New York Times reporter Corey Kilgannon published an article about the Jews locked up in Otisville prison. I spent the last several months speaking with this Gentile reporter for the mainstream media. He is not a bad guy, for a goy. I normally do not speak with members of the mainstream press. I have my principles. In this case I made an exception.
Mr. Kilgannon heard all the myths and legends about the Jews locked up in Otisville. I had to educate him. It took time for me to convince him that these myths were bubbe meises, fairy tales.
Mr. Kilgannon left out the names of many inmates whom he referred to in his article. Mr. Kilgannon referred to the string fringes Jews wear outside of their pants as “zizit.” The proper term is “tzitzit.” Corey obviously never went to Hebrew School as a youngster. Corey needs to get a Yiddish auto correct feature on his computer if he is going to continue to write about the Jews.
Corey wrote: “What the minimum-security camp in Otisville, N.Y. does offer is a rarity in the federal prison system: a full-time Hasidic chaplain who oversees a congregation of dozens of Jewish inmates who gather for prayer services three times a day.” Noodles says: The full time chaplain works for the Bureau of Prisons. The name of the full time prison chaplain is Federal employee Rabbi Avrohom Richter. Richter is a Chabad Rabbi from Howard Beach. With the government shutdown Rabbi Richter has not received a paycheck in weeks. Richter is probably asking Jewish inmates to buy him some food on the commissary. Corey should have asked readers to send Richter a fruit basket.
Corey quoted a former inmate named Earl David: “For a Jewish person, there is no place like Otisville,” said Earl Seth David, 54, a former inmate who attended kosher meals, religious classes and weekly Shabbat services in the prison shul, a shared space where the Torah scrolls are locked up every night.” Noodles says: The Jewish chapel room is mostly used by the Jews but every now and then a Black inmate, usually a recent convert to Islam, walks into the chapel, places a prayer rug in the middle of the floor, faces East, kneels, bows down and davens with kavanah. His prayers usually only run about ten minutes, as opposed to Jewish services which never seem to end. The drug, gambling and alcohol counselors from the outside used to use the shul to meet with the inmates once a week. The Catholic guys held their weekly Sunday services in the shul. Sometimes you would hear the Jews grumbling about how they had to share this room with other inmates.
The Jewish chapel used to be occupied by anger management inmate Ed Stein. Ed was the angriest inmate in the camp. Ed was locked up for running a Wall Street ponzi scheme. Ed was doing ten years. When the Spinka Rebbe checked into Otisville the guards let him learn and pray all day in a room that was set aside for the Jews as their chapel. This room had no air conditioning. Ed Stein’s anger management room had AC. The Spinka Rebbe overheated in the summer as he was a heavy guy. The guards didn’t want the Spinka Rebbe to suffer heat stroke so they told Ed Stein that his anger management classes had to be moved to the room that didn’t have the AC. The Jews moved into the room with the AC. Ed was furious. Ed was already humiliated by the Jews because they didn’t consider him to be a real Jew because his mother was Italian. Ed fought with the Jewish inmates ever since he was evicted from his anger management room.
Corey wrote in his article: “Inmates periodically hold an informal vote to elect a “gabbai” to run the shul, which is currently led by a Hasidic man from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who is locked up for arson and corporate fraud.” Noodles says: When I was first locked up the gabbai who was elected was Herman “Mshooolum” Jacobowitz. The Jacobowitz brothers, Satmar Hasidim from Williamsburg, were involved in a massive pump and dump scheme. They never pleaded guilty to arson. They were locked up for insurance fraud after they tried to cash in on a fire insurance policy after they burned down their building.
As inmate gabbai Mshoolum had to mediate the constant arguing, fighting and bickering between the Jewish inmates. At times Mshoolum couldn’t handle the pressure, so he stopped running for the gabbai position. Mshoolum would put another guy in the gabbai position while Mshoolum stood on the sidelines pulling the strings. It was a thankless job. The only benefit was getting better kosher food. It wasn’t worth it. I don’t know who the current gabbai is running the shul.
Corey named a few inmates in his article: “Ken Starr, a money manager who siphoned millions from his celebrity clients, wiped down mess hall tables during his stay, and Walter Forbes, an executive charged with securities fraud, mopped floors, according to former inmates. Hassan Nemazee, an investment banker and political bundler associated with the Clintons, cleaned the bathrooms while serving time for bank fraud.” Noodles says: Nemazee cleaned the officer’s bathroom. This took about ten minutes. The inmate bathrooms were disgusting. Guys with money, who were responsible for cleaning the inmate bathrooms, paid the poor inmates to clean the bathrooms. Walter Forbes only mopped one floor which led to all the offices where the officers worked. Walter only mopped in the mornings. He mopped the same floor over and over again, sometimes he followed you with a mop, or yelled at you for walking on “his” wet floor.
Corey wrote: “While kosher meals — three a day — come in prepackaged trays, inmates make Sabbath and holiday meals from scratch in the small kosher kitchen, to be eaten in the shul on tables with bed sheets as tablecloths.” Noodles says: Most of the special holiday meals were shipped in from the outside. Those were the best meals. The weekly Shabbos meals were mostly made from scratch, but giant Challahs were shipped in from the outside, along with babka. Cheese cake was shipped in from the outside for Shavuot. The bed sheets were used as table clothes. The kosher “kitchen” consisted of a very small room, about 150 square feet, enough room for a food processor, a hot electric cooking fryer, and storage for food.
Corey wrote: “With limited ingredients, inmates devise innovative ways to make Passover Seder meals featuring kosher chicken, handmade matzo, horseradish and grape juice.” Noodles says: Handmade shmura matzah was shipped in from the outside. Boxes of matzah were piled up to the ceiling of Officer Scalba’s office.
Corey wrote: The inmate rabbis “often conducted religious classes and gained inmate followings, as did a Hasidic rabbi from Brooklyn who got caught up in mortgage fraud before the 2008 housing market crash.” Noodles says: The Litvisher Rabbi who was busted for mortgage fraud who conducted religious classes was Rabbi Pinter. Pinter had classes going on all day in the shul. When I was first locked up Pinter was very popular. Pinter had between 5 and 10 guys at his classes all day. Towards the end of my sentence, and his sentence, he lost most of his followers, as his talmidim got released. The new guys who came in were less religious and didn’t connect with Pinter. In fact some guys got mad at him for his mussar shmoozes.
Corey wrote: “Then there was the Syrian rabbi from Deal, N.J., who was involved in a money-laundering scheme and whose parables were particularly enjoyed by Russian Jewish inmates from Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, who were in prison for health care fraud.” Noodles says: Syrian Rabbi Ben Haim was very popular with the Russians and told many moshels. I told Ben Haim that he should tell his stories in Madison Square Garden and make some real money. All he got from the Russians was free rugalach off the commissary.
Corey quoted prison consultant Joel Sickler: “The camp has little in the way of fences or bars, and for observant Jewish inmates, it is the closest thing you have to nirvana in a federal prison, said Joel A. Sickler, a criminologist and consultant who advises mostly white-collar offenders facing prison sentences. But perhaps more than that, Mr. Sickler said, the high-profile nature of Mr. Cohen’s case could hurt his chances of being sent to Otisville, simply because federal prison officials might want to avoid giving the impression that inmates get to automatically choose their own prison.” Noodles says: These prison consultants charge a lot of money for very little work. I never had any dealings with Sickler, but I knew a few guys who did. To pay this guy $5K to make a few phone calls is ridiculous. Sickler’s theory that the Feds don’t want it to appear that Cohen is getting to choose his own prison is a lot of bunk. Cohen lives in Manhattan. There are only two Federal prison camps close to Cohen’s family: Otisville and Fort Dix in New Jersey. Where else is he going to go? Corey told me that he heard that Trump may tell Attorney General Barr not to send Cohen to Otisville as a way to punish Cohen for being a rat. I don’t believe it. Trump, who is currently under a microscope with the Mueller investigation, is not going to try to manipulate the Justice Department. Trump is not going risk having Barr rat him out in the same way that Cohen, Comey, Flynn, Gates, Manafort, the National Enquirer & Stormy Daniels ratted him out. Trump can’t be that stupid.
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