Thursday, March 12, 2009

Confronting Child Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community!

Reports are on the rise concerning incest and child abuse in yeshivas, Jewish girl schools, and day schools. Many deny it’s a problem, we strongly disagree.

The Union for Traditional Judaism (UTJ) is hosting a special “awareness” program featuring rabbis and children advocates who stand on the forefront of combating this Chilul HaShem. The program is Sunday, March 15, from 9:30a.m. - 1:00p.m. at UTJ Headquarters, 811 Palisade Ave., Teaneck, N.J. To register or for more information, call (201) 801-0707 ext. 200

Featured speakers are:

Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Director of JSafe, a nonprofit organization committed to combating child abuse and domestic violence in homes, schools, yeshivot and in the community

Rabbi Fred Hyman, congregational rabbi in Springfield, MA. Rabbi Hyman has become an advocate on behalf of victims of child molestation

Rabbi Dr. Michael Kaplowitz, psychiatrist in private practice who directs the pastoral counseling course for rabbinical students at the ITJ. He is also Director of Behavioral Health at the Blanche Kahn Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, NY.

Michael Lesher Esq. writer, journalist and attorney who has fought on behalf of mothers and children navigating the dangerous terrain of the family court system.

Dr. Rachel Yehuda, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at Mt. Sinai.

Elliot Pasik Esq. of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children will provide copies of a legislative proposal aimed at helping victims.

Webcast available for those outside the New York Area. Please call 201-801-0707 ext. 200 to inquire.

Program includes continental breakfast. (To encourage members of the Agudath Israel to attend - UOJ add-on, I could not resist)

Mitch Morrison
Group Editor
CSP Information Group


My name is Mikele Rauch.

I am a psychotherapist in Boston, and have been working with men and women who are survivors of clergy and rabbinical sex-abuse since 1990.

I am pleased to announce that my book, Healing the Soul after Religious Abuse: The Dark Heaven of Recovery -- will be in print at the end of March. (http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/C34670.aspx )

It speaks about the impact of religious abuse not only on the psyche but the soul, and how to recover the deepest parts of the self, rediscover the sacred and create meaning again.

There are powerful interviews with persons from all five major religions, who were survivors of sexual, physical and ritual abuse, as well as homophobia, racism, sexism and misogyny in religious cultures. The book looks at shame and its place in individual development and religious community. Healing the Soul explores leadership and narcissism in religious clergy, especially the powerful and potential dangerous connection between spiritual guide and those he or she serves. There is also a special section about the unique nature of the guru disciple relationship and how abuses happen in the context of Buddhism and Hinduism and how that interfaces with Westerners and western culture. The book grapples with the paradox of "holiness" and spiritual stature, and how persons with such stature still are capable of doing harm.

Healing the Soul has both a personal story and a larger viewpoint, about hope and possibilities in the face of darkness and alienation.

Because the book has a small distribution, the price is $44.95. If you wish to read it but do not want to purchase the book, please contact your local library acquisitions and request the book.

Praeger Publishers

Book Code: C34670

ISBN: 0-313-34670-4

ISBN-13: 978-0-313-34670-5

DOI: 10.1336/0313346704

Purchases can be made through --- malesurvivor.org:


All orders through malesurvivor.org will receive a 40% discount.

Thank you for your attention. Peace in all the important work you do for those who suffer.


I traveled to Albany on Wednesday as part of a SFJ sponsored trip to meet with our representatives and express support for a bill pending in the Assembly and Senate that, if passed, will open a one year window in the current statute of limitations and allow victims of sexual abuse to file civil suits and expose their abusers. The Catholic Church and certain Orthodox Jewish groups are aggressively opposing the bill and trying to intimidate our legislators into withdrawing their support for the bill. The Legislators we met with were very impressed with the presence of Orthodox and secular Jews pushing for the passage of the bills. Please combat the Church’s campaign by taking a minute to copy the message below, add the specific name of the representative you are addressing the letter to, and e-mailing it to as many members of the Assembly and Senators as you are able. I’ve included a link on the UOJ sidebar above, which will give you the e-mail and mailing information for your representatives. Please make our voice heard. Every letter and e-mail will make a difference. The Church sent 700 letters, I hope we can surpass that. Thank you for your help.

Joel Engelman

Hon. (name), Senator, State of New York

Dear Senator (name):

I am a member of the Jewish community. As a constituent, I strongly urge you to support, without amendment, the Child Victims Act of New York, recently introduced in the Senate as Bill #S2568 by Senator Thomas Duane.

There is a virulent but silent epidemic of child sexual abuse in our society. FBI studies show that one in five children will be sexually abused by the age of 18! Measures such as safety zones, offender registries, safe environments, and background checks help with known abusers, but we need to do much more to discover the unknown predators, those who are often shielded by New York's archaic and inadequate Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse. Since predators are known to abuse multiple victims—as many as 100—we can not continue to let New York's children be at risk!

Studies reveal that children who are victims of this heinous crime require many years into adulthood to gain the strength and courage to name their abuser. And only 10% of these crimes are ever reported! I hope you agree we must change this appalling situation.

The Child Victims Act would accomplish the following:

1. Extend the deadline for a victim to file a claim in court—from age 23 to age 28.

2. Suspend the Limitations for just one year, so those who have been denied justice in the past when little was known of this silent epidemic, and victims could be more readily intimated into silence, can now have their day in court.

When California enacted such a suspension, more than 300 previously undetected predators were discovered. We must do the same for the children of New York!

Please don't let NY state law be used against our children! I will call your office next week for your position on this bill, and to answer any questions.

Thank you for your attention to this most serious matter. Thanks, too, for all that you do for the people of New York.

Sincerely yours,