Archive for April, 2008

Welcome Ladies…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2008 by frumpunk

In honor of my blogs mostly female readership I have chosen a more feminine friendly theme.

Who’s up for a banana smoothie?

Where’s The Riots When You Need ‘Em?

Posted in Rants on April 28, 2008 by frumpunk

I hate reading stories like this:

A real estate developer with close religious and social ties to the Lubavitcher Hasidim community managed to swindle 40 families out of their homes in what the Daily News describes as one of the biggest scams of the recent housing crisis.

Eliyahu Ezagui sold pre-construction homes to 40 different families in Crown Heights, and years after the buildings were in place and the families moved in, he took out mortgages on the condos and left the country. Both the names of the buildings and the addresses on Lefferts and East New York Ave. had religious significance, which apparently lulled the home buyers into a sense of trust and solidarity with Ezagui.

One husband and father of six said, “We trusted him, we thought we knew him, he told us he had the blessing of the grand rabbi. We had contracts, so we gave him the money.” But they never got the deeds, which is how Ezagui could take out $15 million in mortgages on the homes.

Mortgage payments weren’t made, so now the families face eviction from the banks Ezagui borrowed from. And Ezagui, who fled to Israel, is shedding crocodile tears over the mess he’s created for people who trusted him. “I was stuck and it hurts and I feel sorry for those people.”

From Gothamist.

Where’s those chassidim who burn dumpsters when there’s something righteous to riot about? Being in Israel there’s little legal recourse these families have, but there’s still the good old fashioned recourse of physical violence. Something I don’t advocate unless necessary, and how is this not necessary? Presumably, the bulk of that $15 million he took in mortgages still exists in his various accounts. Then again, he said he was stuck. Maybe he run up several million in gambling debts and it is truly gone? Either way, his name is published and he now lives in Israel. That’s a start to finding the mamzer.

Tip of the hat to Chaptzem.

Update from New York Daily News with many more details:

More than 40 Brooklyn families face eviction and foreclosure on condos they bought from a developer who pulled off a massive swindle and then fled the country.

The families, all Hasidim from Crown Heights, paid developer Eliyahu Ezagui – one of their own – for the apartments before they were built at two sites: 770 Lefferts Ave. and 613 East New York Ave.

“We trusted him, we thought we knew him, he told us he had the blessing of the grand rabbi. We had contracts, so we gave him the money,” said Jeff Minsky, who lives at 613 with his wife and six children.

Ezagui, 47, did not give the buyers deeds when construction was completed in what is the single biggest local case of subprime mortgage fraud on record.

Instead, Ezagui deeded 64 apartments to himself, his father, his mother, his wife and two business associates.

Ezagui portrayed himself as a devout man and played on the religious sensitivities of the apartment purchasers, all members of the Lubavitcher Hasidim.

For example, the late Lubavitcher leader, Grand Rebbe Menachem Schneerson, is thought by many followers to be the Messiah. Ezagui named his building’s corporation Chaisom Inc. Chaisom, which means “live here,” is also Mosiach – Hebrew for Messiah – spelled backward.

And the addresses he chose, 770 and 613, have religious significance: 770 Eastern Parkway is Lubavitcher world headquarters; 613 is the number of laws God gave Moses.

the apartment buyers learned Ezagui had a life outside Crown Heights. He owned a house in Miami, where his wife and children lived, and was chief executive of 12 corporations, records show.

“He was living the Hollywood life down there when he wasn’t here – big car, fancy clothes, the works,” Minsky said.

I recommend you read the whole story, but I posted the important bits.

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Second update. Unrelated to the current story, but read this! Apparently one of his companies was called ‘Hip Hop City Corp’. Doesn’t get more chassidish than that, does it? For those unwilling to read through a badly formatted federal document, back in 2003 the FCC fined him $10,000 for apparantly running (or simply allowing) a pirate radio station from one of his properties.

The rightous Mr Ezagui also made this video extolling the virtues of the Rebbe. Significant only because it confirms he did have a house in Florida as well, as he mentions his location below the video.

And further research has dug up the actual forclosure document. The bank involved is Washington Mutal. You can read it here. Co-defentants are 10 unnamed people, Rami Zion, Tova Eilenberg and Freha Ezagui.

OHMIGOSH!!!

Posted in Me with tags on April 24, 2008 by frumpunk

No posts for a few days, okay?

(Kidding, but… y’know. Seriously. This is what my special edition of the Blue Album with the second disk of demos only hinted at. It’s also good practice for the red album which is supposed to be out end of June. Of course if that sounds anything like Make Believe I might have to swear off weezing forever. The first single ‘Pork & Beans’ can be heard over at weezer.com)

Edit: There’s a free album of Weezer tributes floating around. It’s a great download. Probably not until after sefirah for most of you, but give it a listen when you can. Very well done.

http://www.weerez.com/atnw/Tout_Ensemble.zip

Stumbling From The Seder

Posted in Me, Yom Tov with tags , on April 22, 2008 by frumpunk

First of all, I see around 25 people checked in over Pesach. Tsk tsk. For the sake of being dan lekaf, I’ll assume you’re all from Australia, New Zealand or somewhere in that timezone.

Onwards; every year as far as I can remember I leave the seder feeling sick to my stomach. First its not eating for hours and then quickly scarfing down a bunch of matzah, marror, then the matzah and marror sandwich. I’m sure we eat far more than we need to, but noone in my family is ever quite certain what constitutes a kezayis of something so thin, so we eat approximately an entire piece each. Once we get past all that we get to the chicken soup which never fails to make me more thankful than ever that when my parents became frum they went against the grain of being machmir on everything to make up for not having minhagim, because nothing makes me more glad not to be chassidish than when I get to break pieces of matzah into my chicken soup. It has to be the big round handbaked stuff though. That square factory garbage just doesn’t cut it. Anyways, I was saying how I get a stomach ache every year. It’s all that sickly sweet Kedem. (Someday I plan to slip a bottle of Kedem into a professional wine tasting event. I wonder what the comments will be? “Hmmm… burnt kugel and… is that a hint of really bad cholent?”) The first two cups are okay, but then when you have the third and fourth cups right next to each other and you can’t eat anything because it’s after the afikoman… it’s a killer.

The worst ever though, was a few years ago in yeshiva in Israel. I was having the seder at my Rebbes house, and my cousin was also attending. He claimed to know just what we needed, so we both bought this sweet, heavy red wine. I remember telling him that I was told to avoid the stomach pain I should get a dry red wine, but he insisted. I remember stumbling out after the fourth cup and just vomiting.

But of course, every year I forget about all this and end up having the sweet Kedem kiddush wine my dad buys.

I am now facebookable.

Posted in Me on April 18, 2008 by frumpunk

As per my attempts to create a cult of personality around myself, I have created a Frum Punk facebook page.

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1122408206 or just search for Frum Punx.

Have a great Pesach everyone.

i need tzedoka for pesach

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2008 by frumpunk

That was one of the search terms used to find this site today. Is there a site out there that doles out money to people? If there is, someone let me know.

WHO ARE YOU?

Posted in Me with tags on April 16, 2008 by frumpunk

There was a great comment today from ‘That Girl‘ On my Meshulchim post.

It took a few read overs to get the full gist of what she was saying. Just three words, yet a books worth of meaning.

Who am I? Who are any of us? What makes us us? Are we simply the products of the types of homes we were raised in? Are we more the products of our educational environments? Are we molded by the books we read, the people we associate with? Is it the jobs we choose, the career that culminates in an expression of our personalities? Is it fair to define a person by the impression they give off? What if you judged someone by the clothes they wear? Is that fair, since after all, some people feel they need to constrain their clothing choices to the society they feel a part of. Some people would dress different if they had the money. I have a Marc Jacobs jacket, but I bought it on ebay. If you judged me on that jacket, you’d assume I’m far richer (and arguably more fashionable) than I am. Bloggers such as Hassid and Heretic blatantly drive home the point with a sledgehammer that what you see represents not what is in the mind. Frum Satire likes hair metal, yet he isnt an imbecile and can write intelligently.

Are we the sum of our parts, or just the part of that sum we choose to reflect?

So who am I? Apparently, the verbally rambling man.