Friday, September 9, 2011

Going to jail for silence: Is withholding knowledge of a crime mesira

 Two years ago, Rabbi Moshe Zigelman went to prison rather than testify against fellow Jews in a federal tax-evasion case and receive a lesser punishment.

Now, federal prosecutors are threatening him with a return to jail unless the 64-year-old devout Hasid agrees to testify before a grand jury regarding the federal government's ongoing probe of tax evasion in his Orthodox Jewish sect. On Wednesday, they will ask a judge to order him to testify or be found in contempt.

His attorney says Zigelman, a teacher of scripture and son of Holocaust survivors, will again refuse, citing his religious principles.

Zigelman's unyielding religious stance has led to attorneys wrangling in a federal courtroom over the rare intersection of the modern U.S. legal system and the ancient Jewish doctrine of mesira, a prohibition for Jews against informing on other Jews to secular authorities.

Prosecutors have said the rabbi's position is unsupported by Talmudic law, according to court papers filed by Zigelman's attorneys. Defense attorneys contend that he is again being asked to make the obvious choice between heaven and earthly jail cells, and that no prison time will be able to get Zigelman to go against his religion and face ever-lasting punishment.

1 comment :

  1. Asher Taub wrote a public letter that "not one single rov supports Bob Turner".

    5 Towns Jewish Times publisher Larry Gordon wrote in his personal column that many rabbonim wanted to support Bob Turner but decided to withdraw before their letter was made public.

    Here is proof that these sneaky agents for David Weprin were LYING as the letter was released almost 2 months ago through Jews for Morality, the organization of R' Yehoshua Leiman ztl.

    The following well known roshei yeshiva and rabbonim announced bichsav everyone should vote for Bob Turner and that it is ossur betachlis haissur to vote for Weprin!:

    R' Yisroel Belsky - Torah Vodaas
    R' Elya Brudny - rosh yeshivas Mir
    R' Yosef Eisen - Vaad of 5 Towns
    R' Isaac Friedman - Tenker Rov
    R' Osher Kalmanowitz - rosh yeshivas Mir
    R' Shmuel Kaminetzky - rosh yeshiva d'Philadelphia
    R' Yitzchok Landau - Veretzky Rov
    R' Grainom Lazewnik - maggid shiur in Novardok before the churban
    R' Avrohom Nelkenbaum - rosh yeshivas Mir
    R' Yisroel Neuman - rosh yeshivas BMG Lakewood
    R' Yechiel Perr - rosh yeshiva d'Far Rockaway
    R' Mechel Rosenbaum - Kalisher Rebbe
    R' Yaakov Rubin - Muszay-Ropshitzer Rebbe
    R' Shlomo Stern - Debriciner Rov
    R' Moshe Wolfson - Emunas Yisroel / Torah Vodaas
    R' Hershel Zolty - rosh yeshivas Mir


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