Submitted to court, by Rabbi Meir Hershkop, May 3rd, 2001.
For the Mesira , stroll to the bottom
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
MACHNE MENACHEM, INC., and
Affirmation in Support of Motion
for TRO and Preliminary Injunction
97, Civ 2550 (ILG) (ASC)
MENDEL HERSHKOP, MEIR HERSHKOP, AARON
HERSHKOP, (a/k/a Lelli), SHNEUR HERSHKOP,
(a/k/a Gadi), LEVI HARTMAN, SHMUEL HEBER,
and YOSEF GOLDMAN,
MEIR HERSHKOP, hereby affirms under penalty of perjury as follows:
1. I am a defendant named in the above-captioned action, and as such I am fully familiar with the facts and circumstances herein.
2. I hereby submit this affirmation in support of a motion for a temporary restraining order and for a preliminary injunction. The Court must put an immediate stop to the physical violence and dangerous harassment by the plaintiff Spritzer and his cohorts against me (and against the other defendants). As described below, Spritzer and Shapiro are directing and instigating a criminal campaign against me, and their campaign does not shrink even from the use of physical violence. The community in Crown Heights has been deeply shaken by these developments and there is a great fear that this will escalate, spread, and increase unless stopped now by this Court.
3. It is clear that the events below were and are still to date being directed by plaintiff Spritzer and that an Order must be made against him (and including his cohort Mr. Shapiro) in order to put a halt to the violence.
4. Preliminarily, the Court should know that there is a box located in the world-renowned center of Lubavitch at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. The box has been used to notify the community of persons who have flouted the direct orders of the Bais Din (religious court), and it is understood that names are placed in the box by the Bais Din itself (1).
(1) Honestly, I must express my private puzzlement that the box has been used basically negatively, viz., to make known the Bais Din’s displeasure with certain individuals, and rarely in a positive manner for public service announcements, e.g., words of encouragement, etc…
5. My name (and the names of my co-defendants) were never placed in the box – until now.
6. There came a point (right before the beginning of this past Passover, on April 6, 2001) that suddenly, my name appeared on papers placed in this box. Upon reliable information and belief it was the plaintiff Spritzer, and not the Bais Din, who placed the papers with my name into the box.
7. Now my name was placed in this box wrongfully and without proper authority and without any justification whatsoever. The Bais Din itself did not order that my name be placed there. (See below paragraph # 10) Instead it was Spritzer, on his own initiative, who placed it there.
8. The papers with my name were removed from the box; but when my name reappeared for the third time in the box, I opened the door to the box. This was done with the express approval of Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, who is the Lubavitcher official responsible for the 770 building and its contents. As I understand, Rabbi Krinsky is the principal of the organization that owns the building.
9. On Friday night, April 6, 2001, at the beginning of Shabbos, during the services at 770, where I have prayed for 28 years, Mr. Levi Shapiro (2) rose, went to the Bimah (central platform in the Shul) and made an announcement in Yiddish (which was later repeated in English) to the effect that a “macha’a” (protest) was directed against me. Flyers were also distributed to the same effect – and both the flyers and the announcement used, an expression that asked everyone to use “serious” or that this is an “severe” efforts against me – it is understood that this is an expression to grant “permission” and invite physical assaults against me and my family.
(2) Mr. Levi Shapiro is a figure familiar to this Court from testimony he has already given in this case, and he has long been involved in a campaign of harassment against us. The Court may recall that he testified, among other things, that the Beth Din gave away its original and only set of certain tapes to the plaintiff’s attorneys. In my opinion, Mr. Shapiro’s testimony then was not entirely truthful and was an attempt to mislead the Court. Also there was the incident Friday evening, February 26, 1999, as the Jewish Sabbath was beginning, a time for rest and rejuvenation, when Mr. Shapiro assailed us. Mr. Shapiro abruptly and in an unprecedented action stopped the prayers to make an announcement. Shapiro got up onto the Bimah [=central platform of the Synagogue] at the central synagogue of Lubavitch located at 770 Eastern Parkway and announced to hundreds of people present at the time that I and my fellow co-defendants in this case were excommunicated (technically known as “niddui”) for seeking to have Rabbi Marlow jailed!!! [This Court knows something of this matter and knows that we were merely seeking to get the materials we believed we were being denied and indeed concealed from us – we were not seeking the arrest or imprisonment of the Beth Din – but merely the discovery materials to which we were entitled.] Mr. Shapiro further announced that everyone must shun us and stay away from us.
10. On Shabbos (Saturday), April 7, 2001, my apprehensions of violence were confirmed. On that Saturday, I came to participate in the Shabbos services in the Synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. At one point I stated that I was going to ask Rabbi Osdoba (from the Bais Din) whether he had authorized the placing of my name in the box. I then stepped towards Rabbi Osdoba and respectfully asked whether he had authorized putting my name in the box. Rabbi Osdoba would not answer. Suddenly, Mr. Shapiro began shouting to Rabbi Osdoba. Shapiro yelled to Rabbi Osdoba that Rabbi Osdoba should answer that yes, that he (Rabbi Osdoba) had authorized placing my name in the box. But still Rabbi Osdoba would not respond. Rabbi Osdoba sat silently. Mr. Shapiro’s shouting and screaming increased and continued. Upon reliable information and belief while this was going on, plaintiff Spritzer told some people to assault me, which is what happened next. Suddenly, a group of people came forward and physically attacked me. I was struck, beaten and shoved to the ground by Spritzer’s supporters/followers. I lay on the ground bruised and injured (3).
(3) Rabbi Osdoba witnessed the entire incident, but made no attempt to intervene or to stop the assault against me.
11. A doctor who was present examined me; I was also examined by some of the Hatzalah emergency ambulance service personnel. Although it was Shabbos and ordinarily using a motor vehicle is a desecration of the Shabbos, both the doctor and the Hatzalah personnel advised that I must immediately be taken to a hospital for treatment and further evaluation. Accordingly, I was quickly taken by ambulance to the hospital.
12. After some treatment and further evaluation at the hospital, I was, thank G-d released.
13. Although, a complaint was made about this incident to the police, the police to date have done nothing. In fact, for a time they denied that any complaint or police report existed. I know that Spritzer has been meeting with the police and there is evidence that suggests that he (and perhaps others too) have been exerting political pressure on the police to destroy all written evidence of this incident. (Spritzer had been a community council member and therefore had frequent relations with the police). It was only after some prodding (that required help from the office of the Police Commissioner and the Chief of Police) that the local police precinct finally “found” my complaint and the complaint number.
14. In addition, I brought this matter to the attention of the local District Attorney’s office. That office is now investigating the matter. But time is of the essence.
15. Throughout all of this, there is evidence of Spritzer’s continuous incitement, direction, and control of the violence and harassment against me. (Spritzer’s supporters are a limited group, but include the following Levi Shapiro, Yaakov Herzog, Yossi Brook, Yisroel Sandhouse, and Yosef Spielman. The Court may recall that these persons were previously involved in this case). On the other hand, though seriously provoked, we defendants have not responded in like kind.
16. Although I did not foresee this latest turn of events, I must add that I am not surprised by Spritzer’s taking up violence against me. After all, Spritzer has recently sought to have his own sister (a mother of 10 children) jailed over a monetary dispute with her. (See attached exhibit.) A fortiori, it is not surprising that he would use violence against me. Since Spritzer cannot exhibit any understanding or sympathy for his own family, and instead he is so mean-spirited to his own family members as to want them put in prison (4), although unjustified, it cannot be surprising that he acts as he has towards me and the other defendants.
(4) I really have to ask at this point, given what we know of Spritzer’s character, does Spritzer have the correct personality and emotional maturity needed to deal with children and operate a camp in the campers’ best interests?
17. The vast majority of the community is shocked, horrified, and appalled by Spritzer’s tactics. The Chassidim here cannot believe that anyone, let alone, that I (5), should be physically attacked publicly in the Lubavitcher’s Rebbe’s very own Shul and Bais HaMedrash (study hall). The community is aware that the matter of the control of the camp is before this Court and everyone expects that this Court will resolve this issue. They are aware that it was Spritzer that first brought this matter to the secular courts by commencing this action against us. The community is awaiting Your Honor’s decision – there is no doubt that the community will honor and respect it.
(5) Without intending this as a show of pride, I believe I have some justification in thinking that others are aware that I have done some good on behalf of the community.
18. Spritzer’s tactics are not only contemptible – but dangerous. I fear for my family and friends. There is no evidence that Spritzer is remorseful over the incident – on the contrary, there is every reason to believe that he will continue to foment violence this coming Shabbos as well.
19. Incredibly, there have been efforts to have me jailed because he claims I removed the door to the box at 770; when this apparently failed (6). Spritzer incited an attempt to have me jailed on the grounds that I had “interfered” with the Shabbos services. Naturally, Spritzer’s incitement of a beating in Shul, or Shapiro’s unjustified “announcements/excommunications/etc.,” or Shapiro’s crazy shouting do not “interfere” with Spritzer’s sense of an orderly Shabbos service, but rather contribute to Spritzer’s concept of Shabbos tranquility, peace and quiet.
(6) The very idea that Spritzer would seek to have another Jew from his very own community put in prison over an inexpensive box, suggests the kind of warped, nasty, and mean person Spritzer is.
20. Aside from the danger to me and my family, I submit that Spritzer is attempting to undermine the validity of this Court’s authority to decide who should operate the Camp. I also submit that if this Court dismisses this case without deciding who should operate the Camp, (thus requiring that we seek resolution of this case in another Court), the net result will be further violence and harassment by Spritzer and the commencement and continuation of nuisance litigation from Spritzer against us – with no end likely for years to come. Aside from the serious harm to me and my co defendants, the children, who are the potential campers, will be the real losers – they will lose the kosher fun, enjoyment, and the special pleasures of youth in summer that the Camp was meant to fulfill.
21. This is not the first time that Spritzer fraudulently attempted to have me arrested. So driven is Spritzer on this matter that he misrepresented the orders of this Court to the State Police. Recently, Spritzer presented to the State Police in Pennsylvania a copy of this Court’s initial order (in 1997) granting a restraining order against the defendants entering onto the premises of the Camp as proof that we defendants were not permitted to enter onto the Camp. He demanded that the State Police arrest us for entering onto the property of the Camp. He concealed from the Police that the said order was subsequently vacated and was no longer effective. Naturally, we advised the police of that, and so the State Police did not arrest us. Still, it was clear fraud and misrepresentation of Spritzer to have attempted to use this Court’s Order in such a misleading way. Moreover, Spritzer was not in the least deterred by this incident with the State Police and incredibly in a Pennsylvania Court which was considering the issue of whether the caretaker whom Spritzer fired could remain on the premises, Spritzer again presented the copy of the restraining order to the Judge to prove his ownership of the Camp. Again we corrected the record by showing that such order was vacated by Your Honor. But I think this Court must be made aware of this blatant misrepresentation of the decisions of this Court in other forums and Spritzer must be prevented from continuing this criminal behavior.
[22. In this connection, I must again remind the Court that the Camp is a non-profit organization – so that if Spritzer is removed from operating the Camp he will not be made one penny poorer by doing so, nor would Spritzer thereby be deprived of any property or monetary interest – because he doesn’t own the Camp or any part of the Camp. Nobody does. Naturally, if Spritzer lent money to the Camp, he will be entitled to repayment of that loan, in the same way any creditor of the Camp would be. The Court has merely to decide who should be operating the Camp – not who “owns” it.]
23. Therefore, this Court must immediately issue an Order responding to Spritzer’s violence. Once such an Order has been made, I am confident that Spritzer, though he might want to flout the Court’s Order, will find that his followers are less receptive and less willing to blindly do his dirty work of beatings or harassment. Moreover, it will clearly establish in the eyes of the community that the Court is actively following this case, will not tolerate attempts by plaintiff to obtain control of the Camp at a practical level – i.e., to “win” the case outside of Court by using harassment, violence, and threats of prison, against the defendants, and that this Court remains interested in rendering a just and fair decision of the issues before it.
24. Unfortunately, Spritzer and his cohorts believe that they can interfere in our court case, harass us, and can even beat people up, all safe from any retaliation or reaction from this Court. I trust that this Court will not confirm Spritzer’s belief in this regard. On the contrary, the Court must demonstrate that it will react to such conduct. The Court must admonish Spritzer and Shapiro and make it clear to them that harassment and violence will not be tolerated. On the other hand, if this Court denies this motion, Spritzer will be even further encouraged to continue his spiteful work.
25. There has been no prior request for the relief sought herein against the harassment described herein above.
WHEREFORE, I respectfully request that the Court grant this motion and grant such other and further relief as may seem just and proper to this Court.
RABBI MEIR HERSHKOP
Affirmed to before me this
3rd day of May, 2001