If you think Hasidic Jews and gangsta’ rappers couldn’t have less in common, I have two words for you:
That street code, which protects perps while scorning victims, is central to both the rap and Hasidic communities.
Last Thursday, a bloody, bottle-throwing melee broke out in NYC Club W.I.P. between the rapper Drake’s and R&B singer Chris Brown’s entourages. Twenty-three year old Australian tourist Megan Cassidy was caught in the crossfire and knocked unconscious. Rushed to Bellevue Hospital, she required 16 stitches to close a nasty head wound.
Who injured the young woman? Detectives who tried to find out were stonewalled, as Brown and his group refused to speak while Drake denied even being at the club.
Meanwhile, the Hasidic community has recently been rocked by scandal after scandal. When Mordechai Jungreis found out that his mentally disabled son was molested in a Jewish bathhouse, he complained to the police and the sexual predator was arrested. But his nightmare was only beginning. Because of Jungreis’ “snitching”, he was shunned, cursed on the streets and he and his family evicted from their apartment.
This is unfortunately not uncommon in the Hasidic community, where victims and their families who report crimes to authorities are regularly intimidated and worse.
When Pearl Engelman’s son told local Hasidic rabbis that he had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by a school official at the United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg, the school denied the accusation.
“There is no nice way to say it,” Engeleman told The New York Times. “Our community protects molesters.”
Last month a fundraiser was held in Williamsburg to raise money for Nechemya Weberman, who was arrested for molesting a 16 year old girl for five years beginning when she was 12. When some brave Hasids and others in the community protested, they were physically attacked.
While this hate toward those who go to authorities is nothing new among Hasids, the Stop Snitchin’ campaign against criminal informants in the African-American community caught fire in in the past decade, although it had also been around long before that.
A Baltimore-based rap video in 2004 threatened violence against those who “snitch” to law enforcement. In the video, some men openly brag on camera that they are drug dealers, threatening violence against anyone who reports what they know about crime.
New York Knick basketball star Carmelo Anthony appears in the video, which quickly went viral. Anthony now claims his appearance was “a joke.”
Since then, many popular rappers have also made videos warning against snitching, including Ice Cube and L’il Wayne.
This mentality has produced lethal results, such as one Florida 15-year-old recently being doused in alcohol, then set afire as grinning teens yelled “He’s a snitch, he’s a snitch!”
So what do many Hasids and rappers (and mobsters) have in common? A belief that the rules don’t apply to them, that they make their own, that members of their communities can commit crimes with impunity and those brave souls who try to get these thugs and molesters off the streets will be punished__not the perpetrators.
While New York, Boston, Philadelphia and other cities have tried to combat these insidious “no snitching” campaigns and attitudes, they have had only limited success, at best.
Talk about the terrorists winning.