New York

Orthodox residents claim rabbi is running illegal yeshiva and boarding house in NY homes


It is almost unheard of for members of the ultra-orthodox community in Rockland County to speak out against their own. But residents of a neighborhood in Airmont say they have had enough of the man they call the rogue Rabbi.

Several have written letters to town building officials and the Rockland County Health Department complaining that Rabbi Nissan Arash Kakakian is operating an illegal yeshiva and rooming house in two homes zoned as single-family houses.

“It is clearly a yeshiva. All day long. People sleeping there,” one resident said.

“This man is trying to take over the whole neighborhood. If we speak out, he sends some of his men to intimidate us, to bully,” said another resident. “He’s bought many houses and he’s bringing in families, which are his subjects, and he’s intimidating all the other people.”

The Airmont building inspector confirmed Kakakian did not get a change of use permit for either property, adding there is a code enforcement breakdown in the Village.

“The board fired the code enforcement officer last April and the fire inspector,” Lou Zummo told the I-Team.

He said there are 630 businesses which are supposed to be inspected for fire safety every year, which haven’t been properly inspected in the past seven years.

When the I-Team approached Rabbi Kakakian with questions, he walked away without answering and did not respond to follow-up inquiries.

The County Health Department says it issued a vacate order on one of the homes in Aug. 2023 when inspectors were repeatedly denied access but there was no follow-up because of no additional complaints. Residents say that’s just not true.

The County says it’s now launched a re-investigation after the I-Team reporting.


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