Hank Magitz writes on the Havdalah blog:
David and Hilda Landsman are looking for a place to live. After four
decades of residing in Rockaway, New Jersey, where they helped found
the first and only Orthodox minyan in the area, the retired couple
feels pushed out by Chabad of Northwest New Jersey.
wanted from us was our money,” says Mrs. Landsman whose husband is a
retired baker. “That’s the only time the Lubavitchers talked to us. But
I couldn’t keep giving them money. I have my own bills to pay. And when
I stopped giving them money, suddenly no one was buying our challohs.”
Landsmans were one of several families who poured heart and soul into
building an active, dedicated Orthodox group in White Meadow Lake, a
suburb in Rockaway Township. Then Asher Herson of Chabad came to town
promising to help build the community and offered to take over the
minyan. “They wanted us to pay his mortgage,” recalls Mrs. Landsman.
“But I could barely afford my own.” The Hersons did manage to get
financial support from wealthy backers outside the community, then they
took over the small group. But today, most shomer-Shabbos members have
been driven away from the community by the lack of observance they’ve
seen; today, any number of cars pull up to the “shul” on Shabbos, then
drive off after services. The Chabad Center, whose leadership includes
mixed marriages, encourages membership from wealthy patrons as far as
20 miles away.…
Asher Herson’s father is one of the most senior (and wealthiest) shluchim worldwide, controlling a territory rich with mega-donors. Among other enterprises, Herson runs Morristown, the Chabad mega-yeshiva. There, for many years, students got lunches that consisted of one sardine, a small baked potato, a small scoop of potato salad, and a small scoop of fried potatos. And those were the lucky ones. Most did not get the sardine. Meanwhile herson raised millions of dollars for buidings and other projets and was millions of dollars in the black. He would refuse to take baalei teshuva unless they first agreed to take out a government student loan and hand it over to him – this from an institution that had raised millions of dollars on baalei teshuva. Is herson a pariah in Chabad? No. He sits on a Chabad vaad and is as senior as a shaliach can get without being Rabbis Krinsky or Shemtov. What Chabad is doing in Rockaway is exactly what Marvin Schick is concerned about. And it is exactly what others somehow ignore.