Tuesday, August 30, 2016


EXCLUSIVE: Brooklyn lawyer, civil court judge hopeful failed to pay back over $500G from deceased man's estate: 'The facts are troubling'

Publicity handout taken from avigdorforjudge.com. Approved by Kevin Macdonald 08/25/16

Months before Elias Gelbwachs died in October 2004, he named Morton Avigdor (pictured) as a co-executor of his estate in his living will and his son Avi Jay Gelbwachs as his beneficiary.


A Brooklyn lawyer with hopes of becoming a civil court judge has failed to pay back over $500,000 he did not account for from a deceased man’s estate, court documents reveal.

Months before Elias Gelbwachs died in October 2004, he named Morton Avigdor as a co-executor of his estate in his living will and his son Avi Jay Gelbwachs as his beneficiary.

Gelbwachs, 86, also graciously listed nine charities to divvy up 10 percent of his estate — including Yeshiva of Brooklyn, Hatzolah Volunteer Ambulance Corp., and American Cancer Society.
After Gelbwachs, a retired accountant, died, Avigdor was in charge of distributing the $1.125 million of assets, court records show.

During a Rabbinical Court proceeding in 2009, Avigdor turned over a one-page document where he admitted to using portions of the estate’s funds to buy homes at 7104 Fort Hamilton Pwky. and 884 71st St., both in Brooklyn, according to court documents.

Avigdor, 59, whose campaign website for civil court judge highlights his “honesty” and “integrity,” used the Fort Hamilton residence to house a $35,000 investment with Doctors on Call.
Avigdor filed a lawsuit against the medical company in 2014, claiming he was denied profits as a partner and in a May deposition hearing, he even denied running for judgeship, according to court documents.

After paying for the funeral and other expenses, $900,000 was still missing, according to court documents.

Multiple request for comment from Avigdor were not returned.

The Rabbinical Court authorized the co-executor, Moshe Twersky, to take appropriate action in civil court to remove Avigdor from the estate.

A committee later reviewed Avigdor’s activity and found no misconduct in 2010, a source told the Daily News.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, then under Charles Hynes, did not file any charges after a complaint was made in Feb. 2011, sources said.

After Gelbwachs, a retired accountant, died, Avigdor was in charge of distributing the $1.125 million of assets, court records show.

After Gelbwachs, a retired accountant, died, Avigdor was in charge of distributing the $1.125 million of assets, court records show.

In June 2011, after several delays to turn over the estate’s accounting, Avigdor’s role was terminated by Judge Diana Johnson.

A judgment of $750,000 was issued against Avigdor to pay by July 2014 — he has defaulted despite selling the Fort Hamilton building in 2014 for $1.1 million, according to public records.

“He still owes $572,000,” Avi Jay, 56, told The News. “I’ve known him since we were little. We are still friends, we still speak, but it’s been difficult. ... He says he will pay back every penny.’
Nonetheless, in court documents obtained by The News, Avigdor did not disclose the large liability or his alleged role with the medical company to the state Ethics Commission for the Unified Court System.

“The facts are troubling,” said Ellen C. Yaroshefsky, the head of Hofstra University’s Ethics Institute. “Moreover, the New York State judicial candidate form requires disclosure of this information and failure to comply can result in significant sanctions including referral to disciplinary committee and potential criminal liability, which should preclude him from becoming a judge.”

In May, lawyer Frank Racano was indicted for grand larceny after he was held in contempt in civil court for dipping into the escrow account for the late Judge John Phillips.

Avigdor, an ex-staffer for disgraced ex-Brooklyn Rep. Anthony Weiner, is also delinquent with paying his $375 biannual registration fees to the state court system.

“I would still vote for him so I can get 10 percent of his income,” said Avi Jay.

Avigdor, so far, received $8,750 in campaign donations — $2,105 were in-kind donations from himself, public records show.

The state and local primary elections will take place Sept. 13.


Shmuel Kaminetzky is not a believer in vaccinations; He's in good company...... Landell, 26, a now-former Publix supermarket worker, isn’t a believer in doctors or medicine and held to the theory that evil took his little girl’s life, according to Hamrick.

Two Georgia Parents Let Their Infant Starve to Death In Large Part Due To Their Religious Beliefs

Last year, a 10-week-old baby was killed in Gwinnett County, Georgia after being starved to death by her parents. Mother Lauren Fristed was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct and sentenced just this month to 20 years in prison.

The father, Herbert “George” Landell, was found guilty of second-degree murder this morning. He’ll likely be locked away, too.
While starvation is certainly the method used to kill her, what’s more disturbing is how religion played a role in their negligence.
… Landell, 26, a now-former Publix supermarket worker, isn’t a believer in doctors or medicine and held to the theory that evil took his little girl’s life, according to Hamrick.

On her last day, March 25, he told police he found her in trouble, her skin turned grey and blue. He said he lifted her from the crib and tried to give her a bottle. He told his wife, 25-year-old Lauren Fristed, to leave the room because of her “negative energy,” and he prayed, [detective Charles] Hamrick said.
Even if he didn’t want to take the baby to the doctor, couldn’t the mother override his wishes? No. Because the Bible told her not to.
On the day the girl died, Fristed sent a text to her “spiritual adviser,” a minister of non-denominational Christianity in Lawrenceville, saying, “I wish he would let us go get her seen about,” the detective said.

Faith prevented her from pressing it.
“She told me on several occasions that she obeys her husband,” Hamrick said, “that that’s what the Bible says.”

Just horrible parenting guided by horrible faith.

If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that Georgia doesn’t allow religious exemptions from the law when it comes to murdering your child. (Believe it or not, other states do.) That’s why both parents are getting the harsh punishments they deserve.

If only they had the common sense to take their daughter to a doctor instead of listening to the voices in their head and church.


More parents believe vaccines are unnecessary

File photo of a child being vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox.
Sean Gallup, Getty Images
Pediatricians are encountering more parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated, mainly because they don’t see the point of vaccines, a U.S. survey found.

In the survey, conducted in 2013, about 87 percent of pediatricians said they had encountered vaccine refusals, an increase from the 75 percent who reported refusals during the last survey from 2006.

The most common reason, provided by three out of every four parents: Vaccines are unnecessary because the diseases they prevent have been wiped out in the United States.

“Because these diseases are gone, people no longer fear them, even though many of them are only a plane ride away,” said Dr. Kathryn Edwards, co-author of a new American Academy of Pediatrics report based on the survey. “They don’t seem to realize that these diseases do exist in other places, and could come here.”
The percentage of pediatricians who always dismiss patients over repeated vaccine refusals has also increased, doubling from 6 percent in 2006 to 12 percent in 2013, the survey found.

In the report, the AAP urges pediatricians to exercise patience with worried parents rather than closing their doors to them.
“Our goal is to work with our patients so they understand the importance of vaccinations, and their questions about vaccines are answered,” said Edwards, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.

The reasons parents provide for refusing vaccines have evolved in recent years, pediatricians report.

In 2006, about three of every four parents who refused vaccines said they were worried that vaccines could cause autism​ -- a theory that’s been debunked -- or produce serious side effects.

Fewer parents gave those as reasons in 2013, although many still cite concerns about safety. Concerns over a baby being too small to receive vaccines, or discomfort at having too many shots at once, have also diminished, the survey found.

Instead, most parents are refusing childhood vaccinations because they see vaccines as unnecessary, and that number increased by 10 percent between the two surveys.

The new survey results are published online Aug. 29 in the journal Pediatrics.

Thanks to the protection provided by vaccines, parents haven’t seen the ravages that can be wrought on children by diseases like chicken pox​, measles​, meningitis and polio, said Dr. Claire McCarthy, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“We are so good at what we do with vaccines that the danger of vaccine-preventable illness can seem not quite real to this generation of parents, and that’s definitely getting in the way,” McCarthy said.
Pediatricians need to confront this belief, Edwards and McCarthy agreed.

“This is very frightening to us as pediatricians because in this global world, their child absolutely could get polio,” McCarthy said. “Polio is endemic in many parts of the world, and all we need is for one of those people to come on over to the United States and hang out in a shopping mall or Disney World.”

The report urges pediatricians to:
  • Listen to parents patiently, address concerns and correct misperceptions.
  • Explain that vaccines are rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness.
  • Present all vaccinations as required rather than optional.
  • Personalize the positive message about vaccines.
Pediatricians can also note that they receive regular flu vaccinations to protect their patients, and that they’ve had their own children vaccinated as recommended, said Edwards, who is pediatrics chair at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.

Doctors also can present tales of tragedy from their own experience, she added.

“Many years ago, I watched a baby die of meningitis that I couldn’t rescue,” Edwards said. “Now that’s gone, because everybody gets meningitis vaccine. That’s the power of vaccine. It’s enormous.”
Pediatricians also should remind parents that vaccination is something of a civic duty. If large numbers of parents refuse vaccines, the herd immunity that occurs with widespread vaccination can be compromised, McCarthy said.

“Vaccination is not just about you and your kid,” she said. “It’s about your neighbor’s newborn. It’s about your grandmother. It’s about the kid at school who can’t receive a vaccine because he’s on chemotherapy.”
The 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak​ provides another good example pediatricians can cite, McCarthy said.

“I can say, ‘Look, this is real, your child could get measles,’” she said.

In a separate policy statement published in Pediatrics alongside the survey, the AAP also recommended doing away with non-medical exemptions to school-required immunizations.

“We need to make it harder for parents not to vaccinate. That’s really important,” McCarthy said.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Could be Candidates for Guests of Honor at This Year's Agudah Convention? They got THAT look!

Israeli to be extradited to US over sale of military parts to Iran


Supreme Court rejects appeal by Eli Cohen, who is facing harsh jail sentence, fine for selling warplane components to Islamic Republic


August 28, 2016, 10:24 pm

Eli Cohen, right, and Avihai Weinstein are suspected of selling arms to Iran. (screen capture: Channel 2)
Eli Cohen, right, and Avihai Weinstein are suspected of selling arms to Iran. (screen capture: Channel 2)

The Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday rejected an appeal by an Israeli man against extradition to the US, where he has been charged with selling arms — including spare parts for fighter jets — to Iran.

Arye Eliyahu “Eli” Cohen, 66, from Bnei Brak, was arrested at the request of the US authorities at Ben Gurion Airport in May 2014, as he was trying to flee the country. 

Cohen had been indicted in a federal court in Connecticut for illegally exporting spare parts for F-4 and F-14 combat aircraft to Iran, illegally moving military equipment out of the US and money laundering.

If convicted, Cohen could face up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for breaking laws prohibiting the sale of arms to Iran.

The Supreme Court said in a statement Sunday that Cohen should be rendered to US authorities “in order to stand trial for the commission of federal offences of trading military spare parts with Iran.”
“According to the charge sheet on which the extradition request is based, during the years 2000-2004 Cohen exported military spare parts from the United States to his place of residence in Israel,” the Hebrew-language statement said.

A US Navy F-14B Tomcat prepares to make an arrested landing on board the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) as the ship conducts flight operations in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 24, 1997. (photo credit: DoD/Lt. Bryan Fetter, US Navy)
A US Navy F-14B Tomcat prepares to make an arrested landing on board the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) as the ship conducts flight operations in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 24, 1997. (DoD/Lt. Bryan Fetter, US Navy)

It said that he and three accomplices in the United States shipped parts for Hawk missiles, fighter aircraft and armored troop carriers from the US to Israel, using false declarations as to the materials and their final destination. One of the accomplices has previously been named as Cohen’s brother-in-law, Avihai Weinstein.

A transcript of Sunday’s court hearing said that the charges alleged that between 2012-2013 Cohen “on two occasions re-exported from Israel to Iran, via Greece, US-made military spare parts used by fighter planes.”

The charges were filed in the Federal District Court of Connecticut in 2013, and the United States made an extradition request the following year.

The Jerusalem District Court granted the request but Cohen then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Israel's Supreme Court justices on April 17, 2016. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel’s Supreme Court justices on April 17, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The act for which extradition is requested constitutes a criminal offence under the laws of both” Israel and the United States, the court said in Sunday’s ruling.

Cohen and Weinstein had previously tried to send shipments to Iran via intermediary states such as the United States, Germany, Thailand and Portugal, Israel’s Channel 2 reported in 2014, adding that Cohen had been investigated on such charges six times in 12 years.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Can You Hear Me Now? - Part 5 - The State Of Our Disunion!


Background - Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al., Case No.04cv268 - was tried in a bench trial from September 26, 2005 to November 4, 2005 before Judge John E. Jones III. On December 20, 2005 Judge Jones issued his 139-page findings of fact and decision, ruling that the Dover mandate was unconstitutional, and barring intelligent design from being taught in Pennsylvania's Middle District public school science classrooms. He used the phrase " breathtaking inanity" to describe the position of the board of Dover - getting the school involved in this "legal maelstrom".

Judge John E. Jones was appointed to the federal bench by President George Bush in 2002. He is a devout Christian and a Conservative, politically. He was nobody's fool, he knew the damage "religion" can cause - taught by the wrong people, in the wrong setting, for the wrong reasons.

His ruling in summary: Religion has no place in a science classroom!

As an opinionated Orthodox Jew (in case you did not know that), I must believe his decision was a prudent one. Which deity were we going to teach the children about? Inevitably, not the God we believe in. With 90% of the country claiming to be of a Christian denomination, and 80% claiming to believe in the Christian deity, what chance did the Jewish children have in learning about the God of the Jews...the God that led us out of Egypt, with the intent of us becoming the light on to the nations?

"Breathtaking inanity" indeed! ID is not a science, it is a belief system, that the Muslims, for example, want to capitalize on - to kill every man, woman and child that refuses to believe in Allah!

Oh - what damage "religion" - used as a tool of exploitation - can do!

So when "religious" groups or organizations, infiltrate the political arena, we must be very suspicious of their agenda!


We must clinically and critically examine, what exactly are they trying to accomplish? What's good for the goose, is not necessarily good for the gander.

The epic battle that we are experiencing today in the Orthodox Jewish world, is NOT an ideological or theoretical battle. They - would have you believe that. It is clearly about - the falsehoods and damage that rabbis are able to wreak on the masses - if they go unchecked. Not all rabbis, no sirree, but many...even most!

This is not about us believing in the authority of the Torah or the Chazal.

We do or we must!!!

This is about our value system placed in the hands of charlatans, fraudsters, and perverters of the Torah! We can not - should not - must not - believe that because there is no explicit Halacha banning penetration of a child's anus by an adult, therefore it is somehow acceptable in our society!

Certainly - not worrisome enough - to ban that " non-penetrator" from our yeshivas!? And certainly not troubling enough - to keep that "non-penetrator" away from our children!?

My God - the breathtaking inanity - the unmitigated gall - that every single Orthodox Jewish organization did not take out full page ads in the Sunday New York Times - disassociating themselves from the lunatic rabbi, Pinchos Scheinberg, that ruled.....


And what about the fact that Yeshiva Torah Temimah, Lipa Margulies & Yehuda Kolko - under the advisement of the charlatan of our generation - Yisroel Belsky - were instructed not to go to bais din? Does that count for anything? Does it?

What possibly could the motives be - to lobby the state legislature against background checks of every individual in private schools? What on earth can the motives be when rabbis instruct victims of child-rape not to go to the police? What kind of human being could that person or group be? Can they be spokespeople for our religion? Are these hucksters deserving to represent us...speak for us...lobby for our benefit...represent Orthodox Jews and the Torah to the world? They make Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart look like saints!

This battle is for the sanity and minds of Orthodox Jews! This is a battle against the scheming evildoers that have somehow claimed our Judaism as their private dynasty. To enrich themselves, to grasp whatever power that they can get their grubby hands on, whatever money they can squeeze out of Washington, or local government, for their personal agenda!

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" are the immortal words of Carl Sagan. Is there any evidence that these rabbis care about our children enough - to seriously tackle the sex-abuse issue in our communities? Of course not! It's a charade! Was there any statement at all that the "penetration" psak was an error? Anything? Of course not!

What then are their claims to represent me, you, my children, your children and my community? Because they claim Torah knowledge? So what? Therefore what? Have they demonstrated the capacity to understand simple right and wrong? If our children's safety is up for sale, what else is there for us to trust their judgment on?

Look at the "legal maelstrom" they brought on us across continents!

Can there be anything more perverted than their stand now - against bloggers? What's next? Your freedom? Are you ready to throw that away? Freedom to know what's going on in your childrens' schools - about the people you pay blood-money to - to educate your child? Freedom to know that you are a victim of a fraud called gedolim? So what if it's ugly to see in print!?


It's horrifying to think that anyone can trust these very people - where only a few months ago, Shmuel Kaminetzky urged the victims' parents of Stefan Colmer - NOT TO GO TO THE POLICE!

My God...how insane have we become...that we can't protect our children in any legal way we deem fit without their permission. In other Brooklyn communities, these guys would be "swimming with the fishes".

Don't let anyone ever tell you that you need to stop thinking! Don't dare let anyone dictate to you what you may or may not do to protect your families. If a thief breaks in to the sanctity of your home, and threatens your children and family, do away with them in any fashion you deem appropriate! No rabbinical dispensation needed! If blood is splattered all over the place - so be it! Who says it has to be pretty?

Religion in the hands of hustlers and frauds is dangerous! When lashon hara or mesira takes a front seat over your child's welfare...WATCH OUT! The blogosphere is the new media; raw, unfiltered, and not for the faint of heart. You want cute stories, don't come here. You want the down & dirty, the way I feel in my heart, the pain I experience - about what happened to my Judaism...read my blog. If not...get lost. Nobody forces you to read UOJ.

The blogosphere was able to break the backs of the criminals that endangered every single Jewish child in a yeshiva! That's good enough reason to thank God for the Internet! I do not need any other reason, nor permission from self-professed "scholars". Lives saved! People's lives given a new hope and sense of justice; good enough for me!

Watch out for the people that want to foist their perverted belief system on you.

Religion in the hands of very evil people, can destroy skyscrapers with airplanes!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

300 Orthodox Rabbis Unite To Combat Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic!

Screenshot 2016-08-25 21.25.21

300 Orthodox Rabbis Unite To Combat Child Sexual Abuse Epidemic


In an unprecedented and crucially positive step forward, 300 Orthodox Rabbis signed a proclamation regarding child safety in the Orthodox Jewish community. Synagogues and schools are called upon to adopt certain preventative measures outlined in the document to deter child abuse and child sexual abuse. The Rabbinic signatories consist of member Rabbis of the Orthodox Union (OU), Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and Yeshiva University (YU).

The proclamation and the complete list of signatories can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz4A_l7qN61RX1lWa3p2RUk2TXc/view?usp=sharing

Some of the proclamation’s prominent signers include: Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beth Din, Beth Din of America, Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President, RCA, Rabbi Shalom Baum, President, RCA, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO, OU Kosher, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive VP Emeritus, OU, Rabbi Marc Penner, Dean, RIETS, YU, Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, Dean Emeritus, RIETS, YU, Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer, Rabbi, Young Israel of West Hempstead, NY, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Rabbi, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, and Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta, GA.

Rabbi Mark Dratch, who assisted in spearheading this initiative, applauds the “overwhelming support” of the signers and appeals to all communities “to implement the policies advocated in this statement.” Rabbi Dr. Leonard Matanky, prior President, RCA, agrees that in addition to creating policies, it is our responsibility to “work to assure that our schools, synagogues and institutions offer safe environments for our children and our families. We must stand up and support all who fight abuse and those who defend the abused.” Underscoring the gravity of the need for reform, he warns, “Our Torah and our future depend on our strength and conviction to place our children first, and to heed the calls of our rabbinic leadership to report abuse to the authorities.”

The proclamation commences by honoring the memories of individuals in the Orthodox Jewish community who tragically committed suicide as a result of enduring child sexual abuse. The gravity of this issue is linked in the proclamation to a passage in the Torah, “Do not stand by while your fellow’s blood is being spilled” (Leviticus 19:16). Prominent signer Rabbi Hershel Billet, Rabbi, Young Israel of Woodmere, succinctly expresses the gravity of the effects of child sexual abuse, stating, “Every sexual abuser is a potential murderer. They destroy the souls of their victims and at times cause the death of their victims.”

The Rabbinic signatories are united in their agreement that sex offenders should face the consequences deemed appropriate by secular authorities, rather than taken care of internally by community leaders. The proclamation stresses, “We condemn attempts to ignore allegations of child sexual abuse. These efforts are harmful, contrary to Jewish law, and immoral. The reporting of reasonable suspicions of all forms of child abuse and neglect directly and promptly to the civil authorities is a requirement of Jewish law.” Exclusive to this proclamation is the clear assertion that, “there is no need for people acting responsibly to seek rabbinic approval prior to reporting.” This declaration is clearly backed by Torah law as clarified by Rabbi Billet.  He notes that, “Since abuse of children is a life threatening crime, we must report immediately. We must trust responsible civil authorities in a just country to be able to separate fact from fiction.”

This proclamation follows a similar Kol Koreh (public proclamation) signed by Rabbinical Judge, Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst along with over 100 haredi Rabbis in August 2015 affirming “that any individual with reasonable basis to suspect child abuse has a religious obligation to promptly notify the secular law enforcement of that information.” Senior haredi halachic authority, Rabbi Dovid Cohen concurred on the Headlines radio program that one should report abuse allegations “directly” to the civil authorities and that it is unnecessary to receive a Rabbi’s prior authorization.

Michael Salamon, PhD, a clinical psychologist and noted expert in this field, asserts, “The longer it takes to report the more time the abuser has to keep abusing and creating alibis. Only trained investigators with proper professional team support (e.g. police, medical, etc.) can investigate. Asking anyone else about reporting just delays or confounds or completely derails a proper investigation. That is why so many abusers have been able to move to different communities and continue to abuse.” Signer Rabbi Yosef Blau, Senior Mashgiach Ruchani, RIETS/YU, emphasizes, “Requiring a victim of sexual abuse to first gain approval from a Rabbi or therapist before reporting the abuse to the authorities is damaging to the victim, whose credibility has been questioned, and hampers the investigation by possibly affecting the description of what occurred.” Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb explains, “Perpetrators of abuse must be made aware that their heinous deeds will result in swift, certain, and severe legal consequences. Only such awareness will deter them from those deeds.”

Rabbi Yosef Blau, clarifies the reason why some Rabbis urge victims to first consult with them. “Rabbis who have been consulted have often used concerns for the image of the community to discourage the victim and his or her family from speaking to the police.” The concept of asking a Rabbi first has no basis in halacha (Jewish law) but rather can be a method of silencing the victims. Furthermore, Dr. Salamon asserts that “Therapists can lose their license if they attempt to ‘investigate.’ Be aware that the overwhelming majority of reports – in the vicinity of 95%, or more – are accurate. It takes a lot for someone to finally come forward and tell someone that they have been abused.” The fear that without Rabbis sifting through allegations there would be a high percentage of false allegations is similarly incorrect. James A. Cohen, associate professor of law at Fordham University School of Law, warns, “Encouraging delay in reporting a crime, particularly a crime against a child, is obstructing justice.”

The rabbis uniting in signing this document also clarify misconceptions that the laws of lashon hara (derogatory speech about another individual) apply when it comes to exposing molesters’ identities. One of the policies the proclamation asks all institutions to adopt is that “members of the community must be made aware when a sex offender moves in to a community.” Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, Senior Rabbi, Ahavath Torah, Englewood, NJ, explains this halachic calculation by saying that, “given the overarching concern for the continued safety of potential victims, such reporting does not fall under the rubric of halachically prohibited speech and tale-bearing.”  Rabbi Billet adds, “It is a mitzvah to expose abusers and a sin to remain silent.” Rabbi Yosef Blau states, “Misuse of halachic concepts such as lashon hara and mesira have protected the abusers and increased the trauma of the victims.”

Another issue that this proclamation confronts typically comes about even after a victim actually reports to the authorities. The abused and his/her family are often ostracized in their communities in multiple ways. The proclamation unambiguously prohibits such behavior, stating, “Regardless of the standing of the abuser, accusers and their family members must be treated in an accepting, nonjudgmental manner so that they feel safe and can therefore speak frankly and fully…Shunning or encouraging social ostracism of victims, their families, or reporters is forbidden.” Rabbi Goldin urges the community to provide strong support to victims, saying, “Too often, those who report such crimes are ostracized by their neighbors. Victims, their families and their supporters who are courageous enough to come forward should be treated with dignity and respect. The bravery they show in sharing the pain of their personal experiences is deserving of honor.”

This proclamation was appropriately released in anticipation of the High Holidays, a time of introspection and communal repentance. Rabbinic signers remorsefully admit, “We recognize in light of past experiences that our community could have responded in more responsible and sensitive ways to help victims and to hold perpetrators accountable.” The proclamation culminates with the final step of repentance: committing oneself to improvement. “Ultimately, it is the halachic and moral obligation of the entire Jewish community, individually and collectively, to do all in our power to safeguard our children by preventing abuse and responding appropriately once instances of abuse have occurred.”

This proclamation, as well as the Kol Koreh regarding child sexual abuse in the haredi community that was led by Agudath Israel of Chicago Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst and signed by over 100 haredi Rabbis in August 2015, was organized by activist David Nyer, LCSW of Highland Park, NJ. To add your name along with the current signors, please email djn415@aol.com.


כך נראה אברך חרדי ברכבת התחתית של ניו יורק HAREDI YESHIVA STUDENT IN NEW YORK FOR BEIN HAZMANIM



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The strict Satmar sect issued the decree, seen by The Independent, warning that university education for women is “dangerous”. Written in Yiddish, the decree warns: “It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis ban women from going to university in case they get ‘dangerous’ secular knowledge

Exclusive: The decree seen by The Independent warns ‘We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school’

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis have banned women from going to university, The Independent has learned.

The strict Satmar sect issued the decree, seen by The Independent, warning that university education for women is “dangerous”. Written in Yiddish, the decree warns: “It has lately become the new trend that girls and married women are pursuing degrees in special education. Some attend classes and others online. And so we’d like to let their parents know that it is against the Torah.

“We will be very strict about this. No girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree. It is dangerous. Girls who will not abide will be forced to leave our school. Also, we will not give any jobs or teaching position in the school to girls who’ve been to college or have a degree.

"We have to keep our school safe and we can’t allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our Mosed was built.”


The decree was issued from the sect’s base in New York and will apply to followers of the faith group around the world.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews follow a pre-enlightenment interpretation of traditional Judaism and discourage interaction with the modern or secular world. Men wear 19th century Eastern European dress including long black coats and black hats, while married women must dress modestly and cover their hair.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews estimates that there are around 30,000 strictly Orthodox Jews living in the UK, of which Satmar is the largest sect.

Last year, it emerged that some ultra-Orthodox Jews in north London had banned women from driving, citing concerns that it was immodest for them to do so.

It was condemned by Dr Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, Executive Director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, who told The Independent the decree would “force” people to stay in their communities.  “The Satmar community chooses to live in an isolationist enclave. They believe that the secular elements of the world would tarnish the lives and beliefs of those who consider themselves to be religious.

“There are probably other factors at play, but, ultimately, the results are devastating. Because people from similar communities are not provided with a foundational primary education, they cannot pursue higher education nor careers. When one does not have access to education, career opportunities are out of reach. It forces one to stay within the community as everyone's personal lives are tied up with their professional lives as well.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shamir was accused of multiple counts of indecent assault, rape, having sexual relations with a client and other charges...

Therapist charged with sex crimes against three sisters

NLP practitioner denies series of offenses, including against a minor

Alon Shamir, a 50-year-old therapist, is escorted by prison service guards at the District court as he arrives for a court hearing in Jerusalem on August 7, 2016, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Alon Shamir, a 50-year-old therapist, is escorted by prison service guards at the District court as he arrives for a court hearing in Jerusalem on August 7, 2016.

A neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) therapist pleaded innocent Sunday to charges that he raped three sisters and committed other sexual offenses with them.

Alon Shamir, 50, was arrested two weeks ago and was indicted Sunday in the Jerusalem District Court. He was remanded in custody based on the prosecution’s claim that he may obstruct proceedings if freed.

The indictment alleged that Shamir was very close to the sisters’ family before and during the period of the alleged abuse.

Shamir’s alleged acts were only revealed in 2015 when the sisters spoke with each other about their experiences.

Shamir began working as a guided imagery therapist in 2006 and began treating the eldest sister that same year, when she was 17 years old.

In 2013 he also qualified as an NLP therapist. In 2014 he began treating the second sister and in 2015 the third sister also came to him for therapy.

Today the sisters are aged 20, 25 and 27.

He would meet with his clients in various locations including in his home, in public parks, and in his car.

Shamir was accused of multiple counts of indecent assault, rape, having sexual relations with a client and other charges.

“The indictment itself raises many questions and issues,” Shamir’s lawyer, Shiran Golbary, said in a statement. “This is an innocent man and we are certain that after we have read and gone through the appropriate material matters will become clear.”

There is no scientific evidence to support NLP therapy, and is referred to as “pseudoscience” by experts. Guided imagery therapy was once considered an alternative therapy but is now finding some scientific support.

Shamir was a regular contributor to the Srugim website, offering tips on health and lifestyle.

Friday, August 19, 2016

"A society that refuses to rally against its own criminals at least with same roar as it rallies against other sectors of society is indeed doing a lot of harm to itself."

The Hasidic teachers in court, Tel Aviv, August 2, 2016.

It’s Time for the ultra-Orthodox Community to Tackle Sex Abuse Head-on

A society that refuses to rally against its own criminals at least with same roar as it rallies against other sectors of society is indeed doing a lot of harm to itself.   

Last week in a bold and unprecedented move, Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau penned an open letter to Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) educators cautioning them to “deal seriously” with instances of child abuse that have been reported at educational institutions and in some homes. “Burying our heads in the sand is not the answer to these difficult and painful issues,” Lau wrote, urging members of the community to take responsibility for the atrocities.

Lau’s letter came in the wake of a report that as many as six teachers from a Hasidic school in Tel Aviv have been charged with abusing almost two dozen preschool and elementary school students. This is by no means an isolated incident: In the last few months at least three Israeli Torah scholars have been accused of sexually abusing women and girls, and in two of these cases the victims involved close members of the perpetrators’ families.

To make matters worse, such abuse within the ultra-Orthodox community has not been confined to Israel. Similar abuse cases, in which rabbis preyed on naïve young women, have been reported in the United States and the United Kingdom, while Australia has established a royal commission to investigate why a school had concealed the abuse of its students for 20 years. We know about these cases because the authorities have managed to prosecute and punish these criminals. There are other cases where offenders have evaded punishment by exploiting the Law of Return and escaping to Israel. Sadly, there are some rabbinical miscreants who not only go unpunished – they continue to occupy their pulpits owing to the victims refusing to press charges and the communities that wish to sweep such allegations under the rug.

This shocking situation obviously does not mean that the ultra-Orthodox community is uniquely guilty of sexual abuse. A community as large and diverse as this one surely deserves the presumption that most of its adherents are decent individuals who strictly uphold religious law. Indeed, the overwhelming majority frowns upon any sexual impropriety, and barriers are set up to avoid such eventualities. Men and women are rarely on a first name basis and meetings between the sexes are always held with open doors to prevent any hint of intimacy. Children, from a young age are not placed in close confines with relatives of their extended families of the opposite sex, and religious teachers are trained to spot and report suspicious signs of child abuse.

The problem is that the community often fails to report and publicly protest crimes such as child and sexual abuse – a failure that may be traced to Haredi culture. From a young age, the Haredi child is taught that emunat hakhamim, belief in Torah sages and rabbis, is such an important principle that it renders many sages infallible in their eyes. They are also familiar with the dictum that the Torah serves as an antidote to one’s evil inclination. These combined beliefs place Haredi children in a double bind, so that not only are their teachers “incapable” of erring, they have also been “immunized” from committing evil acts.

Given such a framework, what is a Haredi child (or naive adult) with personal knowledge of sexual crimes meant to think when he knows the perpetrators are Torah scholars? How can he contemplate that his teachers or mentors are sexual deviants? And if these perpetrators are so evil, why is it only the Chief Rabbinate that reacts? The only body that counts within this community is the Council of Torah Sages; while it regularly calls for mass protests when it feels its religious lifestyle is under threat, the council has remained eerily silent on the subject of abuse. How are these children to know that such actions are intolerable and that any Torah taught by such offenders is worth very little?

Sadly, they probably won’t. A child growing up in an insular Haredi neighborhood will learn by the ever-present posters he sees, and by the demonstrations he attends, that sexual deviancy is not all that important. It certainly does not trump the issue of dead bones being exhumed to make way for a highway or hospital. It is no more important than secular Jews wishing to enjoy themselves at the cinema on a Friday night, and is probably no less evil than a Haredi traitor who dares put on an army uniform.

In such an environment, why should there be any incentive to report sexual offenses? This is especially true where reporting comes at a cost: whistleblowers and victims are keenly aware that any exposure severely harms their own and their progeny’s marriage prospects. Is it any wonder then that abuse continues as long as it does until one courageous man or woman has the guts to go to the police?

Unfortunately, this situation is not mitigated by the argument that the Haredi sector’s individual members and organizations have done much to benefit society as a whole. And yet a society that ignores its own internal problems, that refuses to rally against its own criminals at least with same roar as it rallies against other sectors of society, and that steadfastly conceals its misdeeds, is indeed doing a lot of harm to itself.

If the Haredi community in Israel and abroad is to reclaim the public’s trust it must shun all acts of sexual abuse. It must act seriously and it must act now. The time has come for the community to demonstrate to itself as well as to others that there is zero tolerance for harming the sexual integrity of anyone created in G-d’s image, especially children.

David Fachler has a Masters in Law from South Africa (LLM) and a Masters in Contemporary Jewry from Hebrew University, Jerusalem (MA). He is contactable at davidfachler@yahoo.com.

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.737652


Thursday, August 18, 2016

"This is my response to Rabbi Wallerstein, of Ohr Naava, after his recent video. It was horrifying for me to listen to and watch. Here are my thoughts about it, after I've had a chance to calm down and try my best not to allow myself to experience re-traumatization..."

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This is my response to Rabbi Wallerstein, of Ohr Naava, after his recent video. It was horrifying for me to listen to and watch. Here are my thoughts about it, after I've had a chance to calm down and try my best not to allow myself to experience re-traumatization. 

1) Belittling victims – Your tone is dismissive, disrespectful, and insulting to all victims and survivors of trauma, abuse, or otherwise. The theatrical way in which you expressed your thoughts was totally uncalled for. You should know better!

a. If you are going to discuss this topic, understand that your words will affect many sensitive people who are most vulnerable. Please seek professional guidance in the future before attempting to address this population. Being a rabbi, does not qualify one to discuss this topic without proper training. Qualified individuals spend countless hours of training and doing research to understand the impact of trauma and the brain and how best to address it. 

b. Validating the daily struggle that one goes through after trauma, is paramount to discussing the issue.

2) The analogy of the holocaust is a chutzpa for obvious reasons.

  Among other reasons, the Jews were being persecuted by anti-Semites intent on annihilating them for no other reason than being Jewish – simple hatred. The atrocities of the holocaust are acknowledged by all. I, and other survivors of abuse, on the other hand, are victimized by people who are meant to love us and then, our perpetrators are protected, again, by people who we are taught to trust. We, as a community, have a problem. Until we acknowledge that we are victims of abuse, we can’t be survivors. You are stopping us from being survivors.

a. As a granddaughter of a survivor of Auschwitz, I’ve witnessed my Bubby cry and grapple with the trauma of being a victim. It is a daily struggle for her; however, throughout, she remains a survivor, upholding the Torah, without diminishing idea that she was, and remains, a victim of the Nazi’s atrocities. 

b. Being a survivor does not mean that you can’t discuss the perpetrators, point your finger at them, and hold them accountable. Look at Elie Weisel.

c. We can, and will continue, to point fingers at those who have committed the crimes and atrocities, while saying “never again.”

3) The basic fundamentals of trauma psychology are to acknowledge what you have been through, and then attempt to heal. By you refusing to acknowledge and validate the hardships that victims have been through, you are not allowing them to heal and become survivors. 

a. I personally run a support group for women survivors of child sexual abuse. There was discussion about your video in the group. In short, you have re-traumatized many of us, and have caused more damage than good.

b. Healing requires comfort and validation. Pointing fingers at those who abused us is entirely necessary. Aside from it being a part of the healing process, it also ensures - in a deterrent kind of way- that the person in question, and others, do not repeat those crimes.



"....One such famous rabbi — let’s call him the Zumba Rabbi — is Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein, the founder of Ohr Naava, a Torah center for women and girls, ostensibly for those who are at risk. Rabbi Wallerstein, a true tzadik bestowed with unparalleled wisdom by God, uses his pulpit, err stripper’s pole, to preach to women about sexism and racism, condoning both.

That is exactly what he did last summer when he took the Orthodox world by storm, declaring that Zumba, a dance fitness program that has been the latest craze in gyms across the U.S., is for monkeys in the jungle. Zumba, whose kosher version for kosher women was recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, lure modest women into a trap, sometimes leading to divorce, loss of one’s children, or worst yet, prostitution, Rabbi Wallerstein said.

In this video (beginning at around 39 minutes), Wallerstein suggests that women who shake their hips in kosher Zumba and slide up and down the pole in pole dancing classes will inevitably end up in a gentleman’s club in Times Square, giving lap dances to animals.

His pearls of wisdom, which include referring to Latin singers as animals, really resonated with Orthodox women. We are all a bunch of racist and sexist animals who love losing our kids and our souls to Zumba moves."


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Who's In Charge?

Who's In Charge?

by Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz - The Yiddishe Licht - June 8, 1923

לא תתגודדו לא תעשו אגודות אגודות - Tractate Yibamos - folio 14

In regard to the question – “Who's in charge?”, we have paid dearly more than once.

In the very early history of the Jewish nation, when our people were in their developmental period, this question of: “Who is in charge” was the one that hindered our further development, and led to our development as a Jewish people. This was after King Solomon died and his son, Rehoboam, was supposed to become king. Then Jeroboam ben Joash went and tore away ten tribes and founded the Kingdom of Ephraim. And according to the Midrash's explanation, it was not a matter of something different, but about the question of “Who Is In Charge.”

The Midrash intends to say with this, that there was no question of principle, or that he wanted to establish a more democratic government, or that he wanted to convince the people, and also not because he wanted to have a different government. No! All of this was no more than to fling sand in the eyes of the people, and in truth, it was only about “Who Is In Charge”. And the chasing after kavod or power of one person, or at most, from a small group of people.

This cost us dearly.

Here, in the breaking-up; when the Kingdom of Ephraim separated from the Kingdom of Yehuda, the fate of the Jewish people was sealed, to what in reality, hundreds of years later occurred –- to being chased out of our land.

The same question of “Who Is In Charge” has already cost us much here in this land, and if it will not reach a conclusion as quickly as possible, it will, God forbid, cost us dearly here as well. I mean this in regard to the four organizations of rabbis with whom, in this land, we have been smitten. There were times when we did not have even one, and now, blessed be He, we have four. But since we have a rule that the Jews cannot welcome both "Good Rabbis" and "Dangerous Ones", the four organizations perhaps can be accepted as the Good Rabbis,[or] perhaps the four "agudas" are possibly worse for us than nothing, considered like the "Dangerous Rabbis".

And if we want to be entirely honest and without any bias, and examine the reason that led to this, that we should now have four organizations of rabbis instead of one, we absolutely cannot find any serious reason that could have led to this. For American Jewry’s tragic division, when there are no principle oppositions, when there is no real difference of opinions among the four organizations, the question is "Yesodei Hadaas"... the foundation of common sense and knowledge. Is not one of the requirements of our religion, "Yesodei Hadaas" the foundations of common sense, not now found nebach even in the smallest tradition of Klal Yisroel?

It is not a question of Orthodoxy, Conservatism and Reform, which must be divided into more camps. It is no more nor less, regrettably, and regrettably once again, about the question” “Who Is In Charge?”

It is sad that one of our own people should find it necessary to accuse rabbis, and among them four elder sages and greats, and I, with such a humble motive in many ways, would generally consider it a chutzpah.

But I think that such a chutzpah is in the correct place, and it is, in general, not from the category of "az panim l'gehinom" but rather separate from the rule, or as chasidim call it "az l'kedusha", brazenness for the sake of holiness, and according to this chasidic lore, is not only not a sin --- it is a good thing, the brazenness of evil, [displayed by the various rabbis], from which, regrettably, we have so much in this land, and thereby gives me the freedom to criticize the behavior of the rabbis for making four agudas or separate divided organizations.

And I openly accuse the rabbis for their handling of this matter this way, dominated by their own small personal interests. [See the Markevet Hamishna in the foreword of the Rambam]

It is like making two Torahs from one Torah. One builds and one destroys...

And I ask the rabbis: can you take upon yourselves the great responsibility that your small interests might, God forbid, cause the entire Judaism to collapse?

And when sometimes you sit by yourself and think about the destruction of Jewry in this land, does not your conscience plague you, that you alone are mostly guilty of this destruction, at the very least in a large part of it? When all the rabbis would be united, it would be easy to unite the entire Orthodox population and miracles could take place.

Dear friends in New York have a completed plan which would be very simple to implement, and it would result in enough money to give decent subsidies for the rabbis, so they would not find it necessary to work with those things that are against the honor of rabbis, and there would be enough money for ritual slaughterers, so they should not be forced to become lowly creations, and there would still be enough money to support a Talmud Torah and Yeshivas on a grand scale.

But this uniting cannot occur as long as the rabbis are torn into parts, and regrettably, the four organizations are the "Arba Avos Nezikin" and not only destroyers who do damage to all of Yiddishkeit in this land, they are also destroyers who do damage to themselves from a spiritual and territorial standpoint. [See Tosefes Yom Tov Bava Kama Mishna Aleph]

And I give myself permission to ask the rabbis of all sides, will this dire situation remain like this forever? Has not the time arrived for you to put your own personal selfish reckonings to a side, and think about all of Klal Yisroel?

Rabbis! The Jewish people appeal to you! Have pity on the honor of the Torah and the honor of Judaism, most especially on your own honor, the honor of rabbis. Remember how much holiness and respect the title of Rabbi once contained!

Remember that the seat of the Rabbinate is also an inheritance from our holy sages and from the highest heights from the Ribbono Shel Olam Himself with Moshe Rabeinu a"h. Moshe Rabeinu wanted to sacrifice himself for all of Yisroel, and you cannot sacrifice for a foolish fleeting second of kavod, for the respect of the Torah and the entire Judaism?

No, I cannot believe that the spiritual leaders of Judaism have sunk so far! No! And therefore, I appeal to you once more. Do not forget! Do not forget Jewish responsibilities! Do not forget that the present and the future of the Jewish people is in your hands. Do not forget that the eyes of all Klal Yisroel are upon you, and which of you will dare to take on his conscience such a great responsibility?

Rabbis, remember your holy mission, that talmidei chachomim are suppose to bring peace to the world , and see to make peace -- "Hashem oz l'amo yiten, Hashem yivorech es amo b'shalom".