Rich Siegel, the musician who lives in a NJ suburb that is heavily-populated by orthodox Jews, says he is being harassed again for his anti-Zionist views. The Teaneck Suburbanite’s Howard Prosnitz reports:
A well-known local activist for Palestinian causes has filed harassment charges against a River Road rabbi, who allegedly stood in front of his Elm Avenue home shouting obscenities.
The complaint filed by Rich Siegel against Rabbi David B. Schwartz is scheduled for a probable cause hearing in Teaneck Municipal Court on Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m.
Police responded to a call from Siegel at 7:55 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 complaining that a man in his 60s, walking a large grey dog, was standing in front of his house yelling at him…
Reached by phone on Sunday, Schwartz declined to comment.
And here is Rich Siegel’s letter of a week back to a local rabbinical leader, describing the episode:
Rabbi David Bauman
Union for Traditional Judaism
668 American Legion Drive, Suite B
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Nov. 14, 2011
Dear Rabbi Bauman:
My family and I have been treated to severe harassment by a member of your board, Rabbi David B. Schwartz. He has been stalking my house for an ongoing period. I have observed him on several occasions standing in front of my house for extended periods, with his dog, leering at the bumper stickers on my car, [“Free Palestine: End the Occupation” and “Stop US Aid to Israel.”] which he clearly does not like. They support the Palestinian cause. I am a Jewish Anti-Zionist and supporter of Palestine and make no apologies for my position or for my right to free speech on the issue.
On one occasion my wife and daughter were in our front yard when Rabbi Schwartz and his dog arrived and they were unaware of his purpose there. My daughter wanted to pet his dog. My wife asked if she could. Rabbi Schwartz was non-responsive and then my wife understood why he was there. On another occasion Rabbi Schwartz stood in front of my house for an extended period, just staring, as I was preparing to leave the house. He remained there, leering at me, as I locked the house up, got into my car, and started the engine. Finally, as I backed the car out past him and into the street, I asked out the car window, ³May I help you?² He responded, ³I just wanted to see what an Anti-Semite looks like.² I responded by telling him that I am Jewish. He then went into a verbal assault which I escaped by driving away.
On the morning of Saturday Nov. 5, at about 7:45, I heard loud shouts of ³Fuck You!² yelled repeatedly in front of my house. I went to the window and observed Rabbi Schwartz shouting over and over again ³Fuck You! Fuck You!…². My wife and 6 year old daughter were in the next room, and were extremely alarmed. I yelled out the window that I was calling the police, which I proceeded to do. Rabbi Schwartz took off. I observed the direction that he was heading and sent the police in that direction. The police caught up with him and interviewed him. He admitted what he did, and claimed that it was his right to free speech, this according to the police report. The police report also indicates that he agreed to stop walking his dog in front of my home. According to the responding police officer, Rabbi Schwartz stated that he did not know I that have a young daughter. He lied. I subsequently filed a criminal harassment charge against the rabbi./ This morning at about 10 AM I witnessed Rabbi Schwartz on my corner. Clearly if he intended to abide by the promise he made to the police to not walk his dog in front of my home, he was abiding by the letter but not the spirit of the promise. He was only two doors down from my home, about as close to my home as he could be without being actually in front of it. I told him to stay off my block or I would call the police again. He invited me to call the police again. I did. I understand they paid him a visit today./ I went on line to see who this David B. Schwartz is, and was shocked to find out that he is a rabbi. It is deeply disturbing to me to know that an ordained man of God is shouting ³Fuck You² at a house where he knows an innocent young girl is living. This is egregious on so many levels, it¹s not even necessary to point it out to any civilized person. But in addition, it¹s illegal, and will be dealt with legally, both criminally and civilly. I have tried to get a restraining order against Rabbi Schwartz, but have been informed that restraining orders are only applicable to domestic situations. I have been further informed that a ³do not contact order² may be granted, but that it has to be issued by the judge, and I have no access to the judge until the probable cause hearing, scheduled for Dec. 7.
I am bringing all of this to your attention because Rabbi Schwartz is on your board. I would like to informally request that you have an informal conversation with Rabbi Schwartz, and that perhaps the content of the conversation might touch upon how members of your board are expected to act in the community, perhaps additionally how any rabbi is expected to act. I do not know where Rabbi Schwartz was ordained, but it seems that there are some holes in his Jewish education, as he thinks it¹s OK to shout obscenities in the street on Shabbos, and to terrorize a little girl. Perhaps you as director of this esteemed institution might see the need for some re-education. I am also requesting a response to this letter. Thank you for your kind consideration.Sincerely yours, Rich Siegel