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A Prominent Torah Temimah Parent Comments Below The Hazmanah
Please allow me to introduce myself to the readership of this blog. My name is Eli Greenwald, and I am a Torah Temimah parent with a keen interest in protecting the well being of my child as well as the health and safety of all of our children.
This comment can be printed as a comment or, if you choose, as a lead post.
When the anonymous letters were distributed to a large segment of the Flatbush community, I was naturally very concerned that such a situation could exist at my child's Yeshiva. With my conscience torn between chas v'shalom falsely accusing an innocent man; yet, on the other hand, unable to rest, knowing that the lives of pure, innocent children may have been shattered in the past and could presently still be at risk, I decided that I must use every available resource to verify whether the charges as stated in the anonymous letters were accurate.
Sadly, after speaking to multiple sources, which included people intimately familiar with the Bais Din proceedings some 25 years ago, I became convinced that not only is there credible overwhelming evidence to support the charges, but that Rabbi Margulies has known about the charges all these years. Though victims came forth to tell their stories of abuse, for reasons known only to G-D, proper and decisive action was not taken against Rabbi Kolko. In fact, action was taken to besmirch the victims' reputations causing them much pain and devastation. By the way, it is my understanding that Bais Din never issued a P'sak on the matter. Most importantly, I have personally spoken to many victims of Rabbi Kolko. Their stories are very real and painful. Children should never have to live through what these and other victims have been through. The effect of their childhood abuse lingers on and remains with them well into their adulthood.
I believe that it is incumbent upon every parent to check into this matter thoroughly using his/her own resources and due diligence. I was able to verify the accuracy of the charges. I am just an individual with no special connections. If I was able to verify the facts, anyone can and should. We do not have any excuses when it comes to the safety of our children! You have not discharged your obligation to safeguard your children by calling the Yeshiva and "feeling relieved" after the administration reassures you that there is no substance to the charges. Perform an independent investigation and you will discover the truth.
Here is my personal story and the price that I have paid for getting involved. Believe me, it is a small price compared to what the victims have suffered through. Though many have tried to discourage me from getting involved specifically because of this fear factor, the victims need to see that there are people out there who do care about them. There must be a light at the end of this dark tunnel that they have walked alone through for so long. Ultimately, Emes does prevail; if not on this world, then, in the next. That is what should keep us all going and striving to do the right thing without ulterior motives.
Upon verifying the charges, I called YTT and spoke to Rabbis Applegrad and Margulies. After telling each of them during separate conversations that I found the evidence to be overwhelming, I was told that they would not be taking any action to address the situation. In fact, instead of addressing the strong concerns expressed by a long-time parent and graduate of Yeshiva Torah Temimah, a few hours after speaking to Rabbi Margulies, I received a Hazmana from Rabbi Kolko summoning me to Bais Din (please see attached Hazmana) for being Motzei Shem Ra. Flabbergasted to say the least, I realized that this was an intimidation tactic -
something that was used very effectively during the prior Bais Din proceedings. I responded to the Hazmana by agreeing to go to a different Bais Din and have not heard back from the Torah Temimah team since.
I have deep empathy for the innocent members of Rabbi Kolko's family who will suffer as a result of what their dear loved one has wreaked upon them. I empathize with Rabbi Kolko as well and wish that he would seek the help that he so desperately needs. I do not wish to see Rabbi Kolko suffer any embarrassment and do not have any enmity towards him. My only wish is for him to be removed from his current position and that he is not allowed to regain employment around children again. Bearing this in mind, I believe that the comments on this blog should be restricted to mature, well thought out comments that contribute to the public dialogue and purpose of this blog, and not childish, boorish remarks that are personal in nature and decrease the blog's effectiveness.
I have known Rabbi Kolko for quite some time and this conflict of interest has made it even more difficult for me to get involved. However, to ignore the reality would be a perversion of justice. The victims and the safety of our children should and must be our ultimate consideration. Too many people at the highest levels of our leading organizations have known about this and chosen to ignore it. Trust me, I have spoken to some of those people and felt very discouraged after talking to them. They have applied Midas HaRachamim to the abuser/ perpetrator while applying a strict Midas HaDin to the victims. The needs, feelings and rights of the victims as well as the safety of our innocent children have literally been ignored and left by the wayside. This is not only a shame, but is truly Midas Sedom. To those on the street who are spreading rumors about my "personal vendetta" against Rabbi Kolko, the truth is there for all that wish to see it. All you need to do is take the blinders off your eyes.
Most outrageous is how YTT handled the entire incident since the allegations were brought to their attention over 20 years ago. Instead of removing this Rebbi from the Yeshiva and giving him the help that he needed, they chose to keep him on staff and pretend that the problem didn't exist. Rabbi Margulies could have done the right thing, but instead chose to embark on a path that has led to the destruction of many more lives and the current debacle. This is truly unforgivable!
I encourage everyone to begin to sign their names to their comments and posts. I address this to UOJ as well. While I certainly understand your strategic reasons for remaining anonymous, I believe that, at some point, you should unmask your cloak of anonymity. Yes, you have made controversial statements in the past, many that I disagree with, and you may not want to reveal your identity, but you should do so anyway. The only REAL and EFFECTIVE way for the community to break through the wall of resistance is for concerned and involved members of the community to step forward without fear of being exposed. I am doing this today. Mr. Alster has done the same. Kudos to Attorney Elliot Pasik who has been at the forefront for quite some time. As we continue to remain ANONYMOUS, we encourage and enable those who are taking advantage of us to continue to do so. By remaining anonymous, we are recoiling in fear. This is not the proper solution to the issue.
We must begin to form parent groups for the purpose of educating ourselves and our children about this very important topic. Mr. Pasik has spoken about background checks and an internal registry, etc. These are topics and initiatives that need the grassroots support of the parent community at large. Then, and only then, will the organizations act to implement these important solutions. We need involved parents who are willing to step forward with courage despite the resistance that they are sure to encounter along the way.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to verify the above information.
Interested readers should contact Eli Greenwald for a copy of the hazmana Yisroel Belsky issued to him.
I'm talking to you now...listen very carefully.
1-You knew about Kolko since the 1960's from Camp Agudah...you did nothing!
2-You were in the room and part of the bais din twenty years ago; you heard testimony from at least three of Kolko's victims, and you did nothing!
3-You are now playing along with this farce; you should have kicked Kolko out of your house on his guilty tuchis...you issued a bogus hazmana!
Yisroel Belsky...You will be summoned to testify in court; we have witnesses who will testify that you knew about Kolko's behavior for forty years; YOU STOOD BY AS HUNDREDS OF KIDS WERE MOLESTED BY THIS NON-KOSHER ANIMAL!
It's no wonder your life has been relegated to the trash bin of kashrus...you are no better than the animals you supposedly supervise for kosher slaughter.
So what if their lungs are ripped out k'neged halacha...you are getting paid well to look away!
Who is paying you in the Kolko matter? Margulies, Kolko???
We'll see your corrupt tuchis in court!