By Philissa Cramer
(JTA) — A dispute that has roiled Borough Park, an Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn, took a dark new turn Sunday night after Heshy Tischler, the man who led eek, Kornbluh said he would press charges against Tischler, a flamboyant local activist who has emerged as a leader for those in Borough Park who feel that Orthodox Jewish communities are being unfairly singled out in the city’s pandemic response. And a wide range of local officials condemned him, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said Thursday about Tischler’s behavior, “It’s absolutely unacceptable, disgusting, really” and vowed a stronger police response. (Read our profile, produced in partnership with New York Magazine, for more background.)
Tischler had announced in a video late Friday that he had been told he would be arrested Monday morning and mused aloud about whether to invite his supporters. But the arrest came earlier, just after the conclusion of the Simchat Torah holiday.
In videos shared on WhatsApp, Tischler can be seen complaining about the timing to the officers who had come to arrest him. One says, “I don’t know what happened. This is above us.”
Tischler shouts, “They tricked me. They’re telling everybody that I’m supposed to be arrested tomorrow.” To the officer, he says, “You’re arresting me when we made a deal. We made a deal that I was supposed to be arrested tomorrow.”
As officers lead a handcuffed Tischler to a squad car, he shouts, “You see what they’re doing? You see what they’re doing, guys?” Onlookers jeer the officers.
A GoFundMe that says it is established for Tischler Sunday evening raised more than $10,000 toward a goal of $50,000 in just four hours, mostly in very small increments. “Please help us raise money for Heshi,” says the fundraising page. “He has done so much for the community, now is our chance to show solidarity.”
Early Monday morning, Kornbluh tweeted appreciation for his many well-wishers, drawing nearly a thousand “likes” within minutes.
Main Photo: Heshy Tischler, at center, was arrested Sunday night, four days after cornering a reporter during a protest in Borough Park, Brooklyn. (Screenshot from WhatsApp)