & remember that it all comes from Hashem & it was just loaned to him (even though he worked for it), then he is the perfect person to continue holding Hashem’s money.

    i’m watching as the situation & economy gets worse & worse. And the craziest part about it is, that it doesn’t surprise me or shock me this entire country is about to collapse slowly but surely. The world is run by Hashem & nobody else (not obama or the gedolim etc…)

    Now that you Have read the message above, & have seen Hashems side of the story it should not shock you either.
    everyone knows the famous line, a child never questions a parent or a student never questions his rebbe, cause he knows his rebbe/parent would only do whats best for him/her. Now what about HASHEM? We all know Hashem only does what’s for the good & sometimes these horrific tragedies need to happen R”L-& its for the good- cause sometimes this is the only way for Hashem to wake us up-myself included-& start doing teshuva.

    i.e. it is our fault also, as we go day by day, we are constantly getting reminder wake-up calls from Hashem to start doing teshuva & return to Hashem with achdus. The only problem is that we have a major problem facing the world today-yidden or not-called FACING REALITY, i.e. whenever tragedy strikes we let it pass us & think we could fool Hashem that we don’t get his wake-up call for teshuva. Thus we leave Hashem no choice but to keep striking us with tzaros R”L.

    i.e. if we all make a promise to do teshuva ASAP together as a nation this horrific time of constant tzaros can come to a end.

    How long can Hashem watch us & not do something to wake us up? i.e. how long can YOU watch your child not listen to his parents before he’s gone too far & needs to be punished? its a potch of love to help the child improve… & thats the bottom line.

    Klal yisroel blew it long ago, when we see tzaros happening but we don’t get together as a nation to do teshuva & beg Hashem forgiveness?

    May we all wakeup ASAP & do teshuva THANK YOU YWN for always keeping me posted with the latest updates in news.

  12. I think everyone gets it already. The Post is a rag. Now where are the articles calling for serious introspection in our community? Why is it that our first defense is to fire back with accusations of bigotry? Where are the calls for this man, and all of us who remain silent when we see behavior like his, to take responsibility for our actions?

  13. Ezra friedlander is a minute a way from loosing his popularity in our community. This article is rubbish! There is no doubt that he is peruaded by many of the untruths stated by the post about stark cus he doesn’t argue any of it. As if to say: the fact that menachem stark was a slumlord is really true….. But don’t label him. And don’t label and stereotype an entire group for that. There is nowhere in this article that praises stark. His chessed and the person he was. I felt like I was reading an al sharpton article. “Just because were black we have to be wronged”? Mr. Friedlander, noone really cares about the stereotype. Doing that is silly and is very transparent. We care about the misrepresentations of a person. You care about the misrepresentation about a community cus then it means you too. Honestly, I never quite understood who you are. I am wondering what higher education you received? In addition, not every rabbi’s son is going to cut his beard like you did. And start playing the part with the outer. What are you talking about when you refer to studying the practice of real estate???? Many learned scholars would have loved to amass what this guy did in his short life. This was a business recovering from the economic meltdown. Your whole article doesn’t reflect the frum mind. Your hashkafos are crippled. And clearly you too as the post have come to conclusions that are wrong. Albeit a first ammendment supporter; completely hypocritical to our consitution. I see no message in this article other than; look at me, I did it. And who are you really?

  14. I appreciate your piece, but your non-Jewish friend is not quite right.

    Most people regard, say, the Amish, as an amusing tourist attraction and do not at all resent the Amish for being different.

    What your non-Jewish friend might have meant is that he understood that we are the Am HaNivchar. Therefore…

    Much more important, however, than what your non-Jewish friend might have meant is what the truth is. “Nihye kiMitzrayim” was the catalyst for the shibud in Mitzrayim, which we have just finished reading about. And, unfortunately, at other times throughout history as well.

    So we urgently need to keep that separation from the umos, one which Chassidim happen to exemplify with their distinctive levush.

  15. Kudos to Mr Friendlander for this article. It is particularly refreshing to see a professionally written and constructed article that addresses the views of both sides of the of the ‘discussion’ rather than admonishing others from a one sided view-point. Rather than delivering ‘mussar’ to others, the point one tries to deliver will be better received when the author clearly addresses the greater picture and gives it over in a manner in which the point can be practically applied. All too often we sadly fail to act in a manner that is befitting to us as holy Yidden particularly in the business place and this is when the ‘media’ pounces – almost as if they have higher expectations of us as a people than we have of ourselves – if that is the case, H’ Yerachem…..

  16. You have your priorities all messed up Mister. We should not respond to anti-Semitism by trying to be like “them”, or even trying to understand “why” they hate us. Get out of your illusionary perception of reality, assimilation didn’t help in Europe before the war and it’s not going to help us here either. The only thing it might lead to is our destruction, whether spiritually or physically. We need to be strong on who “we” are and not try to be more like them. We don’t need to learn from them either. Our Torah had enough ethics, if we were to be true to it not only won’t we need to learn from them, they would all come to us in order to learn how a human being should act. The answer is not in “leaving” yeshiva and going to an accredited program, it is maybe just the opposite. Put more into Yeshiva learning, make it a part of life, let the torah seep deep into your soul, so that when you go out into the world people will admire your way of being. Anti-Semites will remain Anti-Semites, the Post will continue breeding hatred and even curse our finest leaders like they did to Harav Ovadia Yosef zt”l, who was the opitome of a just, honest, and correct leader. I don’t know Menachem Stark and that is not the point here. All I know is that I would much rather my kids have the education that he received than the education that the Journalists of the Post received. Being familiar with the NY Post and their articles based on baseless allegations just in order to sell more papers, I never believe a word they say, whether it’s about a Jew or Non-Jew, a Chassid or a Litvak. All I know is that if there is a religious Jew who misrepresents the Jewish people, it is absolutely wrong to say that he was in Yeshiva for “too” long, or that he went right from Yeshiva into the “real” world, when the reality is that he didn’t put enough into Yeshiva or maybe wasn’t there long enough. Being “successful” on their terms might mean being the leading Journalist for the Post, while being “successful” on our terms means being a decent human being. Just like there are many who go through their education system and don’t end up being “successful”, there are also those who go through ours and aren’t “successful”.

  17. Just as you believe that the journalists of the Post don’t represent the entire non-Jewish education system, and you are even saying we should all go there. Also believe that one Jewish criminal straight out of Yeshuva (and I have no idea WHO you are referring to) does not represent the entire yeshiva system. And for the most part if someone is seriously learning in Yeshiva which includes having a serious seder in mussar (a strong daily study period in Ethical Studies of which our Rabbi’s of all generations have instituted that all Jewish schools must have) and goes straight from there into the business world (which I wouldn’t call the “real world” at all) they end up being a walking kiddush hashem and an example of what a Human Being should be like. All because they don’t put these people on the front page doesn’t mean they are not the strong majority rather than the small exception.

  18. Your indignation is fully justified.
    As is your decrying how we are all tarnished by the bad reputation a few unscrupulous businessmen cause us.

    Your father, the Liska Rebbe Shlit’a, has on numerous occasions bemoaned the fact that today’s generation “just don’t get it”.
    We forget that we no longer live in a bubble.

    However, in Menachem Stark’s (A’H) defense, I know a thing or two about real-estate management.

    I’m guessing that the reason there are numerous tenants complaining and criticizing him, while, at the same time, there are many other tenants that are praising him, is simply because certain tenants often behave like jerks, so they are treated as such. It’s very difficult to get around it.

    At the same time most tenants are decent and fair and are, in turn, treated with respect and cooperation.

    Of course there are some Landlords that are nasty all around, but they usually don’t have ANY tenants praising them. So apparently Mr. Stark was not one of the nasty ones.

    As for his debts and financial shortcomings, sometimes when there’s a crisis, and certain buildings are deep “in the red”, the Landlord/owner of such a building will fall short of his obligations while trying to recover.

    Naturally, this leaves a trail of very unhappy tenants, contractors, debtors, etc.
    Sometimes it’s unavoidable. At least for a while.

    The main lesson to be learned here is that all Heimish businessmen should be mindful that we are (unfortunately) under a microscope.
    And that their behaviour reflects on all of us.

    Mainly, the “Kiddush/Chilul Hashem” factor is paramount!

  19. Mr Friedlander. I will keep it brief. The message you should take from this story is that no matter how powerful you think you are, no matter how connected you think you are and no matter how much money you think you have, we are in Golus. Period

  20. Why don’t u all say some miser 4 your self let me look in to your hands & face & check if every penny u have is koshet ; just 1 quick question when G.M & all the car company went bankrupt & government bailed out with taxes that we pay or went up because of that u don’t call em robbers or thief or all those names u called this קדוש he was killed because he was Jewish me be u r shame you’re self because u r jewish

  21. I think it’s ironic that just a week before The Post slandered the entire Satmar community, the Satmar community was out in Manhattan slandering the rest of Jews, even if it would come at the expense of Israeli, Jewish lives. They procaimed, ‘we are the only Torah Jews’, which is a relief because by doing so they separated their community from all the others just in time.

    No, I’m not expecting you to post this.

  22. I agree and disagree. I agree that they’re are accepted practices and nuances which our young business men are missing. However, to claim that the stereotype chassidish/orthodox person is due to us ‘being different’ is completely false. I work with non Jews and they respect us. Yes BECAUSE we are different.As long as WE stick to our guns and do what our religion has taught America than we will continue to be respected. When we act in a manner which they would expect from their fellow man but not from a Jew that’s when the problem starts in regard to us being different. If we talk the talk of a moral religion which was the basis to American democracy yet don’t walk the walk, we are showing ourselves to be hypocrites. and therefore ‘different’. Perhaps this is what the author meant.

  23. BH

    Let me begin by saying that the Neshsmah should have an Alyah, and we should (must) all learn a Mishnah and/or give a couple of coins in his Z’chus, this being said, i remember reading in the Jewish Press a while ago, thatRav Yoshe Ber Solowechick ones said thst he doesn’t like the term “Frum Yid” he said that many times a Frum Yid one visits in Prison, he’d much rather use the term “Ehrliche Yid” now put THAT in your pipe and smoke it

  24. Amateur thinking. I hope at least it’s all one big question, and he’s really asking if he’s on the right track…

    When a group is different for a good reason, and they’re busy fulfilling their cause of difference – no one would have a problem. There’ll always be anti-semites, and there always be some resentment, but there’s also a big level of understanding that these people are rightfully different; a historic nation of G-d; a people with a starkly different mission.

    It’s only when they sense that we ourselves are confused about who we are, that the hatred swells to new proportions.

    Why look at it as if it’s a new problem and not look at our history. For first, in Egypt, as long as the Yidden did their thing, as long as they were OPEN about the fact that they don’t intend to become part of Egyptian society, there were no problems. It’s only when we want both world…

  25. while im sure ezra is a nice guy
    who nominated him as clall yisroels spokesperson
    who is his morah horayah

    this same question can be asked about the countless self appointed “askanim”
    most are in it not for tzorche tzibur
    but to line their own pockets

  26. Totally agree to the poster above , the lesson should be no matter how powerful you lobbyist and politicians think u r, we r in Golus.

    Of u know the president if the Hungarian bank was a Jew before WW2 and he saved the Hungarian economy, sadly he was roasted in aushwitz.

    Wake up we r in Golus don’t be blinded, yes this is the USA were we have better freedom but don’t fool urself.

    הלכה היא עשו שונא ליעקב
    ואין צריך סיבה לשנאות

  27. Most of the comments here are long winded rubbish. Only #4 arib managed to hit the nail on the head. Until the community stops glorifying donors who obtain their money by any means possible this will continue. Blaming the post,the goyim, anti semitism, PR, and ezra friedlander’s beard length are all red herrings and skate around the real issue.

  28. HaKatan says:
    January 12, 2014 at 4:11 am

    I appreciate your piece, but your non-Jewish friend is not quite right.

    Most people regard, say, the Amish, as an amusing tourist attraction and do not at all resent the Amish for being different.

    because the amish truly separate themselves no welfare no section no wic. an when is the last time you heard an amish person involved in some scam or an amish organization? No pel grant scandal, no nursing home scandal need I lest all the sacms>

    that is the difference

  29. Wow, look at all these comments… poor Ezra really got hit hard…
    I guess the good thing about it is that it brought out all of these strong opinions in the other direction…

  30. the issue is no only that mosod take money from people who might of scammed but that many mosdos are involved in scams

    pel grant, lunch program, youth core, program for non existent handicap children, and just recently yeshiva that ban the internet taking money from the goverment to provide internet

    and of course none of the people who did the above are condemned and not shamed. just the opposite, they are proud members and commended since they did it for Torah and or other excuses people can think off.

    of course every group of people has fraudsters but in no other group do they rally around them and make excuse and scream nebech he has a family why jail him (ps non Jews have families too and every single person in jail)he only did it for torah or so he can give charity and so on

  31. Without having a pre-biased attitude against Mr. friedlander, I think his op-ed was very respectful and on target.

    And he brings a very sad but true point to the forfront, that just because you have some money and you give some Tzedakah and you are well liked or respected in your community that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to do whatever you want, because in the nonjewish world they don’t care about how much Tzedakah you give or how many lights and sirens you have on your car

    The bottom line is, if you are not curtious, respectful, honest and polite then they will hate you and sterotype the entire jewish community.

    Now Just like Mr. friedlander I’m not accusing Mr. Stark HY”D in the slightest b/c as a buisnessman myself I fully understand what buisness is all about, I’m also not agreeing in the slightest with the despicable headline of the NYPOST

    What I am agreeing with is the fact that today so many frum people coming straight out of Yeshiva and going into the buisness world and making money sometimes forget that just because you’re respected in your community that doesn’t give you the right to disrespect anyone else in any communtiy.

    And when I say disrespect I mean double parking, cheating, stealing, lieing, hurting, slandering etc….

    Because it’s those people although few and far in between who YES cause the entire Jewish community to get sterotyped.

    And Yes it’s those people who Mr. Friedlander was calling out,and it’s those type of people that we have to stop protecting and ignoring for the sake of the good things that they do. Because many good things won’t stop the one bad thing which can cause much damage and harm to the entire jewish world.

    And it’s that, that i entirely agree with Mr. Friedlander

  32. I personally think that we should be competent in secular subjects (the ones that don’t interfere with Hilchos Dayos). However, it’s totally irrelevant to this issue here. The NYP is the NYP. The best way to deal with them is to ignore them. Don’t buy their papers, don’t advertise in them and get the word out that if you advertise in the Post you will not get our business. That’s how to deal with the Post, in general. They are a disgusting rag and should be treated like the znus papers, etc that it is. Now regarding how to do business that is something that should be taught in Yeshiva. There is a Hilchos Masa v’Matan. Even if our yeshivos don’t think it’s important to teach Halochos of Brachos, Tzitzis and Tefiloh, they should still teach the basics of Hilchos Masa V’matan. (I don’t really mean the first part of course. They need to teach all Halochos and not hope that per chance you will learn it on your own or ask the wife what the Halacha is.)

  33. The fact that we now need a PR hired gun to explain away our problems one that sells himself to haters of religion and the word of god is more then we need.
    Ezra you are the problem rather then confronting our problems you make it seem like we have no problems
    Your backing of socialists homo sexual loving individuals puts you in no position to lecture us

  34. Not to forget: everyone here has a good point on his own. But, if Mr Stark was right or not, the article written by The Post, is totally a cruel one.
    He might be a crook, he might be a slumlord, but the way The Post wrote it, is extremely nasty and full of hate toward Judaism.

  35. Friedlander is worried because it hurts his business activities when the image of Chasidim is damaged.

    Tu biShvat is coming up. Last year, Ezra Friedlander held a phony Tu biShvat seder, where flattery was generously served to oisvurfs. Let’s see who Friedlander invites this year to his phony event, if he has the chutzpah to repeat it again. Is he going to invite his friend Christine Quinn again, like last year? He was photographed whispering to former President Clinton at the NYC Mayoral inauguration recently. Is he trying to rope him in to his phony, flattery business racket now?

    What we need is honesty and integrity, not the opposite, whether it is in the form of lack of business ethics, or fancy flattery from PR hacks. The word Jew, as Rabbi Shimon Schwab zt”l said, should be synonymous with integrity and honesty.

  36. Can we use this terrible tragedy as a “teaching moment”? Not just to focus on what others do unto us, not just to focus on the unfairness of the whole situation, but to look inwards into all of our lives. What are our business dealings with other people? How do we treat the general population? How can we make a Kiddush HaShem in our dealings with the world – not for good press -because we all know that the press will ALWAYS focus on the negative and the sensational, but for HaShem. The kiddush is for HaShem. It is to strengthen who we are as individuals and as a community. To strengthen our bond with HaShem. We can’t control the antisemitism inherent in our society; in fact we can’t control anything. HaShem is in control, and the more we focus on this, the better off we will all be.

  37. Dear Ezra,

    I agree with your many points.

    However, I do not think this calling was appropriate for this time when our entire community is in mourning.
    In my opinion, you overreacted on the wrong instincts.

    Currently, we must focus on defense from our attackers, physically or media, rather then self introspection. A loose comparison would be as if we would have us Jews focus on why the Nazis hated us so badly and wanted us dead while in the gas chambers, rather then defending and saving ourselves. Today, after many years have past, we rightfully are reflecting on what has happened and how things have evolved to such sub human, dark circumstances.

    In my opinion, it would be utterly wrong to use this heinous crime as a lesson or a steppingstone for reflection and to start to alter our behavior of any sort. For all we know, Mr. Stark may have just owed money to the wrong loan sharks. Furthermore, there is speculation that all they wanted was a shakedown which went wrong. This murder does not seem to be related to any “slumlord” accusations.

    For the media to insinuate the condoning of a slumlord’s murder, is an outrage of the highest proportions. To morally equate a slumlord, despite by merely a few accounts, to a John Gotti caliber who actually killed many and was wanted dead by many, is a “himel geshrai.”

    This is what we need to spend our energy presently, and make sure our community is protected. No one knows where these headlines may lead to. This is a very serious issue. As we all know of the incident that followed against a landlord shortly thereafter in Brooklyn…

    with regards to unscrupulous and illegal business dealings rampant in our community, I appreciate your big picture observation (limud zechus)that it simply is due to a lack of general education. But this issue should have been raised and dealt with all along, in the last few years, when, unfortunately, many in our community were convicted of violating the law. And it would be great if you do whatever you can so that our kids and future generations are not left behind as their predecessors, and have good moral, legal, and business scruples upon leaving the yeshiva world.

    However, it is a shame to point to this vicious murder for any moral lesson to be learned.

    To conclude,

    I understand that your calling stems from a cursory judgment, politically oriented to curry favor with many on all sides and all angles, but this would have fitted well as a nice addendum in the NY Post to their headline the following day.

    Think about it Ezra: Your calling reverberates the same as the author of the NY POST Headline following that day; ignoring the crime perpetrated, and focusing on the unrelated business behaviors of the victim!

    Wrong timing, Ezra.

  38. Friedlander is right on the mark! Its time to have this discussion. I only hope that the real problems are only as few as Friedlander attempts to make them out. It would also be worthwhile to focus on those that give “heterim’ for all types of shenanigans.

  39. Ezra: You are making some good points, but your timing is terrible. You are also way too much influenced by the secular media. You made the same mistake when Weberman was sentenced, and you condemned the entire charedi community in the Forward.

  40. Friedlander is right off the mark!

    Yes there is a time + place for healthy and sometimes painful discussions.
    1) now is not the time and place.
    2)those that should be giving us Musser are our Rabbonim, now you may very well be at the point where you may feel well sorry we don’t have Rabbonim. if that is the case, [which I suspect is] my answer to you and all the people like you is. While your intentions may be good, I beg you BACK OFF, we don’t want and don’t need ppl like you making statements for us, we are suffering badly and yes very badly from people like yourself and others like NR YH and more.

    3) Let the real representatives of Torah Jewry lead us and speak for us.and it is ppl like yourself that help legitimize this picture the anti semites and anti semites from within and outside paint of us as a bunch of slumlords and cheaters. which is outright slander.

    4) And us as simple ppl yes should always strive to make a Kidush Hashem like 99% of us do. and the 1% was something we always had going back to the time when the Jews were in Egypt and in the Midbar.

  41. AaronB says:
    January 12, 2014 at 1:39 am
    Very very well said!!!
    I hope this will be published in the Hamodia and Yated

    Absolutely! Im Lo Achshav Aimasai? These are issues desperately needed to be discussed. Lets not be in denial or look for reasons to attack the messenger. By not being cautious of how we conduct ourselves in business, with government programs, and in general towards the outside world, we are only hurting ourselves for Doros! Bigtime! Rationalizing that we are hated ANYHOW!!!!!!, is idiotic!