Fake Jew Arrested by FBI

This entry was posted in Practices on by .

UPDATE: It turns out this story has some major falsehoods attached to it. The FBI has since denied any involvement in this story. Click here for a full update.

“Who is a Jew?” is a question debated at the highest levels of the denominational hierarchy and the Israeli government. But on the community, short-term level, the question is usually answered through self-identification.

At the Shabbat minyan I attend, for example, we don’t ask people if their mother or father is Jewish before offering them an aliyah. If they show up to shul they’re counted in the minyan and seen as potential participants in the service.

Seems this isn’t unique to liberal Jewish congregations. Yeshiva World News reports:

The Lakewood Jewish community is shocked after learning that a “Frum� man living in the heart of Lakewood, was anything but Frum.

A source tells YWN, that a family has been living in the Forest Park area of Lakewood, NJ for the past few years, sent their kid to a Frum Yeshiva, Davened (prayed) three times a day, and was not even Jewish!

Apparently, a man posing as Mr. Natan Levi contacted “Partners In Torah� a few years back, and was interested in learning more about his “Jewish roots�. Naturally, the fabulous organization set him up with Chavrusas (study partners) to teach him all he wanted to know. The man seemed sincere that he wanted to become Frum (religious).

Eventually, the man was “Frum enough�, that he moved with his wife and kids from Kansas, and purchased a home in a prominent Development in the southern part of Lakewood, NJ. He enrolled one of his children in a Lakewood Yeshiva, and could be seen in Shul three times a day.

His charade came to a screeching halt last week – when the FBI suddenly arrived and whisked him away in handcuffs.


Posted on March 26, 2008

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4 thoughts on “Fake Jew Arrested by FBI

  1. cwapp1967

    so what if he’s not jewish, it sounds as though he had a interest in learning about our beliefs and culture. Was he using it to do wrong by us or hurt us? If not then he should be welcomed as he seeks to learn more. If he lied about his heritage, maybe he just wanted not to be discriminated against, sounds funny could be true. I have heard people often comment negatively about non jews.

  2. robert29

    there has to be a reason for his arrest, possibly hiding something big, no one should be arrested because he/she is jewish or wants to be jewish, can anyone find out what it was that he was hiding…..robert prescott valley az

  3. Ezekah

    The FBI wouldn’t just arrest him because he was Jewish. The article said that he took the identity of a dead Jew. It seems likely that this fellow was on the run. He took a new name and probably figured that it was natural for him to be seen with a beard if he was Jewish.

  4. The Doctor

    Here’s the question.

    Since it’s not a federal crime to pretend to be a Jew, why was he arrested? Identity theft? Terrorism?

    It’s interesting that several people jumped to the conclusion that he was arrested for wanting to be Jewish; but there’s no way that could be the case.

    My personal theory? He was hiding from Voldemort [who of course controls the FBI...]

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