A press conference held today by family members of a man badly burned in an arson attack turned into a shouting match when a village man called the family's lawyer an anti-Semite for going against the grand rabbi.
New Square burn victim's family shouted down at press conference
Steve Lieberman and Shawn Cohen • Journal News
NEW SQUARE — A press conference held today by family members of a man badly burned in an arson attack turned into a shouting match when a village man called the family's lawyer an anti-Semite for going against the grand rabbi.
At the press conference held in front of Aron Rottenberg's Truman Avenue home, attorney Michael Sussman said the 43-year-old plumber was targeted with protests by the village Hasidic Jewish community's leadership for not praying in grand rabbi David Twersky's synagogue . Sussman called for state and federal investigations into the arson attack Sunday that left Rottenberg severly burned.
Rottenberg's son Jacob, 21, said he had spent the evening of the attack nervously watching the security camera he had installed a week earlier after threatening phone calls.
Jacob Rottenberg said the suspect, Shaul Spitzer, 18, of Adams Lane, had approached the home wearing a scarf over his face. The two men were injured when Rottenberg tried to remove the scarf.
Aron Rottenberg's son-in-law, Moshe Elbaum, was interrupted several times at the press conference by village resident Shulem Sofar.
Sofar refuted the family's claims and during a heated exchange said Sussman was "anti-semitic ." When Elbaum asked what his father-in-law had done wrong, Shulem replied: "It's the wrong thing to do against the rabbi."
Aron Rottenberg suffered third-degree burns across 50 percent of his body during Sunday's attack. He underwent skin grafts Tuesday at the Westchester Medical Center.
Ramapo police charged Spitzer with felony counts second-degree attempted murder, first-degree attempted arson and first-degree assault.
Spitzer, who worked in the grand rabbi's house and is a cousin of the village deputy mayor, was released Tuesday evening from custody after his family and community members posted $300,000 bail.
They posted cash and a bank check with the court, District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said today. Zugibe said the case will be brought before the grand jury.
He remains in the Cornell Medical Center burn unit in Manhattan for severe burns on his hands and arms he suffered during the attack.
[Hat Tips: Burich, Seymour.]