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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

"Like the Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews have beliefs that create a separate world from which child sex abuse victims cannot escape".


http://writ. news.findlaw. com/hamilton/ 20100429. html



"The recent scandals (and convictions) involving Rabbi Yehuda Kolko and Rabbi Baruch Lebovits were a result of the victims bravely coming forward even despite community pressure, and they are surely an indication that the tide has been turning".

How Other Religious Organizations Echo the Roman Catholic Church's Rule Against Scandal, A Precept that Entrenches and Perpetuates Cycles of Child Sex Abuse: Orthodox Judaism, Part Two in a Two-Part Series
By MARCI A. HAMILTON

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is Part Two in a two-part series of columns on religions, other than the Catholic Church, that possess precepts that have the effect of leaving clergy child sex abuse unpunished. Part One can be found here. – Ed.

In the past two weeks, there have been yet more revelations about the Catholic Church's mishandling of child sex abuse, with, for example, European bishops forced to resign. In my last column, I described, based on church documents and case law, some of the pitfalls in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' approach to child sex abuse within the organization. In this column, I will address the struggles of institutions within the Orthodox Jewish community on these issues.

Like Other Faiths, Orthodox Judaism Is Wary of Secular Authority – But There Are Exceptions

Like the Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews have certain beliefs that tend to create a separate world from which child sex abuse victims cannot escape. The key question with respect to every religious organization that is dealing with hidden, ongoing, or persistent child sex abuse is this one: What will it take to liberate the victims? External pressures from sources such as the media and the legal system can make a difference, but it may also take some re-examination and soul-searching with respect to some of the institution's religiously motivated practices. The Orthodox Jews are making steady and promising progress in this arena. The ultra-Orthodox Jews, unfortunately, are not.

The Jewish law of "Chilul HaShem," which means literally "a desecration of God's name," warns believers not to bring shame on the community. This is the closest analogue in the Jewish tradition to the Catholic rule against scandal. And, there is the Jewish law against "mesira," or informing on another Jew to the authorities. Roughly translated, according to Rabbi Yosef Blau of Yeshiva University (my home institution) , it means "Don't go to secular authorities," and thus can be used as a reason not to report child sex abuse to police or civil authorities. The law against arka'ot, or proceeding in secular courts, also has presented barriers.

As with all important Jewish concepts, the meaning of each these precepts lies in particular interpretations. According to Rabbi Blau, the prohibition against mesira, though widely honored, may not be relevant in democratic societies. The purpose of the law was to protect Jews from tyrannical governments, such as Nazi Germany's. Thus, the prohibition was created to protect Jews from the government. The same reasoning does not apply in a legitimate democracy.

Moreover, there are exceptions to mesira – for instance, when circumstances are such that the religion's internal mechanisms cannot deal with an internal problem. And a perfect example, according to Blau, is child sex abuse. But observant Jews may not be willing to act in contravention of a law like the prohibition against mesira without first consulting a rabbi on whether the exception actually holds in the particular case, which can delay, if not forestall, reporting.

Yet, the Rabbinical Council of America at its Convention this week issued a resolution that would seem to open the door to reporting abuse:

•[The RCA] reaffirms its unqualified condemnation of all forms of child abuse.
•It reaffirms its halakhic position that the prohibitions of mesirah and arka'ot do not apply in cases of abuse.
•It will regularly issue on its website and to the media appropriate statements of condemnation when public attention is drawn to a case in which Jews are either victims or perpetrators of abuse.
•It will regularly evaluate the competence of its members in understanding and responding to issues of child abuse and initiate training and continuing educational opportunities for all of its members in this area every year.
•The members of the RCA address the issues of child abuse in their communities in at least one sermon, lecture or article within the next twelve months, and that contact information for local abuse services be displayed in a public place in all synagogues, schools, and Jewish community institutions serviced by its members.

Other Aspects of Jewish Law May Also Make It More Difficult for Child Sex Abuse Victims to Find Justice

Unfortunately, the prohibition against mesira is not the only precept of Jewish law that has made it difficult for child sex abuse victims to get help. There is also the prohibition of "lashon hara," which means "evil tongue," and forbids speaking badly of others. It creates an impediment to survivors even telling members of their own communities about the abuse, let alone the civil authorities. Some supporters of adults who have been accused of abuse also have invoked lashon hara to prohibit others from telling outsiders.

There are also cultural elements at play. "Shidduch" means "finding a spouse," and in some circles, the drive to find a marriage partner is a very powerful force. For the most part, religious Jews enter into arranged marriages in which one's lineage and family reputation determine desirability on the marriage market. Making a good match, or "Shidduch," is of paramount importance within these communities. The stigma of being a victim of abuse can deter marriage partners. Therefore, there is strong incentive for the entire family to stay mum about the issue, and for the victim himself, or herself, never to mention it.

In addition, there has been strong communal pressure in Orthodox communities to keep the problem internal. This element has decreased in the Orthodox community, which is divided among diverse synagogues and congregations, but it remains a force in the ultra-Orthodox community, as I will discuss below.

Finally, there has been the problem of denial. Of course, we see denial in many child sex abuse situations, whether the context is religious or secular. The difference here is that, in the Jewish community, denial regarding clergy child sex abuse has been worsened by the belief that one should keep the halakh (Jewish law), which plays an important role in creating a self-identity for the Jewish communities. Living an observant life is transformative. An Orthodox Jew believes he or she will become a better person by keeping the laws, and that belief can translate, for some, into a decision generally to ignore modern studies or media on any issue, because the modern information could have the capacity to call into question their entire lifestyle. When the issue is child abuse, the consequences of that belief can be tragic.

In sum, within Orthodox Judaism, some adhere to a set of internal rules the effect of which is to prevent child sex abuse victims from speaking about their abuse, getting help, or filing criminal charges against perpetrators. Fortunately, however, secular law has provided some of the pressure that is needed to establish a pathway out for the victims. The recent scandals (and convictions) involving Rabbi Yehuda Kolko and Rabbi Baruch Lebovits were a result of the victims bravely coming forward even despite community pressure, and they are surely an indication that the tide has been turning.

Orthodox Jews Should Be Praised for Openly Debating What Should Be Done About Clergy Child Sex Abuse – and Acknowledging that It Occurs.

Moreover, there has been a healthy and open debate among Orthodox Jews regarding what to do about this very serious problem. The Flatbush Shomrim announced this last week that child sex abusers should be prosecuted, and advised fellow Jews to report sex abuse directly to the authorities. Ben Hirsch, the President of Survivors for Justice – the first organization of its kind in the Jewish community – praised this move in an op-ed for the Jewish Star.

As with the Catholic survivors' movement, Hirsch explained that secrecy has been in the leaders' interest, not the children's:

"[O]ne does not have to be a cynic to conclude that the rabbinic establishment has a vested interest in keeping reports of abuse within the community. For leaders who could be facing criminal and civil liability, invoking concepts like mesira and chilul Hashem to stop people from reporting is little more than a form of self-protection. Self-protection that, as the past 40 years have shown, has come at the expense of the protection of our community's children."

Hirsch then likened the Jewish situation to that of the Catholics:

"[T]he cover-ups have resulted in hundreds of victims whose abuse could have been prevented. Dealing with reports of sexual abuse internally covers-up the crime, usually with catastrophic results when the pedophile strikes again–something we are hearing about daily in reports about the Catholic Church and frighteningly in our own community as well.

The Torah teaches us to avoid offering counsel in situations where we may be a nogea b'dovor (an interested party). This applies equally to rabbis, whom the Torah nowhere exempts from this rule. As such, because of their inherent conflicts of interest in this issue, I respectfully suggest that rabbis be precluded from being involved in this issue except in very limited ways–namely, encouraging people publicly and in private to go directly to the authorities and supporting them practically, emotionally and socially in that process."

Hirsch offers persuasive arguments, and remarkable conclusions, that bode well for child sex abuse victims in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the ultra-Orthodox, or Chasidic, Jewish community, which as of now is far from being able to aid the victims within the community. A recent announcement in New Square reiterated the principle that abuse should not be reported to the authorities, although it did at least establish a path for reporting the abuse to an internal committee.

As we know from the other universes within which child sex abuse has been a problem, keeping the issue internal is never the best – or even a good, or acceptable – path for the victims. In addition, there is another impediment to justice in this community: Rabbi Blau noted that Chasidic community members defer to the Jewish Laws of Tzniut, which command modesty in both dress and speech and in turn forestall discussion regarding private body parts and improper touch. Victims therefore may lack even the basic vocabulary to report the abuse. And the community is so closed off that communal pressure to keep the issue secret is extraordinary, with few, if any, openings for outside forces such as police, prosecutors, or the media to bring the victims some relief.

Still, there are glimmers of hope from within even the ultra-Orthodox community. Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv has ruled that the Jewish law not only does not bar reporting, but rather "one should report (an abuser) to the secular government authorities [police, etc.]; and in this there is benefit to society . . ." Thus, the exception to the law against reporting is actually quite strong. That means the barriers to reporting in the ultra-Orthodox universe are more cultural than legal.

Of all of the religious organizations facing these issues, the Orthodox Jews appear to be moving most quickly to the position that the child victim's needs must trump the organization's preferences, even when it means re-examining common interpretations of certain religious prohibitions. For that, the community deserves praise.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Marci Hamilton, a FindLaw columnist, is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge 2008). A review of Justice Denied appeared on this site on June 25, 2008. Her previous book is God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press 2005), now available in paperback. Her email is hamilton02@aol. com.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

JWB says:

Case of Alexander Wendorf

http://www.thehour.com/story/485979

Kidnap suspect in jail seeks rabbi
05/05/2010
NORWALK

By STEVE KOBAK

Hour Staff Writer

A former Stamford man who is imprisoned at Bridgeport Correctional Center for allegedly trying to abduct a Norwalk Community College student is seeking counseling from a rabbi, his attorney said Tuesday.

Alexander Wendorf, 27, has had trouble trying to arrange a meeting with a rabbi, and his attorney Stephan Seeger asked Judge Bruce Hudock to assist in the matter at Wendorf's Norwalk Superior Court appearance Tuesday. Seeger said a rabbi has agreed to visit Wendorf, but complications with the Department of Corrections have prevented the rabbi from meeting with Wendorf at prison.

...

Kal Holczler said...

http://thejewishstar.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/victims-advocate-accused-of-misconduct/

What does UOJ think now that Vicky Polin and Rav Yosef Blau have turned against guy believing that he himself is a predator when he acts as a victim advocate?

Both versions of the story are correct said...

http://www.communitym.com/article.asp?article_id=100821&article_type=0

SHABTAI SVI – THE FALSE MESSIAH

When news spread of Shabtai’s acceptance of Islam, the majority of his followers stopped believing in his messiahship. Some, however, refused to admit their mistake and, following their messiah’s example, converted to Islam.

Even after Shabtai’s death, approximately three hundred families that had converted to Islam and were known as Donmeh (Turkish for “converts”) stubbornly continued to believe that he would reappear and redeem the Jewish people.

http://www.communitym.com/article.asp?article_id=100821&article_type=0

AGUDAH – THE FALSE MOYSAD

When news spread of Agudah’s acceptance of child molestation, the majority of their followers stopped believing in their infallibility. Some, however, refused to admit their mistake and, following their so called Daas Torah’s example, converted to Margoism.

Even after UOJ struck the organization a death blow, approximately three hundred families that had converted to Margoism and were known as Fressers (Yiddish for “gluttons”) stubbornly continued to believe that attending the Agudah convention would redeem the Jewish people.

Anonymous said...

Bentzion Schiffenbauer has multiple reasons to support Kolko.

1. He was Kolko's neighbor all the years on East 22nd.

2. He is Margo's crony at YTT.

3. He is editor of the "Halachically Speaking" newsletter of Belsky's piskei halacha (written by Rabbi Lebovits of Torah Vodaas & Chof K)

4. He is a putz trying to advance himself

Shaila U'teshva said...

L'chvod Hagoan Hatsadik Harav Rav Elyashiv Shlita; A'M'V'S

If a child abuser - aka a molester - is qualified to as being a "Rodef", don't we have an obligation to eliminate the perpertrator before he strikes again; where we can't save potential victims through injuring his limbs.

Be that case; how is Mondorowitz running around free?

I need some answers, anyone?

Margo's accountant said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/business/05repo.html

It’s an open secret on Wall Street that many big banks routinely — and legally — fudge their quarterly books.

But now Washington is taking a hard look at a range of maneuvers that help banks dress up their financial statements, and raising some uncomfortable questions about banks’ bookkeeping.

Hilchos rodef said...

A rosh yeshiva and posek who is not publicly going on the record told me that a child molester indeed has the same din as a regular rodef / rotzayech and can theoretically be dealt with the same way.

It is rumored that some batei din in the alter heim quietly neutralized child molesters, who the public assumed were lynched by Kozakken when they were found toyt on the outskirts of the shtettl.

A more practical approach when authorities do not tolerate vigilante justice is to call 911.

A Connecticut man was arrested last year for stabbing to death a molester who touched his young daughter.

Ed Koch said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/us/politics/06jews.html?hpw=&pagewanted=print

Many other prominent Jews, representing the conservative organizational leadership that has been the dominant voice of the Jewish community for decades, have also recently criticized the Obama administration’s pressure on Israel. Some have even accused the White House of sabotaging the foundations of the Jewish state.

Former Mayor Edward I. Koch of New York spoke for many stalwart Israel backers last Sunday when he told an angry crowd of 500 gathered outside the Israeli Consulate in Manhattan, in a videotaped statement, that President Obama’s demand for a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem was nothing less than an orchestrated effort “to undermine the legitimacy of the state of Israel.”

Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, predicted that Mr. Obama’s approval ratings among Jews would soon reflect what he called “a deep distress” over his approach.

“People are angry,” he said. “Americans do not want peace shoved down the throats of the Israelis.”

Pesach hotel fresser said...

http://thedoctorstv.com/main/procedure_list/1648

Video of episode is here

http://www.thedoctorstv.com/forums/372-May-5-2-1-Shocking-Health-Traps/topics/6658-Hotels-

On "The Doctors", aired by WCBS TV on Wed. morning, the doctors dealt with health hazards in hotel rooms. They interviewed a head of housekeeping from a major hotel chain who remained anonymous to protect her from employer retaliation.

Ice buckets are often used by guests to cook food in rooms equipped with microwaves or as makeshift vomit bags for guests who feel ill. Housekeepers are aware of these facts but will only do a very superficial wipe down, leaving residue and bacteria, since they could not be bothered to spend any extra time to prevent health hazards.

It was also mentioned that hotel room bathrooms are often left in miserable shape, with many lazy housekeepers using the toilet brush to wipe the sink after being used in the toilet.

http://www.thedoctorstv.com/main/show_synopsis/443?section=synopsis

1. Avoid the ice bucket: they are rarely cleaned, never disinfected and hotbeds for germs and bacteria. If you need to use the bucket, be sure to use a liner.

2. Check the bed sheets and mattress pad for bed bugs and bodily fluids.

3. Bring your own sheets and towels.

4. Never sit on the bedspread.

5. Use a sanitizer to wipe off the phone, TV remote, light switches, sink and toilet seat.

6. Always wear slippers or socks to walk on the floor.

7. Never take a bath in a hotel bathtub.

Yerachmiel Lopin said...

The comment supposedly signed by Kal Holczler on May 5 in the morning, mentions Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center and Rabbi Yosef Blau of RIETS at YU as rejecting Kal Holczler as someone who should work with sex abuse survivors. I would also add onto that list Nuchem Rosenberg and yours truly, Yerachmiel Lopin, of frum follies.

I may be a badchan but this is no laughing matter. He shows a lack of boundaries and other character flaws that are serious enough for me to take this position publicly about someone else in the community of those concerned about sex abuse of children.

Anonymous said...

what do you mean by kolko conviction? he is out scott free and not registered as an offender??

Anonymous said...

Yudi Kolko is a convicted criminal. He was charged with sexually abusing a 9-year-old child in 2002-2003, and a 6-year-old child in 2005. In a negotiated plea, he pled guilty in December 2008 to the crime, Endangering the welfare of a minor, Penal Law section 260.10, a class A misdemeanor. His sentence was three years probation.

While it is true he is not a "registered sex offender" because he did not plea to a sex crime, he remains a convicted criminal, which will always be revealed by a criminal background check. His plea was not unusual. A jury trial is an uncertain risk, and prosecutors and parents usually try to avoid having children endure testimony.

Penal Law 260.10 provides as follows:

"A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child when: 1. He knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old..."

Leib Tropper said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/07/sports/football/07taylor.html

Lawrence Taylor, the former New York Giants linebacker, was arrested early Thursday morning and has been charged with third-degree rape and soliciting prostitution in a case involving a 16-year-old girl at a hotel in Rockland County, N.Y., according to the authorities.

Taylor was taken into custody after the police received a report that the girl, who was reported to be missing from her home in the Bronx since March, had been brought to Taylor’s hotel room by a pimp.

steve said...

Matzav.com's ODE TO UOJ:

http://matzav.com/the-matzav-rant-the-power-of-a-yochid

By: Shmuel Miskin

*(NOTE: I made a few alterations for spelling and accuracy)

The power of a yochid. It sounds like an overused cliché. And perhaps it is. But it is one that is important for each and every one of us to internalize. It is a lesson we should not forget.

We live in a world where, simply said, it is hard to get things done. There’s bureaucracy, there are cynics wherever you turn, and there are obstacles every step of the way. We can thus easily forget what we can accomplish.

We are fortunate that we have been reminded of the power of a yochid. One individual has shown us that ain dovor omeid bifnei haratzon. One yochid has shown us that there are no outside factors to be considered when standing up for the right thing. One yochid has shown us that when we see that something is not right, we must act upon it - even if we must do so all by ourselves.

That yochid is UOJ.

He’s done it before and he’s done it remarkably, but the leadership and courage of the blogger in exposing child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community for what it is, has reminded us what one person on a mission can achieve.

Today, in May 2010, a good portion of Klal Yisroel, if not the large majority, has recognized that we have a plague of child sexual abuse. The denials from our "leaders" and the subsequent recommendations of covering up for child molesters, have convinced even the cynics and even those with limited knowledge of the circumstances that this situation involved more than what met the eye.

But few years ago, few recognized this. UOJ did. People called him crazy. They said he’s out of his mind for calling this a plague. The allegations against Yudi Kolko and YTT barely got a yawn from most people. Kolko's remaining in his position was viewed as a fait accompli. Did anyone really care? And if they did, how did they show it?

One person cared. One person deeply cared. And he showed it by throwing his very being into the case. UOJ had written in his blog that he was and is consumed by the case. He has spent sleepless nights and endless days pondering and seeking every possible avenue to bring the truth to light and ensure that Jewish children will be protected from these sexual predators. He saw what few others saw. He saw what would be revealed to the world only months later. He saw a widening corruption scandal and he was the lone voice in the wilderness coming to our innocent children's defense. Pages upon pages can be written here dissecting this scandal and analyzing the mind-boggling sequence of events that would have most people even more irate than they are already if they knew of the ins and outs of what has transpired. I, myself, learned about the details only from reading dozens of articles, dozens of legal documents, and doing some probing myself.

At the end of the day, when the book about the child sexual abuse scandal in the Orthodox community will be written - and one will be written - regardless of the outcome of the current trials and the impending sentencings, one man will be remembered for making sure that the truth was heard. One man will be remembered for his devotion to making sure that this scandal didn’t get thrown into the heap of countless others involving injustices that no one ever heard about. One man has shown us the latent power and kochos that we each possess.

Kol hamekayeim nefesh achas m’Yisroel k’ilui kiyam olam molei.

Indeed, one man can change the world.

Yes, one man can save the world.

UOJ is living proof.

Chaim Sabo said...

http://thejewishstar.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/more-sabo-victims%C2%A0revealed/

I am trying to intimidate the victims who were molested by my son Michael Sabo by spreading their names around the community.

But I'm just curious if Ben Hirsch has tipped off UOJ as to the identity of the rabbi who covered up for my son's molestation 4 years ago.

I didn't think Kolko's lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz would be so talkative before we hired him:

“What everyone seems to fail to remember is that child molesters are the most abused forgotten victims,” Schwartz explained. “99 percent of the time they were viciously abused and they never got care. They’re child abuse victims who have languished their whole lives and they reached a point when they start acting out since that’s all they know. There’s no rachmones (pity) for these people who are the ultimate victims. People forget to remember that.”

Boycott Agudah! said...

part 2

By moving somewhat closer to the public spotlight, Agudah also took the chance of stirring up notice of past errors, particularly how Agudah has dealt with the explosive issue of child sexual abuse. But it was Rabbi Zwiebel himself who raised that point, the lone critical one of the evening.

“What’s the phrase, Mea Culpa?” Rabbi Zwiebel asked the crowd. “We have to acknowledge for quite a long time the issue was not understood; the extent of the problem was not understood; the severity of the scars that are left by the experience were not understood. Because they were not understood they were not dealt with properly,” he said. “We are a lot of smarter, including the Gedolei Yisroel who stand at the helm of Klal Yisroel. A number of positive steps have been taken and, frankly, I think there are more positive steps that need to be taken.”

He added that a meeting of summer camp directors was scheduled for April 29 to discuss how to educate parents and campers to prevent sexual abuse.

Shlomo Steimen, a soft-spoken tax attorney from Kew Gardens Hills, said he found the event “refreshing.”

“I appreciated the dignified manner and the frankness about issues which are sensitive,” he said.

During a Q and A session, the questions centered on the ever-present tuition crisis facing Jewish families, and on what was being done for Sholom Rubashkin, who faced sentencing this week by a federal judge.

Regarding Rubashkin, Zwiebel turned away two calls for action from members of the audience. “Don’t do anything other than be mispalel (pray),” he said, explaining that, given the already steady effort on Rubashkin’s behalf, any more could backfire.

In his brief remarks, Rabbi Zwiebel stressed the Rubashkin case and the relationship between President Obama and Israel as reasons why Agudah needs community support.

“We have to rise to the challenge,” he said, before declaring, “We are becoming the voice of American Jewry.”

Boycott Agudah! said...

http://thejewishstar.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/agudah%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98yes-we-can%E2%80%99%C2%A0moment/

It was raining on Tuesday night as Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudath Israel’s director of public affairs, stood in the hallway of a home in Lawrence, amiably greeting people arriving for an open forum with Agudah’s lay leaders. “Astonishing, we let you in the neighborhood,” one guest joked with Rabbi Shafran.

The evening dubbed, ‘What does Agudah mean to me?’ was equal parts town hall meeting, pep rally, and group therapy for Agudah, which is involved in activities that range from lobbying the White House, Capitol Hill and numerous statehouses, to running summer camps in a number of states. It marked the first time that Agudah has held an informal panel discussion intended to connect with its constituents. A number of local rabbonim including Rabbi Yitzchok Frankel of Agudath Israel of the Five Towns, Rabbi Yaakov Reisman of Long Island in Far Rockaway, and Rabbi Aryeh Ginzberg of the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center in Cedarhurst, joined about 75 residents of the Five Towns and surrounding areas.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, who holds the highest lay leadership position in the Agudah as executive vice president, explained: “People know us by reputation; they don’t know us as human beings and we are.” (“Despite rumors to the contrary,” Rabbi Shafran quipped.)

The Agudah has several state and regional offices, but the event in Lawrence was also an effort to drum up local, grassroots support and expand and deepen the organization’s reach – an acknowledgement, perhaps, that there are Orthodox Jews outside of Brooklyn. “We’re here to hear,” Rabbi Shafran stated.

“Orthodox Jews should get our fair shake,” explained Rabbi Yaakov Bender, the revered rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, who spoke later in the evening. (Rabbi Zwiebel credited Rabbi Bender with bringing him into the organization 23 years ago.)

The event was strictly not a fundraiser, but Rabbi Bender advocated that participants become members of the organization, tying Agudah’s political prowess to its membership.

“It’s numbers,” Rabbi Bender maintained. “There’s no reason why every single frum family … shouldn’t be card carrying members of the Agudah.”

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Tropper is converting LT so that Agudah will start a "Pidyon Shvuim" campaign for him? After all he played his entire career for a team called the "Geolim".

Ben Hirsch said...

What a farce that Margo sent a representative from Camp Silver Lake!

http://thejewishstar.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/camp-directors-learn-about-preventing%C2%A0abuse/

More than a hundred representatives of 30 Orthodox summer camps attended a two-hour meeting in Flatbush last week to discuss ways to deal with sexual abuse in a camp setting. The event organized by Sacred Lives, an organization that advocates for sexual abuse victims and for greater education inside the Jewish community, was closed to the media. Several journalists, including a freelancer for The Jewish Star, were ejected, but the materials used at the meeting were leaked and published online the next day by the news website vosizneias.com.

They included a manual, as well as a form letter and information prepared with the approval of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, the ruling body of Agudath Israel of America, that the camp administrators were advised to mail to parents of all prospective campers before the summer.

“The Agudah handbook represents progress from an organization who’s rabbinic leadership has enforced a policy of cover-up for the past 40 years,” said Ben Hirsch, president of Survivors for Justice, an organization that advocates for victims of sexual abuse inside the Jewish community. “It is heartening to see the very camp that employed and protected Yehudah Kolko addressing this issue in a semi-public manner. Clearly, a lot more needs to be done by community members to properly and effectively educate the Agudah and other rabbinic leadership on how crucial it is that they remove themselves from any matters related to childhood sexual abuse. The simple message–report all complaints of sexual abuse directly to the police– does not require a handbook or any rabbinical involvement.”

The posting online drew a variety of responses ranging from praise to questions about the camps that did not attend the meeting. “As a camper who experience and witness horrible things, i (sic) will NEVER send my male children to sleep away camp,” one poster wrote.

Other organizations the collaborated to arrange the event included the Association of Jewish Camp Operators, an arm of Agudath Israel of America, FEGS, The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

http://thejewishstar.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/camp12-1.pdf

The manual can be read here.

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

Steve:

Very humbling "ode"...without the bravery of David Framowitz, the Bad Guys may have prevailed!

And there were others....including yourself....

Todah,

UOJ

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

When ‘dayanim’, ‘rabbis’ and false ‘mekubalim’ use the Torah for their own power and commercial profit, this behaviour is abhorrent.

No other ‘rabbi’ will ever act against another ‘rabbi’ - even when he knows his colleague is clearly desecrating the Torah. Each rabbi is only worried about losing his own position.

Therefore, the ‘rabbi’, ‘dayyan’ or false ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) will never effect justice. And he will never truly stand for the Torah or the Honour of Hashem. His pocket will always prevail.

The Torah must never be used for commercial gain and profit. Amm israel can only be lead by those who have the necessary love and respect of Hashem and the Torah.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

Any man who chooses to be a ‘rabbi’ (‘true teacher’ of Torah) or a ‘dayan’ (‘judge’), or a ‘mekubal’ (‘kabbalist’) should be doing so Voluntarily. Out of his pure love for Hashem and the Torah. And his Ahavat Yisrael.

If he refuses to do community work voluntarily, and wants and accepts payment for everything he does, such a man should not be leading a community. He should get a job and earn a living. He can collect milk bottles or clean the windows. That is what is called ‘earning a living’.

Torah is learned, studied and taught: out of Love. Voluntarily. But the ‘rabbis’ have turned the Torah into their ‘Profession’, from which they earn money.

We are commanded in the Shema to:
‘LOVE Hashem, your G-d, WITH ALL YOUR HEART, and with all your soul and with all your might.’

‘VE’AHAVTA et Hashem Elokecha BECHOL LEVAVECHA uvechol nafshecha uvechol meodecha.’ (Devarim, Vaethanan, 6:4-5)

Is the ordinary man or woman PAID to pray to Hashem, or to say some words of Torah? No. Has veshalom! But the rabbis are. These men can give ‘lovely’ shiurim that they have rehearsed. But they would not give a shiur without being paid for it.

The true hachamim and rabbis of old, all actually worked at proper jobs and professions.

Wake up! Even a little child could have worked this out. These salaried men can never truly stand for the Torah, because in a case of conflict between a correct course of action according to the Torah, and the rabbi or rav’s pocket – his pocket and position will always prevail.

Pirkei Avot: (2:2)
“Raban Gamliel beno shel Rabi Yehuda HaNassi omer: yafeh talmud Torah im derech eretz, sheyegiat shenaihem mashkachat avon. Vechol Torah she’ein imah melacha sofa betailah ve’goreret avon. Vechol haoskim im hatzibbur yiheyu imahem leShem Shamayim……”

“Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabi Yehuda HaNassi, said: It is good to combine Torah study with a worldly occupation, for working at them both drives sin from the mind. All Torah without an occupation will in the end fail and lead to sin. And let all who work for the community do so for the sake of Heaven………”