The Shmooze

Internet Draws Support for Boys Busted for Bake Sale

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Some nice Jewish boys were busted last week for doing something that would make almost any parent proud: They were being entrepreneurial. Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff of Chappaqua, N.Y., were ratted out to the police by local Councilman Michael Wolfensohn, who was unhappy the boys were selling their home-baked goodies in a neighborhood park without a permit.

The two 13-year-olds, along with their Jewish friends Zachary Bass and Daniel Katz, had hatched a lofty business plan to sell refreshments with the goal of saving enough money to eventually open a restaurant. Having all done tzedakah projects to raise charity as part of their recent bar mitzvahs, they felt it was time to branch out into the for-profit world. (Kevin and Andrew were the only two manning the stand when it was shut down last week).

Wolfensohn, unhappy that the boys didn’t go through the proper channels, filed a report with the police department, who put an end to the endeavor. “Kevin was so upset, he was crying all the whole way home. He was worried if he was going to get arrested or have a criminal record,” Andrew’s mom told LoHud.com, a local media outlet, after she was called to come pick up the boys from their stand.

Andrew and Kevin became unwitting celebrities as the news of their being busted went viral, with local and national websites, blogs, and TV and radio stations accusing Wolfensohn of overreacting.

It appears that the councilman, too, is not happy with how things have played out. “He was in no mood to talk about what he described as a ‘non-event’ that turned him into an Internet pariah around the world,” LoHud.com reported.

Wolfensohn himself went on to tell the publication, “I’m overwhelmed by the amount of negative e-mail and threats that myself and my family have received over what was basically a lack of communication. In hindsight, I should have spoken to the boys…But by the same token, the parents should have spoken to me or the town if they felt I acted in an unreasonable fashion, instead of going to the press.”


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