Monday, July 28, 2008

"Rabbi Shafran ignores the cultural forces of shame and denial that have kept child rape victims from going public"


Summer Reruns - Timeless Words!

Orthodox Abuse And Cultural Forces

Robert Kolker

For those closely following the issue of rabbinical sexual abuse accusations in the fervently Orthodox Jewish community, last week’s Jewish Week represented something of a historic moment: An authority from the esteemed haredi organization Agudath Israel, Rabbi Avi Shafran, openly acknowledged that sexual abuse is indeed a problem that requires more attention and measures than the community currently brings to bear.

In the past, The Jewish Week’s own reporting has mentioned how rabbinical sexual abuse has been roundly ignored at Agudath Israel conventions. Rabbi Shafran himself has eschewed any calls for a centralized body to deal with the problem, instead encouraging anyone claiming to have been abused to “go to the rebbe or community rabbi.” So it is refreshing to read Rabbi Shafran grappling with these issues in an open forum and writing, “Must more be done? Yes. And it will be.”

But pausing only briefly to extend sympathy to victims of abuse, Rabbi Shafran saves his real outrage — and most of the space in his piece — for my recent feature story in New York magazine, “On the Rabbi’s Knee,” the first report to publicly detail the plaintiff's astonishing allegations in a recent sexual-abuse lawsuit. (The defendants are Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, Yeshiva & Mesivta Torah Temimah of Flatbush, and Camp Agudah, which Rabbi Shafran acknowledged is affiliated with Agudath Israel.) While the detailed and brave testimony of the plaintiff received little attention from Rabbi Shafran, the uncomfortable question asked in my piece — if molestation is more common in the fervently Orthodox community than it is elsewhere — must have hit a nerve.

Because last week, Rabbi Shafran accused the New York magazine article of “slip[ping] toward slander, not only of Orthodox Jews but of Judaism itself.”

As a journalist and a Jew, I take this accusation very seriously, and I’m grateful for the chance to respond.

First, Rabbi Shafran suggests that when I wrote that “there’s reason to believe the answer to that question [of more sexual abuse among the fervently Orthodox] might be yes,” I was engaging in something “sinister” — and that the only substantiation I provided was an insight from the author Hella Winston about the countless incidents she heard about in her laudable research on chasidic exiles.

While everyone including myself and Rabbi Shafran can stipulate that no hard statistics are available, my explanation of this belief extends for several more paragraphs. The next paragraph suggests that some experts believe “repression ... creates a fertile environment for deviance.” Rabbi Shafran takes this as an assault on what he calls “a Torah-observant life.” I intended it only as my sources did: as a belief that any society that shies away from open discussion of certain issues is a society that allows problems to fester longer — and abusers to stay in business longer.

But it’s what I discuss next that Rabbi Shafran ignores completely: the cultural forces of shame and denial that have kept child rape victims from going public for decades. Nowhere in Rabbi Shafran’s piece is a mention of the so-called shonda factor, lashon hara, shalom bayit, mesira, and chillul Hashem, all of which are invoked to keep victims from bringing their community unwelcome attention by the authorities.

Rabbi Shafran spoke to mental-health experts who believe the problem is smaller among the fervently Orthodox. The experts I interviewed said otherwise — like the pediatrician who was in tears discussing how these pressures keep victims silent, and two psychologists who agreed that the fears of being ostracized from the community prevent victims from speaking out and being treated.

Common sense would indicate that even if there are fewer fervently Orthodox abusers, if they’re allowed to remain in positions of power for decades they can abuse hundreds of more victims and perhaps even create victims who go on to become abusers themselves. As one abuse victim told me, “Whether it’s Jewish or Amish or Mennonite or Catholic or Muslim, it doesn’t make a difference. I feel like this is kind of like a fungus. It grows in the dark.”

But above all, this sort of chauvinistic we-abuse-less argument is an insult to the victims who felt so alone and intimidated for so long. Can there be any doubt that until the cultural bias against the reporting of abuse is tackled head on, not defensively, community leaders are only paying lip service to the problem?

Rabbi Shafran would have you believe that something is being done, but is it really?

While the Catholic Church now has a charter calling for removal of any clergyman who commits an act of abuse, the 3-year-old guidelines for preventing abuse in Jewish day schools that Rabbi Shafran mentions are non-compulsory. Torah U’Mesorah, the National Society of Hebrew Day Schools, has no real disciplinary system in place, but the New York City schools do. Are Jewish children somehow entitled to less protection than public school children? If Rabbi Shafran wants to suggest that fervently Orthodox religious observance in fact fosters superior moral behavior, then why not throw open the doors to the public? Why not urge complainants frustrated by the bet din process to take those grievances to an American court?

The absence of such conviction leads me to conclude that the real point of Rabbi Shafran’s editorial appears to be to distract attention from the lawsuit and make people believe that Agudath Israel’s reputation deserves their support more than the victims do. He would have you believe that the mainstream media — the usual bugbears of the Internet and MTV — are the villains here. He is obviously more concerned with defending Judaism from paper tigers — illusory enemies — than he is with actually dealing with the problems of his community.

Still, a major step has been made. At long last, by admitting there is a problem, Rabbi Shafran has opened the door for more discussion. Is it possible that outside forces like the lawsuit and the mainstream media have actually done some good here? As a Jew and a journalist, I hope so.

Robert Kolker is a contributing editor at New York magazine.

Special To The Jewish Week


Hella Winston Responds

For the second time on the pages of your paper (Rabbi Marvin Schick’s paid column “Is this Jewish Sociology,” May 12, and Rabbi Avi Shafran’s Opinion piece “A Matter of Orthodox Abuse,” June 23), the participants in my research have been subject to baseless speculation that they may have lied about their experiences of sexual abuse. I find this disturbing, not only for what it implies about their character and my research, but also because it serves as confirmation that victims who speak out about abuse can expect to have their credibility called into question, even by those ostensibly charged with representing their interests.

What I reported in my book was the result of several years’ research, involving not only chasidim who left their communities, but those who remain within them, as well as a variety professionals who work closely with this population. To be clear: Nowhere have I asserted that sexual abuse is more common in the Orthodox world than it is in the general population; reliable published statistics on this issue are notoriously hard to come by. What I have noted, however — along with many others — are some of the factors that make it particularly difficult for chasidic victims of abuse to seek help and justice: the fear of stigma; the traditional Jewish antipathy toward informers; concerns about lashon hara and making a chillul Hashem; the taboo against speaking openly about sexual matters; the lack of independent entities within these communities to investigate charges of abuse; the fact that offenders often find refuge in other communities.

All of this means that it is possible for abusers to go on abusing unhindered, sometimes for years. Ultimately, however, quibbling over numbers is merely a distraction from dealing with an issue that deserves our undivided attention.

Dr. Hella Winston - professor of sociology - Queens College


Don’t Circle Wagons On Orthodox Abuse

Avi Shafran (“A Matter Of Orthodox Abuse,” June 23) quotes David Mandel of Ohel as saying, “The degree to which Torah leaders have spoken out [on abuse in the Orthodox community] has been remarkable.” I wish he were right.

While there are some who have spoken out in clear, responsible ways, what is remarkable to me are the many who have spoken out against lashon hara (slander), hillul Hashem (scandal) and mesira (the prohibition of going to secular authorities), to name just a few halachic walls to inappropriately hide behind, as a means of silencing victims. What is remarkable are the many stories that I have heard in my extensive work through JSafe with victims of sexual abuse, child abuse and domestic violence in all parts of the Jewish community of denial, cover-up and dismissal.

Interestingly, the non-Orthodox often see abuse as an Orthodox problem, and the Orthodox see it as a non-Orthodox one. And it is a problem for all of us. To date we do not have appropriate studies that give us real numbers. But perpetuating stereotypes of where to find perpetrators does no one any good.

I agree with Shafran’s critique of the New York magazine article and his dismissal of its suggestion that somehow Orthodox repression fosters abuse. But I believe that there are unique factors within the Orthodox community that make it extremely difficult for victims to come forward and get the help they need. There is systemic intimidation, covertly and overtly, of victims and their advocates, and even their rabbis. These people often fear retaliation and intimidation, as well as harmful consequences to their own reputations and those of their families. There are batei din (rabbinic tribunals) that have adjudicated these cases that have no expertise or understanding of these issues and no means to protect past and future victims.

Now is not the time to circle the wagons in order to protect an idealized vision of the community. Now is the time to do everything possible to protect victims from abuse. Then opinion makers won’t have to write columns defending their communities and accusing others of having nefarious agendas — they won’t need to.

CEO, JSafe

Rabbi Mark Dratch
West Hempstead, N.Y.


Anonymous said...

the aguda is squirming like a bunch of rats. they know the spotlight is on them and their dumb pat yeshivash answers or reasons are not working anymore.

Anonymous said...

They need to take acting lessons.

yankel said...

It's instructive, I think, to remember that once upon a time, for a very long, long time, the greatest, most revered Rabbonim were not Roshei Yeshivah who either opened up shop for themselves or inherited their Yeshivos from their fathers or fathers-in-law. Instead, the greatest Rabbonim - like the Sha'agas Aryeh, like the Nodeh B'Yehudah, like the Maharal of Prague, just to name 3 off the top of my head - were Rabbonim of shuls, of communities, of cities. They were hired by the klal and could be (and sometimes were) fired by the klal.

That Rav Moshe Soloveitchik, among others, was fired - rather ignominously.

That the Sha'agas Aryeh, among many others, had to proba and be judged a worthy Rav by a bunch of ba'al habatim.

That once upon a time, for a very long, long time, Rabbonim answered to the klal as much as the klal answered to Rabbonim.

The job of a Rav isn't to protect other Rabbonim. The job of a Rav isn't to protect the reputation of Torah Judaism. The job of a Rav isn't even to burnish the reputation of the Torah - the Torah HaKedoshah can take care of itself, thank you very much. The job of a Rav is to help the klal become better Jews. By teaching them halacha. By modeling proper behavior. And yes, by rooting out evil. Even if the evil comes from other Rabbonim.

The Agudah is too busy protecting itself, protecting people's reputations and kavod. It should be busy protecting the klal.

Anonymous said...

The Agudah is bigger than the sum of its parts. It is the klal.

The yeshivois are the Agudah, a world self contained, unto itself.

Either you're in, one of the bunch, or out. That's why Camp Agudah's motto is mesoiras avoiseynu b'yadeinu.

Anyone who doesn't fit the mold, tzitzes out etc., mammish spouting whatever the yeshivesh party line is today, is wrong.

Frum think, an oxymoron.

Auto Report World Editors said...

From one Yankel to another, Bravo!

If I'm not mistaken, the Rambam had no official position.

What is also interesting is the number of people we now consider to be Torah giants who were put into cherem or otherwise stigmatized by the rabbinic leadership of their day.

Agudah Base Erosion said...

I don't know how Shafran can live with himself after participating in this charade. It's just shameful conduct, plain and simple.

Surely the Agudah must be getting negative feedback from those of us who used to support them. Has anyone here given Shafran or anyone else at the Agudah a piece of their mind. We are all curious to know how they are responding.

excuse my ignorance said...

Who are these leaders with a history of being in cherem that the editor refers to?

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I am cooperating with the secular media on the Mondrowitz case. I kindly am urging victims and all people with information to contact me at once.

The D.A. is taking another look at this as well.

I need help...please come forward.
e-mail: a_unorthodoxjew@yahoo.com

Wyatt Earp said...

They say that when Mondrowitz fled to Israel, he started carrying a loaded piece, even on Shabbos, in case someone accosts him. Is that true?

Excited said...

Anyone know if this email works? Please send your opinion. I would really like to see a full-page signed by Rabbonim and others willing to cross the party line and stand up for what's right.

boog said...

Mr. Kolker, Ms. Winston, Rabbi Dratch;

Very well said.

To the Agudah and Shafran: Wake Up!
The Tsunami is beginning to roll and you will be rolled if you don't wake up and change.

Anonymous said...

"I am cooperating with the media."

UOJ is the media.

The media is the message.


Yitzy Erps said...

Channel WB 11 quotes the NYS Police tonight that flooding in Sullivan County is the worst in history and the rivers haven't even crested yet.

All this crap with Camp Agudah, Silver Lake and Kolko in Regency makes me wonder if it's a geder of vetakee haaretz es yoshveha.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi UOJ,


Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I think The Editor was referring to the Gadol Hador of his time, Rav Baruch Spinoza zt"l.

Anonymous said...

The Malbim is a case in point, not cherem, but driven out of Bucharest.

There are too many examples to list.

But, even though these rabbonim were sometimes roshei yeshiva, if they weren't litvish, it doesn't count.

right, uo?

only in our image, nothing else.

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

The Rambam's views were considered heretical in his day by most. Many of his seforim were burned in public ceremonies. The Ramban's views were ridiculed...R'Dessler was considered to be a "Maskil" by many...endless.

Rabbi Fishbain said...

Either a kias aretz or a blias aretz for whoever didn't go over to the side of Hashem against molesters.

The flooding has now completely engulfed and washed away several homes and persons throughout Sullivan County.

Margo said...

If you're big & fat enough, floodwaters don't mean jack. Kind of like when Og survived the mabul by Noach.

Or does UOJ plan be giving me le coup de grace by jumping up with his staff & zetzing me in my boych?

Shevet Levi said...

Hark! There is a kol milchomo in the machanos of Agudah & Silver Lake.

There's also an eigel named Kolko who's beard was once zahav in Regency.

UOJ just announced mee l'Hashem Aylei.

Anonymous said...

There's major threat in Eretz Yisroel and all you care about is Silver Lake?

Sullivan County?

UOJ has the weight of the world on his shoulders and all you can think about is camp and bungalows?

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Shafran,

I understand that you have a family. For their sake, please consider looking for a new job. I doubt that aguda will be around much longer.

It's too bad they won't do anything re: child abuse. But look on the bright side. you'll be able to walk out with the updated edition of the mincha map ! Wow !!

Lakewood rebel said...

well put.

R2K said...

Let us just hope that at the heart of a monster, still remains some core of humanity. But I starts that with "let us hope"

John Q. Publicstein said...

Shafran you tool, Kolker just made you his bitch. You better thank the G-d who is disgusted by you that you haven't had your salad tossed by the Vatos Loco. Unless Kolko got to you first. Wow. Kolker just took you apart piece by piece. The Agudah's failure to own up to this disgrace and declare zero tolerance against abusers and full support for victims has made Mike Tress turn in his grave. If he were still alive you can be sure this would have killed him.

Zwiebel, Bloom, Perlow, take note, your stock makes Enron look good.

UOJ, how about posting some email addresses on the posers so we can let them know how we feel.

Anonymous said...


I'd like to focus on one subtlety of the Shafran v. Kolker dialogue(With all appropriate preliminary disclaimers about Agudah's duplicity).

Kolker is being disingenuous on one point.

That the Orthodox community's repression of sexual matters may foster the atmosphere in which deviants flourish is intutive. That does not however equate to it fostering an amosphere for a higher rate of deviance.

Look at this quote from his comment.

"...when I wrote that “there’s reason to believe the answer to that question [of more sexual abuse among the fervently Orthodox] might be yes,” I was engaging in something “sinister” — and that the only substantiation I provided was an insight from the author Hella Winston about the countless incidents she heard about in her laudable research on chasidic exiles.

While everyone including myself and Rabbi Shafran can stipulate that no hard statistics are available, my explanation of this belief extends for several more paragraphs. The next paragraph suggests that some experts believe “repression ... creates a fertile environment for deviance.”

You see the problem? First he mischaracterizes the Winston research as suggesting that there is "more sexual abuse among the fervently orthodox". Then he interchangeably uses the words "deviance" and "deviants", and he's feighning incredulity at Rabbi Shafran's calling him on it.

First, Even Ms. Winston asserts emphatically "To be clear: Nowhere have I asserted that sexual abuse is more common in the Orthodox world than it is in the general population; reliable published statistics on this issue are notoriously hard to come by. What I have noted, however — along with many others — are some of the factors that make it particularly difficult for chasidic victims of abuse to seek help and justice

And then Rabbi Dratch caught it where he says:

"I agree with Shafran’s critique of the New York magazine article and his dismissal of its suggestion that somehow Orthodox repression fosters abuse. But I believe that there are unique factors within the Orthodox community that make it extremely difficult for victims to come forward and get the help they need."

He's basically making that precise distinction.

So notwithstanding Kolker's ostensibly noble position, he is in fact betraying a small touch of classic Jewish self-hatred which , as is often the case, manifests itself in the form of general orthodox bashing.

Again, in a probably futile effort to preempt the inevitable flaming about my misplaced priorities, let me make clear that I agree that the basic criticism of Agudah's relative inaction is, of course, valid.

Advocate for the Ethical Treatment of Survivors said...

I have an idea. I doubt this would happen, but it could be a solution.

Rabbi Shafran should hire The Awareness Center to educate and train rabbis connected with the Agudah.

My bet is that if they want to change their image of being "sex offender friendly", this would do it.

The Awareness Center has a certification program for rabbis and other Jewish community leaders. Why not start demanding our rabbis take part in it?

Auto Report World Editors said...

To Excuse My Ignorance,

Others have mentioned the Rambam (Google "Maimonidean controversy"), the Malbim, and Rav Dessler. My personal favorite is R. Moshe Chaim Luzzato, the Ramchal. I believe he was put in cherem more than once. Some say it was because he trimmed his beard, others say he was suspected of being a follower of Shabbtai Tzvi, or maybe it was just that he was a creative, original and brilliant Jewish thinker who came from some small town in Italy and didn't have a lot of yichus.

Recently, after thinking about frum mishega'as I thought about the introduction to Mesilat Yesharim and realized that in some ways it is an attack on the religious hierarchy of Luzzato's day. He says that he's not teaching anything new, anything that people don't already know. If that's the case, why write the book? I don't think this is just Ramchal being modest. By saying that the amcha doesn't pay proper attention to proper behavior he is indirectly accusing their leaders of failing to lead.

I'd be intrigued at what Ramchal would say about today's frum velt. The author of Mesilat Yesharim was a true kanai in terms of applying rigorous standards to his behavior, but I suspect that he would find today's frumeit to be rather hollow.

Un-Orthodox Jew said...


A boy attending Mirrer Yeshiva Ketana who was recently molested by
Colmer fortunately brought it up with Rabbi Jurkowitz.

Rabbi J told him that what happened to him was wrong and not his fault. Rabbi J then reported it to the prinicipal, RYL. It seems RYL met personally with Colmer and Dr. Eilenberg.

The principal does not want to report it because he wants to save the victim from the trauma of testifying. He may not be aware of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 and other legal issues.

British Parliament said...

Hear, hear.

John Q. Publicstein is one chap who has a bloody good way with words.

Speaking of Mike Tress, his own offspring have also done a shidduch with Leib Pinter.

Avi Schron said...

Who is RYL again? I thought the Mir principle was Rav Kalmanovitz's son in law Neuman.

B'more Jew said...

A number of points need to be made:

The Agudah needs to own up, however The Awareness Center is not a worthy partner, with all due respect the sanity of Vivki Polin its Executive Director is seriously suspect. To call her dangerous is an understatement. That being said I think the Agudah is feeling pressure, and I think the public needs to give them a chance to put a system into place.
I believe some posters here believe that they can make the Agudah announce the problem at a press conference that there is a pervasive problem in our community and that they are bringing in outside help, that will never happen because:

1) The Agudah for better or worse believes in dealing with problems internally

2) There isn't a pervasive molestation problem, at worst there is a pervasive system of coverups.

3) The Agudah believes, and I agree that the way to deal with these issues is to investigate internally and then report credible threats to the authorities. I think this is what will eventually result from UOJ's efforts.

4) UOJ, I believe your intentions are pure, I think however that you lost alot of credibility early on with attacks on other personalities who were incidental to the main issues, and support of those who just have an axe to grind with the frum community such as Orthorev. Barring this I think the Agudah and others would be more receptive to your suggestions.

Ralph Zucker said...

Leib Pinter has a desk in the Mirrer administrative office. I hope that makes him a mandated reporter. Go after that crook first.

Anonymous said...

To the people mentioned, I hope you realize that this is a favor to you and to the klal. You will be spared your own legal troubles L'maala and L'mata. You must have the courage and the humility to hand the reigns over to the authorities.

Excited said...

Kolker says, "I intended it... that any society that shies away from open discussion of certain issues is a society that allows problems to fester longer — and abusers to stay in business longer". He just lost some credibility with me. Read that paragraph again in the original article. I give one point to Shafran there. There goes the shutout.

Here's the complete quote:
There are some who believe the repression in the ultra-Orthodox community can foster abuse. Sex before marriage in Hasidic life is strictly forbidden (unmarried men and women are barely allowed to look at one another), and even within marriage, sex is tightly regulated (couples aren’t allowed to have sex, for instance, during menstruation and the week after). As Winston notes, fathers can’t attend their daughters’ school plays, “as the sound of women singing can lead to uncontrollable male sexual arousal.” In a world of Paris Hilton videos and Victoria’s Secret billboards, there are few outlets for an Orthodox man with compulsions the community refuses to acknowledge even exist. The repression, some say, creates a fertile environment for deviance.

Anonymous said...

I am reluctant to give my full name since I'm a Jew that has blemishes and has made errors during my lifetime.
As opposed to many people on your blog who write to you and literally vilify and curse at any Rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva, or Bal Habayis. They totally neglect the fact that they themselves may have blemishes and errors during their lifetime.

My dear OUJ, I do want to commend you for bringing the very serious issue of molestation out in the open. You should know, that in the last 10-15 years there have been many individuals who have dealt with this issue in a direct and forthright manner. They, including myself, have called the police and Child Protective Services. I myself, am familiar, and have reported, at least 20 teachers, parents, and Rabbis that have engaged in this reprehensible act. For your own record, the only Rav I know of, who has permitted these calls to be made halachically was Rav Dovid Cohen who has been vilified on your site by some ignorant, arrogant people, who have no knowledge of the history of molestation in the US and Israel.

The bad news however is, that in my opinion, your blog will not continue a year from now. The reason is not related to the fact that your fight is unimportant. On the contrary, it's a desperate, serious issue in our community. Your blog will not survive since it has attracted some of the sickest, angry, and uninformed members of our Orthodox students and parent in our community. The venom and hatred is so deep that it literally poisons the message you want to portray. The fact that you allow bad language and attacks on distinguished Jews is one of the reasons why your blog will not survive. In the last 6 months, people have named as much as 50 different members of the Orthodox community. Many of whom were attacked based on hearsay hatred or some other unknown reason.

Perhaps you can use your energy and talent to create an organization that will deal solely with the issue of molestation in Yeshivas, camps, and Orthodox homes. This way you won't have to hide behind the name ‘unorthodox Jew’-which I’m sure you're not, but be out there in the open with other decent professionals and Rabbonim who are seriously concerned with this issue.

For the record, I believe that Torah Temima will not close down but will continue. Don't be under the illusion that thousands upon thousands of people are reading and supporting your blog. There are many among our Orthodox Jewish population who are concerned and angry. I have asked hundreds of Orthodox single and married people if they are familiar with your blog. Unfortunately, 90-95% of our people have no knowledge of it and just continue with their lives despite the fact that this is a critical issue in Klal Yisroel.

Want to commend you for the work you've done till now, but if you continue in the same vein, of throwing out names, and having people pick them off and destroy their reputations without proof, your service becomes a disservice.

I look forward to your response on this blog. Perhaps I will find out very shortly who you are and how to reach you directly.

Not totally on the sidelines

Dmitriy Salita said...

One thing I don't understand. Batei din and rabbonim do have one effective way of dealing with things "internally". They have tough guys beat the living daylights out of men who refuse to give a get. Why are molesters, who are actually rotzchim, any better than stubborn husbands? Why are perverted monsters spared the one method that our normally spineless leaders employ?

Samuel Heilman said...

I always try to act like the big know it all on every issue in the frum community. All the media lapdogs like the NY Times and others fall for it.

I wonder how I can insert myself into this issue. Does anyone think UOJ will give me the time of day?

Cal Ripken Jr. said...

To Bal'more Jew,

When I studied in Ner Yisroel, Baltimore Jews were stereotyped as being unsophisticated and naive about the world. They were affectionately referred to as Baltimore farmers. On the issue of dealing with child molesters, Baltimore has its own reputation for being infamously apathetic to the victims throughout the years in its insecure attempt to potray itself as a safe Jewish community.

While the farmer label may have been an unfair exaggeration, your comments definitely serve to further this stereotype.

In response to the point you make in item 1) and 3)about Aguda preferring to act "internally," hello! This is exactly the problem. In todays world of transparency in leadership and the need for leaders to be held to the highest standards of integrity, does it not behoove the Oylam Hatorah to at least equal this standard that the goyim are striving for if we can't seem to exemplify it? Should we be allowing our leaders to set up potentially power corrupting systems that even the best of intentions will fail under? How do you think we got to this problem in the first place?

As for your point 2) that we don't have a pervasive problem of abuse, I would like you to tell that to the many survivors that I know of myself. Even the Novominsker Rebbe said publicly that sexual abuse is a widespread problem in our community (even as he was miminizing the problem of domestic violence at a conference about that problem). Besides, is it not enough to have even ONE molester allowed to roam freely in our community? How many children does it take to be victimized to be considered prevalent? It is really a stupid thing to say that abuse is not prevalent.

Finally, your point #4) shows a complete lack of understanding of the gravity of the problem of the silence of our leadership. I posted not long ago on this site, asking for a list of rabbis who are willing to speak out for victims. Besides for Rabbis Blau and Mitnick, there was no one. So UOJ mentioning a few who have dropped the ball, is really only the tip of the iceberg. Contrary to your beliefs, these rabbis are not incidental to the main problem, they ARE the main problem. "All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." I believe Churchill said that. (If I'm wrong on that one, plese pardon my lack of sophistication, I learned in Baltimore, after all). "Rabbis who refuse to get involved in saving Jewish children need to be held accountable". I said that.

Daniel Mehlman said...

Baltimore Jew, you are making an honest mistake in giving the Agudah too much credit. They haven't just covered up scandals, they have enabled the enablers of molesters like Margo for decades.

Their "internal" way of "dealing" with problems is a misnomer if there ever was one. Unfortunately, they will probably only act when forced to by Albany and Capitol Hill.

Anonymous said...

To Not totally on the sidelines,

Instead of criticizing UOJ, what alternative are you offering for exposing molesters and forcing our leaders to admit and confront the problem.

Yasher Koach to you for turning them in to the police. What a great chesed to our community and to our children. And you are right that Reb Dovid Cohen gets credit for this too.

But how can we take the blinders off the REST of the community? UOJ's approach might not be perfect, but it is the ONLY one that has gotten results. Instead of criticizing, which is easy, be creative, start your own blog, or write letters to the papers and to the gedolim (if you think they will care). Unfortunatley, law suits seems to be the only way to get their attention, and anger seems to be the only way to get lawsuits going.

Got any other brilliant ideas?

Aron Mehlman said...

Yessiree Daniel, and our brother Josh had better take heed as some might say he's enabling Leib Pinter by letting that piece of dreck act like owns Mirrer yeshiva.

Jewish Survivors Of Sexual Violence said...

Because we are dealing with sex offenders in the US, I thought it was also important to be aware of how difficult it is to convict a sex offender in the US court system.

Here's some facts on The Awareness Center's web page

If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.

If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution.

If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction.

If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.

So, even in the 39% of attacks that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison.

Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists—1 out of 16— will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free. According to the US Department of Justice.

Anonymous said...

we must appeal to the melinda gates sat on her buffet eating curds and whey foundation for support for rape victims in poor countries. This might include frum families and the awareness center.

Anyone know bill?

Advocate for the Ethical Treatment of Survivors said...

B'more Jew said:
"The Agudah needs to own up, however The Awareness Center is not a worthy partner, with all due respect the sanity of Vivki Polin its Executive Director is seriously suspect."

FYI: If I remember correctly The Awareness Center is the ONLY organization that deals with these issues. Vicki Polin is "seriously suspect"? Suspect of what? Being an educator, a victim advocate? She's also come out publicly as being a survivor. . . Do you feel threatened by her education and experience? Are you afraid that she might be right? Or even worst be able to correct some of the problems that may be systemic within the community at Ner Israel?

"The Agudah for better or worse believes in dealing with problems internally? "
Of course they do. They are like any other big business that is more concerned about their assets then caring about doing the right thing. Does anyone who is a part of the Agudah have forensic training? Do they know how to gather evidence or doing victim sensitive interviews? They want to be able to do their own investigations so that way they can cover up the crimes. Look at what happened in the case of Rabbi Yaakov Weiner? What happened to the evidence of the ripped pajama bottoms of a young boy?

Wake up buddy! You are definitely a part of the problem.

aaron from Los angeles said...

To Cal Ripken,Jr..... It was actually another Englishman, Edmund Burke, who said something like that.The quote is really a paraphrase from an essay he wrote in the mid 18th century.(I went to Y.U.,couldn't you guess?).The again,maybe it ws Benny Hill.

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

What most people are not understanding about this conversation is that permitting of sexual abuse by not stopping it, has EVERYTHING to do with power abuse by the rabbis as well as a distorted sense of right and unadulterated evil!

Think about it...would the rabbis permit a bookeeper in their offices managing their money if there were "rumors" he or she was a thief?

Would they insist on a beis din or would they just fire the SOB?

The conversation has evolved into madness. The rabbis are BUMS! That's right BUMS! You heard it here!


Parker Brothers / Hasbro said...

"And you are right that Reb Dovid Cohen gets credit for this too."

That is until this latest fiasco came along where Rabbi Cohen has taken the bizarre position of giving Margo a free pass for letting Kolko run wild, then threatening the young victims and their parents.

He says Margo should not go to jail, but pass go and collect $200.

Sickened by the BS said...

Can someone please explain to me why anyone needs to get permission from Rabbi Dovid Cohen to make a hot-line report?

If you "SUSPECT" a child is being abuse, you report it. You let those with the education and trainning determine if there's a case or not.

I don't give a f_ _ _ _ if it's halachically ok. What matters is protecting children.

How many times did survivors go up to HaRav Cohen and disclose their abuse? How many times did Cohen do absolutely nothing because the survivors alleged offenders were other rabbis or friends of his?

This is nothing more then a good 'ole boys club.

Anonymous said...

Should we all be so impressed when someone has the title "HaRav" in front of their names, that we allow them to let sexual abuse continue?

What will it take to make people pull their heads out of the sand and demand that things change?

Anonymous said...

A somewhat well-known rov in the community tells me he is disappointed with Avi Shafran and that he will be contacting him to let him know. He urges that the Agudah should be hearing from likeminded members of the community so that they get the message. He says he knows Avi and predicts that he will akshan zich and not admit any wrongdoing but that he will at least not repeat the same retarded behavior again that was dishonest and hurtful to victims who are greatly suffering.

(212) 797-9000

Neandershort said...

"Why not urge complainants frustrated by the bet din process to take those grievances to an American court?"

Because these putzes don't consider themselves Americans. They see the American gov't as the enemy, just as in Poland, Hungary and all the stink holes of Europe.

Anonymous said...

In some of the charedi communities in Jerusalem I was told that if someone seeks counseling they must ask the rav for permission first. The rav will tell the individual which therapist to go to.

If that individual discloses abuse to the therapist; the therapist must get permission from the Rav to report the allegations to the proper authorities.

When the alleged offender is a friend, will the rav allow the report?

I've heard that this also common in NYC. Can anyone verify that?

Jay and Are said...

My position on this is as follows ( and I imagine that most people feel teh same way):

I was never molested, nor was anyone in my family ever molested.

I feel that kids who have been molested have been taken advantage of by people who must be removed from their jobs and treated appropriately.

But these molesters know who to go after. They go after vulnerable kinds.
If parents would keep a tight reign on their kids and know what is going on in schools, it wouldn't happen.
Once again, a molester will target a vulnerable kid - whatever the reason is, whether it is because the kid is a yasom, he has no money, he is spaced out, doing poorly in school, is too timid, etc.
Many have a hard time finding sympathy for these people.
If you put yourself in a situation where you are vulnerable to such a dispicable crime, many won't be able to associate with it.
I was never molested as a kid, bec. no one would have dared to rty to do it. I would never have stood for it. A cousin of a friend of mine once tried to perform a lewd act in front of me when I was 10 and I looked at him and told him he's nuts. I yelled and ran away.
If kids would be properly taught and trained to stand up for themselves - and their parents would be strong as well, these things would not happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm a former YTV parent and am wondering whether anyone has submitted any information on the YTV scandal from a little over 2 years ago involving the elementary school menahel R' Yosef Wilner and R' Yitzhak Sekula - all the abuse that had gone on for so long and had been covered up by Sekula. The Novominsker and R' Shechter from Chaim Berlin had been heavily involved, ascertained the validity of the allegations - gave assurance to the parents that it will be taken care of - and it's outrageous that wilner is still there after they verified with I think over 100 parents the amount and extent of negligience and verbal and physical abuse. I don't think there were allegations of sexual abuse with him. He was moved to the 7 & 8 grades. Reputable and reliable parents had testified (like Rabbi Eisen); R' Pam had even tried to fire him when he was alive although I don't know why that didn't happen. There had been some sort of vaad consisting of novominsker shechter and shustal (conneticut) but although they promised the parents multiple times swift and appropriate action to get rid of that "rasha" as they called him, they couldn't act properly because the olam hatorah would view their decision as support of board members rather and disagreeing with "mechanchim" or "hanhala". This, even though the board had been trying for years - with the support of many gedolim and parents to get rid of a monster.

Yankel said...

It comes down, I believe, to a question of priorities.

There are some (members of the Agudah, it seems) who believe that no matter how laudable the end, the means themselves must be strictly kosher. So, they'll say, of course child abuse is horrible, but one still can't be oveir on loshen hara (or other la'avim) in order to end it. The means matter.

There are others (including myself) who believe that certain ends justify certain means. That Loshen hara isn't yihareig ve'al ya'avor. That saving a life - or preventing child abuse - is docheh just about anything. Of course, we'll say, no one should run willy nilly over the Torah, but we shouldn't let our fear of committing an issur prevent us from being matzil neshamos either.

Ends or means? Which is right?

I'm hardly one to lecture anyone on Da'as Torah, but I find it hard to forget the end of the story of Kamtzah and Bar Kamtzah. When the Roman emperor sent a korban, which Bar Kamtzah purposefully gave a mum to, the Rabbanan were willing to be makriv it as a korban anyway - or kill Bar Kamtzah, so he wouldn't report them to Caesar. But Rav Zechariah ben Avkulos dissuaded them, because it was assur to bring a korban with a mum (even to play nice with Caesar) and because death wasn't the proper punishment for making a mum.

Rav Yochanan said that Rav Zechariah's meticulousness caused the churban.

I take Rav Yochanan's comment to mean that the ends - in the gemara, keeping the peace with the emperor, and here and now, reporting abuse - can sometimes mean being oveir on the technicalities of halacha. Not always. Not for the heck of it. But to prevent the emperor of Rome from attacking. To prevent abuse from festering in our communities and schools.

Sakanos nefashos is docheh just about everything. Rav Zechariah ben Avkulos was wrong then. The Agudah is wrong now.

Anonymous said...

uoj, to accuse the rabbis of being bums is hardly fair. You yourself are not risking publicity. Are you a bum too for not speaking out?

How exactly is your case different? Public figures have complex public pressures. They may not have realized how damaging abuse is psychologically if they hoped the abuser would change their ways. To call them bums is to label yourself a boor.

Anonymous said...

Who is this Rabbi Gottesman from UOJ's previous post, the one he wrote the email to?

mental health professional said...

This is in response to the posts: I am a mental health professional (experience and not with a major degree), I BELIEVE very strongly in the proposed measure to protect our Jewish children. I went to a yeshiva (not in NY) and baruch hashem never experienced the abuse. However, the boys in our school were hit by Rabbis, and yelled at by them. Many of them were fathers, my own brother had a female teacher hit him, and he came and told me!! She was dealt with by my parents.
As a parent of two children (one boy and one girl) I chose NOT to place them in a very orthodox school, due to the fact that there does seem to be a tolerance of abuse, just like there is a tolerance towards most disgressions of bein adam l’chavaroh (such as rudeness, prejudice etc.) A board should be set up to monitor our teachers, tutors, and others who deal with our precious human souls (children)!!! It is a shame that the various Jewish communities have not thought of this before. Further more, I propose that having a board is not enough. An extensive background check of our Menahalim should be done, as well as a confidential hotline be set up to accept abuse reports like they do in Ohel for domestic abuse BUT it should not be run by any existing Jewish non-for profit agency, or it’s decision makers including Rabbis. The board should not only be comprised of “professionals” with degree letters behind their names. Further more, the Bet Din? That is another issue for another time!!!!
If this does become a real board I am volunteering to be a part of it!! Blog Author only may request my contact details. To the person who is spear heading this kol hacovod!! May you be zoche to see many children’s nishomot saved, and be a known as a warrior of children….

Anonymous said...

uoj, warrior ours, may you be zoche to set up your grandchildren and great grandchildren so that they can have a P.I. too.

We need a yeshuah, big time said...

UOJ, you are right. They are all bums.

Did you see the Southpark episode on abuse in the Catholic Church? There was a huge meeting in the Vatican to do damage control. Everyone was trying to come up with new ways to get victims to shut up. One poor guy kept suggesting that they should outlaw sexual abuse of children and everybody just reacted by cracking up laughing at his preposterous idea.

You got to see it its really funny. By us, if anyone suggests to the Rabbis that they actually do something to stop the abuse, they seem to find this idea funny as well. What the hell is their problem?

They have no problem mounting massive campaigns against bugs in water, avoda zara in sheitlach, slits in skirts (chas v'shalom someone whould actually look at an adult female sexually) etc. Why the f*** can't they come out against the destruction of their own children's lives and souls?

Some say they are just ignorant. Well it is a crime against humanity to be that ignorant. Maybe instead of learning Talmudic wisdom on ritualistic Judaism, they could take just a little time to learn about real life. How do we start a new type of frum that is not a mental disorder, but a beautiful way of life?

Anonymous said...

They are not all bums, but the frum community is built upon cloning, following everybody else, judging based upon externals, thinking narrowly, self righteous, in a strident, triumphalist stance, all the glorious things avi shafran must justify to the jewish goyishe velt.

If UOJ is our yeshua, let him step up to the microphone at the next press conference and announce the revolution.

Photography adds ten pounds. Losing forty is a bit excessive but a step in the right direction.

god bless.

exposemolesters said...

Agudas Yisroel of America, is like any other money hungry, power driven, corrupt riddled organization that cares more about protecting its own interests than that of Klal Yisroel. You can put Torah Umesora in that category as well. The madness and insanity of so called Roshei Yeshiva's and Rabbi's that are allowing our children to be abused and molested is a crime that they will pay dearly for. It is no coincidence that Camp Agudah's kitchen burnt down and nor will it be a coincidence when other bad things will happen to people who had a part in destroying what is our dearest assets.

If you are a current victim of abuse, please do not hesitate to go to the Police. Do not feel regret over idiotic nonsense reasons such as: It's wrong to go to the Police because its "mesira", "chilul hashem", "against the Jewish religion", or any other bogus excuses people want to come up with. If you do not feel comfortable in going to the police and need assistance in doing so, please contact UOJ and he will help you. You can also contact me at Matzil_Nefoshos@yahoo.com and I will make sure to put you in touch with the proper authorities.

It has been too many years and after so many abuse victims, that we are left with no choice than to do whatever is necessary to protect our innocent children, even if it becomes a great chilul hashem, like it already has. We can no longer depend on our "rabonim" to save us. They have proven themselves time and time again as being irresponsible and not up to the task that is their duty, of protecting our children. As a result, we must fight back in ways that are necessary, yet hurtful.

After following UOJ's blog for quite some time, and reading so many terrible cases of child abuse, I am at wits end. It would be a crime on good people like us, if we continue to remain silent even one more second. Yeshiva's have proven they do not care. Jewish organizations have proven they do not care. "Rabonim" and "Roshei Yeshiva's" have proven they do not care.

We simpletons DO care. We will do all that is necessary to stop the endless cycle of physical and sexual abuse of children in our yeshiva's, camps, and neighborhoods. The people who protect the abusers will be named and demoralized. Those who are doing the abusing, you are on notice. You will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. When you are sentenced to do time in jail, you can have all the fun you want with your fellow inmates. Hopefully they won't rape you. However if they do end up playing with your ding dongs, it will be a taste of your own medicine. (those who protect the abusers will also find themselves in a small tiny cage in jail, for being an accomplice to a crime).

Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I absolutely could care less what people think about my opinion on many rabbis. That's my opinion, you don't like it, don't come on to my blog.

That's clouding the real issue of today's abuse of power by the Establishment rabbis and organizations that have let Judaism sink into a cesspool and sewage of beards claiming to be teachers and rabbis.

How does a gangster like Margulies get to run a school? How does a half-assed high-school rebbe/ chassidic heir like Perlow get to call the shots for the Agudah and their followers?

What exactly are these guys' qualifications?
Even street sweepers have to pass civil servant exams.

How does a flunky like Shea Fishman get to control a network of 700 Hebrew day shools?

The point here is clear; these bastards destroyed a holy religion; and unless we throw these guys out on their fat asses, "you" will get what you deserve!

Your kids will be molested and physically and emotionally abused. Your wives will be walking around withg ten different wigs on her head to cover ALL the chumras from one bigger shmuck than the other.

We'll need 50 hechsherim on laundry detergent.

Get my drift...wake up or suffer the consequences!

Anonymous said...

uoj ur a shame and embarasment to frum judiasm.. u think ur hot stuff now, until kolko ur blog got no hits... ull take any1 down, ull do anything to get attention that u need, ur a sick lost individual who is depressed and starved of love and friends..u take ppl down,..we all know who you are and many are looking forward to your coming downfall... it will happen without question...whatever goes up goes down...ull be down, god wont let u talk about gedolim and chashuv ppl the way you do, u r enjoying the high now, but either in this world or next god will make u pay for the way u acted, u embarrased ppl in public and lost ur share in olam haba, i dont know how u can even begin to ask mechila to all the ppl u hurt, and the instutions u hurt in name and financially..regardless if ur right re the molestation issue, u had to much collateral damage...
as i mentioned in earlier posts, if u wanted to have legitimacy u should have got haskamot, now ur just a yenta stupidity page...a lashon hara page...
you should prob start by mailing out letters to the whole community... u already have the addresses...
and post all over the internet and ask mechila...
good luck...
if i was u id be terrified...id be scared of what god was going to do to me in the world to come, id be terrified what hashem has in store for some1 who took being mevayish brabim to a whole new level.. u won, ur the king... u were mevayash the way no one else every was...i wonder how god is creating a special hell for u and what it will be like in there....

Anonymous said...

uoj main reason in doing this is that every1 knows uoj...
if he wanted to do this right it would be done with rabonim...now its just nonsense...
uoj...molestation is something serious..and needs to be addresses...
but do it with rabonim and ull be respected..this way ur a clown...
do it right and u could do good..this way is just stupidity

John Q. Publicstein said...

Look, there is nothing wrong with admitting that our gedolim are inpet when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse. They may be great at cross-referencing obscure meforshim, they may quote multiple sources in a drasha with the best of them, but when it comes to protecting little Moishy's genitals from the horny rabbi who can't control himself, the rabbinate is impotent.

Frankly, I think the whole concept of molestation has its roots grounded in American society. And who are our REAL gedolim anyway? Since Reb Moshe and Reb yaakov, a"h, passed within weeks of each other, have we really had a true, emesdikke godol? Posers, for sure, righteous people, also for sure, but true gedolim? No way.

And with no one to turn to, essentially this newfangled problem of sexual abuse is so foreign to the rabbanim that they have actually created the perfect petri dish for this disease to fester and grow in. Believe me, if there would be a maharsha or a shita mikubetses that says if a man is identified as a molester, castrate first and ask questions later, then we'd have no Kolko's and Colmer's around.

So let's stop looking to gedolim for answers. They have none. We have the power and the motivation to set the rules and enforce them. UOJ is leading the way. He's one man, and judging from the length of his emails, a very busy one with little time and less patience.

So let the Shafran's of the wrold know thattheir pathetic and lame answers, their cop-outs, are not going to be tolerated. And then do something.

Creating hell said...

I hope the hell being created by
G-d for UOJ, is not as bad as the hell created for the jewish children by the molesters and the rabbis who enable them. And I hope we all are zocheh to the heaven being created by UOJ of a world where our yeshivas are safe from molesters.

Anonymous said...

jerk above - your head is in the sand. UOJ will get Kishe Hakovod when he goes up after 120 yrs you stupid moron. Your probably Kolko or Margo dumb-arse. How foolish you are.
Deep down though you know UOJ has it right on target this time, and everyone is running scared INCLUDING YOU b/c I know who YOU ARE!

You are likely a pervert in hiding and YOU KNOW THE SH-T will hit the fan when we comne knocking on your door.

SHame on you for the stupid dribble.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness to my friend, colleague and yeshua, uo, you are too harsh.

Being m'vayesh a pedophile is a mitzvah, not an aveirah. Such people have a din of a rodef. UOJ is okay there.

He's not exactly off track on the bearded scene either. The Noveminsker is better than merely a high school rebbe. I believe he's even a college graduate. He has credentials and a following and real estate in Borough Park, enough to rival uoj's daddy possibly. Money deserves respect, and gets it.

Stay off your blog? No such luck.

If the rabbonim were intelligent, which is sometimes doubtful, they'd use sechel. Outing insiders isn't the way business has been run in the past. Rav Elyashiv is looking over his shoulder like everybody else. Nobody wants to be perceived as insufficiently frumacked.

uoj isn't perfect, but he's no clown and he's not stupid. I also don't believe his suite in the hereafter will be any less or more than he, you or I deserve. The Master of the Universe is a fair judge and uoj cares, without waiting for his rabbonim to tell him he has to.

Anonymous said...

But, that doesn't mean the only topic worthy of discussion has to be sex offenders. The "you" you seek are much more concerned about financial indiscretions and potential revelations, I betcha. There's plenty to dig up besides old grudges. The numbers of sex offenders pales beside the number of thieves.

The Judge of all the Earth doesn't like sex offenders. He also doesn't like liars, dishonesty.

I guess they'd like you to take them all to a corrupt Bais Din. Don't stop, uo.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to comment on the many opinions being offered whether the good that UOJ has accomplished is being "offset" by the bad.

UOJ - please listen. I can tell from some of your recent comments that you really care. The abuse of power, molestation, and cover-up that you know about does not allow you to rest peacefully. You have been very successful in changing our culture to some degree over the last months. Suddenly, a topic that was never spoken about is on the tips of our tongues. Yeshivas are wary of you. The organizations are on the lookout. The climate is right for change.

As you successfully point out the hypocrisy and evil in our midst, you and many other commenters should make a strong effort to:

1. Use appropriate language instead of the lexicon now used

2. Attack only those that truly deserve to be attacked - the abusers of power and the molesters. The potshots taken at Rabbonim, Rabbayim, or even laymen that we have seen on this blog is not appropriate and needs to be curtailed.

3. Stop ridiculing anyone (including this commenter) who calls for a more civil discourse. I believe that most of us are parents. We would be the first to instruct our children that 2 wrongs do not make a right. We can't justify the feeling of gossip, frivolity and laxity that this blog is identified with on the basis that we are taking up a higher cause - especially when we can accomplish the same thing without resorting to these tactics.

Let's fight the issue of molestation in a strong, take-no-prisoners type of way, but keep foul language, off color, and insulting remarks out of the dialogue. I believe that as you call for a higher level of Judaism - a yearning for the holy religon that it once was - it is a critical error to allow and foster this type of dialogue which decreases individual holiness. As a group, the effect is contagious and more devestating.

UOJ, I respectfully ask you and your readers to think before you respond with knee jerk reactions. Please consider my words which are heartfelt.

I must specifically comment on Rav Elchonon Wasserman. Despite your strong feeligs about the decision that Rav Elchonon made, going after him so harshly has left a bad taste in many people's mouths. Now, you have said that we should not read your blog if we don't like your opinions. You are missing the point which is that we like what you are doing. You are important to us. We would like to visit your blog which is the only vehicle where we can have an open discussion about abuse. However, we respect certain boundaries that you have crossed. It is very simple for you to tell us to leave the blog, but you would lose many interested and loyal supporters. Please reconsider your adamant position on certain Gedolim that you have severely criticized.

Regarding R' Elchanan, perhaps your point could have been that people aren't perfect and that you believe that his advice was wrong and that even Rav Elchonon may have realized this. You could extend that further with the Art Scroll type biographies where Gedolim are superhuman and explain why you believe that is dangerous. But the manner that you attacked him, conveys a message that G-D forbids R' Elchanan is in the same category as a Margulies. This is unequivocally wrong. As mentioned, the blog should criticize and publicize the real abusers - not Gedolim or laymen that make mistakes or are imperfect in one way or another.

To the readers:

It is time to get involved. Following the blog and making clever comments is not very difficult. Meanwhile, UOJ is fighting a one man battle. Are you ready to advocate for the independent board that UOJ has spoken about? Would you dare challenge your Yeshiva if an issue of abuse came up? It is easy to feel comfortable on this blog with UOJ as your super hero. It is convenient to wait for UOJ to "take down" the next molester, but where are the parents? You need to get involved in real life. I believe that UOJ has been saying that of late, but I haven't seen any responses. I'd like to see readers respond by name - no more hiding behind anonymous - and offer to support a parent advocacy group.

Let's continuously examine and reexamine our motives. It is easy to insult those who critique this blog, it is much more difficult to absorb good advice even if it is comig from those that you disagree with.

Let's clean up this blog so that it can be a place that we would be proud to take our children to visit. Let's support UOJ by becoming involved parents. Let's move forward by continuing with the positive aspects of this blog while filtering out the negative aspects that we know in our heart of hearts has no place in our very important dialogue.

boog said...


What the hell are you smoking?

The Agudah is makpid that the means to the ends should be kosher? Really?

That's why they honored sruly (pock-mark face) singer at their last dinner and go out of their way to honor 2-bit politico hacks like joe lieberman and other low-life scum-bags.

In the immortal words of Joan Rivers: "Get real."

exposemolesters said...

To the nitwit up above,

UOJ is a Tzadik who already has his reward in olam aba waiting for him. His courageous dedication and leadership on a matter of Pikuach Nefesh is astounding. He is like a needle in a haystack, you can't find too many people who rise up to the occasion of protecting klal yisroel, like UOJ has. By the way you are allowed to embarrass people in public, if it is done leshem shamayim. It is refreshing to finally witness someone exposing the corrupt leadership of our Rabonim. Just because you have the label of "rabbi" "Rosh Yeshiva", "Rosh Kolel", "Shatnez Checker" or anything else, it does not exempt you from performing your duty of keeping our most prized assets safe from molesters. The beard and payos, also doesn't have any special power that holds one back from doing evil.

There is an interesting case that has to do with Shatnez, that the torah allows one to humiliate another in public. If a person is knowingly wearing a beged that contains shatnez, we must tear it off his body at once. Even if you leave the person bare and naked and he will suffer much embarrassment, you are obligated to tear the beged off his body. Certainly, in a case of pikuach nefoshos, where potential would be victims of sexual abuse are saved by the actions of people such as UOJ, it is not only muttar, but it is an obligation on every Jew to do what they can to help prevent the abuse from taking place. Unfortunately, our so called "leaders" have fled from this obligation, thus we are fortunate to have UOJ fill the big gap that so many Rabonim have failed to do.

Again i would like to remind the bird brain up above of how silly he sounds. While it is true that Loshan Hara is a great sin, it does not apply when it is a matter of Pikuach Nefesh. The same applies to being Mevayesh Buh-Rabim. Good that they get embarrassed and exposed, it will save so many children's lives. Don't divert the real issue at hand with religious rhetoric, that has no implications on a matter of Pikuach Nefesh. Focus on the real issue at hand, of how to stop and prevent the physical and sexual abuse of our children. You and people of your nature, who think and function in this ridiculous world of yours, are very guilty of not protecting klal yisroel. May Hashem avenge his children and come to their defense!

Ohel Issues said...

UOJ & Jewish Whistleblower have lambasted someone at Ohel about kevarim in disrepair. I asked someone connected and was given the following rebuttal:

When a cemetary fills up and there are no new bodies and the funds are no longer enough to take care of the cemetary who should pay for the upkeep?

The city asked Hebrew free burial society or something to take care of it. Maybe they give them a couple of bucks. I assure you they aren't making money on it, it's a lot of agmos nefesh. If shkotzim throw trash there or stuff like that, let UOJ and the other guys that have made a stink about it raise money and pay for it. No reason why it should come out of one person's pocket more than any other yid.

Create a non-profit and take care of it.

Robert Wagner said...

To all those saying we must go after gneiva in the establishment, that would be great, but...

It's hard enough to catch a sex offender, but at least victims come forward with our encouragement.
White collar crime is even harder.
How do you catch a thief?

Jeff Jarvis said...

Let's not get our dander up because of anonymous' post. I think the two post were fraudulent. They seem to be put up to make UOJ's detractors look stupid. Anonymous posted it as a lightning rod.
Just my opinion.

Elisha said...


I’ve been following your blog and what has been going on for a while. I am angry and infuriated by the shame that has been brought to Judaism. I, like most people (I hope), want to do something about this. Reading your blog is informative, but we want to take action!!

People such as myself that don’t have children and are not able to show these Yeshivas that we won’t stand for this, or people that sends their kids to regular modern orthodox schools, have no way of speaking out. It kind of feels like I’m in a glass box yelling at the world, but no one can hear me.

What can we do to make changes? I think there are plenty of people that are angry and want to do something about this besides for telling everyone they know how upset they are about this problem.

YOU NEED TO GIVE US SOME VIABLE OPTIONS. We are listening and waiting for some direction.

Yishai Schlissel said...

I know how to take care of faigs like Kolko and enablers like Margo. I wasn't afraid to get involved.

Anonymous said...

To Boog;

I've done a heck of alot for the cause and am a bigger supporter of UOJ than you'll ever realize. I'll just leave it at that.

Your reaction was typical knee jerk as I feared.

Is your argument that because the Agudah is corrupt, we can also be corrupt? I addressed that point in my earlier remarks.

Expose: You have no idea who you are talking to - to call me a nitwit is unbecoming. I understand your pain and totally believe what your brother went through; however, please read what I wrote. I differentiated between those who should be humiliated and those who are unfairly attacked. Your response is very unfair.

To both of you: We should not stoop to their level. That doesn't mean we don't take off the gloves and get tough. What it does mean is that we don't go after innocent people or create collateral damage just for the heck of it.

Anonymous said...

"We would like to visit your blog which is the only vehicle where we can have an open discussion about abuse."

If your statement, above, is based upon the fact that the other blog on survivor courage censors, as does uoj sometimes, this is true.

This is the owner's blog and he can blogging well do any blogging blogging he wishes.

I am a parent and less concerned with abuse than fake frumkeit in general.

The real test of uoj's might is whether or not the rosh margulies reigns or retires.

Good Point said...

Regarding Mandel, Pro-Fresser Twerpski & Shafran:


Hey this isn't a "whitewash" as you suggest-its "hogwash" and strictly not kosher-even a a secular Jew knows as much!

Posted by: Modern Jew

Putting Things In Perspective said...


"Rabbi Avi Shafran, perhaps the sleeziest PR person Judaism has ever known"

Auto Report World Editors said...


About your proposed mechanism for dealing w/ pedophile teachers, please don't ape the Brooklyn mob and make it too NYCcentric. The problem of coverups may be more common in NYC because of the larger percentage of privately vs. communally owned/run schools, but without the involvement of the worldwide community, the miscreants will always have a place to run too, hide, and molest again.

I was told by a former yeshiva administrator that in his 20 year tenure at a local school they had three cases of molestation and that the teachers were fired. He was telling this to me while disputing my contention that we may have as serious a problem as the Roman Catholics do. His point was that there were "only" 3 case in 20 yrs and that they "killed" the perps. My reaction is that I've lived in this city my entire life, have friends and relatives who have been affiliated w/ that school as students, parents and teachers, and I never heard anything about teachers getting fired for molestation and certainly nothing about any criminal proceedings. I have no doubt that keeping things quiet was a priority and my guess is that the teachers simply moved to another city or country where they continued abusing.

Without a national and international network of cooperating Jewish schools, the rodfim will have their arei miklat. [Yeah, I know, poor metaphor, since those who needed arei miklat were generally innocent of malicious intentent whereas predatory teachers are among the most deliberate of criminals]

The Michael Broyde Report said...

Help protect our Jewish families and children. Check out The Michael Broyde Report.

L'Aniyas Daati said...

Here is an idea I would like people to respond to and UOJ to help implement:


Thousands of Parents, Rabbis, Survivors, UOJers, and others signing their name to a petition for Agudas Yisroel and Torah Umesorah to come clean on their failure to protect Jewish children, to apologize to the victims for the cover up, etc.

The petition should include a few words of pain and pleading for help from several victims and parents of victims.

The petition should also demand that these organizations:

1. Begin to raise money to pay for
a victims fund in which renumeration for medical, psychological and even legal expenses are provided for, as a small token of tzedaka for what survivors have paid in blood. No money can ever replace what was taken from them. Also, the powers that be should set up support groups in several shuls for victims of yeshiva/rabbinical or any sexual abuse to meet anonymously and share their burdens and find solace. Victims groups should be visited by rabbinic leaders to have a chance to express their pain and be heard.

2. A task force to train rabbis, teachers and parents on how to protect children, on the devastating impact of sexual abuse to individuals, families and communities, and on ways to prevent cover ups in the future. This should include Aguda and Torah Umesora conferences run by professionals in the field and open to parents and victims.
Attendance by rabbis and teachers in all yeshivas should be mandatory.

3. A campaign of public service announcements in all Charedi newspapers signed by all the gedolim about the horrible aveira of child abuse. This should clarify that ALL unwanted touch, physical, sexual, penetration or no penetration is a disgusting sin, as is the practice of humiliating children publicly.(Thes anouncements could be just like the beautiful ads they come out with about tznius, television, the internet, bugs in lettuce, and all the "really important" problems).

4. Funds should also be raised for a full blown research project done by social scientists (sociologists, psychologists, epidimiologists, etc.) to learn the extent and the nature of child abuse in our community. The results and reccommendations that are made should also be published.
So we all can be clearly informed on what we are up against. Yeshivas should be forced to cooperate with the research project.

The exact wording of the petition should be debated on this blog, because there are many people here more intelligent then I.

However, because UOJ is "treif" to many, (small minds) I hope he wouldn't mind if we start another website (not a blog) called something like... PetitionFrumLeaders.com, in which everyone could go and sign the petition.

Each and every one of us could get all of our friends, families, neighbors and ESPECIALLY our rabbis to sign.

We could put an ad in the Jewish Week asking for signatures and do mass mailings througout Brooklyn with the full text of the petition. Not only Brooklyn, what about Baltimore, Lakewood, Monsey, Los Angeles, Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, etc? Anywhere that Jewish children stand to benefit and Jewish adults seek leaders with integrity. (The ad would genetrate its own media coverage, I'm sure) We could offer people a way of signing without ever needing to go on the "treife" internet. (Oops, what am I doing here?)

Maybe we could even get Rav Steinman to give us a "when hell freezes over" tour to push the petition to save our children? Ok, that one was just to make a point. Let me get serious again.

If we could somehow manage to pressure a couple of chasidic rabbis, a couple of Sefardic, a couple of yeshivish, a couple of modern orthodox principals/ rabbis, maybe even some Lubavitchers to sign, then maybe this could be seen as a truly achdus building event for Jewish children.

(If we are angry enough to play hardball, we could publish on UOJ the names of all rabbis, schools, so called "askanim" and even parents who refuse to sign the petition and expose them for the cowards they are. Time to put up or shut up, guys.)

A Petition is a good way to start a protest. We might not even need to resort to pickets, demonstrations and press conferences outside the Aguda and Torah Umesorah offices. Maybe we will not need to arrange boycotts of their conventions. We might not require any more multimillion dollar lawsuits or New York Magazine articles. If we can get thousands of signatures, maybe our leaders will feel the pressure from the public to come through.

I, for one, think its a start.

Anonymous said...

Who are the "innocents" people are saying get attacked on this blog? I've been reading regularly, and all I see are names of rabbis and leaders guilty of crimes of ommission by saying nothing in the face of evil.

Ok, this Pinter guy does get it pretty rough and I cannot figure out what he has to do with anything.

Maybe someone should, in fact, expalin the role he plays in this all.

Brachos, Perek M'Eymasai said...

to the guy who broght up the gemorah about shatnez:

I believe the posuk quoted there is "Ayn Aytza, V'ayn V'ayn Daas, V'ayn Kavod Kneged Hashem." Something like that.

What an excellent point. If someone gives a hechser on lettuce in bags that some rabbis don't hold of, they think NOTHING of destroying rabbi H.'s reputation, parnassa, family's comfort, etc.

When Rabbi Lamb makes a comment about yeshiva guys liking to stay sheltered and live like cavemen, as opposed to opening their mind with a bit of secular knowledge, certain "Gedolim" call him a "Sonei Hashem," publicly humiliating him, mercilessly, for no good reason.

When Rav Steinman wants to speak about, chas v'shalom, yeshiva guys going out and getting a job to support their huge families, he is protested and driven out of town by Satmar goons.

When an out of town high school in a small jewish community needs to have co-ed classes to keep Torah alive there, Torah Umesorah blacklists them and gets their "Gedolim" to put them in virtual cherem, again showing no compassion for the needs of honest Jews.

But when rabbis are destroying young lives of future doros of Klal yisroel, by the most vile and disgusting sick manner of abuse for personal pleasure, all of a sudden....

SILENCE! Sha Shtill! We don't want to hurt the molester. We don't want to cause his family to suffer, never mind that he brought it upon them. We have to treat him respectfully with derech eretz, etc.

Ayn Aytza V'ayn Daas V'Ayn Kavod Kneged Hashem!!!

One more: kol hamrachem all ha'achzrim, sofo l'achzer all harachmanim.

In this case, the statement is true simultaneously. By having rachmanus on the molesters, you are inherrently showing great cruelty to the poor victims.

boog said...



Here, jerk this.

Take your soap box to 7th and 44th and set it up next to The Naked Cowboy.

Anonymous said...

"He [i.e., UOJ] is rensposable for seventeen pages of "chillul hashem" in the new yorker magazine"

And it's "chillul Hashem" why? [and that, BTW should ALWAYS be spelled with a capital 'H',for obvious reasons]

Because it dares to expose to the world the fact that there are men working in our yeshivos who engage in the most vile, lurid acts, clearly violations of Torah prohibitions against lewd conduct -- but they STILL MASQUERADE AS "FRUM" JEWS, wearing their hats and big beards and being ultra-machmir about their kashrus, having their tefillin and mezzuzahs checked, making sure their wives' shaitlach have no "avoda zarah" hair from India in them and a thousand other halachos, and making sure that at minyan, they tightly shut their eyes and bow and shuckle so everyone thinks they are really pious and daven with kavanah?

And for exposing to the world also the inconvenient fact that there are yeshiva menahels and roshei yeshivas, and community rabbonim who KNOW that these guys are there and who KNOW what they are and what they're doing -- but who do NOTHING to stop them and protect the innocent children, and in some cases, actively conspire to COVER UP their dirty aveiras, so as not to hurt the yeshiva's reputation (to say nothing of the fund-raising that pays their fat salaries!)? They give all kinds of bogus grounds for not reporting such behavior, claiming it would be "mesira," "loshan hara," "chillul Hashem," etc?


Do you actually think that because a man is "frum" he is incapable of such heinous sins -- that such things are only done by "the goyim" or the secular "shaygetz Jews," but not by our good, Torah-true frumme Yidden?

Or that all of the stories coming out on UOJ's blog and other forums of people who were molested, tried to report it and were brushed aside or intimidated into silence are just bubba meisis made up by "the goyim" and the "shaygetz Jews" to "destroy Torah"?

How is the yeshiva world's cover-up of such abuses -- even recruiting respected "gedolim" to poskin such things as "without penetration, it is not a crime" -- any different than the games played for yeaars by, lehavdil, the Catholic Church in shuffling its pervert priests around to new parishes rather than outing, ousting, those who had abused children?

If Kolko had been suspected of drinking cholov stam milk or having a TV in his house or timy bugs in his water, rather than sex abuse, believe me, he would have been booted out of his position YEARS AGO. But the Kool-Aid drinkers who say "it doesn't happen in our community" and who are so heated up over not the sins of Kolko or others, but UOJ is in effect accomplices for Kolko and every other "rebbe" who has abused the trust of his position and who ought to be unceremoniously sacked.

boog said...

Brachos, anon above;

Excellent points and well said.

BTW, Rabbi Lamm is 100% correct. They are cavemen.

boog said...

UOJ is responsible for 17 pages of Chilul Hashem in The New Yorker.

And what, pray tell, are Kolko, Mondrowitz, Bryks, Lanner, and Lezerowitz The Gerrorist responsible for?

Kiddush Hashem?

See ya at the Leizerowitz Farewell Party at Ateres on the Chaya, on 7/11.

I'll be wearing my Elton John T-Shirt.

Harold Stiefel said...

Michael Broyde Report,

What are the "other misdeeds" you allege that have nothing to do with allegedly slapping children?

Yisroel Best said...

Violent abusers should be dealt with too. Not just sexual pervs.

R' Aharon Yaakov Schwei (R' Elya's Cousin) said...

Especially if violent offenders are Lubavitchers.

michael broyde report said...

One day soon, everyone willrecognize the important work that UOJ has done. We will all benefit from it.

jewishwhistleblower said...


First, Mokom Sholom was run by shady people - just the right type who would remove gravestones to make a profit.

Second, even in 1977 they attempted to behave as if the gully area of the cemetery contained no burials. At that time the cemetery was run by Rabbi Sydney Appelbaum (Vaad HoRabonnim of Flatbush.) Note the investigators report. "When they started digging they found bones and after consultations with other Rabbis they stopped operations."

They knew this area was full in 1977. Rabbis told them to stop operations - Rabbis already forbade burials here in 1977. Rabbi Appelbaum went to those Rabbis and followed their advice. The Rabbis in 77 made one key mistake. They should have insisted the area should be marked so that there would never again be a question of whether graves were there or not. Hopefully that will be rectified now.

Yet, that was not what others wanted for the cemetery. Someone called Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz's office and turned Rabbi Appelbaum in for the financial shennanigans that went on at the cemetery. Within two years David Jacobson was the new manager. Although there is evidence to suggest that the old maps were handed to Jacobson and that Jacobson may have been real estate partners with Appelbaum, Jacobson carried on as if those gully fields were empty.

This letter pretty much explains why it was so important to put six feet of earth on top of the cemetery. Not to do so would mean uncovering an old body every time there would be a funeral - something most family members would not appreciate.

Mirrer Update said...


The info you are getting seems a little stale dated. The NYPD was in the Mir a week or two ago to question people about the pedophile.

jewishwhistleblower said...

>Ohel Issues said...

Appently someone can't read , so I will address this again.

>UOJ & Jewish Whistleblower have
>lambasted someone at Ohel about
>kevarim in disrepair.

Disrepair? They removed and destoyed the markers and headstones for over 11,000 graves!!! Primarily the graves of Jewish children!!!

"The problem seems to occur in the smaller Jewish cemeteries where there is very little supervision and where the manager of the cemetery has very little to stop him. The most vulnerable graves are those of children. Graves of children are very often not visited since children do not have children of their own to honor them and perpetuate their memory. Additionally, the parents of children who have died over a hundred years ago are no longer alive to advocate for their grave sites. Mokom Sholom is an exception to the rule of these neglected cemeteries since it is one of the few cemeteries that has had extensive research done on it. In other words, gravestones are being removed in many cemeteries, but in Mokom Sholom, we can prove it. Incidentally almost half of the total burials in Mokom Sholom are burials of children."


>I asked someone connected and
>was given the following rebuttal:
>When a cemetary fills up and
>there are no new bodies and the
>funds are no longer enough to
>take care of the cemetary who
>should pay for the upkeep?

1) These were burials all made by the UHC (United Hebrew Charities using land that was donated by Congregation Darech Amuno of Manhattan.). The problem was that the funds for maintenance of these graves were stolen.

2) Those monuments were removed with the express purpose of covering graves of already dead people, (mostly children under sixteen) with another six feet of dirt to gain profit from double burials. There should be no reward for trying to steal Jewish graves.

>The city asked Hebrew free
>burial society or something to
>take care of it. Maybe they give
>them a couple of bucks. I assure
>you they aren't making money on
>it, it's a lot of agmos nefesh.
>If shkotzim throw trash there or
>stuff like that, let UOJ and the
>other guys that have made a
>stink about it raise money and
>pay for it. No reason why it
>should come out of one person's
>pocket more than any other yid.

See above. This was a calculated operation to desecrate Jewish graves and make money.

>Create a non-profit and take
>care of it.

We did. Rabbi Applebaum who ran it misappropriated the money.

Shmuel Friedler said...

I'm surprised to hear all this hullabaloo surrounding Lazer Ginzburg. He's been quiet since he fought off the modern orthodox board in Eitz Chaim who let Puerto Ricans have rent space for parties in Eitz Chaim hall on Shabbos nights.

The Michael Broyde Report said...

H. Stiefel: Sad situation, I'm still garnering facts. Worst claim right now is that he is counselling young boys to leave their parents and live in his basement. Parents are preparing to go to court. Very messy.

Anonymous said...

is the naked cowboy jewish?

Putz From The Rose Castle said...

Lazer Ginzberg was mad at me too. Before I was thrown out of Kingsway Jewish Center, the neighborhood was complaining to Lazer and other rabbonim that I was renting out the hall to the Bedford-Sty crowd. They would spill out onto the streets of Flatbush at 3, 4 or 5 a.m. and have gunfights over drugs, women or whatever.

I still rent out the Rose Castle to seedy elements during Sefira and the Drei Vochen.

Rabbi Sruly Reisman said...

Is that the Jacobson that davens in my shul on Ave S ?

Anonymous said...

The buzz around Ave R is that Colmer's landlord is trying to get him evicted, but so far without success.

David Jacobson said...


Am I the David Jacobson in question?

"In August 1997, David Jacobson established Chicago Jewish Funerals because he believed there was a need for a highly personalized funeral service for the Jewish community. A funeral service that would be as attentive to the bereaved as it was to the strong traditions of the Jewish faith."

Anonymous said...

respect rabonim and u will be more respected...once u make light of "big names" u r made light of..
getting rid of mollesters is a good thing..embarassing gedolim and good ppl is a verrrrry bad thing

Anonymous said...


Well written and on point. I am confused at the attacks against your comment. You are clearly supportive of UOJ and the attack on Kolko and Margulies.

Lingus said...

"..if i was u id be terrified...id be scared of what god was going to do to me in the world to come"

UOJ has a reserved place in Gan Eden with his name on it. I wish I will be zoche to be close to him.

Talmid of Rav Belsky said...

Recently during his shiur at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky stated that he always backed Yidi Kolko and will continue to do so in the future. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky supported his position based on never hearing allegations of Yidi Kolko penetrating anyone with his penis. Therefore he said Yid Kolko should not be considered a pedophile, and permitted back to his class at YTT.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I can't wait until Obama gets to pick his justices for the Supreme Court; should be fun!

Court takes no action on death case
Monday, July 28th, 2008 10:04 am

Lyle Denniston

The Supreme Court, issuing its first round of summer orders, took no action on Monday on a request to reconsider its ruling in Kennedy v. Louisiana (07-343), barring the death penalty for the crime of child rape. Similarly, it did not act on a rehearing plea in a pair of cases involving the U.S. military’s power to turn over to Iraq two citizens charged with crimes in that country (Munaf v. Geren, 06-1666, and Geren v. Omar, 07-394).

Although the Court could act on those cases at any time, the next scheduled release of orders on such matters is Monday, Aug. 18.

LA TIMES said...

By Jennifer Oldham, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 28, 2008

Food pantry operators throughout the Los Angeles region report that demand for free groceries has surged to the highest level in recent memory this summer as the sagging economy has hit not only the poor, but also middle- and upper-class families.

"This is probably the most people we've ever seen use emergency food assistance," said Darren Hoffman, communications director for the 35-year-old Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. "We're seeing people who were making $70,000 a year coming into a food bank for the first time. . . . They've used their retirement to pay their mortgage, and gone through their savings."

The organization, which distributes groceries to about 670,000 people each year through a network of more than 900 religious entities and nonprofits, watched demand increase by 80% this spring.

Steep job losses in the banking and entertainment industries, on top of the housing downturn, are reverberating particularly hard through the San Fernando Valley, leading to less work for janitors, waiters and others. The Valley has lost thousands of jobs in financial services, largely due to the failure last fall of Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corp. -- the nation's largest mortgage lender -- which laid off more than 20% of its workforce.

"We're seeing an increase in people who never would have asked for help in the past," said Joan Mithers, a director at SOVA Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles, which operates three food pantries including its headquarters in Van Nuys. The agency served 5,605 people in June, up 28% from a similar period in 2007 and 46% over June 2006.

One recent day, Teresita Guzman was among those standing in long lines to receive food, clothing and other assistance at the northeast Valley headquarters of Meet Each Need With Dignity, or MEND.

Her eyes cast downward, Guzman tugged at her worn black T-shirt and recounted how her three teenage sons decided to hold off eating the corn flakes she brought home from a food pantry until she could afford to buy milk.

"I told them to wait until their dad gets paid," the 39-year-old Pacoima resident said through an interpreter. With construction work increasingly hard to find, the family can't depend on regular paychecks.

The one-two punch of a declining income of about $1,300 a month -- with half going to rent -- and higher gas and food prices forced Guzman for the first time this spring to visit MEND to pick up food for her family.

The Valley's largest charitable group aiding the poor, MEND serves about 46,200 people a month and has seen demand jump about 26% so far this year.

"There's a perception that the Valley is middle class and one of the richer parts of L.A.," said Marianne Haver Hill, MEND's executive director. "The poverty is very much hidden here."

But recent statistics underscore the fact that times are tough for people of all income levels who call the 225-square-mile Valley area home. Job losses in the Valley's signature industries, such as financial services and entertainment, pushed unemployment claims in May to a four-year high, said Dan Blake, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at Cal State Northridge.

Local food pantry operators said some clients had exhausted savings and retirement funds and had their vehicles repossessed before they came for free food.

Yet as demand is climbing, food donations to charities throughout Southern California are at record lows, leading some organizations to face a tough choice: Should they feed each family less in order to serve more people?

"We're able to provide less food for the money we have," said Cambria Smith, president of the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council, a network of 18 pantries that primarily serves people living in the west Valley.

Food pantry administrators said they tend to give cereal and other scarce items to families first, in some cases leaving single clients without certain goods. They also refer clients to agencies in surrounding communities that haven't been hit as hard, and limit free grocery visits to once a month.

The federal government exacerbated food pantry shortages when it slashed two-thirds of the surplus food it donated to charities earlier this decade. In 2002, 42 million pounds of groceries were donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and 60% of that came from the Department of Agriculture; in 2007, the organization received 35 million pounds of food, and the government's share of the donations dropped to 25%, said Hoffman, the agency's spokesman.

Supermarkets have also decreased donations by trimming the amount of food sold close to its expiration date and selling dented goods to discount outlets.

With fewer groceries available, many charities are scrambling to raise money to buy staples such as powdered milk. And prices for those staples are at 18-year highs.

At MEND, food bank director Gina Mirabella said her volunteers spend hours some days dialing grocers and food manufacturers requesting donations. She said she's even gone so far as to phone the toll-free number on cereal boxes and Canadian outlets asking for donations from their Los Angeles warehouses.

"I try to keep up by covering more ground, covering more stores, covering more merchants, covering more companies," said Mirabella, who said the workload is the highest it's been in her 20 years at MEND. "We come up short mostly on cereals and soups and canned meats."

In search of eggs, milk and other staples to feed her husband and three children, Maria Oliveros visited her neighborhood church in Pacoima recently, only to find that they were out of food. Sitting in a dirt backyard surrounded by a camper covered by a plastic tarp, a camper shell and several rusted storage sheds, Oliveros said two-thirds of her husband's paycheck pays for two rooms the family rents in a nearby bungalow.

What's left is barely enough to pay for gas, school uniforms and other necessities, she said, forcing her to seek free food for her family several times a week.

"Last year I would go to the church every once in a while, but now I go every Monday and Tuesday," Oliveros said through an interpreter. "It's very hard right now."


Kashrus Insider said...

This is very sad but most of the hashgochos who claim to filter New York water are perpetrating a fraud according to the information I have. Sure, they make sure filters are installed initially but no one is checking up to make sure the filters are maintained or replaced. Many establishments have spent, useless filters that are overflowing with copepod infested water. The hashgochos are using the lame excuse that as rabbonei machshirim, they don't have the technical expertise of plumbers (I wonder which Federal agency Rabbi Genack will assign responsibility to for this one).

One of the only hashgochos on top of things is the Nirbatur who has his mashgichim take water samples for testing on a regular basis.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

The hashgochos are using the lame excuse that as rabbonei machshirim, they don't have the technical expertise of plumbers ....
Belsky knows copeods - he's a hazmana writing lying copeod.

Anonymous said...

Rabbanim and gedolim today are a misnomer
the problem that exists today is anyone that dares to step up and question a rabbi is guilty of not having kovod hatora
nothing could be further then the truth
we are a religion that allows us to question our leaders (in this generation self appointed so called leaders who have failed the jewish community at every turn) and we are given torah authority to remove rabbis when they fail
so therefore i second that proposal of a petition and any school that doesnt vet the teachers and workers by fingerprinting themn and if a national database is not set up then every teacher will be a suspect - shea fishman
aguda and shafran (who everytime he writes an article the drivel just pours forth)
margolis belsky and the others need to be boood everytime they appear in public in addition all jewish people should call the congressman and say aguda doesnt represent them and if a congressman gets 2000 calls then youll see how impotent aguda becomes the Moetzes is a true disgrace and must be disbanded
kol hakovod to UOJ and others who work to promote this abuse and lack of leadership
i visited a true rav who told me recently dont even bother with rabbanim and these so called gedolim they are jokers with deep thanks to all who have the courage to protect kids

Ahavah Gayle said...

"Frankly, I think the whole concept of molestation has its roots grounded in American society."

I have to disagree there.

Men from secular society and other sects of Judaism simply do not swoon with lust when they get a glimpse of a woman's elbows. Only chereidi bochurim do tha. As I said elsewhere not too long ago:

Chereidi Judaism has become hyper-sexualized, which is incredibly amusing because they claim to be so separate from decadent western culture. The constant focus, teachings, warnings, and holier-than-thou-ism on things that a secular man would NOT look twice at means they have eroticism on their minds all the time. Since they have this on their minds and it has no permissible outlet for most of them (even for married ones half the month), that eroticism gets sublimated into violence. It’s a very well-known psychological phenomena that is sweeping through the younger generation of bochurim who have been taught that all women are evil temptresses. The cognitive dissonance from wanting (naturally, biologically normal needs) women and being taught they are evil and poisonous frankly causes mental illness. The “cats” issue is just an excuse for violence - any excuse would have done. Until chereidi Judaism returns to teaching normal relationships between men and women, this continual distraction by eroticism will continue and the violence will get worse. There are articles and documentaries about this very thing in the Muslim community - and the Jewish taliban isn’t far behind.

Sir Vivor (on steroids?) said...

"all jewish people should call the congressman and say aguda doesnt represent them and if a congressman gets 2000 calls then youll see how impotent aguda becomes"


With geniuses like Steve Boog LVF and UOJ himself, this idea should of come up ages ago. Me thinks this should be the crux of the next UOJ Kol Korei.

BTW, according to Hatzaddik Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, Lipa Shmeltzer, one of the greatest baalei chesed and popular singer, has given the ra-bonim the good ole heave ho, has put his tuches oifen tish, and told the rabbis to kiss him where da sun don' shine, cus' hes gonna sing and sing hard at concerts until the rabbis and henchmen ooze bile from thier ears.

And I say "Haleluya", Praise the lord. For the days of covering for perverts AND being perverts is waning and these shyster rabbis will for once get an inkling of what it means to suffer all these years from molesters and rabbinic neglect and opposition to exposing teachers who get off on poor little boys. Cause weve had enough and our voice shall ring out again and proclaim to the world the crimes of those who raped and molested kids and those beasts in bekeshis that worried only that the "system" not be affected by negative publicity and that the molesters family know no ill. So they left these rebbes in school to screw GENERATIONS of children out of any innocence, self respect or a sense of security. G-d damn you coveruppers!

Hancock Park said...

I have a very close friend who is Lubavitch. He tells me that recently Rubashkin brought a large group of yeshiva boys from Crown Heights to work at the plant in Iowa. They found the working conditions so deplorable there they all quit in one day and went back to Brooklyn.

House Judiciary Committee said...


Witness testifies at the Rubashkin hearings last week what identity theft by illegal immigrants leads to.

Ahavah Gayle said...

Apparently the last paragraph of my last comment got eaten by haloscan...

What I meant to finish up with was to say that not all people sublimate to violence - some form attachment disorders which cause them to be sexually attracted to inappropriate targets: other men, children, students, animals... The sublimation that is required by chereidi society (since normal friendships and socializing are forbidden between sexes while growing up and courting) has few places to go - resulting in perversions and abuse, not just sexually but also physical violence, of course, against women and children and "slackers." But the worst, of course, is predation of children - no doubt about that. We see the cries from broken souls here every day.

Anonymous said...

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Jewish blogger is the watchdog of the Orthodox world
By Anthony Weiss, The Forward

Picking up the phone at 4:30 in the afternoon, Shmarya Rosenberg answered in a voice still bleary from sleep. He explained that he was just napping after having blogged the whole night, and most of the morning.

"It's hard to do one of these blogs," Rosenberg said. "It owns you. It's terrible. If I had any idea four years ago that it was going to do this, I don't think I could've started it."

Rosenberg is the man behind FailedMessiah.com, one of the essential stops on the Jewish blogosphere. Rosenberg blogs full time, often posting multiple times a day to report on the shortcomings that he sees in the world of Orthodox Judaism - a beat that endlessly supplies him with material.

Rosenberg's primary targets are what he sees as examples of hypocrisy and the misuse of power, and he is relentless in cataloging the failures of rabbis and others who hold positions of authority, citing examples ranging from a recent ban on a concert to corruption and child abuse. With the outrage of Jeremiah and the surgical delicacy of a meat cleaver, Rosenberg goes after his targets in plain and aggressive English.

"It's raining nutcase rabbis over in the Holy Land," one post begins.

"Rabbis Call for Jewish Terrorism, Vigilante Violence" is the title of another.

Though many of his frequent postings are links to news reports on other Web sites, Rosenberg also does original reporting. On July 9, he made headlines when he caught public relations powerhouse 5WPR leaving comments on blogs under false names. As this newspaper has reported, 5WPR denied his accusation, then reversed course.

Rosenberg says that he is driven by a sense of outrage and by a determination to look out for causes and people that are being ignored.

Also known to his friends as Scott, Rosenberg grew up in St. Paul, Minn., in a family that he describes as Jewish but not particularly religious. He became active in Jewish student politics when he was a teenager, and it was his activism that brought him to Chabad. In the summer of 1983, while still a college student at the University of Minnesota, he was making the rounds of local rabbis with a letter on the plight of Ethiopian Jewry when he dropped by the office of Rabbi Moshe Feller, a Chabad emissary.

"He read that letter in his office and cried," Rosenberg recalled. "His was the most genuine response of anybody."

Rosenberg became a Lubavitch, donning the traditional black hat and caftan and throwing himself into study and rigorous observance. He abandoned his ambitions of becoming a songwriter, and for the next 20 years he was an observant, ultra-Orthodox Jew.

Now, he says, "I lost 20 years, and it bothers the hell out of me." Today he is in his late 40s and no longer actively religious.

Ironically, just as Ethiopian Jewry brought Rosenberg to Orthodoxy, it drove him away, leading to the birth of FailedMessiah.com. In 2004, Rosenberg came across an unsigned draft of a letter written by Chabad's late rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, which was published in Kfar Chabad magazine.

Rosenberg recognized that the letter had originally been addressed to him, but never sent, in response to a letter he wrote two decades before, demanding that Schneerson focus more of Chabad's attention on saving the lives of Ethiopian Jews. Schneerson, in his response, suggested that Rosenberg focus his efforts on helping Jews in his own community.

Rosenberg was outraged.

"He tried to make an equivalence, as if stopping a secular Jew in Minnesota and saying, 'Put on a pair of tefillin with me' is the equivalent of saving somebody's life that's dying in Ethiopia. I mean, it's insane," Rosenberg said. A Chabad spokesman declined to comment on Rosenberg's interpretation.

With the help of some technically savvy Lubavitch friends, he posted Schneerson's letter, his own letter and other supporting documents on a blog. The moniker Failed Messiah mocked the belief among some Lubavitcher Hadisim that Schneerson was the messiah.

That, according to Rosenberg, was supposed to be all. But Rosenberg worried that if he didn't keep posting, his blog would be shut down, so he periodically added links to articles, mostly about Lubavitch messianism.

The response was more than he bargained for. Within a few months, he says, he was excommunicated from his synagogue and shunned by his friends in the Lubavitch community. He says that his blog was hacked and that he received death threats. The hostility only made him more determined. Rosenberg broke his own ties with the ultra-Orthodox world and kept on blogging.

Since then, he has blogged - almost literally - day and night.

"There is no day," he said, "just one long, unending, bizarre blog with a few moments of sleep scattered through it."

Rosenberg typically blogs all night and through the morning, sleeps a couple hours, blogs a few hours more and takes a nap; then the routine resumes. He occasionally leaves his apartment to go to the gym or to make a visit to a nursing home.

His income comes from some freelance advertising consulting and from what little money he makes from donations and from sales of T-shirts and other merchandise (for example, a T-shirt picture of a bleeding cow with the caption, "I was slaughtered Glatt kosher and all I got was this horribly painful hook in my throat").

Rosenberg has blogged himself to the point of exhaustion, and he has tried to quit. But he decided he would like to stay available to people who want to come forward about being abused.

It's been a difficult career - some of it rewarding, some of it frustrating. But he says he has seen a few small signs that he and the other bloggers on his beat have made a difference.

"People are a little less willing to ignore a kid who says his teacher abused him," Rosenberg said. "They're just less willing to take the crap."

Sir Vivor said...

Anyone know Reb Nuchem Rosenberg's phone # so we can call and give him chizuk for the fight he is putting up in defense of molested school kids in the chareidi communities?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I just added this criminal to my gedolim album!

Senator Ted Stevens Is Reportedly Indicted

The Republican senator from Alaska was indicted on seven
counts related to his holding of public office, a federal law
enforcement official told Reuters on Tuesday.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Anyone with Nuchem Rosenberg's phone number and radio show information - please post.

Sir Vivor said...

He said on his hotline (212-461-2778) in a new 2hour rant that this motzei shabboe Zev Brenner on his radio talk show will anounce new federal numbers for reporting jewish molestation issues. The service will reportedly be available in yiddish too. UOJ, if u have time call the above # and listen to his latest rant. He seems hellbent on destroying the rabbinical mafia. And they seem hellbent in destroying him.

Ombudsman said...

R' Nuchem is the perfect sort of figure to take on these mafia animals. He is a tremendous talmid chochom & yiras shomoyim so no one can question his integrity. He can wipe the floor with most of them in learning. He is the biggest bokee in hilchos mikvaos since the Helmetzer Rebbe was niftar.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why those dumbass Hungarians tried to beat up Rabbi Rosenberg in London last week? UOJ should publish the name of the molester they were protecting out there.