Monday, February 27, 2006

Two Victims Of Kolko/Margulies/Yeshiva Torah Temimah Respond To The Jewish Press And The Mindless Garble FROM the Jewish Press

Victim Number One

The real problem with the Jewish Press editorial is its blatant hypocrisy. For two years now the Jewish Press has been running a massive campaign on behalf of Rabbi Mordechai Tendler to undo his expulsion from the RCA. That campaign included news articles as well as editorials. The thrust of the campaign is that Rabbi Tendler did not receive due process from the RCA. The Jewish Press particularly gave a lot of publicity to a Psak from a Jerusalem Beth Din which demanded that the expulsion issue be brought before a Beth Din. The Jewish Press through its publicity campaign, brought tremendous pressure to bear on the RCA to comply with that Psak as the RCA seemed more inclined to ignore it. That pressure included veiled threats of Siruv and the suggestion that failure to comply would call into question the validity of the RCA’s own Beth Din, The Beth Din of America. Primarily as a result of those efforts it now appears that indeed the RCA is participating in a Beth Din process.

It must be pointed out, that each and every one of the editorials in favor of Rabbi Tendler and pressuring the RCA was anonymous. Never once did any member of the editorial board dare identify him or herself. Obviously, this was done to avail themselves of the protective shield that anonymity provides. Especially, when going up against a powerful and influential organization such as the RCA.

Moreover, Jewish newspapers traditionally reported the news. Nowhere, in the laws pertaining to Beth Din is there any role defined for a Jewish newspaper to come in unasked and act as an enforcement arm of Beth Din, and pressure people to abide by Jewish Law or to force recalcitrant litigants to come to Beth Din. This is an unprecedented role that the Jewish Press has created for itself in the Tendler matter where it has inserted itself into a judicial process that, in the first instance, was way beyond its calling and jurisdiction.

To put it more succinctly, the Jewish Press’ role in the Tendler matter was nothing more than one big anonymous pashkivil to correct an injustice - giving Rabbi Tendler due process - that it believed was worthy of its time and attention.

In truth, notwithstanding the unprecedented nature of the actions by the Jewish Press, we don’t disagree with the Jewish Press’ methods of using their anonymous pashkivil to get justice where nothing else will work.

The instant anonymous pashkivil seeks similar relief. Due process for the victims of a known child molester who has to date avoided justice. The use of different media, mass mailing and a website, are hardly the point. The principle, the use of an anonymous pashkivil as a last resort to bring about justice when members of our community evade our Beth Din system, is an effective one as ably demonstrated by the Jewish Press.

What really seems to be bothering the Jewish Press is that with the emergence of alternative media they are losing their ability to control the procedure and agenda of the anonymous pashkivil. In and of itself that is understandable. What is more disturbing, however, is the Jewish Press’ apparent willingness to turn a blind eye to an explosive issue that has rocked the Frum community to its core only because it didn’t come off their desks.

Victim Number Two

To the Editor from a victim of Yeshiva Torah Temimah aka Lipa Margulies/Yudi Kolko

How can anyone disagree with the eloquent and logical position taken by the Editorial Board of The Jewish Press as it weighs in on the evils of anonymous slander sheets?

Unless, the true “cancer” is not the “Pashkevil” but rather the issue addressed in said mailing. Namely, the over three decades of see no evil practiced by our Rabonim when faced with countless complaints of children being molested by this one Rebbi.

Did the Editorial Board bother to investigate this matter before attacking the accuser?

Apparently not.

Anyone willing to do so much as an iota of research will learn of numerous charges having been levied against this Rebbi. Only a little more work will net victims speaking of their experiences with this man. You take the liberty of vaguely referring to the “lurid accusations of improper conduct” contained in the letter as being unsubstantiated and proclaim it to be “incumbent upon each of us to resolve to give no credence to unproven charges.” Are you including the many victims of this man in your pronouncement? Do you suggest that they too urge the charges be “discredited on a community-wide basis”?

To date no one was willing to stand up to this man’s boss until an anonymous blogger took up the cause. Where were our organizations all these years? Why did it take the fear of exposure to the secular media to propel them into action and break over thirty years silence and inactivity? Why were the Jewish souls living daily with the pain of their mistreatment at the hands of this man not enough to compel action?

I respectfully submit the “cancer growing in our midst” is the child molesting and the protecting of the perpetrator. The “Pashkevil” was the equivalent of Chemotherapy, painful and damaging but curative.

In closing, I speak with conviction because I am a victim of this man. I have contacted Elliot Pasik, Esq. (efpasik@aol.com) and have volunteered to testify under oath in any legitimate fact finding body convened for the purpose of keeping this molester away from children. I urge everyone else molested by this man to do the same.

Name Withheld
Brooklyn, New York

Jewish Press Letters wrote:

The issue here is not the guilt or innocence of an individual, but the practice of leveling accusations in a public and anonymous manner. Certainly you don't mean to imply that The Jewish Press, which has actually lost some readers because of our coverage of domestic and other types of abuse, is guilty of covering up or ignoring the problem? Maybe you're thinking of Yated and Hamodia.

To: letters@jewishpress.com
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006
Subject: Re: Child Molester

I was not accusing the Jewish Press of anything. I am writing a letter to the Editor in response to an Editorial you chose to write. Your Editorial ignores the issue addressed in the "Pashkevil" yet addresses the medium.

I assume from your defensive response that you will not be publishing my letter. I find that to be unfortunate. This issue is newsworthy and affects the community far more than the issue of "Pashkevils" you chose to address.

No I'm not thinking of Yated or Hamodia. I wrote to you, not them. Will you do anything about this horrific issue?

Jewish Press Letters wrote:

We don't run anonymous letters. I'm not saying we'd run it even if your name were on it, but without a verifiable name it definitely won't be considered. Nothing personal.

Thanks for your input.

To: Jewish Press Letters
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006
Subject: Re: Child Molester

Question: Was not your "Editorial" anonymous? If so, please be so good as to explain the difference between your Editorial and the "Pashkevi" you criticize so vociferously.

Also, please explain the value system you ascribe to, which calls forth self-righteous indignation over an anonymous letter yet allows you to remain silent over a chronic child molester teaching in one of our yeshivas.

Thank you for your earlier responses, I look forward to hearing from you.

Jewish Press Letters wrote:

Aren't all newspaper editorials "anonymous?" Do you know who writes New York Times editorials? You're really too intelligent to resort to that argument. An editorial in The Jewish Press 9or any publication) isn't anonymous for the simple reason that it has the newspaper's imprimatur on and behind it. Agree with a particular editorial or not, you know it's the corporate entity known as The Jewish Press that disseminated it.

To: Jewish Press Letters
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006
Subject: Re: Child Molester

New York Times:

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., Publisher
Bill Keller, Executive Editor
Jill Abramson, Managing Editor
John M. Geddes, Managing Editor
Jonathan Landman, Deputy Managing Editor

Jewish Press:

Mysterious "Editorial Board"

When the New York Times runs the Kolko story, they will offer attributions as well as quotes from victims that the Orthodox Jewish media refused to report on this issue.

My question to you is; why? You have the unique ability to address this pressing issue and help prevent it from hitting the secular media. Don't you have a moral duty to do so?

Jewish Press Letters wrote:

We have a masthead as well. The Times's masthead doesn't tell you who writes any of the editorials. As a matter of fact, none of the names you listed have anything to do with editorials. Gail Collins is the editorial page editor, and she's got 15 or 16 editorial writers under her. Yuo can find their names on the Times website, but you'll never know which one of them wrote any specific editorial.

To: Jewish Press Letters
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006
Subject: Re: Child Molester
So, pray tell. Is your name on the Masthead?

Your single minded focus in protecting your anonymous vehicle (the Jewish Press) is hardly the issue at hand.

The issue, namely the presence of a chronic child molester in one of our prominent yeshivas and the refusal of the yeshiva's owner to deal with the issue is a local crisis unlike any we have seen in recent years.

This might not be rocking your world, but a good portion of your readership do live in the community affected by this and they are wondering why your focus seems to be on yourself as opposed to on this issue.