Head Of Pupa Hasidic Community Slapped For Real Estate Tax Evasion

A reader writes:

Businessman Herman Oberlander is very rich – it is said he is worth over $200 million. Herman – known in the yiddishe velt as Mechel – is Rosh HaKahal [head of the community, president] of the Pupa chasidic sect based in Williamsburg. His son Gedalia Oberlander of Monsey is a Lubavitcher who runs Heichal Menachem, a Chabad library named after the late Rebbe located in Monsey.

Herman Oberlander doesn’t live in Monsey, but he keeps a summer home there at 4 Roman Blvd. Oberlander was trying to get out of paying taxes, so he claimed that he has a synagogue and is its rabbi. (The township can’t locate the synagogue – because it does not exist!) He also claimed all his tenants – who are, incidentally, also his grandchildren – as his ‘assistants.’

Nothing Herman Oberlander claimed is true. He does not have a synagogue. He is not the rabbi of a synagogue. His grandchildren are not synagogue rabbis either.

Herman’s son Gedalia Oberlander, the Lubavitcher, also claimed to be a rabbi of a synagogue called, get this, Merkoz Halacha (center of Jewish law!). He also claimed his tenants as his ‘assistants.’ Although he might call himself rabbi, Gedalia Oberlander is not a rabbi at any synagogue. His tenants are not synagogue rabbis either.

Chazal (our sages) say that a father should teach his son good working skills. Well, Pupa’s Rosh HaKahal adhered to our sages – he taught his son how to steal from the government, just like tattie.

But the government caught them and stopped their scams.

The Oberlanders have no economic hardship. So why steal? To paraphrase Pirkei Avos, I think the answer is they believe what you have is rightfully theirs, not yours, and what they have is theirs as well.

[As a bonus, here’s a link to a Pupa property in Queens jointly owned, it seems, by Gedalia Oberlander’s company. And one of Herman Oberlander’s businesses was retail heating oil.]



Filed under Chabad Theology, Crime, Haredim

44 responses to “Head Of Pupa Hasidic Community Slapped For Real Estate Tax Evasion

  1. Gavriel

    This is a disgrace and a Chillul Hashem!

  2. Monsey Dude

    I like your line of Pirkei Avot. Mah Shelech Sheli, Mah Sheli Sheli. This is Midas Sedom!

  3. D

    The obvious solution to the problem is to keep a few chairs, and aron and a sefer torah in the living room and to call minyan there a few times a week. Now it’s a shul and everyone is happy.

    At least, that is what others who follow this rubric do.

  4. Franji

    and all the while they insist they have the purest of neshomos and that no real way for G-d fearing but thru the Tanya.
    where did the neshomos go?
    and where is fear of G-d?
    ברוך המחזיר נשוימוס לפגורים מיסים
    and may it be במהירו ביומינו אומין
    so we can all great the redeemer

  5. Franji

    oops, I forgot
    may it be N O W!

  6. Sarah

    And why does the Pupa community let a gangster like this be its President????

  7. Anonymous


    Didn’t you know? If you have money you can be a crook, a swindler, a tax evader and what not, as long as you buy the right people!

  8. PishPosh

    Werent these the sic sect of Hasids of which 2 were found to have molested a teenage girl on a flight to see their rebbe??? It figures.

  9. I made the same mistake last night and was quickly corrected by a reader. It’s the other Pupa based in Boro Park. It actually WAS that rebbe and his shammes who did the molestation. The Awareness Center has a page for each of them.

  10. noclue

    So; he took a dubious tax deduction. Must be the first person in the world to have done that. And, if he has a minyan and is considered the head of the congregation it just may be legal (I am not saying it is; it depends on the facts).

    How about this for a headline; Charedi man takes dubious tax deduction.

    You totally lack perspective. I bet this person gives way more to charity than he ever could save from this deduction. And I bet that if we audited your return we just may find a few questionable entries.

    Pudential Insurance just paid a $600 million dollar fine to settle fraud charges involving illegal trading practices. Why don’t you put up the faces of the executives who did this and condemn the church groups or synagogues or temples or they belong to and the schools they attended. I bet there is not a charedi or a yeshiva in sight.

  11. Knows it

    Mechel Oberlander has been known as a crook since I was a child. This is no news for me and everyone who knows him. He has been fighting with his own brother, nephews, and cousins for years in endless litigation in courts throughout New York.

    To the one above who says he gives a lot more charity. Well, I bet you he saves a lot more on tax evasion than he gives for charity.

    Remember he claimed that he has a congregation in Monsey and is the rabbi thereof when he lives in Williamsburg!

  12. Zecharya

    So noclue are you saying that everyone who serves as a trustee, treasurer, president, or secretary of a congregation is a rabbi?

    That’s besides the fact that he doesn’t have a congregation in Monsey to begin with.

    That’s besides the fact that he lied about his grandchildren too.

    No, liers like in this story you do not find every day.

  13. Lubab is dreck

    Rabbi Boruch Oberlander is the Chabad Shliach in Budapest Hungary.He is a gifted scholar, something unusual amongst the Lubab masses that generally attract the type of youth that end up members of cults 9on the other hand Chabad is a cult, though it has some Jewish flavour)He was a student in the Pupa yeshiva and fell prey to Rabbi Gavriel Zinners partiality to Lubavitch(r’zinner was a teacher in the school and now runs a synagogue and writes books)The Oberlander family was not happy to say the least, when their son joined the Lubab.To his credit he is a non messianic, decent guy and learned.He is married to the daughter of R’Lazar from Milano,Italy and a brother in law of R’Berel Lazar of Moscow.
    Question:Is he related to this Oberlander?Is he a brother?

  14. Kook

    I remember hearing a story where this guy once filed an Afidavit that he is not a brother of his own brother. 🙂

  15. Lubab is *&^%$!

    Shmarya:Where did you get the $200 million figure from?

  16. NG

    Hey, do you think Gershon the swindler will report this in his machberes column ? After all, it’s news, isn’t it ?

  17. Anonymous

    Yeah, I think they are brothers. You are correct re R. Gavriel Zinner being close to Lubavitch. He visits Lubavitcher yeshivas and meets with Lubavitch semicha students, as does his former employer, R. Menashe Klein, author of Mishaneh halachot, while other Chassidim keep a distance from them.

  18. Must be laughing

    Herman Oberlander must be laughing his ass off that he was caught only with this.

  19. Chaim

    No. They are not brothers. Rabbi Brouch Oberlander of Budapest is a nephew of Herman Oberlander. Boruch Oberlander is a son of Herman’s brother Mordechai Aaron Oberlander (with whome btw Herman was also fighting in court with about a nursing home).

  20. GN

    The Pupa beis medresh in boro park burned down a few years ago. Then they built a nice new building. Can make people wonder.

  21. Willyguy

    Anybody have real information about what Herman Oberlander is really worth? If he had the big bucks cited, it would be quite dumb to try get out of a couple thousand yearly real estate taxes.
    Btw the Puppaneh (that’s the plural)had a very rich man who tragically died in Hungary on a visit there.He was one of the major supporters of the institutions.His name slips my memory now

  22. Unbelievable

    A couple of years ago Herman Oberlander with his son Sholem torched their own machines and then filed for a $4 million insurance claim.
    If that’s not enough, Herman blaimed it on his brother Amrom. This almost landed his brother in prison for 10 years.

  23. Pupaner

    Herman is the type of guy that will fight for every dollar, it doesn’t matter how much. He is also extreeemly stingy even on himself. He does not drive a nice car, etc. He will even think twice before buying even a chocolate danish. Someone once told me that he has a book where every penny he spends gets written down.

    He didn’t even give money to Pupa until lately. The reason he started throwing money to Pupa here and there was because the Pupa rebbe got fed up of him and wanted to kick him out. He then started giving more money and that kept him inside.

  24. Anonymous

    People are wierd. Leona Helmsley cheated little guys and the tax man out of a relative pittance while giving 10s of millions of dollars to charity.

    I do not know this person and have nothing for or against him, in particular. If he is a crook, that is against the Torah. I still can not get all that worked up about a dubious tax deduction. And yes; a person can be the “Rabbi” of a congregation in Monsey and live in Williamsburg; depending on the facts.

    He can live there during the summer or may go back and forth. Once again, I do not claim that thos are the facts. I just do not see the point of posting every supposed wrong of every person with a black hat or yarmulka. Some things are worth exposing and others are not. You need perspective.

  25. Anonymous

    >> a person can be the “Rabbi” of a congregation in Monsey and live in Williamsburg; depending on the facts.

  26. Anonymous

    For those who like to read the legal part. The following seems to be a Motion in the case by Herman Oberlander to depose the tax assessor for having the chutzpah to not grant him the tax exemption. He lost that motion.

    Matter of Congregation Sherith Yisroel Vilednik v Town of Ramapo

  27. Anonymous

    Perspective is what I want. Read the whole post.

  28. Not Jewish

    In my book, a person like this is worse than any gentile on the street. A person who is stealing not only from the government, not only from business partners, not only from fellow human beings, not only from his Jewish brethern, but also from his own blood and flesh, his brothers, nephews, etc. is worse than any gentile I know.

  29. Yonothan

    It stinks. Feh…

  30. noclue

    How do you know that all these accusations are true. They may or may not be, but is a mere accusation sufficient to convict somebody?

  31. Monsey Jew

    I found the following comment interesting on Vos Iz Neias:

    “At least his lawyer made money, these Oberlanders have been parties to so much litigation in New York Courts that estimate in 1995 they spent over $5,000,000 in Nursing Home Litigation”.

    Go figure.

  32. Gimpel

    In vos tit zech mit dee milyonen dollaren vos ar vasht durech in the pupa gemach? Er iz azoy treif. Vee iz zein seichel?

  33. Schneur

    I think the real issue here is not Herman O but his son Rabbi Gedalie. The son is a stealth Lubavitcher and publishes and edits 2 excellent journals. OR Israel which is the finest rabbinic journal in the US. His own lead articles about Minhage Isreal are really very good.
    Heichal haBESHt is published by heichal menachem in BP and again is an excellent journal devoted to the study of Chassidism in particular Chabad. Again a quality journal.
    Its hard to believe that this person would be involved in this nonsense.
    In fact many Charedim claim synagogues in their homes or their homes as parsonage to non existent fiction shuls.
    ITs a matter of whats culturally acceptable.
    I am in no way justifying this behavior, but as one of the previous people stated its not the worst crime. And its the MInhag Hamakom amongst Charedim in NY.

  34. Barel

    >> And its the MInhag Hamakom amongst Charedim in NY.

  35. Jay

    It does not matter if somebody publishes or edits journals. The fact is Gedalie lied. He does not have a congregation with members called Merkoz Halacha. He is not a rabbi who officiates, leads or conducts services at any synagogue. Now adding to that as the above commentator commented he also lied about his tenants.

    I really don’t care one way or the other. But these are the facts.

  36. Monsey Jew


    Have you never heard of the phrase “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”?

  37. Duvid

    We don’t know Hashems ways. There are people who steal on this world and get away with it. They can give Charity but it doesn’t mean a dman thing because it’s not their money that they are giving. Don’t be fooled by a person that has power, monsey and Koved on this world. If it got to him via stealing, and other non-kosher ways and he is a Mechalel Shem Shamaim, it will not stand by his side in the world to come. Olam Hufuch Ruiesy, Elyoinim L’matha V’tachtoinim L’malah.

  38. Letsee

    What in heaven are you basing yourself on when you say ‘OR Israel which is the finest rabbinic journal in the US.”
    Says who????
    Than you on to generalize about all ‘ULTRA ORTHODOX’ Reminds me about when you wrote the story about the ONE guy who ‘stole’ the ‘breitel’ from you, in Washington Heights and then you implied crap about all Aguda guys.
    Keep to the facts, sir.State your OWN opinions as such.

  39. Madonna said

    Can Madonna claim a tax exemption on her mansion? After all she runs the Kabbllah center in Miami.

  40. Schneur

    To “Rabbi” Letsee. Everything everyone says here is a matter of personal opinion. There are no Popes in the electronic media and that includes you. In my opinion and the opinion of many other people I interact in my work (in a library , I do not sell electronics, or do mortgage brokering or work on 47th street) OR ISRAEL is the best rabbinic journal in the USA
    Please feel free to argue against me , is OR Hamizrach better, or Nitzzue Or or Hamesivta or maybe Am Hatorah.
    As far as my comments about the bretel, I hope you never have to be a chiyuv and never have the same situation happen to you. But it was distrubing to see that “gentleman” honored by the Aguda, take it or leave it…

  41. Schneur

    As far as Charedim and their credentials as rabbis and running fictious synagogues in their homes for tax purposes, I will quote Dr mMarvin Schick who years ago at the founding meeting of YOSHER in the presence of rav Aaron Soloveitchik stated that the Brooklyn Yellow pages under clergyman have many lawyers, diamond dealers, brokers, insurance agents etc and a few real rabbis, after all the Phone co gave discounts for rabbis so all of Boro park became rabbis Mamleches ohanim .. vegoy Kadosh INDEED.
    Herman Oberlander was not mechadesh the home synagogue tax ploy.

  42. Nonsense


    I’m not sure if this was something going on years ago for phone book purposes.

    I can tell you that today I do not find this practice in the phone book.

    In addition, you provided no proof. It’s just hearsay.

  43. Mike

    In the news again

    Original publication: January 10, 2007

    Last night, another Monsey congregation’s plans for a synagogue and rabbi’s residence were being reviewed by the town.

    Ramapo’s Planning Board was holding a public hearing into the potential environmental impacts of the proposal at 51 Park Lane.

    Last August, the town terminated a tax exemption for the property, which it determined was illegally converted into a three-family house.

    The zoning violation remains unresolved in town court.

    During an inspection of the house a year ago, the town found 10 bedrooms.

    Gedalia Oberlander, who at a meeting last year of the town’s Assessment Review Board identified himself as the rabbi of the congregation, said he lived in one apartment and two assistant rabbis lived in the others.

    The property had an 80 percent tax exemption until the Assessment Review Board denied it last year at the request of Assessor Scott Shedler.

    Full tax payments on the property are about $15,000 annually.

  44. Anonymous

    “As a bonus, here’s a link to a Pupa property in Queens jointly owned, it seems, by Gedalia Oberlander’s company.”

    It’s not jointly owned. It’s basically a mortgage he tood from the Pupa Gemach to buy the property. Now we know what he does with the money in the Pupa Gemach, and how they can buy so many buildings.

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