Welcome to New Square But Bring Your Own Toilet

By Yerachmiel Lopin (Frum Follies blog)
January 29, 2014

The cult enclave of the Skvere Rebbe (David Twersky), the incorporated New York State Village of New Square, likes to brag about their hospitality and kindness (chesed). This is often invoked to mitigate their off-putting habits like torching their dissidents, stealing from the government, and protecting their molesters.

As a legally incorporated village they have their own village court complete with their own judges, the Dishonorable Stuart Salles and the Dishonorable Benjamin Hager. I call them “dishonorable,” because they signal to victims, through the Rockland DA, Thomas Zugibe, that the courage to testify in a trial is pointless because they will still dispense the minimum sentence allowed. This leads victims to acquiesce to sweetheart plea bargains. These judges are fully bought and owned by the Skver leadership whose endorsements virtually guarantee election. Candidates endorsed by the Skver leadership consistently win over 90% of the vote. In fact, the Rebbe’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton when she was running for the U. S. Senate in 2,000 secured her over 99% of the vote!

The hospitality of Skver does not extend to those who report on abuse or support victims of abuse. One reporter, far along in her pregnancy, was denied the use of their bathroom facilities. When she managed to find an unmarked, unlocked bathroom she was told they would charge her with trespassing if she used it, according to Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg’s blog. A supporter of an abuse victim attending a court session was told there were no bathrooms and just had to sit it out and then rush to a gas station outside the village limits.

Defenders of Skver like to tell stories about visiting and being plied with food and drink. This is all true for visitors they think they can sucker. But if you are going there to support a victim of abuse or to report on abuse, be sure to turn down all such offers, especially for diuretic beverages like coffee, tea and alcohol or GI stimulating foods like chulent and fruit compote. After all, what goes in, must come out. If you are in Skver, at that point you are plumb out of luck and out of plumbing.

The good news is that in spite of Skver’s reprehensible tactics, more brave victims of abuse are coming forward (e.g., “Yossi“) and bringing charges, and these cases are being covered by reporters. Political pressure is also mounting on Rockland County prosecutor Thomas Zugibe. I believe he finally realizes that he may go the way of Charles Joe Hynes in Brooklyn who did not get reelected because the New York Times reported that he was coddling orthodox molesters.

The latest New Square alleged molester, Rabbi Moshe M. Taubenfeld, is a teacher in their schools. His brother, Rabbi Herschel Taubenfeld, pleaded guilty and got a no-jail-time sweetheart deal in the village court and continues to teach in their schools. Moshe will probably also keep his teaching job.

Moshe Taubenfeld is his legal name, but he uses the fake name, Mendel Zarkowsky for voting and other purposes. To date, Rockland County DA Thomas Zugibe has not brought him up on those charges. Once again I suspect he is pandering. Hopefully, journalists and outside authorities will put his feet to the fire and press the issue.
Skvere Rebbe, Grand Rabbi of New Square Rabbi Duvid Twersky

The unlucky residents of Chicago will be visited by the Skvere Rebbe and his large entourage from February 20-27. The core of his hosting committee is group of orthodox nursing home operators, a business in which Hasidim are important investors and regular targets of fraud prosecution. I have already advised Chicago residents about that upcoming visit (What Chicago Can Learn From the Skvere Rebbe) Let me just add on, even if you are inclined to reciprocate Skver’s legendary hospitality and even if you are inclined to let them use your toilet facilities, be careful about the Rebbe’s entourage, especially if he brings along his beloved yeshiva teachers, Rabbis Herschel and Moshe Taubenfeld. Don’t feel obliged to let them use your bathrooms and definitely keep them away from your children.