Thursday, February 02, 2012

This is What Your Eulogies Will Look Like - Right Here - Except I Won't Be So Kind!

The Twisted Faces of Orthodox Judaism
Bevilacqua leaves sad, mixed legacy amid sex abuse

Published February 01, 2012

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's death may not greatly alter the March trial of an aide charged with child endangerment for allegedly keeping predator-priests around children.

Bevilacqua's testimony was preserved on videotape late last year, since he was 88 and ailing. And though a judge found him competent to testify, his dementia would have been evident on the witness stand, lawyers said.

Still, his 10 combative appearances before a Philadelphia grand jury in 2003 and 2004 exposed church secrets about 63 accused priests that ultimately rocked the Roman Catholic hierarchy — and the cardinal himself, who grew reclusive in retirement.

Philadelphia priests raped boys in church sacristies, stripped them nude and whipped them as part of a Passion Play, got them drunk and showed them pornography — and remained on the job, the 2005 grand jury report said.

"Cardinal Bevilacqua, a loyal son and leader of the church for so many years — it was his misfortune to be in a place where all that was revealed in a very glaring way," said Tom Roberts, editor at large of the National Catholic Reporter, a liberal-leaning newspaper for lay Catholics that first exposed the priest-abuse problem in the 1980s.

"Sexual abuse occurs everywhere, but I think the particular circumstances of the church that makes it a story that will not go away is it had the capacity to hide and protect so many for so long," he said.

Bevilacqua died in his sleep Tuesday night at his church residence near Philadelphia. That same day, his longtime secretary for clergy, Monsignor William Lynn, appeared in court for a pretrial hearing in his unprecedented criminal case.

Lynn, 61, is the first U.S. church official ever charged with child endangerment for allegedly shuffling problem priests from job to job. Philadelphia prosecutors say the church thereby fed predators a steady stream of children.

"(The) abuse was known, tolerated, and hidden by high church officials, up to and including the Cardinal himself," a second grand jury report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia alleged last year.

Just hours before Bevilacqua died, the presiding judge in Lynn's trial called sexual abuse in the Catholic church "widespread." Defense lawyers call Lynn a scapegoat for the cardinal and other archdiocesan officials.

Bevilacqua fought bitterly with prosecutors in his often hostile grand jury appearances. He bristled when prosecutors, grilling him about the hundreds of complaints buried in "secret archives" at the archdiocese, called him "Mr. Bevilacqua."

"The very idea that a cardinal would get called before a grand jury was unheard of," said Duquesne University law professor Nicholas P. Cafardi, who served as counsel to the Pittsburgh archdiocese during Bevilacqua's tenure there in the late 1980s.

Bevilacqua's grand jury testimony became public last year as part of the discovery process in Lynn's case. It cannot be used at trial because he was not cross-examined, but his videotaped deposition, taken over two half-days in November, might be. Still, victim advocates hoped to hear him testify in person.

"With the passing of Cardinal Bevilacqua, we will never learn the full truth about clergy sex crimes and cover ups," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Defense lawyers say Lynn took direction on priest transfers from Bevilacqua. Prosecutors call the archdiocese under his tenure "an unindicted co-conspirator."

No one was charged after the first grand jury because the complaints were years or decades old, and the statute of limitations had expired.

"Philadelphia had a very aggressive prosecutor who decided that regardless of the lack of statutes that would apply immediately, she wanted to know what went on. And what she discovered was a very, very ugly record," Roberts said, speaking of former District Attorney Lynne Abraham. "But I don't think Philadelphia necessarily was an outlier. We got to look at the unvarnished truth in a way that has not happened in many places."

Bevilacqua liked to point out that he was trained in both civil and church, or canon, law. The ninth of 11 children born to Italian immigrants in Brooklyn, he got his law degree at night while working with immigrants in the Brooklyn archdiocese, Cafardi said.

"I find that very inspiring. He literally became a civil lawyer ... in order to help the poor people whose rights he thought were being stepped on," Cafardi said. "This all speaks of a very, very admirable guy. He did many heroic things. But the way he handled the sex abuse allegations in Philadelphia — as opposed to how he handled them in Pittsburgh — is just a tragic flaw."

According to Cafardi, Bevilacqua moved accused priests in Pittsburgh to what he deemed "safe assignments," such as chaplancies in retirement homes for religious men and women.

In Philadelphia, he led diocesan priests who had mostly attended the same seminary, St. Charles Borromeo, where the cardinal lived and this week died.

"I've often speculated he became a captive of the Philadelphia clerical culture, a culture where it's inbred, and everybody watches everybody else's back," Cafardi said. "These are men who you've known for years, and you find it hard to believe that they're capable of doing what they're accused of doing."

Three priests and a former Catholic school teacher were indicted along with Lynn. They are all charged with rape. Three are charged with raping the same child, starting when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.

"It's a sad, sad, very mixed story because he was such an advocate for immigrants and, in many ways, the downtrodden. He apparently had a real pastor's touch in meeting with people individually and at parishes," Roberts said of the cardinal's legacy.

"I don't think any reading of his life can ignore what the documentation of the grand jury reports say about it. It would be really good for the church and the hierarchy to reflect on (that)."



Lakewood said...


Beatings at a cheder and BMG threatens a blog owner his kids will be kicked out of yeshivos for being mefarsem?

Shmad said...


R' Immanuel Schochet was the rov of the Kielcer kehilla (pronounced Keltzer) in Canada for 40 years before it merged with the Agudah. He is now rov of an alter Lubavitcher kehilla whose oylam are chassidim of the Rebbe before MM. His father was a talmid of Telz in Lita and the rov of Basel Schweiz before the churban and The Hague Holland after the churban.

R' Immanuel is a mumche on inyanei shmad and writes here that Shmuely Boteach's new book on Yoshka is kefira mamash and enhances the agenda of missionaries.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't reflect badly on Rav Schochet because he basically disowned him but his son is a pedophile. He was thrown out of shlichus in California by 770 because of a crazy romance with the 16 year old daughter of a family davening in the Chabad house. He left his wife & kids and eloped with the girl. The family went public and tried everything to stop the marriage when she turned 18. The police were not able to press charges because the girl would not cooperate. The shvantz insists they had a "platonic relationship" which R' Moshe Feinstein writes in a teshuva is impossible.

Conspiracy theory said...

You may have heard about the recent halacha teshuva from Rav Bleich in the RJJ halacha journal. Rav Bleich, who is a tremendous talmid chochom, is not exactly a fanatic, and after painstakingly going through the inyan of anisakis for 37 pages, he emerges that things look compellingly lechumra like Rav Elyashev and the gedolim - NOT lekula like Belsky.

Obviously, people are interested in getting their hands on this RJJ issue, except there are some "technical" difficulties. The megalomaniac Marvin Schick, who you would think is busy with a whole host of bigger things like running a law practice, distributing UJA money to all the frum and secular day schools in the country, and acting as a paid Agudah proxy for propaganda and smear campaigns, has personally inserted himself into the journal's distribution and is allegedly not allowing seforim stores to receive it unless they place very large orders which is not worth their while. He is actually the one who gets on the phone to boss them around.

Oh wait, did I say that Schick is an Agudah proxy? I did. He is paid to write whatever the Agudah tells him and since Gary Rosenblatt at Jewish Week will overlook the shitos of his rebbe Emmanuel Rackman when he's getting paid handsomely, Gary disguised for years what are paid Agudah ads to look like editorials. Schick also runs a silly blog where he attacks anyone that the Agudah paints a target on.

The million dollar question is does the Agudah have a dog in this fight to protect Belsky and cover up for most of the American hashgochos that have a profit-driven agenda to ignore the problem with worms? It would not be the first time that the Agudah has made sure politics trump kashrus like how they force feed Rubashkin meat davka to all the fressers at their events ad hayom despite that the Rubashkin family single-handedly brought down kashrus standards in America plus allegedly worse things than that. The Agudah did decide to rehabilitate Belsky this year after he was persona non grata for years at all their events. It certainly comes at a very strange time when Rav Elyashev is telling people that Belsky hot nisht ne'emonus and R' Dovid Feinstein was forced to come out with a letter that someone (Belsky, shhh!) is saying things in the tatten's R' Moishe's name l'heter about anisakis that are incorrect.

Dovid Lee Roth said...


If Shochet got a California girl, it must be after Aron Tendler split town.

The raod to war with Iran 33 said...

Israel National News:

"U.S. Worries Israel is about to Strike Iran – Washington Post

Post's Ignatius: Netanyahu doesn’t want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action.

By Gil Ronen

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is "a strong likelihood" that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June, according to the Washington Post's David Ignatius.

Israel believes that after this time, Iran will have entered a “zone of immunity” that will enable it to build a nuclear bomb at its leisure, Ignatius wrote. Defense Minister Ehud Barak used the same words Thursday in his speech at the Herzliya Conference.

"Very soon,the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon — and only the United States could then stop them militarily," explained Ignatius. The U.S., however, does not intend to hit Iran until it has intelligence that Iran is actually building a bomb, and "Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu doesn’t want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action..."

When Barak asked last month to postpone a planned U.S.-Israel military exercise, he may have been signaling that an Israeli attack is imminent, the senior journalist wrote. Barak "apologized that Israel couldn’t devote the resources to the annual exercise this spring."

President Obama and Panetta cautioned Israel against an attack, because they believe it would derail "increasingly successful international economic sanctions" against Iran.

The White House hasn’t yet decided precisely how to react to an Israeli attack on Iran. The U.S. appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits American assets, which would trigger a strong U.S. response. But administration officials "caution that Tehran shouldn’t misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel’s population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel’s defense."

Ignatius quotes an Israeli official who reportedly told the U.S.: “You stay to the side, and let us do it.” The pundit mentions a “short-war” scenario that assumes five days or so of limited Israeli strikes, followed by a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. This, too, jibes with comments made yesterday by Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Benny Gantz.

U.S. officials don’t think that Netanyahu has made a final decision to attack, says Ignatius, but "senior Americans doubt that the Israelis are bluffing."

Jewish Press gets into gay fight 1 said...

The Jewish Press:

"Surviving Bullying, Silencing And Torment For Being Gay In The Frum Community

By: Chaim Levin

Published: January 25th, 2012
Latest update: January 26th, 2012

It’s been more than six months since The Jewish Press published an op-ed titled “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence.” In the article, the writer, while not mentioning my name, calls me shameless and self-indulgent and suggests that I learn to suffer in silence.

It’s been more than six months since The Jewish Press published an op-ed titled “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence.” In the article, the writer, while not mentioning my name, calls me shameless and self-indulgent and suggests that I learn to suffer in silence. He was referring to an anti-suicide video I made for the “It Gets Better” project. In the YouTube video I talk about the endless bullying in my childhood, the trauma of reparative therapy and my suicide attempt as a result of a frum community that seemed to not want me to exist simply because I was gay.

My message was that, with time, with understanding friends and with self-acceptance, it gets better. I hoped to tell other kids who may be on the brink of suicide to stick it out, because life gets better; even for gay Jews growing up in the Orthodox community. This video never talks about private behavior, never mentions any assur activity, and certainly does not divulge anything about what I do behind closed doors. However, simply because I talk about how I was bullied for being gay, the author tried to make me feel horrible for simply sending a message of hope. He succeeded in embarrassing me and making me feel unwanted by this community.

I wish I could say that this is the exception. But the truth is that despite the fact that I would never talk publicly about private personal behavior or engaging in sin, the frum world seems to see me as part of a “gay agenda” simply because I won’t stay quiet.

My name is Chaim Levin. I grew up in a heimishe family in Crown Heights. I love my mother, my father and my family. I had always felt different and was the subject of relentless bullying by other boys for “seeming” gay. When I was 17 I confided to a friend that I was attracted to men and not sexually attracted to women at all. When it came out, I was thrown out of yeshiva. For the longest time I felt so alone because I truly believed that I was the only person battling this secret war. My older siblings were getting married and having kids, and all I ever wanted was to be a part of the beautiful world my parents had raised me in. My dream was to marry a woman and live the life my family hoped and dreamed for me. I would never have chosen to be gay; I could not imagine anyone growing up in the Orthodox world who would choose to be someone who doesn’t fit into the values and norms of everyone around them.

So do I think that I was “born gay”? I don’t know and I am not sure how important that is. What is important is that it certainly is not something that I chose or had anything to do with. And I felt immense pressure to somehow change who I was..."

Jewish Press gets into gay fight 2 said...

"After much time and research I found a well-known organization that “specialized” in reparative therapy. This organization had endorsements from a wide range of rabbanim and I was sure that it was the answer to all my problems. The organization’s executive director told me that he believes everyone can change if they simply put in the hard work. I would have done anything to change, and this message was just the hope I was looking for. I spent two years attending every group meeting, weekend, and individual life coaching sessions they offered. My parents and I paid thousands of dollars. Every day, every session, I was working and waiting to feel a shift in my desires or experience authentic change. That moment never came. I didn’t change, I never developed any sexual desire for women, and never stopped being attracted to men. Instead, I only felt more and more helpless because I wasn’t changing. The organization and its staff taught us that change only comes to those who truly want it and are willing to put in the work. So if I wasn’t changing, I was seen as someone who either really didn’t sincerely want it, or would not put in the necessary work. In other words, there was no one to blame but myself.

The worst part of my experience in reparative therapy came at the end. In a locked office, alone with my unlicensed “life coach,” I was told to undress, stand in front of the counselor and do things too graphic to describe in this article. I was extremely uncomfortable, but he said that I must do this for the sake of changing and that if I didn’t remove my clothing I wouldn’t be doing the work it takes to achieve change. I would do anything to change, and so I did what he asked me to do. It was probably the most traumatizing experience of my life.

I tried to tell people what happened, but the organization said it wasn’t true and refused to fire the life coach. But I have spoken to other men whom underwent the same experience. And I can only imagine how many other young men who this has happened to who have not yet come forward. One of the most frustrating aspects was that because this coach is not licensed by any professional board, he is unaccountable to any licensing committee. Since I was over eighteen and agreed to this kind of therapy, I am told that I have no legal recourse. But I do have my voice! Yet, even after coming forward with what happened, nothing has changed. I often hear that this therapy has helped people, that it is wonderful, but I wonder, how helpful can an organization be when it causes great suffering and pain to many who come to them for hope.

The recent Torah Declaration, signed by so many rabbis, only serves to perpetuate the notion that all homosexuals in the Orthodox community must change in reparative therapy. Unlike the helpful recent RCA statement on welcoming homosexuals or the “Statement of Principles” written and signed by over 200 responsible rabbis, the Torah Declaration does not demand that therapists must be board licensed. Unlike these other statements, it does not allow those for whom this kind of therapy is harmful or not working to seek other options. It kills me that this Torah Declaration will be used by parents to force their children into therapies that may be harmful to them. It frightens me that this Torah Declaration says that “change is mandated by the Torah,” when I know personally that change therapy has not worked and was so harmful for me. It hurts me to know that I am now being blamed by these rabbis and therapists for this failed therapy..."

Jewish PRess gets into gay fight 4 said...

"I know first hand how this kind of societal bullying can lead to self-harm and suicide. I know of too many young men who have been pressured to stay in these kinds of therapies only to be tormented to point of taking their own lives. No one can bring these boys back. However, there are many Orthodox rabbis, frum therapists and organizations that remind us we are loved and that we belong. In the darkness of my days, a grass roots support community organization called JQY saved my life. JQY (www.JQYouth.org) is a group of over five hundred young Jews who grew up in the frum community. Their goal is to combat shame, bullying and ostracizing, while making families, yeshivas and communities safe and welcoming to their gay members. They do not advocate for any change in halacha, but rather assert that one can believe that certain behaviors are halachically prohibited and still be a happy, healthy and fulfilled person.

In JQY the right path for an individual is unique for each person. There are some members of JQY who are trying to change their orientation and many like me, who have tried for years and have discovered that it is not possible for them. We are all just trying to be the best that we can be. We learn from each other and are there for each other because we know how hard it is to be gay in a frum family. JQY is my logical family. We have support meetings, crisis resources, Yom Tov get-togethers and Shabbos meals where we know it is safe to be ourselves.

I now have a sense of pride about who I am. However, I understand the concept of “pride” as combating the years of self-shame and instead promoting a sense of personal self worth. Pride is not a celebration of any personal behavior or desire. Nowhere in my story do I ever mention prohibited behaviors. I know that “being gay” does not express anything about personal intimate behavior; it merely expresses an orientation. I do not support or encourage any sexual or intimate behavior. I adhere to the concept of tzniut (modesty), which demands that intimate behavior stays private and discrete, and has no place in the public forum. In fact I do not know any gay person from a frum background who doesn’t believe the same way.

This is not an appeal to change halacha or anyone’s political views. This is not a push for gay marriage or any legitimizing of gay marriage within Orthodoxy. I am simply asking my community not to judge. Remember the compassion we show to the agunah, who may also desire something that is halachically prohibited through no fault of her own. Similarly, why pressure someone to participate in a program or therapy that they may have laredy tried or which causes harm. Just because someone is honest about being gay, does not mean that he engages in any sin or chillul Hashem. No one should feel silenced or asked to lie about who they are. Abuse and cruelty should never be tolerated or ignored. We should assume the best about people’s actions and intentions and ask Hashem for guidance in situations where we do not have easy answers. A little humility goes a long way. Sometimes the kindest and most thoughtful response when it comes to very difficult situations is, “I don’t know, but I’m here for you because you are part of my family and community.”

This is why I have so much hakaras hatov (gratitude) to The Jewish Press for allowing me to tell my story, so that the frum community can hear what really happens to its gay sons, brothers, and family members.

May we be zoche to live in a world free of suffering."

Son of Boog said...

Hey Boteach, you lowlife!

5 Towns said...

5 Towns Jewish Times publisher "Larry" Gordon (once a Lubav in 770 who decided to become a modern Lawrence knacker) has an arrangement with the Yated-Agudah crowd that as long as he goes to bat for Rubashkin, he can run any kind of ad he wants with non-kosher food, apikorsus, you name it.

If anyone, incuding the biggest talmidei chochomim in the 5 Towns don't go along with the Rubashkin agenda, they send Rav Scheinberg's meshamesh Aryeh Ginzberg on to the pages of Larry's paper to attack them. But don't expect one peep out of Ginzberg about anything treif on the same page he is on. Come to think of it, he's not the right guy for the job anyway as he has taken at least one free vacation in a Pesach hotel with hashgocho that leave much to be desired.

Larry's always getting shtupped with a few dollars by tour operators, sometimes with no hashgocho at all.

When there is a "rav" Hamachshir, sometimes it's the Conservative Rabbi Dr. Aaron Michelson who they try to fool everyone that he's orthodox by virtue of his big white beard and once having worked for Arutz Sheva.

Here is what happened on a tour to Vietnam that Michelson certified, as recorded on his rebbitzen's blog. The rebbitzen is incidentally also giving hashgocho on tours to other countries.


They prepared dinner in a treif restaurant for the "kosher" tour in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The suitcase full of kelim got lost by the airline so they went to buy a new knife to prepare fresh fish. but did they use the treif cutting board and other treif kelim of the restaurant?


Although the cholent was pareve, it was left in a treif kitchen to cook with no supervision.


Did they kasher this stove before cooking omelets?


Looks like they are using ceramic plates in a treif restaurant!