By COLlive reporter
An FBI sting operation that ended with the arrest of Rabbis and other orthodox Jews for money laundering and corruption has left the Jewish community stunned.
Thursday’s arrests also included mayors, assemblymen and other officials in New Jersey and New York.
Within hours after the arrests, Lubavitchers were emailing COLlive asking for more information. “It’s being reported all over British networks,” a London Lubavitcher told us.
Behind the arrests was Solomon Dwek, an orthodox Jewish real-estate developer of Syrian origin accused of bank fraud who became an FBI informant.
We contacted Rabbi Moshe Herson, Head Shliach of New Jersey, who immediately told us: “Rabbis working under our auspices are not involved, Baruch Hashem.”
Shluchim throughout the US were bombarded with questions about the arrests over Shabbos. A Shliach in California told COLlive that community members asked, “how could Rabbis take part in this kind of activity?”
COLlive was notified that in a Friday radio interview, Lubavitch bochurim were asked to comment about the corruption scandal which made headlines around the U.S. and the world.
After speaking about the Merkos Shlichus summer visitation program to Jewish communities, they declined to speak about the FBI round up with the broadcaster noting that “rabbis arrested were non-Chabad.”
In an email sent Friday to some 400 bochurim on Merkos Shlichus, Lubavitch World Headquarters advised them not to respond.
“Please take extra caution not to comment, discuss or mention this as it has nothing to do with chabad or your shlichus,” Schneor Nejar of the Merkos Shlichus Office wrote.
“If you are questioned or asked to comment on it and you feel you must respond, please ensure that you don’t say anything that could be seen as an opinion on the issue,” they were advised.
“You might want to say that you are not familiar with the story or those involved but in America you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”