Los Angeles — A federal court judge said she will rule at a later date in the case of a Chasidic Jew who will not testify because he says it would violate “mesira,” the injunction against turning Jews over to non-Jews.
Margaret Morrow of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles heard arguments Wednesday in the case involving Rabbi Moshe Zigelman.
Prosecutors want Morrow to imprison Zigelman for contempt unless he testifies against others in an alleged tax fraud scheme that involved his Spinka sect, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Zigelman, an executive assistant to the sect’s leader, already has served a 2-year sentence for his role in the scheme, which involved soliciting large tax-deductible donations and secretly funneling most of the money back to the donors.
Zigelman, 64, says his testimony would violate “mesira,” although most modern scholars say it applies only in regimes that oppress Jews.