Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I feel we should develop appropriate ways of using the existing criminal justice systems to our advantage. What else could work?

Dr. Benzion Twerski Writes:

There seems to be some disagreement whether there is a rampant problem of molestation and abuse in the schools as opposed to non-school related incidents. In the absence of empirical data, no one really knows. Obtaining reliable data is also close to impossible when we are dealing with an issue that is associated with shame and stigma. However, there is another angle (and I am sure I am stating the obvious). The school based molestation, even if the actual numbers are low, is so alarming and horrifying. We send our children to be in the care of the school staff and faculty. And it is caregivers that are not only failing to protect the children, but are perpetrating the crimes themselves! This takes even low numbers to soaring heights.

Much of the apprehension is the issue of reporting. The belief, with merit, is that this can result in criminal charges, incarceration, etc. This also affects the reputation of the school, since the safeguards to prevent were not in place. The establishment seems to take the stance of “Let us handle the issue internally without resorting to the criminal justice system that is out of our control.” While I can appreciate this, I must appeal to my conscience about the consequences. Do our Batei Din have any real clout when it comes to punishment and enforcement? Doesn’t halacha require us to allow the shiltonos to handle such affairs?

I share the horror that is elicited by such traumatic events. Every incident I hear makes my blood boil. Ask my wife – she sees me coming back home with a different mood and recognizes I just heard about an incident of this type. My knee jerk reaction is respond with drama. Report it, get the perpetrator fired, publicize the person’s name in every form of media, include those in supervisory positions who failed to establish safety and prevent the trauma, etc. None of these reactions are irrational. Someone posted here about having a single recognized organization take the reins to guide families through the painful process. Not that I am optimistic that any one organization would undertake such a mammoth responsibility, but the idea that there should be a process that would have some structure to it that would avoid the heated reactions such as those I listed is inviting.

Someone told me several years ago that terminating a yeshiva rebbe or other faculty is terribly hard to do, even if identified as a perpetrator of such violence. The reason given is that the Batei Din routinely obligate the yeshiva to continue the employee’s salary in full for two years to allow him to find another job. This is to insure that the family will not be thrust into poverty for a crime they did not commit. I cannot verify this, though it is understandable. If anything of this sort is true, who would expend two salaries to get one person to do a job? I know the judgment of allowing a molester into a classroom is poor, to say the least (actually criminal), but I have never faced a yeshiva budget with loads of red ink and financial pressures. Such conditions have led others to other forms of crime.

Let’s take an inventory of what we have here. Rabbi X. is alleged of perpetrating an incident of trauma. These are the option:

1- Bring this issue to yeshiva administration. Unlikely to produce much beyond denial, or at best the promise to discuss the matter with Rabbi X.

2- Approach a local Rav, Posek, or Bais Din. This will most likely elicit additional denial, and all forms of manipulation of the system will be attempted.

3- Try a grass roots effort of bringing the issue to other parents. This will prompt an understandable backlash of retaliation. How dare an accuser create havoc among the parent body!

4- Report the incident to authorities. Expect to be ostracized in the community as a “moser”. Expect all other children to be expelled from the yeshiva. Expulsion may also spread to other schools if there are other children there, as the schools will all be guided to expect similar accusations. Getting rid of all members of the family is a good protection from such accusations.

5- Ignore the problem, hoping that it will go away. That type of parental neglect is inexcusable.

In my earlier posts, I made my feelings clear, that we should not be holding the gedolim responsible any more than anyone else in the community. However, I ask, if this is your child, chas veshalom, who was a victim, which of the above options would you choose? I hear the frustration and the hopelessness. I feel we should develop appropriate ways of using the existing criminal justice systems to our advantage. What else could work?


Brooklyn Law School said...

Being that all Twerskis are related, how close or distant is Bentzion to the Tort Putz?

Maimonides Hospital Horror Show said...

This Simhaee putz is board certified at Maimonides in Boro Park (not the Bronx like the article mistakenly says). He's an Iranian YU guy.

Finkelstein is the son and brother of prominent conservative rabbis.


A Manhasset doctor is sending letters to 36 of his patients after the doctor reused syringes when he gave them flu shots last fall, the state Department of Health said yesterday.

The state began investigating the practice of Dr. E. Jacob Simhaee, an obstetrician-gynecologist, in December after a complaint was filed with the Nassau County Department of Health.

The state's release of information yesterday contrasts sharply with its handling of the case of Dr. Harvey Finkelstein. It waited three years before telling the public last fall that the Dix Hills doctor had reused syringes, which resulted in transmission of hepatitis C.

"It's amazing that in this amount of time, they conducted an investigation and made a notification," said Mary Curtis, Nassau's deputy executive of health and human services. "The state and Nassau County did a great job. We've really learned from the past."

But state Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) said a second such case perhaps warrants legislative action. "We're going to have to look into the prohibition of multiple-use vials or limiting the use of syringes to single-use syringes," he said.

As with Finkelstein, the department determined that Simhaee used a single syringe, which held up to six doses of flu vaccine, on multiple patients. Infection-control procedures require that a new syringe be used for each patient.

No diseases have been transmitted, the state said, and it said Simhaee has cooperated fully. Simhaee's patients who received the flu shot between September and December are being urged to be tested for hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV, and to be revaccinated against the flu.

State Health Department spokeswoman Claudia Hutton said yesterday's announcement reflects Health Commissioner Richard Daines' "concern that the public be alerted more swiftly when there is a public health issue."

More than 10,000 of Finkelstein's patients were notified that they could have been at risk and should be tested. As of yesterday, 13 Finkelstein patients have tested positive for hepatitis B and nine for hepatitis C. The state has said it is impossible to determine whether Finkelstein's office was the source of the infections.

Hutton said Simhaee was contacting the patients by phone and letter. She said the health department composed the letter, but the doctor asked to sign it.

Simhaee declined to comment yesterday. "This is a very highly respected doctor who has been cooperating in every way with state and county officials and will continue to do so," said his attorney, Craig Schaum of Garden City.

Simhaee graduated in 1982 from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine at Yeshiva University in the Bronx, according to the state Health Department Web site. He did his graduate medical education at Maimonides Medical Center in the Bronx in obstetrics and gynecology, in which he is board certified.

Monsey said...


A former prosecutor and PTA president had sex with two underage boys, joined other teens in booze and pot parties and kept it all a secret from her police-chief husband, Rockland County officials said Tuesday.

Beth Modica, 44, was indicted on 35 counts alleging statutory rape, criminal sex acts, sex abuse and endangering children. Wearing handcuffs and an olive-gray suit, she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in Rockland County Court and was ordered held on $75,000 bail.

"These are serious charges, against children in her community," said Judge Catherine Bartlett.

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said Modica had intercourse and oral sex with a 16-year-old boy and oral sex with a 15-year-old boy last summer. He also said that she served and shared alcohol and marijuana with "many" other teens from Suffern High School at her Sloatsburg home or in her car.

Modica was an assistant district attorney in Queens and Rockland in the 1980s and 1990s, and until this month was attorney for the Town of Ramapo and the Village of Sloatsburg, but was not reappointed to the yearly term.

Zugibe said Modica's husband, Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica, "was not involved, was unaware and was not present when the alleged acts occurred. ... I have only the greatest respect for Chief Modica."

He would not comment on whether the couple's four children, including a son at the high school, were aware of the alleged crimes.

Where's Uncle Milty when you need him? said...


The 16-year-old yeshiva student who told cops he was beaten by five black teens during an anti-Semitic rampage in Brooklyn has been involved in three other violent incidents in the past year.

Samuel Balkany reported being robbed at knifepoint, randomly pushed as he exited a car and having his nose broken in separate attacks since moving in with an aunt in Crown Heights last year, police sources said.

"Maybe I have a kick-me sign on my back," Samuel said after a news conference Monday at the Jewish Children's Museum in response to his latest run-in with bad guys. "Every incident had a witness."

The teen said his parents in Borough Park have asked if he would like to return home, but the commute to his 7:30 a.m. classes at the yeshiva is easier from Crown Heights.

Samuel, a Lubavitch Hasid, was attacked again in the neighborhood Friday by black teens who beat on him and shouted hate-filled slurs, he said. No arrests have been made.

A medical staple was required to help heal a gash in his head.

He said the previous attacks were not bias, adding that in the first reported incident his nose was broken by a drunken pal he has since reconciled with.

Great Neck said...

Dr. Eskandar Yaakov Simhaee is or was vice president of the North Shore Sephardic shul.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

^DJI 11,985.66 Plus 14.47 0.12%


"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Price Change
^DJI 12,012.81 Plus 41.62 0.35%


UOJ gets Results said...

Dow now up over 50 points.

Margo is grumbling on the last thread about his Apple investment. It's down $24 a share or 15% - it's biggest drop ever.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Price Change
^DJI 12,030.94 Plus 59.75 0

Whew! Whew! Whew!

Shea Fishman said...

Ok UOJ, are the Dow gains some kind of temporary trick on your part?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Symbol Price Change
^DJI 12,067.52 Plus 96.33 0.80%


"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Symbol Price Change
^DJI 12,074.51 PLUS 103.32 0.86%


Ticker Tape said...

Dow up 119 points.

'Effin Wachsman said...

Dow Jones is not a reflection of Daas Tayre.

Trading pit fresser said...

Dow up 140 points.

Rubashkin Fresser said...


Rubashkin did in fact invoke the corn-ethanol issue as one of his MANY excuses to raise prices.

Rubashkin did something really slimy in writing that letter (or was it by Lubinsky's pen?). He shlepped every other food-related industry into the argument to make it easier for himself. It has nothing to do with him if for instance lettuce prices have gone up but now that the troublemaker has pointed out increases of everything, stores have gotten the idea to raise the price of all their food. They are putting Rubashkin's letter on the wall and highlighting with yellow marker to justify not only legitimate increases but possibly also an extra measure of greedy price gouging.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Symbol Price Change
^DJI 12,139.86 PLUS 168.67 1.41%

NO! I Don't take kvittlach! :-)

Whoa! said...

Dow up 200 points as UOJ comes out of left field!!!!

Wall Street Fresser said...

Dow is up 200 points

uoj gets results said...

nasdaq up 10 points

Davos Fresser said...

All the big machers are afraid to speak up at the economic forum in Switzerland. They know UOJ is somewhere in the crowd and will bite their head off if they say anything stupid.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

^DJI 12,209.77 PLUS 238.58 1.99%


Former NYSE trader said...

That "trading pit fresser" guy really cracks me up. There was a trader who was known as "Swampy" for eating digestive unfriendly foods like a fresser and stinking the place up.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

^DJI 12,224.57 PLUS 253.38 2.12%


Anonymous said...

S&P erases it's losses.

nasdaq putz said...

up 16

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Price Change
^DJI 12,253.75 PLUS 282.56 2.36%
^IXIC 2,317.16 PLUS 24.89 1.09%
^GSPC 1,337.45 PLUS 26.95 2.06%

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Price Change
^DJI 12,272.93 PLUS 301.74 2.52%
^IXIC 2,316.41 PLUS 24.14 1.05%
^GSPC 1,338.76 PLUS 28.26 2.16%

Anonymous said...

Merrill Economist Forecasts
Worst Recession in 25 Years

David Rosenberg, chief economist for Merrill Lynch, has issued a stark warning: the U.S. is heading for the worst consumer-driven recession since 1980.

What’s more, said Rosenberg, neither aggressive interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve nor a federal fiscal stimulus package will stop the momentum.

“The recession in housing has spilled over to the rest of the economy, in our view. We now expect an outright contraction in economic activity in the first three quarters of 2008. This downturn should be led by consumer spending,” said Rosenberg in a company report.

“Rising unemployment, $6 trillion in lost housing wealth combined with slumping equity valuations, and the lack of participation from the baby boomers for the first time in three decades likely will result in the worst consumer recession since 1980,” Rosenberg wrote.

NYPD Emergency Services Unit said...

Margo is on the roof of YTT and threatening to jump. He reinvested the shirayim from his AAPL shares this morning into short positions. He says that UOJ instigated the Fed and NYS Insurance regulators to start bailout talks with Ambac & MBIA today to burn him.

Mercantile Exchange said...

UOJ comes through on lower gas prices as the price of oil even fell today.

Aron Twerski said...

Margulies was going to have me make an announcement that no one in the heimisher oylam should sell their Apple shares but it was overcome by events.

USA Today said...

By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY

The next housing downturn is already on the horizon - and it looks like it's going to be a long one.

In the next two decades, as millions of aging baby boomers put their homes on the market, they'll put downward pressure on prices, and their exodus will reshape neighborhoods and cities coast to coast, according to research released Wednesday.

In some states, the trend has already begun, making it harder for areas to recover from the real estate recession, which isn't expected to bottom out until the second half of this year at the earliest.

There are already more sellers than buyers in six states: Connecticut, New York (excluding Manhattan), North Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Hawaii. The trend first hits areas with cold weather and traffic congestion, which tend to drive retirees away.

Boomers were "an incoming tide for four decades. Now the tide's turned, and it's going to make it much harder for housing markets to rise," said Dowell Myers, professor of policy, planning and development at the University of Southern California and co-author of the study. The trend has long been anticipated, but Myers is the first to analyze buying and selling, state by state.

Nationwide, the ratio of seniors to working-age residents will increase by 67% in the next 20 years. As boomers age, more will move into assisted-living centers, apartments or relatives' houses. Those with two homes may sell one and retire to their vacation house. And when they pass on, many of their heirs will sell the properties.

Myers' research, which included population and immigration projections from the U.S. Census, shows that the baby boom housing bubble will hit the Northeast and Midwest hard.

"It's most pertinent to declining parts of the country," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who agrees with Myers' conclusions. "The glut of homes on the market from baby boomers will depress the housing market and have an impact on some suburban neighborhoods that will come to look like older city neighborhoods that have undergone blight and disrepair."

The math is simple: 79 million boomers have driven up housing demand. That trend will reverse itself when boomers are age 65 to 75; there will be three sellers for each buyer, Myers says.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Mr. Vos Zogt:

Some encouraging news!

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Financial stocks closed sharply higher, led by a 72% gain in shares of bond insurer Ambac Financial Group, after investors anticipated a financial rescue of the troubled firm and rivals.
Ambac rival MBIA Inc. also rose sharply, adding more than 30%.
Shares of Ambac (ABK:AMBAC Inc
News, chart, profile, more
Last: 13.70+5.73+71.89%

4:07pm 01/23/2008

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Does the olam want to hear my predictions for tomorrow?

Goldman Sachs said...

Ha! UOJ asks a rhetorical question as if institutional investors will make a move without his input. And to think Shafran told us UOJ isn't funny!

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I do not have enough data to predict tomorrow. As I believe Ahava said..."the market is only for people that have gambling money."

The economy is in serious trouble, do not gamble with "parnassah" money...please!

Ahavah said...

I can't imagine why you guys think the stock market prices going up is something great. Do you really believe those companies have actually increased in fundamental value and gotten less actuarily broke in the last day, week, or whatever?

Seriously, the volatility is reflective of the battle between asset collapse and hyperinflation. If the market goes up in these conditions, it just means the dollar has less value - hyperinflation is winning. You should rather pray that asset collapse wins - things are insanely overvalued. A stock value is supposed to represent the amount of money that a person would get per stock if the company went out of business and all their debts were paid and the "rest" was distributed to stockholders. Does anybody remember than from economics 101? Its the "value" of the company after debts. Just about all of the Dow industrials have no value. Their debt is more than their assets could ever produce.

So in this fiscal scenario, higher stock prices reflect depreciating currency, not stock value.

lets get back on track To UOJ the chad b'doro said...

I would like a clear explanation what is so bad about the other blog, especially since they have done more for protecting our children than any communal leaders I know.

There are three serial child molesters who abused hundreds of children behind bars mostly due to the efforts of this blog.

In addition, one principal of a yeshiva who molested dozens has left his position in chinuch, and a mashgiach in a mainstream yeshivah who molested several people was forced into resignation due to pressure from this blog.

Another educator in California was outed on the blogs and forced out of chinuch after decades of molesting high school girls.

Nobody else can claim this kind of success in keeping the molesters away from the kids. So what is wrong with being like the blog? And what is wrong with criticizing Gedolim? Is there some S'If in Shulchan Aruch I'm unfamiliar with that says that if a leader is derelict in his duty, one must keep quiet and stand by while innocent people get hurt?

I don't claim to be a halachic expert, and that's why I'm asking. I just want to know.

Dr. Bungalow Putz said...

I am against bond insurance bailouts of any kind.

Hedger said...

Ahava, according to you there is virtually no stock to be bought during any market, bull, bear or sideways.

Ahavas Yisrael charity fund of Baltimore said...

If you are a victim of sexual abuse and live in Baltimore keep your mouth shut if you need financial assistance from Ahavas Yisrael.

If you have been donating to this fund, STOP!

The word is out that if you speak out you will be cut off. It's happened to four friends of mine so far.

What happens is that victims get called into meetings by either Mrs Isbee or Eli Schlossberg.

They are told that Ahavas Yisrael is running out of money and that they have met the maximum amount that they will pay per family or individual person.

I have another friend who was told that they could no longer help pay for medication, yet they did have the money to hire mover to get them out of town.

david weidner said...

The markets are gloomy. The Federal Reserve looks like it's panicking. Unemployment is creeping higher. Confidence is lower. America's housing market -- the jet fuel that has powered an unprecedented era of spending, speculation and investment -- is flat-lining.

This is a recession, people. The market is going to stay cool.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Horowitz comments on his blog that the creation of at-risk programs in 1999 turned into a disaster because selfish yeshivos then started refusing even kids with average kep, figuring they can go to at-risk yeshivos as a last resort. These kids then turned into dropouts because who wants to go to an at-risk program?

Asher Lipner, Ph.D. Psychologist said...

As a mandated reporter, I am legally responsible to report any suspicion of a child being in danger. Even if I have not verified the fact that someone is a threat, but just have reason to suspect, it is not up to me to make the determination, I must report. On the other hand, if I do not need to report something, I am forbidden to do so by Federal Law becaue of patient confidentiality.

Many cases I work with, both patients who are victims or offenders, have already been reported to the authorities. The problem often lies in the fact that when it comes to law enforcement, the authorities often have their hands tied because in our community most people do not want to testify due to a sense of guilt about harming the perpetrator, and because of the stigma of being a victim.

Recently there was a young single woman who was raped after being abducted in Lakewood, and her story became public. I heard many people say that the poor girl would never get a shidduch, and after my shock I realized that in our community unfortunately there was a lot of truth to that dour prediction. I thought "Where are the Shimon and Levis who protected their sister Dina, and made sure to get her married to one of them?"

Furthermore, I know of a case where someone was arrested by police in one of the frum communities, and within minutes, leaders of the community had him back out on the street by applying pressure to the police with all the force that a frum community united can bring to bear. In other cases, a crime was committed out of state, and cannot be prosecuted here.

While in some cases I am not allowed to divulge information, I often get consent of release of information to talk to a perpetrator's Rav and family, who often know about the problem. Since I usually do not know the members of that particular shul or community, I do not know whom else to tell, nor do I have permission to do so, legally, unless I either have consent of the patient, or if children are directly under threat of harm, such as an abuser who is currently a teacher, or a custodial parent who abuses his own kids.

It is a complicated situation, and if anyone has ideas of how I can improve on my practice guidelines, or further questions for me, I would love to hear from you. I learn more and more each day, from my patients, colleagues, and from discussions like this. I particularly found Dr. Twersky's comments both poignantly powerful and personal, as well as clinically and technically informative.

Dr. Asher Lipner said...

I don't feel that it is my responsibility to put up signs all over the neighborhood. I would inform the school's administration, the Rabbanim of the community, and as many people I know. I've actually been torn by this problem. I had a situation where people were telling me to go to the newspaper with information I knew about a certain yeshivah covering up for a serial molester. For various reasons, I was not mandated to report in that case. I knew that if I did go to the paper, there would be many, many people in our community who would be angry at me for "airing our dirty laundry in public" and nobody would want to believe me. It would not stop ANY parents from sending their kids to that yeshivah, just like in the Brookly Yeshivah no parents removed their kids, and I would be labeled by many as "a hothead out to destroy yeshivas". So, I don't till this day know if I'm doing the right thing. I've been told by several Rabbanim that I should keep it quiet, because it is being handled "internally", but these same Rabbanim say that "internal" handling has proven not to work. I wonder what people think about using the blogs? It is a safe anonymous way to publicize, but some people fear that innocent people can be accused there, and the Agudas Yisroel has been outspoken in making this route Assur Gamur. As Dr. Twersky's analysis as well as the one I wrote above clarified, there really are no routes to go in our society to protect children without getting into trouble with someone. I have done what I can in general. I have worked with community Rabbanim and leaders. In Baltimore the Vaad has said that more needs to be done and police have to be called, and sometimes pulicizing the names of offenders must be considered. However, I cannot find a Rav to paskan for me in any case that is not mandated by law, that I should either use a blog, a newspaper, or any other method to publicize and protect the children. When somebody tried to send out fliers to the whole Brooklyn warning parents what was happening in the yeshiva with the serial molester, he was singled out for extreme villification by the Jewish Press. When it turned out that the molester was arrested twice and removed from his job, the paper never apoogized or cleared the name of the whistleblower. That is the problem with our community: Not only are molesters protected, but those who seek to protect the children are attacked. Parents do not want to know about it, and leaders do not want to tell the parents. I don't know what to do. Do you?

If anyone would like to discuss these issues with me my email is lipnera@gmail.com

Dr. Asher Lipner said...

Why not marry someone who was raped? If she has good middos and we have good chemistry and find each other attractive, and she will make a good mother to my children, why does her experience of trauma mean that she is "damaged goods?" It happens to be that I've gone through some tough experiences too in my life. Not rape, but other difficult, painful experiences. I hope that I've grown stronger and more spiritual from them, and I would not want someone to judge me negatively for my experiences. At Nefesh, which is an organization of frum mental health professionals, a woman who is a psychologist gave a powerful speech of her own experience of being raped and how she used her husband and families love, her religious beliefs and relationship with Hashem, the support of her community and her work with patients to grow and become an even better person than she was before. After listening to her, I doubt that many people in the room would think the same about the issue of marrying a rape victim. Of course, there are very holy people in our community who feel that the stricture placed in the torah on the kohain gadol that he must marry a virgin would apply to them as well, but I'm not that holy.


Rabbi Horowitz Follow up said...

Note: Due to the demands on my time, I will need to divide this response into two segments. I will post part one this evening, and do my very best to post part two tomorrow evening.
Allow me to begin by stating that my objection to the criticism of Rabbonim on this website was not to suggest that they are infallible or that no wrongs have been committed by Rabbonim regarding the molestation and abuse matter.

I do object however, to 1) sweeping condemnations of all Rabbonim, 2) the widespread notion that Rabbonim have the ability to correct all wrongs in our society, and the logical conclusion therefore that they are to blame for our community's faults.

I think that all fair-minded people would agree that leaders who have erred in the matter of abuse fall into several distinct categories:

a) Those who never personally encountered any victims, but in a global sense did not appreciate the gravity of abuse and incorrectly assumed that there was little or no abuse in our community.

b) Those who disbelieved or underplayed legitimate claims of molestation and/or abuse by victims, due to the fact that they found it inconceivable that a particular alleged perpetrator could commit such crimes.

c) Those who allowed children to remain in contact with individuals about whom multiple allegations had been lodged, but nothing had ever been investigated or proven.

d) Those who knowingly allowed confirmed child molesters near children even after they had clear and incontrovertible evidence that this individual had harmed children in the past.

I would suggest that ten years ago, many or most of us fell into category A. I certainly did, as I had no idea of the magnitude of this problem, nor did I have a full understanding of telltale signs of abuse and abusers until I began dealing heavily with at-risk teens about 10 years ago. Even so, my body of knowledge in this matter grew as time went on – and is still very far from complete. With that in mind, in halachic terminology, at least ten years ago, category A fell into the realm of a shogeg, an accidental sin.

On the other end of the spectrum, those who fall into category D are guilty of a terrible sin and bear responsibility for the horrific scars left on the victims who were abused after they had sufficient evidence of abuse, as they had a sacred responsibility to see that the abuser never, ever be allowed near a child again. Period. End of story.

Category B and, to a smaller extent, C require serious thought. What is the status of someone who suffers from cognitive dissonance, i.e., he just can't believe what his eyes see and his ears hear? Clearly things went terribly wrong in those cases, but even level C is not the same as D. As such, it is simply unfair to lump together leaders who span all 4 of these categories in one group.

It is also unfair to apply today’s level of awareness to level A or B events that occurred 20 years ago. I think that level D perpetrators do not deserve this distinction, but the others, in various degrees do. If I may use a neutral example; people who are sensitive nowadays to global warming would not be correct to judge their parents ‘carbon footprint’ of thirty years ago since environmental concerns were simply not on people’s minds at that time.

Once again, this is not by any means to excuse any of those who fall into levels A-C; only to point out that a level of nuance is in order, and there are many shades of gray in these matters.

. As for the questions that are on the minds of many thoughtful, respectful people who posted comments on this website, (and even those who posted their comments in ways that I would find less than respectful), and to all who have asked me these hard questions in public and private settings:

Why is no action being taken to prevent abuse?

Why are there no public discussions of this subject?

How could the Rabbonim that we revere have allowed this abuse to go on?

How can they regain our trust moving forward? (continued tomorrow)

Mishpacha Magazine - Part 2 said...


Safe and Secure
Protecting Our Children – Part Two
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz


Sad as it may sound, the painful reality is that you cannot provide your children foolproof protection from what are, in my opinion, the greatest physical and spiritual dangers that they might face during their formative years; abuse and molestation. Why? Because it is simply impossible to follow them wherever they go, all the more so as they pass through their pre-teen and teenage years. Furthermore, it is impractical and harmful to their sense of security to raise them to be frightened or suspicious of every adult that they meet. Finally, it is important to understand that although most of the high-profile abuse cases are school based, they are only a tiny percentage of the instances of molestation. Abusers are far more likely to be extended or close family members, older kids in the neighborhood, family friends, neighbors and peers.

With that in mind, I suggest that you view things from a broader perspective and think of protecting your children from abuse/molestation in the following four domains:

1) Training your children about healthy and appropriate norms for behavior between adults and children;

2) Equipping your children with the knowledge of what abusive behaviors are;

3) Empowering your children with the self-confidence to assert themselves when their personal space is violated; and

4) Supporting your children if and when they report to you that they are feeling that things are out of order.

In the broadest sense, the time for fathers and mothers to begin protecting their beloved children from abuse/molestation is the moment they begin their married life together.

Think of it this way. Children who are raised in homes that are havens of safety, love, mutual respect and tolerance are far more likely to immediately notice when they are treated in an abusive manner. Emotionally healthy, self-confident children who appreciate their sacred right to privacy and personal space are far more likely to hear the warning bells blaring whenever that space is invaded. Children who grow up with the notion that they can be comfortable discussing anything with their parents will, in all likelihood, inform them the very moment that something is amiss.

Conversely, children who are bullied into submission by their own parents or those who regularly view one parent being cowed into silence by the other may think that abusive behavior is quite normal. Children who are denied their personal space or whose individuality is crushed or suppressed by their parents or the educational system of their parents’ choice may not think much is amiss when outsiders do the same to them. In fact, as I mentioned in the previous column, most predators have a ‘sixth sense’ of which children have grown up in these trying conditions – and zoom in on them like a moth drawn to light.

Therefore, the most effective thing that parents can do to keep their children safe is to model healthy interactions between adults (that’s you) and children, and to empower them to speak up if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Here are some practical tips:

Encourage your children to share the events of their day with you when they arrive home each day. Spend time with them, make eye contact, and listen – really listen – to what they have to say.
Tell your children – early and often – that they can discuss anything with you, no matter how disturbing or uncomfortable those things are. Be aware that this means that you must develop true tolerance for their misdeeds if you want this to continue.
One of the most effective methods of protection is to teach your children that no adult is ever permitted to tell them a secret that they cannot tell their parents. This is a huge ‘red flag’ for predatory behavior, since part and parcel of the depraved strategy of molesters is to keep things secret from parents. There is no acceptable set of circumstances where any adult should ever be telling a child to keep secrets from his/her parents. Teaching your children that this is wrong is a powerful tool in their protective arsenal. Likewise, parents who keep secrets from each other are also modeling poor values (the kids figure it out quite soon).
Encourage the notion of personal space in your child’s life. Tell your children to knock before entering a room if they think that someone there may be undressed (do the same yourself). Give your children a drawer to keep their private possessions, and ask their siblings to respect that privacy.
“Your body belongs to you,” (or, “Your body is on loan to you from Hashem”) is a theme that should be stressed with children. While bathing young children, for example, is often a good time to discuss privacy matters in a calm, matter-of-fact manner. Tell them about ‘good touching’ and ‘bad touching’. One way of expressing this concept is to explain to them that no one except for parents can touch them in a spot covered by a bathing suit. Please do not alarm them. Frame the discussion as one of safety, and use the same tone that you would use when informing them not to take candy from strangers and not to cross the street without an adult.
Another supremely important thing to convey to children is that they should not ever be forced to do things that make them feel uncomfortable. Tell them that if they are asked to do something that “doesn’t feel right,” they have the right to say no – even to an adult. (Many, many victims report that they felt they had no choice but to go along with the demands of the abuser.)
If you suspect that your child was molested, please seek the counsel of a trained mental health professional, preferably before you speak to your children.

As I noted earlier, foolproof protection is virtually impossible. But implementing these practical suggestions will dramatically increase the odds that your children will remain safe and secure.

© 2008 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

"Rabbi" Charlie Shalman said...


It's great that my freye temple in Buffalo covered up my molesting women for 8 years.

That pesky Vicky Polin dug up that I changed my name from the more Jewish-sounding Charlie Friedman.

The Forward said...


Rabbi Arthur Charles Shalman submitted a letter of resignation last week as rabbi of Temple Shaarey Zedek, a Conservative congregation just outside Buffalo. The resignation came after one of Shalman's male congregants filed a complaint with the Rabbinical Assembly, the international union of Conservative rabbis, alleging that Shalman had an inappropriate relationship with the man's wife.

The R.A. investigated Shalman in 1999, and its ethics committee found that Shalman had violated principles of rabbinic conduct on several counts, including "improper touching" and "improper suggestions." But both the synagogue's board and its membership at large voted overwhelmingly to keep Shalman. As the Forward reported at the time, the assembly deferred to the synagogue and agreed to Shalman remaining in his post, subject to certain restrictions.

Now, it appears that this decision has come back to haunt both the synagogue and the R.A. The scandal has been an emotional blow for the congregation, which has been aging and shrinking in the face of Buffalo's decades of demographic decline.

"It's a shock to most people in the congregation," said Shaarey Zedek's president, Iris Zackheim. "A lot of people are devastated."

Zackheim released a statement saying that Shalman was resigning for "personal reasons" and that neither the officers nor the board asked him to resign. She told the Forward, however, that the resignation came after she and Shalman learned of the complaint that was filed with the assembly.

The R.A. did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

According to Zackheim, who, as synagogue president, was informed of the complaint, an inappropriate emotional relationship had been alleged. She said she did not know of Shalman engaging in any sexual misconduct.

At least some see the current scandal as fallout from the congregation's failure to fire Shalman nine years ago, when a number of women in the congregation came forward and accused him of touching them inappropriately and of making inappropriate suggestions.

"I thought it was not handled at all; it was very badly handled," said Charlotte Schwab, a psychotherapist who has written and lectured about rabbinic abuse, including her own experiences.

"The women who called me for help were despondent," Schwab added. "They were the ones who were vilified and blamed and ostracized." Schwab, though not a member of the synagogue, was in contact with several congregants from Shaarey Zedek when the first set of allegations was brought against Shalman.

The allegations led to an emotional and public dispute that made its way into the local newspapers and onto television stations.

The assembly's ethics committee investigated and found Shalman guilty of wrongdoing. In a letter to Shalman summarizing its findings, the ethics committee wrote, "[I]t is painfully clear that you have violated several principles of rabbinic conduct which have caused harm to certain of the women counseled or taught by you." The R.A. ordered Shalman to work with a therapist and a rabbinical mentor, and told him that it would not place him in a position to teach or counsel women without the ethics committee's written consent.

But the R.A. did not expel Shalman from its ranks, nor attempt to remove him from his pulpit. Both the synagogue's board and the members at large voted overwhelmingly to retain Shalman, and the assembly said it would defer to the congregation.

Schwab said that because of their emotional attachment to their rabbis, congregants are often reluctant to fire them, even in the face of serious allegations of misconduct.

"People are very misguided," Schwab said. "They think that because — people told me that, oh, he buried my mother, he married my daughter. Because of these things, they seem to give total allegiance to these men. And so, they keep them."

Dozens of congregants subsequently left Shaarey Zedek, including the president. Others stayed but remained bitter.

Despite the ethical allegations against him, Shalman was an accomplished and popular rabbi. He led outreach programs for the elderly and disabled, taught services for major holidays and helped start a minyan café. Shalman was also prominent in the Buffalo community, He taught at the local Kadimah day school, once served as president of the Buffalo Board of Rabbis and gave public talks on Jewish topics. (He has since resigned from the day school, at the school's request, according to Zackheim. The school did not respond to a request for comment.)

"Rabbi Shalman is probably one of the best pulpit rabbis that you could ever imagine," said Ed Drozen, president of Temple Beth El and a former president of Shaarey Zedek. "He was very charismatic, he was very caring, he helped a lot of people through crises. He did a great deal in that regard, and many people were willing to give him another chance."

Board Chairman Mark Richheimer, who joined Shaarey Zedek after the dispute had passed, said that Shalman had proved himself as a rabbi and that but for the after-effects of the previous allegations, Shalman might have weathered the current storm.

Now that Shalman is leaving, congregants said that reactions in the synagogue have ranged from anger and betrayal to sadness and even sympathy for the rabbi. Shalman is married and a father of four children.

"I'm disappointed in him," Zackheim said. "I'm not sorry I voted for him. I'm just so disappointed it's come to this.

Maimonides Hospital Faig Show said...


by Debra Nussbaum Cohen
Staff Writer

The Yeshivah of Flatbush refused to allow a gay alumnus to bring his partner to his 10th anniversary class reunion, which was held late last month, and the decision is spurring a wave of criticism from current and former students at the Brooklyn school.

Classmates of the gay Flatbush graduate, who is now a doctor working at Brooklyn’s Maimonides hospital, were so upset by the school’s position that they started a Facebook group called "Open Reunions," which 269 people have joined in the dozen days since it was started.

Members include several current students, a Nobel Prize winner who attended the school over six decades ago and a former principal of the school, Rabbi Alan Stadtmauer, who resigned from his
position in 2004 as he came to terms with being gay himself.

In response to a request for an interview, Yeshivah of Flatbush Executive Vice President Dennis Eisenberg issued this statement: "There are standards of halacha [Jewish law] that guide the Orthodox community. All of our graduates are welcome to attend our reunion but only those involved in recognized halachic relationships may register to attend as a couple."

Eisenberg declined to answer any questions.

The doctor at the heart of this issue said, in an exclusive interview with The Jewish Week, "They don’t know which relationships are halachic relationships. A gay relationship is different because it’s more obvious. But what about a husband and wife who aren’t shomer niddah, or not shomer Shabbos [observing the laws relating to marital sex or Shabbat]? But they’re invited anyway.

"It’s a very convenient way of covering themselves, but I don’t think that it is an adequate response," said the doctor, who asked that his name not be used because he doesn’t want to upset his family, which he described as extremely religious. Since coming out as gay, the doctor says his relationship with family members has become strained.

While he grew up in Flatbush, he now lives in a different Brooklyn neighborhood with his partner of five years.

"It’s upsetting. Ultimately it’s their loss," he said of the school. Though he didn’t go the reunion, an outcome of this imbroglio has been that he has reconnected with many former schoolmates, "who have been so supportive."

Yeshivah of Flatbush, which includes elementary and high schools, has long been known as a bastion of Modern Orthodoxy but many say it has moved more to the right in recent years.

"I was there a few weeks ago, and I have the feeling that the place has become a little more rigid than it was before," said Dr. Eric Kandel, a 1944 graduate of the school who is a neuroscience professor at Columbia University and in 2000 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

"The Yeshivah of Flatbush, which has been providing leadership in Jewish education, should lead," he said. "Am I surprised at the school’s position? No. Disappointed? Yes. It would have been nice for them to take a different position. This is not nice, not productive and not good for the Jewish community."

The doctor, like his friends, was mindful of another gay alumnus who had gone to his own reunion a decade earlier, with his partner, and was forcibly escorted out by a security guard.

"I thought that over 10 years, something would have changed in the yeshiva," the doctor told The Jewish Week.

He came out to a few close friends shortly before they graduated from Flatbush and with a couple of the rabbis he most respected just after he left the school. Nonetheless, he says, the fact that he his homosexual wasn’t widely known.

School administrators may have known about it from the biographical sketch that he, like the rest of his classmates, was asked to write for a reunion yearbook. In that bio, he included a reference to his partner.

In the yearbook distributed at the reunion, his bio was included. But the reference to his partner was deleted.

"There’s an effort to take out any mention of homosexuality. They feel like if they acknowledge it there’s going to some sort of huge problem. They’re just afraid of it, and any mention of it is completely ignored," he said.

Rachel Klechevsky graduated from Flatbush in 2002, and wishes her alma mater took a different approach in its dealings with gay students past and present. She said, "No one would come out while they were at Flatbush. What they’d go through would be so bad.

"We just want Flatbush to be more aware of gay students in general," Klechevsky added. "They do ask us for donations, and many people have said they will not give because of this. A lot of people are unhappy that they missed out seeing their friends because of something so trivial.

"It’s not like they’re doing anything to offend anyone," she said. "They just want to show up."

Anonymous said...

Has anyone here heard about the "rabbinic arbitration" conducted by shmutz face Dovid Cohen of Gvul Yaavetz. The disputing parties were the now well heard of Yudi Kolko and Shlomie Klein the bubble gum chewing elementary school principal at Chaim Berlin (a putz in his own right). The fight was about properly dividing their shared ownership in Camp Menuval (Ma-Navu). Shlomie Klein was represented at the time by an attorney and came loaded with tons of papers to prove his case. However, after Kolko finished telling his side of the story, and just as Klein's attorney was about to present his position and show his documented evidence, the freak sicko Dovid Cohen announced that he need not hear the Shlomie Klein side because he has made his finding. Shmutz face Dovid Cohen explained that he was gifted from Heaven with the ability to see through people and that he already knew the truth even without hearing and seeing any evidence. When the lawyer for Klein protested that he has solid evidence to prove his client's case, his words fell on the deaf ears of the psychotic lunatic, as he would not listen. The rasha Dovid Cohen insisted that he need not hear anything further and closed the proceedings. Of course, he issued a wriiten decision in favor of Yidi Kolko and shafted Shlomie Klein. (It's a fact that Dovid Cohen loves women and apparenly he loves sexual molesters also. Remember, Dovid Cohen of Gvul Yaavetz is the low life that suggested to Mondrowitz to flee the USA and go to Israel. Dovid Cohen admits to having known for over 40 years what Kolko was doing. And why is that considered a big deal- Shlomie Klein knew the same information and also did not tell it out to the public or drop Kolko as a partner for that reason. ) Imagine, the bastard Dovid Cohen claims to conduct a "din torah", but instead rules by some magical sense of smell. Some sick dog he is, or worse than a dog. Dogs I assume know what they are smelling, yet they don't try to arbitrate on that basis.
(It is a known fact that Dovid Cohen rules on matrimonial matters in favor of women without ever speaking to or meeting their husbands.) The end of the story was that the attorney brought a court action to void out the Dovid Cohen arbitration decision on the grounds as described above and was successful. Thereafter, the entire matter was brought to court and where Kolko was defeated.

RCC Hypocrite said...


Case of Informant Reverberates Through L.A.’s Orthodox Community

By Rebecca Spence
Wed. Jan 23, 2008

Los Angeles - The scandal that has emerged since a Hasidic rebbe and others were charged late last month with defrauding the federal government of tax dollars has caused shock waves beyond Hasidic circles, with even Modern Orthodox rabbis addressing the issue in impassioned sermons.

The pressure was particularly great at the 900-family Modern Orthodox Beth Jacob Congregation, in Beverly Hills, where the government’s chief informant in the case, Robert Kasirer, is a member. Rabbi Steven Weil delivered a sermon January 11, causing what must have been an awkward juxtaposition for many congregants: The prayer books they were using were donated by the Kasirers and emblazoned with their name.

Indeed, the question of Kasirer — the FBI witness who turned state’s evidence against the Hasidic rebbe in exchange for a lighter sentence on previous fraud charges stemming from his health care business — seems to be weighing most heavily on people’s minds, according to Los Angeles rabbis interviewed by the Forward. In traditional Jewish law, if a Jew reports another Jew to the government, he is deemed a moser, and in some interpretations, a moser’s actions are punishable by death.

The issue of mesira, or informing, has prompted a round of collective soul-searching in segments of Los Angeles’s Jewish community.

“People are very shell-shocked about the whole thing on many levels,” said Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, a West Coast representative of the Orthodox Union. “Number one, that our neighbors and friends are implicated, and number two, that an act of mesira on this level was perpetrated by one of our own.”

According to Korobkin, a Modern Orthodox rabbi who is also the spiritual leader of Los Angeles’s Yavneh Hebrew Academy, “the majority” of Orthodox rabbis in Los Angeles have already spoken about the tax-fraud case in the weeks following the indictments, with some touching on the mesira issue and others simply decrying the criminality of what allegedly occurred.

Elazar Muskin, the rabbi at Young Israel of Century City — a Modern Orthodox congregation that is Los Angeles’s second-largest Orthodox synagogue — said that he addressed the case from the pulpit. He condemned in the strongest terms the act of cheating anyone, and particularly cheating the American government of taxes.

Weil declined to say exactly what he spoke of in his sermon on the case. But according to Marc Rohatiner, a past president of Beth Jacob Congregation who still serves on the synagogue’s executive board, and who attended the January 11 Sabbath service, Weil did not address the issue of mesira. Rohatiner, 54, said that Weil roundly condemned the alleged criminal behavior and said that it could not be rationalized in any way. Weil also reportedly emphasized that the Modern Orthodox community could not point fingers at the ultra-Orthodox: “The people involved in this were people just like us, clean-shaven, wearing the same type of kippot that we wear.”

A prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi here, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case, said that Kasirer’s plea bargain has compounded his problems. “He’s certainly a persona non grata across the board,” he said, referring to Kasirer. “Everybody is just disgusted with the idea that a person tried to save himself by hurting others.”

Kasirer could not be reached for comment.

In 21st-century America, the laws of mesira are up for a wide variety of interpretations. While a moser in the Talmud could be killed for his actions, and some in more right-wing corners still hold this to be the case, many others contend that given the high comfort level of Jews in America today, the same standard created when Jews lived under hostile governments cannot be applied. “The reason that mesira was seen as the equivalent of a capital crime is that when you handed a Jew over to secular authorities, courts and prisons were run like independent fiefdoms, and prisoners often did not emerge alive,” said Yitzchok Adlerstein, adjunct chair of Jewish law and ethics at Loyola Law School. “You were theoretically costing someone their life, and that is not true in America,” he explained.

Kasirer, a fixture in this city’s Modern Orthodox community who has ties across the denominational spectrum, was a regular attendee at Beth Jacob Congregation for more than 10 years. His father, Jacob Kasirer, was a prominent Jewish philanthropist who donated the funds to build the Bais Yaakov School for Girls, located on Los Angeles’s Beverly Boulevard.

Since word of the scandal broke, Kasirer has requested that his name be removed from the prayer books and from other dedications. The synagogue, however, has not yet determined how it will proceed. Kasirer and his wife, Debra, remain members of Beth Jacob, where her family has worshipped going back multiple generations. A room at the synagogue bearing the Kasirer name was dedicated six-and-a-half years ago by Kasirer’s grandchildren and by his wife.

Kasirer’s legal troubles stretch back more than 15 years. In 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil fraud complaint against the health care entrepreneur, charging that from 1996 to 1999, he and his business associates at Heritage Healthcare of America defrauded hundreds of municipal bond investors who had invested $131 million to finance what they thought was the building of an facility to aid people afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease. According to a 2003 report in the Los Angeles Business Journal, Kasirer’s wife also received more than $1 million in salary and consulting fees from Heritage Healthcare. Moreover, the article states, Kasirer cited a minimum of $122,208 in monthly living expenses.

Ultimately, in October 2004, Kasirer struck a deal with the federal government in which he would plead guilty in exchange for serving as an informant in another investigation. This led Kasirer to wear a wire for the government until 2007, in order to help it nail down the Spinka tax-fraud case.

YTT Misnagid said...

That may explain why Dovid Cohen accused Eli Greenwald of being "biased" against Margo (who isn't?) and basically told him to go screw himself.

Monsey said...

UOJ I hope you post this comment. I don't trust Rabbi Horowitz for one second. He's no different than most of the other rabbis. He sees money and opportunity in every corner. He plays both sides of every coin. There are many people angry at him for coming out last year with some new organization for the protection of children with an attempt to put some more money in his own pocket. Chabdehu v'chasdehu.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

I edited out most of the above comment. Rabbi Horowitz is welcome to respond.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Not enough, but a good start!

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Democratic and Republican congressional leaders reached a tentative deal Thursday on tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 per household and business tax cuts to jolt the slumping economy.

"AY recipient" said...

Attn: Ahavas Yisroel poster:

You post this all the time. Therefore, I gotta ask:

So you gonna start another organinzation to support the many many families that would suffer if theoretically AY is shut down? Anyone else can step in and pick up the budget? You live in these parts?

Do this *first*: establish the support infrastructure, tell people where to apply for assistance, verify the needs exist with the applicants, round up your volunteer base (dont ask me, I dont have the time), file with the IRS for charitable status, get some legitimacy going, get started with fundraising, **then** tell us where to send the checks.

Sounds like a plan. Get cracking, and tell us in your next post how you are doing with AY 2!

UOJ still getting residual results said...

Dow Jones up 71 points.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

UOJ still getting residual results
While I do take full credit for yesterday's GLOBAL run-up, I "humbly" can not take credit for today's uptick:-)

Jewish Press Mechutzofim said...


UOJ wants Bloomberg for President which is why we are against it.

Where's Shmarya? said...


Somehow I don't think he'll comment on this $15 million scandal that has the secular UJA facing a police investigation - unless that is he can figure out some delusional connection to Chareidim.

UOJ Agent said...

A group that fights child exploitation is calling for the National Sex Offender Registry to be merged with travel databases to track and curb predators travelling abroad for sex with children.

The group, OneChild, wants the names of convicted offenders to be placed on travel watch lists or manifests so they can be flagged if they're sold airline tickets to countries plagued by child-sex tourism.

Conservative MP Joy Smith is supporting the group and will introduce a bill in the House of Commons to target Canadians travelling for the purpose of having sex with children in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Haiti.

"We are looking at ways of protecting these young victims," Smith said. "This is a big concern because sex tourism and human trafficking is on the rise."

RCMP Staff Sgt. Rick Greenwood of the National Child Exploitation Co-ordination Centre said it'll require an act of Parliament to amend or make changes to the registry.

Fasten your Seatbelts said...


January 24, 2008
Biggest Drop in Existing Home Sales in 25 Years
Filed at 11:04 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of existing homes fell in December, closing out a horrible year for housing in which sales of single-family homes plunged by the largest amount in 25 years. The median home price dropped for the entire year, the first time that has occurred in four decades.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of single-family homes and condominiums dropped by 2.2 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million units.

For the year, sales of single-family homes were down by 13 percent, the biggest drop since a 17.7 percent plunge in 1982. The median price for a single-family home dropped 1.8 percent to $217,000.

That was the first annual price decline on records going back to 1968. Lawrence Yun, the Realtors' chief economist, said it was likely that the country has not experienced a decline in housing prices for an entire year since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The new figures underscored the severity of the slump in housing, which has been battered for the past two years after enjoying a boom in which sales set records for five consecutive years.

The housing bust has sent shock waves through the entire economy as defaults have risen, resulting in multibillion-dollar loses for big financial firms whose investments in subprime mortgages have gone sour.

There is a concern that the housing and credit troubles could be enough to push the country into a full-blown recession. After global stock markets experienced a sharp sell-off earlier this week, the Federal Reserve announced a bold three-quarter point cut in a key interest rate and held out the promise of more rate cuts to follow.

The Bush administration and congressional leaders are trying to quickly wrap up negotiations on a stimulus package in an effort to boost consumer and business confidence.

For December, sales were down in all regions of the country. Sales fell by 4.6 percent in the Northeast, 1.7 percent in the Midwest, 1 percent in the South and 2.1 percent in the West.

Ahavah said...

Not true, Hedger. Before the last bear market I pulled out of the stock market just in time and made a very nice little bundle. In 1995 we bought a 1928 arts & crafts bungalo for $75,000, put about 35,000 worth of updates and remodeling into it while living in it for ten years, and two years ago sold it for $187,500 - paid off both cars, most of our credit card debt and loans, and put a very nice down payment on the 2000sq ft condo where we now live (600 sq ft bigger than the bungalo, actually) - not to mention the pool, lake w/boat access, clubhouse. In fact, the only large credit card bills we have now are still home depot and lowes - the condo hasn't had the kitchen or baths updates since it was built in the 70s and I'm working on that right now. If we had waited one more month to sell our bungalo, it would still be sitting there for sale - the vast majority of the houses in our neighborhod that went on sale after we sold in Sept '05 are still for sale, because there is no financing available and sellers owe more than the properties are now worth. I can play this game - I have done it well. That doesn't change the fact that the stock market and investment housing is, in fact, a gamble - and you should never gamble money you don't have to lose, because plenty of people I know right now lost a ton of money when the stock market tanked earlier this decade and I feel truly sorry for people stuck trying to sell a house right now. They timed things badly and lost. Right now, I believe, due to years of experience and armchair economic study + philosophy of economics and economic theory in college that debt reduction should be everybody's main focus. I wish that haloscan would allow graphs to be posted. I ran a trendline on both stocks and house prices late last year, and the trendline shows that house values need to drop 40-45% of where they are now to reach equilibrium, and the edquilibrium value of the stock market is about 8,000. You would have to give me a stock right now, because I certainly wouldn't buy one - true. In five or ten years, ask me again and the answer might be different. Nothing lasts forever - its irresponsible in the extreme to expect things to keep going up. Even if your market is the whole planet, it's still a closed system. As UOJ mentioned, our obligation to give charity and keep our own budgets balanced doesn't go away, even when our common sense does.

Anonymous said...

Gold is up $24 an ounce today.

Avi L. Shafran said...

Some Federal Reserve agents showed up at 42 Broadway yesterday morning and ripped the bandaid off my brain. They said they need it for Ambac. That's why Neuhoff said he's against the bond bailout. He was sticking up for me.

Clueless said...


Why is the $7 billion fraud at the French investment bank dragging the Dow today? This is peanuts compared to $500 billion for bailing out bond insurers.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Gold is up $24 an ounce today.

The global markets have zero confidence in the dollar. For the first time in a decade, the Chinese GDP is expected to level-off or retreat based on the American economy not being able to absorb the Chinese manufacturing production.

These are facts. One can not, may not, assume that a hyperinflated stock market that is acting like Mel Gibson on Pacific Coast Highway (DUI)...is any indication at all - of an economy that's bleeding badly.

NY Times said...


Though the backlog of unsold homes ticked down slightly in December, at least one economist attributed the drop to discouraged homeowners “pulling their homes off the market in the face of continued weak demand and falling prices.”

“We still have a long way to go before prices sink to levels necessary to balance supply and demand in the housing market,” the economist, Joshua Shapiro of MFR, a research firm, wrote.

Potential home buyers have stayed on the sidelines as they expect prices to drop further in 2008.

Analyst said...

"The global markets have zero confidence in the dollar."

That is not entirely true but is the big theme being promoted by that putz, George Soros, who was mouthing off yesterday. You have to understand that he not only hates George Bush enough to do anything to wreck the economy but he makes his money off playing foreign currency. This guy is like the Leib Tropper of the capital markets.

Anonymous said...

"Chinese GDP is expected to level-off or retreat based on the American economy not being able to absorb the Chinese manufacturing production."

In my industry we have been bombarded lately with emails by Chinese factories hawking their merchandise.

Ahavah said...

BTW, Hedger - you don't know, of course, but I'll tell you - the "sold" prices for houses in our old neighborhood in the six months before we sold was $250,000-280,000 - and ours was in better shape than most. Many of those have never been updated. But I didn't want to have to stand in front of Hashem someday and explain why I scammed some young couple into paying $100,000 more for a house than I knew it was really worth. And that problem, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with our economy - greed and unethical behavior.

Soapbox warning!

Not just the housing market, but the entire economy. The Robber Baron CEO's have no guilt whatsoever about destroying the employment base in this country and replacing living wage jobs here with 27cent an hour jobs in China, where labourers have no sabbath or vacation days at all, no sick leave, and the factories start working middle school age kids and expose all the workers to toxic substances with no medical care, and forced to work in a factory with locked doors for 15 hours a day (as Wal-mart was recently caught doing). Rights, schmights: it's all about profit, correct? Who cares about the schmucks who lost their jobs, and those dark-skinned children who got them?

This isn't "comparative advantage," in fact it is not comparable by definition. These things are illegal here in the US for good reasons - we, as a society, believe that child labor, toxic and unsafe working conditions, and ridiculous hours are wrong, and that shabbat and vacations, living wages, and health care are right. This whole "free trade" scam was made for no purpose other than to circumvent these values our society has chosen as correct. In other words, the whole economic system is now based on a complete lack of concern both for employees and for our home economy based on nothing but greed.

And every time you buy any of that cheap junk instead of buying more expensive products made in America, Israel, or Europe, (you know, nations that have labour laws) you are subsidizing defacto slavery of poor third world peoples and cutting the foundation out from under your own economy.

We can't all survive on jobs at wally-world, burger death, fancy-hair-and-nails, laundry-mart-emporium and mowers-r-us. And people who work at the so-called "service economy" jobs can't afford the services that are supposed to be employing everyone. Only living wage blue and white collar jobs allow people to afford to have others to do their chores for them - jobs the Robber Baron CEO's have shipped off overseas for no reason other than to line their own pockets at the expense of the rest of us.

The economy can't function with greed and unethical conduct and immoral treatment of employees as it's foundation. But you want it to.

So go ahead, buy into it. Invest all your money in it - please do. I want you to.

Don't even think about supporting self-sufficiency in our own communities - Hashem forbid. Getting the lowest price is always more important, isn't it? Except that, in the end, you get what you pay for. And what you're paying for is involuntary economic servitude. Enjoy!

End of soapbox.

Machsheifa Nancy Pelosi said...

Two bizarre phone calls came into Capitol Hill this morning inquiring about the stimulus package.

Yudi Kolko wanted to know if the "stimulus" was of a sexually gratifying nature.

Belsky asked if there are any tax breaks for conducting bogus bittul kiddushin.

Son of Boog said...

"tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 per household"

It won't help many frum families who are at the income cutoff of 150k and over, except maybe for the shmucks off the books because Charlie Rangel wants non-taxpayer Blackies to get some free shit which would benefit some of unzerra.

French Bastard at Le Marais said...

I don't tink zee $7 billion "fraud" at Societe General was so bad. Twerski told me the so-called "rogue" investment banker cete une gent tres honorable.

Carol said...


Carol said...
I reported on Shalman's first round of sexual abuse allegations in 1999 on WGRZ-TV and was called an "anti-semite" by congregants who were angry that I was reporting on the allegations and the Rabbinical Assembly investigation. "The information should not be aired publicly. It will be an embarrassmemt to the Jewish community," they said. All I can say is that it is too bad they supported Shalman with blind faith, refusing to believe the truth. This man's long legacy of sexual abuse (including at least two prior synagogues) should be enough, finally, to end his career as a rabbi. I hope his victims, once portrayed as liars by fellow congregants, finally feel vindicated.

Observant Jew said...

They are talking about changing the threshold for jumbo mortgages from 417 grand to 600 grand.

What a dumb idea that will make real estate woes worse when even more numbskulls buy homes they can't afford.

Warren Buffett said...

UOJ warned me about this a year ago.


January 24, 2008
Next on the Worry List: Shaky Insurers of Bonds


"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

Among credit-card firms, Discover Financial (DFS:discover finl svcs com
News, chart, profile, more
Last: 15.62+1.02+6.99%

3:33pm 01/24/2008

DFS 15.62, +1.02, +7.0%) rose 7.3%, Capital One (COF:Capital One Financial Corporation
News, chart, profile, more
Last: 47.57+3.37+7.62%

3:33pm 01/24/2008

COF 47.57, +3.37, +7.6%) added 7.4% and American Express (AXP:American Express Company
News, chart, profile, more
Last: 46.80+0.59+1.28%

3:33pm 01/24/2008

Sponsored by:
AXP 46.80, +0.59, +1.3%) shares rose 1.3%.
Capital One on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter results in line with expectations but also unveiled plans that encouraged analysts.
Credit Card companies are up - when consumer credit card debt per household has never been higher - 20%. Personal bankruptcies and foreclosures have never been higher in recent memory.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to interject here folks, but a purported letter from R' Aron Schechter shlita has just appeared on yeshivaworld against a shaitel store in Flatbush for refusing to pull down pics of some womens faces.

The speed as to which this was reported and the zeal and determination on the part of yeshivaworld and all those involved is so apparent. Yet - and I hear this from everyone here- we just dont see that same zeal and determination about outing molesters / talking about it etc. That is where the questions about Gedolim are coming from...

Child molesters are plaguing the frum community. Chassidishe Rabbonim are arrested for fraud - and then honored at shuls. Yet no one rights a letter or a 'kol koireh' about those things. Nary a peep about these things on YW either for that matter...

But women in shaitels in a store front! This demands action!

Rabbi Aaron Schachter said...

There is a store located at 1632 Coney Island Avenue - directly across from Yeshiva Chaim Berlin - which sells Shaitels (wigs for women).

In the front window of the store, there are four, large, inappropriate, photos of women - with the point being that it should attract a persons attention and look.

When approached nicely by the Yungerleit to remove the photos, the owner answered that “this is not Bnei Brak”.

I don’t want to further delve into this mans other excuses, and answers which were all filled with Chutzpah, but I am requesting that until the Pritzus photos are removed from the store windows, no one from our community should enter this store.

Filled with shame, and embarrassment that I needed to write this letter - but felt it was necessary due to Kavod Hatorah,

Rav Aaron M. Schecter, Rosh Yeshiva Chaim Berlin.

Joe Putz said...

I'm surprised Belsky didn't try to scalp Shloimy Klein for suing Kolko.

Anonymous said...

Gold closed up almost $30 an ounce.

The Swiss Franc, another haven that spooked investors flock to, was also up significantly.

Davos Putz said...

Condeleeza Rice could make you vomit the way she's pussyfooting around the Russians & Chinese about Iran this week. The White House is probably caving because one stern word will send stocks down the toilet again.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

BTW, American Express disclosed that the amount of defaults on their branded cards have reached unprecedented highs!

And their stock moves up?!!!??

Anonymous said...


WOW UJO you scored 100 points. The entire Yeshiva Torah Vodaath is talking and laughing aloud over this web page. UOJ and the name ADOLF BELSKY has made a big hit. Even those that spoke out in the past against UOJ were laughing this time. Most talmidim connected with Torah Vodaath today know that Belsky is exactly as you wrote previously and so eloquently in your Belsky files when you referred to him as "walking sewage". This morning as Adolf Belsky walked by, one very chashuver bachur lifted his arm (after Adolf passed him by) and gave him a Heil Adolf. The place was rolling from laughter.

Anonymous said...

Heil Adolf Belsky. That's chutzpah!!! He should be referred to as Rabbi Adolf Belsky.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

The board of directors of Yeshivah Torah Vodaath and the OU are urged to terminate Yisroel Belsky immediately!

More Kabbalah madness said...

One high point in the service, which went on for seven hours, was when the sexton distributed shofars to the men, who by blowing them believe they can speed up the appearence of their life-partner, as Batzri's son, Rabbi Itzhak Batzri, explains. As the shofars blared, eyes overflowed with tears in the women's section of the synagogue. The height of the service is when Rabbi Batzri tosses hard candy at the congregation, with a promise that those who catch it will find a match.

Eichler's said...

We hope UOJ doesn't come after us. First we offered for sale Leib Pinter's published garbage. Now we have audio CDs from Belsky.

Hayotzei min hatomei, tomei, ober fort there's still money to be made.

batdina said...

Ask the Rabbi"
© (2008) By Batdina

I have some questions for the kiruv (outreach) rabbi who sexually abused me:

How many Jews do you have to bring closer to God to make up for distancing one from God?
The Talmud talks a lot about damages and how to repay someone. How can you repay me for the damage you've caused me?
How can one human being do to another human being what you did to me?

I wish he'd answer me and acknowledge my existence and the pain he inflicted on me. I wish there were even answers to my questions.

I joke that he was an outreach rabbi who reached too far. It is a shame that people like him are corrupting our religion.

If there are any rabbis out there who can attempt to answer my questions, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

Good Morning Harry said...

One of the biggest challenges with respect to the problem of child molestation in the Torah world is the tremendous emotional capital vested into the thinking of any decent human being when assessing the situation. I find myself falling victim to it too. It is of course very understandable. The outrage we all feel when our community is suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into a world we thought we were impervious to.

Many emotions suddenly well up inside of us: outrage, anger, guilt, remorse, and certainly compassion for the victims. How can this happen in the Torah world? Who is to blame? Why didn’t we notice? Why didn’t we do more? What can we do now? These are all genuine responses and are quite legitimate.

One of the consequences of these emotions is to seek someone to blame. Obviously the person most responsible is the perpetrator himself. But they are sick individuals. Mental health professionals say that they are beyond help. Treatment doesn’t work. The only way to prevent abuse is to make certain they are kept away from children… either by long prison terms or by taking the necessary steps to protect our children.
But as has been obvious from the start it isn’t only the perpetrator that is to blame. It is the rabbinic establishment. Indeed there is a lot of blame to be had there …both in the modern Orthodox world and in the Charedi world. Cover-ups have occurred in both camps that has enabled long term sexual molestation of young people.

It is clear that those who work for the welfare of the Torah world want to protect its image. They are therefore slow to act. But this approach has caused victims to pile up. And they are now - even many years after the fact - suffering the consequences.

As a result of this reticence and the now apparent consequences, there is a temptation to blame the entire rabbinic establishment. But not all rabbis are ‘created equal’. A lot depends on individual circumstances. I do not think it is fair to condemn all rabbinic leaders equally. There are some who have taken heroic positions. But there are others who deserve our condemnation. Their priorities are reversed.

They look at Kavod HaTorah first. That has caused them to sit on accusations of abuse fearing exposure will make the Torah world look bad. But no matter how badly the Torah world is made to look by publicly exposing perpetrators, the harm caused to the victims and their loved ones far supercedes the damage to ‘image’.

Instead of worrying so much how we will looking the eyes of the world we ought to consider how we look in the eyes of God. I don’t think God likes it when we sit on information about child molesters.

This does not mean that we shout from the rooftops the names of every accused person. That would be criminal! But it does mean that immediate steps are taken to remove the accused from any further contact with children. It means investigating as discretely as possible the charges against him. And the investigation needs to be done by professionals.

Any rabbinic figure that allows those accused to continue contact with children in any way deserves our outrage and our scorn. They do the opposite of protecting the image of the Torah world. They damage it! …comparing our response to that of the Catholic Church. Sweeping it ‘under the carpet’ is NOT Daas Torah. It is the opposite.

As far back as May of 2002, Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin spoke at a Torah U’mesorah convention of several hundred principals. He said about this issue: ‘There is no more room under the carpet’.

A Frum professional who has been involved many years with victims has told me that what has been reported in the media of is only the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more child molestation in the Frum community, than anyone can possibly imagine! Unfortunately some rabbinic leaders refuse to believe that.

So whom do we blame? How much blame do we assign? Whom do we direct out outrage to? These are valid questions that need to be answered if we are to going to even begin to tackle the problem of rabbinic reticence.

These are the rabbis that deserve our scorn and outrage. They are guilty! And they should resign any position of leadership in the Torah world they have.

What can we do to accomplish this? I think we need a mass boycott of the institutions they head or are involved with until they resign. It doesn’t matter how Frum or how knowledgeable they are in Torah. It doesn’t matter how concerned they are about the welfare of Klal Yisroel… or the Mesiras Nefesh they have had in various worthwhile causes.

Nor does it matter how prominent they are. When image is put before the health and welfare of any human being, then - to paraphrase Rav Aharon Kotler - his “Shteleh iz Gornisht Vert”. His position is worthless! Instead of leading Klal Yisroel, he is enabling sex offenders. All his Divrei Torah and Divrei Musser pale in comparison to what he is potentially enabling.

Modern Orthodoxy learned this lesson the hard way. Ask any of the past leadership of NCSY who were asked to resign after the Joel commission report. Those rabbinic leaders wanted to protect Kavod HaTorah too. Look where that led. It enabled years of abuse and it made the Torah world look terrible. Their mission t protect their image was not accomplished. Human beings suffered. And the rabbinic leaders at NCSY paid a very heavy personal price. The reputations of good people are now tarnished forever!

The Charedi leadership refuses to learn from that event. They too will have to learn the hard way. And we can help.

Roshei Yeshiva that now harbor or who have harbored sex offenders ought to be boycotted by any parent - past, present, or potential until they reisgn. And any rabbinic leader of any institution who justifies sweeping things under the carpet ought to be forced to resign as well.

Refusing to donate money to their institutions ought to start right now. The cost of waiting is too high. Who knows how many young people are being sexually abused at this very moment in time because of their reticence?! Any Rabbinic leader who sits on information and refuses or is slow to act on it is a Mesayah L’Averiah. And yes, these leaders do exist. They are enablers of potential sex abuse. And I do not envy their Olam Habah!

dovbear said...

I do want to grab this opportunity to add my name to the list of bloggers who have previously mocked Avi Shafran for the insulting to the intelligence spin Avi has attempted to put on the abuse cases.

The man is a tool, more worried about the honor of his bosses than he is about the safety of children.

I don't know if the Kolko fall-out will give our community a healthier and more realistic understanding of famous big name rabonim, their roles and their power. But let's hope that it teaches us to ignore professional spinmeisters like Avi Shafran.

gil student said...

Rabbi Shafran writes:

What is also lamentable, though, is that its [abuse's] existence—to whatever extent—in the Orthodox world provides fodder for those who are always at the ready to pounce on the flimsiest of anecdotal evidence to "expose" what they believe are the moral shortcomings of Orthodox life.

This may be true but the solution isn't dismissing accusations as "the flimsiest of anecdotal evidence.” This alarmingly poor choice of words implies that largely, and especially regarding the case mentioned in the subsequent paragraph, all that exists is “the flimsiest of anecdotal evidence.”

This impression is terribly mistaken.

On the contrary, there are sworn testimonies in this case that have led to multiple indictments. While an indictment is not a conviction, it is certainly more than a flimsy anecdote. It means that victims of sexual abuse, often terrified schoolchildren, have overcome their trauma and fear to testify under oath in a room full of strangers and serious consequences.

Rabbi Shafran's next paragraph is the following single sentence: "Last year, an article appeared in New York magazine that told the tawdry tale of an alleged serial Orthodox child abuser.”

“Alleged” may be the legally and journalistically correct term because this yeshiva rebbe has only been indicted on multiple counts of child sex abuse and not yet convicted.

“Tawdry tale,” however, is yet another poor choice of phrases because it greatly diminishes the seriousness of the matter and implies that the multiple charges are nothing more than invented stories rather than serious and frightening accusations from multiple accusers.

While the many accusations about abusers may or may not imply something about the general Orthodox community, the cover-ups, the diminishing of the seriousness of these accusations, and the belittling of the victims and the immense courage that many of them have shown by coming forward, is in my mind a greater indictment of our community than any Brooklyn courtroom can issue.

There are public figures who have said that we should not report to the police the wrong-doings of abusers but the greatest rabbis of our times – including those to whom the Agudah looks for guidance – have disagreed.

Whatever Chillul Hashem emerges is saddening but the protection of past and future victims is a more overriding concern. Let us not belittle the ongoing revelations but instead work together towards ensuring that these abuses never happen again.

The first step to doing that is admitting that abuses have occurred and encourage the speedy and just resolution of such cases.

orthomom said...

…It's almost as if Rabbi Shafran would have us believe that the fear of the community losing face over these allegations are somehow anywhere near as disturbing as the allegations themselves. The allegations, some quite credible, of children being abused in the most heinous manner by those who we entrust to care for them, to educate them. If Rabbi Shafran were to put out just one statement that would lead me to to believe that he is chagrined, devastated, completely emotionally wrought by the allegations of abuse and cover-up that have rocked the Orthodox world, then maybe I would feel more comfortable with the apologetics and attempts to paint the community at large as the actual victims of unfair media attention here. But the bottom line is that the victimhood is getting old. The victim here is not the Orthodox community, at the hands of a sensationalist press - or at least they are not the most pitiable victims. The victims, that just once, Rabbi Shafran might consider showing at least as much compassion for as he does for the reputation of our entire community, are...well, the actual victims of these heinous crimes.…

Owings Mills Times said...

She founded resource for sex abuse victims
By Bryna Zumer
Owings Mills Times

Vicki Polin, a counselor specializing in sexual violence, noticed years ago that there seemed to be no Jewish resources for sex abuse victims, and she was uncomfortable referring them to Christian organizations, which she felt might proselytize them or be unable to speak to Jewish issues.

Before relocating to Israel in 2001, she attended Neve Yerushalayim, a women's college in Jerusalem, and saw that people who had been sexually abused had no place to turn.

"All these young women started telling me what happened to them," Polin said. "I started seeing what a problem it was."

A Chicago native, she moved to Baltimore in 2002 and, in 2003, launched the nonprofit International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault, now known as The Awareness Center.

The organization's goal is to provide resources to victims and educate the general community, but Polin, an incest survivor herself, has also drawn controversy for posting information on alleged offenders, including many prominent rabbis, on the center's Web site.

"Our goal is education. It's not just about, 'Get this guy, get that guy,'" she said, explaining that many in the Orthodox world do not watch TV or read secular news, but have gained information from the center's Web site.

After she, together with a volunteer board of directors, began posting information on offenders, "survivors started saying, 'Why don't you have my story?' The same (victims) were talking about the same (offenders), and we started putting the pieces together."

Although more than 250 rabbis worldwide support The Awareness Center, critics have accused Polin of "lashon ha'ra," derogatory or damaging speech against another person, which Jewish tradition condemns.

"In some places, we're seen as heroes and in some we're seen as crazy or vindictive," she said.

After Polin received allegations against rabbis by a group that turned out to be linked to al-Qaida and was anti-Semitic, she posted resources on abuse for Christians and Muslims as well.

She also works with groups like The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and, in addition to running the non-profit almost single-handedly, regularly testifies in court on behalf of victims of sexual violence.

The goal is not just to educate and reach out to victims, Polin said, but also to help abusers.

"There's no proven treatment for offenders. We don't know what to do, how to stop them," she said.

Kiruv: 101 said...

Important Message To ALL Jewish Outreach Workers!

I was watching the following youtube film and kept asking myself why the solution to keeping Jewish Jewish isn't just about learning about Judaism or Torah. What chases away about 1/4 of the Jewish population is the way our communities have been shaming and and blaming those who have been sexually victimized, while enabling sex offenders to continue to molest our children and unsuspecting adults.

Please share the above message with every kiruv worker (Jewish outreach) you know.


Kaufman, Kohlberg & Kishkes said...

Just about all of the Dow industrials have no value. Their debt is more than their assets could ever produce.

Your saying that GE has more debt than assets? That DuPont has more debt than assets?

Hell, even GM has more assets than debt.

Wall Street, though, is indeed part of the problem. The hyperinflated salaries in the financial business encourages not prudent financial growth but rather much risk taking, so many of them ran after the subprime market, knowing that if their company gets screwed, they still have a golden parachute severance package.

How much did O'Neil walk away with? $146 million?

It'll be interesting to see what Cerberus will do with Chrysler. Though some think that Feinberg is having second thoughts, if you look at the deal Daimler just about paid them to take Chrysler off their hands and it is almost already profitable for Cerberus. Cerberus generally hires the best execs they can to run their acquisitions and pays them well with a promise of an equity stake with the attendant big payout. How else do you think they hired Jim Press away from Toyota? It's one thing to be the first geijin on the Toyota board, but if they turn around Chrysler, Press could be a very wealthy man.

CNBC imitates UOJ said...

Their commentator called the rogue trader at Societe General a "French Bastard".

They said it was impossible that he could have lost over $7 billion without the bank's knowledge and said there must be a conspiracy where he takes the fall to be rewarded.

Responses to Batdina said...


Anonymous said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. I ask the same thing about the rabbi who lured me in. I did not grow up religious, yet I wanted to learn. I trusted someone who I should not have trusted. I thought that a rabbi was supposed to represent G-d.

I also joked about my outreach rabbi reaching out too far. I thought he loved me. I thought he really cared. I was so stupid. He violated a sacred trust.

I had to quit lighting shabbos candles because when I light them I hear his voice teaching me the bracha. Forget about davening, because I don't want to do anything that reminds me of him. I quit going to shul. I quit hanging out in the frum world. I got sick and tired of everyone telling me I was speaking loshon hara when I tried to get help.

I also have the same questions you do. I know your pain all too well.

I feel deceived by those who I thought represented goodness, I thought they represented G-d.

There's no mikvah that can purify soul. This man, this rabbi committed soul murder.

Anonymous said...
There is no answer to your questions. An answer would somehow excuse what that Rabbi did to you and would somehow minize the pain caused to you. This must never happen. His sin is real and your pain is even more real. No reasons, no excuses.

Just think about the following:

Judaism is perfect but Jews are not. We should use Judasim to get ourselves closer to perfection and not to cover our flaws and pain inflicted on others.

Yardena said...

I once read an article about a prison that specialized in teenage offenders. Their crimes ranged from child molestation to rape. It was a special, therapeutic prison in which they received group counseling, private counseling, sensitivity training, etc. Look, they were caught young, and before they'd racked up a lot of victims. Sounds pretty hopeful, no? Within a year, 80% of them had repeated their crime! That is, of course, those who were caught. The actual number could've been higher.

Hedger said...

I think Ahava B also meant to refer to price to earnings ratio.

Cerberus, which also owns GMAC, is controlled by at least one partner who is an Orthodox Jew. He actually lives in the same Upper East Side building as Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Kaufman and Kishka must be silent partners.

Can anyone put together a graph of golden parachutes for failed CEOs. I'd like to see what an Affirmative Action poster boy like O'Neil gets in comparison to the rest.

Dan Quayle said...

Cerberus brought me on board as their pretty boy face to the public.

I almost lost my job to John Edwards who gets a shadttier haircut that costs $400.

Trading Pit Fresser said...

Dow Jones up 66 points.

Gold up to $920 an ounce.

John Edwards said...


UOJ told Dovid Letterman to make choyzek out of me and mess up my shadtty hair on national TV.

French Bastard said...


It's not like I haven't done any good. Margo lost his pants in the stock market because of me.

Shmueli said...


Federal prosecutors on Thursday identified the co-founders of the Broadcom Corporation, Henry T. Nicholas III and Henry Samueli, as “unindicted potential co-conspirators” in an investigation into the illegal backdating of stock options.

Anonymous said...

There is a connection between the old Spinker & Bergman.

I was shocked to find out they are brother in laws despite that Bergman is modern orthodox.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

"John L. Hess's last hurrah" at the New York Times was to break the nursing home scandal of the mid-1970s.

"In keeping with the ethnic peculiarities of the city, most of the crooked nursing home entrepreneurs and their elderly victims were Jewish, including the top gangster Bernard Bergman who had been involved with his parents in importing heroin concealed in prayer books! Bergman's chief accomplice was Eugene Hollander, who locked patients in their rooms at night in order to avoid paying wages to a night shift. (He billed Medicaid for a Renoir on his wall and told a physician who complained about neglect, "What is a nursing home but a waiting room for a funeral parlor?")

Bungalow Yenta said...

Is that the wealthy Hollander family that sits on the board of some yeshivos?

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...


It's a different Hollander family. Spread the word in shul, at the Shabbos table, call all your friends, tell your kids, call Bungalow Putz Neuhoff, tell your maid, tell your grocer.........

George Anderson said...

Shafran said to just blame UOJ for loshon hora and I'll get off the hook.


Wall Street C.E.O. Is Charged in Fatal Hit-Run

By Sewell Chan

Updated, 12:15 p.m. | The chief executive of a Wall Street technology consulting company was charged today with vehicular manslaughter in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a 59-year-old woman on Thursday evening.

According to the police, the executive, George W. Anderson, was driving a black Mercedes-Benz sport-utility vehicle north on Water Street, between Hanover Square and Old Slip in the heart of the financial district, at 10:51 p.m. Thursday when he struck a pedestrian. The pedestrian, identified as Florence Cioffi, of 28-34 Gerritsen Avenue in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, was taken to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Mr. Anderson left the scene of the accident but returned five minutes later, according to the police. He refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test or give a blood sample to the police, who wanted to determine if he had been drinking. Mr. Anderson was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident and is in custody.
Mr. Anderson at first told police officers that he was a computer programmer

DovBear Market said...

Dow Jones down 170 points

Alan Nadler said...


The FBI admits for the first time that it has a department of Yiddish translators. These are the guys who checked out the Spinka surveillance.

Can anyone confirm this? said...

It would explain Margo's sick behavior, among other things.

One caveat is that Alan Nadler is himself a Hungarian who left frumkeit and has a biased axe to grind.


Many other sects of Polish and Russian origin have found themselves mired in financial and legal scandals. But I believe their shady activities pale, both in magnitude and frequency, next to those of the Rumanian and Hungarian Hasidim. Why?

The answer can be found mainly in a failure of historical and theological evolution among these groups, despite the dramatic evolution of their circumstances since arriving in America. The mind-set of numerous smaller, mostly Rumanian and Hungarian Hasidic sects is typically mired in a romance with the “glory days” of their respective founding Rebbes. In the case of Spinka, this harkens back to the distinctly inglorious late 19th century era of what Jewish historians have dubbed “decadent Hasidism” in the loosely Austrian-ruled district of Bukovina, in the infamously lawless land of Rumania.

Indeed, it may all go back to the father of “decadent Hasidism,” Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin — who, you’ll recall, was also the very man suspected of putting out the hit on Oksman and Shvartzman in the Mayseh Ushits. Following his release from prison in February 1840, Rabbi Israel fled Tsarist Russia to the Austrian-ruled Rumanian district of Bukovina, there to establish the wealthiest and most unabashedly materialistic dynasty in Hasidic history. As the Israeli scholar David Assaf has richly documented in his magisterial biography of Rabbi Israel, this Rebbe inaugurated a uniquely opulent style of Hasidic leadership that spread like prairie fire to Hasidic courts all across Rumania, modeling itself after the decadent lifestyle of Central Europe’s most debauched royal families. Rabbi Israel unabashedly demanded enormous sums of money from his Hasidim (presumably without offering kickbacks or illegally inflated tax-receipts). He wore outrageously lavish, silver and gold-laced outfits, favored royally decorative walking-sticks, was serenaded to sleep by his personal orchestra and was transported in a gilded chariot said to have been drawn by a dozen white stallions (some say six Arabians, while others argue three Rumanian nags). And he infamously was fond of declaring, as a kind of personal motto, “All the money in the world belongs to me.”

Historians of Hasidism have long considered the establishment of R. Israel of Ruzhin’s palatial headquarters, and those of his followers such as the Rebbes of Sadigora and Buhush in Bukovina and Tchortkov in Galicia, as the inception of a period not only of material decadence but also severe theological and intellectual decline within Rumanian Hasidism. For alongside the amassing of considerable fortunes by these Hasidic Rebbes of Rumania, there was a discernable descent in learning and a steep rise in superstitious gullibility on the part of their Hasidim, particularly relating to the Rebbes’ alleged supernatural abilities and personal immaculateness.

While the early secular historians of East European Jewry saw nothing but decadence in 19th century Hasidism, the reality is more complex. For example, in 1869, Rabbi Hayyim Halberstam of Zanz — whose descendants founded the flourishing Bobover Hasidic sect, the largest today in Boro Park — inaugurated an all-out war against the Sadigorer Rebbe’s debauched style of leadership, one that lasted for many years. It is for this reason that Rumanian Hasidism was rife with all manners of financial corruption and vulnerability to a host of criminal tendencies, in marked contrast to the more scholarly, at times pseudo-rationalist, major Polish and Russian Hasidic dynasties — such as Bobov, Ger and Lubavitch.

Less than a hundred miles east of the palatial courts of the Hasidic dynasties established by the Ruzhiner Rebbe and his heirs, lies the tiny Rumanian hamlet of Spinka, in the Maramures region bordering on Hungary. It was there that the first Spinker Rebbe, R. Joseph Meir Weisz (b. 1838), known as the Imre Yosef after the title of his entirely unremarkable Torah commentary, established his small sect. His son, R. Isaac Weisz, inherited the leadership of Spinka in 1909 and along with almost all of his followers, perished in 1944, when the Nazis began the feverish deportation of the Jews of the Maramures region directly to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

After the war, the Spinka sect became fragmented among almost a dozen rabbinic descendants of its original founders. Spinka is today less a true Hasidic dynasty than a network of small shtibelekh and charitable institutions in Williamsburg, Boro Park, Jerusalem, Bnai Berak, Antwerp and London, each of whose spiritual leaders is referred to as a “Spinker Rebbe.” Perhaps the most tragic element in this terribly embarrassing scandal is that the only one of today’s many Spinker Rebbes who will likely “enjoy” historical posterity is the Boro Park Rebbe, Naftali Zvi Weisz. And this, of course, for the worst possible reasons.

Allan Nadler, a regular Forward contributor, is a professor of religious studies and the director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Drew University. His grandfather escaped from Rumania to Canada in 1909, where he was instrumental in establishing the Montreal shul of the late Shotzer Rebbe.

Ahavah said...

Dear Kaufman, et al.,

Just curious, but do you actually TRUST the valuation that GE and DuPont are putting on their hard assets? Granted, they are numerous - but again, if GE and DuPont had kept all their operations and employees in first world countries, their profit, though adequate for normal people, would not be "acceptable" to the stock market, now would it? Growth forever, right? What happens when the market figures out the world is finite, and growth not only can't last forever, it has to retract? It's the whole PARADIGM that causes lies on financial statements, and balance sheets, and SEC forms. They lie and lie and lie and obfuscate when they're not lying to pretend they can grow forever in a finite market. This can't last, pure and simple. At some point reality has to encroach on their unlimited profit fantasy.

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...


I'm in total agreement. In addition all these Fortune 500 companies have portfolios of investments in other huge corporations that their stocks are overvalued. Meaning; that their assets on their books are based on inflated values of other companies' accounting gimmicks. In short: a very sophisticated pyramid scheme.

Anonymous said...

I remember when the Kolko-Klein thing happened. It was after Kolko was brought to the "bais din"
that didn't find Kolko guilty. Shlomie Klein was worried no one would go to his camp so he wanted to buy out Kolko. If I recall correctly he decided to buy out Geldwirth at the same time.

Bungalow Yenta's Grocer said...

She ran in at the last minute for a bottle of grape juice and told me. So nu? Which Hollander family is this?

Dr Asher Lipner said...

Now, what I really wish would happen, would be if Rabbi Horowitz would invite some more rabbis, not only Rav Blau, and especially Gedolim to post their opinions on this subject, so that they could help us resolve some of the difficult problems we are having, and so that there would be less misunderstanding of the Gedolim's positions.

Rabbi Horowitz, instead of you having to speak for all rabbis and Gedolim, wouldn't it be nice if at least some of them would speak to us for themselves? Furthermore, if this is not the "proper" forum for our leaders to address us on this topic, is there any way that they could find another? For example, if you would be so kind as to approach them for me, I would be willing to get together a group of victims of abuse who would love to speak with them about what they have experienced and what ways they feel the community could help them. I plan to call some Gedolim myself, but since I am not a rabbi or a Mechanech, (although I have smicha from Lakewood and was in chinuch for a couple of years), and I am not professionally affiliated with an organization as close to the hearts of our Gedolim as Agudas Yisroel, I don't think I will have the same kind of access to them that you probably have. Maybe if everyone on this site would get together and compose a respectful but emotional plea for a response, get it signed by many people, and send it to as many Gedolim as we can, maybe they would agree to find the appropriate forum for a discussion of their views on this problem. I am open to any other suggestions.


This Just in said...

NYC is suing Countrywide and dozens of other financial firms for fraud.

No wonder UOJ wants Bloomberg for President.

Big Shot Ass-et Manager said...

Margo is so fond of himself that after evaluating today's 171 point drop in the Dow, he decided to invest in pork belly futures.

Limud zechus said...

They say that the Ruzhiner didn't wear soles on his gold plated shoes. This is not letzonus. It was his way of balancing the gashmius.

Index Fund Fresser said...

Who manages Margo's money, that corrupt putz from the Martha Stewart scandal? Only the "Best".

"UOJ" - "The Un-Orthodox Jew" said...

The Ruzhiner was a shtik drek; he milked his destitute followers as he lived like a king! Another filthy lowlife!

Anonymous said...

The Ruzhiner was the one who claimed chilozon is tcheilis?

With a grain of salt (from about 500 salt shakers) said...

One of the more venemous bloggers claims that a non-Hungarian chassidus in der heim was guilty of the same corruption. While I am a misnagid, I don't believe anything that blogger says unless he can prove it because he's often promoting delusions.

UOJ Gets French Bastard Results said...


Jerome Kerviel, the Societe General trader blamed for a massive fraud which cost the French bank $7.1 billion, was taken into custody Saturday, news reports said. Kerviel was brought to police headquarters in Paris for questioning by financial investigators, who had also searched his apartment earlier

Lakewood VAAD said...

I just read in one of the jewish papers that the Famous Spika Rebbe is coming to Lakewood for shabbos along with his chassidim and being hoted by Fernbach.? can anyone confirm if this is the Spinka Rebba from the high profile Tax fraud case in LA/NY?

Physically Violent Reform "Rabbi" said...


Rabbi at Riverside's oldest synagogue resigns amid complaints of conduct

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Press-Enterprise

The spiritual leader of Riverside's oldest synagogue is stepping down, more than two months after he grazed a school psychologist with his truck during an argument over who was first in line at a drive-through ATM.

No one was hurt in the Nov. 5 fracas at Altura Credit Union in Riverside, and a judge this month dismissed misdemeanor charges of battery and hit and run against Temple Beth El Rabbi Yitzhak Miller.

Jory Yarmoff, president of the temple's board of directors, confirmed that the board has accepted the resignation.

He said that since the credit union incident, individual congregants have come forward to complain about how Miller treated them.

"The other issues predate the credit union incident. That just served to focus people's attention," Yarmoff said.

"Anger management was part of it. The other part of it was his ability to successfully partner with temple leadership."

Miller resigned, effective June 30, in a letter to temple members dated Jan. 14, the day charges against him were dismissed. He has shaken hands and made up with his counterpart in the Nov. 5 incident, both sides said. That man, William Hendrick, a psychologist with the Riverside Unified School District, even wrote a letter asking temple members to forgive the rabbi.

Yarmoff praised the work Miller has done since arriving in July 2006. He said the rabbi has strengthened Sunday programs and education for adults and children.

Miller, who has been at the synagogue for a year and a half, said his problems there result not from his actions, but because Temple Beth El -- which serves more than 230 families -- is a small congregation with limited finances and volunteers.

"It does not appear that there is a good match between my energies as a rabbi and the congregation's ability to sustain these programs," he said in a phone interview.

Miller also pointed out that there has been a high turnover of clergy in recent years at Temple Beth El, which was founded in the 1940s. During one period around 2000, the synagogue went through three rabbis in less than two years.

Yarmoff said he expects Miller's resignation to be a hot topic at the temple's annual congregational meeting Sunday. Some members say they have been discussing trying to keep Miller on as rabbi.

"It's a big blow for the community because he was a very strong leader who was doing a lot. However, we've recovered from loss of clergy before," Yarmoff said.

Yarmoff acknowledged a high turnover among rabbis but denied the temple has a problem holding on to clergy.

Past Struggles

Miller, a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in technology management, worked in international business for seven years before beginning rabbinical studies at Hebrew Union College.

Before arriving at Temple Beth El in July 2006, Miller served about five years as first a student rabbi, then community rabbi at Congregation Emeth in Gilroy.

Michael Oshan, president of the Gilroy temple's board, said Miller "had a lot to offer, but there were some issues." He declined to be specific but said anger management was involved.

Miller -- described in the police report on the ATM fracas as 6 feet tall and 275 pounds -- said in a Dec. 2 letter to the congregation that he has had "a compulsive eating addiction" since junior high school. He said he has been seeing a therapist for almost two years for his eating disorder and the therapist warned him that "previously unprocessed feelings would likely begin to come up in potent ways."

Miller said he also had attempted to enroll in an anger-management program but had not yet found one that would accept someone not ordered to join by a court.

The rabbi said he had spoken with officials at the Central Conference of American Rabbis, who advised him the best course would be through t'shuvah, which the organization describes as "the Jewish process of redirecting ourselves back onto the 'right path.' "

Rabbi Stephen Einstein, chairman of the Central Conference's ethics committee, confirmed that he has spoken with Miller. Einstein, who leads Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Fountain Valley and has known Miller since he was in rabbinical school, said Miller has not been charged with any ethical violation.

The conference maintains a code of ethics for rabbis, and violators can face sanctions ranging from a reprimand to expulsion.

Hendrick sent a letter to the temple in support of Miller.

"I know that people can change if they wish to do so," Hendrick wrote. "Please give him the benefit here and then, if he screws up again, we have tried to help him."

Reach Gregor McGavin at 951-368-9549 or gmcgavin@PE.com

steve said...

There is no question we must all be held accountable for our inaction and allowing this plague to fester. However, I believe if the rabbonim act in unison and act decisively, 90% of the clergy abuse cases will be eradicated. The problem is that many of them refuse to act due to legal, financial and political considerations. What I mean by political considerations is that the Modern Orthodox leaders, such as Rabbis Blau, Shachter and Dratch, have taken the lead and have been at the forefront of this battle. The so-called right wing rabbis do not feel comfortable aligning themselves with the so-called left. This is a tragedy in itself in that the abused children fall victim to this pettiness. For example, the RCA put out a strong worded edict regarding sexual abuse in yeshivot in 2003. They covered all the bases, including halacha, mistakes of the past and ideas for the future. Why haven't the rabbonim from the Aguda signed on to this edict, or put out a similar edict of their own? Instead, they have been going backward by releasing statements through their spokesman that have showed that they are still in denial. Furthermore, his statements referring to the abuse victims stories as "tawdry tales" and "anectodal evidence" shows a total disregard and insensitivity to their plight. Gentleman, we are not making any headway with them. Their akshanus, along with their attempts to thwart any legislation in Albany that will protect our children in the yeshivos, has hampered and damaged the cause beyond description.
What we need from the Aguda, the Torah Umesorah and the Roshei Yeshivos is a strongly worded edict grounded in halacha. They must unequivocally state that a child molester has a din of "rodef" and that a potential victim is in the class "yehareg v'eal yaavor". Child molestation must be classified as pikuach nefesh which supercedes the laws of mesira, lashon hara, and rchilus. It is not a concidence that the passuk that mentions "Lo Telech Rachil Beamecha", continues with "Lo Taamod Al Dam Reecha". One should absolutely refrain from spreading lashon hara. However, keeping this commandment should never be at the expense of another Jew's blood. The edict must admit the mistakes of the past, similar to the Baltimore mea culpa from last April. They can have their lawyers examine it first to make sure the wording is liability proof. They must include ideas regarding an independent panel made up of psychologists and experts that will hear abuse cases and decide if they have any merit. The yeshivot must agree to become mandatory reporters once this panel has established the validity of the victim's claim. Mandatory background checks, a sex offender registry and fingerprinting of all employees must be instituted at once. All of the above ideas have already been instituted in the public schools. There is no reason that our children should not be afforded the same level of protection as public school children.

The time for all of us and the rabbonim to act is long overdue. Everyone kfi ycholto, according to his means and level of influence, should put in whatever effort he/she can to protect our children and put an end to this scourge once and for all. Let's stop the denials and the underplaying that has become the trademark of the Aguda and their spokesman. Lo Taamod Al Dam Reecha applies to all of us. We ask Hashem on Yom Kippur, "Asseh Lmaan Tinokos Shel Bais Rabban Shlo Chattu", do for the sake of the children that never sinned. Hashem is ready to do for their sake. Are we ready to do for their sake?

Tycoon Von Putz said...

Van Hoogstraaten spent four years in Wormwood Scrubs prison in England in the 1960s after being found guilty of ordering a hand grenade attack on a rabbi who owed him money.


Controversial British tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraaten has been arrested in Zimbabwe on pornography and illegal foreign currency dealing charges, police said here Saturday. The pornography portrayed the 63-year-old former London rack-renter with a 22-year-old Zimbabwean woman, said Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena.

The British tycoon was also accused of illegally charging tenants in buildings he owns in foreign currency. Zimbabwean law permits charges for goods and services to be made only in local currency.

Van Hoogstraaten, a billionaire who became Britain's youngest millionaire at age 23 by letting slum buildings in London and allegedly using strong-arm tactics against defaulting rent payers, regards himself as a close friend of President Robert Mugabe, whom he described as "100 per cent decent and incorruptible."

He spends much of his time in Zimbabwe with investments in property, mining and banking.

Bvudzijena said police raided his home in the exclusive suburb of Emerald Hill after complaints that he was forcing a tenant to pay rent six months in advance in US dollars. Van Hoogstraaten owned about 200 properties in Harare and the western city of Bulawayo, he said.

Police came across the "pornographic material" while searching the house, Bvudzijena said. He did not say what form the pornography took.

He would appear in court after investigations had been completed.

Van Hoogstraaten spent four years in Wormwood Scrubs prison in England in the 1960s after being found guilty of ordering a hand grenade attack on a rabbi who owed him money.

In 1999 he was convicted of manslaughter after two of his henchman shot dead London businessman Mohamed Raja, also in a dispute over debt. Van Hoogstraaten was acquitted on appeal but was then sued by Raja's relatives and ordered to pay 500,000 pounds sterling compensation.

He refused, saying the family "will never get a penny." A judge once described him as "a self-styled emissary of Beelzebub."

He variously referred to his tenants, ramblers who fought with him over the right to walk across his sumptuous estate in Uckfield, East Sussex, and white Zimbabwean farmers as "scum" and "filth."

HIYU said...

Talk is cheap!

Anonymous said...

That was Radzine of techeilos fame my dear friend.
BTW, Wearing sole-less or soul-less gold shoes for some untangible esoteric reasons while all of Eastern Europe was full of starving and freezing destitute yidden is as close to murder you can get aside for murder itself. When i heard this insanity while learning in a chassidish cheder in boro park i swore off chasidus for ever and ever. Lemmings are not to my liking.

LVF said...

Great insights, Steve.

I think the powers that be have realized by now that we are a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps it is time to blow this shit sky high. Someone should read these enablers the riot act. If we dont get every pimping rabbi out there to get in line behind the Blaus and the Shechters and the horowitzs we are going to pull another "open letter to rabbi M. Solomon" piece and start extraditions on other rabbis on the run. A mass mailing to all Orthodox communities currently not behind the RCA's policy or similar policies to state the facts on the ground and educate the serfs would also be helpful. A million copies of Horowitz's article mailed out to the blind followers of blind or deviant leaders would not hurt our cause either. Anonymity has proven the most powerful tool other than the full frontal attack angels like Vikki Polin can pull off. (Strange how every comical jewish cause gets all the funding they can spend, yet The Awareness Center is struggling to get through the day!)

LVF said...

Talk is cheap indeed! Care to fund some other options? Until then will go with UOJ's talk. It has been more effective in two years than all the in house carpet cleaning perpetrated by our holy goons.

Rubashkin Fresser said...


Another real dumb-sounding argument in Rubashkin's letter can make your head spin. The drey kop says that minimum wage was raised by the Federal govt. So even though it was already elevated in Iowa, he says his office workers (who must be a tiny handful) will start clamoring for a raise which he implies he will have to give. He is saying that whenever the minimum wage is raised that all workers want a raise. Give me a break. It's preposterous to say that if the minimum wage in Iowa was raised earlier and the rest of the country is now playing catch up.

If we could subpoena his payroll documents, I am pretty sure they will not indicate raises across the board at this time.

The Heinemann-Scheinermann Show said...


Star K seems to be turning around. They appear to want to accept only Weismandel's hechsher. It seems that there will be a new label that will say SUPREME-ARON. There will be an addtional label that will be only OU. This will probably be the rejects from the Weismandel that are not yet considered to be bad enough to be non-glatt.

Kehilla Kashrus also is having 'meetings' among their Rabbonim. Rubashkin will no longer have Carte Blanche in their establishmants.

Weinfeld's Shul discussing Yudi Kolko? said...


Seminar at synagogue to focus on homosexuality

Avrohom Mondrowitz said...


A group that lobbies for needle exchanges, for allowing more immigrants with HIV/AIDS to legally enter the country, and for condom distribution in prisons received a $303,000 federal earmark pushed by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

That was one of 261 earmarks Clinton personally helped usher through Congress. That's more earmarks than any other member of Congress seeking the presidency, according to an analysis by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

Pathetic Hypocrites said...


A photograph of a smiling Bill and Hillary Clinton standing beside Tony Rezko surfaced on the Internet as well as on network and cable television Friday morning. NBC's "Today" show was the first to ask Sen. Clinton about photo.

In a Democratic debate last week, Sen. Clinton blasted Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for doing legal work for Rezko -- "your contributor...in his slum landlord business in inner-city Chicago."

Rezko has contributed to Obama's campaign, which later sent about $84,000 of Rezko's tainted donations to charity. The disgraced real estate developer is scheduled to go on trial on public corruption and fraud charges Feb. 25.

French Bastard said...


France's law enforcement authorities have found Jerome Kerviel, the 31-year-old trader blamed by French banking giant Societe General for losing $7.1 billion. The N.Y. Times found bank industry observers and associates of Kerviel doubtful about someone "too middling to be considered a loser" could have hidden such massive losses as Societe General has alleged.

The University of Lyon, where Kerviel received a masters degree, says its students aren't ambitious enough to attempt something like the alleged fraud. "People who want to be golden boys or clever in the market don't come here," Valerie Buthion, the director of the economic and financial engineering department, told the Times.

That statement may not appear in the school's future marketing materials, but perhaps it underscores something that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said on multiple occasions, including a speech in Washington in 2006: "French parents dream of sending their child to an American university."

Jeff Herman in the News said...


Daily News Staff Writer

Friday, January 25, 2008

The father of a girl who claims she was sexually assaulted by part-time Palm Beacher Jeffrey Epstein more than two years ago filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking more than $50 million in damages.

In 2005, the girl, then 14, was brought to Epstein's Palm Beach home on El Brillo Way to give the billionaire Manhattan money manager a massage, according to the suit. As were other underage girls, the girl was recruited by Haley Robson, a Palm Beach Community College student, for massage sessions that ended with "lewd and laviscious acts," the suit alleges.

At a press conference Thursday, the girl's father, who asked not to be identified to protect his daughter's identity, said she had been scarred by her encounter with Epstein.

"It's simply not right that this very wealthy man can fly into town in his private jet and destroy my daughter's innocence," he said.

Under Epstein's "scheme," Robson "generally sought out economically disadvantaged underage girls from Loxahatchee and surrounding areas who would be enticed by the money being offered — generally $200 to $300 per 'massage' session — and who were perceived as less likely to complain to authorities or have credibility if allegations of improper conduct were made," the complaint charges.

The girl's father said the lawsuit could help other victims.

"We're seeking justice for my daughter and my family, and hopefully we'll reach out to other kids affected by this monster," he said.

The suit was filed by Miami attorney Jeffrey M. Herman, a specialist in sexual abuse cases who has represented victims of clergy abuse. It seeks damages for sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of parental consortium.

In an e-mail response to questions, Herman said the lawsuit was filed in federal court because doing so will make the fact-finding process easier. The suit alleges similar conduct occurred at Epstein's homes in New York and the Virgin Islands.

During a press conference at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach on Thursday, Epstein attorneys Jack Goldberger and Lillian Sanchez appeared to distribute what they said were evidence of bank fraud by the girl's father and identity theft by her stepmother.

The case is "completely financially driven," Sanchez said.

Goldberger said the size of the damage demand proves the lawsuit is about money.

Herman said the amount sought is reasonable.

"... We are asking for punitive damages, and given the purpose of punitive damages and the defendant's net worth, it is not out of line," Herman said shortly after the press conference.

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal problems for Epstein.

He is expected to plead guilty to a felony charge of solicitation of prostitution at a hearing in March. He was indicted on that charge in July 2006 after an 11-month investigation by Palm Beach Police that began when a woman told police her 14-year-old stepdaughter might have been molested by a man in Palm Beach.

Police said Epstein paid five underage girls for massages and sometimes sex at his El Brillo Way home.

The plea deal would put Epstein behind bars for 18 months, followed by house arrest.

In October, a New York woman sued Epstein, saying he had her perform "bizarre and unnatural sex acts" at his Manhattan mansion when she was 16 years old. Maximilia Cordero, now 23, claimed in the lawsuit that Epstein promised to help her establish a modeling career.


By Peter Franceschina

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 25, 2008

A 17-year-old Palm Beach County girl filed a $50 million lawsuit Thursday against a wealthy New York money manager, alleging he sexually abused her in his Palm Beach mansion when she was 14.

Jeffrey Herman, an attorney representing the girl, said the encounter she had with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2005 has "destroyed this girl's life." The girl was identified in the federal suit only as Jane Doe.

"There's really a loss of innocence that occurs when a child goes through this kind of abuse," Herman said at a Thursday afternoon news conference outside the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach.

Lilly Ann Sanchez, an attorney representing Epstein, said Epstein never had sex with the girl and said the girl's parents were motivated by greed in filing the suit.

"We're dismayed but we're not surprised," Sanchez said. The girl had held herself out to be 18 years old, Sanchez said.

Epstein, 55, was charged in July 2006 by a Palm Beach County grand jury with solicitation of prostitution, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Several plea conferences have been set in the case. The latest was scheduled for Jan. 4, but it was canceled. A March 10 hearing is scheduled to update the judge on the status of the case.

The suit alleges a young woman employed by Epstein lured the then 14-year-old girl to Epstein's mansion to give him a massage for $300.

"Epstein has a sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls. He engaged in a plan and scheme in which he gained access to primarily economically disadvantaged minor girls in his home, sexually assaulted these girls, and then gave them money," the suit alleges.

The girl was brought upstairs to a massage room, and Epstein entered wearing only a towel, which he took off and then he lay down on the massage table, according to the suit. He told the girl to strip down to her underwear, and then Epstein "sexually assaulted" her, the suit says.

"This was a typical 14-year-old girl that was solicited to come and give this guy a massage. What happened here was despicable," Herman said.



Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, January 25, 2008

WEST PALM BEACH — The parents of a teenage girl sued part-time Palm Beach resident Jeffrey Epstein for more than $50 million on Thursday, alleging that the wealthy money manager had her brought to his mansion for a massage, then engaged in sexual activity with her.

The girl, identified only as Jane Doe, was 14 at the time. She was the youngest of several alleged victims of Epstein, according to Palm Beach police, who spent 11 months investigating him.

The federal lawsuit, filed by Miami attorney Jeffrey Herman, says "Epstein has a sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls." Epstein "gained access to primarily disadvantaged minor girls in his home, sexually assaulted these girls, and then gave them money."

Herman, who specializes in child sex abuse litigation, sued on behalf of the girl, her father and her stepmother on grounds of sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of parental consortium.

"Jane Doe ... fell into Epstein's trap and became one of his victims," the lawsuit says.

"We're dismayed by the filing of the lawsuit, but not surprised," said Jack Goldberger, one of Epstein's attorneys. "We think this shows what this case is all about: money."

He and another Epstein attorney, Lilly Ann Sanchez, launched an immediate counteroffensive, even showing up at Herman's news conference outside the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach. They distributed copies of documents showing that the girl's father and stepmother have prior arrests for financial crimes the lawyers say show the lawsuit is financially motivated. Another Epstein lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, a prominent New York criminal defense attorney, provided some of those documents to Goldberger.

"Jeffrey Epstein did not have sex with this woman," Sanchez said.

Herman suggested that Epstein masturbated in front of the alleged victim and used a vibrator on her after she was brought to his home in February 2005. The girl is now 17.

"This was a typical 14-year-old girl at the time she met Epstein," Herman said. "What happened here was despicable."

The girl told police investigators that she informed Epstein she was 18 when she met him, and she said that was her age on her Web page, Sanchez said.

The girl's father and stepmother also attended the news conference.

"We're very angry," the father said. "It's not right that this wealthy man can fly into town and destroy my daughter's innocence." He did not take questions.

Epstein, 55, is a mysterious New York money manager who owns a Manhattan mansion, as well as homes in Palm Beach, New Mexico and the Virgin Islands.

A Palm Beach County grand jury indicted him in July 2006 on one count of felony solicitation of prostitution stemming from alleged incidents between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31, 2005.

Epstein is scheduled to enter a plea in the case on March 10, but he has postponed other court dates to resolve the case.

His indictment followed an exhaustive investigation by the Palm Beach Police Department, which concluded that Epstein paid underage girls and young women to be brought to his five-bedroom, 71/2-bath Intracoastal home for massages and sometimes sex play. Much of the language in the Jane Doe suit mirrors that of police reports in the case.

Herman's client said her meeting with Epstein was set up by Haley Robson of Loxahatchee, who was a Palm Beach Community College student at the time. When Jane Doe arrived at Epstein's home, she was escorted by an Epstein assistant, Sarah Kellen, to a room with a massage table, police reports and the lawsuit say.

Epstein walked in wearing only a towel, removed it and lay naked on the massage table, the lawsuit says. He demanded that Jane Doe remove her clothing, and she did, except for her underwear, the lawsuit alleges. The sexual activity followed, the suit says.

Epstein paid her $300 afterward, and Robson got $200 for bringing the girl to him, the lawsuit says.

Robson and Kellen helped Epstein arrange other liaisons with girls, Palm Beach police concluded. Neither was charged.

This is not the first time Epstein has been sued over purported activities with teenage girls. He was sued in New York in October by a woman who says she had sex with Epstein when she was 16 and had sought his help in becoming a model.

The lawsuit filed Thursday also alleges that Epstein has assaulted girls on his private island in the Virgin Islands. Herman declined to elaborate on that assertion.


January 25, 2008 -- A young alleged victim of Manhattan moneyman Jeffrey Epstein's "sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls" sued yesterday, claiming her life went spinning into "a downward spiral" after he abused her.

In a $50 million federal lawsuit, the Florida girl says she was 14 when Epstein preyed upon her at his West Palm Beach mansion and caused her to "suffer severe and permanent traumatic injuries."

"The allegations that a man of tremendous wealth, power and influence used his position to trap young girls for his sexual pleasure is reprehensible," said Jeffrey Herman, the lawyer for the girl identified only as "Jane Doe."

"It's really victimized her and her whole family."

Doe is at the center of a sensational criminal case against Epstein that is pending in West Palm Beach, where police charge that the billionaire regularly paid young women to give him massages while he masturbated and sometimes groped them.

Epstein is expected to be sentenced to 18 months in prison when he pleads guilty in March to a single charge of soliciting an underage prostitute.

One of Epstein's lawyers, Lilly Ann Sanchez, said, "We are dismayed, but not surprised, by the filing . . . The lawsuit confirms what we have always believed - that the allegations are driven by financial motivation."

Herman said the allegations are driven by Epstein having had "a 14-year-old girl up in his massage room."

The suit says Epstein has "assaulted girls in Florida, New York and on his private island, known as Little St. James, in St. Thomas."

Jane Doe says she was recruited by a college student named Haley Robson, who allegedly sought poor, underage girls for Epstein. They would be enticed by $200 to $300 per "massage" session, "and were perceived as less likely to complain to authorities if allegations of improper conduct were made."

The girl "fell into Epstein's trap" in early 2005, when Robson brought her to his estate, the suit says. She was allegedly led up to the massage room, and was alone in the room when Epstein arrived wearing only a towel. He then lay down naked on the massage table.

Epstein ordered the girl to strip to her underwear, then sexually assaulted her, the suit says.

She was paid $300 by Epstein, and Robson was paid $200 by Epstein for bringing the girl, the suit says.

Herman said his clients, including Jane Doe's father and stepmother, are suing for money "because that's all they can sue for. If there was a magic wand that could take this all away, they would prefer that."

Sanchez said Epstein was duped into having an encounter with the girl because she'd told Epstein she was 18, and she represented herself as being 18 on her MySpace page.

"That's all spin to me. It doesn't change the facts of the case," Herman said.

The suit is the second sex-assault suit to be filed against Epstein, a former teacher at the prestigious Dalton School on the Upper East Side.


Prince Andrew said...


Billionaire friend of Prince Andrew sued

By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 2:19am GMT 26/01/2008

Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire friend of Prince Andrew, has been accused of preying on girls as young as 14 in a £25 million lawsuit filed by one of his alleged victims.

The girl, now 17 and identified only as Jane Doe, claims that in 2005 Mr Epstein lured her to his home in Palm Beach, Florida, after offering to pay her £150 for a massage.

As soon as they were in a bedroom together, he demanded she remove her clothes and sexually assaulted her, according to a lawsuit filed in a federal court in West Palm Beach on Thursday.

advertisementLily Ann Sanchez, Mr Epstein's lawyer, said the girl's allegations were false and motivated by money. The 55-year-old bachelor financier was introduced to the Duke of York by his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of the late disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Mr Epstein has stayed at Sandringham and was a guest at the Queen's birthday party at Windsor in 2000.

In return, Prince Andrew went on holiday with Mr Epstein in Thailand.

During the trip the prince was photographed surrounded by topless women on a yacht.

The teenager is also at the centre of a criminal case against Mr Epstein in Florida, said Jeffrey Herman, her lawyer.

In that case, following an 11-month undercover police investigation, Mr Epstein has been charged with soliciting a prostitute.

Police claim he regularly paid young women to give him massages while he sometimes groped them.

The financier faces up to five years in prison if he is found guilty.

The teenager's lawsuit, which is also being brought by her father and stepmother, alleged that the billionaire had "a sexual preference and obsession for underage girls".

Mr Herman claimed the alleged sexual assault followed a regular pattern.

Using a Palm Beach student to recruit other teenagers, Mr Epstein lured "economically disadvantaged underage girls" to give him massages in a bedroom at his Florida home, at £100 to £150 per session, the lawyer claimed.

There he would disrobe and tell the girls to do the same before committing various sexual "acts", said Mr Herman.

As a result of her encounter, the girl experienced "confusion, shame, humiliation, embarrassment and the assault that sent her life into a downward spiral", the lawsuit alleges.

Mr Epstein's lawyer said the girl told the billionaire that she was 18 and that, regardless, he did nothing inappropriate with her.

A former teacher who now manages the fortunes of a string of multi-millionaires, Mr Epstein, has homes in New York, Mexico City and London, and a private island in the Caribbean.

He was sued last year by a woman who claimed he had sex with her at his Manhattan home in 2000 when she was 16.

The age of consent in New York is 17. Mr Epstein's lawyers also deny the unsettled New York allegations, which actually relate to a man living as a woman.

In the Florida case, it was revealed that the teenager's father admitted three federal fraud charges in 2001 relating to arranging fraudulent loans as a mortgage broker.

Rubashkin Fresser said...

As part of the OU's Harry H. Beren Ask OUtreach program, R. Dov Schreier will be giving a Halacha L’Maaseh Kashrus Shiur at Yeshiva Mesivta Torah Vodaath Sunday, January 27th at 2:30 PM in Rav Belsky’s Shiur Room.

This shiur will include detailed information and handouts concerning restaurants, hotels, caterers and the Shul Kiddush. A Question and Answer session will follow the presentation.

Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein said...


My take on the Spinka Putz and company.

Hillel said...


No one has addressed the problem of Government theft of taxpayer funds.

The Orthodox Jewish community contributes millions of dolloars to the Government–Ciry, State, adn Federal. Much of this money is allocated to “education.”

But the Government(s) then turn around and tell us Orthodox Jews that, while all children are equal in America, some are more equal than others–Jewish students are NOT entitled to the same funding as secular public school students.

So, we Jewish parents must pay for “education” twice–once for the “public” schools, and again for our own schools.

Our school administrators are starved for money to properly run their schools. Teachers are paid late; students are deprived of adequate services.–This is a national scandal!

It was not always thus. Before Horace Mann started the secular wave of education in the Massachusets school system, in the late 1800’s, Government gave full aid and assistance to all religious schools. The “separation of church and state” is a very recent “constitutional” creation, by secularists whose goal it is to cripple and ultimately dismantle the religious school systems in this country.

…And it’s working. The Catholic school system–this country’s largest parochial system–is closing schools, left and right.

Without justifying the Rebbe’s activities, I think it is only fair to observe that the Rebbe used the money to fund his chool system, which is under enormous financial pressure, as are all parochioal school systems.

The take-home lesson for us is that, if we want to avoid such problems in the future, we need to devote more of our community’s resources to adequately funding our intentionally-starved school systems.

Saying Tehillim and giving lectures on morality are not enough!

Comment by HILLEL — January 21, 2008 @ 11:10 am

Aaron said...

Until a gadol says that it is assur to expand a school in communities where 3-bedroom homes exceed $300k (and therefore require two-income families to pay the mortgage), we are on financial thin ice. If frum families can’t make it on 3-4x the minimum wage, we’ve got problems.

Innumeracy leads people to believe they can live above their means. This is in the micro (single family) and in the macro (community). A family decides not to add a room to their home because they can’t afford it. If they MUST have more space but nothing nearby is affordable, they move farther away.

Moving rabboninim (with families) into a community where half-million-dollar mortgages are necessary (as a starter) is an excessive financial burden on baal habatim who pay the tuitions that pay the salaries. Doesn’t v’shinantam l’vanecha mean that a father should live in a community where he doesn’t have to work a second job to pay rent/mortgage/tuitions?

Too bad there’s no “Orthodox Community” edition of the computer game SimCity to experiment with “frum urban planning”. I would pay good money to see (in aggregate, not the specific) the average math SAT scores for our black-hatted yeshivas. I think we’re cranking out financial illiterates.

If the yeshivos aren’t generating families that can earn the rent/mortgage to live within walking distance to schools and shuls, either the yeshivos need to increase the business potential of their graduates or the yeshivos ought to move or build satellites in affordable communities. Maybe yeshivos should make a point of setting the example creating one Zevulun for every Issachar that graduates? Or do we really NOT believe that Zevulun gets a full share of Issachar’s learning? We certainly ACT as if we don’t believe it.

If we’re relying on “miraculous infusions” of funds to survive, it’s long overdue for an audit. Our frum financial reality checks are bouncing.

RHuziner Chasid said...


Why are you attacking the Rhuziner? Why are you so quick to believe the historians and discount the chasidim who say that the exterior show of wealth was just a facade and that he did not have any benefit?

Would you say the same thing about Rebbi who the Gemara says "Torah UGedulah Bemokom Echad" - he had all the riches in the world - but yet the gemara says he did not benefit the slightest? Would you say the same thing about Rebbi?

Dovid said...

This family cannot make ends meet unless the father, who is paid double the minimum wage, works 180 hrs. a week (There are only 168 hrs. in a week.) I arrived at the 180 hrs/wk. based on an annual $150,000 salary which a yeshiva administrator stated that is the annual income which enables a Jewish family to meet tuition fee requirements, in addition to its other bills.

My son will be going ii’h to mesifta next year. I requested application forms from a number of top-of-the-line mesiftos in the NY Metropolitan area. One of them stated upfront on the application form that the annual tuition fee is $12,600. It may include dorm, but I am not sure. It didn’t say. With tuition fees of such magnitude, I am not sure that $150,000 will be enough.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction said...


The latest Epstein victim represented by Jeff Herman underwent a sex change from guy to gal.

She or he is involved in a romantic relationship with Leib Pinter's lawyer William Unroch.

Unroch and the tranny are living together and getting into machlokessin with their neighbors.


Or at least Unroch is one Pinter's several lawyers.


Really strange stuff with Epstein and the tranny.


Kenneth Starr hired to help Epstein avoid registering as a sex offender.

Anonymous said...

Why report these incidents to the authorities! There are more important issues such as cell phoone towers on the NorthWay so frummies ...

Picture of Leib Pinter's Lawyer & the Transvestite said...


It seems like Unroch was the lawyer here too until at least a month ago before being replaced by Jeff Herman.

steve said...

If we dont get every pimping rabbi out there to get in line behind the Blaus and the Shechters and the horowitzs we are going to pull another "open letter to rabbi M. Solomon" piece and start extraditions on other rabbis on the run.

LVF, we're obviously not going to wait for them to act. We waited for 40 years and look what it got us. I just had to put it out there for them to read, so that they can't claim, "there's nothing we can do, nebich, our hands are tied. etc.". There's plenty that they can do if they really want to. Obviously, they are very happy with the staus quo. In the meantime we will continue to bring the molesters to justice, one by one. Leizerowitz is next on the list.