Two Brooklyn rabbis — Jacob Bronner, who served as a top aide to former New York Mayor Ed Koch and sat on the city’s Human Rights Commission, and Efroim Stein — have pleaded guilty to taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from a fund that had been set aside for survivors of the Nazi Holocaust.
Project Social Care was set up in 1994 to assist needy Holocaust survivors with job training, counseling, housing and medical care. The program originally had a kitty of $2.5 million in taxpayer funds
The rabbis entered their guilty pleas on Friday.
Stein funneled money back to himself by utilizing family members and kickbacks to his own synagogue. Both men, it appears, provided fake bills for goods and services they never procured for needy Holocaust survivors. Worse, the two men corrupted the Council of Jewish Organizations of Borough Park with their largess.
In exchange for monies provided by Project Social Care, the council was required to give kickbacks to businesses controlled by the two rabbis. Several council members involved were tried and convicted.
“If you can’t trust your own rabbi with your hard-earned tax dollars to care for elderly Holocaust survivors, whom can you trust? It’s like finding out Mickey Mantle is a child molester. Or that your president sold nuclear secrets to China in exchange for campaign contributions — wait, that did happen,” said Bernie Cohen, a Long Island-based stock trader.
“First of all, I live in this community, and these gentlemen are no more rabbis than you are. Whoever heard of a rabbi serving as a top aide to Mayor Koch? In our community, all boys study from kindergarten about Hebrew studies, so many people feel that their years of schooling entitle them to be called ‘rabbi,’” Rabbi David Eidensohn told WorldNetDaily.
“Some may even have passed an academic test and received ordination,” Eidensohn continued. “This, however, does not mean that the community chose these people as spiritual leaders. Believe me, there are plenty of people who call themselves rabbi when they speak to Mayor Koch, who would never use that term in their own community. Another thing to keep in mind is that the secular media hates religious people, and any Orthodox Jew is ‘rabbi’ if he commits a crime.”
Eidensohn believes the New York Times is biased in its reporting against Orthodox Jews.
“Here, again, is another very important story. What is happening to government programs when a few hoods can rip off money like that?” concluded Eidensohn.