Mesirah is alive and well in Brooklyn

Writing in Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, Michael Lesher, an Orthodox Jew, argues that the  city should not be giving money ($130,000) to street patrols manned by Orthodox Jews in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods (“Orthodox Cops: Separate and Unequal“). Lesher’s article comes in the wake of a kidnapping and murder of Leiby Kletzky, a Hasidic boy, by an Orthodox Jewish man. He points out that “Leiby’s disappearance was only belatedly reported to the police, and that a privately run, Orthodox Jewish ‘patrol’ called Shomrim reportedly had video evidence that went unused during the crucial hours before the murder, while untrained Jewish laymen tried to handle the investigation themselves.”

Lesher notes such groups “all too often driven by religious proscriptions to keep their community’s crimes out of the public eye.” In other words, the groups operate by the code of mesirah in which it is a forbidden to inform on Jews. But of course Lesher is himself violating mesirah by loudly blowing the whistle on his fellow Jews. He has been very courageous in performing this public service. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.

Publication in the Post probably won’t help Rupert Murdoch in his present travails either.

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