In Jew news today, a lot of buzz going around about a shakeup in the shul concerning the position of inmate gabbai, or leader of the Jewish chapel, or shul. A number of guys are pushing for “early” gabbai elections. The gabbai position is held by a Jewish inmate after a democratic election conducted by the prison chaplain, a blueboy rabbi whose nickname is “Lucky Charms.” Not that there are any regularly scheduled elections in the Jewish shul. Elections are held whenever there are enough angry Jewish inmates complaining about the current inmate gabbai in power. There are probably some rules in the blueboy rule book as to when elections are supposed to be scheduled, but in most cases the unwritten prison rules take priority over whatever is written in the blueboy rule book.
The election for gabbai is not to be taken lightly. The gabbai position gives a person a lot of power over the lives of other inmates. And every gabbai needs an assistant to help keep the Jews in line, so there is also an election for the position of “assistant gabbai.”
The gabbai currently in power is the Satmar turned Lubavitcher Herman Jacobowitz, AKA “M-shu-lom.” The most powerful Litvisher rabbi in the shul, one Rabbi Leib Pinter, is pushing for early elections. He is not happy with the way Mshulom, the most powerful Chassidisher in the shul, has been running things.
Rabbi Pinter is looking to run against Mshulom. But Rabbi Pinter doesn’t have much of a chance. His platform is to start Shabbos prayers at 8 AM rather than the current 9 AM, which would not be very popular with the Chassidishe inmates. Rabbi Pinter has been locked up for a number of years and already lost the last four times he tried to run for gabbai.
The assistant gabbai position is also being challenged. Currently the assistant gabbai is international drug money launderer Samuel Ashkenazi. Ashkenazi had the nickname “Houdini” because he always somehow managed to stay out of the SHU, ie., “The Hole” after getting busted multiple times by the blueboyz for violating prison rules. He usually got off on a technicality. His nickname changed to “Sam’s Club” after he went into business smuggling contraband into the prison.
Inmate Aaron AKA “Ari” Glucksman is challenging Houdini for the position of assistant gabbai. Ari has a good chance of beating Houdini because Ari works in the kosher kitchen and thus has greater access to kosher food than most inmates, Jewish or otherwise. Bribing inmates with food is one way to get votes.
The position of Torah reader or Torah lainer position is also being challenged. It is currently held by a 79 year old Satmar flame thrower named Naftuli Schleshinger, AKA “Zaidy.” A young Lubavitcher from Brazil, whose nickname is “Brazil” is challenging Naftuli. Brazil only has a 6 month sentence for counterfeiting stamps while Naftuli is stuck in Otisville for 15 long years for burning down buildings. Nobody expects Brazil to beat Naftuli, but Naftuli is not happy about being challenged. He is taking it very personally, he has his pride. I told Naftuli he could buy my vote with a chocolate bar. I figure I might as well get something out of this election battle.
A few days have passed since Chassidisher Mshulom and Litvisher Rabbi Pinter announced their plans to run for shul gabbai. Now it looks like both candidates are going to drop out of the race. Mshulom says that he doesn’t want to be bothered with the position, it is too much work getting in the middle of the constant fighting and bickering between the Jews. Reb Leib doesn’t want to run because he knows it will be difficult for him to win, as he doesn’t have enough votes to carry the day, according to preliminary polling. His mussar shmoozes to keep Shabbos and kosher do not win him many votes, especially among the non observant and Russian Jews. Speaking of which, there is a debate raging among the Jewish inmates as to who should be allowed to vote. Only the prison chaplain, the Lubabitcher blueboy rabbi, whose nickname is “Lucky Charms,” because of his small stature and red beard, determines who can and who cannot vote. Before the elections Lucky Charms announced that only guys who are shomer Shabbos, kashrus observant and regularly attend weekly services were allowed to vote. But some guys sneak in a vote anyway. Lucky Charms doesn’t know the religious practices of every guy in the shul. Plus there are totally observant guys who watch television on Shabbos. Or guys who regularly attend services but eat treif (non-kosher). And then there are the non-observant Russian Jews who don’t attend regular weekday services, but always show up for the big Shabbos meals, who demand that they be allowed to vote. They may not be religious, but they suffered the most as Jews living in anti-Semitic Russia, and thus they feel that they earned their right to vote. They want some power in the shul. Giving the Russians the right to vote also gives them the added benefit of being bribed by the candidates.
Even though Mshulom and Rabbi Pinter have decided to drop out of the running for the position of gabbai they remain powerful behind the scene forces. The Chassidishe Mshulom has been replaced by Chassidishe gabbai candidate Ari Glucksman, aka “Liliput Pinteras” a nickname given to him by Brazil, which means “gay midget” in Russian. Ari and Brazil got in many fights over this nickname.
The Litvisher Rabbi Pinter has been replaced by Litvisher candidate Rabbi Menachem Youlus from Baltimore, a Jewish book dealer and self described rescuer of rare Torah scrolls from Eastern Europe, whose nickname on the outside was the “Jewish Indiana Jones.” Rabbi Menachem Youlus, whom everyone called “Menach” in prison, didn’t actually rescue any Torah scrolls. But he told tall tales about how he traveled into dangerous anti-Semitic territory of Eastern Europe and Russia, fighting off Jew haters, skinheads, neo-Nazis, Commi’s, Japs, suicide bombers, ISIS, Pharaoh, and wild animals, in order to find and save Torah scrolls that were left behind after World War II. He is more Walter Mitty than Indiana Jones.
Menach is low key compared to Rabbi Pinter. Menach said he was only running for the gabbai position because Rabbi Pinter dropped out. But the other guys are saying that Menach is Pinter’s “puppet.” Menach has taken offense to these charges. He said he is nobody’s “puppet.” Some guys are comparing this election to the elections that occurred some years back when inmate Efraim Stern was the reining gabbai. The Chassidishe guys, like Mshulom, claim that Stern is a tzadik. The Litvisher guys, like Rabbi Pinter, say that Stern ran the “Stern gang,” which consisted of inmate thugs who were protected by the warden and the blueboyz. They say Stern still wields power in the Brooklyn halfway house, which has a sizable Jewish population. Stern cooperated extensively with the Feds in his money laudering, bank fraud and stolen property case, so he may have a close relationship with the blueboyz. Either way, Stern is a legend in the Big House.
It is now election day in Otisville. 13 votes went to Chassidishe Lilliput. 11 votes went to Litvisher Rabbi Menach. It was a close election. Even though voting is done by secret ballots submitted to prison chaplain Lucky Charms on folded up pieces of paper, my own post election polling determined the following: Litvisher Menach got votes from Rabbi Pinter, Dr. Moss the foot doctor, Chaimy, Brazil, mortgage fraud attorney Ben Turner, Israeli ponzi schemer Elot, Lakewood Rabbi Baddouch, immigration attorney and prison blogger Earl David, Breaking Bad pharmacist Daniel Sweet, and me. Chassidishe Lilliput got votes from Mshulom, Houdini, the kosher kitchen guys, Bukharian mortgage fraud attorney Roman Empire, Naftuli, Russian Jew Boros AKA Shrek, Moshe Butler AKA Teaneck Trouble, red headed Hasid Lippa who divorced his wife to marry his zaftig babysitter, Syrian Jew Don Isaac, Syrian Jew Ikey, and Syrian Rabbi Ben Haim from Deal who was set up, along with 48 other guys, by the infamous Solomon Dwek.
My post election analysis is unscientific, but I believe I have credibility, I went to Quinnipiac University School of Law, the same school that runs Quinnipiac Polling. Menach felt that he was double crossed by the Sephardi block of voters, led by Syrian Rabbi Ben Haim. Rabbi Ben Haim is zaftig so there were accusations that he was paid off, or promised food, for his voting block by the kosher kitchen guys, who were behind Chassidishe Lilliput. I joined in the accusations, and told Rabbi Ben Haim that he sold his soul for a bowl of lentil soup, just like Esau. His favorite food in the prison was tomatoes. I used to work in the kitchen. He always used to pop his head in the back door and ask me if I could give him a tomato. When a guard wasn’t looking I would sometimes toss him a tomato.
The guys who voted for losing candidate Menach complained to the blueboyz about voting irregularities. They complained that a few inmates on furlough voted absentee ballot, after Lucky Charms announced that there would be no absentee ballot voting. They complained that Lucky Charms said that only guys who regularly attended weekday services and observed Shabbos would be allowed to vote, yet Shrek the Russian was allowed to vote, and he was not a guy who regularly went to weekday services. Shrek was just released from the SHU because the blueboyz caught him stealing treif chicken from the warehouse where he worked. Lucky Charms called a special meeting in the shul to address the controversy. He said it was a “chillul Hashem” for guys to be going around complaining to the goyisha blueboyz that the vote was fixed. He said he was “shocked” that the victors in the election, “grown adults” were “poking fun” at the losers.