Rabbi Michael Fish is one of several rabbis indicted yesterday, and criminal complaints and news reports say he’s the rabbi of “Congregation Sheves Achim” in Brooklyn.
According to several non-profit registries, there is only one organization with “Sheves Achim” in the name in New York State, and that’s “Cong Sheves Achim” of 3054 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.
But pulling up Google Street View, it doesn’t look like much of a congregation, does it?
And according to the phone book, it is the residential home of a man named Joseph Meisner. When I called that home, a child picked up the phone, and claimed not to have heard of any such congregation, any such rabbi, and that 3054 Bedford Avenue is just a family home with no particular involvement in any Jewish organizations or congregations. The child also said some people had stopped by the day before asking if it was a congregation, and he’d told them it wasn’t.
Which is interesting, because if you look through all the non-profits registered in that ZIP code, 3054 Bedford Avenue comes up more than once — it actually comes up quite a lot.
According to non-profit registries, there are at least 97 non-profits registered to that one address — and having sorted through a couple dozen of them, all claim to be religious organizations not needing to file a non-profit disclosure form 990, so there’s almost no information available about them.
These non-profits seem be exclusively of the Orthodox Jewish type, often listed as synagogues, yeshivas, and the like.
Oh, and just try to find further mention of “Rabbi Mordechai Fish” (or “Mordchai”) unrelated to this probe, anywhere on the Web. I couldn’t, and I found exactly one mention of Congregation Sheves Achim on the Web prior to the crime news, on a Breslov Chasidic events listing:
A born and bred Brooklynite, Rabbi Peretz Auerbach made aliyah many years ago and learned from many masters until he became an accomplished scholar in all areas if Torah. Today he is one of the key figures in Breslov outreach. Rabbi Auerbach is presently working on a commentary on the Zohar in English, b’derekh avodah — as related to spiritual practice, both in prayer, meditation, and the inner work of tikkun ha-middos / self-refinement. The Breslov Center and Congregation Sheves Achim / The Flatbush Minyan are honored to host him for this Shabbaton in Brooklyn on his spring trip to the US.