New Jersey State Police remove Satmar chaplain embroiled in lawsuit with his brother

The removal came days after the dispute, involving accusations of social media impersonation and defamation, spilled into public view

Abe Friedman (right) meeting with Colonel Patrick J. Callahan of the New Jersey State police in 2018. Photo: New Jersey State Police/Facebook

Mar 22, 2024 12:30 PM


The New Jersey State Police removed Rabbi Abe Friedman from his role as a volunteer chaplain two weeks ago, after Shtetl reported on an ongoing legal dispute between Friedman and his brother Joel.

In February, Joel Friedman sued his brother Abraham, or Abe, accusing him of social media impersonation, defamation, and breach of a prior settlement. Both brothers are prominent members of the Satmar community in New York, and well-connected politically.

Abe was removed from the program on March 4, a police spokesperson said. The police did not respond to Shtetl’s inquiry about the reason for Abe’s removal, but the action took place just days after the bitter sibling rivalry spilled into public view.

The two Friedman brothers have long served as chaplains for various law enforcement agencies in the New York metropolitan area. They are frequently seen at events with political leaders and law enforcement officials. In 2016, the FBI awarded Abe the “Director’s Community Leadership Award” for outstanding community leaders. In February, Joel hosted New York City Mayor Eric Adams at his son’s bar mitzvah, according to several Haredi news outlets as well as photos posted on the mayor’s account on X. In October of 2022, the mayor attended a bar mitzvah of another of Joel’s sons, at which he delivered brief remarks.

In court documents first filed by Joel in 2020, numerous screenshots of Tweets, on what is now X, showed a user with the handle @JoelFriedman5 confessing to various criminal activities, which Joel argued was an attempt to defame him. After a failed attempt to get Twitter to release the user’s identity via a subpoena, Joel hired a private investigator and discovered the user was his brother Abe.

An initial settlement over the complaint was reached through a rabbinic arbiter, and required that Abe pay Joel $300,000 in installments, presumably in restitution for Abe’s actions. In his February complaint, Joel said that Abe made $125,000 in payments, and then stopped paying. Abe’s attorney, Dov Medinets, previously told Shtetl that Abe seeks to have the matter adjudicated in a rabbinical court rather than a secular court, which is another point of contention between the brothers.

Reached by Shtetl on Friday morning, Medinets said his client was not immediately available to comment because of the nearing Purim holiday.

Read more in Shtetl:

Bitter feud between politically-connected Satmar brothers devolves into public legal contest

Satmar activist fears “ostracization” after taking dispute with brother to secular court