FBI Joins Ramapo Cops in Investigation of Horrific Attack on Reb Aharon Rottenberg


aaron-rottenbergThe FBI is working with Ramapo police on an investigation into the attack that left a Chassidishe Yid with third-degree burns over half his body, authorities said Friday.

“They will assist us and will not take over the case,” said Ramapo Detective Lt. Mark Emma. “If they determine federal crimes have been committed, they will make a determination on whether to pursue them.”

Police and the FBI will not only investigate the attempt to burn down the home of Reb Aharon Rottenberg (pictured above), 43, of New Square, but also months of vandalism, harassment and threats, Emma said.

FBI spokesman Tim Flannelly declined to comment, saying the bureau’s policy is not to discuss whether there is an investigation. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara also declined to comment.

If federal authorities do decide to pursue a case, they would likely look at potential violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, said a former federal prosecutor .

“I think if they have jurisdictional grounds, this would be something they would look at,” said Kenneth P. Thompson, who, as an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, prosecuted five New York City police officers in the 1997 assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.

On May 22, Reb Aharon was burned when an incendiary device exploded as he wrestled with an 18-year-old who, it appeared, had come to burn down the Rottenberg home.

The 18-year-old was also burned during the incident and is at a New York City hospital. He has been charged with arson and attempted murder.

The religious component of the alleged crime could make it a federal case, Thompson said.

“If it’s a federal crime to burn down a church, a synagogue, a mosque because of someone’s religion,” he said, “why wouldn’t it be a federal crime to burn down someone’s house because of their religion?”

Emma said the investigation focuses on the 18-year-old, but that earlier reports of vandalism were also part of the probe.

Reb Aharon’s lawyer, Michael Sussman, has called for a federal investigation.  He wrote that the department had a report of a prior act of vandalism at the Rottenberg home but made no arrests.

“We can’t let him run our investigation,” Emma said. “We will continue with our goal to get [the 18-year-old] convicted of the crimes he’s been charged with.”

Rockland Legislator Joseph Meyers, D-Airmont, threw his support behind a federal investigation into. Rep. Elliot Engel, D-Bronx, who represents parts of Rockland, called the attack on Reb Aharon “horrific.”

“Justice must be vigorously pursued in this case,” Engel said. “It is essential that this crime be thoroughly investigated to determine the extent of culpability.”

No other political leaders have called for federal intervention. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, declined comment.

{The Journal News/Matzav.com}


  1. Thank you for reporting this.

    We here in Lakewood are all davening for our fellow Yid.

    May the perpetrator be brought to justice.

    Gut voch

  2. I wish a total refuah sheleimah to R’ Aharon Rottenberg. I do not know him, but it makes no difference; his is a Yid so he is my brother. I am deeply pained by this entire incident.

  3. It behooves us Yidden to remember that FBI involvement does not necessarily mean justice. Hashem Yerachem, this does not bode well for our community.


  5. #4 is correct, we should be thinking of this poor man’s healing, may he have a refuoh shleima b’karov. everyone should daven for him. how tragic

  6. It’s unfortunate that a single person caused this tzaar both to the person he hurt and to the community he lives in.

  7. #24 lets just wait and see. who knows perhaps (i hope) you are right and there isnt much else to investigate. On the other hand….

  8. Can someone please post the Hebrew name of 18 year old bochor who got burnt so we can say Tehilim for him?

    Yasher Koach