Lakewood also has a force of “Shomrim,” the security patrol for the community. The Shomrim act as a police force, with commanders and officers, handling burglaries, vandalism, domestic violence, and anti-Semitic attacks. The Shomrim are trained and licensed by the Lakewood police department.
The “Chaverim” (“Friends”) is the Haredi organization that provides road assistance and other non-medical emergency help to the Haredim. Chaverim services are free, supported by donations from the community.
The Haredim are very family-centered, and usually have large families. They subscribe to the Book of Genesis commandment, “be fruitful and multiply,” and as a group have an unusually high birth rate. In the United States, the Haredi population annual growth is 5.4%. A typical Haredi family has two parents and more than six children. The average size of an non-Haredi American family is a little more than three people.
Haredi religious leaders discourage watching television and films, as well as reading the secular press, including the internet. On May 12th, 2012, approximately 40,000 Haredi Jews convened at Citi Field in New York City to address the dangers of the internet. The Haredi, do use the internet selectively, as seen by a number of Haredi chat rooms, and comments on Orthodox websites.
The world of the Haredim is intentionally insular. They solve their own problems with a “Bet Din,” a religious court, rather than going to civil authorities.
There is fear in bringing shame on the community, and a cultural taboo against “mesira,” or informing to the authorities.
A group such as this – insular, observant, trusting, predictable – is easy prey for the predators among them.
One of those predators was Eliyahu Weinstein.