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."