A billion-dollar drug smuggler was supposed to have his pre-wedding Torah honor and celebration at the Young Israel of Staten Island today. But after news of the aufruf was made public, members of the Orthodox synagogue’s board and members of its congregation objected and the celebration was cancelled – although by whom and under what circumstances is still unclear.
Drug Smuggler Kingpin’s Aufruf Cancelled
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Jonathan Braun’s aufruf was cancelled.
The billion-dollar drug smuggler was supposed to have his pre-wedding Torah honor and celebration at the Young Israel of Staten Island today.
But after news of the aufruf was made public, members of the Orthodox synagogue’s board and members of its congregation objected.
The synagogue’s rabbi, Yaakov Lehrfield, whose brother is closely involved in the scandal surrounding hundreds of millions of dollars stolen by haredi fraudster Eliyahu Weinstein, at first saw nothing wrong with holding the aufruf in his shul and told the Staten Island Advance last week that it was wrong to punish Braun’s entire family for Braun’s own crimes – which included smuggling in excess of $1 billion of marijuana into the US with the help of the Hell’s Anglels gang.
Braun pleaded guilty and, while awaiting is on house arrest at his parents home on Staten Island on an $8 million bond.
A federal judge granted Braun special dispensation to travel to the grave of the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson in Queens, to get a tuxedo and have it fitted, to shop for a new home, to go with his pregnant fiancee to doctors appointments, and to attend post-wedding sheva brachot meals around the city.
Lehrfield told the Staten Island Advance on Friday that Braun’s "aufruf" was cancelled and would not take place at any time in the foreseeable future. Lehrfield reportedly said that he did not know if Braun had switched the ceremony to another location and claimed that he did not know why the aufruf was cancelled – meaning that Braun had apparently cancelled it.