Friday, November 30, 2018

Shmuel and Temi Kamenetzky Will Not Be Satisfied Until Thousands Of Jewish Children Will Be Dead and Sickened!

[UPDATED with a nearly complete transcript]

Yesterday, Rebbetzin Temi Kamenetsky (wife of Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky) led a conference call of frum antivax loonies with the purpose of giving them chizuk to stay strong against reality. Below is a surreptitious recording of the call.

Rebbetzin Kamenetsky said such crazy, evil $%@# that I could not resist transcribing it. Merck is Amalek! Pharmaceutical companies are run by organized crime and killed a doctor who invented a cure for cancer! Herd immunity isn't real!

Here's what I transcribed:
B: Thank you so much for joining us. There's a large group of women here, and we wanted a, are in desperate need of chizuk in this difficult time. Many of us have children that are out of school, many of us have children that may be sent out of school, and we're trying to wrap our heads around what's going on here from a hashkafic perspective, or, like, what Hashem wants from us.
Rebbetzin Kamenetsky: Did you ever hear of Amalek? Hashem told to get rid of them because they're not good. They tried to destroy b'nei yisroel. And they're still trying. Merck is a German company, and they produce MMR. Worldwide a lot of terrible things have been happening. Autism is all over the world.
I know personally two babies who died, they were three months old. Right after, two and a half weeks after the shots. But the doctors don't believe it. They're taught, they don't know that they're taught by professors who are apikorsim or representatives of the medical, of the pharmaceutical companies.
This is a test min hashamayim. As everything is a test. We're told al tivtichi b'nedivim b'ben adam sheain lo teshuah. He could be the greatest person, the [unintelligible] the doctors, the lawyers, the Indian chiefs. But you can't trust anyone, any human being. And it says bitchu baShem, we are told we must trust Hashem. These are called "childhood diseases." [unintelligible] Why did He do that? Because everyone admits that it strengthens the immune system, and that's why Hashem gives it to the children. When they get older and get it, they're very, very sick. And some don't get it at all. I read that measles, they're using measles to fight cancer. They realize those who had measles naturally have a much better immune system.

And we just have to daven to Hashem. The only thing we could do is daven, and daven, and daven. It's before moshiach's time, this is part of chevlei moshiach, unfortunately. We're being forced to choose between school or vaccinations. So we could just tell everybody, I'd rather trust Hashem than the doctors. It's mamesh a gezeira, it's a gezeima min hashamiyim. We're being tested. Hashem should have rachmanus, we must daven for rachmanus and at the same time for the geula. 

Because we can still change [unintelligible] r"l. When you feel the pain in your heart your davening is much stronger. So instead of davening for the schools only, we should ask Hashem to have rachmanus not only on his children, these are Hashem's children, we can't take a chance to harm them, they belong to Hashem. [unintelligible] should take over, He should remove the gezeira from us, and we should all trust Hashem for everything. That's what Hashem wants. If we trust him, he takes over. And we need him to take over. Hashem should have rachmanus on klal yisroel. We should be zocheh to the geulah, now, we need it desperately. Now are there any questions?

A: Yes, thank you so much. I don't know, am I being heard?
Rebbetzin: Yes, you're being heard clearly.
A: Um, is this conference being recorded?
B: Uh, I don't think so.
Rebbetzin: I hope not.
A: The Rov spoke already?
B: No, Rebbetzin Kamenetsky spoke to us.
A: Beautiful, thank you so much, it was really, really special to hear.

Rebbetzin Kamenetsky: You're welcome. You should trust Hashem. He's going to give you nachas from all your children. Because you're doing, you trust Hashem and you're not vaccinating because there's nothing wrong with Hashem yisboroch. In other words, you're not allowed to trust in adam; we were warned by Dovid HaMelech: don't trust any adam, no matter who he is.

That's the point.
A: I just want to share a little. I had, baruch Hashem, my children all had the measles. And my daughter was expecting any day, and we were all in literally a lachatz because we didn't want her to get it. And it's amazing the way, when you trust in Hashem, He comes through always. Sometimes you see, sometimes you don't. But boruch Hashem I want to just publicly make a, thank Hashem. Everybody had the measles. All of my children had it, my son-in-law had it, and my daughter's baby had it, and baruch Hashem she did not have it. She and her baby were saved. It's baruch Hashem three weeks after she had her baby, and her baby is turning three weeks now and everybody's been out of the measles. [crosstalk] And it was just such a hashgacha. So it's just like when you let Hashem into life, He takes care of you.

Rebbetzin: Of course.

A: I'm like always amazed, people that immunize and they're so afraid of still, like, when my children had the measles, the neighbors were all so afraid that they couldn't even stand -- not the children when they had it, when somebody had it in the house, only one person -- they wouldn't play with any of the kids because they were afraid that their children would get it. But their children were immunized, so why were they afraid? I guess they were afraid for the one percent. Then I'm saying, where does Hashem come into the picture then?

Rebbetzin: Not only that, [sputters] herd immunity is a false thing that they're spreading. Because you can only have herd immunity if everyone has measles naturally. Not with vaccination, there's no such thing as herd immunity. They're even using v'nishmartem meod es nafshoseichem to say that this is hishtadlus, take the vaccination [laughs]. It's sheker, it has to do with money. Because they make, Amalekim make billions a year, it's coming up to trillions, and they spend millions to bribe the politicians. [unintelligible] A baal teshuva from Russia said this is just what the communists do. That's what they do [laughs]. Democracy is not what Hashem provided. Because politicians can be bribed. So Hashem should bless all of you to have nachas from the children, healthy children, [unintelligible]

B: Amen. Any other questions?
A: I don't know if I'm still on, but I just wanted to add one more thing. That, umm, it's interesting, we should remember that the pharmaceutical is the ones that are sponsoring the colleges. Just like we have big nadvonim that sponsor the yeshivas, l'havdil they are sponsoring the colleges and they are the ones that have the say on the curriculum. So they are providing the doctors, you know, what they want them to believe.

Rebbetzin: I'm so glad you brought that up. Because I read a review, a book is out, proving that organized crime is in the pharmaceutical business. And they actually kill doctors that, umm. Not only that, but there was a doctor Bradstreet (?) that was coming out with a cure for cancer and they shot him with a bullethole in the liver (?) [unintelligible] [laughs]. So we're up to the greatest kinds of evil. Hashem wants our tears. He wants to bring moshiach.

There's another truth, that the source of this trouble that we have now, is from the sitra achra, which is the [unintelligible] of course, but because it brings sina between adam lachaveiro. Sinas chinam. That's what destroyed the beis hamikdash. How do you call another Jew a rotzeach? Is it a Jew that's being? [long, unintelligible]

A: Amen, Can I ask another question?
Rebbetzin: Yes, go ahead.
C: Can you hear me? I just wanted to say something about the measles, this fear, it reminds me of the tochacha where Hashem says we'll be running away and no one will be chasing us. Just for general information, the measles is not dangerous for a pregnant woman. They make it sound like it is, there's no evidence. There was a study done in New York City when measles was going around, they compared pregnant women who got the measles with pregnant women who did not get the measles. And the only thing they found was that some of the women who had the measles had their babies early. And therefore low birth weight babies. There were no birth defects, and the miscarriage rate was not higher in the women who got the measles. People who say just the opposite, and they say birth defects, they're probably thinking of the German measles and not just regular measles. So it's not anything to be afraid of.

A: As a matter of fact, I don't know if I'm still on, but if I am, after the baby was born, we went to see a doctor and we had to find a natural doctor, somebody who was a little more open-minded. And we boruch Hashem found one, I'm going to just say her name here because she was such a special shliach. Her name is Sandra Sadler. We live in Monsey, so she's in Haverstraw. It could take a little while to get there, but it was worth the trip. And it was cute the way she would tell my daughter that is she would have gotten the measles before, that would have been great. Because then she would have given over the antibodies to the baby. So she was totally not, like, frantic or anything. She would get a lot of heat that the Dept of Health was knocking on our door and whatever. They wanted to catch my daughter and put her into the hospital and isolate her, and not let her be with her baby, and not let her nurse her baby. And they were going to put the baby on formula right away, and everything else. And boruch Hashemno boruch Hashem, it was very exciting, we were all, the house was full. Everybody had the measles, everyone was in their beds.

 And when I saw two [unintelligible], I said oif-geknockte hoishanos, when they came to the door, like these two scrawny old ladies that didn't have better what to do, with green masks on their faces I knew it was the Health Dept. And we called everybody to the window and we had a nice show. And of course we didn't open the door. And boruch Hashem it was a break in the monotony of measles.
But then when I met this doctor it was just a breath of fresh air when she told me that it would have been better for her to have the measles before. It wouldn't have been a problem at all. She was, like, totally not concerned and she is a great pediatrician.

Rebbetzin: I want to add to that. I just found out now that my daughter, she was already married and was pregnant, and she got the measles. Because unfortunately they stopped people from getting it when they're young. So she got it when was pregnant in Eretz Yisroel. She said she felt so sick she thought she was dying r"l. But she gave birth to a very beautiful baby boy, he's learning now in Lakewood. The child was not harmed at all. He was not harmed at all. Don't believe what doctors say, because a lot of the time what they say is what they're taught. Has to do with money. So trust only Hashem. We're told, Hashem told us just trust Me, not adam. And if you go that way you're safe. He takes care. 

B: A lot of people are asking me I think a very good question. And maybe it's a little bit of a chutzpa to ask, but people want to know, they feel like there's a lot of rabbonim and a lot of respectable rabbonim that are saying that we have to do it. And they're feeling like why are the rabbonim that are against this whole thing, why are they not saying anything. Like, where are they?

Rebbetzin: They can't, they can't. If you've ever tried to convince somebody who vaccinates (?) to listen to the other side, they wouldn't hear. They would not hear. [unintelligible] They can't start a machlokes [unintelligible]

C: Someone says very nicely that we shouldn't stoop down to the level of people who are calling us names. We shouldn't be masser on them, and we shouldn't say negative things about them. We have to be above all that. Very, very difficult. And what the rebbetzin said about [unintelligible]. We have an offer out to someone in [unintelligible] was offered to debate with any doctor or any person about whether vaccines are good or not good. He's willing to pay a few thousand dollars to get a doctor who is willing to talk about why, try to convince us to vaccinate and he's gotten no takers. Because they can't talk, they can't talk, they can't talk because they don't have what to say. They know they don't have what to say. So therefore they just laugh at it.

B: Right. So I know a doctor who [gets cut off]
Rebbetzin: I just want to say something here that's very important. You must listen carefully. This is a bigger test than you think. Because we're not allowed to look at another Jew, and certainly not allowed to call him anything, because there are all Hashem's children. So we're being tested. We should use the middah of rachmanos and not try to get back at them. The middah of rachmanos. They don't know. [unintelligible] two babies that died that I know personally. So we're not, this is Hashem is testing us here. Don't say, don't argue, don't say anything. Use your middah of rachmanos. It's a rachmanos. They don't know. And in America [laughs] people are so brainwashed they think the doctors are like gods. So we have to have rachmanos. This is what Hashem wants. He uses rachmanos and we use [unintelligible]. You're right, you can't say anything, and you can't debate because [gets cut off]

C: Maybe it's a good idea for people who want to ask a rov, they should ask, like, everything that you ask, if you want the yoreh deah question you ask somebody who is very, you know, learned on that. Rabbonim are also, they have their specialties that they, you know, learnt through very thoroughly. So when you ask such a question you might want to ask a rov that has done a lot of research and really did both sides and, you know, he's probably the most qualified to answer such a question.

Rebbetzin: Right. What you're saying is very important. And you know what? [long, unintelligible] So what should they do? They should not pasken.

You do your own research. But people want to know that there's a [unintelligible]. We have to be dan lekaf zechus all bnei yisroel. We say before, on yom kippur, on the night of yom kippur, ki bchol h'am beshgagah. Forgive us, Hashem, the whole nation is doing it beshgagah. I don't know how you say it in English.

A: Accidentaly.
B: By mistake.
C: Not knowingly.

Rebbetzin: Not on purpose, not on purpose. But be very careful, don't make sinas chinam [unintelligible]. You have to say I'm trusting Hashem and not the doctors. That's the only answer you can give. Just give that answer: I'm trusting Hashem, I don't trust the doctors. They can't fault you for that. I mean what can they say? You must trust the doctors? Is it my hishtadlus? [unintelligible] So the answer is that the Chazon Ish [unintelligible] says it, but a lot of other gedolim. They say the greatest hishtadlus is tefilla. I never thought it was hishtadlus but tefilla is hishtadlus, and it's the greatest hishtadlus a person can do. Just keep that in mind.
B: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Rebbetzin: All have nachas from your children and Hashem should have nachas from all of us.

B: Amen. I wanna just, before we hang up, I wanna just give over the conversation when I initially, when I called Reb Shmuel, I just want to tell you, I'm sure everybody could ask their own shailos. But he gave me tremendous chizuk, because I said to Reb Shmuel: am I supposed to be prepared to have my children out of school? He said, yes. I said, well I'm afraid. And he said, what are you afraid of? That your kids are going to turn the house upside-down? I said, no that's not what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of that they won't get into schools, and they won't get into camps, and they won't be able to get shidduchim, and nobody is going to want to play with them, and they won't have any friends. It's a crazy world now. And he said, Reb Shmuel said, it is a crazy world, but the world is going to be normal one day. And I said, did the rosh yeshiva just say that the world is going to be normal one day? And he said, yes.

To me that was very [laughs], that made me feel much better. It should give everybody a lot of chizuk. Hard to imagine. Very, very hard to imagine, but [gets cut off]

Rebbetzin: I know, but moshiach is just around the corner. And we have to daven we should be zocheh. Take care and Hashem should have nachas from all the children.

B: Great. Amen. Thank you very, very much.

Rebbetzin: You're very welcome. Kol tuv.

A Chanukah lesson about sexual abuse in our community

by Dr. Asher Lipner ( Chanukah 2009)

What drives survivors of abuse to give up hope, and why there still is hope.

Our community was recently shocked by the news of Motty Borger’s suicide caused by emotional problems stemming from surviving sexual abuse. Dr. Benzion Twerski, Ph.D.  published a response to the tragedy in which he takes the opportunity to sound a call to survivors of abuse to please reach out and get professional help.

As someone who has survived rabbinic sexual abuse, and who has been both a consumer and a professional provider of psychotherapy, I can vouch that it is certainly a good idea to find a therapist who specializes in sexual trauma, who can offer understanding and support. However, as a communal response this approach dangerously oversimplifies the issue of what Dr. David Pelcovitz has called the “unconscionable number of suicides in our community caused by sexual abuse.” Allow me to explain.

Suicide is driven largely by a deep sense of hopelessness, in which an individual feels things will never get better. I have treated and am treating many survivors who experience different levels of suicidality, from ideation and planning, to actual attempts, R”L. They have all expressed a feeling of hopelessness that can overwhelm them at times. While I personally have never considered taking my life, I can fully relate to the profound sense of hopelessness felt by survivors trying to heal in our community.

You see, the first step of psychotherapy focusing on trauma is making sure that the patient is in a safe place, not being re-victimized during the course of the treatment. You cannot effectively heal a shell-shocked soldier still on the battlefield, or a Holocaust survivor still in a concentration camp, or a battered woman who is still in an abusive marriage, or a child abuse victim who is still being molested by a rebby.

As long as our community continues to be an unsafe place for children and others seeking to avoid sexual assault, there is an inherent limitation on what “professionals” can accomplish. To imply that “lack of therapy” is the cause of survivors becoming suicidal, is like saying that the cause of headaches is a deficiency of aspirin in the blood stream. Furthermore, putting the onus for their healing squarely on the shoulders of the survivors is an example of the “blaming the victim” approach that our community seems to love to engage in. It is just like when mental health agencies “specializing” in abuse prevention educate parents to tell their children the difference between “good touch and bad touch”, but they neglect to give parents instructions on how to rid their children’s environment of molesters (i.e. report all allegations to the authorities, and do not send your children to a camp or school that does not have good safety policies or that covers up abuse).

In order for us to really give the survivors safety and hope, we as a community must take serious action to stop the abuse. Until that happens, we cannot “call on the survivors to seek professional help” and then wash our hands and say “Yadeynu Lo Shafchu Es Hadam Hazeh – Our hands have not spilled this blood.” It is enough to make you want to kill yourself.

Whenever there is an arrest of a prominent community figure, Jewish or otherwise, many victims come forward to go for therapy for the first time. Why? Because until the publicity of an arrest, they live in fear that nobody will believe them about their abuser. In our community this fear is justified. Consider the frum therapist a chronically suicidal patient of mine, first went to. When she told him that she had been sexually abused by a prominent rabbi, the therapist refused to believe her because “rabbis don’t act that way.” Even when he accepted her account (because she found another rabbi to believe her story) the therapist still did not want it publicized due to potential “Chillul Hashem.”

There are simply not enough outlets for survivors to be heard and validated in our community. One survivor became suicidal after his letter to the editor of a frum paper describing the anguish of sexual abuse was rejected. A patient of mine who unsuccessfully attempted suicide told me that he felt killing himself was the only way to get heard in our community. I wonder if Motty Borger may have felt the same way.

And what of the prominent community organizations recently exposed as having covered up for abusers under the pretext of the molesters’ rights to confidentiality? This is not any way to get survivors to feel safe and trusting that therapists are truly their advocates. No, survivors have good reason to be wary of sharing their secrets with anyone in our community. They know that their stories are not wanted and will be denied. A teenage Chassidish patient of mine, who went innocently for help to “The Rebbe” of his community was turned away and became profoundly and dangerously suicidal, because “Why should I live if nobody believes me?” Did somebody disbelieve Motty Borger?

Well meaning friends and family of the victim often stand in the way of healing as well. Sometimes they are concerned more for the victim’s own reputation, since the stigma of being a survivor is so debilitating in our community. Other times loved ones, in the ultimate act of betrayal, have more compassion and concern for the molester and his family’s reputation or the reputation of the institution that harbored him, than for the victim. One of the bravest people I know had several psychiatric hospitalizations after her family refused to take her side against a family member who molested her for years. She had multiple therapists from our community during this time but has only found healing by going outside of the community for help. However, she continues to struggle with trying to find a shidduch with shadchanim who still consider her “damaged goods”.

Another “trigger” for symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder such as suicide, is seeing that we allow institutions that have knowingly employed molesters to thrive and expand, while those who speak up for the survivors are vilified and shamed. The sad truth, recently acknowledged in a Yated Ne’eman editorial, is that our community allows molesters to remain in positions of honor and access to children. One man I knew who eventually took his own life, was tortured by the fact that his molester (an older bochur in yeshiva) had become a respected rabbi with all of the trust of the parents in his shul. Another survivor of both sexual abuse and of a suicide attempt was quoted that every time he sees his rapist getting another position teaching children, he feels raped again. The fact that this survivor has reached out to leading rabbis for a meeting and was turned down, has only added to his terrible feelings of loneliness and hopelessness, bringing back suicidal thoughts. Virtually all survivors I know feel that the intensity of the pain of being silenced by their community is worse than that of the sexual abuse itself.

Many survivors feel that their healing is hopeless within our community, which is why so many are abandoning Orthodox Judaism. I myself was once told by a non-frum therapist, who understood the problems of our community, that in order to maintain even a degree of sanity in my own life after being molested by my rebbe as a teenager, I had to choose between either abandoning my community or trying to change it.

Making matters much scarier is the fact that when a molester is apprehended, the entire community comes to his defense and attacks the victim. One survivor I know who did press charges against his molester is clinically depressed (a condition that can sometimes lead to suicide), not because of the abuse, but because the entire community is backing his molester despite incontrovertible evidence of the abuser’s guilt. In Lakewood, a Rabbi was arrested for sexual abuse, and there is a communal campaign to put pressure on the parents of the victim to drop the charges. A Boro Park mother of several children who were molested was told by her children’s Cheder that if she pressed charges against the molester who was “connected, to a Rebbe” her children would be thrown out “on the street.” A Bobover family was literally chased out of the community for daring to report their child’s abuse to the police. The same has happened in Baltimore.

One very frum person I know, who is a survivor of sexual abuse, was hospitalized due to suicide risk. This occurred shortly after we participated in a lobbying trip to Albany for the Child Victims Act (the Markey Bill.) On the way home we heard that the Agudah and Torah Umesorah rabbis had come out in opposition to the bill because they are more worried about lawsuits against yeshivas, news that left all of us struggling with “yiush.”

Perhaps the most tragic aspect of the hopelessness that survivors feel, is the way that they have totally given up hope that their leaders can ever be convinced to change. Whereas a few short months ago, the Agudah dinner was protested by survivors who wanted validation, their recent convention drew no such outcry. There was a large group that considered an elaborate “Hafganah” on Thursday night to catch the attention of the powers that be, but in the end despaired of it even touching their hardened hearts. Shockingly, an Agudah insider and apologist told me that the establishment did not even attempt to address solutions to the problem of child abuse at the conference because they themselves have given up on solving it. Talk about hopelessness! Irresponsibly neglecting to talk about the issue of abuse is, on many levels, communal suicide. Sadly, it seems as if it is our leaders who are the ones in need of professional help.

Before I began to publicize the name of my own molester, I was told by a Rov that although it is in principle a Chiyuv to reveal his identity, in our community I should keep quiet, because speaking up is “like committing suicide.” Can you imagine what message this would give to a survivor who is already contemplating suicide like Motty Borger? Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless, hopeless…

Why I feel that there really is hope

Chanukah is fast approaching. If ever there was a season for hope, this is it. The miraculous story of victory against all odds, with G-d’s help, must inspire survivors in need of salvation. While we all know of the Jewish people’s war against the Greeks, we need to remember that the true existential threat came from inside; from a civil war between the Jewish elitist establishment who had lost their way due to the false gods of greed, lust and power, and a few sincere caring Jews who rallied behind the cry of “Mee LaHashem Aylai! - Whoever is for G-d, come with me!”

Our community has been blessed with some very special individuals, many of whom are survivors of abuse themselves, who have taken up the cause of change. To return Torah Judaism to the way it is supposed to be, where caring for others, especially the most vulnerable, comes before financial considerations, image-consciousness, the reputation of perpetrators’ families, and any other consideration. Let us count our blessings:

We have leaders like UOJ. With vision, courage and passion, he has shown us what can be and what needs to be done. He reconnects us with the integrity and true Jewish values of his illustrious grandfather Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt"l, who was also an American pioneer.

We have The Awareness Center, run by Vicki Polin, the one and only place a Jewish parent can go to find out who are the dangers to their children in our community. A friend of mine, for example gets a call from an “Askan” in Lakewood warning to watch his kids because a molester has moved into the neighborhood. Appallingly, the caller refused to give the name of the molester. Even the government’s “Megan’s Law” sex-offender registry cannot always keep us informed. Recently, convicted serial molester “Rabbi” Baruch Lanner deviously managed to get his name removed from the list, with nary a peep of protest from his former employers and protectors, the OU and NCSY, but The Awareness Center is on top of it, as always.

We have survivors of abuse Joel Engelman, Mark Weiss, David Framowitz, Baruch Sandhaus and Joseph D’angello, the cofounders of Survivors for Justice (along with President Ben Hirsh) who have helped advertise the need for and the method of how victims can utilize law enforcement, and have lobbied so strongly for the Child Victims Act, to extend the time molesters can be brought to justice. If only Motty Borger had been acquainted with these heroes…

We have courageous Rabbanim like Rabbi Yosef Blau, who publicizes from first-hand knowledge the inadequacy of a Beys Din system to solve abuse problems. He was joined by the RCA and the Iggud Harabbanim, in backing the “Markey Bill,” calling on our community to “bite the bullet” of lawsuits against yeshivas or camps. And most importantly, he gives spiritual support and solace to literally hundreds of Jewish survivors of abuse world wide. If only Motty Borger had known Reb Yosef Blau…

We have Assemblyman Dov Hikind who has fearlessly sounded the alarm on his radio show about sexual abuse, and has compassionately reached out to listen to the stories of hundreds of survivors. Dov has fought hard and succeeded in accruing considerable government funds for education of the community and to provide support to survivors.

Recently, we had for the first time in a black-hat community, Rabbi Yitzchak Eisenman and his shul in Passaic inviting survivors of abuse to tell their stories. 300 people were in attendance, on Erev Yom Kippur, and there was much healing in that room. For the survivors, it was worth a hundred therapy sessions. Too bad we didn’t know to invite Motty Borger…

We have Reb Nochum Rosenberg courageously fighting the powers that be with superhuman “mesiras nefesh”. He is fast becoming the “new establishment,” in the Chassidish community, as more and more survivors in pain, with no one else to turn to, find their way to his compassionate assistance.

The Jewish Board of Advocacy for Children (President Elliot Pasik) has for the past year been reaching out (as we all should) to Frum or no longer Frum, Chasidish, Litvish, Sephardic, Modern Orthodox, male or female who have been victimized by rape, incest, rabbinic abuse or any sexual abuse. We offer them emotional support, legal and mental health guidance and “J-BACking” in telling their stories to the public. We successfully lobbied for a law allowing fingerprinting and background checks in yeshivas, and continue to fight for legislating these and other crucial safety steps such as mandated reporting for Jewish and all private schools. Survivor support groups and a retreat for survivors are in the works.

We have the incredibly successful online support group allusshefellech.proboards.com, run by an amazing young woman, “Little Sheep”, where over 50 frum female survivors, young and old, get together anonymously, supervised by a therapist, to give each other chizuk and to learn from each other’s experiences. If only Motty Borger had known of the parallel group for men, AY-YNhorah.proboards.com, just getting off the ground…

We have strong supporters Mark Appel, Sherree Belsky, Pearl Engelman, Michael Lesher, Dr. Michael Salomon, Maury Kelman, Pinny Taub, Debbie Fox and Aleynu, Basya Litman and the SOVRI helpline, Rabbi Marc Dratch and JSAFE, Elaine Witman and the Shofar Coalition, Mitch Morrison, Eli Greenwald, Elie Hiller, Michael Brecher, Rabbi Zev Smason, Yerachmiel Lopin, Beth Kaplan and Sacred Lives, and many, many more, too many to list here, ken yirbu. These include the 240 proud signatories of last year’s JBAC “Yom Kippur resolution,” which can be viewed at www.jewishadvocates.org (at the end of the Position Paper).

We have Failed Messiah, and other bloggers like Frumfollies, who have informed us of the cover-ups, and who give survivors a place to vent their feelings and find others who know first hand the dark truths of our community.

We are few (me’atim), but the revolution is growing. Like in the Chanukah victory, we will need to battle those of the powers that be in our community who choose to pursue power, image and financial security for their institutions, making the mistake decried by all of our Neviim - neglecting the most vulnerable and the most in need of protection and support.

But Chanukah teaches us that a little bit of light can push off a lot of darkness. A small group of people banding together with courage and faith can merit Hashem’s miraculous salvation for themselves, for all the Motty Borgers still among us, and for all of Klal Yisroel. We must continue to unite against tyranny and to reach out to survivors to tell them we want to hear their stories, that we believe them and that we care and we want to give them back their hope. “Even if a sharp sword is placed on your neck, never give up on Hashem showing mercy.” (Gemorah, Brachos) With G-d’s help there is still hope. There is always hope.

A Freilichin Chanukah.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

UOJ - "Don't be taken in. Never explain. Never retract. Get it done and let them howl!"

One of my all-time favorites from a good friend - The UOJ Classics!

Dear UOJ:

"......With reference to your recent correspondent: beware the well-meaning critic who "only " wants you to curb your language. Language is the key to humanity itself, so show me a censor and I'll show you a prison guard -- however well-intentioned. I do not advocate -- I do not practice -- indiscriminate brutality in language any more than in deed. In fact, I see plenty of writing on blogs that makes me worry for the future of civilized discourse. But NOT because of the language involved, nor because it attacks a sacred cow here, an overrated human icon there. Talk radio is infinitely worse than blogs; have the rabbis banned THAT? Au contraire: brutality aimed at "liberals" is still groovy.

Avigdor Miller could be as coarse in scorning his opponents as anything I've read on Jewish newsgroups -- has anyone lately pointed this out? There's the Jewish Observer, which indulged personal attacks against the author of Holy Days (who deserved better) and lately ran an obscene rant that condemned as sinners all people who write unpleasant truths about powerful rabbis, a piece so destructive of logic and decency that the author apparently never noticed the irony of condemning slander while committing it himself -- wholesale. Has this been condemned?

We are all fallible, and in controversy we inevitably irritate or disappoint at least some of our readers. Sometimes with reason. But it is a great mistake to be guided by a wish not to offend. Let the "gentle" critic who "only" wants you to tone down your rhetoric, or your graphic allusions, or your offensive imagery, or your subject matter, or your this or your that, assert in no uncertain terms -- if he dares -- that something he objects to in your work is, in fact, wrong, bad, untrue. If he can make that claim, and convince you of its correctness, well and good.

Otherwise: he is a temptation to be politely but firmly set aside. The man who wants to tell the truth but not offend the respectable is like someone who wants to scale a wall without using his hands. You can't do it. You want to do serious work -- well, some people aren't going to like it. They tell you they like your buildings but find the shadows they cast a little excessive? "Sorry, lady, but the shadow comes with the building. I'm sure you can find a spot without either one, if that's your choice." You can't write anything without tripping over somebody's sensitivities. So why worry about it?

Once you're offending -- OFFEND.

I don't mean blowharding. But OFFEND. If you're not offending someone, you're saying nothing... which of course is why so many rabbis, idolized by the "civil" crowd, are rising through the ranks by repeating the same sermons again and again, telling us nothing -- but giving no offense.

As for the claim -- the civilians are never without it -- that the same goals can be accomplished with different language -- well, if that's really so, why haven't they done it? I say the objection to the tools used is only valid true when the tools are truly the wrong ones... in which case, you won't be getting any results. Otherwise the methods are inseparable from the goals. Which is why Mozart had to use so many notes (in spite of fashion), Beethoven had to use bold dissonances, Ibsen had to refer to adultery and venereal disease. Even Lenny Bruce was told once that he could be a great comic without the "filth" (whatever that meant)... have you ever tried paraphrasing one of his great routines on sexual frailties -- minus the four-letter words? Having tried it once, would you ever want to again?

I do not believe the straitjacketing of language in Orthodox communities is a coincidence. I think it is a matter of deliberate strategy.

As Orwell pointed out, curbing language curbs thought: if there is no vocabulary to explain why Big Brother is evil, then the idea itself becomes impossible to hold. In our communities things are much the same. "Elchanan Wasserman was a religious tyrant who sacrificed thousands of people to his rigid piety" is no easier for the average Orthodox Jew to articulate than "Big Brother is ungood" would have been in Oceania. Breaking this barrier is not incidental to the kind of cause you're engaged in -- on the contrary, it is a fundamental part of it.

The Agudah crowd instinctively knows that the moment people can say "Reb Moshe sometimes misrepresented Talmudic sources to advance a personal ideology" or "Avigdor Miller emotionally manipulated ba'alei t'shuvah," etc., etc., they will begin to think for themselves and will never again be under Agudah's control. So, of course, they condemn such "language" as coarseness, as gossip, as slander, as slights to sages, whatever... rather than addressing themselves to the ONLY thing that matters, the truth or falsity of the statements in question.

Isn't it a commonplace that we can never learn from anyone's greatness until we can separate it from his frailties? Is Abraham Lincoln less inspiring a figure when we know about the messes in his personal life and his rough-and-tumble political background? Human beings emulate other human beings -- if you want to know what happens when people, instead of learning from fallible models, become the apes of God, look at R. Elchanan. I think he would have been a greater man if he had seen HIS heroes as human. He didn't: and just look at the results.

I may misquote him here, but Thomas Hardy, frequently under attack for his subject matter in his lifetime -- now accepted without question as one of the great novelists and poets of the early modern period -- had the right idea when he wrote in his journal: "Never explain. Never retract. Get it done and let them howl." It's taken me, a shy, diffident type, a long time to learn this, but no approach but Hardy's EVER works.

The moment you start trying to appease one critic, another pipes up; take something back, everything starts to collapse; cast around for consensus -- none will appear. If you want to be loved, don't write, or at least don't write honestly; there were vastly more popular writers than Hardy back in the 1890s. They wrote what the public liked and turned out bestsellers. Not one of them is ever mentioned today.

Don't be fooled by the number of hits on your blog -- most are curiosity seekers; the really popular speakers are the Frands, the Krohns, the Salomons, the Kotlers, etc., who never tell their audiences a word they don't want to hear. Our community will embalm them, and 75 years from now they will be exactly what they are now -- just as they are already the inarticulate corpses they will be then.

If a few words from your blogs survive, you at least will have a chance to live forever... not because of your "language," nor in spite of it, but because you wrote a few words that were true, right, clear, pure and necessary . . . and good Lord, what else can any of us hope for? It's a rare enough accomplishment as it is, while using every sensibility God gave us and every word he lent us for the purpose. Start censoring yourself, even for "good" reasons, and you don't have a chance.

Don't be taken in. Never explain. Never retract. Get it done and let them howl."

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Rabbinic Infallibility

The UOJ Archives: May 24, 2010

"Today, unfortunately, the majority of Jews have abandoned the Torah as their primary guide in life, rather than finding meaning and inspiration in its profound philosophical, psychological and moral lessons. Many of them will not turn to Judaism unless they find the system of studying its primary texts sound and responsive to reality".

There has been much discussion in the Orthodox Jewish world recently about the question of rabbinic authority. Yeshiva University published a book on the subject, the journal Tradition devoted an issue to the topic and there have been numerous postings in "Mail Jewish", an e-mail forum on the Internet, regarding various facets of the topic.

This paper is written to address one important aspect of the topic only - the opinion that holds Talmudic sages to have been infallible and that all their statements, including those of a factual type, whether they relate to history, geography, medicine, astronomy, biology, etc., to be absolutely true.

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that such an opinion is logically untenable and a misunderstanding of the sources.

If the above opinion meant that in many areas the sages had exceedingly great insight surpassing others of their time, it would be fine. If it meant that in certain cases the sages had a tradition originating from a Divinely-inspired source, that would be a different matter. If it meant that Halacha, even in those instances when apparently based upon factual insights of the sages, remains binding regardless of present-day scientific opinion, until a future Sanhedrin exercises its duly-authorized power to reevaluate matters, it would be correct. However, some present-day yeshiva authorities mean actual infallibility and absolute truth in all Talmudic statements.

This position cannot be accepted. Its negative effects cannot be overstated.

A clarification of this matter is called for not only to improve the quality of our own Torah study, but also to remove a stumbling block from the path of many who might thus find their way to Orthodox Judaism. It is not only the opinion in and of itself, but its consequences that are particularly injurious, as will be briefly touched upon further in this paper....

 Read the entire essay click the link:

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Let us ignore the Agudah's ritual invocations of Daat Torah. Let us be wary of separatist groups, which are led by their philosophy to engage, albeit unwittingly, in highly selective forms of Ahavat Yisroel....


 Rabbi Hutner sitting - 2nd from right.

... Further, Professor Kaplan described “the whole notion of Daat Torah [as] to close and suppress discussion [and thus enable] one person or group to impose, ex cathedra a personal, particular viewpoint on all persons or groups -- and no questions asked!” [All footnotes omitted.]4
In his longer 1992 essay, Professor Kaplan again cited Rabbi Weinberger's statement in The Jewish Observer about Daat Torah “bordering . . . on the periphery of prophecy,” describing Rabbi Weinberger's writing as “perhaps the clearest exposition of Daas Torah . . ..” 5 Developing the various fundamental flaws (in his mind) relating to “Daat Torah” that he first publicized in Tradition and attempting but (again from his perspective) failing to find traditional “sources” for the concept, Professor Kaplan concluded -- citing Professor Ephraim Urbach -- that “Daat Torah ideology has never been based upon authoritative halakhic sources . . ..” 

 "Let us ignore the Agudah's ritual invocations of  Daat Torah. Let us be wary of separatist groups, which are led by  their philosophy to engage, albeit unwittingly, in highly selective forms of Ahavat Yisroel. Instead, let us continue in our classic tradition of working from within for the advance of our old but ever new goal of Klal Yisroel, the land of Israel, for the people of Israel, in accordance with the Torah of Israel"

 "But one thing is certain: the fact that the philosophy of Agudat Israel can, for whatever reason, result in such distortions should serve to prevent Orthodox Jews who are committed to the principles of religious Zionism from being seduced by the siren song of Agudah, to wit: that their viewpoint and only theirs represent the view of Daat Torah. And here we come to the final and perhaps most fundamental point. On its cover page The Jewish Observer described Rabbi Hutner's discourse as offering "a Daas Torah perspective" on the Holocaust. I believe that Orthodox Jews who are not adherents of Agudat Israel and its philosophy should be wary of the entire concept of Daat Torah and its all too casual use, both in the pages of The Jewish Observer and on the part of Agudah spokesmen in general...."



Sunday, November 25, 2018

Once and Again, the Agudath Israel of America Endangers Your Children, At The Risk of Tarnishing their Brand!

“What about the people who clean and sweep in the school?” argued Kamenetzky. “They are mostly Mexican and are unvaccinated. If there was a problem, the children would already have gotten sick.” “I see vaccinations as the problem. It’s a hoax. Even the Salk vaccine [against polio] is a hoax. It is just big business.”
Well-known Jewish legal expert Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky and his wife, Temi, are often cited for their anti-immunization stance, which was expressed in a 2014 Baltimore Jewish Times article: “Vaccines are a hoax. It is just big business,” Rabbi Kamenetsky was quoted as saying. 

The rabbi’s status means his views carry weight beyond his own immediate circle. He is also a member of Agudath Israel of America’s Council of Torah Sages, which, along with the Haredi advocacy organization in general, “will not be taking a position on vaccinations or the measles outbreak,” says spokeswoman Leah Zagelbaum. 


Friday, November 23, 2018

ברוך שלא עשני גוי

Screams are heard and as people begin to run towards the potential bargains, ripping signs and destroying displays in their wake.

Some are seen stumbling and falling while one woman appears to be trapped as shoppers barge past her.

Store staff are heard shouting as they attempt to restore order, but the crowds are out of control.

Meanwhile, another video shows crowds a frantically entering a Game store in South Africa, which has been captioned: "It's the end of the world." 

People fall and barriers collapse as the rush of screaming people enter the shop.

At one point, a security guard is seen holding a gun as people enter the shop.

Elsewhere crushing crowds of people shopped during Black Friday at Macy's flagship store on 34th Street in New York.

Aisles were completely packed as hundreds of people squeezed into the store to pick up discounted items.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Finally, for some Haredi Jews, not immunizing their children is a reflection of their ultimate trust in God. “If we believe we are protected by the One above, we really have nothing to worry about,” the Lakewood mother tells Haaretz. “We try to keep restrengthening our absolute belief that nothing in the world can harm us unless it is the will of God.”

War Breaks Out in New York’s ultra-Orthodox Community Over Measles Outbreak 


Unique aspects of Haredi culture have led to an anti-vaxxer movement developing in the community. As senior rabbis issue contradictory rulings, medical experts are using informal gatherings to try to spread the word about the importance of vaccinations

File photo: An ultra-Orthodox child getting a measles shot.
Daniel Bar-On
NEW YORK – The current measles outbreak in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in the New York area is leading to threats, recriminations and lawsuits, and is also highlighting the lack of consensus among senior rabbis on the vaccination issue. 

However, it is also leading to new approaches from medical experts trying to reach those who, in the face of nearly 130 suspected cases of the highly contagious disease, remain determined not to vaccinate their children. 

There are now 113 confirmed cases of measles in ultra-Orthodox (or Haredi) communities around New York City and Lakewood, New Jersey, with another 16 suspected and under investigation by public health authorities. Two measles-infected babies have been hospitalized in intensive care units. And while it is mostly infants who have been infected, some teenagers and a handful of adults have also fallen ill.
In this June 25, 2014 photo, members of the Mennonite community in Richland County arrive for the Measles, Mumps, & Rubella (MMR) clinic in Shiloh, Ohio. Health officials said Ohio’s current outbreak of measles consists of more than 360 cases and is the biggest in the U.S. since 1994. The outbreak started after Amish travelers to the Philippines contracted measles this year and returned home to rural Knox County Ohio. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)
Why has the anti-vaxxer perspective taken hold in pockets of the Haredi community? The answer, say longtime observers, has to do with long-held suspicions of government agencies, including health departments, prizing cultural isolation, reliance on their own communities for things like emergency services, and placing their trust in God to protect them. 

U.S. public health authorities say the current outbreak started when Haredi families visited Israel last Sukkot and brought the illness back to their communities. An 18-month-old infant in Jerusalem’s Haredi Mea She’arim neighborhood has died and nearly 1,500 potential cases have been reported. Non-vaccination rates are high in Israeli areas with large Hasidic populations, including the city of Safed and the town of Kfar Chabad.
Haredi immunization rates have dipped in recent years as a result of anti-immunization views taking root in the community. Now, as the number of infected Haredim grows, some within the religious Jewish community are initiating new efforts to reach Haredi anti-vaxxers. 

Growing backlash
Tensions within the community are running high. 

A Crown Heights couple, Sholom and Esther Laine, is suing Yeshiva Oholei Torah – a Lubavitch boys’ school – for not allowing their unvaccinated son to start kindergarten. In the suit, Esther Laine says the school is infringing on her constitutionally protected religious right to claim exemption from the requirement of most schools, including Oholei Torah, that all students be immunized. Several attempts to contact the Laines were unsuccessful. 

“The battle is getting very fierce,” says a Haredi mother, speaking to Haaretz from her home in Lakewood. “People are getting threats if they question vaccinations,” says the mother of three, who asked that her name not be published for fear of being pressured or intimidated by neighbors.


The ultra-Orthodox towns Monsey and New Square are part of Rockland County, about an hour north of New York City. There are currently 75 confirmed cases of measles and six more suspected.
In New York City, there are now 24 confirmed measles cases – all in the Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Borough Park – says Dr. Jane Zucker at the Department of Health. “This outbreak would not have occurred had the children been vaccinated,” she says.
Although measles was officially declared eradicated in the United States in 2000, this is not the first outbreak of the disease in the ultra-Orthodox community. In 2013, there was a significant uptick in measles in Williamsburg and Borough Park, with 58 cases reported. There was also another minor outbreak in New York City earlier this year, which resulted in a miscarriage, pneumonia and hospitalizations, according to The New York Daily News

Now there is a growing backlash: Those known to be non-vaccinators are being ostracized by fellow Haredim, say members of the community. “People frown upon neighbors who aren’t vaccinating; there is animus toward them,” says Alexander Rapaport, a Hasidic Jew who lives in Borough Park and is founder and director of Masbia, a kosher soup kitchen and food pantry. “You hear there’s someone in that building that doesn’t vaccinate, and now the whole building is having tsuris with them,” he says, using the Yiddish word for trouble. 

Ultra-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers

Unvaccinated measles carriers convey a significant risk to others who aren’t immunized – either because they are too young or have compromised immune systems. One person sick with measles can spread it to as many as 18 others, public health authorities warn. Children typically get two doses of the MMR vaccine: one between 12 and 15 months; and another between 4 and 6 years. A child who has gotten both shots is believed to be 97 percent protected from the disease, say health experts. Now, health department authorities are urging vaccinations for children as young as 6 months, and to hasten the second dose so as many people as possible are fully protected.

ILLUSTRATION: Orthodox Jewish men listen to a news conference outside City Hall, in New York, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.
Richard Drew,AP

Rabbis beyond the New York area are now taking steps to prevent the measles from reaching their communities. Last week, the heads of the two main Orthodox rabbinical courts in Chicago issued a letter stating that “nobody has a right to endanger others by not vaccinating their children.” An unvaccinated person exposing other people to measles during an outbreak puts the non-immunized person in the category of someone who actively poses a threat to life, they wrote, using the term rodef (lethal pursuer) – which is a serious violation of Torah law. 

The rabbis urged all schools, playgroups and shuls to ban any unvaccinated child, writing, “This is nothing less than a matter of pikuach nefesh,” referring to the religious law in which preservation of human life overrides virtually all other religious considerations. 

Furthermore, prominent Israeli Haredi rabbis recently issued a strongly worded decree that those who refuse to vaccinate “are causing bloodshed,” according to the ultra-Orthodox newspaper Kikar Hashabbat. Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, head of Jerusalem’s stringent Edah HaChareidis rabbinical court, issued an order that every father “must ensure that his son and daughter are immunized immediately.” 

However, other influential Haredi rabbis view the issue differently. 

Well-known Jewish legal expert Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky and his wife, Temi, are often cited for their anti-immunization stance, which was expressed in a 2014 Baltimore Jewish Times article: “Vaccines are a hoax. It is just big business,” Rabbi Kamenetsky was quoted as saying. 

The rabbi’s status means his views carry weight beyond his own immediate circle. He is also a member of Agudath Israel of America’s Council of Torah Sages, which, along with the Haredi advocacy organization in general, “will not be taking a position on vaccinations or the measles outbreak,” says spokeswoman Leah Zagelbaum. 


Another member of the Council of Torah Sages, Lakewood’s Rabbi Malkiel Kotler, endorses the Lakewood Vaccine Coalition, which was created last March with the aim of advocating on behalf of those who do not want to immunize their children. The coalition’s website, in the meantime, has disappeared and its phone number is out of service. An email elicited no response. 

An anonymous group called PEACH (Parents Teaching and Advocating for our Children’s Health) has circulated an anti-immunization booklet throughout the religious community in the New York area and beyond. In it, an anonymous author claims that “hundreds of thousands of children’s lives have been ruined within hours of vaccines.” The idea that measles is a serious illness is “a fabrication,” it adds. 

There is no identifying information about PEACH in the booklet and, with no online presence or listed phone numbers, the group is untraceable. 

Changing things from the bottom up
This anonymous spreading of misinformation is frustrating to those who want to see Haredi children fully protected from communicable diseases. 

Blima Marcus is an oncology nurse and president of the Orthodox Jewish Nurses Association. The OJNA is now trying to reach out to religious parents in a personal, informal way and has established an email address for those who want information. 

In just the first few days, “we’ve been contacted by a few people seeking reassurance or clarification on specific vaccines,” Marcus tells Haaretz. The OJNA is planning to hold living-room gatherings soon. These will involve “no physicians, no agendas, no judgment: just frum [religious] nurses coming to listen, talk, answer questions and educate,” she says, adding, “We have 30 nurses from around the states who already volunteered their time to do this in their communities.” 

Dr. Zackary Sholem Berger, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has written in Yiddish publications about medical issues in the Orthodox community. He just held a session at a Borough Park health clinic with the goal of hearing the concerns of Haredi doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. 

“To see any sector of my community not vaccinate is horrifying,” says Berger. However, “If you wag your finger at anti-vaccine people, it doesn’t work.” Persuading them “has to come from the bottom up,” adds Berger, who has a doctorate in epidemiology. 

Anti-vaccine views have seemingly become entrenched in some parts of Haredi communities because of aspects of ultra-Orthodox culture. 

There is a general distrust of government authorities that is likely rooted in the Jewish legal prohibition against one Jew turning another into the police, say knowledgeable observers. Hasidic communities were established in Eastern Europe at a time when government authorities themselves persecuted Jews – or at the very least, turned a blind eye to those who did. Historical memory in general is prized in Haredi communities and passed down from one generation to the next, almost like cherished silver Shabbat candlesticks. 

Dangerous influence
There is also an insularity in Haredi communities – particularly among women, who frequently lack access to the internet – that is viewed as a negative and dangerous influence. As a result, WhatsApp and similar phone-based chat groups are popular among Haredi women, says the OJNA’s Marcus.
Participants in one WhatsApp group Marcus belongs to said they don’t trust studies because they are funded by pharmaceutical companies, she says. Furthermore, they don’t trust the Food and Drug Administration, which must approve all medications, because they believe “the FDA is in the pocket of pharmaceutical companies,” Marcus adds. 

Haredi communities are also accustomed to relying on themselves rather than the outside world for many things, notes Borough Park’s Rapaport. “They have an off-the-grid mentality, so they don’t call 911” in case of emergency, but call the Orthodox volunteer ambulance corps Hatzalah instead. And instead of calling the police, they contact the volunteer patrol Shomrim – which arrives faster anyway, he says. “It’s a mind-set which allows something like anti-vaccination to spread,” says Rapaport. 

What’s more, he adds, there is a fondness for “old world wisdom” – like when people say: My bubbie [grandmother] and aunt had measles, and they lived to be 90. 

But Marcus cautions that a lot of people talk about the past “as if it was a healthier or safer time – but 100 years ago many people didn’t live past 8 years old.” In the ultra-Orthodox world, “there’s a lot of misinformation as to how things were different in the past,” she says. 

Marcus also notes that alternative medicine is popular among the Haredi community. “There are large pockets of homeopathy followers in Hasidic Williamsburg, in Monroe and in Lakewood,” she says.
One popular Borough Park chiropractor is distributing pamphlets in his office about the dangers of vaccines. People travel from upstate Rockland County to see him, says Marcus. The chiropractor did not return several messages left for him at his home and office, but the woman answering his office phone acknowledged that they do distribute anti-immunization information. 

Finally, for some Haredi Jews, not immunizing their children is a reflection of their ultimate trust in God. “If we believe we are protected by the One above, we really have nothing to worry about,” the Lakewood mother tells Haaretz. “We try to keep restrengthening our absolute belief that nothing in the world can harm us unless it is the will of God.” 

Friday, November 16, 2018

The overall national rate of mental illness was about 18 percent ---- How Did They All Wind Up In New York City - 42 Broadway?


Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Has Mental Illness or Drug Problem


(HealthDay News) -- Nearly 1 in 5 American adults deals with a mental illness or substance abuse problem each year, a U.S. government study says.

Oregon has the highest rate, and New Jersey the lowest, according to 2012-2014 data analyzed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Overall, almost 44 million Americans 18 or older had a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder in the past year, researchers said. They reviewed national surveys on drug use and health.

"The figures in SAMHSA's report remind us how important it is to take mental health as seriously as any other health condition," Kana Enomoto, SAMHSA acting deputy assistant secretary, said in an agency news release.

The overall national rate of mental illness was about 18 percent.

In Oregon, almost 23 percent of the state residents had any type of mental illness. Utah, West Virginia, Maine and Rhode Island were next, with rates above 21 percent.

In New Jersey, the mentally healthiest state, fewer than 16 percent of adults had a mental health condition, according to the report. The other lowest rates were in Illinois, North Dakota, Florida and South Dakota (all about 16.5 percent). (That's 1 in 6 Lakewood Guys... sooo if there are six thousand -- BEST guys in Lakewood (BMG)....Let's see how many people can come up with the difficult mathematical answer?)

Rates varied within states, too. For example, northwestern Oregon had a high of almost 24 percent. South Florida came in with less than 15 percent having a diagnosable mental illness in a given year.

"The presence of [any mental illness] in every state reinforces that mental illness is a major public health concern in the United States," the report noted. "Overall treatment levels remain low, and addressing the mental health of U.S. adults remains a concern for state and national public health officials."

Highlighting the percentage of people with a mental illness at state and local levels can help policymakers assess mental health needs in their communities, the researchers noted.

Examining changes over time is a key part of such assessments. The report said that rates of past-year mental illness among adults rose in California, Maine, North Carolina and Rhode Island between 2010-2012 and 2012-2014. There was no change in other states.

-- Robert Preidt



Abuse Survivors Press For Statute Bill (AGAIN)


In wake of stalled legislation, demonstrators call on Agudah to get behind Child Victims Act.

In a bid to turn up the pressure on Agudath Israel of America over its policies towards sexual abuse victims, activists and abuse survivors protested Sunday in front of the Novominsker shul in Borough Park, the second such protest this summer.

About 30 protesters — including at least 10 of whom said they were abused as children — spent nearly three hours demonstrating their frustration with Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, one of the leaders of Agudath. The charedi umbrella group is one of a few organizations in the Jewish community that has strongly objected to the Child Victims Act, a bill that would increase the statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against minors in New York State. Other groups opposed to the bill include the New York State Catholic Conference and the Boy Scouts of America; they argue that increasing the statute of limitations would expose them to potentially crippling legal bills.......