Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hynes protects a kidnapper - R' Helbrans

NYTimes    The problem, though, is that sometimes, in dealing with the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, it was Mr. Hynes himself who seemed to want these cases to go away. 

In 1994, William Plackenmeyer was a New York Police Department division commander in Borough Park, home to one of the city’s fastest growing ultra-Orthodox communities, and a key voting bloc for Mr. Hynes. 
A few years earlier, a charismatic ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Shlomo Helbrans, had agreed to tutor an Israeli couple’s 13-year-old boy, Shai Fhima Reuven, in preparation for his bar mitzvah. 

Instead, the rabbi kidnapped the boy and persuaded him to reject his family and embrace a zealous form of Hasidism. The police had the rabbi cornered. But the Brooklyn district attorney’s office did not want a confrontation; they argued that Shai was just a runaway.  [...]

Within 24 hours of the arrest, the captain said, two assistant district attorneys paid him a visit. They were apologetically emphatic: Your case might be strong, they told him, but our boss, Mr. Hynes, wants you to void the arrest.[...]


  1. As far as I understood when I researched the case, this was NOT a kidnapping, but a 13-year-old boy refusing to come back home.

    He had bar mitzwa lessons with helbrans who convinced him to become religious-orthodox, so the boy preferred to live with orthodox families rather than his own mother (who hand sent him to bar-mitzwa-lessons with helbrans), stepfather and half-siblings.

    When I read about the case, I was shocked that the boy's wishes were not taken into consideration and that the police/justice system acted with brute force.

    One might like Helbrans or not (personally, I am rather suspicious of him), but I do not think he deserved the two years he spent in prison for that case.

  2. Most of the time I do not like the Times reporting especially their coverage of Israel. But this time I can say 'God Bless the NY Times for taking the side of the Jewish kids and not the rabbis side'


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