Sunday, September 28, 2008

L'Shana Tova!

Summary by Wikipedia:

The Republic contains Plato's Allegory of the cave with which he explains his concept of The Forms as an answer to the problem of universals. The allegory of the cave is an attempt to justify the philosopher's place in society.

Plato imagines a group of people who have lived in a cave all of their lives, chained to a wall in the subterranean so they cannot see outside nor look behind them. Behind these prisoners is a constant flame that illuminates various statues that are moved by others, which cause shadows to flicker around the cave.

When the people of the cave see these shadows they realize how imitative they are of human life, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows such as either "dog" or "cat". The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to seeing reality, according to Plato.

Plato then goes on to explain how the philosopher is a former prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not constitutive of reality at all. He sees that the fire and the statues which cause the shadows are indeed more real than the shadows themselves, and therefore apprehends how the prisoners are so easily deceived.

Plato then imagines that the freedman is taken outside of the cave and into the real world. The prisoner is initially blinded by the light. However when he adjusts to the brightness, he eventually understands that all of the real objects around him are illuminated by the sun (which represents the Form of the Good, the form which has caused the brightness). He also realizes it is the sun to which he is indebted for being able to see the beauty and goodness in the objects around him. The freedman is finally cognizant that the fire and statues in the cave were just copies of the real objects in the world.

The prisoner's stages of understanding correlate with the levels on the divided line that Plato imagines. The line is divided into what is the visible world, and what the intelligible world is, with the divider being the Sun. When the prisoner is in the cave, he is obviously in the visible realm that receives no sunlight, and outside he comes to be in the intelligible realm.

The shadows in the cave that the prisoners can see correspond to the lowest level on Plato's line, that of imagination and conjecture. Once the prisoner is freed and spots the fire's reflection onto the statues which causes the shadows in the cave, he reaches the second stage on the divided line, and that is the stage of belief, as the freedman comes to believe that the statues in the cave are real as can be.

On leaving the cave however, the prisoner comes to see objects more real than the statues inside of the cave, and this correlates with the third stage on Plato's line as being understanding. The prisoner is therefore able to ascribe Forms to objects as they exist outside of the cave. Lastly, the prisoner turns to the sun which he grasps as the source of truth, or the Form of the Good, and this last stage, named as dialectic, is the highest possible stage on the line. The prisoner, as a result of the Form of the Good, can begin to understand all other forms in reality.

Allegorically, Plato reasons that the freedman is the philosopher, who is the only person able to discern the Form of the Good, and thus absolute goodness and truth. At the end of this allegory, Plato asserts that it is the philosopher's burden to reenter the cave.

Those who have seen the ideal world, he says, have the duty to educate those in the material world, or spread the light to those in darkness. Since the philosopher is the only one able to recognize what is truly good, and only he can reach the last stage on the divided line, only he is fit to rule and educate society according to Plato.


UOJ Profile - March 5, 2005 - ..."The critiques are in no way to be construed as critical of Judaism. My intent is to expose the practices and the conflicts that have so denigrated our religion; hopefully leading to a drastic change in the way we select our "leaders"..."

With gratitude to the Ribono Shel Olam and with the greatest love for Am Yisroel...

L'Shana Tova U'Bracha,


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Are Cordially Invited To Make A Mockery Of A Sefer Torah!


September 23, 2008

Mr. Ploni Almoni
Brooklyn, NY

Dear Mr. Almoni:

After receiving your invitation to participate in Yeshiva Torah Temimah’s Sefer Torah writing campaign, I felt a strong sense of Achrayus to share my feelings with you regarding this campaign and the reasons I am refusing to participate.

As you know, Yeshiva Torah Temimah has been at the forefront of the child abuse scandal that has been rocking the frum community for the last several years. The recent conviction of one of the school’s Rebbeim only serves to underscore the darkest realities about this scandal: the decades-long cover-up which occurred at the hands of the school’s administration. Even more troubling, additional high-ranking individuals in the frum community – referred to by many as “gedolim” – have also been implicated in the cover-up, the intimidation of victims and witnesses, and the maintenance of the status quo.

As both a frum Jew and a member of the law enforcement community, I must tell you how repulsed and outraged I am at the sheer magnitude of the crimes now coming to light. While the actual abuse itself – a criminal act, as well as an obvious manifestation of psychological disturbance – clearly deserves both speedy prosecution and wholesale condemnation, what is to be said for the individuals in authority who clearly knew of the abuse, and allowed it to continue? Which words could we use to describe the evil of the so-called “rabbis” – not abusers themselves – who so completely disregarded the welfare of the untold numbers of children for whom they were responsible? To know of the abuse of even one child, and to disregard it – or worse, to cover it up…..is an unthinkable violation of law, halacha, and simple humanity.

In the eyes of our religion, many comparisons are made between a Jew and a Sefer Torah. Your audacity at heading a drive to write a Sefer Torah to be put into the hands of an individual who covered-up the physical and spiritual abuse of so many precious Jewish children – Sifrei Torah all – is beyond my comprehension. Given the magnitude of the crimes that have been perpetrated, I find such a project to be a Zi’uf Hatorah, and I condemn it wholeheartedly.

Sadly, this topic has generated a great deal of intimidation against many in the frum community, resulting in an eerie silence on this most troubling issue, even from those in leadership positions. In these remaining days before the יום הדין, I refuse to acquiesce to the silence. Please ensure that you never send me any solicitations for support of Yeshiva Torah Temimah again.


Daniel E. Sosnowik

The writer, an Orthodox Jew, has been a member of the New York City Police Department for 25 years.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rav Chaim Soloveichik in his drasha on Ki Tavo called upon community leaders to take a more forceful approach regarding child abuse!

Rav Soloveichik began his drasha by referring to the simcha which the community experiences when witnessing smachot involving the younger generation, such as brit milah and bar mitzvah. (Written by a talmid of Rav Chaim Soloveichik shlita, Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel. Motsei Shabbat Parshat Ki Tavo, 5768)

Rav Chaim Soloveichik in his weekly Shabbat drasha on Parashat Ki Tavo called upon community leaders to take a more forceful approach regarding child abusers. Rav Soloveichik heads Mosdot HaRav Aharon Soloveichik – Bet Knesset Ohr Shalom, located in Ramat Beth Shemesh and founded by his father HaGaon HaRav Aharon Soloveichik.

The Rav noted that such smachot are so great because of the continuity which they represent. “Our children are our future-we rejoice at smachot connected to them and we must be vigilant in acting to protect them from harm.”

Rav Soloveichik cited the vidui maasroth which is mentioned as the second mitzvah in parashath Ki Tavo and raised the question of why one must say a vidui regarding sins which one did not do, whereas generally one does so regarding sins which one has transgressed. The Rav stated that the purpose of vidui is making a "complete accounting".

“Leaders, heads of institutions and rabbanim must make an accounting for that which they have and have not done for their communities. One issue regarding which a more serious accounting needs to be done is the issue of child-abuse. I have been apprised of a local problem with an alleged child abuser who is employed as a teacher of young children by a local school.The teacher is currently being investigated for inappropriate behavior with children, and community leaders and rabbanim say that we must not remove the teacher lest his parnasa be damaged.”

Rav Soloveichik emphasized that while one’s parnassa is an important issue this does not trump the need to separate such a teacher from children for whom he constitutes a presumed danger.

There are numerous opportunities for parnassah which do not require being responsible for 30 kids.

“It is hard to believe that rabbonim who know gemara, the poskim, mishna berura, backwards and forwards do not have the sense to realize that when non-frivolous claims have been made, an alleged child-abuser must be distanced from a position of contact with children until his name has been cleared.When no leadership is demonstrated by rabbanim, then the bloggers will inevitably fill the vacuum.”

Rav Soloveichik reiterated that an approach which only allows one to separate an alleged child-abuser from talmidim once there has been a criminal indictment or conviction unreasonably endangers children.

The Rav impassionately cried out:” Those who ask ‘what about the parnassa of the teacher?’ must be rebutted with the question ‘what about the children, what about the children?”

The Rav called upon community leaders to take vigorous action to assure that alleged predators are kept far from positions from which they can pose a threat to children. “Let us restore community initiative to the rabbanim and community leaders. We need to be the ones making the clarion calls, not just the bloggers.”

Rav Soloveichik praised the new initiative of Lema'an Achai, the Ramat Bet Shemesh chesed organization, which has established a "Safe Kids" program. Concerned local parents and kids call "Safe Kids" for professional and practical advice from qualified, experienced social workers, about child abuse.

Rav Soloveichik ended his drasha wishing upon the community that we have the zchuth to act wisely and forcefully for the sake of a better future for our children.


Dear UOJ,

Toras Eliyahu continues to tell parents that the police have investigated and cleared Kagan. They have rec'd MORE complaints and are preparing their investigation.


Toras Eliyahu is lying to protect themselves. They are also trying to bad mouth the victims' families with lies and distortions.

Excepting the brave Rav Solovechik the Rabbonim here continue to remain silent.

Bet Shemesh is now in the middle of political campaigns. Perhaps care and concern for our children should top the candidate's platforms.

One party, naming itself TOV, claims to represent the working yeshiva man (is that an oxymoron?).

Their number 2 man, Mendy Newman, fought tirelessly in defense of Akiva Kagan. He tried to bring him back into the classroom in which he molested children.

Now Mendy Newman is running for Bet Shemesh city council for the TOV party.

TOV looks to have a good showing in Cheredi Ramat Bet Shemesh.

So an enabler of molesters might gain a seat on the city council.

I urge everyone to call the head of the TOV party, Mr. Elie Friedman (in Israel 0774401815) and let him know who he has chosen to run with.

In addition you may want to contact Dov Lippman, who heads the mayoral campaign for Shalom Lerner. Mr. Lerner also has a close association with Mendy Newman.

Dov Lippman can be contacted at:

Tell him that Shalom Lerner should not associate with such people and that it won't be TOV for him to do so.

We must stop the molesters and their enablers!



Hi I'm Charles and I work for the Asbury Park Press, we're collecting information on this Catapult story out of Lakewood. If anyone has any information, please forward it to me at: charles_cunliffe_app@yahoo.com - I promise you total confidentiality. Thanks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Victim Of Rabbinic Sexual Abuse Ponders!

Why is it still considered taboo to go to the police when a child has been molested?

Can someone please give me an answer? Why are there child molesters (that we know about) roaming freely and being given the biggest respect and protection, while their victims are not allowed to get any sense of closure? Why is Dov Hikind not advising to go to the authorities?

I am fighting for this worthy cause. My motive is to stop the ugly cycle of molester/victim/molester/victim/etc.

What I'm implying in my last sentence might well bring upon me the wrath of victims and family. Let me preface with the fact that I was used and abused sexually by rabbis in our society and am left deeply hurting from those episodes and the cover-up that followed. As long ago as they may have occurred, the brain is still a huge blackboard with NO ERASURE. Hence when rabbis counseled me with the words "just get over it, it’s a thing of the past" I knew I was talking to men who are phenomenal IMBECILES when it comes to relating to this complex and painful topic.

Having said all this I will venture into dangerous waters now. Please be patient and follow my logic to its conclusion.

All or most seem to concur that a large percent of victims will due to the mental trauma, (and lack of normal sexual maturity while in a proper and healthy state of mind), likely and sadly become child-rapists themselves (albeit without being able to comprehend the severity of this due to having been programmed as such by the molestation). A far larger number will at least entertain thoughts of abuse and sexual violence.

As horrific as this sounds, allow me to prove it. Many survivors who fail to get proper therapy in a timely manner and try to live a normal life (i.e. getting married), will eventually find themselves in a turbulent marital relationship due to the fact that they were taught by example, and will therefore relate to sexual acts and marital relations in a different manner. These victims were taught, even before attaining full puberty, that sexual gratification is attainable at the expense of one’s supposed loved one, and that the object of your desires exists only to fulfill your every desire and fantasy with all the twisted justifications in tow.

Obviously such a relationship will crash and burn very badly, all the while, the original victim struggles, yet fails, to fully comprehend what went wrong with the relationship. (As a side note, I insist that a great many of the divorces in our society stem from this issue - yet another price to pay for harboring rapists and molesters.)

Take the above married couple dilemma and replace the wife with a student, neighbor's kid, or sibling, and you see the disaster perpetrated by those advocating cover-ups and shipping our problems to another town or yeshiva. This is all the more reason that this is a real emergency.

A final example, is the child of violent parents who will likely grow up to beat his own children, since he was taught to deal with his anger and negative emotions with violence unto helpless children.

Now, although we are sickened by this reality and the seeming unstoppable cycle of ever-increasing molestation and its resulting side effects, and although victims must be held accountable for improper actions (just like children are taught lovingly that they must be responsible for stealing and biting etc.), you would have a heart of stone not to feel sorry for the victim of child molestation who turns to this very same trade. This person’s confusion, post traumatic stress disorder, disassociation, depression, low self esteem, the insatiable need for over stimulation brought on by the inability to reconcile what happened as a child or teen, and a slew of other side effects of abuse, are more guilty than he himself.

Now, look me in the eye and tell me what you would say if you found out that Kolko or Mondrowitz or Lanner or Colmer or any of the other alleged or convicted prolific molesters/rapists were themselves raped, sodomized, or prematurely stimulated by others as children? If true, was not their plight at the hands of an authority figure reaming him in the mouth, pounding him in the ass or making him fondle the molester or perform sex acts on camera etc., any less painful then the plight of his very own victims? What about his molester? Was he molested too? Don't we owe it to possible victims of rape and incest, who in turn abuse others, to discern and consider whether we are dealing with one whose heart and spirit died a horrible death years earlier at the hands of another molester?

When that once-carefree spirit died it too had no one to mourn its demise, no one to share in the grief of the little victim as his wretched abused soul shriveled up and died that day! For example, what will we say if it turns out we have reliable sources documenting that Mondrowitz was molested as a child by the "butcher of Chicago" who lived in the same building he grew up in? May G-d forgive me if what I write here is used unjustly by Mondrowitz's defense, but my intentions are pure.

Heaven forbid that I am advocating moderation in pursuit of justice and closure. What I am saying is that Dov Hikind may know what others don't, or may be going the more cautious route and giving the opportunity to those victims-turned-molesters to come clean, fess up to what they did, beg and plead on both knees to the victims (every single last one of them), for forgiveness and then give these souls the ONLY kind of therapy that works. Namely to explain to them how they came about to molest, what they are perpetrating and perpetuating with these acts, and that they can and will overcome the trauma of their youth. They can then use the one little known strength of victims, which is a hidden and long dormant tenderness and ability to feel for others, and then move toward a lasting, honest and fulfilling marriage.

You might raise an eyebrow and say, "what is this guy talking about a victim’s hidden strength of tenderness"? Well, bear in mind that it is those with an inherent shy and timid kindness, with an unlimited innocent sense of human goodness, and a yearning for peace and warmth --- who wouldn't hurt a fly, that falls victim to molestation.

We may perhaps venture now to answer a question that has reverberated in the halls of modern medical schools and in the journals of mental health. Can a molester be “cured”? The answer comes with a big IF. IF and only IF the molester was himself victimized, then conditional to the steps mentioned two paragraphs back, I can safely state that barring other severe mental issues, YES! The logic found above points solidly to this answer.

I repeat that I have always been an active advocate of strict and immediate definitive intervention. But after the initial intervention and the truly sincere apology to every last victim, parents of victim and spouse of victim (I won’t want to have to hold my breath waiting for this ever to happen), we must give quarter to those who too have suffered a lifetime of living with an unshared secret of pain and horror. If my tormentors turn out to be victims themselves I would upon the above conditions consider the case closed even though the issues I deal with may linger for a lifetime. Hopefully Hashem will reciprocate and bestow upon me his unlimited kindness and forgive my shortcomings on account of my being a human and a victim of sexual abuse. And I hope he will grant me the strength to live life to its fullest potential - and love it, in the company of my spouse and children, who are so dear to me for eternity.

I write these lines in honor of first - the victims (those who are with us and those who died waiting in vain for closure and validation),and most of all, in honor of my wife, the compass of my soul, the healer of my heart.

UOJ, If you find this piece worthwhile, publish it for all to see, so as to give some sort of balance as we strive to do the elusive right things before Yimei Hadin.

This topic has no quick answers and has more facets than a prism. It is a difficult task to stand in judgment of these episodes, and even harder to do right by finding the perfect solutions. Which is yet another reason why victims live in turmoil.

Please Hashem, free us of this epidemic for all time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hava Nagila With The Gedolim! Turn Up The Volume - The Nursing Home Brigade Gedolim Removed The Music Ban For This One Time Only!


Watch more Dailymotion videos on AOL Video

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dr. Benzion Twerski Scared Off Panel On Rabbinic Sex Molestors

Top Doc Scared Off Panel On Rabbinic Sex Molestors

Tapped by Hikind, Twerski cites threats; pol ready to ‘name names’ of alleged abusers.

Parents who fail to report sex abuse are “guilty for every other child that is abused after their child,” says Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

by Hella Winston
Special To The Jewish Week

A prominent Orthodox rabbi and psychologist has been intimidated into quitting as head of a just-formed task force dealing with rabbinic sex abuse of minors, organized by Assemblyman Dov Hikind this week.

Dr. Benzion Twerski told The Jewish Week Wednesday that he was quitting the task force because “I was prosecuted in the street for daring to join such a venture.”

“To protect myself, my family, and reputation, I decided to withdraw from this project,” he wrote in an e-mail as the paper was going to press with a story announcing Hikind’s formation of the task force. “From this point, I am avoiding participation in any forms of public service. Public life is not for me.” Hikind, a Brooklyn Democrat who represents Borough Park and Flatbush, deplored Twerski’s abrupt departure from his new panel.

“He was basically forced to resign,” said Hikind. “He was literally put against the wall, and he felt he had no choice. We’ll get somebody else who’s very respected. But that’s not the point. The point is they got to him, they threatened him.”

Twerski’s dramatic departure came just as Hikind was rolling out the new panel, planned as the next step in a personal crusade against child sex abuse in the Orthodox community that he has come to view as an epidemic.

Hikind said he had amassed a dossier with the cases of “hundreds” of individuals who say they have been sexually molested by rabbis and other Orthodox community members during their childhood. And he threatened to broadcast the names of their abusers if community leaders do not respond to his call for action against them.

“Let me tell you,” he said in an interview last week, “when there’s a person who we have confirmed through a variety of people has been doing terrible things” and those who know refuse to go to the authorities, “I am prepared to name names. I am prepared to be sued by those pedophiles. If they’re innocent, let them sue me.”

Speaking after a rash of highly publicized sexual molestation cases in the Orthodox community, Hikind said, “I have been learning that a lot of people out there know who the bad guys are. Where have I been? How come no one talked to me, how come no one came to me?”

Now, Hikind says, he is more determined than ever to establish a community task force to address the issue. Though vague on the panel’s broader makeup and specific plans, Hikind ultimately seeks to develop a list of sexual molesters in Orthodox schools to keep them away from children.

Neither man would specify the nature of the threats made against Twerski to force his departure. But Hikind called them “pathetic and sad.”

“My heart goes out to him,” he said. “I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. Things are opening up, people are coming forward, but we are still so far away.”

Hikind’s new crusade follows several cases in which individuals — often adults now — have gone public with accounts of sexual abuse they experienced at the hands of respected yeshiva teachers when they were children. The alleged victims have spoken, too, of the rejection or even intimidation they experienced from their yeshivas and rabbinic leaders when they tried to report what had happened to them.

In one of the few cases in which victims went to the secular court system, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko of Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Flatbush was convicted on two counts of child endangerment last April. Another alleged abuser, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, now awaits extradition from Israel to Brooklyn, where he has been charged with sexual abuse of children.

More recently Joel Engelman, a former student at the Satmar chasidic sect’s United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg, has alleged he was abused when he eight years old by Rabbi Avrohom Reichman. Engelman, now 23, has filed suit against Rabbi Reichman and UTA, which, he says, violated its promise to him to dismiss Rabbi Reichman in exchange for his not going public. UTA has yet to respond to the suit.

Hikind, who began broadcasting radio shows addressing the issue bluntly about a month ago said, “For a couple of weeks now, so many people have been coming forward. It’s made me absolutely sick, to have to listen to this, to be so shocked, to see so much pain, so much suffering. ... I actually feel that [this] may be the most important thing I’ve done in 26 years. Because you’re talking about saving lives.”

At times during his interview, Hikind sounded vague when pressed on just what his task force would do and how it proposed to go about doing it. The panel will present its findings to “leading rabbis” in various Orthodox communities, he said. And the rabbis, he predicted, “will be absolutely flabbergasted” by what they hear. His ultimate goal, said Hikind, is to establish a communal registry that would list the names of teachers removed from schools due to abusive behavior.

“We need to develop a system, a roster, a protocol needs to be developed,” he said. “If you have a pedophile who is teaching in a yeshiva, that person needs to be on a list, and before any other yeshiva hires a person, you need to be able to go to a roster and see if that rebbe was teaching somewhere else and got thrown out.”

But at another point, apparently recognizing that many schools are often reluctant to dismiss such teachers in the first place, Hikind appeared to envision a more ambitious, quasi-judicial function for his panel.

“It’s sort of hard to investigate yourself,” Hikind admitted. “There’s got to be a system where trusted people, respected leaders, who are not directly a part of that particular organization examine everything. Look, I wasn’t there when these boys were abused, nor was anyone else. So we have to make judgments. We do that all the time.”

Some advocates for the abused children, while praising Hikind for highlighting an issue about which they claim Orthodox Jews are in denial, voiced reservations about his plan.

The father of one child allegedly abused by Rabbi Kolko, who spoke on condition of anonymity, derided the notion of the community policing itself, citing his own unsuccessful efforts to marshal rabbinic action in his son’s case.

“I commend Dov for what he is doing,” said the father of the 10-year-old boy, who was allegedly molested in first grade, “but all these rabbis will make a farce of it. It touches their business. All these schools are somehow connected together.”

Another long-time community activist, who spoke to The Jewish Week on condition of anonymity due to the controversial nature of the issue, said, “Dov’s actions of these past few months are moving to anyone who cares about this issue. Yet we are very concerned that he has set back the cause by offering community members an alternative to the secular authorities.

Reporting the abusers to the rabbis is “akin to asking the fox to watch the henhouse,” this source said. “We spent close to three decades reporting abusers to their yeshiva employers, local rabbis and ‘gedolim’ only to watch time and time again as the information we provided was used to protect the abusers and vilify the victims.

“There is a functioning system in place that we will never have the resources or expertise to replicate, “ he continued, referring to the secular authorities.

“Indeed, to suggest that we are doing so is to do a grave injustice. If people believe we have an alternative to the police, which we do not and never will have, they will rely upon this belief and nothing will change. We tried this and came to the painful conclusion that it can not work.”

Hikind himself took a nuanced position on the issue of going to outside authorities. “Look, I would like to see people report to the police,” he said. “But there are some realities in our communities. ... People in our community, as you know, don’t want to go public. They want to keep it quiet, which is terrible. It’s sinful. I use the word sinful because for someone not to come forward in a situation of abuse of their child is not only to be guilty for not pressing issues for their own child, but they are guilty for every other child that is abused after their child. And they have to live with that. I keep on repeating that to everyone.”

But given the reality, “At least let’s get these people off the street,” he said. “With regard to institutions, where we find teachers, one of the things we are going to work on, if we establish that a teacher is a pedophile, that name needs to go on a list. Before anyone hires anyone, they must look at that list.”

Others active on this issue believe that legislative reforms are also crucial. As an assemblyman, Hikind said he is supportive on this front. He voiced strong backing, for example, for an extension of the statute of limitations for prosecuting child sexual molestation, and for the alleged victims of such abuse to file civil suits.

Under current law, the state cannot pursue criminal prosecutions of an alleged molester once the alleged victim turns 23. A victim himself must bring a civil suit against his molester or against the school he alleges failed to protect him by between one and six years after his 18th birthday, depending on the nature of the allegation.

But child victims of sexual abuse often do not understand or come to terms with their experiences — or sometimes, even recall them — until years, or even decades after they take place. Members of the Orthodox community have the additional burden of overcoming their peer group’s hostility to turning to secular authorities on such a sensitive matter. By then, the statute of limitations often bars their entry to the courtroom.

There are currently several bills in the state Legislature to address this problem, though none have passed in the Senate yet. A bill to extend the statute of limitations and open a one-year window for victims to seek damages regardless of their age recently passed in the Assembly but has repeatedly stalled in the Senate.

“The statute of limitations needs to be extended,” said Hikind. “I’m totally for that . . . I will do everything in the world to make that happen because now I realize how critical that is.”

Elliot Pasik, an attorney in private practice and a co-founder of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, a newly organized grassroots group, has also been pressing for legislation that would require mandatory background checks and fingerprinting of teachers in non-public schools. In addition, his group is working for the passage of a law that would require teachers in non-public schools to report cases of abuse when they see evidence of it or it is reported to them. Public school officials are already required to do so.

New York — unlike 25 other states — does not now classify clergy as mandated reporters, which means that they are not required to report evidence of sex abuse or violence to state child welfare authorities.

Legislation requiring fingerprinting and background checks for prospective non-public school faculty was defeated in the Assembly last year but reintroduced this year by Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. The legislation does not, however, have the support of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Lower East Side).
Agudath Israel, an umbrella group of ultra-traditional Orthodox organizations, is opposed to both the mandated reporting and finger printing, and background check legislation.

Pasik, who currently represents Engelman in his lawsuit against Rabbi Reichman and United Talmudical Academy, said, “New York State has the weakest laws in the country. [Parochial schools] are near-totally unsupervised by the state, which is a throwback to pre-16th century English common law when the church could give sanctuary [to fugitives]. This has to change.”

Hikind would not commit yet on such specifics. “I am sitting with my legislative person right now. We are just going to start our conversation. It’s sort of a new look for me at everything,” he said.”

But he added: “Anything that contributes to apprehending the bad guy and helping the victims, we need to do — period, end of the story. That’s my position. I have a new perspective because I’ve taken a close look, because I’ve spent almost four weeks now listening non-stop to horror stories, and then I’m told by people today who met with me, ‘Dov, it’s worse than even you think right now.’ I said, ‘what?’”


Dr. Twerski explains:

"I am taking a few minutes to make some statements in response to the article about my departure from Dov Hikind’s project and the events that triggered this.

Firstly, I have extreme respect for Dov Hikind, and I share in his mission to make a difference in this painful and destructive issue. I was eager to join with him to create a Task Force that would actually lead to reduction of this terrible problem while doing everything from within the community. It is with sadness that I left the position, and I will always to continue to consider Dov a good colleague and friend. I know he feels the same.

For quite some years, I had invested time and effort, without compensation, for various projects that were being done for the Klal. Even at times when my own financial situation was difficult, I extended myself at great cost for the hatzolas nefashos of youth at risk, addictions, etc. I am not interested in writing my own hesped, but there is much that has never been publicized and won’t be. My expectations were that the mission that I was entering would be understood as something that will be done properly and sensitively. It seems that some understood this quite erroneously.

For several days, I was approached by individuals, some stating that they would cross the street if they were to meet me while walking with their children. Others told me that they would not accept my child into their class if assigned. Others used euphemisms that I refuse to repeat. Family members were likewise confronted by all sorts of comments and phone calls. My married children had been told to fear ever getting shidduchim for their children. Basically, I was left to choose between abandoning my family for this mission, or to take the painful step that I did.

Molestation is underestimated in our community. I never proclaimed it an epidemic. I have not found any reliable statistics. But each victim is a precious neshomoh, an “olam molei” that is totally destroyed. Some victims leave the derech, others struggle with post traumatic stress disorder, some have major hurdles in establishing their own married lives, and still others become molesters themselves. There are frequent comments such as “It does not happen in my yeshiva” which constitutes denial. Perhaps there are no incidents, but one never knows. We’re talking about things that occur in secrecy. I never looked at this problem as one of quantity. I am concerned with the severity. Even the minutest percentage of foreign objects in food will prompt a recall. Our children deserve a zero tolerance for violations of their safety. And for those who insinuated that I was going to go after yeshivos and mosdos hachinuch, I will add that the abuse that occurs in these holy settings is a small percentage of what occurs in various other locations. To combat the problem, we need to begin somewhere.

The intent of the Task Force was to devise systems that would be implemented by the yeshivos themselves to accept complaints, evaluate them, and move the cases onto the next level, whatever was determined by a body of individuals that would include poskim. No fox guarding the henhouse either, as the system would comprise individuals from outside the yeshiva as well to prevent denial and bias from interfering with the process. Part of this process would help filter out complaints that are baseless, either by exaggeration, inaccuracy, or pure fabrication. To consider this project a new “abuse clinic”, or a molestation police brigade is completely groundless.

So I spent several days watching these gross misperceptions feed the mouths of “holchei rochil”. Not one person called me to inquire about the mission, and there was never a chance to explain any of this to anyone before the hatchet began swinging.

Most bothersome to me is that this occurred during Chodesh Elul, when we all need to be doing some self-exploration – cheshbon hanefesh and teshuvah. We will need to face the upcoming yemai hadin, where we will each stand in our individual judgments. I will face Avinu Malkeinu with the position that “I tried to help Your children but they refused to let me.” What will the “holchei rochil” offer in their defense? “Hashem, we just shot down an “osek betzorchei tzibbur be’emunoh”. You shot the wrong person.

I am not personally offended. I have learned to tolerate being called names. I’ve been around a little. I grieve for the work that could have been done, and my tefiloh is that someone capable is found who can see this mission through to success. I grieve for the pain and anger that this whole situation caused for myself, my family, for Dov Hikind, and for all others who recognize the seriousness of the mission. I grieve for the pain and suffering that innocent neshamos will experience in the absence of a system that could stop it. The flak will eventually fade, but the damage has been done. If nothing else, it is a really serious lesson in hilchos lashon horah.

In reality, every frum Yid benefits from the things that askanim do. From intervening with governmental matters, legal issues, dealing with yeshivos, getting streets blocked for various events, and others too numerous to mention, we all derive much benefit from what they do. Nearly all, or perhaps absolutely all, function selflessly. Hatzoloh, Shomrim, and Chaverim are totally volunteer staffed. Since when do we carelessly and viciously attack an askan? Was there any posek asked about doing this? Was this a campaign by a group or individual, or was this just the street gossip fueling itself? I may never know. But I have been sensitized away from participating in askonus.

I already contacted others whose projects are precious and worthy, and withdrew from taking any askonus role. Without any hesitation, I will share my thoughts and opinions with any of them, including Dov. But no one will be able to hold me responsible for something I did not do.

To all the voices in the street that made this happen, my conscience is clear entering the days of selichos and yemai hadin. Are yours?"

Don’t Disturb the Party

Ever Wonder What Our Children Are Thinking?

By: Yakov Horowitz

Imagine that you and your spouse decided to treat yourselves to a high-end cruise for your fiftieth anniversary. Never having done this before, you are blown away by the luxurious setting and are thoroughly enjoying every moment.

In your information packet, you were informed to dress formally for dinner on the first evening of the cruise, so you put on the best clothing from your closet and make your way to the ballroom.

While eating the main dish, someone on the next table keeled over clutching his heart as he fell. A friend of his immediately stood up and yelled, “Is there a doctor in the house?” Almost immediately, a group of waiters and cruise employees sprung into action. But their response was not what you thought it would be.

The cruise operator quickly walked over to the band leader and told him to raise the volume of the music to drown out the commotion generated by the heart attack. Several waiters surrounded the individual who was calling for the doctor. They admonished him for disturbing the ambiance of the formal dinner and physically removed him from the ballroom. While this was happening, another group of cruise employees carried the stricken man out of the ballroom and into one of the empty conference rooms nearby. Instead of canvassing the ballroom for a doctor, they asked one of their associate chefs who took a CPR class several years ago to assist the patient, who slips into a coma and dies shortly thereafter.

Well; that imaginary story pretty much sums up the horrific tale of Dr. Twerski’s harassment at the hands of morally bankrupt individuals which led to his resignation from a panel being formed to – responsibly and in a Torah-appropriate manner – initiate measures to finally start protecting our precious children from the predators in our community.

Reb Benzion is the guy who was forcibly removed from the ballroom so as not to ruin the party. And the fellow with the heart attack represents the innocent, voiceless children in our community who are victims of abuse and molestation.

Back to the story, if I may. Imagine again that you are the couple celebrating their anniversary on the cruise ship. How comfortable would you be after that episode, seeing firsthand that form ruled over substance? That people who called out for help were silenced. That professionally trained individuals who could have perhaps saved the victim’s life were not asked to help him. What would you think of the cruise operator who made those decisions? Would you continue on that cruise or would you get off at the next stop? How comfortable would you be that you would be treated properly if you had severe chest pains?

I ask you to put yourself in the place of our very street-smart teenagers who have immediate access to all the swirls of information and are drawing their own conclusions. What message are we sending them when we allow hooligans to silence a wonderful individual like Dr. Twerski who has dedicated his life to keeping them safe?

Is it any wonder that so many of our kids are heading for the exits when we show them that their safety is not our paramount concern?


We can open the civil statute of limitations for one year for ALL victims regardless of age or how long ago the sex-abuse occurred!

The passage of this bill which will open the civil statute of limitations for one year for ALL victims regardless of age or how long ago the abuse occurred. The ensuing flood of lawsuits would deal a death blow to the bad guys.

Write your State Senator

Although the New York State Assembly has passed the Child Victims Act by an overwhelming bi-partisan vote, the work is only half done. State Senate leader Joseph Bruno has inexplicably prevented the Act from coming to a vote in the Senate. Please strongly ask your Senator to urge the leader to release this bill for a fair vote.

By telling a bit of your personal story in the letter, even in one sentence, you will make the letter more memorable and effective.

1 - Are you a parent or grandparent?
2 - Survivor of child sexual abuse or a relative or friend of a survivor?
3 - Concerned member of an institution in which children have been abused?
4 - Mental health or medical professional?
5 - law enforcement officer?
6 - Social worker?
7 - substance abuse counselor?
8 - Teacher?

Should you send an e-mail?

Not all legislators check emails regularly, but do pay attention to personal, especially hand-written, letters. You might call your Senator's office to ask how e-mails are handled.

Sample Letter to your Senator:

To find your Senator's name and address, click here and enter your zip code.

Dear Senator (NAME),

I am a constituent writing to voice my strong desire to have the Child Victim’s Act, S4614-A, brought to the Senate floor for a fair vote. Please give your full and active support to this important legislation for the safety of our children. I know that many others in your district are outraged because children are not being protected while their predators are shielded by the law.

I support this bill for two key reasons: (1) it will expose sexual predators who have molested and raped in the past and are still victimizing children. In fact, many children are at risk right now and will remain at risk because of our archaic statute of limitations; (2) I believe that childhood sexual abuse victims deserve a day in court to confront their sexual abusers and those who enabled them.

New York needs both an extension of the statute of limitations and a temporary “window” that will suspend the SOL for just one year. The Markey-Saland Child Victims Act (A04560B-S4614A) meets both of these criteria. Our children must have the passage of this Act, without amendments.

Mental health practitioners have testified that many people who were sexually abused as children do not have the ability to come forward until decades have passed. Courts have recognized the validity of repression of memory and recovery after decades.

Yet, New York's law is too weak in this regard. Under current law, victims have only five years after maturity for prosecution or to make a claim for damages. Once the statute of limitations has expired, they have no recourse to justice. But their perpetrators are often still at large, and are certain to harm more innocent children. When California established a window in its SOL, more than 300 previously undetected predators were discovered. A state the size of New York undoubtedly has a large number of predators still roaming free. Further evidence is the estimate by the U.S. Department of Justice that barely 10% of sexual abuse is ever reported to law enforcement authorities.

New York must take this opportunity to strengthen the protection of our children. Delaware recently became the second state to reform its SOL. Other states are considering it. Now it is New York's turn. The Assembly has overwhelmingly approved the Act in a bi-partisan vote. More specifically, it is now the Senate's turn.

We must pass this strong bill without amendment. Don’t let pedophiles use our state’s laws against children. Please take the side of our children.

Thank you for attending to this important issue. Thanks, too, for all you do to serve the people of your district and State of New York.


[Name and full street address and phone number. E-mail address is a plus, too.}

Monday, September 08, 2008

Latest on Ramat Bet Shemesh Child Molester Case!





Hello UOJ,

I am a journalist of Ha'aretz. I write about the haredi society. I met Chezi and interviewed him on the very week he was murdered in the Pigua. I was very impressed by his personality and was shocked by his death. He was a wonderful human being.

I would like to contact the persons who wrote about the child molester in Beit Shemesh recently. Could you help me with that? I will be extremely sensitive and --- they can be sure that I will not expose them.


Tamar Rotem 0505-986123

Dear UOJ,

The school Toras Eliyahu has re-employed the alleged child molester to teach their Grade Three kids.

In response to the questions/criticism about why they chose to put a child molester back into their classroom, Toras Eliyahu's menahel is now claiming:

1. They knew all about the allegations (came out in the summer) against Akiva Kagan before they employed him this semester.

2. They have thoroughly investigated the charges against him, and found him innocent of all charges and worthy of being entrusted with more kids.

They are clearly in a bind.

If they say they DIDN'T know about the allegations, then this raises serious questions about their screening process.

Once they say they DID know about it, they have to explain why they've put a pervert to guard over 30 kids?

The allegations have been investigated by the Tahor Mishpacha (Tznius Patrol) of Geula, Meah Shearim - who found Kagan "uncooperative" and therefore recommended taking it to the police. (Kagan refused to take a polygraph examination)

The police are now in the early stages of investigating it.

The school is clearly lying about their 'investigation'. They have no knowledge or experience of dealing with such matters - and simply swept the allegations under the carpet, following the lead of local rabbonim headed by Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz of Art Scroll.

I am amazed that parents entrust their children to these people - who clearly don't care a damn about the safety of kids.

Where is the outrage? Why aren't parents making a stink?

Don't they care about their own children either?

The rabbonim don't care; the schools (now Ishrei Lev and Toras Eliahu) don't care; the parents don't care.

Aside from UOJ - does ANYBODY take a stand to protect frum children???!!



Torat Eliyahu
Nachal Arugot 15
999-7765 (Main Office)
Fax 999-8434
Rav David Taksha, principal 057-3177731

To send an e-mail to Rabbi Malinowitz - address it to: Rav@BeisTefillah.org

Putting accusations aside for the moment against Rabbi Malinowitz; as a rav in Bet Shemesh - He has a chov kadosh to get up in shul and say in no uncertain terms:





Friday, September 05, 2008

Military Rabbi Suspected Of Raping Daughter!

Major arrested after daughter files complaint. Man denies claims, police suspect he also assaulted one of his sons

by Eli Senyor

A military rabbi, holding the rank of major, has been arrested under suspicion of raping and molesting his daughter for the last eight years, since she was 15. In addition, police suspect that the man may have assaulted another one of his children and plan to ask the court to extend his remand on Friday.

From the few released details, the man's daughter arrived at the Shfela Sub District Police station and asked to file a complaint against her father. It appears that the daughter had gained the courage to complain to the police after going through therapy.

In her statement, the daughter said that her father began raping her when she was 15, and molested her on several occasions when the two of them where at home together.

Following the complaint, police arrested the father. He denied the charges against him and called them false.

Police accepted the daughter's version of events, as it was consistent, and decided to hold the father for the night. In her statement, the daughter claimed that one of her brothers had also been victimized by their father.