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Lavish Bar Mitzvah In NYC Jail Causes Uproar [UPDATED]


[UPDATE BELOW] The NY Post reports:

Who needs the Waldorf?

A wealthy inmate was allowed to host a lavish bar mitzvah behind bars for his son at the downtown lockup known as the Tombs, The Post has learned.

The proud papa, is a financial-scam artist who jumped bail and spent nearly 20 years on the lam.

City Correction Department officials permitted him to use his own caterer, who supplied kosher food, china, forks — and knives — for about 60 guests who partied and danced the hora for six hours in the jailhouse gym.

Family and friends were allowed to keep their cellphones — normally a huge security no-no, the inmate was given the OK to dress in clothing appropriate for the occasion.

The guest list at the jail included several prominent rabbis as well as Yaakov Shwekey, a popular Orthodox singer, and a band.

The city threw in its own present — overtime pay for the correction officers staffing the soiree.

The Dec. 30 bash was so successful that the inmate chose the same venue four months later for his daughter engagement party for 10 family members, sources said.

Shame-faced Correction officials yesterday quietly disciplined five top employees, including a rabbi and an imam, for signing off on the bar mitzvah.

“I’ve never seen, in my career, anything as stupid as this,” said a Department of Correction insider about the bar mitzvah, which was permitted over the objections of at least one jail official. “It’s outrageous what transpired.”

Correction Commissioner Martin Horn was “livid” and “views the events as a spectacularly gross error of judgment up and down the command chain,” said a department source.

Horn suspended the correction chaplain who arranged the bar mitzvah, for two weeks.

Four other officials were stripped of two weeks of vacation.

A source said all Jewish inmates were moved out of the Tombs yesterday for unknown reasons.

UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg said today that the city has launched an investigation into who allowed a wealthy inmate to host a lavish bar mitzvah behind bars for his son at the downtown lockup known as the Tombs.

“Clearly, this is not something that should have taken place,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the Department of Investigation is now looking into the matter.

“I don’t care how you sugarcoat,” said Bloomberg.

33 Responses

  1. A jail is for persons awaiting trial or serving such a short term that it isn’t worth sending the person to prison. If he had the resources for a party, he should be able to post bail (or did he manage to pay the bills with “other people’s money”). Most people in jail are there since they are too poor to post bail. Something sounds strange about this (was he in the tombs as a personal accomodation, rather than a prison?).

  2. I have so many emotions reading this, I don’t know where to begin.

    outrage at the waste of tax payers money
    shocked about the shidduch!!?!??

  3. Short term? Obviously not so short if he is planning the daughter’s vort 4 months later. I wonder what the mechutim think about this.

  4. To akuperma-Since he had previously jumped bail,he was remanded which means he was not given the opportunity to post bail.

  5. According to the NY Post, he was sent to an upstate facility to serve his sentence for bail jumping and grand larceny.

  6. Don’t you wonder who the groom’s family is, if they agreed to a shidduch with the daughter of a scam artist, replete with a vort in jail?
    Le-tza’areinu, money trumps everything…

  7. Monsey:

    Obviously the mechutanim are totally fine with his behaviors. It was probably a plus, due to the perceived money. Too may of the frum chevra think that the Department of Corrections is a country club, and no big deal.

    This absurdity, certainly strengthens this misperception. Very, very sad.

  8. What a terrible chilul hashem.
    YWN editor, I must say, I was surprised to see this story here. Even though it is very commendable that you took the inmate’s name out of the article, perhaps stories which “wash our dirty laundry” in public should be left for the Post.

  9. “Too may of the frum chevra”

    What a horrific statement to make! Are you any better for making such sick assertions about frum people, and do you think Hashem likes you for this?

    Have you seen statements about “too many MO people” regarding the Bernie Madoff crimes? Sick.

  10. i dont understand what the matter is. people here in america are sent to jail for the wrong reasons. he is entitled to a simcha. he did not kill anyone. the jails produce hardened crimanels, they dont reform anyon. our justice system is flawed

  11. Who said its about the money ??? Maybe his daughter happens to be a amazing gal with tons of quality and thts why the shidduch came about???

  12. it’s sick out there, and getting sicker…

    once upon a time people would hide in shame for such an incident. Today, it’s a resume enhancer!

  13. Have you seen statements about “too many MO people” regarding the Bernie Madoff crimes? Sick.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 11, 2009 @ 10:17 am

    as pointed out madoff is not MO; he ripped off many a MO institution.

    more importantly, what was bad was not just the person or the rabbi in jail but what was reported:

    “The guest list at the jail included several prominent rabbis.”

  14. it doesn’t say that he was convicted for a scam, he is awaiting trail. maybe he didn’t want to maaser on someone…..
    maybe its enough he is suffering & he decided that his kids don’t have to suffer so much too.
    we should hold off judgement until we r in those shoes. (chas veshalom)

  15. I wrote, “Too many of the frum chevra”.

    Let me explain:

    There are too many frum Jews (M.O. IS ALSO FRUM) who glorify the Department of Corrections. They assume that they are muh smarter than the “Dumb Goy” govenment. They honestly believe they will never get caught, so no Chillul Hashem will come through their hands. They figure they’ll play the odds, make money hand over fist, and if they get caught they’ll cop a plea and walk scott free.

    I meant no insult when referring to the frum chevra. It’s very sad that of the numerous criminals that I have met, only our own frum community thinks that criminal cases against them are nisht geferlach.


    One way of causing bankruptcy to yourself is defending against criminal charges. It is a time and monetary resources consuming endeavor.

  16. I’m a good friend of the kallah and I know that she doesn’t deserve being described this way. She is an amazing girl that got the boy she deserved, not because of her dads money!!!

  17. The inmate described in this article is a very good person. He is a Baal Chessed, a person that his door was open to anyone. He hosted many homeless people, treated everyone with respect.
    I was once in his house over Shabbos and amazed at the ammount of guest that were present.
    Besides for that, I trully do not get you all people. We are jews and we gotta stick up to each other not gossip about them. Does anyone around here, in this chatroom, know this “wealthy inmate”?! How can anyone talk about other people when they do not know them?! How can you bear on your concious that you have been speaking Lashon Harah about someone you do not know and have no way in asking mechilah?!

  18. Hope everyone here has anything better to do then to talk Loshan Hora!? Get a life! Go work! Bet ya these people that are commenting here are Kollel yingerman that are now on their 4 hour lunch/nap break.

  19. 9- why shouldnt it be posted here? it is news and we need to be aware not to cause a chillul hashem. if it is here, no one is making you comment on it.

  20. to: dz18 and artchill

    Well, do you by any chance know the inmate?! Or the mechutan?! I’ve got news to you I know both of them, the inmate and his mechutan. They did the shidduch because it was bashert not because of money and the mechutan knew who he was taking wasnt just a swindler that steals rather a person that did not wanna masser someone, unlike some people in our frum comunity. Because that is the real person that is sitting behind bars.

  21. # 23 bsmiles

    Nice of you to have a holier than thou attitude about the posters here and within the same post besmirch kollel yungerleit who spend their days and nights learning Torah.

    Fix your own middos before you try to rebuke others.

  22. havesomeseichel: we are better then they are, we don’t wash our dirty laundry on the street. That’s why at least I was as well surprised with Yeshiva world and totally agree with #9.

  23. i think we should take the lesson from ‘green fences’ a serial in mishpacha to real life and be dan l’kaf zechus the inmate!!!!!!!!!!! may we never understand him, until then he is innocent. may all of us arrive ‘upstairs’ with clean hands. amen.

  24. This will cause less frum Jews to be hired in the already complicated employment market. This is because now the wider population sees that a rabbinic chaplain purposely shorted the system in order to benefit a fellow Jew. This proves to them that Jews are more loyal to their own cronies than they are to their employers. The chaplain and the “Prominent Rabbis” put their personal interests ahead of the interests of the klal.

    This is an example of Zeh (chaplain) Lo Nehene V’Ze (the klal) Chasser.

  25. mazel tov ah sach nachas. and in the future everbody mind their own buisness, if that is her bashert, wat is she supposed to do thats how hashem wants it

  26. The article says, “The proud papa, is a financial-scam artist who jumped bail and spent nearly 20 years on the lam.” Of course I do not know the details of the case, but if this fellow is sitting in jail because he is, as you (#25 bsmiles) purport, “rather a person that did not wanna masser someone” – don’t you think he’s had enough time to clear his name? I hardly think that it is mesirah if someone names a guilty party in order to clear his own name.
    We must be careful not to whitewash criminals, be they white collar criminals or, chas ve-shalom, worse.

  27. small survey:
    Judging by the volume of posts on this web site-
    articles that provide positive or informative news- gets miniscule attention.
    Ah, but articles of a scandelous nature
    (like this garbage) bring out the posters en mass.
    If any of you who profess to care about our community,share my overwhelming dismay at this entire parsha, lets see what we can do to change it.
    What an embarrisiing episode. For any of you who have had the sad opportunity to visit a fellow Jew in prison you know how misrable life is for them. If anybody has a question how worried Jewish inmates are tonight (following this nationally reported story) and that inmate is a loved one of yours, you and they will cry yourself to sleep with worry. Prison guards hate to be embarrased. Please spare us the guilty/ innocent speech.A jewish prisoners has little rights and even less honor-inside. Inside, they are a number always at the mercy or whim of the guards. Strip searches, solitary confinement and constant menacing and threats from the worst forms of human beings are a daily nightmare. We are not talking about camp we are talking about hell. Go to Ottisville and see for yourself.
    This foolishness here is an abberation and should not diminish our awe and appreciation for the tremendous work of frum chaplins and volunteers who fight every day for the rights of Yidishe prisoners. Their rights to kosher food, Matzah, Lulavim, menora’s etc… Phone money, family transportation- the list goes on and on. Rabbi Glanz is a special person who literally never sleeps in service to the Klal.We need him believe me.
    This is not funny its tragic and the ones who will pay dearly are our brothers behind bars c”v – Hashem Yirachem.

  28. #31 Do you think I make up stories?! I know what I’m talking. I personally know the fellow and can atest you that he is an Ish Chassed, his Yessod is Chessed. Whoever knows him knows what he is all about. He wouldn’t dare maser someone.

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