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July 16, 2007


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I go there now and I am not happy.



annie erewhon

Michael Levin has post the identical ( above) rant all over the internet- perhaps he'd have done better accademically if he'd used the same effort on academic performance:

You, sir are a foolish, selfish and ill-informed individual and should be ashamed of mounting this ridiculous, libelous campaign.

VJ Clark –Brown directed the program to the best of her ability. This passed Spring she suffered an near-fatal cardiac illness and is still receiving medical care.

Claire Daffner, PhD, OTR, FAOTA passed away on Sunday August 23, 2010. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her, many of us her colleagues and friends from NJOTA. Claire served NJOTA in many capacities over the years, notably her Presidency of the Association, her position as NJOTA’s Representative to AOTA’s Representative Assembly, and most recently as a member of NJOTA’s Constitution revision committee. She was always ready to serve her profession.
Claire’s contribution to the profession was extraordinary, and extended over many years. Claire was the Director of the Occupational Therapy Program at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside/Westfield, serving there for 23 years. During that time she was instrumental in growing the department from a staff of three to 25, establishing it as a center for expertise in pediatric practice. Competition among schools and students to attend the clinical education program she developed there was fierce.
When PL 94-142 was established, Claire was instrumental in developing the TOTEMS project in NJ, serving as faculty in the workshops she provided to therapists throughout the state. Board Certification for Pediatrics was then established by AOTA. Claire facilitated the first NJ study groups to prepare BCP therapists, thus adding to our State’s reputation for outstanding pediatric clinicians. She was also one of the first program directors in NJ to establish contract services to the school systems.
Claire was a devoted scholar and researcher throughout her career, concurrently maintaining a private practice for children in NJ. She was always posing questions that drew from her clinical experience, while developing creative methods to answer them. Data about ongoing projects was perpetually displayed on her bulletin board, and she liberally shared her ideas about the treatment of children with disabilities in personal discussions and public discourses. Her presentations were always well attended as her expertise in pediatrics was widely recognized.
Later in her career Claire turned to teaching pediatric occupational therapy at Touro College in Manhattan, in both the OT and OT Assistant programs, resigning from those efforts this last year due to illness. In 2007, she completed her PhD in Health Sciences at Touro University International, achieving a long-term goal.
Claire Daffner, widowed from her husband David ten years ago, leaves two daughters, Adrienne and Beth, two granddaughters, Julianne and Sofie, and her sister Bobby, all of whom were with her at the end.
Dr. Bernard Lander, was an elderly and frail man, whose passing- while sad- was with the normal passages of a life fully lived. He fulfilled a dream in his founding and development of Touro and you are not fit to mention his name; you shame his, VJ’s and Claires’ commitment to improving the state of the world- you should try setting that as your goal. You are a sad, sad specimen.


Touro College has undergraduate schools such as School of General Studies, New York School of Career and Applied Studies, as well as Lander College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of liberal Arts and Sciences etc... These are undergraduate Touro College's sections within its college. If a student is awarded an Associate Degree or Bachelor Degree the transcript will reflect some courses they will not attend. This means that if a student wants to pursue education in another institution their credential will be questioned and most likely not accepted even though Touro College is Fully Accredited. Touro College's undergraduate practices are fraudulent. Since courses are added which a student never attended.

If a student with a Bachelor Degree from undergraduate Touro College decides to go for a degree in Touro Colleges graduate programs such as Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy or Occupational Therapy; the student will never graduate the program because the Directors of the graduate programs are aware of Touro College's undergraduate Degree granting fraud.

Touro College's Graduate programs likes students who received their degrees from other Colleges, such as City University of New York, or some Private Colleges and these student will most likely graduate and will most likely will pass the boards to obtain their licenses in their profession of study.





Touro College, School of Health Sciences discriminated me, dismissed me from the Occupational Therapy Program, its College as well as prohibited me from pursuing opportunities it offers in other academic disciplines, disregarded my appeal letters, took away my right to pursue education and framed me for a crime I did not commit. Attempted falsifying business records 2nd degree. Bellow you will find the description of what took place in Touro College, School of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Program. I have also included in the package two loose leaf binders. One binder has transcripts, registration papers, appeal letters, e-mails from professors and staff, an audio cassette and a CD of a conversation that took place with me and Professor Claire Daffner who discriminated me in the dual degree B.S. in Health Sciences and M.S. in Occupational Therapy Program in Touro College. The other binder has exams and term papers. I reported and sent my evidence to various agencies including, United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights who later dropped the investigation. I also reported Touro College's discrimination to channels, CBS 2, NBC 4, ABC 7, WPIX 11. I also contacted the FBI and explained my situation about my discrimination and unfair practices and reported how police came to my residents without court a order, or subpoena and did not read me Miranda Warning, or told me the charges brought against me. I told the FBI that Touro College has illegal practices and abuses its power as well as wrote an e-mails to United States Student Association who responded quickly to me, but Touro College has not made any attempt to resolve the situation. I am afraid to go to jail.

Below you will find a more detailed version of my story and the experience I have been going through since I joined Touro College as a student. Touro College, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the help of Michael Cherner's graduation form awarded me its Associate in Arts (A.A.) Degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts & Sciences, June 28, 2005.

My name is Michael Levin, and I live in Brooklyn, New York. I identify myself as an American Citizen who came to this country as a young boy from Belarus. It used to be part of former Soviet Union. I am in a legal loophole. Touro College framed me for crime I did not commit and took away my right for education. I received a misdemeanor and, I may get a jail sentence. I am afraid because I do not want to go to jail. Misdemeanor, which I got, is unjust because police, lawyers and the U.S. Department of Education authorities hided most evidence under the influence of Touro College.

In 2005 Spring, I came to see Michael Cherner's in his office at 1726 Kings Highway Touro College Campus. I asked my Michael Cherner if I would be eligible for graduation. Michael Cherner asked my Student ID then looked into his computer. He told me that I have good grades and I have enough credits for graduation. He gave me a graduation form with major declaration for me to sign then told me to give it to the registrar and bursar. A month or so later, I logged into my Touro College Academic account and noticed that 2 backdated History courses I never attended appeared for 2004 Fall Semester and they are (GHS – 105 – YA U.S HISTOR Y – 1763-1900 4 Credits Grade A) and (GJS – 271 – OL AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY 3 Credits Grade A). Few months passed and 2005 Spring Semester 2 more backdated History courses I never attended appeared and they are (GCA – 133 -YM HIST OF MUSIC I: ANCIENT TO BAROQUE 4 Credits grade A) (GHS-106-YA HISTORY OF THE U S 1877 TO PRESENT 4 Credits Grade A).

One day, in the morning, when I was getting ready to go to work, police came to my home without a court order. They did not read me Miranda Warning and told me to take off my tie. My lawyer Ilya Z. Kleynerman told me that if I pursue a court appeal it will ruin my life and make Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Lenzner very angry.

It all started when I applied to Touro College School of Health Sciences program in dual degree in BS in Health Sciences and MS in Occupational Therapy. In the year of 2004 I was invited for an interview with Claire Daffner a professor in the Occupational Therapy program in Touro College. On the interview Professor Claire Daffner, asked me questions regarding my national origin, my family socioeconomic status as well as made racial remarks. Claire Daffner asked me the following questions during the interview, "Do you live in a Russian Ghetto?, What do your parents do for a living?, Are you an Introvert or an Extravert?, What are you going to do if you are not going to be accepted into the program?”

Within a month, in mail I received a rejection letter stating that I was not accepted into the program.

Later, I was accepted in the program for the Fall of 2005 semester with the assistance of Michael Cherner and Andrique Baron. I was invited to Bayshore campus to meet with Elyse Pimsler and in her office she told me, “Andrique Barron is no longer your advocate.” As the semester went along in Gross Anatomy course at Bayshore Occupational Therapy Program I was segregated away from Occupational Therapy students and forced to sit with Physical Therapy students during examinations and lectures. I received unfair exams, was graded unfairly and did not receive class curves as other OT students received. I was truly neglected by professors. I believe that as an Occupational Therapy student I was a performing better than average but my grades were lowered and not curved as the rest of the class. Unfortunately the lack of support and negative environment produced by faculty and staff made it difficult for me to pursue my dream of becoming an Occupational Therapist. I turned to Professor Piroska Szabo the Gross Anatomy Professor for help, but unfortunately she was the one lowering my grades. Professor Piroska Szabo said to me, “"No one will ever ask you about your grades, and you are used to failing". Imagine what I have been going through. In Gross Anatomy cadaver dissection laboratory I was placed in the back of the class and received little attention from instructors. I felt hopeless and had no one to turn to. I was emotionally tormented by the events that took place.

Not knowing what to do next, I turned to Michael Cherner the Director of Kings Highway Touro College campus and Andrique Barron Director of admissions in Touro College for help; who were both sent to jail recently. My Gross Anatomy Professor Piroska Szabo failed me in the course and I met with the Occupational Therapy Department Leave of Absence and Academic Standing Committee to discuss my future in Occupational Therapy Program and asked for a second chance to retake the Gross Anatomy course. The committee put me on academic probation with the condition that If I do well in the Gross Anatomy course I will be allowed to continue my studies. I retook the Gross Anatomy course in Manhattan Campus for Spring 2006 semester with Professor Stephen Kanter who gave me an excellent grade. Afterward, the committee sent me a letter stating that I would be placed on academic probation and be allowed to transfer to Manhattan Occupational Therapy Program and begin my full time studies in Summer of 2006 semester under the conditions that I maintain my GPA, not fail more than 3 courses and Professor Claire Daffner would be my academic advisor and that I would have to see her weekly.
Later, I was invited to Claire Daffner's class, where she gave me and other students registration papers to select courses for the upcoming Summer 2006 semester in Occupational Therapy program at Manhattan campus. I chose a full time course load of twenty credits for this semester. Claire Daffner collected my signed registration papers along with other students in the class.

The courses I registered for are: (HS-150 Kinesiology 4 Credits), (HS-190 Neurosciences 4 Credits), (OT-123 Growth & Development II 2 Credits), (OT-131 Psycho Social 3 Credits), (OT-135 Substance Abuse Seminar 1 Credit), (OT-175 OT Theory & Practice I 3 Credits).

During my mandatory weekly meetings with her, she verbally abused me, made threats that I will fail all of my courses, diagnosed me with an "Auditory Processing Disorder" (She is not a medical doctor), as well as told me that other students are smarter and better than me. I have this on audio recording tape and CD. Claire Daffner told me, "You don't know what I am capable of doing." As a student, I did well in all of my courses but Instructors under Claire Daffner's influence lowered my grades and made my learning environment unbearable for me. As a result, Claire Daffner Professor of OT-175 OT Theory & Practice I 3 Credits failed me in her course. Professor Lana Goodman of OT-131 Psycho Social 3 Credits failed me despite of my excellent performance in her class. I received a letter in mail stating that I am dismissed from the Occupational Therapy Program. The requirement to be kicked out from the program is by failing 3 courses. Theoretically I did not fail 3 courses but Gross Anatomy course which I retook and received an excellent grade was not accounted for as a passing course. It is Claire Daffner who did this. Afterward, I appealed to the Occupational Therapy Committee including Dean School of Health Sciences Joseph Weisberg as well as Associate Dean School of Health Sciences Gerald D. Barry Ph.D to allow me continue my education and become an Occupational Therapist, but I was denied every appeal by Occupational Therapy Department Leave of Absence and Academic Standing Committee. I also asked Joseph Weisberg to arrange a hearing with me but he never did. During a meeting with Vera-Jean Clark Brown the Director of Occupational Therapy Program, she said to me, “You will never become an Occupational Therapist”. Months later to a year after I have been dismissed from the Occupational Therapy Program I noticed in my Touro College student log in account that I was missing 27 credits in the following courses and they were not reflected anymore on my transcript.

The following courses were deleted are:
(HS-104 Gross Anatomy 7 Credits), For Spring 2006 Semester, I retook
(HS-150 Kinesiology 4 Credits), For Summer 2006 Semester
(HS-190 Neurosciences 4 Credits), For Summer 2006 Semester
(OT-123 Growth & Development II 2 Credits), For Summer 2006 Semester
(OT-131 Psycho Social 3 Credits), For Summer 2006 Semester
(OT-135 Substance Abuse Seminar 1 Credit), For Summer 2006 Semester
(OT-175 OT Theory & Practice I 3 Credits). For Summer 2006 Semester

As soon as I found out that my courses has been deleted, I contacted the Director of Occupational Therapy Program, Vera-Jean Clark Brown. Ms. Clark Brown told me that I should not see the professors in regard to my missing courses and grades instead, see Vladimir Rozin the main Registrar at the Manhattan Touro College Campus at 27-33 West 23 Street. She also told me, “You're a nice guy I feel sorry for you.”
During a meeting with the Registrar Vladimir Rozin I demanded that he return my courses and that I was discriminated by Professor Claire Daffner in addition to that, I have exams and paperwork to prove that I did attend those courses as well as have appeal letters where the courses are defined. He told me that it is the administration's fault and that I should find my registration papers for these courses on my own. He also said to me, “You smell like a criminal”.

Months later, I wanted to complete my Bachelor Degree, despite the fact that my grades were stolen from me. I met with Lacey Shaw an Adviser at Touro College, who told me that I will not be able to be accepted into Touro College and that I will be told the same thing by everyone including the Dean. But he gave me registration forms for courses to complete my Bachelor's Degree. I went through the registration process twice and at the end I was told to see Vladimir Rozin who told me that I should have asked his permission before I began my admission and registration process. Rozin told me to go with him to see Middle States representative about my situation and was told by both of them that there is nothing they can do. The Representative told me to apply to Excelsior College and later on I sent my transcript to Excelsior College.

Recently, I met with Dr. Bernard Lander president of Touro College and I respectfully requested that he give me a second chance at life and allow me to complete my Bachelor's Degree.

I contacted the Office of the President who told me to see Avery Horowitz, Associate Dean of Students for Advisement and Counseling. Mr. Avery Horowitz told me that I would be allowed to register for courses he even asked me about what degree which would I want to pursue. I told him Psychology or Liberal Arts. He told me it is okay and that I should see Sofia Volfson an Academic Adviser at Touro College Flatbush Ave J campus to register for courses. During my advisement with Ms Sofia Volfson I filled out registration papers for courses. I was even advised by her to sit in Experimental Psychology course while registration would process. I set in one class, but later she told loudly in the hallway, "I was set up, I couldn't do anything!" She told me that I have a permanent Touro College hold. She even attempted to snatch away my student copy of registration papers for courses I signed up for. I felt frightened and left the building not knowing what to do next.

Later, I wrote numerous appeals to President Bernard Lander, Allan Kadish Senior Provost, and to Office of the President asking them to give me a second chance to complete my Bachelor's degree but I had no reply from them. Allan Kadish took over Touro College after Bernard Lander retired.

Later, I contacted and reported these problems to the United Stated Department of Education Office for Civil Rights as well as the FBI, United States Students Association, CBS 2, NBC 4, ABC 7, WPIX 11, letting them know about the events that took place at Touro College and that my rights have been violated numerous times. U.S Department of Education Office for Civil Rights sent me a letter in mail stating that my request for Touro College investigation is denied and that my occupation of study is Physical Therapy and not Occupational Therapy. Office for Civil Rights dropped the investigation.


--Leadership by example - not like my principal (male and six months pregnant) who tells students to take the stairs but he takes the elevator with nothing to carry.--

Your principal is male and six months pregnant? I'd like to meet this guy.


Gil - How much legal recourse would you have had against an Israeli school stalling transcripts? I recall that in my senior year of HS the school tried to raise my parents' tuition mid-year. When they refused to fork over the extra $$ the yeshiva threatened to withhold my diploma. My mother called state officials and was informed that it would be against the law for a school to withhold an academic diploma duly earned over a tuition dispute. I received my diploma on time and the tuition increase remains unpaid.

Anon - My sister thought I was nuts but we still speak. It was a second marriage for both, not expected to produce children, and to my way of thinking they were making a bigger hullabaloo than warranted, but then it was their money to do what they want with. The point (leadership by example) is that my students, all female, came from large families and bli ayin hara they have plenty of family smahot to attend. One of them told me she'd be missing lab for her brother's bar mitzva party (the party on a weeknight, not the aliya to the Torah, which took place the previous Shabbat). The absence would have put her over the quota of missed labs, which would have resulted in failure for the semester. I tried to get her to understand the concept of academic (and later professional) obligations that might conflict with family and social obligations, and that she had to make a choice and would land in hot water either way. If I recall correctly, she was able to make up the lab in another section, so no harm done, but if not for my lecture she would have remained in her fantasy world where academic requirements are mere suggestions. A few evenings later, I faced the same dilemma. The huppa was the essence of the wedding; the party afterward was - a party. Professional obligations trump a party - and people making a simha during the week should know that there will be people unable to attend due to professional obligations. Leadership by example - not like my principal (male and six months pregnant) who tells students to take the stairs but he takes the elevator with nothing to carry.


--The 1 year in Israel yeshiva and seminary programs were getting 45 trimester or 30 semester credits at one point. I'm not sure if that is still true.--

need to qualify my earlier statement. The 6 per semester limit was if you were also getting 12 Touro credits for that semester - the maximum allowable was 18 per semester. For years someone attended yeshivah full time and didn't receive any other credits, Touro allowed 12 yeshiva credits per semester. Don't know about the Israel yeshiva program you refer to. Maybe its for those that attend yeshivah in Israel while at the same time attending Touro in Israel? If you figure 12 Touro credits + 6 yeshivah credits plust same credits for a summer program (or two) you might get to the 45 range in one year though you don't need to go to Israel for that.


The 1 year in Israel yeshiva and seminary programs were getting 45 trimester or 30 semester credits at one point. I'm not sure if that is still true.


--Touro gives, I'm told, 45 credits for 2 zemanim (Fall and spring semisters, so to speak) of yeshiva. No normal school will give more than perhaps 20 for this, most even much lower than that.--

According to a friend of mine who attended Touro a couple of years back (can't guarantee things haven't changed), Touro grants up to 6 yeshiva credits per semester and up to a maximum of 48 in total. You need 120 credits to graduate plus you need to complete all the core requirements of your major. My friend says that between his core major plus some required English and Math related courses his total required credits exceeded 72 so he was not able to use the full 48 yeshiva credits even though he had it. According to my friend, Brooklyn College was offering the same amount of yeshiva credits per semester except that their total cap was a bit less than 48 (he doesn't know that exact number).

BTW, I have an advanced degree from an IVY league school and had some classmates that were admitted directly into the graudate school with yeshiva undergraduate degrees. So it is not just the Touros and Brooklyns of the academic world that are accepting yeshiva credits.

As far as sloppy controls, I don't think anyone considers them a super high class operations so I don't consider this too newsorthy. Frauds like this have happened at much more prestigious schools.


First of all, Touro College does not describe itself as a school operating under Jewish auspices. Then the NY Times and several other news sources erred. Each story I linked says "Jewish auspices."

Yes, you did mention that Touro reported this to the police but buried toward the end of your post and after it was clear to all that you were turning this into an anti-chareidi post. The fact that they reported this seems to make it clear that this has nothing to do with the higher ups at Touro and was some employees (who don't even seem to be jewish) committing fraud. At best, you can accuse them of having sloppy controls.

Noted clearly and more prominently that any major news source did.

What you seem to miss is the idea that there was probable collusion higher up in Touro management.

Was it simply sloppy controls? Even if it was, that sys volumes about who Touro hires and how Touro manages.

As noted by many above, almost every college accepts yeshivah credits so there is nothing unique about Touro in this regard. The only differences is the number of credits they accept…

Touro gives, I'm told, 45 credits for 2 zemanim (Fall and spring semisters, so to speak) of yeshiva. No normal school will give more than perhaps 20 for this, most even much lower than that.


--To their credit, when my sister got married on an evening when we had lab, I told my students beforehand that I'd be leaving right after the huppa, I would be a bit late and they should wait for me (I could have just canceled the lab but I believe in leading by example). Every one of them arranged to make up the lab in another section and I attended my sister's wedding from start to finish.
Posted by: Neandershort | July 16, 2007 at 11:40 PM--

Glad to see you give credit where do but you are one sick dude. Does your sister know that you were planning on leaving after the huppa? Does she still speak to you?


Shmarya, once again your biases are showing through as has been noted by many above.

First of all, Touro College does not describe itself as a school operating under Jewish auspices. In fact it goes to great pains to paint itself as a secular institution (which it is) because it is run by orthodox jews.

Yes, you did mention that Touro reported this to the police but buried toward the end of your post and after it was clear to all that you were turning this into an anti-chareidi post. The fact that they reported this seems to make it clear that this has nothing to do with the higher ups at Touro and was some employees (who don't even seem to be jewish) committing fraud. At best, you can accuse them of having sloppy controls.

As noted by many above, almost every college accepts yeshivah credits so there is nothing unique about Touro in this regard. The only differences is the number of credits they accept and I think Touro will accept more than some other schools but for the most part this is an academic issue. The majority of yeshivah graduates who attend Touro go for degrees such as accounting or other degrees that require a high number of core credits. You can have a gazillion credits from a yeshivah you still need to complete all your core requirements. Political science majors may ahve it good but you don't find many yeshivah graduates going for a political science degree.

Yochanan Lavie

I am a graduate of Touro College in Manhattan (back when they had a Modern Orthodox men's division there, in the 1980's). Yes, there were yeshiva students who tried to fake a BA by getting a zillion credits for their studies. But those of us who went the regular route received a good education. Our professors were not academic superstars, but they cared about their students and were good pedagogues. (My professors at NYU were famous, but were self-absorbed a-holes). I majored in English and Philosophy, and minored in History.

When I graduated, I went to NYU, and received my MA and PhD in English Literature the old fashioned way (like Neadershort)- by busting my ass by working fulltime and going to school fulltime. I went to school with kids from name brand colleges, and I knew more than most of them. Some of that could be attributed to my extracurricular reading, but most of it was due to the stringent Humanities requirement (modeled on Columbia's program) that us non-yeshiva types took.

Be cynical if you like, but Shakespeare, Plato, Maimonides, and Wordsworth are the same wherever you learn them.

For about 10 years, I have been adjuncting at Touro, at its Flatbush women's division. I can't speak for the other professors, but I know my students get a solid education from me (they tell me so). I try to open up their minds, while maintaining respect for the Torah (it can be done). If Touro didn't exist, I would not have the oppurtunity to do so, and my students would probably not go to college at all.

Even when I was an undergrad, I was aware of the scandals surrounding Touro. But I never regretted going there. I learned a lot, met wonderful people, and had a great time. Not everybody in that institution is a criminal or a bum. What a shame that those who are make the entire school a laughingstock.


Neandershort: Although I never went to a Charedi Yeshiva properly speaking - I went to one for Americans in Israel which was run by Charedim. They tried to get me to not go to a regular college and they stalled on my transcript enough that I was not admitted into the college until the following year.

Lawrence M. Reisman

Dear Neandershort:

With regard to the transcript messs, I'm out of those schools myself. However, several years ago, Prospect Park Yeshiva was hit with a court injunction ordering them to send transcripts to colleges. Interesting story about what goes around comes around, the RW yeshivas started this transcript shtuss 20-30 years ago. In the 1980s, Maimonides school in Boston copied it in reverse, when they refused to cooperate with "black hat" yeshivas and seminiaries in Israel by sending them transcripts. Oh well.

No, as fard as I know, I am not related to Rabbi Yisroel Reisman; he is a Levi and I'm a Yisroel. However, our families hail from within 30 miles of each other in Europe, and given the elasticity of surnames in Europe, anything is possible.


If it's the only place yeshivas and bais yaakovs will send transcripts, that's where the bright kids will go.

If it's the only place they send transcripts to, they are probably violating the law and I would be on the phone with authorities (secular ones, not weakass batei din) faster than the principal can say "apikoirus." But then again, I wouldn't have been caught dead sending a child to a school that won't send transcripts to the colleges of my child's choice. Thank God I and my wallet are now out of that parsha :)

BTW, Lawrence M. Reisman, are you related to the Rabbi Reisman of the Aguda shul on Ave. S and E. 22 St. in Brooklyn?

Mafia Basher

The biggest crook of them all is the known Mafia Thug and Gangster LOUIS a/k/a/ LEZER KESTENBAUM who is behind all this chillul hashem, here is a small example of the bribery that KESTENBAUM is involved:

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Real estate biz
boosts Yassky run
Thursday, May 11th, 2006

The real estate industry is pouring thousands into Councilman David Yassky’s congressional campaign - including two controversial developers, the Daily News has learned.
Joshua Guttman and the Kestenbaum family are just two of the land barons who have given more than $150,000 to Yassky, according to filings.

“Subliminally or subconsciously, these folks probably get more access [to Yassky] when the phone rings,” said Neal Rosenstein, a government reform coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

After Guttman’s Greenpoint Terminal Market went up in flames in a suspicious fire last week, Yassky returned a $500 contribution. Guttman has denied involvement in the fire, the city’s largest since 9/11.

Spokesman Evan Thies denied that developer Louis Kestenbaum's contributions influenced Yassky.

“There is absolutely no link between donations and David’s governing,” said Thies. “There are plenty of developers in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights who have given him money and are upset over his stance against their developments.”

Yassky helped create affordable housing in Brooklyn and was an opponent of DUMBO developer Jed Walentas’ 38 Water St. project, which threatened to block views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Thies said.

Guttman and Louis Kestenbaum also have contributed to other politicians - including Sens. Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, City Councilman Simcha Felder, former presidential candidate Al Gore and former vice presidential candidate Jospeh Lieberman.

Williamsburg preservationists also pointed to the Austin, Nichols & Co. warehouse at 184 Kent Ave., which the City Council voted not to give landmark status to in November. As representative of the district, Yassky was the force behind the nonlandmark vote.

The building is owned by brothers Louis and Moshe Kestenbaum - who in 1991 pleaded guilty to a scheme to sell cosmetics and groceries intended for the former Soviet Union.

Instead, the Kestenbaums and three others were convicted of illegally selling them in the U.S. for a $44 million profit.

In the last two years, Yassky has gotten a total $21,100 from Louis Kestenbaum’s son, Joel, and $30,000 from two Kestenbaum business associates.

Yassky officials said he was unaware of the Kestenbaums’ crimes.

“Experiences shows us that when a candidate is receiving hundreds if not thousands of contributions, it’s next to impossible to know what each contributor has done years and years ago that might raise a question,” said Yassky election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder. “We look at all the contribution checks, and we scrutinize them as best we can.”

Touro Grad

As a touro grad who went to med school afterwards, I will tell you that at least at the Manhattan campus, the academics are very good. Yes, they do offer credit for yeshiva, and there is a learning program in the morning that you can get credit for, but by and large, the people that I went to school with were people who worked in the morning, or people who wanted a jewish college environment, but did not want YU. Touro does have its detractors, and not without merit, but calling it Haredi is not merited. I often agree with this blog, but here you have it at least partially wrong. I say partially because I cannot personally speak for the Flatbush campus.

Lawrence M. Reisman

"Touro is no degree mill. Its accounting graduates rate at the top of the nation on CPA exams." This means that it has bright, hard-working, motivated students. No surprise there. If it's the only place yeshivas and bais yaakovs will send transcripts, that's where the bright kids will go.

"Its graduates have attended Wharton, Columbia and the best medical and law schools in the nation." Again, if it attracts students who do well on the tests, it will get its students into the top schools.

The problem is that for those students who aren't going to score at the top of the LSATs, MCATs, REs, etc., the quality of a Touro education is much more of a factor, and for those students, Touro does a lousy job of educating them. (There are a few programs that are an exception. OT is pretty good, for example). I should know, I had a daughter in Touro who with good grades and 1250 on the GREs couldn't get into a grad progam in psych. Oh well.


They seem to segregate the yeshiva and seminary alums from the rest of their diverse student body. Just this side of the civil rights laws I would say. And I had no trouble teaching evolution, but then I was hired for one semester as an adjunct, sight unseen, by a dep't head desperate for someone to take an overflow lab section.

df is bs

I imagine you are ok with offering seminary credits at southern baptist university. if you put in the time, why can't you get credits at touro?

degree factory

What about the 45 "yeshiva credits" they offer?



Touro is no degree mill. Its accounting graduates rate at the top of the nation on CPA exams. (I guess they must pay off the CPA administrators.)

Its graduates have attended Wharton, Columbia and the best medical and law schools in the nation. (I guess they must have paid for the GMAT LSAT and MCAT scores as well.)

It might surprise you that schools across the nation including Jesuit and public colleges all give credit for yeshiva studies, and why shouldn't they? I went to an out-of-state college and received 58 credits for my two years in yeshiva.

BTW, Cherner the computer director REPLACED a frum yid. Everything the school did was appropriate.

As to your claim that Touro is "well known as the place to get a quick degree"???? Barring malfeasance, you need to spend time to get a degree ANYPLACE. I got a BS in Accounting in two years of nights, weekends and summers. If you put in the time, you can do it anywhere.

Your innuendo is as unsupportable as Morgenthau's "belief" that perhaps thousands of degrees have been altered. If in three months of intense investigation they found seven altered transcripts, how does this translate into thousands of alterations over for four years??

On the bright side, you went through an entire post without drooling over Agudah, Rubashkin and molesters. Mazel Tov!!

Garnel Ironheart

Hot damn! I always wanted an MA in something. How much do they want?


I guess your reading comprehension skills are low.

I closed the quote by noting:On the bright side, when Touro officials noticed the fraud, they called the police.And Touro was started to be a YU-lite, to allow haredim to get degrees without having to deal with objectionable things like occasional mixed classes, evolution, hard science, etc.

That Touro branched out (largely because of federal grants and other aid) into serving a more religiously diverse population is beside the point.

And, as a commenter noted above, Touro's "campuses" are largely segregated by religion.


Ah, Good old Shmarya being a shmuck as usual. First of all, it looks like half of the people charged weren't Jewish. The Jewish ones may not even be frum.

And you neglected to quote the part of the article which mentioned that Touro College reported it to the police when they became aware of it, which is how the investigation began.

But what the hell, blame it on the "Haredim". Shmuck.

Nigritude Ultramarine

We told you, they don't actually have to come on campus or attend classes or take tests to get their degree.



"Where were all the charedim hiding went I went to visit him?"

We told you, they don't actually have to come on campus or attend classes or take tests to get their degree.


Damm. And I just spent money on sending my kid to a charedi school. How come no one told me? Or my kid? Where were all the charedim hiding went I went to visit him? The Bais Medrash looked fairly normal. I guess there must be a secret location where they hide the charedim. Shmarya, just where do you get your information from that Touro is charedi?

Dr Fred

What's the problem? Touro has the best education money can buy.


You forgot to mention NCSY, a Touro recruiter. I wrote about that here: http://kvetcher.jewschool.com/category/touro/

Nigritude Ultramarine

Touro offers PhDs online. I wonder what kind of standards they have.

How much do you want to spend?


As a NYC public school teacher who got his Ph.D. the old fashioned way (I earned it) I am incensed at the three public school teachers who bribed Touro officials for their masters degrees. It goes without saying that, if convicted, they will lose their jobs. I hope they do some jail time as well.

I taught a bio lab at Touro's Flatbush campus one semester. I expected my students to actually attend classes and do work if they expected a passing grade. It goes without saying that my students learned about evolution, some for the first time.

To their credit, when my sister got married on an evening when we had lab, I told my students beforehand that I'd be leaving right after the huppa, I would be a bit late and they should wait for me (I could have just canceled the lab but I believe in leading by example). Every one of them arranged to make up the lab in another section and I attended my sister's wedding from start to finish.

Touro offers PhDs online. I wonder what kind of standards they have.

Touro is very fragmented so it's not quite accurate to describe it as Haredi.

The students in Flatbush are mostly black hat type. Midtown Manhattan caters to the modern orthodox. There are 2 locations in Queens, one being black hattish and the second is a mixture with moderns.

Touro's law school on Long Island is very fourth rate and is populated mostly by non-Jews.

There are other Touro outposts around the world that aren't Haredi by any stretch.

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