- Camp Machne Menachem was founded by the Hershkops, R.
Shmuel Heber, and R. Yosef Goldman. The camp was opened due to the overwhelming amount of
children that did not have where to go for the summer season both
for financial reasons, and due to lack of other options. They
approached Mr. Spritzer to join, in the thoughts that as a
businessman, he would be of help – being as a large part of the
reason for founding was to help families that could not afford to go
- The directors generally split up their duties between
Ruchniyus, Gashmiyus, legal, and financial. Mr. Spritzer immediately
set himself up to be on top of the finances (Naively, the other
directors thought nothing of it). However, at no time was the
arrangement for any of the directors to be mutually exclusive with
their part of the management.
- Immediately after the first season (at the beginning of
registration for the second season) Spritzer already started to
dispute with the other directors, refusing to show any of the
financial dealing, and thus raising concern regarding his handling
of the monies. (A point of contention was that some of the other
directors were actively fund raising for scholarships for
underprivileged children, and Spritzer would simply take the money
and claim there is no money to allow underpaying children)
- Levi Hartman (R’ Meir Hershkop’s son-in-law) found, negotiated,
and set up the purchase of the current camp grounds in Lackawaxen,
PA, and he did this on personal time and at personal cost.
- There was never a Psak Din removing the directors from
ownership in the camp.
- Spritzer initiated all court proceedings, initiating the
Messira that came thereafter.
- To date, a large amount of community funds remains
unaccounted for, and is assumed either personally pocketed or at the
very best was used to fund lawsuits that attempted to put other
Yidden in prison.
1) The Rabbonim ordered Spritzer to make all financial records
accessible to all the directors1,
and he did not do so at the time.
- When Spritzer did get his ‘win’ in Beis Din and it seemed
that the dispute is over, he decided to continue his fight – with
personal (but frivolous) charges in Federal Court – suing for
massive amounts of money and/or jail time.
According to the Torah and all the Rabbonim, taking another Jew to Federal Court is not
allowed. Taking seven Jewish families to court is appalling. This
has caused a horrible Chillul Hashem, especially as they shamelessly
carried the banner of Lubavitch, the Rebbe, and His Mosdos.
To date, there has been no confirmation by any of the Crown Heights Rabbonim or other Rabbonim,
that they have given permission for Spritzer to take his case to
Spritzer has also served as an Amalek, paving the way for many personal lawsuits in Crown
Heights – lawsuits which previously may have been settled in Beis
It is certain that the Federal Court did not add any Kovod to the Rabbonim, and in fact
there is room to say quite the opposite.
- Out of respect for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the presiding Judge
(a Jewish Neshomo) proposed many times that the two sides make
peace. While the directors accepted, Spritzer and his ilk (namely
Meir Schreiber) refused. On one occasion Meir Schreiber stood up
and announced that he has no interest in a Din Torah and wants to
strictly litigate in a secular court.
- Rabbi Marlow – when asked – told
R’ Yosef Goldman (one of seven defending families) on the record
that Spritzer and Schrieber have no permission to bring their Rico
case to court. This has also been the case with many other – private
– community members that have asked Rabbi Marlow and Rabbi Mangel
(whom was also involved with the Din Torah) if the court case was
done with the permission of B”D, and the response was negative.
- Mr. Spritzer and Schreiber’s claims in court were in large
part based on the Rabbonim. As was to be expected, the Rabbonim were
called upon to court to verify the claims made. Mixing them in in
the first place was very much not ‘Kovod Harabonim‘.
- Many community activists have tried to make peace, and Mr. Spritzer always avoided with out
- During an attempt to make peace, the Beis Din suggested2
and encouraged that in order to strengthen the Torah learning and
increase in positive deeds the directors should open a new camp.
Thus, Camp Ohr Menachem was founded.
- The directors never ‘gave up’ on camp Machne, despite opening up a seperate camp.
The Din Torah regarding the money handling of Machne Menachem Inc. was never
- In a further attempt to come to an agreement, Rabbi Heber and
Rabbi Horowitz met together with Rabbis Marlow, Mangel and Osdoba
together with Mr. Spritzer . Rabbi Heber suggested that Machne
Menachem will accommodate the young boys and Ohr Menachem will
accommodate Bocuhrim or visa versa. The three Rabbonim agreed and
once again Spritzer disagreed.
- In the ruling of
Erev Rosh Chodesh Taamuz (06/17/96) the Rabbonim state:
…..2) There is only one who issues verdicts and therefore all the decisions must pass through the entire Vaad (and they should follow the majority).
2. In middle of Shevat,
January 1997, Rabbi Mangel called R’ Meir Hershkop, at home, in
response to R’ Meir’s inquiry about one of the Piskai Dinim.
The following is a partial free translation of the taped
a) I am currently in a recess of five minutes in
middle of a Din Torah at the Beis Din.
b) It is known of the
terrible situation of our Bochrim in Ruchinus.
c) Therefore, I am
asking of you, R’ Meir that you open a new camp for these boys.
d) Only you, R’ Meir, could do such a thing as opening a new camp.
e) Open up a camp and Hashem will help you and you will save these
f) In regard to the monies of Machne Menachem we will make
a Din Torah.
Have in mind:
If Spritzer would not have gone to court, he would have had the camp Machne Menachem till today*.
He went to court in middle of a Din Torah and lost!
The other rightful directors always listened to the Bais Din (even if they disagreed), they were relying on the Din Torahs to continue, were they would have a chance to proof that spritzer stoled money and was mismanaging the camp etc… and get the camp back to their control.
Spritzer know what was coming, so he tried the courts, (as you are reading), he managed to deceive the court (with leis and propaganda) for three years.
* to claim that spritzer had no choose but to go to court, because the other directors were not obeying the Bais Din, is a straight out lie.
Only two of the facts (above) can actualy change.
1. Spritzer finally (after 12 years) gives the accountings (Cheshbonyis).
2. Spritzer shows up to a Din Torah.
Everything else (all the other facts)
will forever stay the same.
It is what it is, the past is the past, you can’t change history, only the future.
1. If this is a recitation of the “History” there should be dates included or at least months and years. It makes it easier to follow.
2. I lived in CH until the early ’90s and was not involved in community politics. But even I had heard rumors that Spritzer was not 100% clean in business dealings. It seems that the founders, like many of us in Chabad (and other Jewish) communities around the world, get blinded by money and ignore a wealthy businessman’s history. People who are sincerely involved in tzedokah projects get focused on collecting as much money as they can to do good but sometimes forget to look closely at people close to them to see if they share the same goals.