Monday, December 26, 2005

Satmar's Very Public Chilul Hashem Continues...

From NY Post:

Worshippers warring for control of New York's largest Hasidic congregation say a scheming cabal has cloistered the senile rabbi and is using his signature to loot the place — and they say they have medical records to prove it.

Prescription records filed in a lawsuit show that Grand Rebbe Moses Teitelbaum of Brooklyn's Satmar congregation has been taking Alzheimer's medication since 1998, a year before he decided the succession question that has embroiled his flock in bitter fistfights and legal battles.
Followers of Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum — the older brother passed over for control of the 40,000-member congregation — say the records prove that followers of younger brother Zalman have been manipulating mentally incapacitated Moses like a puppet.

"Anything they're proclaiming in the name of the rebbe, either he didn't do it or, if he did it, he wasn't able to do it," said Joel Weiss, editor of a Hasidic newspaper and follower of Aron.
Weiss said Zalman's allies manipulated the rabbi into choosing Zalman as head of the congregation, embroiling the congregation in shady financial deals.

Weiss pointed to an ongoing federal court case in which a school-supply company accuses Zalman allies of looting the company to enrich synagogue officials to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Weiss said that nearly a decade ago, the rebbe began repeating himself in public and forgetting key portions of rituals. "The embarrassment was bigger and bigger," Weiss said.

Nonsense, said Zalman allies.

Until he had a stroke in August, the rebbe was "fully functional, attending meetings, leading services, performing circumcisions and weddings," said Mark Friedman.

A judge in a recent family court dispute over care of the rebbe visited the Bedford Avenue home where he is cared for by a personal secretary, paramedic, 24-hour butler, chauffeur, cook and attendant.

The judge "observed the rabbi studying and walking," according to court papers. The judge also asked the rebbe if he was satisfied with his care. "The rabbi responded in the affirmative."
Not all judges, however, get an audience. In another court dispute, an upstate judge demanded that the rebbe come out from his house and testify.

So far, he has refused.

"It's an embarrassment and disrespectful" for a rabbi to appear in court, explained Friedman. "So the rebbe would only talk to the judge if the judge came down to him."