Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Truth About Ohel Children's Home and Family Services

Breaking the Silence about “Breaking the Silence”

by Dr. Asher Lipner

In the recent sequel to the hit movie Wall Street, the protagonist, Gordon Gekko, gets released from jail after completing an eight-year sentence for committing insider trading and stock fraud. The “reformed” con-artist makes an “only in America” comeback by writing and marketing a book warning people of financial trouble in the real estate bubble that has been created by the very philosophy Gekko promoted in the 80’s: greed is good.

In their new book, David Mandel, CEO of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services and his colleague, Dr. David Pelcovitz, Ph.D. similarly endeavor to lock the barn door after they have stolen the horses. The title, “Breaking the Silence: Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community,” attempts to convey a courageous heroism, as if the editors are exposing an unknown crisis to the public. But in fact, our community has had scandalous headlines about sexual abuse and cover-up for over ten years. Like Gekko, the editors are engaging in a public relations campaign to cover their backsides and to maintain the silence about the fact that as leaders in the mental health community, they have helped create the system that got us into this mess.

Mandel attempts to establish his credentials as an expert in the field by repeatedly referring to “our experience at Ohel”, so the book really needs to be read in the context of Ohel’s notorious record. Since the 1980’s when Ohel failed to warn the community about its “consultant”, infamous child molester Avraham Mondrowitz, thereby enabling him to escape justice, until this day Ohel has repeatedly been involved in protecting molesters, not children.

Even on the book cover in the short list of safety goals, “reporting” to the authorities is glaringly missing. While Rabbi Dovid Cohen commits to writing for the first time that one is “allowed” to report sex crimes to the police, he hedges his bet by equivocating that the issues of “mesirah, lashon harah and chillul Hashem” are complex, and one should consult “a competent halachic authority” when in question.

Unfortunately, consulting rabbis is exactly what parents and survivors of abuse have been doing until now with catastrophic results, as almost all rabbis, out of ignorance or cowardice have breached halacha and advised protecting the abusers. Ohel’s own internal policy for staff is that no therapist is allowed to report child abuse without clearing it with Rabbi Cohen, a policy that is in breach of mandated reporting laws.

Ohel’s misguided philosophy on dealing with abusers is due to the book’s stated belief in a “diversity of values and ends” that can create conflict among “reasonably rational, well intentioned persons…involved with sex offenders.” The “relevant stakeholders” that in Ohel’s opinion can “reasonably disagree on the ordering of priorities”, seem to include (based on Ohel’s history) the molester whose concern and legal right to confidentiality is constantly trumpeted by Ohel, the molester’s family, the community whose image is tarnished by revelations of criminality and deviancy, and the institutions that harbor molesters who want to protect their reputations and finances from lawsuits. This ideology of complex, relative moral values completely flies in the face of both Jewish and secular law that give simple, straightforward and unequivocal directives that protection of the past and future victims must be the primary value and consideration.

In their chapter on “treating” sexual predators, the authors ignore the experts who advocate that courts and probation departments play a particularly important role both as a motivating force, and an integral part of therapy. The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers treatment guidelines also insist that “supervision agencies work closely with victim advocacy organizations to ensure that their policies do not re-traumatize victims of sexual assault,” an idea that is neither recommended in this book, nor practiced by Ohel.

One example of a policy that certainly re-traumatized victims of abuse is that instead of joining virtually all child advocates groups in supporting the Child Victim’s Act, (aka the “Markey Bill”) Ohel advocated for a “compromise” bill giving legal amnesty to abusers.[1] Furthermore, not a single of the recent pedophiles arrested in Brooklyn were brought to the attention of the authorities by Ohel, nor has Ohel given any support to the victims of abuse who courageously came forward to warn the public.

The book also continues to support the “Ohelian” idea that a rabbinic Beit Din should be utilized to address cases of child molestation. Refusing to learn from the fiasco of the Catholic Church’s shameful system of sheltering pedophile priests, or the doomed-to-failure attempts of the Batei Din of Yeshiva University, Lakewood, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Chicago to play “Law and Order” without the police, the editors and some of the authors are proud to help set up yet another rabbinical group to “deal with” (read: cover up for) sex crimes in Rockland County.[2]

In the chapter on “Prevention and Intervention Programs,” highly trained professionals give dangerously bad advice to parents. They state that although there is no halachic problem of reporting abuse to the authorities, it is “understandable” that orthodox professionals who are mandated reporters nevertheless feel hindered by cultural taboo from doing so. Even more shocking is that parents are admonished not to tell other parents in their child’s school if molestation occurs, because it is a “private matter.”

Silence is not always golden

Psychologists and crime prevention professionals have long known that in communication, one can often learn more about the speaker’s thoughts from that which is not said than from that which is. While claiming to “break the silence,” Ohel’s book continues to censor important information that the community needs to know. The most glaring omission is the voice of a survivor of abuse. While the disclosures that were taken from therapy sessions and edited letters are educational, sorely missing is a first-hand account of an adult survivor about the real life experience of surviving abuse in our community. Survivors of abuse will certainly feel that yet another opportunity was missed to finally give them a voice, and they have once again been shut out of the discussion. By comparison, in the recently published scholarly book, “Daas Torah: Child and Domestic Abuse,” edited by Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn and Baruch Shulem, Ph.D. (to which this writer also contributed) two powerful autobiographical chapters are included, allowing the reader to hear what survivors really think and feel, unedited and uncensored.

Furthermore, “Breaking the Silence” can break one’s eardrums with its silence about the history of scandalous communal cover-ups. It is utterly ludicrous to discuss abuse in the community without addressing the real betrayal experienced by survivors whose victimhood has been denied, minimized, and silenced by our establishment leaders for so long with threats and intimidation. Most survivors of abuse agree that the community response to child sexual abuse is often a worse trauma than the abuse. The parents who have had their children thrown out of yeshivas for the “crime” of disclosing abuse, the families that were literally run out of town, the children who were slapped in the face for daring to name their molester, will all read this book and think “Here we go again.” The reasons for this betrayal are not unknown, as Dr. Michael Salamon explains in his new book, “Abuse: How Extremist Views Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims.”

On a bright note, David Mandel’s own chapter does provide some comic relief. Although he admits that the rabbis, adult survivors and child advocates who brought this issue to the awareness of the community deserve recognition, he declines to name them with the excuse that he does not want to get them into trouble. As if survivors like Mark Weiss, David Framowitz, and Joel Engleman, Esther Malka Reich, Sara Rosenberg, advocates like Vicki Polin, Ben Hirsh, Michael Salamon, Mark Appel, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, rabbis like Nochem Rosenberg, Yosef Blau, Daniel Eidenshohn, and Yitzchak Eisenman or bloggers like Paul Mendlowitz of UOJ, or Shmarya Rosenberg of FailedMessiah fear backlash in standing up for child safety. Dr. Freud would surely interpret this notion as Mr. Mandel “projecting” his own fear of bringing attention to these individuals who have, almost to a person, been harshly critical of his record (in UOJ’s words) of “letting no cover-up go uncovered.”

[1] Mandel, D. (April 29, 2009) Sexual Abuse Legislation: A Proposed Strategy for Reform. Five Towns Jewish Times

[2] Orbach, M. (April 23, 2010) New Square appoints Vaad to deal with sexual abuse. The Jewish Star

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Failed Leadership!


"1. They should be authentic leaders, focused on serving their [clients] and all the institution's constituents, rather than [charismatic] leaders seeking money, fame, and power for themselves.

2. They should place the interests of their institutions and society as a whole above their own interests.

3. They should have the integrity to tell the whole truth, admit their mistakes, and acknowledge their shortcomings. Authentic leadership is not about being perfect. It is having the courage to admit when you're wrong and to get on with solving problems, rather than covering them up.

4. They need to adapt quickly to new realities, changing themselves as well as their institutions, rather than going into denial when things don't go as intended.

5. They need the resilience to bounce back after devastating losses. Resilience enables leaders to restore trust by empowering people to create new solutions that build great institutions for the future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now? - Part 3 - Yeshiva Torah Vodaath Versus Lipa Margulies - Part Two


Ten years after Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky zt"l forced Lipa Margulies to surrender his property at 150 Ocean Parkway to Bais Din, to be held in Trust pending a full accounting of the sources of the millions of dollars raised under the name Yeshiva Torah Vodaath of Flatbush, Rabbi Gedalya Schorr (a good friend of Margulies), released the property back to Margulies WITHOUT any accounting of the millions of dollars raised, with a "promise" from Margulies to never use the name of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath again or lose 150 Ocean Parkway (which was sold subsequently by Margulies). That would make it a full 21 years that Margulies was raising large sums of money from the unwitting masses, under the guise of being Yeshiva Torah Vodaath. By that time, Margulies had already built the new building at 555 Ocean Parkway, and Rabbi Gedalya Schorr had attended the groundbreaking years before, during his tenure as principal or menahel of YTV.

It is interesting to note, and no coincidence, that Frank Klein, the deceased nursing home magnate, who in 1966 was on the original deed transferring the property to YTV, and a board member of Margulies' school, in 1977 was a board member of YTV, a very close ally of Margulies and Schorr, and a very "prominent" Ger chasid, as was Rabbi Schorr (for different reasons of course).

This could only have been done if R' Yaakov Kaminetzky or his designated rosh yeshiva of YTV, R' Zelig Epstein, was out of the hanhala of YTV....

With these facts now disclosed, we will shortly revisit the years of YTV after R' Reuvain Grozofsky z"tl passed away, the subsequent din Torah with Rabbi Aaron Kotler z"tl, his ruling regarding Rabbi Schorr's duties at YTV, the fierce battle for the Rosh Yeshiva position waged by Rabbi Schorr once Rabbi Kaminetzky announced his intentions to retire in 1966, and the events that ultimately destroyed Beth Medrash Elyon in Monsey, and brought YTV to the brink of disaster, causing YTV to become a third-rate Banana yeshiva!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now? - Part 2 - What I Would Say at The Agudah Convention!


The first, last and only time I attended a convention sponsored by the Agudath Israel, is when it took place at the Pioneer Country Club in upstate New York; the brilliant accountants that are here tonight I'm certain can tell you how long ago that was without taking off their socks.

I was a bochur, just turning eighteen at the time, I looked forward to spending Shabbos in the presence of my rosh yeshiva, and a few classmates from yeshiva that were also Pirchei leaders. I did not know what to expect, and indeed it was a disappointing display by the "esteemed" baalei batim of their new cars, their wives' jewelry and designer clothes. Single girls of marriageable age were being hawked off to the would be shadchanim and parents of eligible boys. For the most part, bochurim of marriageable age were not invited. Food was being gulped down by the pound and by the cow, and the waiters were sweating bullets keeping up with the crowd. At breakfast on Friday, one behaimishe baal habayis tells his waiter, " I vant an omelette mit ah dozen - 12 eggs, fried on baider zeiten, and if it's 11 eggs, I'll know -- hahaha". Putz! We kids were sitting at the entrance to the kitchen as the waiter rushes in to tell his story. Ugly I tell you, stuff that stays with you for a lifetime.

I swore I'd never go back, and never did.

Rabbi Joshua Silbermintz a"h (aka Josh - a name that I would never call him by), asked me at the third Shabbos meal (shalosh seudas)...if I would please speak to the assembly about the importance of Pirchei; the second scheduled speaker took ill. He gave me 10 minutes to Shir Ha'maalot.

As Moshe Sherer taught, never begin your speech with " I'm not really prepared", so I stood up and blurted out what came to my mind, that's been on my mind since my very brief stint as a Pirchei leader.

".... Parents - what we must all learn from the Avos and Imahos - our patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and their rebbetzins --- is the sacrifices and love showed to their children. Avraham Avinu was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice with Yitzchak -- and the Torah goes out of its way to describe the love Yitzchak and Yaakov, Rivkah, Leah and Rachel had for their children. I quoted the relevant psukim and Rashi to a now attentive crowd. I continued... Many or most of you here tonight are survivors, you know the meaning of heartache. I went on now... raising the pitch of my voice (I was a quick learner); you have an obligation to teach your children that sleeping Shabbos afternoon is not more important than the walking of your children to Pirchei and Bnos...leaving them hefker in the streets (in what was then a very safe Crown Heights). [Many kids wandered off to Lefferts Av. Park and to other unsupervised places,]... your childrens' safety is paramount. I beseech you to please pay heed to your childrens' physical and emotional safety. Thank you".

Nothing changed; I resigned my high-paying job.

And in all these years, parents trusted their kids to people that used their kids as "objects" - either making money off of them in their schools, summer camps, seminaries etc., and as we now know, that in every yeshiva and girls school, many kids were sexually, physically and emotionally abused by staff members, principals, teachers --- and these crimes were covered up by criminal circus midgets with long beards, like the ones sitting at your dais here tonight.

I look around this room and I know many of you; I find it incredible to believe that you are here showing support for this criminal enterprise. In effect, you have created "a race to the bottom" of what was once a beautiful heritage and tradition. Have you no shame? What will your legacy be, if not leaving the world a much worse place than how you found it? Your kids are ashamed of you --- and are voting with their souls, hearts and feet " out of here!"

Don't take my word for it! Did you read Mishpacha magazine? Who do you think you're kidding? They see through you! They know that there's not a darn thing about your lifestyle that they want to have anything to do with!

Hashem had sent His messenger to America in September 1913 to set up shop with a model that would work for American Jewry. And a model that was mostly foolproof until the end of time. Children were to be cared for and loved by how you educated them. They were to be first and foremost bnei Torah in all its glory. Being a mensch was not optional! They needed to spend most of their school day with model rebbes/humans... not some garbage can with a lid that the sanitation department would refuse to pick up!

They needed to be educated as proud Americans, with full knowledge of most every subject taught in American secular schools (at the time). They needed to understand that they would one day need to go out in the world and either be a proud supporter of Torah institutions, or become a member or founder of a Torah institution. There was no gray area;... in order to support Torah, you had to appreciate what you learned as a child. And you had to love it, not loathe or fear it! In order to "stay in chinuch" you had to excel in your abilities, in your emunah, in your middos, and wisdom of the printed Torah and its spirit. And that required that you had to give up the so-called good-life, "without ever having to say you're sorry!" There had to be mesiras nefesh, knowing that your ben Torah neighbor that has gone to work, may have a nicer car than you.

Look at you! Look at what you have become! Either felons, or felons that have not been caught yet!

You trusted your kids to lowlifes, degenerates and perverts! They'd sell you down the river in a second, the second you stopped giving them money, or not as much as they wanted from you! And then your kid would be out on the street too, because he "did not measure up"! Which guy at the dais here has to be concerned about mundane issues like paying their mortgage, or tuition? Do they even have a mortgage? Or was it paid off with your money combined with whatever they could steal from Uncle Sam?

So why are you here?

There was a reason that Dr. Joseph Kaminetzky was appointed the head of Torah Umesorah. He graduated from Columbia University and had the wisdom needed in every area of education, and was rightfully in charge of the curriculum in each and every Torah Umesorah affiliated school.

It was no coincidence that Dr. David Stern was selected as menahel/principal of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath. He too was a graduate of Columbia University and a rabbi at one of the early Young Israel synagogues.

And when Rabbi Alexander Linchner z"l left his position at Mesifta Torah Vodaath to focus full time on the building of Boys Town Jerusalem, he hired Rabbi Moshe Lonner PhD, to be the high school secular studies principal; with the same intent, gusto and spirit that his father in-law had in appointing Drs. Kaminetzky and Stern to their respective positions.

So how did we get here? What group of ignoramuses led us down this path of "the more ignorant, the more uneducated, the more dumb" -- the better? "Where are the lomdim?" an ultra-orthodox rabbi recently bellowed! Where are the Torah scholars?

What have you done to your kids and their kids?

Go back to the original model set up by Hakodesh Baruch Hu Himself; pick the few select students to toil in Torah, to stay in chinuch, and to be a model for your grandchildren. Get rid of the gangsters running the American yeshiva system and its affiliated organizations -- they have already destroyed two complete generations.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?


Quotes from Samuel Reshevsky a former U.S. Chess Grandmaster
( and a devout Orthodox Jew)

"By playing slowly during the early phases of a game I am able to grasp the basic requirements of each position. Then, despite being in time pressure, I have no difficulty in finding the best continuation. Incidentally, it is an odd fact that more often than not it is my opponent who gets the jitters when I am compelled to make these hurried moves."

His self-description, "I am essentially a positional player, although I can conduct an assault with precision and vigor, when the opportunity arises. My strength consists of a fighting spirit, a great desire to win, and a stubborn defense whenever in trouble. I rarely become discouraged in an inferior situation, and I fear no one." ----


I played Chess with Samuel Reshevsky when I was a teenager, five times. I played him to a draw twice and lost three times (badly) after he figured out my weakness. That weakness is extreme impatience. But I learned a great deal from him and used his strategy as a guide in navigating life.

Ever since I can remember I loved a challenge and a good fight. I would not necessarily go looking for it, it always found me. But fight I did, and rarely lost. Bruised, absolutely, sometimes badly, but rarely lost!

So here we are, after being bruised and battered by evil and corrupt rabbis for decades, after permitting these same rabbis to permit all kinds of malfeasance in the name of daas Torah and Halacha, including their own, we dare include a "rabbi" like Shmuel Kaminetzky back into the fray of rabbi-permitted sexual abuse, by having him OK a script for a sexual abuse video for our children.

Here's the point; I'm going to attempt to remain calm, no promises.


Shmuel Kaminetzky knew that Moshe Eiseman was a pedophile some 35 years ago when numerous boys came forward in the Yeshiva Of Philadelphia. So did Elya Svei. I spoke to and communicated with many of those boys who are now in their sixties. There is irrefutable evidence that Eiseman was sent to Ner Israel in Baltimore because Kaminetzky and Svei were afraid their business, aka yeshiva, would be tarnished.

Kaminetzky sat smiling on the Agudah dais Fress Convention nodding approvingly of Mattisyahu Salomon's "under the rug-dignity-daas Torah-beat the [@#$%EDITED] out of the Bloggers" speech!

So now Eiseman is in Baltimore doing his thing, Kaminetzky's son in-law Tzvi Berkowitz, a rebbe in Ner Israel is told by more than a few boys some 20 years ago that Eiseman molested them. His response; "don't tell anyone, the yeshiva could get hurt." Any rational person would safely assume that Berkowitz discussed this with Kaminetzky. Nothing! Eiseman remains, and is promoted to a mashgiach ruchni of sorts, now he has access to the ENTIRE high school.

I called Shmuel Kaminetzky about a year ago under a pseudonym of the son of one of his benefactors. I asked him squarely; my son is in Torah Temimah, should I be concerned that Kolko has interaction with my son.

His response and I paraphrase; "The Jews have the ability to do teshuva even in cases of this nature; unless there were very recent credible accusations against Kolko, WE MUST ASSUME HE DID TESHUVA!"

I then asked him would he permit his grandchild to be in the privacy of Kolko's office; he asked for my phone number and would not answer the question. I hung up!

Debbie Fox in L.A. has Shmuel Kaminetzky reviewing the video presentation for viewing by children. What are Kaminetzky's qualifications?


Nothing much has really changed, other than spinning it differently!


Mandel and Horowitz from Ohel are still of the opinion that rabbis have a voice in this conversation, and under certain circumstances should be consulted.


Dovid and Reuvain Feinstein were aware 20 years ago that a young child in their family was molested by Kolko. Their excuse, they did not want to go up against Margulies. These two are the "best" of what we have as rabbis today. Do they know what they're doing on sexual abuse? Can they really be human?

They should be locked up!

We still don't get it!

The best of the rabbis I'm communicating with on the issue of child molestation still refer to the yetzer tov and yetzer ra as evil inclinations that can be overcome with teshuva!!!!!!

Rabbis are tripping over themselves asking for mechila for bad-mouthing me.





Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Violence of Silence!



Still in shock we must focus our attention to how such a horrific tragedy could occur and what went wrong in the rescue efforts of precious innocent Leiby. There are those who don’t want to point fingers as they must realize by now are pointing in their direction and threaten the very fabric of the way they do business in the community and with government. Ignorance and arrogance permeates the air in Boro Park and in much of the orthodox Jewish community.

Egregious errors in judgment leading to serious ethics violations at best to sinister crimes will be exposed which I pray compel the city or state to hold hearings how the community and police conspire to protect their images at the cost of great suffering of the weak and most frail in our community. Yes, I believe the Leiby murder could have been prevented if proper caution and care were taken prior to the kidnapping and certainly if the rescue effort was more professional. I am detailing this with other cases in my book “Chasing Justice – I am my Brother’s Keeper.”

The insular orthodox community which breeds insular crime feels that a collective appearance which influences both public and private funding is more important than the individual no matter what the misery. Pedophiles and domestic batterers have a good life knowing that there is little chance their victim will come forward out fear of the community’s religious psychological terror campaign against anyone who threatens the ban of approaching the secular courts or press. Many in the religious leadership indoctrinate their congregants and followers that they would be in violation of Jewish law if they would turn in any Jew to an outside jurisdiction namely our secular courts regardless of their crimes against their community. They fail to realize they are not living in ancient sovereign Israel as they have no jurisdiction in criminal matters as they openly violate the law of our land which by itself is a violation of Jewish law and this is accomplished and facilitated under the protection of many politicians kowtowing to their strong influence from block voting.

Beyond the public congratulations between the volunteer’s community’s security patrol known as the Shomrim and the NYPD there are deep feelings of mistrust and resentment emanating from both sides. The NYPD knows that the Shomrim are not accountable to anyone, have little or no professional training, hinder serious criminal investigations and yet the community has more faith and trust in them as they often seem to show up the NYPD on many occasions. The Shomrim experiences regularly the often reported headline news of the NYPD’s incompetency, laziness and outright refusal to take and investigate complaints as the rest of us know. While disdain runs both ways their relationship is cemented by a larger common interest – keeping the statistics low anyway possible regardless of violations of law. This complicit relationship often means people like the murderer Levy Aron often stays out of harm’s way until there is a body count. The police keep crime down when they don’t report it and Boro Park keeps their image.

Every second is crucial in a missing child’s case. There is no time to guess during an emergency. The following information comes from multi-media reports, interviews with reporters, parents in Boro Park, the Shomrim, canvassing volunteers and with members of the NYPD on the abduction and murder of Leiby Kletsky. I am convinced more information will come out shedding light on the debacle of the case. This is a brief oversimplification of the problems of the Leiby kidnapping/murder case which collectively contributed to this human tragedy.

There is no parent training in Child Safety for most of the community and since most do not watch television or use on the internet for fear of being over exposed to the bad influences of the world they do not have access to much public information on the subject. There is no community preparation for the obvious, missing kids, awareness of sex offenders in area, terror attack etc. As a result ignorance overwhelms many people. Most people I spoke with still believe that a child has to be missing for 24 hours first before the Police get involved which is not true. The Jewish civilian patrol Shomrim like most civilian patrols have little or no professional training and often practice rescue searches during the emergency itself. Rabbinical pressure on the community to call a rabbi first or their designees in this case the Shomrim regarding crimes are a must with full knowledge of the NYPD. This includes missing child cases as the rabbinical leadership does not desire unwanted scrutiny in their community which is fodder for another article.

Leiby’s mother waited an hour before calling for help and then she first called the Shomrim. The Shomrim then waited another three hours to notify the police thereby loosing precious time where if the NYPD was brought in right away other resources could have been deployed. Additionally the Shomrim keeps records of suspected criminals/pedophiles which the police department has no access to opening legal consequences from the right and left and while they have access themselves they have no authority to do anything with it without involving civil and/or criminal activities. Finally thousands of dedicated volunteers showed up with no clear direction.

When police finally arrive it became a fanfare of high profile imaging where commanders flaunt their political friendships without the proper investigative tactics which ultimately could have saved the boy’s life. The hero here is a man name Yakov German who initially had the idea to check the video surveillance cameras from the stores surrounding the school/camp area where Leiby was walking from.

Why weren’t the police detectives and commanders many who are getting paid over $110,000 a year and many with only a high school diploma pouring through these videos like Yakov German did right away? Even when they first got Yakov’s video showing Leiby’s last whereabouts it took them hours longer to bring in another detective who specializes in identifying cars to identify the car of Levy Aron.

From reports in the media and from volunteers who were there validated my own assumption from my prior experiences as a police officer with these cases involving the NYPD. Complacency with no immediate sense of urgency resonated from some officers believing that little Leiby will turn up later as what happens in most cases they work on. The “Here we go again attitude” where the belief is that Leiby is probably at a friends house where he fell asleep. This is very similar to when officers answer commercial and residential burglar alarms. With so many being false the police often become lax in their response and investigation. They need to treat every case as real and think of the false alarms as practice for when the real thing happens.

Even more insidious is the belief by many in the community and by some of the officers working there that the Chassidic orthodox Jews have too much clout which negatively affects their police performance. One cop asked me, “Do you think the police brass with all their helicopters and squads of detectives would have come if there was a missing black kid? Two weeks after this diabolical murder the police in the 66 precinct in Boro Park still have not received any additional training about missing children or dealing with the local public as was reported to me by officers in the command. In short the police need much retraining in thinking and investigating.

After Leiby’s murder the Jewish community had a hug fest thanking the police and other groups for their sincerity in helping to find Leiby. Huge ads were taken in the Jewish press. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I am sure everyone sincerely wanted to find Leiby alive and well. However their lack of training and lack of professionalism precluded this. I sincerely hope that there was an error in the media when it reported that members of the police department said that the time factor of receiving the videos depicting where Leiby was last seen wouldn’t have made a difference. According to the medical examiner Lieby wasn’t murdered until Tuesday.

Leiby could have and should have been found alive and there is plenty of blame and blood to go around!

In my recent meetings with NY State Senator Marty Golden, NYC Council Public Safety Chair Peter Vallone, Congressional candidate David Weprin and NYS Assembly Dov Hikind’s legislative staff member I detailed some practical and legislative recommendations to protect our children and community. These are recommendations I have made in the past regarding protecting us from child abductions, terrorism and crime.

High grade cameras installed around businesses near schools and Houses of Worship which are accessible in real time from the internet so there is no waiting hours to access fuzzy video footage.

Video footage needs to be monitored regularly so we can detail hostile surveillance from potential abductors. If a pedophile is hanging out at a school or camp it can be detected before a situation arises. Police reports mention that this was a chance encounter by a loner. We don’t know that and there is a real possibility that Levy Aron as with other abductors was tracking Leiby and that he could have been working with another accomplice.

Technology has come of age where we can outfit every child with a tracking device on their person like we put on our cars. Every kid seven and older can carry a cell phone programmed to call only their parents or 911. Alarms can be programmed and placed on children that go off when they separate at a certain distance.

We must train and deploy a citizen detective program training parents how they can assist and facilitate police investigations very much the auxiliary police do with patrol. Compel professional training to volunteer community patrols like the Shomrim who are dedicated to keeping their community safe or they should lose all funding.

Enforce mandated reporting of educators and specific community leaders including clergy with criminal and civil penalties for not reporting suspected crimes against children and with cases of domestic violence.

Schools, camps and youth programs should not release kids except to a parent or a responsible adult approved by the parents.

Make available the listing of all residential sexual offenders in the community.

Legislation needs to be passed that in the investigation of any child abduction or terror attack the police do not need the permission of any owner to access the video saving hours of time.

Mandating parochial schools and camps for all their staff to be fingerprinted and go through a similar background check as the NYC Department of Education puts their teachers through.

Creation of a NYS license called “Child Safety Specialist” where every public and private school and camp would be mandated to have a Child Safety Specialist training kids, parents and educators a few times annually before, during and after school starts.

Anyone who is aware that a child is missing within the first hour and doesn’t report it to their police department should face felony charges.

Offer tax credits for those who spend funds on safety for their children from martial arts classes, Safety Instructional DVDs, safety cameras to child safety classes. Creation of our Clergy 911 program where all clergy would be trained in crisis intervention and mandating reporting.

A government, religion and community are judged by how they protect the weakest in their society; the sick, the poor, the victim and the oppressed. The bible is replete with statements like “Justice, Justice You Should Pursue and “Don’t Stand Idly by the Blood of your Neighbor” and much more. Denying justice to the weakest for some warped sense of community/religious image is a threat to justice everywhere. Since most of the leadership is either complicit or missing in inaction we are appealing to mothers to rise up and protect your children, yourselves and Jewish and American law.

Our group the Child Safety Initiative made up of professionals in the health, medical, educational, police, legal and rabbinic fields are calling for a federal civil rights probe leading to hearings to determine which mandated organization, educational institution, community group and individuals working with the minority Jewish community were/are coercing individuals not to assert their rights in reporting crimes and testifying in court against their assailants. We implore victims and those who are aware of victims in the community to come forward to us. We can offer those coming forward protection by working with the Department of Justice. We are also calling for any rabbi or community leader who espouses their congregants and people to go to a rabbi first in the event of a suspected crime bypassing the police should face criminal and civil rights charges.

Lastly as I strenuously try to apply my grief and anger management techniques to myself my advice for my own Orthodox community is I pray you awaken from your coma soon. Don’t wait again for a body count. Take your energies, money and resources and invest it in practical preventive and therapeutic care. The community doesn’t need more dedications of Torahs and synagogues in memorials. We need more safety and security for our children in our communities.

We at the Child Safety Initiative have been offering child safety seminars and martial arts classes regularly. We are completing our first Child Safety DVD which will be available shortly and we are hosting a Child Safety and Health conference at the last week of August at the Kutcher’s Hotel. In September we are holding our first annual Child Safety and Health Legislative forum. Don’t be reactive be proactive.

As the Jewish New Year approaches and Jews around the world become more reflective of their lives I kneel before God scratching the floor weeping in agony looking towards the heavens with shouts from my heart – Why? I can almost hear whispers of, “Don’t ask God – ask Man!

Rabbi Gary Moskowitz is director of the Child Safety Initiative and can be contacted at gavriael@aol.com

Sunday, August 07, 2011

UOJ Downgrades Standards & Poor Religion To D - *Outlook Negative*!

UOJ Keywords - Religious Jew, Length of Beard, Sexual Abuse of a Minor, Holy Man, Archbishop, Child Endangerment, Sexual Abuse, Transferring of Predatory Priests, Conspiracy & Dementia:

Behold the Mighty Beard, a Badge of Piety and Religious Belonging

by Mark Oppenheimer - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: August 6, 2011

Go ahead, picture a religious Jew.

Now picture a Muslim cleric.

Now an Amish farmer.

What do they have in common? Beards. And not neatly trimmed beards, but, in the popular stereotype, long, unruly beards, which connote piety, spiritual intensity and a life so hard at study that there is no time for a shave. The scholar, the mystic, the terrorist, the holy man — they all have beards.

Last month, the connection between hirsuteness and religiosity appeared in federal court, not for the first time. In this latest case, a federal court refused to consider the appeal of a Jewish prisoner in New Hampshire who had bristled against regulations limiting his beard to a quarter-inch.

In upholding a 2010 summary judgment against the prisoner, Albert Kuperman, convicted in 2002 of sexually molesting a minor, the First Circuit panel did not disagree that Mr. Kuperman had a religious obligation to refrain from shaving. But it concluded, in a decision issued July 14, that “alternative means remained open for Kuperman to exercise the constitutionally protected right at issue.” The prison, in other words, had to allow Mr. Kuperman, who has since been released, some avenue for religious observance, but not every avenue.

Being bearded is just one of many obligations that some strictly religious Jewish men uphold. Only one of the Torah’s 613 commandments applies to facial hair, and scholars disagree on the commandment’s interpretation.

But the beard is integral to many men’s religious identities, not just religious Jews’. The beard, especially the really big beard, constitutes a look, one that dictates how they are perceived by the world.

“Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard,” according to Leviticus 19:27. That commandment has produced reams of rabbinic commentary. Some traditional Jews believe only the chin must remain unshaven. Others argue the unshaven area is larger, and some teachings hold that the prohibition against shaving extends to the neck. Rabbis draw distinctions between shaving (forbidden) and practices like cutting the hair with scissors, plucking it with tweezers and removing it with depilatories (depending on whom you ask, possibly permitted).

But to focus on the legalisms misses the point. In many religious communities, the beard is the man’s ID badge, his sign of membership. Like the Hasid’s black hat or the Muslim’s kufi, it’s what he acquires when he joins the community, and it’s what he gets rid of when he leaves. It is a form of religious garb, with different versions in different religious tribes......"




Pennsylvania: Cardinal Is Summoned to Court

Published: August 6, 2011

A judge on Friday summoned the former Philadelphia archbishop to court on Sept. 12 to see if he should be deposed in a sexual abuse case. Prosecutors want to preserve the testimony of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, 88, for next year’s trial because he has cancer and dementia. Monsignor William Lynn, 60, secretary for clergy under Cardinal Bevilacqua, is accused of transferring predatory priests to new parishes and is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy. Three priests and a former teacher are charged with rape.