By Simone Weichselbaum (NY Daily News)
July 15, 2011
"No one ever complained to us about him," Borough Park Shomrim member Jacob Daskel said.
The list has about 15 names. It was compiled by Shomrim members and is not shared with the NYPD because some rabbis oppose civilian police involvement.
"The community doesn't go to the police with these names because the rabbis don't let you. It's not right," Daskel said.
He said when a resident tells Shomrim they suspect someone is a molester, the patrol finds a picture and shows it to area kids, trying to substantiate the allegation.
"It's against Halacha [Jewish law] to go the police without speaking to the rabbis," said Rabbi Joseph Hershkowitz, 57, who counsels families in Borough Park and Williamsburg.
"We consider Shomrim and Hatzolah [the Jewish ambulance service] family. So you go to family first," said Hershkowitz.
He stressed that the rules apply only when a life isn't in danger. "Nothing supersedes an emergency," he said.
Leiby Kletzky's family first reported his disappearance to Shomrim. The patrol notified cops three hours later.
"We have no problem with Shomrim being notified but we'd like to be notified as well," said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. But in Leiby's case, he said, the delay didn't make a difference.
Rabbis said their followers talk to Shomrim because they trust it to get the job done.
"If you call 911 they are not personally involved in your problem. But if you call Shomrim, every job is number one," said Bernard Freilich, a Jewish liaison to the NYPD. "But my position is to always call the cops."