Judge Refuses To Toss Charge Against New Square Arsonist
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Shaul Spitzer, the 18-year-old butler of the Skvere Rebbe who was arrested in May after allegedly trying to burn down New Square dissident Aron Rottenberg’s home while Rottenberg and his entire family slept, failed in his attempt to have a criminal contempt charge against him dropped, the Journal News reported today.
Spitzer allegedly violated an order of protection on October 4 when he walked in front of the Rottenberg’s home. The order of protection requires Spitzer to stay away from Aron Rottenberg and his family, the Rottenberg family home, and Rottenberg’s business.
Rottenberg and his family faced months of harassment before the attack. His property was vandalized and the family was threatened.
Rottenberg became a target of Skvere enforcers after he organized a Shabbat minyan (prayer service) at the Friedwald nursing home located just outside the village. Rottenberg reportedly did this because an elderly Holocaust survivor who was too ill to leave the nursing home to go to nearby synagogues wanted a minyan so he would be able to say Kaddish, the memorial prayer, for a deceased relative.
Rottenberg and a small group of other Skvere hasidim would walk from New Square to the nursing home each Shabbat.
The Skvere religious community was ordered by its previous leader, or rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Twersky, to exclusively pray in the hasidic village’s synagogue, and the order was reaffirmed by his son, Rabbi David Twersky, who became rebbe in 1968 after his father died.
The second-degree criminal contempt charge against Spitzer is a misdemeanor. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2012. He is also charged with attempted murder and arson in connection with the attack on Rottenberg and his family.
Rottenberg, who was seriously burned over more than 50% of his body in the May 22, 2011 attack, is recovering after spending weeks in a hospital burn unit. He has limited only use of one arm. No other Rottenberg family members were hurt in the attack.