Heard In The Bagel Store

By Larry Gordon

It was my first time in jail, any jail, anywhere.  It was last Sunday on the Catskills at an idyllic Shabbos spent with good friends.  I had heard this in the past perhaps over the last few years that there was a wonderfully personable young man serving a sentence for being convicted of an offense that he says did not go down or occur quite the way it has been described.  Of course, I’ve heard it time and again, that is that there are very few guilty people in jails and this was perhaps just a replay of that refrain.

That is until you are sitting and talking with Dovi Mutterperl at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York.  It is one of those situation where I cannot have my cell phone with me, not even a pen or paper to write on.  This is a maximum security prison and we are told that while we can sit and talk for an hour or more we need to have our hands on the table at all times.  So the task today, amongst other things, is to breathe all this in and somehow manage to etch into memory so that the story can be told.

At the behest of popular singer and performer Shloimy Dachs, our office has been sending Mr. Mutterperl the weekly 5 Towns Jewish Times for about two years now.   I asked if he wanted to me to write about our meeting and he did not just say that it was okay but rather that he very much welcomed the opportunity to get his story out there.

If you Google the Mutterperl guess it is not a pretty or even good situation.  Instead of me recounting what happened you can of course look it up.  It was a tough unthinking time for a 17-year old teen who simply could not sit still in the Yeshivas he attended.  That in addition to friction at home added to Dovi getting involved in a matter that he regrets and will always regret.  Rest assured that no one was hurt and there was really no violence involved despite reports to the contrary.  In the end he went to trial (probably a mistake) and was convicted of attempted kidnapping of a 12- year-old and sentenced to nine year in prison.

He is serving his sentence in a maximum security prison in the Catskills because he wants to.  He has been offered to transfer to a medium security facility but says that there would be a much smaller nearby Jewish community and the number of visitors he would be allowed to receive would be considerably less than he received here in Fallsburg.

Here, he says he has his own 9×13 foot cell, is studying fir his BA and learns three times a week with a study partner from the nearby Yeshiva of South Fallsburg.  He is currently learning Mesechta Sukka and points to a bookcase in the meeting area we are sitting in showing me that he is allowed two shelves in the bookcase for his seforim.  More in this week’s 5TJT and at 5TJT.COM


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