July 23, 2009

Grand Syrian Rabbi caught in NJ sting

Rabbi Saul J. Kassin outside federal court in Newark on Thursday.

An international money-laundering scheme has snared 44 people, including three New Jersey mayors (no surprise there), two NJ state assemblymen and five rabbis. One of the rabbis was the grand rabbi of the Syrian Jewish community in the United States, Saul Kassin of the Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The grand rabbi is dirty! It's shocking, but members of the insular Brooklyn-based Syrian Jewish community have gotten mixed up in shady deals before.

One of the most famous Sy Jews is Eddie Antar, known as Crazy Eddie. In the ’70s, he revolutionized the home electronics business and created an empire, which crashed and burned when he was caught defrauding his investors for almost $100 million dollars.

Another Sy, Solomon Dwek a real estate developer, was caught in a bank fraud scheme involving tens on millions of dollars.

The Sy Jews will expel any Syrian Jew from their community who marries someone other than another Jew. (Converts are only rarely accepted). However, the expulsion rule doesn't necessary apply to people committing crimes.

Crazy Eddie went back to the community after his jail sentence and
Solomon Dwek was also taken back into the community while he was on $10 million bond.

Community is everything to this group. From the Sy Empire article:
Chief Rabbi Saul Kassin wrote: “There is nothing more important than our unity.” Every ethnic leader in America talks about unity, but there are precious few willing and able to sacrifice their own children for its sake. (as the rabbi did when he expelled his own daughter for marrying a gentile).
Unfortunately for Rabbi Kassin, Solomon Dwek put himself above the community. Solomon, who was looking at a 30-year sentence, was the one who wore the wire that snared Rabbi Kassin.
NPR report on money laundering

Pictured - homes in the Syrian Jewish

neighborhood of
Gravesend, Brooklyn
The Sy Empire (NY Times) Oct 14, 2007
44 are Charged in NJ-focused Inquiry (NY Times) July 23, 2009
Solomon Dwek emerges as cornerstone of N.J. sting (The Star Ledger) July 23, 2009
The man who sank NJ (Forbes) July 23, 2009

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