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Looking Back November 26, 2004


• Mortimer L. Schiff, son of well-known Jewish banker Jacob Schiff, was arrested Sunday night for excessive speeding in a car on Fifth Avenue. Young Mortimer was furious that the arresting officer brought him down to the station and threatened to fix him good. Schiff also threatened the precinct’s sergeant in the same manner. After paying a $100 bond, Schiff was permitted to leave the station. He is expected to appear in court later this week.


• Sixty-six people, all of them Jews, were found guilty of conspiracy in connection to price fixing in the kosher poultry industry. A jury that deliberated over a period of days also found three organizations —Teamsters Local 167, the Greater New York Live Poultry Chamber of Commerce and the Kosher Slaughterers Union — guilty. The Forward was the first paper to break the story, that the kosher chicken industry was rife with corruption and filled with gangsters. More than two years ago, the publication reported how the Kosher Chicken Trust was terrorizing butchers and kosher slaughterers and ripping off customers. The Forward’s investigation was brought to the attention of certain government agencies, which began their own probes, resulting in the aforementioned verdicts.

• In spite of the tragedy that the recent stock market crash has brought to investors, stockbrokers have not lost their sense of humor. Since the crash, a fair number of new jokes related to the events have been circulating. A 44-year-old broker meets a colleague at the doctor’s office. He tells his friend the bad news — that he has been diagnosed with diabetes — at only 44 years of age. His friend says, “I’m worse off — I’m suffering terribly from gas: I got Consolidated Gas at 184.” (Consolidated Gas was one of the stocks that fell most steeply).


• When a sports club for Israeli youth opened up near Meah Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta came out in force, demonstrating against what they called the demoralizing project of Hapoel Hamizrachi, a religious Zionist party. Led by Rabbi Amram Blau, about 50 Neturei Karta adherents began screaming Pritses, or immorality, and shouting slogans against the club. After police arrived and arrested Rabbi Blau, a Rabbi Meisler and a young yeshiva student, members of the Hapoel Hamizrachi club attacked the demonstrators, beating them with sticks. The Neturei Karta responded by throwing stones. Members of the nearby Bratslaver shul came out on their balcony and began sounding shofars to drive away the devils.


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