Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hasidic Jew Admits Setting Neighbor on Fire; Did So Because Man Wasn't Praying with Community

The Huffington Post website reports today (February 8, 2012) that a Hasidic Jewish man from New York state pleaded guilty to assault yesterday for setting a Jewish neighbor on fire -- leaving the man badly burned -- because he wasn't praying with the rest of the community.

Shaul Spitzer, 18, of New Square, New York, admitted to lighting Aron Rottenberg ablaze after learning that he had disobeyed a prayer order by the Grand Rebbe of the Hasidic enclave about 35 miles north of New York City.

Spitzer -- who worked for Grande Rebbe David Twersky at the time of the incident -- admitted in court that he used a heavy-duty propane lighter to set Rottenberg on fire in May 2011. Rottenberg spent more than a month in the hospital recovering from severe burns.

Spitzer -- who will be sentenced in April -- faces up to 10 years in prison. Rottenberg also has a pending civil lawsuit against Spitzer and Twersky -- as a result of the incident -- in which he is asking for $2 million.