Family Of Victim In New Square Religious Dispute Calls For Civil Rights Probe

NEW SQUARE, NY (CBSNewYork) — The family of a Rockland County man horribly burned in an arson attack is now asking state and federal law enforcement for help.

CBS 2’s Lou Young spoke with the victim’s wife Wednesday in New Square, where she said her husband’s screams still echo in her ears.

“I heard such screeching, I was sure it was 100 people killing him,” Ruth Rottenburg said.

The wife of burn victim Arron Rottenburg said she was warned, both on the phone and in person, to move voluntarily or be forced out of New Square. The dispute started when her husband defied New Square’s grand rebbe, David Twersky, and prayed in a synagogue outside the community.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi reports: Attack Against New Sqaure Man Causes Concern For Officials

“Me and the girls pray in the synagogue, and I said, ‘leave us alone, don’t mix in two different issues,’” she said. “They said, ‘if you don’t move out, the house won’t be worth a penny.’ They didn’t say the word ‘burn the house,’ they said it ‘won’t be worth a penny.’”

Lawyers hired by the family inspected the crime scene Wednesday, publicly calling for a state and federal civil rights probe of the insular Skver Hasidic sect. There was heckling during the news conference.

“They have a right to determine where they want to pray in America. If you don’t want to respect that right, you can go back to Eastern Europe and try to have a different society,” the Rottenbergs’ attorney, Michael Sussman, said.

The only suspect arrested in the arson attack was 18-year-old Shaul Spitzer, who lived in the grand rebbe’s home. Authorities believed he was planning to burn down the Rottenbergs’ home.

Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef says the whole situation was very concerning.

“It’s very disturbing when violence takes place anywhere. That’s the purpose of this country, to allow freedom of religion, so something needs to be worked out – and yes, I am concerned,” said Vanderhoef.

The religious leadership issued a written statement decrying the violence.

“’This is against the Bible and against American law,’” religious journalist Yossi Gestetner translated from the statement.

“I stay in my house, and I cook, and I bake, and I don’t look at anybody,” Ruth Rottenburg said. “I’m terrified of everybody.”

Rottenburg, who has lived in New Square for 38 years, said her husband’s break with Rabbi Twersky came six months ago.

Ramapo police said they will question the rabbi himself in connection with the pattern of events that led up to Sunday’s attack.

Arron Rottenburg underwent five hours of skin graft surgery at Westchester Medical Center on Tuesday. He remained in serious condition Wednesday night.

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section.

More from Lou Young


  • Dr. Sidney Cochrane

    Diagraceful bigots, self hating Jews. These so called human beings are so religious they will burn someone alive just to convince the rest of the population their to worship their Holyman

  • nr781

    These are the same sick people running our East Ramapo public schools. Oy!

  • what a bunch of ugly f#cks

    don’t forget organ traffiicing interrnational
    sex slave trade from Europe to Israhell
    drug trade slum landlords whose dealers are n#ggers

  • StopBlamingJEWS

    This horrible episode has no connection to JEWS in general. The New Square community is a segregated cult that follows their rabbi and the ones who carried out this shameful act are not real Jews they are COMPLETE PSYCHOPATHS who are a disgrace to the Jewish nation! What they did was completely against Jewish Torah, laws and morals!!!!

  • Abraham Lincoln

    “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”–Abraham Lincoln

  • Founding Father's

    This 18 year old kid did not just do this on his own. He was persuaded and coached as is evident from the prior phone calls before the incident. Other people should be held responsible as well and an investigation is definitely warranted. It’s a free country, granted it is less free than it use to be but still, this is the land of the free. Prosecute someone for God’s sake so this doesn’t happen again.


    How was his civil rights violated? They were both jews.

  • pfchenry

    Your comment is horrible and unfounded.

  • ex-skver-hasid

    i hope the feds become involved & start investigating all the Medicaid & food stamps fraud going on there, the old hunchback rabbi must be crying, his regime is falling apart…….

  • Benjamin

    This situation is ugly enough, we don’t need every wild racist in America to come out of the closet and bandy about wild and ugly statements.

  • Taquan

    They live in an all Jewish community using Federal tax money….sounds like housing discrimination to me.

  • stephi

    If it is true what the burn victum says, then the “grand rebbe” is no better than a terrorist. The media should investigate to see how much of OUR tax money is going to support them.

  • Quote

    “Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . .. I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”
    Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.

  • joe

    People of NY State..continue to vote in the same kiss a** politicians that pander to this cult all for their votes…find tout who THEY support…and vote for the other candidate….simple..

  • Clinton and Square

    The investigation has to go back all the way to the pardon given by the President Clinton to the people of New Square who committed other crimes on behalf of the Grand Rabbi, who personally visited the Clintons to intervene on their behalf, and promised Hillary the vote of the entire village of New Square. (The rabbi determines who people vote for, of course)

  • cygon

    I thought islamic terrorists did it but I guess not.

  • Dr. John

    But these are God’s Chosen People, right ?

    • Myopinion

      Yes they are…But evil acts exist among all people it does not discriminate!!
      Unlike YOU

    • Mario Cuomo

      God chose them to be ball busters.

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