Williamsburg resident Rabbi Leib Glanz, a chaplain with the City Corrections Department, resigned Tuesday after serving a two−week suspension for arranging a bar mitzvah and engagement celebration for an Orthodox Jewish inmate in a Manhattan jail.
“Yes, I resigned. I decided it was best for everybody,” said Glanz in an interview with The New York Post.
On June 10, Glanz was suspended for supervising a bar mitzvah of an Orthodox Jewish prison inmate, Tuvia Stern. Four correction officers who were involved in the celebration lost two weeks of vacation after other officers complained that they allowed the bar mitzvah to take place last December.
As chaplain, Glanz’s duties are to provide religious duties and assistance to Orthodox Jewish prisoners in the State’s Correctional Services Department, from leading services to making sure that kosher food is provided for inmates with dietary restrictions.
According to reports in the New York Post, 60 guests attended the party, which lasted almost six hours, during which inmates and non−inmate guests enjoyed catered kosher food and music from an Orthodox singer in a gym at the city jail. At least eight correction officers were summoned to work overtime to monitor the event.
Four months later, before being relocated upstate, Stern hosted an engagement party for his daughter at the same jail, for ten guests.
Reaction in Williamsburg to the suspension of Rabbi Leib Glanz, a chaplain in the New York State Corrections system, is a mix of surprise and outrage. While some officers have complained that Orthodox inmates have received special treatment in the past, such as being allowed to make their own meals or consume well−prepared catered meals of chicken and roast beef, the uproar has reached its climax over planning of the bar mitzvah, members of the Hasidic community in Williamsburg have been mostly sympathetic to Glantz and were waiting for the state’s investigation to conclude before giving their opinion on the incident.
“People are shocked that that sort of thing happened,” said Rabbi Joseph Webber, a Community Board 1 member. “Hopefully it will be resolved to the benefit of the community.”
Andrew Gross, a Williamsburg resident and friend of Glanz’s, blamed the United Jewish Organization for leaking the story to The New York Post, and claimed this was done because the UJO wanted Glanz removed so they could install a chaplain of their own choosing.
“He spent his own wages on kosher food for the inmates,” said Gross. “He was doing a good thing.”
UJO members declined to comment on the record, but one said he was not inclined to assign blame and that it was “an unfortunate situation.”
“Generally speaking, people feel Glantz is a really good guy,” said one Williamsburg resident who wanted to remain anonymous. “He does a lot to help Jews, non−religious Jews, and non−Jews in the prison system.”
Other Williamsburg residents, such as Isac Weinberger, stated their support for Glanz, despite the recent resignation.