Is ‘Stop Snitching’ a Jewish Value?

The L.A. Jewish Journal’s Amy Klein has a great in-depth article on the alleged money-laundering and tax-fraud scheme that has resulted in the indictment of leaders of the Spinka Hasidic sect.

Reporting from both coasts, and visiting the Spinka sect’s home base in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, Klein tackles a number of interesting issues that the case raises, including the debate among Orthodox Jews over criminality in their community. The most interesting aspect of the article, however, is Klein’s treatment of the question of how the community regards individuals who report their fellow Jews to law-enforcement.

In the Spinka case, an informant dubbed “RK” — whom Klein says is actually businessman Robert A. Kasirer — played a key role in helping prosecutors assemble their case. And some are quite angry with him for doing so.

Klein reports:

Interestingly, there’s a parallel phenomenon that’s contributing to lawlessness in America’s inner-cities. It’s known as “stop snitching.” Instead of receiving sanction from backward rabbinic rulings, however, it’s fueled by rap lyrics and the code of the streets. I fail to see how the anti-moser ethos is all that different than the “stop snitching” madness. True, these backward rabbis do make an exception in cases of danger to others. But, then again, shouldn’t rabbis be held to considerably higher standards than “gangsta” rappers?

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Is ‘Stop Snitching’ a Jewish Value?

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