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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 18, 2010

At Shabbos House
Rabbi arrested for giving alcohol to minor, imposes ban on all liquor

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — The Shabbos House on Fuller Road is known by Jewish students at the University at Albany as a home away from home for gatherings and religious observances. But, on Feb. 5, one student attending a party at the house suffered from alcohol poisoning and had to be transported to the hospital.

Rabbi Mendel Rubin, 37, who lives in the house at 320 Fuller Road with his wife and six children, hosted the party, and was arrested for giving alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor.

A UAlbany student from Connecticut, who is under the age of 21, was unconscious and had to be transported to St. Peter’s Hospital at 11 p.m. on Feb. 5. He blew into a pre-screening device, which showed a blood alcohol content of .495 percent, the arrest report says. Rubin was also impaired by alcohol at the time of his arrest, said Carol Lawlor, chief of police.

Rubin’s attorney, Peter Gerstenzang, told The Enterprise that Rubin was hosting a birthday party where both adults and minors were present, and the minor helped himself to some alcohol.

“No one was pouring alcohol for him,” Gerstenzag said. He said that, as a remediation effort, Rubin is imposing a complete alcohol ban on the Shabbos House.

“We are taking this thing very seriously, and making serious remediation efforts to make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” said Gerstenzag. Lawlor said this is the first time an incident at the Shabbos House has been reported to the police.

Gerstenzag described the Shabbos House as a sanctuary that parents of University at Albany students encourage their children to attend, and that those parents should not have any concerns about the future of the house.

When the new Shabbos House opened last September, Rubin told The Enterprise that the house, which attracts 100 to 150 students to its programs, serves as a central place where Jewish students can come for a spiritual or cultural experience.

“They are coming to a family, not just a rabbi,” said Rubin at the time. (For the full story, go online to www.altamontenterprise.com, under Guilderland archives, for the week of Sept. 10, 2009.)

Rubin will appear in Guilderland Town Court on March 11.

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