Man sentenced on sex offender charge

Levi Moscowitz, a 24-year-old man from Chicago now living in Los Angeles, pleaded no contest in late October to charges of arranging to meet a child this past February with the intention of committing sexual acts. 

Court documents, which are available by public records request, contain notes from a lead detective on the case indicating that on Feb. 25 Moscowitz posted a Craigslist ad “seeking to participate in a sexual encounter with a family interested in incest, or to ‘teach,’ a step-son or daughter.”

A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective — who was helping run a sting operation that searches for potential child predators seeking out children online — responded to the ad, created a false identity and posed as a father. He and Moscowitz then engaged in a back-and-forth conversation by email in which Moscowitz described what he would like to do with the “father’s” fictitious 13-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter — all lewd acts punishable as felonies.

After arranging to meet at a Long Beach hotel, Moscowitz drove there on Feb. 28, entered the prearranged room and was arrested without incident by four Long Beach police officers. The detective’s notes indicate Moscowitz came to the room with items that matched the items discussed in the online chat with the fictitious father. After searching his car, officers found a loaded Glock handgun magazine and items that indicated an intention to commit sexual acts. In March, Moscowitz was charged in Glendale with illegally carrying a concealed firearm; he was found guilty.

Moscowitz was charged with one felony count and pleaded no contest in Los Angeles Superior Court. He was sentenced to one day in jail, five years probation, 60 days of Caltrans cleanup or graffiti removal, 52 weeks of counseling, fines and mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender. A spokesperson in the district attorney’s office said Moscowitz’s sentence was standard “for this type of charge and circumstances.” 

Moscowitz could not be reached, and his attorney, Tiffany Feder, declined to comment.  

Ex-mayor Filner pleads guilty in sexual harassment case

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner plead guilty in a sexual harassment case brought against him by three women.

Filner was charged on Tuesday in San Diego County Superior Court with a felony count of “false imprisonment by violence, fraud, menace and deceit,” and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

The victims were identified as Jane Does 1, 2 and 3.

Filner, 71, who is Jewish, resigned in August after the San Diego City Council unanimously approved a deal under which Filner agreed to leave office by Aug. 30 in exchange for the city agreeing to pay his legal expenses in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by his former aide.

Some 19 women publicly accused Filner of acting inappropriately and sexually harassing them. He apologized to the city and the women who accused him of misconduct.

Filner was San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in two decades; he was formerly a 10-term congressman.

Toronto rabbi charged for alleged sexual assault after 40 years

A 71-year-old rabbi in Toronto has been charged with indecent assault for allegedly sexually assaulting a student 40 years ago.

Heshi Nussbaum appeared in court on Wednesday to face the charge, the Toronto Sun reported.

Nussbaum allegedly sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy at a “private religious school” that he taught at and during a summer camp between 1972 and 1975, according to Toronto Police.

There also may be more victims, according to a statement issued by the Toronto Police on Friday.

Northridge mother charged in syrup swastika vandalism

A Northridge woman has been charged with multiple criminal counts for helping her teenage daughter and two friends deface homes with maple syrup swastikas, human feces and toilet paper. Catharine Whelpley, 43, was charged on June 11 with three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of vandalism, two counts of trespassing and two counts of tampering with a vehicle.

Whelpley is accused of driving her 14-year-old daughter and her daughter’s two friends — 14 and 13 — to two homes in the San Fernando Valley. The girls have admitted to the April 3 defacing, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

At the first home, the residence of a former friend from their middle school, the teens defaced the property with toilet paper and maple syrup and smeared feces on the homeowner’s vehicle, according to statement from the office of L.A. City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich. According to the statement, Whelpley allegedly drove the girls to a store to purchase additional toilet paper between the two incidents. 

At the second home, which belongs to the son of a Holocaust survivor, the teens admitted to using maple syrup to draw three swastikas and to writing the word “Jew” on the front walkway.

The three girls will not face criminal charges because their actions did not cause permanent damage to the properties. However, the teens faced disciplinary action at their school.

If convicted on all charges, Whelpley could face up to seven years in county jail or a $13,500 fine, according to prosecutor Ayelet Feiman, who added that it is unlikely she will receive the maximum sentence.

Whelpley’s arraignment is scheduled for June 28.

UPDATE: Shooter of Trayvon Martin arrested, charged with murder

A Florida prosecutor filed a murder charge on Wednesday against the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin in a case that has captivated the United States and prompted civil rights demonstrations.

George Zimmerman, 28, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin, according to Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Florida’s governor to investigate the racially charged case.

Corey said at a news conference on Wednesday that Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities, who then arrested him. He remains in police custody.

Zimmerman, who is white Hispanic, said he acted in self-defense during a confrontation in a gated community in the central Florida city of Sanford on Feb. 26. Police declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger of getting killed or suffering great bodily harm.

The shooting that took place 45 days ago received only scant local media attention at first and went unnoticed nationally until Martin’s parents and lawyers kept making public calls for Zimmerman’s arrest, eventually leading to a fire storm of media coverage, and celebrity tweets, and a comment from President Barack Obama: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

The disputed facts of the case have been picked apart endlessly by television commentators while dominating the headlines and reigniting a national discussion about guns, self-defense laws and what it means to be black in America.

Zimmerman went into hiding shortly after the shooting.

Zimmerman’s relatives and supporters say he is not racist and has been unfairly vilified. They said he feared for his life during his altercation with Martin and was justified in using deadly force.

The Nation and The World


New Anti-Semitism Report

The U.S. State Department praised the work of European governments against anti-Semitism, but said law enforcement must do more to respond to anti-Semitic crimes. The State Department�(tm)s report addressing anti-Semitic incidents around the world – slated for release Wednesday and obtained in advance by JTA – comes after Congress passed a law last year mandating increased monitoring of anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere. The report says recent anti-Semitism has come from traditional anti-Jewish prejudice in Europe, along with anti-Israel sentiment “that crosses the line between objective criticism of Israeli policies and anti-Semitism.” It also cites anti-Jewish sentiment among Muslims in Europe, and spillover criticism of the United States and globalization.

Holocaust Lawyer Charged

A lawyer involved in the lawsuit against Swiss banks for Holocaust-era accounts was charged with misappropriating funds from two survivors. The Office of Attorney Ethics in New Jersey, the investigative arm of the New Jersey Supreme Court, charged last month that Ed Fagan, one of the lead attorneys in the case that resulted in a $1.25 billion settlement, transferred funds from the survivors�(tm) accounts to pay off debts. Fagan has yet to respond to the charges, which were first reported by the Black Star News.

Peruvian Community Gets Rabbi

An “emerging Jewish” community in Peru now has a rabbi and Jewish educator. The Jewish professionals serving the community in Trujillo are courtesy of the Israel-based Shavei Israel group. The community dates back to the mid-1960s, when several hundred Peruvian Catholics decided to live as Jews. Some 300 members of the community have already moved to Israel.

WJC Faces Informal Probe

New York�(tm)s attorney general has launched a preliminary inquiry into allegations that the World Jewish Congress (WJC) mishandled its finances. In a statement, the group said it promised to cooperate with the informal probe launched recently by Eliot Spitzer. Officials with the group have said issues of financial transparency, which have roiled the organization in recent months, will be laid to rest at a meeting next week in Brussels. At the meeting, Stephen Herbits is expected to be nominated to the post of secretary-general, and the organization�(tm)s president, Edgar Bronfman, is expected to be re-elected.

Abuse in Ethiopia?

A North American Jewish group was accused of abusing Ethiopian Jews waiting to immigrate to Israel. According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, some people living and working in Ethiopia accused the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) of refusing to distribute food to the Falash Mura at the group�(tm)s Addis Ababa compound; of treating Ethiopians employed in a sewing facility like slave laborers; of threatening those who cry foul at their treatment; and of dispatching a thug to rough people up. NACOEJ denied the accusations, insisting the claims were born of a labor dispute between the organization and some school teachers that NACOEJ fired and who were refused permission to immigrate by Israel. NACOEJ�(tm)s executive director, Barbara Ribakove Gordon, told the Post that, as a result of some Ethiopian trouble-makers, the group had to shut down its school in Addis Ababa, which also served as its food-distribution hub, for three weeks, and that the group was unable to operate the program during that time. Some 300 Falash Mura Ethiopians whose Jewish ancestors converted to Christianity but who now have returned to Jewish practice immigrate to Israel each month, and thousands more are waiting.

Vatican: Don�(tm)t Return Survivor Kids

The Vatican instructed French churches that protected Jewish children during the Holocaust not to return the young Jews to their families at war�(tm)s end. According to a letter from Nov. 20, 1946, published this week in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the wartime pope, Pius XII, said that children who had been baptized while in the church�(tm)s guardianship should not be reunited with surviving members of their families, Ha�(tm)aretz reported. “The documents indicate that the Vatican completely ignored the Holocaust and murder of Jews,” Amos Luzzatto, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, was quoted as saying in Ha�(tm)aretz. “There is a sticking to theological arguments as though this were an ordinary situation, when in practice these children were not entrusted to churches to convert to Christianity but to save them from murder.” The pope�(tm)s letter was sent to Angelo Roncalli the Vatican representative in Paris who later became Pope John XXIII who shortly thereafter told Israel�(tm)s then-chief rabbi that Roncalli�(tm)s authority could be used to return such children to their families.

Clerics Talk Reconciliation

Rabbis and imams opened a three-day peace conference in Brussels. Around 100 clerics attended the symposium, which began Monday under the auspices of Belgium�(tm)s King Albert II and the Hommes de Parole Foundation.

“For the first time, two religions that have been too often used as a pretext for war will be used to achieve peace,” the event�(tm)s Web site said. Rabbi Michael Melchior, a left-wing Israeli politician and Norway�(tm)s chief rabbi, said Jews had as much to learn from the conference as Muslims.

“There are religious leaders on both sides who incite to violence in the name of religion,” he told the Jerusalem Post. “And that must be stopped.” The attending imams came from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Sao Paulo Jews Face Missionaries

Brazil�(tm)s largest Jewish community published a guide to combat missionary activities. Supported by the U.S.-based organization Jews for Judaism, the Sao Paulo State Jewish Federation published an online guide on its Portuguese language Web site,, to teach Jews how to resist Jews for Jesus and other Christian missionaries. Some 60,000 Jews, one-half of Brazilian Jewry, live in Sao Paulo.

Farewell, Foie Gras

Israeli geese farmers were given three months to stop force-feeding their livestock, a step in making foie gras. On Monday, the Knesset�(tm)s Education and Culture Committee upheld a High Court of Justice ban, as of April 1, on the controversial practice of force-feeding geese. The decision was a triumph for animal-rights activists and a snub to the Agriculture Ministry, which had argued that a humane method of feeding could be devised.

Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


The Man Behind the JDL

In the FBI’s dossier he is listed as Irving David Rubin, 56, a self-described conservative Republican, Air Force veteran, married for 21 years and the father of two children.

To everyone else he is Irv Rubin, chairman of the Jewish Defense League, an acute embarrassment to most mainstream Jewish organizations, whose “contemptible activities,” in the words of the Anti-Defamation League, have cumulated in “a long track record of intimidation and bullying tactics.”

By his own count, Rubin has been arrested 40 times, and he and his associate, Earl Krugel, are now sitting in a federal detention center in downtown Los Angeles. They are charged with conspiracy to blow up a mosque, the building housing a Muslim organization and the offices of a congressman of Lebanese descent.

The roots of Rubin’s aggressive stance and militant outlook can perhaps be traced to his Montreal childhood, where, he says, his mother told him to get out and fight a kid who had called him a dirty Jew.

At age 16, he and his family moved to the San Fernando Valley, and five years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Discharged, he proudly served as a page at the 1964 Republican Convention in San Francisco, which nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater as its presidential standard bearer.

Rubin’s life took another turn — permanently — when he heard a speech by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1971 and was enthralled when the rabbi declared, “Don’t sit down and have a cup of coffee with a Nazi. Don’t try to be a nice guy. Smash him.”

Kahane also perceived the United States as the likely site of a future Holocaust.

The tall, husky Rubin loved the message. He joined Kahane’s Jewish Defense League and soon participated in protests on behalf of Soviet Jews, duked it out with neo-Nazis and, just as quickly, was arrested on an attempted murder charge in the case of a Nazi he had confronted in a Hollywood television studio.

In 1978, he got his first national exposure at a news conference protesting a neo-Nazi march in Skokie, Ill. In a typically flamboyant gesture, Rubin held up five $100 bills as the proffered reward to anyone who maimed or killed a Nazi party member.

With a keen ear for the effective soundbite, Rubin offered to raise the reward to $1,000 “if they bring us [a Nazi’s] ears. This is not said in jest, we are deadly serious.”

Kahane, Rubin’s role model, resigned as head of the JDL in 1974, after moving to Israel, where he formed the Kach Party. He was elected to the Knesset in 1984 on a platform that included the incendiary plan of transferring or expelling all Arabs from Israel.

Kahane was designated a racist by Israeli authorities and forbidden to run in the 1988 elections. In November, 1990, Kahane was assassinated in New York by Egyptian-born extremist El Sayyid Nosair.

(In an odd twist, a 1998 Associated Press report has surfaced, linking tapes and books on military techniques found in Nosair’s apartment to Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network. The AP story noted that “the killing of Kahane was at first viewed as an isolated attack, but now is seen as the kickoff of a U.S. terrorism campaign by militant Islamic fundamentalists.”)

The slain rabbi’s son, Binyamin Ze’ev Kahane, took over leadership of the Kach Party and formed another organization, Kahane Chai.

Both organizations were labeled “terrorist” by the Israeli government and outlawed. The younger Kahane and his wife were killed Dec. 31, 2000, in a West Bank ambush.

Back in the United States, Rubin stepped into the JDL power vacuum and became its “national chairman” in 1985. The title was a bit grandiose, because the JDL, with modest membership in the best of times, had split into two groups.

The New York wing, renamed the Jewish Defense Organization, was led by Mordechai Levy. Rubin and Levy have become bitter enemies, exchanging accusations and subpoenas over the years.

In 1989, Levy was convicted of firing an AR-25 aimed at Rubin in Manhattan.

Currently, Rubin goes by the title “chairman” of the JDL. In his first year as JDL leader, the organization came under investigation in the Oct. 11, 1985, murder of Alex Odeh, an Arab American activist killed in a bomb blast at his Santa Ana office.

Rubin denied responsibility but said that Odeh “got exactly what he deserved.” The JDL leader has since said repeatedly that he regretted making the statement, because it alienated would-be supporters and lessened his credibility.

When Rubin’s arrest was initially announced last week without the charges being specified, there was widespread speculation that it was connected with the Odeh case. The belief was shared by Sammy Odeh, the victim’s brother, who told The Journal that the killers of his brother would finally be brought to justice.

Over the past decades, the JDL has struck out against perceived softness in the Israeli government and American Jewish organizations, as much as against Nazis and other anti-Semites.

For instance, the JDL Web site marked the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist by stating, “We feel Yigal Amir wasted his precious life. Taking the life of Rabin was not worth Amir spending the rest of his life in an Israeli prison … The Israeli people would have taken Rabin out of office.”

In the same vein, the JDL hailed Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Arabs praying in a Hebron mosque in 1994, as one of its charter members.

One of the closest observers of Kahane and Rubin has been the ADL, which compiled a report of 21 densely packed pages listing the JDL’s violent acts in Israel and the United States between 1969 and 1995. Rubin, in return, has frequently attacked the ADL in JDL leaflets and at public meetings.

Whether it’s middle age or a change in tactics, in the last few years, Rubin seems to have become less publicly aggressive and has appeared in three-piece suits at public forums hosted by such institutions as the liberal University Synagogue.

One who got to know both Kahane and Rubin in the 1960s and ’70s was Si Frumkin. All three were involved in protests and demonstrations on behalf of Soviet Jews.

“You can approach a problem with a rapier or a club,” Frumkin observed. The National Council for Soviet Jews “used the rapier; JDL used a club. I can’t say which method was more effective.”

Comparing the two JDL leaders, Frumkin said that Kahane “was a PR genius. Rubin had the same fire in the belly as Kahane but is not as charismatic,”

With the name recognition created by Kahane, “the JDL should have become a well-known, large and well-financed organization, but now it seems to have trouble even attracting young people,” Frumkin said.

Although the charges currently leveled at Rubin and Krugel can carry a 35-year prison sentence, few knowledgeable lawyers expect their conviction.

While the JDL has been investigated on murder and attempted murder charges a number of times, Rubin has never been convicted of a felony.

“He [Rubin] has the uncanny ability to come right to the line and he doesn’t cross it.” Roger J. Diamond, one of Rubin’s previous lawyers, told The New York Times, “If he didn’t come close, he wouldn’t have been charged.”

The latest posting on the JDL Web site calls the current charges an “obvious act of governmental appeasement of the Muslim community. Please rest assured that Irv and Earl will be cleared of any wrongdoing when they have their day in court.”