Friday, June 17, 2011

In New Square where the arson attack occurred, the rebbe's word is law

New Jersey Jewish Standard

For years, this leafy chasidic village about an hour north of New York City has been a shtetl-like haven where residents could live their strictly Orthodox lifestyle far from the temptations and bustle of the nation’s largest city.

Out of view of all but very few, life in this community of some 7,000 Skverer chasidim has revolved around its spiritual leader, the Skverer rebbe, David Twersky.

In the wake of a recent arson attack that left a dissident New Square resident in the hospital with third-degree burns over more than half his body — and thrust this community into the harsh glare of media and police investigators — the question is whether the centrality of the rebbe to community life has created an atmosphere of dangerous coercion.

“We cannot encourage theocratic rule,” said Michael Sussman, the civil rights attorney representing the burn victim, Aron Rottenberg. “Yet by tolerating these communities, we’re doing that.” [....]

1 comment :

  1. How are the laws of the town enforced? If there are dissidents, how are they treated? (and is that 'Derech hatorah')


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