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The following letter was signed by Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva regarding the event. However, GreaterLakewood confirmed the Bochurim did not see this until AFTER the event, since it was not made public for some reason…
FINAL UPDATE 12:45 PM – All activity has ended
A reader sent us a video which appears to show a Howell Police Officer using excessive force by spraying pepper spray at random.
See it for yourself:
Some background: There was supposed to a Kumzitz & Chizuk Asifa for Bochurim. The event was planned with 50+ Bochurim making a Siyum, Divrei Chizuk from R’ Yehuda Jacobs. It supposedly had the haskama of leading Gedolim as well. Even the music was hand-selected to be uplifting and inspirational.
At the last minute, it was canceled. Organizers say a few people gave false information about the event in order to cancel it. It seems some Roshei Yeshiva who approved of the event changed their mind but there still is a split in opinion…
Frustrated Bochurim took to the streets, to the home of a man who was behind ensuring the event was canceled. They feel even if Rabbonim told him to cancel the event, there is a way to do it and this person went behind their back… True or not – that is the story.
Regardless, this turned into an EPIC chillul Hashem. Police were called in, Backups from Brick, K9 units, Toms River, LCSW, Chaverim – any vehicle with lights was called in. First Forest Park was closed, then Pine street was closed, and the crowd just keeps growing.
Update 12:30 Unfortunately 1 person was arrested, and two Bochurim are en-route to the hospital thanks to pepper spray.
Update 12:10 AM GreaterLakewood confirmed this is indeed true, R’ Shmuel Kaminetsky said they should not go ahead with the kumzitz (As well as R’ Shlomo Feivel Schustal, R’ Malkiel & others) Other Roshei Yeshiva were originally for it but changed their minds later… Others are still for it.
Update 11:50 PM Multiple sources tell GreaterLakewood R’ Shmuel Kaminetsky told people to cancel the event – we are working to verify this information.
8 Toms River and a few Brick Police cars just rolled in to join the Lakewood Police dept as hundreds of Bochurim are filling up Pine street.
As of 11:20 PM There were still hundreds of people in Forest Park and Police were not letting cars in.
Tonights kumzitz/asifa event was canceled.
The reason given – although not independently verified, was that it resembles a concert.
All ticket holders have been refunded. It remains unclear why they waited till last minute to cancel it…
Update: It appears the event was canceled thanks to one or two people who were against it. Many Bochurim who were looking forward to this ‘Kosher outlet’ were really upset and had a kumzitz outside the home of ‘one of the people who stopped it’ in Forest Park.
“There were tons of people, many guitars, and lots of Simcha” – a Bochur told GreaterLakewood.
Many people showed up, including multiple police…