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Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes…
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Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown… (edition 2011)

by Matthew Shaer

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Member:slug9000
Title:Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights
Authors:Matthew Shaer
Info:Wiley (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 256 pages
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Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights by Matthew Shaer

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This was not a particularly enjoyable read. The so-called "righteous men" are members of competing Jewish vigilante gangs wrapped in cloaks of clanish self-righteous orthodoxy.
  fredheid | Mar 21, 2013 |
This was an interesting book, in the sense that it provides insight into the Lubavitch Hasidic community in Brooklyn. I appreciated the explanation of the religious customs of the Lubavitchers, a group I knew nothing about. I thought the schism between more moderate (a relative term) Lubavitchers and the messianist Lubavitchers was fascinating and also reveals that the community is somewhat fractured despite outward appearances to the contrary. My issues with this book are twofold:

1.) The story itself (the trial of the six Shomrim members) is not actually that interesting. The Shomrim were put on trial for allegedly assaulting several messianists. The assault itself and the subsequent trial aren't really that fascinating, as crime and trial dramas go. I suppose one could argue that the content of the trial isn't relevant; the fact that they went to trial at all (given the fact that intra-community squabbles are supposed to be addressed by the Jewish court and not secular court) is the cogent point. But if you're looking for a compelling courtroom drama, you definitely will not find that here. And even the infighting between the Shomrim and the Shmira won't leave you breathless with anticipation - they essentially chase each other around, and their juvenile harassment of one another is borderline comical to the outsider.

2.) I thought the author seemed to be siding with the Shomrim. I know they were vindicated in trial, but it did seem as though the author's reporting was a little one-sided. I suspect he didn't get a lot of cooperation with the bochurim, but I finished the book feeling as though I didn't get the other side of the story.

All that being said, if you want a brief overview of the Hasidic community, this is a good book to read. Just do not go into it expecting a good cops-and-robbers story or a Law & Order-style courtroom drama. ( )
  slug9000 | Dec 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0470608277, Hardcover)

Inside the hidden world of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn's Crown Heights--a close-knit but divided community.

On a cold night in December, the members of a Hasidic anti-crime patrol called the Shomrim are summoned to a yeshiva dormitory in Crown Heights. There to break up a brawl, the Shomrim instead find themselves embroiled in a religious schism which has split the community and turned roommate against roommate, neighbor against neighbor. At the center of the storm is Aron Hershkop, the owner of an auto-repair business and the leader of the Shomrim. Hershkop watches as the NYPD builds a criminal case against his brothers and friends, apparently with the help of several local residents, who have taken the rare step of forgoing a ruling from the local rabbinical council. Soon, both sides are squaring off in a Brooklyn criminal court, with the Shomrim facing gang assault charges and decades in prison. What conflict could run so deep it left both sides airing their dirty laundry so publicly? This compelling story takes you to the deepest corners of a normally hidden world.

Features fast-paced writing and a true story with surprising twists, personal conflicts, and a tense trial Offers a glimpse in a normally sheltered and private community many see, but few know much about. Centers on an unusual man facing a universal conflict: do you do what’s simple and expedient, or do you do follow our heart, your tradition, and your faith?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:05 -0400)

"Inside the mysterious world of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn's Crown Heights--a close-knit, but divided, communityAron Hershkop runs an auto-repair business in Crown Heights, but also heads a volunteer community patrol called the Shomrim. When his brothers and colleagues try to stop a brawl at a rabbinical dormitory, they end up in court not as witnesses for the prosecution, but on trial for assault. The Shomrim Six are, in fact, caught up in a religious schism that has divided the community (and started the brawl), and the two sides take it to a secular court instead of letting the local rabbinical council settle it. This compelling story takes you to the deepest corners of a normally hidden world. Features fast-paced writing and a true story with surprising twists, personal conflicts, and a tense trial Illuminates important Lubavitch community issues and questions related to the value of tradition, independence, belief, and family Explains background and history of the Lubavitcher movement and of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson and the schism in the community following his death Among Righteous Men is important reading for anyone interested in the ultra-Orthodox, and especially the Chabad-Lubavitch movement and the issues and conflicts it faces today"--"Inside the mysterious world of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn's Crown Heights--a close-knit, but divided, community. Features fast-paced writing and a true story with surprising twists, personal conflicts, and a tense trial - Illuminates important Lubavitch community issues and questions related to the value of tradition, independence, belief, and family - Explains background and history of the Lubavitcher movement and of Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson and the schism in the community following his death"--… (more)

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