22 February 2009

Justice and Mercy ...in one!

Sydney, Australia - Former Moriah student Jaron Hoffenberg has been given a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to vandalising the Jews for Jesus’ storefront in Bondi Junction last month.

In Downing Centre Local Court on Friday, February 20, Magistrate William Brydon said he was satisfied that Hoffenberg, 19, from Dover Heights, was repentant for his actions in the early morning of January 29 when he urinated on the Oxford Street store’s door and threw a brick through its window, causing about $3000 worth in damage.

The incident was captured on CCTV.

Weighing up the defendant’s remorse and age against the attack’s “anti-Semitic flavour”, however, he found Hoffenberg guilty of one charge of malicious damage to property with conviction and placed him on a one-year good behaviour bond.

Hoffenberg was also found guilty of offensive behaviour and willful and obscene exposure in public.

No conviction was recorded and Hoffenberg was given a two-year good behavior bond.

Separately, Terence Abrams, 19, from Dover Heights, who was arrested with Hoffenberg on the night and charged with one count of malicious damage to property, has had his case delayed by request until March 18.

Brydon said: “There’s no doubt [Hoffenberg] is remorseful and contrite for his behaviour.

“I accept that alcohol was a part of this, but people have to be responsible for themselves.”

Hoffenberg's lawyer Richard Shakenovsky had earlier argued before the court that the vandalism attack was “alcohol induced” and “out of character” for the University of Sydney engineering student who had no prior history of arrests.

He also noted that Hoffenberg had apologised for his actions and paid for the damage to property.

Jews for Jesus national director Bob Mendelsohn told The AJN that he had accepted Hoffenberg’s apology and payment.

“I’m not vindictive. He’s sorry. No need to keep shaming him,” said Mendelsohn.

It is not the first time Jews for Jesus, which opened the shop on Oxford Street in October 2004, has been the target of such attacks.

There was a spate of attacks in 2005, in which the shop was vandalised on three separate occasions.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although we cannot condone vandalism, surely every Jew can understand the disgust and anger our youth feel toward this organisation.
- Rabbi Wernick

Bob said...

I am replying to Rabbi Yossi Wernick's comments in last week's Australia Jewish News about the unfortunate smashing of the windows at the Jews for Jesus book shop in Bondi Junction.

Rabbi, you do not speak for all Jewish youth, even though you say "every Jew can understand the disgust and anger our youth feel". We have many Jewish young men and women who come into the book shop and discuss matters reasonably and properly. They are neither angry nor disgusted; many are simply curious.

The hostility of the two young Jewish men enacted against our shop in January begs the question, "What makes people so angry at Jesus? What did he ever do to them?" Sure the liquor they drank released their inhibitions, but the anger was not caused by the drink. Who inflamed them to act so illegally and inappropriately?

I find the rabbi's comments inciting to violence. He should know better. Wasn't it just two years ago his own house was vandalized by hostile religionists inflamed by some cleric's comments against Jews? I hope that all rabbis, especially Rabbi Wernick, would call on Jewish people to refrain from violence, especially against other Jews. Even though the rabbi doesn't 'condone vandalism' he seems to be saying he would look the other way if it happened again. If so, shame, shame.