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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Who Needs An Army When You Have Bench Kvetchers - Part Two

 

Ultra-Orthodox Jews block traffic, light rail in haredi draft protest

 


 

A Jerusalem Post intern at the scene reported witnessing one of the Haredim at the protest blocking a car. The orthodox Jewish man persisted in blocking the vehicle even as it drove forward.



A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked traffic and the light rail  in Jerusalem demonstrating against a Haredi draft into the IDF. February 26, 2024. (photo credit: SOL SUSSMAN)
A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked traffic and the light rail in Jerusalem demonstrating against a Haredi draft into the IDF. February 26, 2024.

A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked traffic and the light rail on Monday during a protest in Jerusalem demonstrating against a haredi draft into the IDF, according to police and eyewitness reports.

The protest took place at the intersection of Sarei Israel Boulevard and Nordau Street.

Police subsequently arrived at the scene and began efforts to restore order, the police noted, adding that traffic officers were directing vehicles in the area to alternate routes.

A Jerusalem Post intern at the scene reported witnessing one of the haredim at the protest blocking a car. The orthodox Jewish man persisted in blocking the vehicle even as it drove forward.

Altercation between police and Orthodox Jews

A police officer subsequently pulled the man out of the way, resulting in an altercation between the two.

A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked traffic and the light rail  in Jerusalem demonstrating against a Haredi draft into the IDF. February 26, 2024. (credit: SOL SUSSMAN)
A group of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocked traffic and the light rail in Jerusalem demonstrating against a Haredi draft into the IDF. February 26, 2024
 

According to the eyewitness testimony, the police officer began to drag the man away before other haredi men separated the two.

Protest signs at the scene read, "We say to the high court, to prison and not to the army.' 

https://www.jpost.com

Monday, February 26, 2024

One More Reason To Hate The Jews -- They Even Control The Medical Schools.....

 

$1 Billion Donation Will Provide Free Tuition at a Bronx Medical School

 

Dr. Ruth Gottesman, a longtime professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is making free tuition available to all students going forward

 

 

Dr. Ruth Gottesman, in a royal blue jacket and white scarf, poses for a portrait.
Dr. Ruth Gottesman’s donation is notable not only for its staggering size, but also because it is going to a medical institution in the Bronx, the city’s poorest borough.
 

The 93-year-old widow of a Wall Street financier has donated $1 billion to a Bronx medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, with instructions that the gift be used to cover tuition for all students going forward.

The donor, Dr. Ruth Gottesman, is a former professor at Einstein, where she studied learning disabilities, developed a screening test and ran literacy programs. It is one of the largest charitable donations to an educational institution in the United States and most likely the largest to a medical school.

The fortune came from her late husband, David Gottesman, known as Sandy, who was a protégé of Warren Buffett and had made an early investment in Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate Mr. Buffett built.

The donation is notable not only for its staggering size, but also because it is going to a medical institution in the Bronx, the city’s poorest borough. The Bronx has a high rate of premature deaths and ranks as the unhealthiest county in New York. Over the past generation, a number of billionaires have given hundreds of millions of dollars to better-known medical schools and hospitals in Manhattan, the city’s wealthiest borough.

While her husband ran an investment firm, First Manhattan, Dr. Gottesman had a long career at Einstein, a well-regarded medical school, starting in 1968, when she took a job as director of psychoeducational services. She has long been on Einstein’s board of trustees and is currently the chair.

In recent years, she has become close friends with Dr. Philip Ozuah, the pediatrician who oversees the medical college and its affiliated hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, as the chief executive officer of the health system. That friendship and trust loomed large as she contemplated what to do with the money her husband had left her.

In an interview on Friday at the Einstein campus in the Morris Park neighborhood, Dr. Ozuah and Dr. Gottesman spoke about the donation, how it came together and what it would mean for Einstein medical students. 

 

Dr. Philip Ozuah, in a dark suit and tie, and Dr. Ruth Gottesman, in a blue jacket, sit side by side.
Dr. Gottesman became close friends with Dr. Philip Ozuah, who oversees the medical college and its affiliated hospital, Montefiore Medical Center

In early 2020, the two sat next to each other on a 6 a.m. flight to West Palm Beach, Fla. It was the first time they had spent hours together.

They spoke about their childhoods — hers in Baltimore, his, some 30 years later, in Nigeria — and what they had in common. Both had doctorates in education and had spent their careers at the same institution in the Bronx, helping children and families in need.

Dr. Ozuah described moving to New York, not knowing a single person in the state, and spending years as a community doctor in the South Bronx before ascending to the top of the medical school.

Leaving the airport, Dr. Ozuah offered his arm to Dr. Gottesman, then not quite 90, as they approached the curb. She waved him off and told him to “watch your own step,” he recalled with a chuckle.

Within a few weeks, the coronavirus brought the world to a grinding halt. Dr. Gottesman’s husband, in his 90s, became ill with the new pathogen, and she had a mild case. Dr. Ozuah sent an ambulance to the Gottesman home in Rye, N.Y., to bring them to Montefiore, the Bronx’s largest hospital.

In the weeks that followed, Dr. Ozuah began making daily house calls — in full protective gear — to check in on the couple as Mr. Gottesman recovered. “That’s how the friendship evolved,” he said. “I spent probably every day for about three weeks, visiting them in Rye.”

About three years ago, Dr. Ozuah asked Dr. Gottesman to head the medical school’s board of trustees. She had done the job before, but given her age, she was surprised. The gesture reminded her of the fable about the lion and the mouse, she told Dr. Ozuah at the time, explaining that when the lion spares the mouse’s life, the mouse tells him, “Maybe someday I’ll be helpful to you.”

In the story, the lion laughs haughtily. “But Phil didn’t go ‘ha, ha, ha,’” she noted with a smile.

Dr. Gottesman’s husband died in 2022 at age 96. “He left me, unbeknownst to me, a whole portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway stock,” she recalled. The instructions were simple: “Do whatever you think is right with it,” she recalled.

It was overwhelming to think about, so at first she didn’t. But her children encouraged her not to wait too long.

When she focused on the bequest, she realized immediately what she wanted to do, she recalled. “I wanted to fund students at Einstein so that they would receive free tuition,” she said. There was enough money to do that in perpetuity, she said.

Over the years, she had interviewed dozens of prospective Einstein medical students. Tuition is more than $59,000 a year, and many graduated with crushing medical school debt, often more than $200,000.

Not only would future students be able to embark on their careers without the debt burden, but she hoped that her donation would also enable a wider pool of aspiring doctors to apply to medical school. “We have terrific medical students, but this will open it up for many other students whose economic status is such that they wouldn’t even think about going to medical school,” she said.

“That’s what makes me very happy about this gift,” she added. “I have the opportunity not just to help Phil, but to help Montefiore and Einstein in a transformative way — and I’m just so proud and so humbled — both — that I could do it.”

Dr. Gottesman went to see Dr. Ozuah in December to tell him that she would be making a major gift. She reminded him of the lion and mouse story. This, she explained, was the mouse’s moment.

“If someone said, ‘I’ll give you a transformative gift for the medical school,’ what would you do?” she asked.

There were probably three things, Dr. Ozuah said.

“One,” he began, “you could have education be free —”

“That’s what I want to do,” she said. He never mentioned the other ideas.

Dr. Gottesman sometimes wonders what her late husband would have thought of her decision.

“I hope he’s smiling and not frowning,” she said with a chuckle. “But he gave me the opportunity to do this, and I think he would be happy — I hope so.”

Einstein will not be the first medical school to eliminate tuition.

In 2018, New York University announced it would begin offering free tuition to medical students and saw a surge in applications.

Dr. Gottesman was reluctant to attach her name to her donation. “Nobody needs to know,” Dr. Ozuah recalled her saying at first. But Dr. Ozuah insisted that others might find her life inspiring. “Here’s somebody who is totally dedicated to the welfare of others and wants no accolades, no recognition,” Dr. Ozuah said.

Dr. Ozuah noted that the going price for getting your name on a medical school or hospital was perhaps a fifth of Dr. Gottesman’s donation. Cornell Medical College and New York Hospital now include the surname of Sanford Weill, the former head of Citigroup. New York University’s medical center was renamed for Ken Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot. Both men donated hundreds of millions of dollars.

But it is a condition of Dr. Gottesman’s gift that the Einstein College of Medicine not change its name. Albert Einstein, the physicist who developed the theory of relativity, agreed to confer his name on the medical school, which opened in 1955.

The name, she noted, could not be beat. “We’ve got the gosh darn name — we’ve got Albert Einstein.”

NYT.COM

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Two of the victims claimed to have been anally raped, while another said the camp counselor offered him $100 to touch his genitals, according to the complaint which sought a $1.8 million payout.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Baltimore rabbi, 47, accused of sexually abusing three young boys at an Orthodox Jewish camp, bribing them with $100 to 'touch his genitals' and holding sleepovers with kids

 

  • Rabbi Steven 'Shmuel' Krawatsky, 47, was found liable for battery and assault against two children
  • The incident took place at Orthodox Jewish Camp Shoresh in 2014 and 2015 
  • Married father Krawatsky was ordered to pay his victims $8,000 each in damages

A Baltimore rabbi accused of sexually abusing three young boys at an Orthodox Jewish summer camp has been found liable for battery and assault.

Rabbi Steven 'Shmuel' Krawatsky, 47, was accused of abusing the boys who were then between seven and eight-years-old at Camp Shoresh in 2014 and 2015.

Two of the victims claimed to have been anally raped, while another said the camp counselor offered him $100 to touch his genitals, according to the complaint which sought a $1.8 million payout.

Last week, a jury ruled that he committed assault against one child and battery against another, claims against the third child were not upheld. Each victim has now been awarded $1 in compensatory and $8,000 in punitive damages.

Krawatsky, of Pikesville, previously denied the allegations and has not faced any criminal charges, despite being interviewed by police and Child Protection Services who initially found indications of abuse according to the civil lawsuit against him.


Maryland rabbi Steven 'Shmuel' Krawatsky has been accused of sexually abusing three young boys at an Orthodox Jewish summer camp
AN IDIOT TO BOOT!

Maryland rabbi Steven 'Shmuel' Krawatsky has been accused of sexually abusing three young boys at an Orthodox Jewish summer camp

The married father was found liable for battery and assault against two of the children. The names and images of the boys, who do not appear in this photo, are being withheld to protect their privacy

The married father was found liable for battery and assault against two of the children. The names and images of the boys, who do not appear in this photo, are being withheld to protect their privacy

The abuse was said to have taken place at Camp Shoresh (pictured) in 2014/15

The abuse was said to have taken place at Camp Shoresh (pictured) in 2014/15

The accusations first surfaced in a 2017 in a post by sexual abuse survivor Chaim Levin and were later reported in a 2018 New York Jewish Week article.

Krawatsky was accused of abusing three boys while working at the camp after they came home and began displaying strange behavioral issues.

Eventually, they disclosed to their parents that 'Rabbi K' had sexually abused them, a lawsuit brought by their parents states.

The explosive allegations saw Krawatsky fired from his role at the private Jewish Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School.

The institution issued a statement at the time insisting it had not received any safeguarding concerns directly.

The married rabbi then tried to sue Levin, the publication, its reporter and the parents over the accusations. The parents countersued for the abuse of their children and Krawatsky's claims were dismissed.

According to the lawsuit, Krawatsky would often host sleepovers with children at his house and would also dole out 'punishments' in the camp's pool changing room, without any other adults present.

The filings state that three boys were abused although claims against just two were upheld.

Allegations included that one boy was 'touched in an offensive and inappropriate manner' while at the camp and another was 'offered money to engage in sexual acts' per the lawsuit.

He was not found liable for the claims relating to a third boy which stated that he was also raped.

A jury awarded each of the two victims $8,000 each in punitive damages. Charges against the third boy were not upheld

A jury awarded each of the two victims $8,000 each in punitive damages. Charges against the third boy were not upheld (PATHETIC)

One of the victims claimed to have been anally raped, while another said the camp counselor offered him $100 to touch his genitals, according to the complaint. Pictured: Krawatsky with his wife Shira

Krawatsky has not faced any criminal charges despite being interviewed by police and CPS in 2015, according to the lawsuit

Krawatsky has not faced any criminal charges despite being interviewed by police and CPS in 2015, according to the lawsuit

In all cases, the lawsuit describes how Krawatsky would allegedly heap praise on the boys before isolating them to carry out the alleged attacks.

In his closing statement, the victims' attorney told the court that the one of the boys had described how Krawatsky 'peed on his arm'.

'You saw the terror in those kids’ eyes when they talked,' Jon Little said. 'They were afraid of Rabbi Krawatsky and they were afraid of the other evil, the rope running through this whole thing. The community that failed to protect its children.'

Krawatsky was interviewed by Frederick County Police and CPS, according to the lawsuit.

CPS initially found that abuse was 'indicated' against one victim, and 'unsubstantiated' against another, which means that they could neither prove nor disprove that it happened, the filings state.

Krawatsky was placed on leave from the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, but was allowed to return after he appealed the 'indicated' finding and had it downgraded to unsubstantiated, according to the suit.

The case rocked the Orthodox community where it unfolded, with allegations of intimidation on the part of Krawatsky's supporters who rallied around him despite the accusations.

Little, who acted for the families pro bono, said that his practice had been bombarded with one star reviews in the wake of the case.

The rabbi was working at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School when the allegations were made public but was later fired from the post

The rabbi was working at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School when the allegations were made public but was later fired from the post

The parents counter sued Krawatsky after he tried to pursue them for defamation when the allegations were made public. Pictured: Camp Shoresh

The parents counter sued Krawatsky after he tried to pursue them for defamation when the allegations were made public. Pictured: Camp Shoresh

He slammed the meagre damages awarded to his clients and speculated it may have been because they could not point to any large medical expenses incurred.

'When we got the liability verdict I thought okay wow, but apparently the community do not consider raping a seven-year-old a serious and traumatic event. I do, that is something that will stay with you for life,' Little said.

'Firstly I am so dismayed at the way the Jewish community rallied to defend a man accused of raping children.

'But then also the people who saw what happened and refused to take care of these children. People think they do this for money, but this was a defensive suit.

'One of the moms said to me, "I want to find out what happened to my kid but at the same time I don't want it to be true". So we talk about vindication and I'm glad the jurors saw what I have known to be true for the past six or seven years, but really what have these parents gained?'

Little claimed that Krawatsky's supporters may have spent up to $7 million defending him and had attempted to bury him in legal fees by also unsuccessfully trying to sue him for defamation.

'After six years of hell that he put them through with the defamation suit — and the community did with its harassment of the victims — this verdict vindicates them,' said Asher Lovy, founder of Za'akah, which fights child sex abuse in the Orthodox community.

The parents' lawsuit described how Krawatsky would allegedly host sleepover with kids and discipline them away from other adults

The parents' lawsuit described how Krawatsky would allegedly host sleepover with kids and discipline them away from other adults

 'I hope it can bring them healing, and I hope it sends a message to enablers that they can try as hard as they want to but the truth is going to come out.' 

In his 2017 post, Levin called Krawatsky 'extremely dangerous' and said he is 'alleged to have inflicted severe harm on multiple children'.

He also accused higher ups of being aware of the concerns but protecting the rabbi anyway.

After sharing his initial post, Levin claims he was flooded with threatening messages.

'Throughout this lawsuit we have learned a lot about the cover up that allowed this to happen,' Levin said.

'Many of the details are disturbing and sad. They demonstrate that this community did not and does not care about the safety of children.

'I'm proud of these kids for standing up to this bully and their families for sticking by them.' 

The rabbi's lawyers said in a statement: 'Rabbi Krawatsky passed a polygraph test back in 2015. The matter was fully investigated by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office. 

'Rabbi Krawatsky was never arrested and was never charged with any crime. Ever. The Frederick County Department of Social Services found the matter to be unsubstantiated, the records have been destroyed, and he is allowed to work with children.

'Krawatsky has never harmed a child in any way. Ever.

'The jury obviously did not believe the false accusations against him made by one of the three children because they found that he did not harm that child, in any way. And that child had made the most serious allegations. And the jury only awarded the other two children nominal damages of One Dollar.

'Unfortunately, Rabbi Krawatsky was not able to tell the full story at the trial so he intends to appeal the case in order to fully clear his name.'

CPS said in a statement: 'The department takes very seriously its duty to protect the health and well-being of children and ensure youth are safe. While confidentiality laws prevent us from providing specific details regarding your questions, Child Protective Services (CPS) has a duty to conduct either an investigation or a family assessment if someone reports that a child has allegedly been abused or neglected. 

'Before closing an investigation, we will determine the nature, extent, and cause of any child abuse or neglect and, if possible, the person responsible for the abuse or neglect, and share that investigative report with law enforcement.

'Maryland Department of Human Services employees care deeply about the safety and well-being of children, and we work relentlessly to ensure all families we serve are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Reporting child abuse and neglect is everyone's responsibility, and we encourage everyone to Know the Signs and report child abuse and neglect concerns immediately.'

Thursday, February 22, 2024

What opened my eyes are the Left’s beliefs that men can become women and women can become men; men give birth; there are more than two genders/sexes

 

The Left and Chaos

 

Why the Left hates order.

 

 by


It is impossible to understand what is happening to America — and to the rest of the West — without understanding the most dynamic ideology of the last hundred years: leftism.

We need to begin with the understanding that leftism (or “progressivism”) and liberalism are not only not the same ideologies, they are in fact opposed to each other on virtually every major issue.

Leftism and liberalism have only two things in common:

One is belief in big government, which, given that individual and societal liberty decline as the state grows, is a significant similarity.

The other Left-liberal commonality is antipathy to the Right. This is even more important than commitment to big government because it explains why liberals vote for the Left despite the fact that liberals differ with far more left-wing positions than with conservative positions.

Unlike the Left, most liberals love their country. Unlike the Left, most liberals do not believe that there are more than two sexes/genders; that prepubescent boys and girls who claim they are members of the other sex should be given hormone blockers; that girls under 21 should be allowed to have their breasts surgically removed; or that men who say they are women should be allowed to compete in women’s sports. So, too, liberals do not believe that capitalism is evil, that America is systemically racist, that all whites are racist, that Israel is the villain in the Middle East and Zionism is racist.

So, then, given that those leftist positions are as destructive as they are absurd, how are we to explain leftism?

This question has preoccupied me all my adult life. It is why I was one of fewer than 10 graduate students in all of Columbia University to major in what was called “Communist Affairs.” (I was a fellow at the Russian Institute at Columbia’s School of International Affairs.) In other words, I have studied the Left all my life.

Early on, I recognized that the Left opposes liberty — the clearest example being that wherever the Left gains power, whether at a university or in society as a whole, it suppresses free speech — and that it destroys everything it touches. But while I (and many others) have always understood that the Left (again, not liberalism) has always, everywhere, been a force for evil, I needed to understand why.

How can people believe that men give birth; that a country to which more than 4 million black people have emigrated and which twice elected a black president is systemically racist; that the freest country in the Middle East, one in which millions of Arabs live as equal citizens, is the villain, while its barbaric enemies are worthy of support?

Here are some answers:

Throughout their history, Americans have had three great providers of meaning: family, religion and patriotism. Leftists lack the latter two (indeed, they seek to get rid of them), and increasing numbers of them lack the first. Since human beings cannot live without meaning — it is as great a need as food, and even greater than sex — they seek meaning elsewhere. So they create new meanings through creating secular religions: socialism, communism, feminism, environmentalism, DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), “anti-racism,” anti-Zionism, LGBTQIA+ pride, and trans activism, among others.

All these are united by one overarching aim: destroying the institutions of Western civilization (e.g., religion, art, music, the nuclear family, moral norms, schools and universities, free speech, capitalism, even medicine).

Those of us who appreciate Western civilization and wish to preserve it (while, of course, correcting its flaws) cannot understand why anyone would want to destroy it. That is a major reason it is so difficult for non-leftists to understand the Left.

After decades of mulling this over, I think I have discovered one answer that is not obvious even to all leftists.

What opened my eyes are the Left’s beliefs that men can become women and women can become men; men give birth; there are more than two genders/sexes; men who say they are women should be placed in women’s prisons, women’s colleges and women’s shelters; men who say they are women should be allowed to compete in women’s sports; and children should be taken to drag queen shows.

All these positions represent … chaos.

The Left’s trans-positions are the most obvious areas of Left-induced chaos, but there are many others. These include the Left’s contempt for the ideal of the nuclear family (i.e., a married mother and father and children); its support for defunding police; its raising the dollar value of stolen goods that qualifies as a felony, which can only incentivize theft; and its support for progressive district attorneys.

Fighting crime represents order; crime represents chaos.

And why does leftism seek chaos? Because the Left hates the opposite of chaos: order. And order ultimately represents a religious view of life. Order represents divine order. The proof is that no religious people say, “Men give birth.” Not all secular people believe men give birth, there are more than two sexes, men can compete in women’s sports, children should be exposed to drag queen shows, or children should be given hormone blockers if they claim to be a member of the other sex. But only secular people believe those things. Virtually no one who believes in the Bible and the God of the Bible believes them. We believe in a God-created social order.

Chaos is the normal state of the world. The second verse of the Bible states that the world was in a chaotic state. God then made order. Which is why the Left is undoing it.

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The controversy concerned the safety of children. Moreover, it concerned broader policy questions about how Jewish institutions should best protect children upon learning of a sexual abuse allegation against one of its employees

 

THE RABBI CALLED HIMSELF - "SPECIAL K"

Hiring Reputation Management Co. Made Rabbi Limited Public Figure, Making It Harder for Him to Win Libel Case

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From Krawatsky v. Avrunin, decided Friday by Judge Christopher Fogleman (Md. Cir. Ct.):

From 2010 to 2015, Plaintiff Steven Krawatsky ("Rabbi K") was a head counselor at Camp Shoresh, a summer camp for children in Adamstown, Frederick County, Maryland. The parents of three boys who had attended the summer camp during that time have alleged that Rabbi K had sexually assaulted the boys. In 2017, Defendant Hannah Dreyfus …, a reporter for The Jewish Week, Inc. …, began investigating the allegations. As a result of Ms. Dreyfus's investigation, on January 17, 2018, Jewish Week published an editorial drafted by its Editor and two articles authored by Ms. Dreyfus.

Rabbi K sued Dreyfus and Jewish Week for various defamation-related claims; the court held, in relevant part, that Rabbi K was a limited purpose public figure, because he had voluntarily injected himself into an existing public controversy:

The record is clear that the allegations against Rabbi K did not concern only the boys and their families. The outcome of this controversy would certainly affect the general public or some segment of it in an appreciable way. The controversy concerned the safety of children. Moreover, it concerned broader policy questions about how Jewish institutions should best protect children upon learning of a sexual abuse allegation against one of its employees. The Court concludes that there was a particular public controversy [preexisting the allegedly defamatory statements' publication] that gave rise to the alleged defamation…. The Krawatskys hired the public relations consultant in November 2017 "to help restore the damage to Rabbi K's online reputation caused by the controversy." The articles and editorial were published two months later, on January 17, 2018. The controversy continued unabated following the public relations consultant's November 2017 retention, through the articles' and editorial's January 17, 2018 publication.

Using the media to gain notoriety and establish a positive public image can confer limited public figure status. It is beyond dispute that the professional reputation management consultant's objective was to influence and counter the adverse impact of the unfavorable publicity that attended the Newspaper Defendants' two Articles and Editorial. Rabbi K's public relations campaign did not substantively respond to the allegations but rather was a more generalized effort to improve his image. Its objective was not to reply to the allegations, but rather to silence the negative information. By waging this public relations campaign, Rabbi K became a public figure in terms of First Amendment protection.

Because Rabbi K was a limited-purpose public figure, he had to show "clear and convincing evidence that the Newspaper Defendants acted with actual malice" (rather than just negligently), and he couldn't.

https://reason.com/volokh/2022/07/12/hiring-reputation-management-co-made-rabbi-limited-public-figure-making-it-harder-for-him-to-win-libel-case/

Monday, February 19, 2024

Today the jury in the first part of the Krawatsky Trial returned a unanimous verdict:

  

Shmuel Krawatsky Found Liable for Abuse of Two of Three Accusers


Today the jury in the first part of the Krawatsky Trial returned a unanimous verdict: On the first and second alleged victims they found that Krawatsky was liable for the abuse alleged (the actual charges were battery for the first and assault for the second), and for the third he was found not liable (battery).

Next Tuesday the case will resume with the damages phase to determine the damages he’s liable to those two families for. As of now his lawyers are still planning to pursue defamation against the third family and Chaim Levin.

https://hareiani.com/

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Mazel Tov! Be Back Soon....



Steven Krawatsky, 46, was a popular and well-traveled figure in the world of Jewish education, married with four children, he was known for hosting his students for sleepovers.


8 years after he was accused of sexual abuse, a once-beloved Orthodox rabbi will face a Maryland jury


 

Rabbi Steven Krawatsky

Six years after a bombshell report revealed sexual abuse accusations against a beloved Orthodox rabbi, a jury will decide whether the claims have merit — or whether the families who brought them are liable for defamation.

Rabbi Steven (Shmuel) Krawatsky worked in Jewish education, mostly in the Baltimore area, for two decades before the families of three boys accused him of abusing their sons in 2014 and 2015. They said he abused the boys when he worked at Camp Shoresh, an Orthodox summer camp in Western Maryland.

When New York Jewish Week reported the claims against Krawatsky in 2018, the rabbi sued the publication, the families and a former journalist who warned the public to stay away from him on Facebook. A judge dismissed Krawatsky’s claims against the Jewish Week in 2022, and last week threw out the families’ counterclaims against Camp Shoresh and its director, Rabbi David Finkelstein.

The civil trial that begins with opening arguments Tuesday will weigh both Krawatsky’s defamation suit against the families and the former journalist, Chaim Levin, and the families’ counterclaims of assault, battery and false imprisonment against Krawatsky. Child sex abuse watchdogs are describing it as a test of Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community, which has rallied around Krawatsky.

Asher Lovy, head of Za’akah, an organization that fights child sex abuse in the Orthodox world, said the families of the alleged victims had been subject to intimidation by the community, which continued even after one of the families moved out of town.

The outcome of the trial, Lovy said, “will demonstrate to survivors in Baltimore whether they should feel empowered to come forward.”

A lawyer representing Krawatsky did not respond to a request for comment, and a lawyer for the families declined to comment.

The accusations

Krawatsky, 46, was a popular and well-traveled figure in the world of Jewish education, teaching at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, an Orthodox school in Pikesville, Maryland, and leading youth programming at Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim, a large Baltimore-area synagogue. Married with four children, he was known for hosting his students for sleepovers.

According to court documents, accusations of abuse were first made against Krawatsky in August 2015, by a Camp Shoresh parent, Joel Avrunin, whose then-8-year-old child, identified only as B.A., said the rabbi had touched him inappropriately that summer. Further allegations were made later by two other campers, then 7 years old, one of whom said Krawatsky raped him, the other saying Krawatsky offered him $100 to touch his penis.

Maryland Child Protective Services investigators found that in two of the allegations, child abuse was “indicated” and in the third, abuse was “unsubstantiated” — a legal designation that means neither confirmed nor ruled out, but which adds the accused to a confidential database for five years. However, protective services later downgraded the two “indicated” determinations to “unsubstantiated” in exchange for Krawatsky dropping his appeal.

According to Krawatsky’s defamation suit, he voluntarily submitted to a polygraph examination by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in September 2015, following the accusations from B.A., and the polygraph showed no deception. The Sheriff’s Office in December 2015 declined to press charges. The families of the victims say they have been unable to review the polygraph examination. 

The accusations did not come to light publicly until the 2018 Jewish Week article. It described not only the alleged abuses — which included oral and anal rape — but also accusations that camp leaders failed to respond as legally required, and that Maryland child protective services had botched the investigation. Following the article’s publication, Beth Tfiloh fired Krawatsky, and Suburban Orthodox Toras Chaim announced his resignation.

But the backlash against the families has continued since then, including public death threats, Lovy said.

“Their lives have been turned upside down,” he said.

While Krawatsky first filed suit the same year, the case did not make it to trial until now in part because of court delays related to COVID-19.

Tuesday, February 06, 2024

As someone who has been accused of being smart, I’ve had to learn to self-censor in order to “fit in”, and not be ostracized as a “weirdo” by the general population.

+"As social animals, we tend not to be too fond of “weirdos” (Bloggers) who question the existing social order, and the way things have always been done, hence the existence of terms like “nerd” and “geek” for those whose manner of thought and speech is contrary to the norm."+

I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture given by the late Prof. Hawking on the campus of the University of Berkeley; I say “given”; Hawking rolled onto the stage, and the lecture he so painstakingly prepared was delivered by the machine he used to speak with. I never heard him repeat this quote, so I will have to take it on faith that this is something he actually said.

I’ll be PC here, and substitute “average” for dumb; average people are not necessarily “dumb”, but the difference between them and very intelligent people is that they are far less intellectually curious, and tend not to question their own beliefs, or look beneath the surface of phenomena they encounter every day. For the average, smart people are not necessarily “crazy”, but they do come across as weird. 

 If I were to tell the average dummy person that they like doughnuts because simple carbohydrates and fat were rare and valuable nutrients thousands of years ago, they would look at me like I was mad. They would say something like “I enjoy doughnuts because they taste good”; it wouldn’t occur to them to ask the fundamental question of why they taste good to us.

A graph showing the “bell curve” distribution of IQ.

As shown in the graph above, 68.2% of people are in the average range of IQ between 85–115 (using IQ as a proxy for general intelligence. The number of people with an IQ higher than 115 becomes increasingly rare with the increasing level of IQ, so those with 140+ are very rare indeed, so it should not surprising that those who are in this high range will often come across as “odd” to the average majority. There is a qualitative difference in the cognition of the highly gifted, compared to the cognitive style of the average; the more intelligent one is, the less “obvious” things seem to be.

In evolutionary terms, our “purpose” as humans is to survive and reproduce, functions for which the average level of intelligence is sufficient; humans evolved to be as intelligent as they needed to be in order to successfully carry out these biological functions, so it is not surprising that most of us are not smarter than we are. As social animals, we tend not to be too fond of “weirdos” who question the existing social order, and the way things have always been done, hence the existence of terms like “nerd” and “geek” for those whose manner of thought and speech is contrary to the norm. At the same time, it had to have been the prehistoric nerds and geeks who came up with technologies like the bow and arrow, and poison darts, which were beneficial for the survival of humans as a whole, by allowing us to hunt otherwise inaccessible game animals. One can just imagine the jeers of the normies when the first geek smeared some tree sap on a dart, and walked off with his blowpipe, saying “I’m going hunting by myself.”

As someone who has been accused of being smart, I’ve had to learn to self-censor in order to “fit in”, and not be ostracized as a “weirdo” by the general population. 

 “Be yourself” is incredibly stupid advice if one happens to be an intellectual outlier, since “yourself” is likely to be regarded as strange, and even threatening by the majority. Hawking was right, and I reserve my unfiltered self for a select few.

 

Monday, February 05, 2024

Rabbi Co-founder of a private equity firm explains why he acquired Pornhub - (But He Gives Tzedaka)

 

Rabbi Co-founder of a private equity firm explains why he acquired Pornhub

 
His private equity firm took over Mindgeek, the umbrella company of virtually every porn site.

https://x.com/arden_young_/status/1740069046651867436?s=20https://x.com/arden_young_/status/1740069046651867436?s=20

Solomon Friedman is one of the new owners of PornHub. He is an attorney and rabbi (some reports say he is a former rabbi). His private equity firm took over Mindgeek, the umbrella company of virtually every porn site.

He vowed to save PornHub from ruin and make it a better place. What he means by a better place might not be what most people think is “better.”



In the clip below, Solomon coaches defense attorneys of pedophiles on how to get lesser sentences for their sex offender clients. When the prosecutor next to him argues that the 30-day sentences for pedophiles back in 2009 weren’t enough, Solomon jokes, “the good old days.” (No one laughs…)

https://twitter.com/arden_young_/status/1740074009822122423?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1740074009822122423%7Ctwgr%5E005317cccdf7fbb239951212772b20c968957f57%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.independentsentinel.com%2Frabbi-buys-mindgeek-that-owns-pornhub-other-porn-sites%2F

https://twitter.com/arden_young_/status/1740074009822122423?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1740074009822122423%7Ctwgr%5E005317cccdf7fbb239951212772b20c968957f57%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.independentsentinel.com%2Frabbi-buys-mindgeek-that-owns-pornhub-other-porn-sitNothing against rabbis since he’s rogue; we have rogue priests in my religion, but how do people reconcile this with religion? It’s not funny. It ruins children’s lives.



According to Yahoo Finance, this is why he bought it:

“When a potential MindGeek acquisition became available, we took an open-minded, unbiased look at it,” says Friedman. “What we found absolutely blew our minds. We found a company that had created the best-in-class online trust and safety automation tools. … We’re of the belief that these tools must be shared with the larger internet.”

The tools, he says, are designed to verify the identity of the people in videos, as well as their age and consent to posting, using both human and automated checks. They also create digital fingerprints to flag pre-existing content to combat piracy and have a portal designed to help law enforcement officials collect necessary data.

“We see enormous value beyond the adult industry for those tools,” he says. “We see enormous value in the online trust and safety tool. I have no doubt that people are going to be hearing more about that and its applications well beyond adult. We feel we have a responsibility to develop those tools beyond their current uses.”


He’s also looking at it going mainstream:

While ECP sees value in the technology behind Pornhub and other MindGeek properties, it’s not discounting the substantial revenues in the content itself. Friedman notes that just a few years ago, cannabis was a taboo subject in Canada and much of the U.S., but has since become one that is openly discussed. The private equity firm believes adult entertainment is on the cusp of that same sort of mainstreaming.

“We’re of the view that there’s real potential for adult audiences,” he says. “Adults need a place on the internet. And the opportunity for creating those spaces and ensuring those are safe and stigma-free has real potential.”

So, it’s for money, the tools, and mainstreaming porn? Didn’t Sodom and Gomorrah happen because this stuff went mainstream?

https://www.independentsentinel.com/rabbi-buys-mindgeek-that-owns-pornhub-other-porn-sites/

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/co-founder-canadian-private-equity-185506393.html

Sunday, February 04, 2024

New Hasidic song slams yeshivas that reject students who don’t fit in --- Loy Niskabel - לא נתקבל takes it further, charging that it’s not just a matter of close-mindedness, but a sign of corruption.

New Hasidic song slams yeshivas that reject students who don’t fit in

 

The Yiddish rap song is presented from the perspective of a father who wants his son to be accepted for who he is
 

A new Yiddish hip-hop song has appeared on YouTube sharply criticizing Hasidic yeshivas who refuse to accept students whom they consider at risk of going “off the derech,” or leaving the community. The video, which was released on Aug. 26, seems to have touched a nerve, since it’s garnered over 12,000 views in the first five days.

The song, which is accompanied by English subtitles, is sung from the perspective of a Hasidic father who suspects that the reason his son was not accepted into the yeshiva has less to do with his behavior than with the fact that his family is too poor to give generous donations to the school.

The man who raps “Loy Niskabel” (“Not Accepted”) goes by the stage name of “Min HaSeore” or “From the Whirlwind.”

Forverts contributor Yehoshua Kahane, who was raised in a Hasidic community in Antwerp, praised the song. “Even though it never happened to me, I had heard that this kind of thing happened,” he said in an interview.

The painstricken call of the father in the video shows how meaningful yeshiva acceptance is to a Hasidic child. Kahane said that when a student is rejected from a yeshiva, it can lead to an emotional crisis since it calls into question the student’s relationship with God, his Hasidic group and himself, not to mention the quality of his family lineage.

The issue of students being ostracized by the Hasidic community was brought to the forefront in 2009 by the late Michoel Schnitzler, whose famous song Der Bochur’s Tzava’a,” (“The Boy’s Will”), commonly known as “Track 5,” was a protest against rabbis and educators who rejected students because of their non-conformism. But “Loy Niskabel” takes it further, charging that it’s not just a matter of close-mindedness, but a sign of corruption.


Friday, February 02, 2024

“Every parent in America is terrified about the garbage that is directed at our kids,”

‘Your Product Is Killing People’: Tech Leaders Denounced Over Child Safety

 

Senators criticized the chief executives of Meta, TikTok, Snap, X and Discord for not doing enough to prevent child sexual abuse online, amid rising fears over how the platforms affect youths.

 

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s founder and chief executive, turned to address the families of victims of online child abuse during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday
 
  "More than 105 million online images, videos and materials related to child sexual abuse were flagged in 2023 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the federally designated clearinghouse for the imagery. Parents have blamed the platforms for fueling cyberbullying and children’s suicides."

Lawmakers on Wednesday denounced the chief executives of Meta, TikTok, X, Snap and Discord , accusing them of creating “a crisis in America” by willfully ignoring the harmful content against children on their platforms, as concerns over the effect of technology on youths have mushroomed.

In a highly charged 3.5-hour hearing, members of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee raised their voices and repeatedly castigated the five tech leaders — who run online services that are very popular with teenagers and younger children — for prioritizing profits over the well-being of youths. Some said the companies had “blood on their hands” and that users “would die waiting” for them to make changes to protect children. At one point, lawmakers compared the tech companies to cigarette makers.

“Every parent in America is terrified about the garbage that is directed at our kids,” Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, said.

The tech chiefs, some of whom showed up after being forced by subpoena, said they had invested billions to strengthen safety measures on their platforms. Some said they supported a bill that bolsters privacy and parental controls for children, while others pointed to the faults of rivals. All of the executives emphasized that they themselves were parents.

In one blistering exchange with Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, stood up and turned to address dozens of parents of online child sexual exploitation victims.

“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “No one should go through the things that your families have suffered.” He did not address whether Meta’s platforms had played a role in that suffering and said the company was investing in efforts to prevent such experiences.

The bipartisan hearing encapsulated the increasing alarm over tech’s impact on children and teenagers. Last year, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, identified social media as a cause of a youth mental health crisis. More than 105 million online images, videos and materials related to child sexual abuse were flagged in 2023 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the federally designated clearinghouse for the imagery. Parents have blamed the platforms for fueling cyberbullying and children’s suicides.

The issue has united Republicans and Democrats, with lawmakers pushing for a crackdown on how Silicon Valley companies treat their youngest and most vulnerable users. Some lawmakers, seizing on a matter that has incensed parents, have called for measures and introduced bills to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material and to hold the platforms responsible for protecting young people.

Tech giants face mounting domestic and global scrutiny for their effect on children. Some states have enacted legislation requiring social media services to verify their users’ ages or take other steps to protect young people, though those rules have confronted legal challenges. Online safety laws have also been approved in the European Union and in Britain.


From left, Jason Citron, Discord chief executive; Evan Spiegel, Snap chief executive; Shou Chew, TikTok chief executive; Linda Yaccarino, X chief executive; and Mark Zuckerberg, Meta chief executive, at Wednesday’s hearing
 
 

The White House also weighed in on Wednesday. “There is now undeniable evidence” that social media contributes to the youth mental health crisis, said Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary.

Yet the grilling of the tech leaders on Wednesday may not ultimately amount to much, if history is any guide. Meta’s executives have testified 33 times since 2017 over issues such as election interference by foreign agents, antitrust and social media’s role in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol — but no federal law has been passed to hold the tech companies to account. Dozens of bills have failed after partisan bickering over details and lobbying efforts by the tech industry.

David Vladeck, a professor at Georgetown University’s law school and a former head of consumer protection at the Federal Trade Commission, likened congressional actions on tech to the cartoon “Peanuts.”

“Congress has consistently punted on tech legislation that seems essential, but I feel like Charlie Brown — every time he wants to kick the football, Lucy takes it away,” he said.

The federal government has also not followed through on existing laws that could provide more resources for combating online child abuse, The New York Times has found. Notably, law enforcement funding has not kept pace with the staggering rise of online abuse reports, even though Congress was authorized to release more money.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg testified before Congress for the eighth time. Shou Chew, TikTok’s chief executive, was back as a witness less than a year after appearing at a hearing. Evan Spiegel, Snap’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, X’s chief executive, and Jason Citron, Discord’s chief executive, testified for the first time after lawmakers subpoenaed them.

Lawmakers have focused on social media’s harmful effects on children since 2021, when a whistle-blower from Meta, Frances Haugen, revealed internal documents that showed that the company knew its Instagram platform was worsening body image issues among teenagers. The Senate Judiciary Committee has since held several hearings with tech executives, sex exploitation experts and others to highlight the dangerous activity for children online.

Before Wednesday’s hearing began, lawmakers released internal emails among top executives at Meta, including Mr. Zuckerberg, which showed that his company had rejected calls to bulk up on resources to combat child safety issues.

The hearing, held in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, began with a video of victims of child sexual exploitation, who said the tech companies had failed them. In a rare show of agreement, Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee took turns accusing the tech leaders of knowing about the harm that children encounter on their platforms.

The companies’ “constant pursuit of engagement and profit over basic safety put our kids and grandkids at risk,” said Senator Dick Durbin, the chair of the committee and a Democrat from Illinois.

At one point, Senator Hawley told Mr. Zuckerberg, “Your product is killing people.”

Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Chew received the most attention, with lawmakers admonishing them for not supporting legislation on child safety. After lawmakers pressed Mr. Spiegel on the problem of drug sales on Snapchat, he apologized to parents whose children have died from fentanyl overdoses after buying the drugs through the platform.

“I’m so sorry that we have not been able to prevent these tragedies,” he said, adding that Snap blocks search terms related to drugs and works with law enforcement.

Lawmakers also focused on proposals that would expose the platforms to lawsuits by scrapping a 1996 statute, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet companies from liability for the content on their sites.

“Nothing is going to change unless we open up the courtroom doors,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota. “Money talks even stronger than we talk up here.”

At times, lawmakers wandered into areas unrelated to children’s safety. Mr. Chew, in particular, faced questions over how TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, handles the data of U.S. users. He was also pressed on a report that a TikTok lobbyist in Israel resigned this week based on accusations that the platform was discriminating against Israelis.

Noticeably absent from the hearing was the most popular app for teenagers: YouTube. Seven in 10 teens use YouTube daily, according to the Pew Research Center. TikTok is used daily by 58 percent of teens, followed by Snap at 51 percent and Instagram at 47 percent.

In 2022, YouTube reported more than 631,000 pieces of content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to a report produced by Google.

Apple was also absent. The company has angered child safety groups for going back on a 2021 promise to scan iPhones for material abusive toward children.

YouTube and Apple were not invited to the hearing. A Judiciary Committee spokesman said the five executives who testified represented a diverse group of companies.

Weeks before Wednesday’s hearing, some of the tech companies announced changes to their services pertaining to children. Meta introduced stricter controls on direct messaging for teenagers and greater parental controls. Snap announced its support for the Kids Online Safety Act, proposed legislation to restrict data collection on children and tighten parent controls on social media.

In front of the Capitol building on Wednesday, a nonprofit critical of big tech displayed cardboard cutouts of Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Chew sitting atop a mountain of cash while clinking champagne glasses. Inside the hearing room, parents held up photos of victims of online child sexual exploitation.

Mary Rodee, a parent in the hearing room, said she lost Riley, her 15-year-old son, in 2021 after sexual exploitation on Facebook Messenger. She has since fought for legislation to protect children online.

“The companies are not doing enough,” she said. “Enough talking.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/31/technology/senate-child-safety-social-media.html