Monday, July 31, 2006

My name is Michael Lesher-I've been devoting my legal efforts primarily to help abused children and parents who try to protect them

Published with permission granted by Michael Lesher

Dear UOJ:

My name is Michael Lesher, and I hope you've seen the recent spate of articles about my campaign to revive the case against Avrohom Mondrowitz. (New York Post, July 25; Village Voice, July 25; now the front page of Forward, July 28). I will be happy to forward to you any of these articles if you haven't yet seen them -- or you can get from the my web site, www.MichaelLesher.com, by going to the bottom of the "Press and Presentations" page and clicking on the relevant links.

I'm a ba'al t'shuva, a writer by preference and experience, also a lawyer, and (as you can see from the site) I've been devoting my legal efforts primarily to help abused children and parents who try to protect them -- but are getting a raw deal from the courts and/or the child welfare system. I'm co-author of From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running from the Family Courts -- and What Can Be Done about It (University Press of New England, 2005). I've written several articles and columns on child sex abuse, including child sex abuse in the Orthodox community. For the last eight years, I've made the Mondrowitz case one of my obsessions; I spent over two years fighting FOIA battles to get government documents that proved the Brooklyn D.A. had quietly allowed the case to wither, I've tried to get to the bottom of Mondrowitz's claims to have rabbinic support, I've even corresponded briefly with him. Now, after years of efforts during which I felt alone, I've been approached by four Mondrowitz victims in a few weeks, and I've been trying to use their voices -- and what I know -- to build a public outcry to ignite this case.

Why? First, because I suspect Mondrowitz may have abused as many as hundreds of children (who are now grown), most of them within the Orthodox community. Bringing him to justice could -- to the extent justice ever does -- heal a very large number of private wounds.

But I also believe it could heal public ones, for rarely has there been so heinous a case that suffered from so much PROVABLE mishandling on the part of the secular authorities. If they can be prodded into reopening the Mondrowitz case -- and I believe this is possible -- the truth that will emerge, I hope, is the story of a social and political crime. A crime all the uglier, I might add, because carried out against large numbers of a community's most helpless members -- in the name of the community.

I realize I'm writing a lot, and you probably have little time for this sort of thing. I write to you because I want to ask your help. I see that you've started a thread based on the recent Voice article. As a result of that article, Victim #4 has just called me. I am working for all such people free of charge for the sole objective of trying to bring this case to such brightly-lit, band-playing, rip-roaring public attention that no one, either in the Orthodox community or in public life in New York City, will be able to ignore it.

Could you let your bloggers know about me, let them know how eager I am to hear from more Mondrowitz victims, and make my contact information available to all? I can be emailed at mlesher@att.net, or through my web site (which I invite everyone to see to learn about me), MichaelLesher.com.

I know that there are many other abuse cases. But this is one of the unusual cases in my experiences (I've researched the case against Shlomo Hafner in great detail and know about some others, too) in which the existing legal criminal process (the man has been indicted, and as a fugitive could be tried at any time), the proven facts, the number of highly credible victims, and the stated (if disingenuous) position of the Brooklyn D.A. all make a prosecution possible. And if a prosecution really happens, I feel strongly that much more than a conviction against one man is likely. The trial and its accompanying publicity would likely bring to light a long history of inaction -- or active suppression of evidence -- on the part of important community "leaders." And that, I think, is where our interests likely intersect most decisively.

I apologize for the length of this note. Please let me know what you think. I'm new to blogging, but from what I've seen of your aims and your batting record, I'd like to be working with your aid.

Michael Lesher, Esq.
>(973) 470-0212

Update: Leizerowiz lives on Rechov Yechezkel 102, and is trying to get a job in a Yeshiva in Jerusalem called Hasmodos Hatorah.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"I accuse our Orthodoxy for sleeping the sleep of Choni Ha’maagil who slept seventy years. Orthodoxy sleeps, how much longer?"

I was not able to interview the alleged, accused UOJ tonight due to his schedule. He did agree to speak with me in length some time this week. In the few minutes that we did speak, he referred me to the article below, published in the 1930's. He suggested that I post it on my blog for the world to see. He made two quick points when I asked him why the Establishment "chose" to make him the big bad UOJ? He responded with the following, and I paraphrase in my own words:

1-He fairly recently aggressively challenged a renown posek about a psak that was ill-researched, totally incorrect as to the mechanics of the procedures involved, and reckless as to the potential huge financial losses to Orthodox Jews globally for no halachic reason. It took him months to get the posek to reverse himself and to publicize his error. This gentleman subsequently was interviewed by The Wall St. Journal and was harshly criticized by many Establishment rabbis for talking to the secular media.

2- This gentleman was a very outspoken advocate to the "Gedolim" on behalf of Rabbi Nosson Slifkin. He challenged the Gedolim/cherem signers, to reconcile R' Slifkin's views with the views of many prominent rabbonim including the Rambam. He did get one "Gadol" to admit that "perhaps" this matter/cherem should have been handled differently. He was so incensed that this young rabbi's life was in shambles (at the time-he is doing well now), that he considered publishing Rabbi Slifkin's writings at his own expense. His rav urged him not to go forward with those plans and he did not.

He obviously is well-connected with the Yeshiva Velt if he was able to accomplish the above. What is also obvious to me that he is now being threatened with "punishment" (he could care less) because he stepped out of line.

UOJ (the authentic one)

The following article appeared many years ago (April 20, 1923) in "Dos Yiddish Licht", founded by the saintly Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt"l for the purpose of strengthening the observance of mitzvos, and to arouse the public concerning kashrut of foods, which at that time was very neglected, and sadly is not any better in our day and age.

The author was the great gaon and tzaddik, the "Shlucha D'Rachmona" of his generation, the "architect" of true Torah values in America, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt"l, the founder of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and Torah U'Mesorah.

(Translated from the Yiddish)

"And if I say: "I will not make mention of him nor speak anymore in his name" then there is in my heart a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I weary myself to hold it in, but cannot (Ver. 20:29)

I use the above prophetic words as a preface to my article concerning kashrus, because this article will not bring honor to me. On the contrary, I will be attacked with ridicule from all sides. But what can I do? A fire is burning within me, and within a thousand Jews like me... A fire, which cannot be extinguished.

The kashrus question has recently been discussed in the Yiddish press, but only one side of the question, viz. concerning the unscrupulous butchers who sell treifos without a hechsher or with a false one. The press has remained silent, however, concerning the second side of the question, about the treifos being sold under rabbinical supervision and under rabbinical signs in butcher shops.

The press is silent about this problem, perhaps because of the honor of the rabbis, or, perhaps, because of other reasons. The honor of the rabbis is dear to me too. But, the honor of the Torah which is lying in the garbage, and the honor of the truth, which is trodden under foot, are dearer to me. Where there is chillul Hashem we do not impart honor to a rabbi, I, therefore come forward with an accusation.

I Accuse!

I accuse many rabbis, who grant hechsherim, who knowingly or otherwise, or out of neglect, permit non-kosher meat to be sold under their stamp of approval both wholesale and retail; the seller is an unscrupulous person with Torah sanction.

I accuse many rabbis, who although they themselves have no part in the hechsherim, nevertheless, know about them and still remain silent. There is a sort of mutual reciprocal agreement to keep quiet about each other's false hechserim. Perhaps it is because they wish to avoid chillul Hashem. They forget, however, that where there is chillul Hashem we do not impart honor to a rabbi.

I accuse the very great rabbis, the leaders of our people, because of internal strife. These disputes are not for the sake of Heaven; if one says that something is prohibited the other must say it is permissible, if one says something is contaminated the other must say it is pure. It is impossible to bring order to the chaotic kashrus situation, especially the chicken and meat markets.

I accuse
the rabbis because of whose negligence; the laws of chalav akum have virtually been forgotten. I know that there various heterim for this, but they apply only when it is impossible to get chalav Yisrael. In our situation, however, with a little effort, order could be brought to this chaos, and "if one can be good, why should he be bad?"

I accuse our Orthodoxy, for sleeping the sleep of Choni Ha'maagil, who slept seventy years. They are completely unaware of what is happening around them and how our strongest ramparts are being smashed by our internal foes. They are unaware that all our holy traditions are being trampled underfoot, that our three thousand year old heritage has all but completely disappeared. Yet, Orthodoxy sleeps, but how much longer?

Do you know that all of the fortresses of Judaism, which have heretofore protected us from destruction, the only one left is kashrus, that other mitzvos are observed very laxly even in Orthodox homes? And now kashrus too is being smashed, yet we sleep, but how much longer?

Don't you see what has become of your youth? Don't you know that Jewish children have become tramps, gamblers, gangsters, candidates for the electric chair, and all kinds of "ISTS", only because they have been raised on neveilos and treifos, yet you sleep, but how much longer?

Don't you know that going to the mikvah every day to purify yourself will be to no avail? Not even all the waters in the world can help, not with sheretz tamei (a carcass of a creeping thing) in your hand, but inside of you! And when you daven every morning and evening, or when you learn your daily shiur, don't you know that the breath that emanates from your mouth is the breath of sin because it reeks of neveilos and treifos!? Yet you sleep, but how much longer?

When you wash your hands for bread, or when you make Kiddush on Shabbos, and your table is bedecked with all sorts of delicacies, and you say with each bite, in honor of the Shabbos, you are angering Hashem when you break bread. Yet you sleep, but how much longer?

I know that you will reply, "Jacob is small and poor" But look what Jacob's brother on East Broadway has accomplished, how he erected a fortress through the poor laborers, a fortress against Judaism, because he has united forces. Yet you sleep and do nothing, but how much longer?

Gentlemen! Do a little soul searching and see how far you have strayed; remember that our parents have sacrificed their lives for kiddush Hashem; they allowed themselves to be burned in order to uphold our holy Torah, whereas you are not required to make any sacrifices; with but a handful you can save the situation. Yet you sleep, but how much longer?

Fellow Jews, have you no fear for the great and terrible Day of Judgment? In that day you will no longer be able to come up with excuses or with a shrug of the shoulder.

And I ask you "how much longer?" And I say, "you sleepers, awaken from your slumber!"

Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"What to do with Abusive Rabbis: Halachic Considerations" By Rabbi Mark Dratch

Rabbi Dratch sent this in and asked me to post it. Rabbi Dratch is a very highly qualified individual and specializes in the field of sexual abuse. His web site is: jsafe.org.
He has networked with many qualified individuals able and willing to assist victims of sexual abuse. I endorse his work and he has endorsed mine. All victims of sexual abuse, whether children or women can feel very secure with his professional assistance.


click images to enlarge or cut and paste the following link to read the file (PDF format):



A reader sent this in...I do not take credit for this one!





Yeedle Werdyger - Chassidic Singer

(AKA: The Case of The Son of Famous Orthodox Singer and a Haredi Friend)

Yeedle Werdyger and an unnamed haredi friend, were arrested in Jerusalem for enticing teenage girls, some of whom were below the age of 16, to take dangerous drugs and then to have sexual relations with them.

In addition, police said the two men photographed the girls in intimate positions in the bathroom and having sexual relations with other men. The suspects would later show the pictures to their friends. A search of the downtown apartment of one of the suspects turned up the miniature camera that was used

Case of Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz RAN AWAY TO ISRAEL

"Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman's office said Mondrowitz was named in a December 3, 1984, arrest warrant charging him with two counts of sex abuse". Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz worked in special education school for boys in Brooklyn, that had connections with Ohel Children and Family Services in Brooklyn, New York. He was responsible for about 20-25 young children who already had either emotional problems and/or learning disabilities





Case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko - Yeshiva Torah Temimah

(AKA Rabbi Yudi Kolko)

Flatbush (Brooklyn), NY

Rabbi Yudi Kolko and Yeshiva Torah Temimah were hit with a $20 million civil lawsuit on May 5, 2006, accusing him of molesting two students more than 25 years ago.

One of the alleged victims said Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, 60, sexually assaulted him when he was a seventh-grade student.



The Awareness Center is the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA)



If you have been abused contact these groups they are discrete and can help

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


by kyle's mom

I promised the Unorthodox Jew I would help him out, and then passed out after a tough day on a new job. Today, as I studied the halacha of preemptive wars, I remembered I promised to write. When I see what's happening in Israel, and get some of those interminable emails where the right writes about the left and the left writes about the right, I am overwhelmed with the amount of sinat chinom and rank stupidity that comes from Jews over my screen.

And I wonder where that hatred comes from and then I think back to my childhood and how we were taught one thing while those around us did the opposite; I remembered how we were judged on narishkeit, and disrespected as children. I remembered how I was taught that the Torah said one thing, but that my life experience at the hands of those I thought were 'religious' people was something else entirely.

So what is at the root of all of this evil? Where does all the stuff that I and so many others experienced come from?

I believe it comes from fear -- from the same kind of fear created through the millennia by our real enemies. And I believe it is the kind of fear that closes people off from themselves and promotes disrespect and hiding behind false walls that cut people off from who they are.

How can Judaism, a religion of reason, morality and ethics, be turned into such a cauldron of obscenity by men and occasionally women who deem it perfectly fine for children to be abused, for women to be battered, for the less fortunate than they to be treated with contempt?

By ignoring the basic, simple precepts of the religion and not teaching basic common decency and common sense. We forget to teach our sons that they come from mothers and have sisters who are also human beings and that women are not defiled and corrupt impure creatures that need to be shunned and ignored because they cause kallos rosh. We teach our males to fear our females and our females to fear our males. And we never allow them to connect in normal non-sexual environments. Every time they meet they are only allowed to think about marriage and babies--Instead of how to develop a normal healthy human relationship. In some cases we throw kids who know nothing together and let them sink or swim--to have a dozen babies and no way to care for them or method to raise them.

We live in self-destructive community because basic human relations have been turned into some freak show where men truly are from Mars, women truly are from Venus and never the twain shall meet in anything but some kind of twisted vacuum that prevents real relationships and respect from ever being developed.

We need to get back to the basics -- the simple kind of Judaism that Hillel espoused to the non-Jew who came to him after Shammai tossed him out. Hillel said to him, "Don't do anything to anyone else you don't want done to you...now go and study."

As I like to say, he didn't mean kvetch a benkel until you frazzled your family into a welfare case and need to rely on the kindness of strangers. What Hillel meant was go and study the world and try to make it better than you find it...because, if you think about it, Judaism says Bocharta be Chaim....choose life....not misery, not death for 72 virgins, not death for an afterlife. In Judaism there is no glory, really, in being a martyr. We are here for a different reason, to be a light unto the nations.

So I have to ask myself; what happened to that light? How could men decide that women who catch across the top of the head are not risking their lives to stay in violent relationships because batei din don't have the eggs to free them, when indeed they can...

We need to go and study and figure this mess out, because an Unorthodox Jew said, we lose 100,000 Jews a year -- and that is self-destruction on a grand, grand scale.

As I continue to write for the Unorthodox Jew, I will try to figure out some answers, and perhaps be able to explain how I, too, had to learn and break that cycle of abuse, sinat chinom and self-hatred.

kyle's mom



click image to enlarge

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Silence of the Lam- Rabbi accused of sexually abusing young boys


Silence of the Lam
Accused of sexually abusing young boys, a Brooklyn rabbi left for Israel 22 years ago. Now one alleged victim wants him brought back for trial.

by Kristen Lombardi
July 25th, 2006 11:19 AM

Out of the shadows: Abe asked the Brooklyn D.A. to reopen the case against Rabbi Mondrowitz.
photo:tacy Kranitz

Abe vividly remembers that wall. The "bragging wall," as he's come to call it, was crammed with certificates and diplomas. He remembers fixating on that wall as the Hasidic psychologist advised him on how to be a good boy. He fixated on it, too, when the psychologist sat beside him, the man's hand shoved down his pants, stroking Abe's genitals.
Abe was eight years old, the defiant son of a devout Orthodox Jewish family who was sent to the child psychologist in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Every Sunday for four months in 1984, he'd go for counseling in the modest house on 60th Street. Sessions started with talk of his behavior—his mischief at home, his disobedience at yeshiva. Goals were set, rewards promised. Then, Abe alleges, the psycho- logist's hand would be in his underwear.

"He would fondle and play with my genitals," says Abe, now a thirtyish businessman not willing to publish his last name. For this former Borough Park resident, whose Orthodox faith taught him to revere elders, the encounters were devastating. "I felt very odd, ashamed. I didn't know what to think."

Abe hid the abuse for two decades, not telling a soul, yearning to get on with life. Until, in May, he discovered what had happened to the man he claims molested him: He got away.

That child psychologist was Avrohom Mondrowitz, Abe says, the same one charged with sexually abusing four Brooklyn boys in February 1985. Once a popular radio host whose Orthodox audience had known him as "Rabbi," Mondrowitz skipped town before police could arrest him. He surfaced later in Israel, where he's lived for two decades. (Mondrowitz, now 58 and reportedly in Jerusalem, could not be reached for comment.)

Abe isn't one of those four boys. He stopped his sessions in the summer of 1984, never to see Mondrowitz again. All these years, he's had no idea his alleged abuser was indicted for molesting kids, on charges that included sodomy. Abe learned of the outstanding case from a mention in a May 22 New York article about an ultra-Orthodox rabbi accused of sexual abuse.

Seeing the name in print left Abe stunned. He went online, discovering postings about the self-styled rabbi on sites for Jewish survivors of sexual abuse. Reeling, he contacted an attorney. And last month, he identified himself as a victim to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

Explains Abe, "I could tell this guy was guilty as heck and I had to do something. He needs to be brought to justice."

The D.A.'s office confirms that Abe appeared at its Jay Street headquarters in June. Prosecutors interviewed him and recorded his complaints. Hynes can do little about the allegations because they fall outside the five-year statute of limitations for sex offenses, according to Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex crimes bureau. All Hynes can do is try to use Abe's testimony as supporting evidence against Mondrowitz at trial.

Jaus maintains that Hynes is still pursuing the 1985 case. The indictment against Mondrowitz is pending; her bureau remains in touch with the original victims, now in their thirties.

"We stand ready, willing, and able to prosecute him for his heinous crimes," Jaus states. "If he returns to this country, we would arrest him. We would prosecute him. We would do everything we could to achieve justice in this case."

But there's a lot more Hynes could be doing to achieve justice, it seems. The one person who can reopen the push for extradition is the Brooklyn D.A.; he calls the Justice Department, Justice calls State, State calls Israel. That's how it works. Michael Lesher, the New Jersey attorney who represents Abe, believes Hynes could force Mondrowitz to stand trial, if only Hynes would take a more aggressive stance. Past efforts to extradite Mondrowitz failed only because of a technicality. Under a 1962 treaty, the United States and Israel have agreed "reciprocally to deliver up persons found in its territory who have been charged with . . . offenses mentioned [and] committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the other." This U.S.-Israel extradition treaty lists 31 crimes, including rape. You might think the sodomy charges against Mondrowitz would fit that category. In 1985, though, Israeli law defined rape narrowly as "having sexual intercourse with a woman without her free consent." Oral and anal raping of boys—among the acts of which Mondrowitz is accused—weren't crimes by Israeli standards.

Today, that loophole has been all but closed. Israel has amended its rape law to recognize males as potential victims, making the act of forcible sodomy a crime punishable by 20 years in prison. Lesher argues the change opens the door to revisit the case. "In theory," he says, "there's no reason for Hynes not to request extradition."

Extradition lawyers second his opinion. Richard Bierschbach, who teaches criminal law at Cardozo Law School and who has worked on such cases, tells the Voice, "I think he would be extraditable now." Changing the law, he says, effectively changed the treaty. Courts have ruled that modifications to treaties can be applied retroactively, without violating a fugitive's due-process rights. "You can say with a fair degree of confidence that sodomy is now an extraditable offense."

Even Mondrowitz's attorney suggests that extradition isn't out of the question. Reached in his Tel Aviv office, David Ofek says he didn't believe the charges against his client when defending him in the 1980s, and he doesn't now, calling them "all lies." Mondrowitz has not been charged with a crime in Israel. Nor has anyone accused him of child molestation there. In a heavy accent, Ofek adds, "I found him to be a marvelous and gentle person, and I don't think he's touched a child."

Still, Ofek acknowledges that sodomy is a crime equal to rape in Israel—one that, in general, is extraditable. "It's a very serious crime," he says, "and we don't like people like that."

So does that mean his client could be extradited? "After 20 years," he tells the Voice, "try to do it."


Mondrowitz was a celebrity to start, a Hasidic Frasier of sorts, hosting the call-in program Life Is for Living at the now defunct WNYN radio station, doling out advice over the airwaves. But in a five-page criminal indictment, prosecutors painted Mondro-witz as an insatiable abuser who allegedly preyed on four boys, ages nine to 15, over four years. The 13 counts against him include eight of sexual abuse in the first degree, five of sodomy in the first degree.

The indictment may tell only a fraction of the story, says Sal Catalfumo. Now retired, he was the main sex crimes detective who investigated Mondrowitz for four months beginning in November 1984, when the Brooklyn South precinct got an anonymous tip about a rabbi. "There were a lot of kids and a lot of allegations," he says.

Catalfumo identified about a dozen victims to then Brooklyn D.A. Elizabeth Holtzman, whose office pressed charges on the four strongest cases. He had interviewed dozens more, he says. Initially, investigators had suspected Mondrowitz singled out Orthodox Jewish children who attended his special-education class at a Foster Avenue yeshiva or his child-counseling practice on 60th Street. Catalfumo says he ended up discovering victims from Italian Catholic families living on the same street as Mondrowitz did. Some served as altar boys at a nearby church. Others played with his seven kids. Two were prepubescent sons of Catalfumo's former high school classmate.

"Children told me and my partner that he would be molesting them in one room while their parents would be waiting in the next," Catalfumo recalls. When police searched the office, he says, they uncovered child pornography in the desk drawers.

By the time police had drawn up an arrest warrant, in December 1984, Catalfumo says, "The guy was gone. He escaped, and he's never had to face the music." All these years later, the former investigator cannot quite put this unresolved case behind him. He cannot quite forget about those, like Abe, who claim to be victims.

Confides Catalfumo, "Personally, I'd like to catch this guy. He shouldn't be able to evade prosecution for the rest of his life."


The Mondrowitz case has also haunted Abe's attorney. Lesher's made a lonely campaign out of researching it, filing freedom-of-information requests to obtain classified records. Beginning in 1999, he spent two years collecting documents from the U.S. State and Justice departments chronicling the feds' battle to extradite the fugitive—a battle that stops in 1993, courtesy of Hynes. Lesher shared his files with the Voice for this article. (The Justice Department declined to comment on the case, referring questions to State; its spokesperson refused even to speak generally about the U.S.-Israel extradition treaty.)

The paper trail starts just as the indictment was about to come down. In January 1985, according to the records, D.A. Holtzman's office began pushing the feds to bring Mondrowitz back to Brooklyn for trial, calling the Justice Department. Two months later, her office made a formal request for "the provisional arrest in Israel of Avrohom Mondrowitz." Prosecutors sent along materials for extradition in September, and kept in contact with their federal counterparts for the next two years. Internal records suggest that Washington officials felt substantial pressure from Holtzman.

"Natives of Brooklyn are becoming restless," reads one February 1986 memorandum, "and we are receiving calls from Kings County District Attorney's Office."

Another cable, dated November 1986, reports that the Israeli official on the case "has from time to time been in telephonic communication directly with the prosecutor's office in New York City to discuss the matter."

Yet another, from March 1987: "Relay the gist of this development to prosecuting attorney handling this case [who] had phoned on February 17."

Now a Manhattan attorney specializing in government relations, Holtzman declined to discuss her office's efforts to seek extradition. "I can tell you that we didn't sit on cases like that in my office," she says.

Still, these early requests were stymied. As early as 1985, Israeli officials had informed the U.S. that rape, under Israeli law, didn't cover sodomy. "The Mondrowitz case as presented cannot be acted upon under the terms of the existing U.S.-Israel extradition agreement," states an April 1985 cable.

Federal officials got creative and asked Israel to consider expelling Mondrowitz, then an American citizen on a tourist visa. For years, the case sat in a kind of legal limbo.

And then, in February 1987, after a change in leadership, the Israeli Interior Ministry ordered Mondrowitz deported to Brooklyn. Ofek appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, asking for a stay and seeking access to the U.S. extradition package. It included four affidavits from John Doe victims. It also included a letter, purportedly written by a Borough Park social worker, charging that Mondrowitz had infected 28 boys with HIV/AIDS. The claim would be stunning now; back then, it was made more so by the fact that so many people didn't understand the virus.

"When you say, 20 years ago, that the man had infected children with AIDS, it means that the man would kill children," Ofek says. There were no drug cocktails in 1987. Not many hospitals in Israel could administer an HIV test. Eventually, Ofek says, his client found one. The results came back negative. The court threw out the deportation order. "The United States wanted extradition and the Israeli government wanted to deport him—and I stopped it."


To hear Hynes's office tell it now, extradition represents the one barrier to prosecuting this case. Just last May, Jaus says, her bureau reviewed its files and consulted with Israeli legal authorities, as well as federal officials. The verdict? "Under the current treaty," she reports, "he is charged with a non- extraditable offense."

Or not. In 1988, Israel amended its rape law to cover the act of homosexual rape. Internal federal letters make note of the change, urging a second look at extradition.

"An amendment to the Israeli penal code . . . presents us, we believe, with an opportunity to reopen the extradition case of Avrohom Mondrowitz," reads one March 1988 telegram from the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Interestingly, no records show that federal officials called Holtzman to relay the news. And there is nothing to suggest that her office was keeping abreast of the developments, or even knew about the change. Just when the U.S. may have gained proper grounds to extradite Mondrowitz, the paper trail fades.

But if Holtzman missed a key opportunity, Hynes has apparently plain sat on the case. He became the D.A. in 1990. In the federal file, there is no record of any activity from Hynes on the matter until 1993, when Justice officials called his office. That's when he all but dropped the case—approving a decision to end extradition attempts for good.

As one September 1993 Justice Department letter details, prosecutors "contacted our office and advised that they would not be pursuing the case any further at this time."

"Hynes has never been hot to extradite Mondrowitz," charges Lesher. Why would Hynes allow a fugitive to evade prosecution through an old loophole, especially when a new victim has come forward to testify? "It's a compelling argument," observes Mary- ellen Fullerton, who teaches international criminal law at Brooklyn Law School. "If I were the Brooklyn D.A., I'd consider it."

Bruce Zagaris, an extradition lawyer in Washington, D.C., notes that the U.S.-Israel treaty is being updated, and that the new protocol would make it even easier to deliver up someone, like Mondrowitz, whose alleged acts haven't fallen neatly into the list of specified offenses. The protocol would replace the list with a provision defining any offense extraditable "as long as the crime is punishable by one year or more and as long as it's a crime in both countries."

So, Zagaris offers, "Yes, I'd say this guy is extraditable. And under this new protocol, there is even more of a chance that he could be."

At the very least, argues Bierschbach, the Cardozo professor, "you cannot flat-out say that he's not extraditable. You can make the argument, but it's weak."

Even so, Hynes spokesperson Jerry Schmetterer maintains, flatly: "After reviewing the files and consulting with authorities, our position remains that under the current treaty, Mondrowitz cannot be extradited. . . . He was charged with sodomy and the treaty has changed. It's our position this change is not retroactive."

Told that experts say otherwise, he snaps, "That's fine. You write your story. This is the position of the district attorney."


Maybe Hynes has his own reasons for not pushing extradition. In Brooklyn politics, the Orthodox community can wield considerable influence. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf explains, "They vote, and they vote in large numbers often." He estimates that the Orthodox population accounts for some 30 percent of the borough's electorate, from Williamsburg to Crown Heights, Borough Park, Flatbush, and Midwood. Especially in ultra-Orthodox areas, rabbis tend to pick candidates and congregants cast votes accordingly.

"The rabbis are very important because they tell their followers who to get behind," says Sheinkopf. For a politician, he says, that means "you have to play to them."

Hynes has worked hard to court the community over the years. In 1990, he became the first D.A. in the city to convene a Jewish advisory council, which kept leaders abreast of cases involving Jewish defen-dants or complainants. The council is now defunct, says Schmetterer, replaced by the office's full-time liaison to the Hasidic community, Henna White, herself a Lubavitcher. (He refused to let the Voice interview White for this article, saying, "It wouldn't be her place to talk about this case.") Hynes has been commended for launching such initiatives as Project Eden, a Hasidic-sanctioned program that reaches out to ultra-Orthodox victims of domestic violence.

Aaron Twerski, the dean of Hofstra Law School and a former council member, describes Hynes's relationship to the Orthodox community as "quite positive." He explains, "Hynes is a presence in the community. He's been responsive."

But Hynes has bumped up against the community before. The most dramatic example came in 1999, when the D.A.'s office charged a prominent Hasidic rabbi named Bernard Freilich with witness tampering and intimidation for allegedly making death threats against an Orthodox woman who was to testify in a sex-abuse case. The community reacted with fury, organizing demonstrations, accusing Hynes of anti-Semitism. Freilich wound up acquitted at a 2000 trial.

Lesher says the D.A. has a habit of backing down from prosecutions that Orthodox rabbinical leaders would rather handle themselves. He has researched two instances where the D.A. initiated criminal proceedings against accused Hasidic abusers, only to let them fizzle. In each, he notes, "it was community opposition that spelled the difference."

With Mondrowitz, the Orthodox community hasn't exactly clamored for justice. No one dared talk publicly about the scandal when it broke. Catalfumo says rabbis refused to answer questions, parents refused to file complaints. Even those who wanted to see Mondrowitz punished—or dead—wouldn't cooperate with authorities, the detective says, for fear their kids would become tainted by a trial.

Catalfumo doubts the D.A. would do anything to upset the Orthodox community today, and he doubts the community would want to revisit the case. "Let's face it, I don't think they're interested in seeing this surface again," he says. Indeed, Orthodox rabbis and politicians who remember the Mondrowitz case declined to talk about it with the Voice. One Borough Park resident with ties to the same Hasidic sect as Mondrowitz offered this opinion: "Once a case has been put to sleep, it's best to leave it alone."

Twerski, of Hofstra, advocates "zero tolerance" in the community for sexual abuse. But when told about the newly vocal Mondrowitz victim and his desire to reopen the case, Twerski replies, "I don't know what to say about that. That's an old, old case and I'm not going to comment on it."

Jaus, for her part, bristles at the suggestion of special treatment. In 2000, her bureau got word from State officials that Mondrowitz was returning to the States. It contacted the original four victims. It had D.C. police ready to arrest him. He never showed up.

"If we heard this information again, we'd do the same thing," she states.

Those words offer little consolation to Abe. Sitting in the dining room at his attorney's suburban home, Abe hunches over the table, his arms across his chest, his eyes on his Blackberry, as he relays what he told prosecutors on June 7. How Mondrowitz had begun molesting him during a counseling session one day, and wound up making it routine. How the psychologist had even invited him upstairs, and fondled him there.

Abe had hoped his testimony would inspire Hynes to push for extradition, he says. "I came away with the realization that my experience is a footnote in a case the D.A. won't do anything about."

At least, Abe believes, not without incentive. So on June 24, he contacted an anonymous blogger known as Un-Orthodox Jew, who has posted controversial diatribes about sexual abuse and cover-up in the Hasidic world. Abe posted his own entry, writing:

"MONDROWITZ ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Has anyone contacted you as being a victim of Avrohom Mondrowitz? . . . There is renewed interest in this case & . . . I am trying to find out if other victims have also recently come forward so that we can pool our resources & pressure the DA's office."

So far, he's received little response, though two Orthodox Jewish men who claim to be victims of Mondrowitz have contacted the Voice, expressing a desire to bring him back.

To Abe, it all seems so upside down—the way Hynes didn't push for extradition in 1993, the way he won't now. That his alleged abuser can live in Israel, his whereabouts known, yet run around scot-free, seems almost as bad as the abuse.

As Abe confides, "That makes it seem like a big slap in the face by the D.A."

Monday, July 17, 2006


This story was sent to me by The Awareness Center....Israel Fishman wanted his story publicized. He passed away recently.

The sole purpose of me posting this is to demonstrate that molestation of children by people in authority is not a new phenomena; how it took Israel fifty years to tell his story, and that the very graphic details of his molestation were absolutely burned into his memory for his entire life. He was continually physically molested by NTL until he left the yeshiva. Sexual molestation generally begins by encouraging children to openly discuss their private personal behavior, talking about their innermost normal thoughts, converting them into sins and horrible guilt. Once the victim's secrets are exposed, the predator uses that information to threaten the victim with exposure, and now can perpetrate their crime with little fear of being exposed. In just about every case of sexual abuse that I'm aware of, the abusers' MO are practically identical.


by Israel Fishman

Please note the following is graphic. The article below tells of the experiences of an incest survivor that occurred over 50 years ago.

The following took place in 1953. I am not quite 15 years old and the youngest student at the Ner Israel Rabbinical Academy in Baltimore Maryland, which was then located at 4411 Garrison Boulevard.

When I arrived a few months earlier I had been the second youngest student, but the boy who was then the youngest was caught in flagrant delicto with another boy and was tossed out. The boy's father, a rabbi from Richmond, Virginia was the mashgiakh (kosher supervisor) for the large FFV Baking Company there. He must have come in to stay for that particular Sabbath, as traveling on that day is strictly forbidden.

So on that sacred day he approached the head of the Yeshiva, Rabbi Jacob L. Ruderman, who was sitting at the front of the large bais medrash (study hall) pleading with him to give his son a second chance. In front of all the students and teachers, Rabbi Ruderman screamed at the boy's father that he could not talk with him because the matter was absolutely closed, and that the boy must leave immediately. Meanwhile I am living in constant fear that either somebody in the yeshiva will find out all my dark secrets, or that God will surely punish me most severely for my unmentionable, abominable sins.

All the time, however I can't stop thinking of the beautifully gorgeous, angelic looking, red-haired and freckled boy, Hochberg from Hartford, and what might have been. I still shudder when I recall the recent Friday night when a whole bunch of fellow students came to visit me in my dorm room when I was sick. It was a Friday night there were no lights on in the room and all sat or stood around in total darkness. Hochberg, though, sat on my bed, and put his hand under the blanket and groped me. I was so scared, because I was worried that it was an entrapment, and I remained absolutely soft. This is the yeshiva environment in which the following event is taking place.

I have just shut the lights leaving my room for the study hall's evening session. It is a weekday and therefore we have study sessions every evening. Before I actually leave the room I feel somebody's hand on my shoulder who gently but firmly leads me back into my room. The lights remain turned off. His name is NTL. He is an older bokhur, that is, one of the senior students who took responsibility for the moral training of the younger students on a one-to-one basis.

He leads me to the bed where he sits very closely besides me and holds me very tightly around the waist. He is stronger and more powerful than I am. He is also an older bokhur that you have to respect and listen to. I was immobile and frozen.

He tells me that he could tell from the lines under my eyes that I was masturbating (which I already knew was a grave sin, that is the masturbation and not the lines under the eyes per se!), Before long I am confessing to him all the other evil things that I had been doing, including the sex that I had had for many years with my older brother, Calmin. I tell him that it had gone on for nearly six years and had only ended when we separated a few months earlier, with him going to seminary in Cleveland and I, as I said earlier, coming to Baltimore. I feel so relieved in unburdening myself to someone who is so interested in me.

Through the whole long evening (and it feels that it it a very long evening) I am so scared and afraid, feeling that I dare not make a single move, let alone excuse myself to take a pee, which is getting more and more urgent.

I continue to remain in NTL's close embrace, although by now we are standing against a closet door with one of my hands squeezed against the doorknob. By now I don't know what is hurting more, my hand against the doorknob, or having to pee so urgently. But still I dare not move. I am trapped.

NTL makes me promise that I will never, ever, urinate standing up (because doing that I would be touching myself and that might very well lead to masturbation). I must also immediately train myself to sleep only on my side, and not on my belly or back (in order to avoid having a nocturnal emission, which, of course, is also sinful). I am to tell him every time that I transgressed, even if it was just a matter of having a wet dream. Finally, he tells me that I am so indebted to him for what he is doing for me that, even if I had a million dollars, I would have to give it all to him.

I have no awareness of how long I am with NTL; only that my hand is hurting and that I need to pee so badly. I am so afraid of him and I am so overwhelmed by this evening. No one has ever talked to me at such length and especially helping me to overcome my sinful desires.

I have no idea or comprehension where this evening's experience and my relationship with NTL will undeniably and inescapably take me, and what tragic and painful consequences I will have to endure down the road. But all that is in the future (or at least four or so months away.).

Thursday, July 06, 2006


The Victims Write And Their Stories Are Verified!

When I was --- years old, I was a talmid of Ner Israel. At that time, the Mashgiach Ruchni was Rabbi Moshe Eisemann. I became close to him and trusted him totally like a father figure. He is a very sick man. He would tell me he loved me and would hug and kiss me inappropriately. In this day and age, what rebby does this? He tried to control me by telling me loshon harah against my friends and family, and by telling my best friend not to be friends with me, and other ways.

I was very uncomfortable, but thought I was crazy for thinking he was weird. One day, he felt up my rear end IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BEIS MEDRASH! I couldn't believe it. I was shocked, angry and dismayed. But I did not have the guts to even say excuse me, what the hell are you doing. I did have the guts to tell my parents that he was "bothering " me and my mom called him and told him to stay away. He did not listen at first, but had the nerve to approach me a couple more times and to write me a letter threatening that love can easily turn to hate. I may still have that letter.

I know that this story does not sound like much, but there is more. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine had problems and was thrown out of the dorm. Rabbi Eisemann offered to take him into his house. One night in the middle of the night, thinking my friend was asleep, Rabbi Eisemann went in and put his hand under the cover, and groped my friend's privates. My friend was only ---. He was horrified. The next day he told ......., who went to the hanhalla. Rabbi Herman Neuberger, A"H, reacted by saying that the boy had to leave the yeshiva.

My friend was devastated. He came to me to ask me to come forward. Es Chatai Ani Mazkir Hayom, I wasn't ready completely. I told him if there was any other way to save his brother, he should do it, but if not I would come forward. He found another victim whose father was a huge gvir and who had also been touched inappropriately. So my friend was allowed to stay.

Reb Tzvi Berkowitz,the son-in-law of Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky of Philadelphia, told my friend not to tell anyone what happened because it could be bad for the yeshiva.

I have suffered for years. Only years later was I able to tell my parents what truly happened. I have still not been able to confront the yeshiva satisfatorily on this issue.A few years ago, I DID tell Shragi Neuberger about it. He is a rebby, and Rabbi Neuberger's son and we were close once upon a time. He did not deny the problem. There had been a bochur who told Reb Dovid Cohen a similar story (a Russian bochur with no political clout) but that the story was "unsubstantiated".

I'm here to substantiate the fact that R. Eisemann has a real problem. What to do, the follow up phone calls have gotten us nowhere. I want to go further, but am afraid of being hurt personally by the yeshiva.

What I would like to know from you is, do you have a way to investigate and find others who have been affected? I'm sure there are. I found another person who said that he was also was felt up on three occassions, and although he was not traumatized he decided to stay away from Rabbi Eisemann. His story happened several years after mine. He also knows of one other person. By the way, I was traumatized mostly because of the relationship I had with Rabbi Eisemann, and also by the covering up and complete lack of caring on the part of the yeshiva. It is true that what happened to me from a sexual standpoint was "not as bad" as some other stories. After all there was no penetration, right??? There might not be a lawsuit, but is that really necessary even at this point? Wouldn't you think that the thought of a scandal now would get them to act? But Rabbi Eisemann is still sitting on the dais at the recent Rabbi Neuberger memory dinner, and what's worse, still talks in learning with unsuspecting yeshiva boys on a daily basis. What is wrong with these people???? Ignorance is only an excuse up to a point, no?!

If you have any ideas or advice for me, I would be so grateful.

One last thing. I thought of you this yomtov. Take a look at the Yalkut Meam Loez on Rus on Vayehi Bimay Shfot Hashoftim. He says that the judges / leaders of Klal Yisroel were judged by the people for their corruption. He writes pages and pages about this. He says that when Moshe Rabeinu "criticized" the Jews saying , a little more and they'll stone me", it was not a put down but praise that the Jewish people don't stand for phony, incompetent, self-interested leaders, but demand integrity from them, no matter who they are. I felt like he was writing about you. Really, take a look, and let me know what you think.

Yasher Koach, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Another victim writes....

I went to Gary Rosenblatt to ask advice. He's the editor of Jewish Week who did the expose on Baruch Lanner. He had been the head of the Jewish paper in Baltimore. He told me that Rabbi Neuberger had been involved in a case in the city (Eisgrau) where he insisted that it be kept quiet and nothing was done. It's as if there is some kind of Mesorah that he had that this is the correct thing to do in these situations. You know, chillul hashem, etc.

Shragi told people that Rabbi Eiseman has a heart condition, and this has to be considered in deciding to act or not. He also said that the Neubergers had been aware for years of Matis Weinberg's problems, but did nothing. He said "Everyone knows that the Neubergers and Weinbergs don't get along well, so they would not have believed us." Come again???

David Mandel from Brooklyn had started a Beis Din in Baltimore to investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the frum community.The Beis Din consisted of Shragi, Rav Heinneman, Rav Hopfer, Rabbi Hauer, and Rabbi Goldberger. Shragi said that when Rabbi Heinneman is at the meetings they can't really speak about it because he doesn't get it as well as the rest of them. How do you explain this? A rabbi on Beis Din who does NOT understand the sickness?

According to Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, "There are as many rabbis out there that will hurt you than will help you," and "There ARE no more Gedolim, veharaya, that people come to me with questions that they used to go to gedolim."

Another victim writes....

Did you hear about the two evenings that Ohel had entitled "let's talk about what never happened, but it really did"? The first one featured Rav Pam, Reb Shmuel and Reb Dovid Cohen and was emceed by Sruly Reisman. I gave them an A for effort, but their cluelessness caused, I believe, much pain to the victims/survivors in the audience. Reb Shmuel was asked by a lady what she should do about being molested 30 years ago and never telling anyone. She said that she was recently experienceing psychological symptoms. He told her to see a shrink, but to not tell her husband under any circumstances, because there is no way he would understand. This is in public and on tape. Rav Pam spoke about frum people with psychological issues like OCD, but didn't mention molestation, abuse of any sort, anything to do with sex or what the purpose of the evening was supposed to be. I wonder if someone told him, even? My favorite was of course, Rabbi Reisman, who after offering the caveat that he was not a psychologist, still felt that he had something intelligent to offer on the subject beacause of his experiences with victims. He then told two stories in which he went out of his way to point out that the molester was NOT Jewish. It did not take my years of leaning lamdus to make the diuk that apparently frum people of course don't molest, and that what had happened to many of the people in the room, really didn't happen at all according to the resident Navi expert. To "help" people even more, when asked by one survivor about the feelings of betrayal, he opined that this was not an issue at all, because like Don Rumsfeld said about the war in Iraq, "Stuff happens".

Basically, the message was to victims: we want to help you to get over it... so get over it, ok?

Another victim writes....

I hope you took no offense that I called you meshuga. I think that anyone who is not made meshuga by the horrible world of hypocrisy that is called the frum velt has something really wrong with them. Anyway, sorry for the choice of words. Again, you are my hero.

One thing that impressed me about your approach, is that with the Gerrer situation (the gerrorists) you got the job done and didn't feel the need to "take them down" or to necessarily go after the yeshiva, etc.

I'm mentioning this, because although sometimes the situation calls for drastic measures like multimillion dollar lawsuits and possibly razing a yeshiva to the ground, each situation is different and this whole problem does require sophistication as well as passion. In my case of Ner Yisroel, maybe something subtle like a letter writing campaign, or a few choice phone calls asking politely for Rabbi Eisemann to be taken care of, might do the trick especially now that they see what the problem could lead to.

Another victim writes...

I do not think it is enough to dismiss these people from their jobs. Look at the two guys who were fired. They go to Israel and will most likely end up like Mattis Weinberg molesting again at a later date. What needs to be done is:

Rabbi Eisemann should be told that the community, i.e. hanhalla of yeshiva, will monitor him and talk to his therapist to be sure he is complying. He will be given a job doing something with no child contact, but if he does not comply, he will be punished with fines or something else. His passport should probably be taken away.

His treatment should be comprehensive at a place that specializes in sex offenders and should include objective assessment for pedophilia (lie detector test, sexual deviancy measures, etc.) group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapy.

The yeshiva, as part of the change that needs to be made, should have to track down as many victims as possible and apologize.

Am I asking too much?

Another victim writes.....

You have touched on many issues, and are right on target.

Firstly, Shlomo Gottesman at Torah Umesorah is a big part of the problem, he's known about these problems At Ner Israel for years and is deeply involved in covering up this issue.

The gedolim, at least the ones they call gedolim, are clueless outside their daled amos. As a general rule, the Europeans don't get it, and the great chachomim like R' Ruderman are gone.
The present rabbonim in America are either businessmen protecting their businesses, or shluchim from them. I can't think of one name today that can compare to the toes of a R' Ruderman.

What's worse is that they in their ignorance and self-interests are causing the destruction of authentic Orthodox Judaism. R' Moshe didn't know about N.Y. water? Romaine lettuce?

Chumras upon chumras...where's the beef??? kinderlach's lives and neshomas??????
The Neuberger's behavior come as a shock and will come back to haunt them. What about Tzvi Berkowitz?/ Is he out of his mind or just waiting for the rosh yeshiva's job? Eiseman is sick, he has molested me for years when I went for shabbes to his house. He said it is ok to feel good. How crazy is that???I'm at a loss to explain what's going on. Maybe this is the next dor hamabul...the rishaim seem to be everywhere. I need time to think of an aitza, right now, I'm shocked out of my mind.

Sincerely and all the very best,do not let the Neubergers fool you, they will do nothing.

Another victim writes....

I know five of us that Eiseman masturbated, but I'm not sure how many would agree to help or come forward. There is the Russian boy but only Dovid Cohen know who this bochur is. I'm shocked that Dovid Cohen did not do anything to get rid of Eiseman, he told people years ago that he spoke to the Neubergers and they agreed to fire him.

Another victim writes....

Oh, by the way, you know that Moshe Eisemann went for years and years to Russia to work with unsuspecting Jewish children there under Agudas Yisroel's plan for harbotzas torah.
I'm going to write Neuberger that he really needs to fire Eiseman, pronto. And if Eiseman takes the yeshiva to a din torah (sure) then I'm willing to back up the yeshiva. But I will not help them in any way until he's fired.

Another victim writes...

I have two more victims of Eiseman who might be willing to contact you anonymously. Maybe three. Reb Dovid Cohen was also approached by somebody about Eiseman a while ago. I'm sorry you are having health problems. I'm suffering a lot too. Will it be all over soon? Or will it take as long as YTT is taking? Have you gotten any response from Ner Israel?

Another victim writes.....

I have an insider in Torah Umesorah...they ( Ner Israel) have no interests in doing the right thing at all. They're more concerned about finding me. I went to Herman 12 years ago and told him that Eiseman is sick, so they know full well and decided to do nothing. They learned NOTHING from the Margulies fiasco. I will be going public. Hopfer has been covering for Eisgrau...Eisgrau raped his own daughter, I'm in contact with her.
They're going to learn the hard way. I'll testify if needed!

Another victim writes.....

Apparently someone calling himself UOJ told Reb Sheftel that they've got 10 days to act or else. I had been wondering if they would make the top 3. Suddenly, Shragi says to my friend they are ready to act. Not to botch it up like TT did. He wants to go to a beis din first with Rabbi Hopfer. Many people told him that that's a waste of time, totally unnecessary. All they need to do is retire Eiseman based on 2 credible complaints, period. My friend said what are you afraid of that Eiseman will sue?!! I told him not to worry about Eiseman's heart condition, the victims come first. I think he might have heard me, but we'll see. Either way, I think in 10 days it will all be done. I hope. Shragi asked my friend if you had other victims. You told me that you didn't want to name others to me about other victims. He was very puzzled about how the molestation had taken place in the beis medrash, and I clarified to him that for some very sick individuals, that is what gets their rocks off.
Yasher Koach and keep up the good work. Soon it will be done and you can take a real hiatus and recuperate, I hope.
I'm feeling better already, but it ain't over till its over.

Another victim writes......

On second thought, I don't trust Shragi at all to be looking out for my interests, I don't feel a need to confront Eiseman to his face, and I certainly don't want to have to speak to this guy Hopfer. So, I'm going to call off the charade and tell them to just do what you are calling for, which happens to also be the best thing for all people concerned. I truly hope they do what they need to.

A victim responds to a question that I pose about them calling for an immediate hearing:

No, they did not agree. In matter of fact my friend just got a call from Shragi from Eretz Yisroel, that when he gets back, he wants to have a meeting with me, my friend, any other victims, Rabbi Eiseman and Rabbi Hopfer. I'm not quite sure why they need his involvement. I'm not sure why they need anybody's involvement. It makes me nervous, but I'm willing to help do things their way for now. It's the bottom line that matters. I'm nervous about this too. Shragi now talked to my friend about making "restrictions" for Eiseman, it seems Eiseman is staying, and the talk of his dismissal is a charade.

Any victims of Moshe Eisemann please contact me. I am willing to assist you in legal action against Ner Israel and Eiseman.

The next yeshiva has one week to terminate their in-house sexual abuser!


Saturday, July 01, 2006

"UOJ - Please Listen. The abuse of power, molestation, and cover-up that you know about does not allow you to rest peacefully....."

A Sophisticated Reader Writes And UOJ Responds.

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 two 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 religion 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 devastating.

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 feelings 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 coming 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.


The pain that all thinking people feel as well as the outrage, is expressed by myself and thousands of readers of this blog. Going through literally thousands of comments and e-mails per week, I am able to put up only a fraction of the comments and read only some of the e-mails. The one time I took off comment moderation as a test, there were 1030 comments until I started moderating again. Unprecedented in Blog history; Jewish or otherwise.

You do make some excellent points and your sincerity has captured the attention of my non-UOJ persona.

I am guilty...guilty of letting it take years for me to transform my mild mannered personality into the "wild-man" UOJ. I'm watching this Jim Jones like behavior for years while trying gently to make a difference by attending board meetings, writing essays, donating large sums of money, all with the proper intent to get a system in the yeshivas and Rabbanut that is guided by the beauty of our Torah. Not a system governed by individual needs, not beautiful edifices, not ostentatious dinners and conventions...simply a system run by yirei Hashem with no other interest than the needs of the klal first, foremost and only!

Instead, we have a system that is corrupt from the mail-room person up to the decision-makers, and everyone in between. How did we get here? Where did this disease of abuse of power and utter corruption come from? Are we students of our holy Torah or are we just a bunch of people dressed in dark clothing, hats, wigs, and tzitzis? (some fools wear more than one pair at a time)

The answer my friends, is the pass we gave to our rabbis that are no more than mortal humans. They have the same temptations that all of us have, and many of them, not all, fall victim to their humanity. They steal, they cheat, they are corrupt. You know why? There is no system of checks and balances that all humanity requires. They are the rabbis/gedolim...who is going to keep them in check?

We have erred. We have turned our rabbis into Gods..they are not, not at all. They are influenced and corrupted by money and power just as we are. We are scrutinized by our peers, they get a pass.

Therefore the trembling anger I have displayed towards R' Elchonon Wasserman. He was a Torah giant; but he was not God, just a mere human, fallible just like any other human. Was he brilliant in Torah? Absolutely! Therefore what exactly? A student wants to escape Nazi Germany...and he writes him back to stay put? Pikuach nefesh replaces a personal theory or opinion that "Y.U.", R' Yitzckok Elchonon in those days, is more dangerous to his talmidim than Hitler? Rabbi Gedalya Schorr and Mike Tress obtain hundreds of visas for his talmidim and he tells them, NO THANKS!?

I was sitting at the hospital bed several years ago of a true "tzaddik gamur"; he was nebach at the end of his life. He was at one of the meetings where his family hosted a reception to honor R' Elchonon in the late 1930's. I was holding his frail, trembling hand as he described to me what transpired after that meeting. The host and the hostess threw themselves at the feet of R' Elchonon in the living room, sobbing and begging uncontrollably...pleading with him NOT to go back to Europe, and to bring his talmidim to the United States.

R' Elchonon was trance-like...he wouldn't budge. "HE KNEW WHAT HASHEM WANTED!" He in fact played God...thousands died against the wishes of Hashem, which commanded us to violate Yom Kippur, Shabbos, Kashrut...do everything one must do to save a single life! For everyone's information, what Art Scroll will NOT tell you, is that Rav Yitzchok Scheiner, the present Rosh Hayeshiva of Kaminetz in Israel, was a talmid of Y.U. at that time. Not too shabby a black hatter I might comment. He was right up there on the infamous list of fools banning Noson Slifkin's works.

So my passion is, in my opinion, well-founded, rooted in common sense and Torah inspired fact. No Chassidic rebbe or any rabbi has Godly powers, they are mere mortals. Remember we are Jews NOT Christians; there are NO intemediaries in our religion. WE have a direct line to God, not one bit less than a person who is wearing eighty pairs of tzitzis, fur hats, round hats, square hats, velvet ones, silk jackets, white Kabbalah coats or any of the cult-like dress that we have succumbed to like children lost in a store full of toys and costumes.

We have let the Pied-Pipers flute us into a generation of meaningless rituals and chumras that are nothing more than the works of dangerous and foolish power grabbers.
Some rabbis do this intentionally, and some are led to this madness by a circle of their leidegayers; people who are human parasites..eating off the flesh of the naive and trusting. When I met with R' Shteinman, to find out that he knew nothing of a virus called herpes, only for him to categorize the New York Dept.of Health as Goyim out to destroy Judaism, I knew this gedolim thing has to go.

When R' Shmuel Kaminetzky responded in the Kolko matter, that we MUST assume Kolko did t'shuva if a recent victim, that was not victimized in the last few months, did NOT come forward, I knew that it was a mitzva to come out with the heavy artillery; lawsuits, secular media, private investigators, the D.A....and anything else I can think of to bring to light the cesspool of leaders that we have selected to guide us through difficult times. When Aaron Twerski disgraces the very essence of our intellect by calling Lipa Margulies an honorable man...there is no stopping me!

So I am upset to the point of being a " crazy person" and every other adjective my detractors can think of. But my accounting will be given to Hashem, not some earthly human; and whenever that day comes, I will go proudly, knowing full well my intentions were pure; no money, plaques, chicken dinners, or any other human reward. I do not want to sully any reward I may or may not get from my Creator.

There will be more...much, much more; this Thursday I will go public with the next yeshiva cover-up and their in-house molester. I will not stop until we have an abuse-free yeshiva system and that includes their enablers.

I will let God judge me and my language; after all, I am human and have shortcomings. I'm willing to take that chance.