Monday, May 21, 2012

I arose and walked out of the stadium with my head held high!

 For the last few weeks we all have been hearing about last night’s ‘The Asifa’ in Citified. It has been promulgated and disseminated throughout the Jewish world with letters and requests for all Jews to come and be part of sanctifying the name of Hashem.

The event was billed as one to bring about togetherness and unity among Jews and to combat those forces which are causing us harm.

Therefore, for the sake of unity and for my constant need for spiritual growth I, along with thousands and thousands, attended.

Indeed, the speakers spoke about the need to be holy and to be G-dly.

They spoke about the necessity to bring G-d into our lives.

They spoke about imitating the ways of our forefathers.

They mentioned the great traditions of Avrohom and of how we are all children of Avrohom.

They evoked the names of the great Chassidic masters and their legacies.

They quoted the names of the great one’s of our people and how they went against the tide and did not follow the masses in whatever event may have been the popular trend at the time.

They asked all of us to be brave and courageous; to have the inner strength to fight and stand up for what is right and for what is G-dly.

They insisted that notwithstanding the multitudes who gather in stadiums and have access to financial resources to promote their messages, we as G-dly, caring Jews; Jews who care about our children; should not just mimic the ways of the masses. Rather we have to keep focused and in spite of the masses and their frenzied and frenetic propaganda, we as G-d fearing, compassionate and caring Jews must think about the spiritual well being of each other; irrespective of who and how we outwardly appear.

As the speeches began to enter my heart, as I heard the legendary stories of the greats of our people who did everything and anything in their power to reach out and help those in need I felt the need to act.

As my heart awakened to the realization that there are people who are in need of compassion my body was inspired to act and not just listen.

I knew that I had to attempt to be G-dly and not just be a passive observer in the stadium munching on the free pretzels as most of the people sitting next to me were doing.

I decided to heed the call and attempt to imitate the ways of the Chofetz Chaim and of the Baal Shem Tov.

I left the arena filled with thousands and thousands of easily identifiable Jews who were sitting in comfort noshing on the free food provided and (many) checking their emails on their blackberries as speakers simultaneously made impassioned pleas to discard them.

I arose and walked out of the stadium with my head held high and my heart infused with the knowledge and want of being G-dly and of being called a child of Avrohom Avinu.

Despite being chilled and still under the weakening effect of a lingering virus, I recalled the stories of our leaders and of their actions and this inspired me to keep seeking and walking.

I recalled the story of Rav Yisroel Salant and how he arrived at Shul late for Yom Kippur davening as he heard the cries of an unattended Jewish child. When asked how he was able to keep the masses waiting and why did he not join the crowd, Rav Yisroel responded, “A Jew who does not hear the cry of a Jewish child in need is in need of much more than of being in Shul in Yom Kippur; he needs an entire spiritual fixing.”

I know neither the source nor of the authenticity of the story. However, I do know that it entered my heart and to me it was always what was a true ‘Gadol’ is.

Is not feeling the pain of those in pain true G-dliness? As we say in davening every Motzei Shabbos: “Wherever you find the greatness of Holy One, Blessed be He. There you will find His humility…..For Hashem….the Master of masters….a great and mighty G-d. (Hashem says): I abide …in holiness, but (I) am with the broken and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to give life to those who are broken” (Yeshaya 57:15)

I knew what the message for me was; my destination was clear.

I looked and I searched.

The counterprotest.

Up the block and down the block; a phone call here and a phone call there; a request from a policeman here and an usher there; however, finally my search was not in vain and I found them.

Barricaded and secluded, confined and segregated, quarantined and concealed behind the police barricades they stood.

The hurt and pained, the broken hearted.

The ones about who Dovid HaMelech writes in Tehillim are the true ‘korbonos’ (sacrifices): The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; O God, You will not despise a broken and crushed heart. (Tehillim 51:19).

These were the people I had to be with.

They came not to hurt and not to cause pain.

They came not to disrupt and not to attack.

They came because they are in pain and they know there are so many others as well.

They came because there is a hidden pain which the thousands inside yearning for inspiration and information were not being told and they hoped to correct that.

They came to help Jewish children and to tell everyone that other problems irrespective of the internet have to be tackled s well.

And they came because they are in pain.

When I was a little boy my Rebbe told me that when Pharaoh asked his three advisors, Bilaam, Iyov and Yisro for advice on what to do with the Jews this is what they said:

Bilaam who wanted to annihilate the Jews was himself killed.

Yisro who stood up for the Jews was rewarded by Hashem with his daughter marrying Moshe.

Iyov was silent and was punished with afflictions and pain.

My rebbe told me that we see from here that even when you cannot help someone or something, at least try to feel their pain, at least cry out in empathy.

I approached the group; the ‘counter Asifa’.

The men were not wearing black hats and women were present.

They had no fancy stadium seats and they sat on the cold, hard pavement.

They were not famous leaders with titles and huge yeshivas behind them.

They were simple broken hearted pained Jews and with this group I felt solace.

With this group I chose to stand; for nothing more than to say “I love you and I feel your pain.”

Some of the group eyed the Chareidi dressed rabbi with the long coat suspiciously; however, I could not help feeling that Rav Yisroel Salant and the Chofetz Chaim and the Baal Shem Tov walked with me.

I secretly hoped that all of the greats who were just a few hundred yards away would do those legendary acts which our greats are known by.

I hoped they would act as Rav Yisroel would have done by standing up for the pained and broken; those injured through no fault of their own, and that they would cross the street and embrace these sacrifices of God (that) are a broken spirit.

Suddenly, as I stood with Hashem’s beloved and pained children one of the women in our group called out, “Chevra (friends) I think the Asifa may be ending, people should be coming out. Let’s go out and engage them.”

I and entire group looked towards the throngs gathered across the street who were there to be come more like Avrohom Avinu who cared even for Arab wayfarers and brought them into his house.

We looked towards the thousands who heard speaker after speaker arouse the audience to emulate the Satmar Rebbe Zt”l who was known to care for the broken and crushed of his generation.

We hoped and awaited the multitudes that were now encouraged to be more G-dly and caring of the well being of our fellow Jews.

I looked at the woman who made the announcement.

Her eyes were full of hope and anticipation; her whole being felt that perhaps now finally the masses were approaching.

Perhaps the masses had been reawakened and informed about those who are in pain; perhaps a miraculous change in attitude had occurred.

However, as she and all of us looked toward the parking lot, no one looked our way; no one even said hello; they just kept walking as if nobody was there.

The woman lowered her face in disappointment and despair.

A man across the street stopped, turned for a moment to see who was across the street behind the barricades. He quickly looked away and without too much thought began speaking on his cell phone as he walked the steps up to the number 7 line.

The woman, forlorn and forsaken sat back on the pavement; no miracle would occur tonight. She sat down in silence, once again alone .

And I walked on wondering who I am.

Rav Yitzchok Eisenman is a noted Charedi Rabbi and leads Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, NJ. Rabbi Eisenman is a sought after speaker and scholar in residence in many communities throughout the metropolitan area.


Proud Religious Extremists 1 said...

Turning the clock back will always get you attention, no need to burn Israeli flags...:


"The Religious Extremists Who Want to Ban the Internet

The average home attendance for the New York Mets this year has been 27,683. On Sunday, Citi Field drew 40,000—almost full capacity. Why? Not baseball, but religious radicals who think the internet is a dangerous, mortal evil.

Godliness is often at odds with a web full of porn and piracy, but it's usually the pot-clanging of the Christian right; cultural warfare of Jewish Ultra-Orthodoxy rarely takes the stage. But what a stage it took! The protest against the internet went on for over seven hours, at an organizational cost of $1.5 million. Prominent leaders within the mega-traditional Hasidic community, a throwback isolationist sect that's essentially the Amish branch of Judaism, allied with non-Hasidic rabbis to rent an entire major league stadium. Hardcore religious groups who quarrel over the nitty gritty of Old Testament law put aside their differences to throw down against the 21st century. Under broiling sun, tens upon tens of thousands were bused in from across state lines, rallying to denounce an existential threat to both their community and the swell name of God himself: the internet.

The people we talked to weren't certain what they would learn at the Asifa (Yeshivish for "gathering") but they knew vaguely what they'd be warned against — as well as what they feared. Some frowned at the popularity of online dating, and its potential to lead Jewish women—who were barred from attending the day's events, but could instead stay home and watch a livestream over the you-know-what—to marry outside the faith. Almost all cited online porn and its tendency to directly cause molestation, rape, addiction, abduction, infidelity, and virtually every other moral perversion—a risk about which we were previously unaware. When we asked one young man, who had shown up to the rally because his rabbi had ordered him to, if he'd ever looked at porn online, he smiled and said nothing. "You have, haven't you!" His face firmed up and he assured us he had never, but did use the open internet to help manage a catering business.

The Religious Extremists Who Want to Ban the InternetThis was a common refrain: a free internet for the office, but a fettered one at home, where women, children, and tempted men would be safe from the perils of OK Cupid and PornHub. But bare tits and bad words were just the most libidinous terrors. As argued by one Orthodox (online) newspaper, Voz Iz Neias, the internet offers an unprecedented outlet for "Chilul Hashem" a term used to describe an act that casts shame on God, the Torah, or the Jewish community. (Think about the saga of Bernie Madoff, or this post itself.)

How do you stop that? Stop people from speaking their minds. Prevent, in the words of one Brooklyn dentist we chatted with, "unadulterated freedom," which he referred to gravely as the cause of the internet's power to ruin. Everyone we spoke with pointed to one solution: filtering. The same software that clogs up your local library's PCs ought to be spread generously through every home—the same ham-handed initiative that blocks plenty of informative, non-pornographic sites through a clumsy keyword dragnet. It's also the very same software conspicuously absent from the smartphones so many of these men clutched, without a sliver of irony."

Proud Religious Extremists said...

"The Religious Extremists Who Want to Ban the Internet

The Religious Extremists Who Want to Ban the InternetBut this was just the audience. None of the attendees milling around and queuing up outside of the stadium seemed sure of just how censored the net should be—they were waiting to be told how much inside by rabbinical edict. While they waited for an opinion, many in the throng were taunted by a group of Anonymous counter-protestors dressed as neanderthals, chanting and hooting at passersby. In the LulzSec era (well, post-LulzSec), it's easy to forget the group's origins as actual shoes-on-ground activists. One Anon told us they were treating the day's rally just like they had Scientology—a threat to free exchange and democratic principles. They'd organized the gathering on Reddit, of course, and didn't seem to want anything more than a rise out of the orthodoxy. They got a few stern looks and nothing more.

The picture inside the stadium sounded far more grim—the word from the powers that be wasn't just pro-filtering, but arrantly anti-internet.

We tried to get behind the gates, with tickets purchased well in advance (online, of course), but were abruptly told that our space was no longer available, ex post facto. A later attempt to cop scalped tickets on eBay, in what was perhaps the most ironic online auction in history, also failed.

But of course, the holy words drifted outside the ticketed male-only audience via Twitter, as all things do. Rabbis told the crowd an unfiltered internet was "strictly forbidden," that anyone who uses the internet without software censorship in place was violating holy rules, and that "internet is a fire that burns a person's body and soul." Influential figures from Israel phoned in with even more draconian edicts: the internet should be banned entirely at home, with its use permitted only where absolutely necessary for business, as modern life requires. Any family breaking these rules ought to have their children shunned from schools.

This is the stuff of the dark ages.

But does it matter? To anyone outside of the ultra-orthodox community, no, not really. Theirs are insular sects that, unlike their Christian turbo-traditional counterparts, don't want to recreate the globe in their image, choking software filters and all. But even directed away from the rest of society, the spectacle of an enormous, enormously elaborate rally against the linchpin of modern civilization is a jarring one—and wholly ominous. Should the movement to subordinate the internet beneath millennia-old doctrine succeed, it won't just affect a handful of Stone Age religious scholars. A 2006 study pegged the Ultra-Orthodox population in the US at nearly half a million. That's a lot of Americans to lock in the dark."

Hynes Feet To The Fire said...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch of child molestation in the Charedi world:

From the New York Post:

"Move over, Joe

May 20, 2012

Brooklyn DA Charles "Joe" Hynes is under fire for his handling of child sexual-abuse cases in the borough’s ultra-Orthodox community — with critics suggesting a double standard in how such crimes are prosecuted.

Former Mayor Ed Koch has even suggested that Gov. Cuomo supersede Hynes and appoint a special prosecutor to handle such cases.

It’s an idea worth considering.

The Post and other news outlets — notably the Jewish Week, the Forward, several online blogs and, lately, The New York Times — have been reporting on this subject for years.

Perhaps most egregiously, Hynes refuses to make public the names of those formally charged with sexually abusing youngsters in the ultra-Orthodox community — even after they’ve been convicted.

He says that’s to protect the victims, who could easily be identified in the close-knit, insular community. But that’s a policy neither he nor any other prosecutor allows for any other group.

Experts say it has the opposite effect — reinforcing a culture of secrecy that sweeps such allegations under the rug.

He has also never publicly opposed a widely held policy in the ultra-Orthodox community requiring suspicions of child sexual abuse to be submitted to a rabbi, who decides whether to notify police.

Community groups stress that this doesn’t apply to clear-cut evidence of abuse — only to those cases where the evidence is not undeniably conclusive.

Problem is, that’s the overwhelming majority of child sex-abuse cases — and there are laws mandating that law enforcement be notified, without any pre-screening.

Which is why Hynes in 2002 signed a memo of understanding with then-Bishop Thomas Daily, mandating that the Catholic Church report all abuse allegations.

There have also been cases when convicted ultra-Orthodox child molesters have received extremely lenient sentences, several involving no jail time.

Hynes says that in many cases this is because the victims’ parents don’t want their children to testify. But some of those same parents have told reporters they felt pressured by the DA’s office into approving a plea bargain.

Then there’s the matter of widespread witness intimidation — socially ostracizing pressure from within the community on victims’ families not to prosecute, especially when those accused are prominent rabbis or lay leaders.

Sad to say, the community itself too often seems more inclined to protect abusers, rather than their victims.

Just last week, in fact, more than 1,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered at a sold-out event to raise money for a therapist accused of molesting a girl during four years of counseling, starting when she was 12.

As The Post’s Sue Edelman reports today, Hynes has accepted Koch’s suggestion to form a committee of law-enforcement experts to figure out how to handle the problem of witness intimidation.

Alas, that’s far too little, far too late.

Indeed, as Koch suggested in an e-mail exchange with Hynes, “bringing a single, successful [witness-intimidation] case with a prison term will end the problem.”

Maybe, maybe not. But it’d sure send a message.

A quarter-century ago, another Gov. Cuomo named Joe Hynes a special prosecutor after complaints that the then-Queens DA was refusing to aggressively investigate the racially charged Howard Beach case.

That move allayed any suspicions of preferential or lenient treatment and ensured the full prosecution of all those involved.

It may be time for history to repeat itself. Joe Hynes should understand that better than most."

Hynes is a fool and puppet said...

How much longer must Brooklyn suffer with Hynes the fool and puppet of Charedi spinmeisters? He only brings shame to New York and to the American legal system as he caves in to Charedi distortions of justice:

From the New York Daily News:

"Ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn wrongly mistrusts justice system

DA Charles Hynes’ efforts to reach out have their own problems

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

[Photo: Hynes standing with two Chasidim, caption reads: 'Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes (c.) should carefully avoid special treatment for any community']

The streets of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are plastered with leaflets urging support for a rabbi who is accused of the sexual abuse of a teenage girl and attacking her.

Some of the signs depict the 16-year-old’s complaint to police as a danger akin to a rocket attack. Behind them is an all too prevalent faith-based conviction that it’s wrong to bring civil authorities into the insular community’s affairs.

This impulse to close ranks has produced devastating results. While victimization of children and teens is no more prevalent among the Hasidim and similar Jewish sects than in other segments of society, it has gone largely unpunished.

Families and community leaders have been ostracized for contacting law enforcement, and victims have been wrongly deterred from seeking the legal redress to which any person is entitled.

The practices place too high a value on the group rather than on the individual. As Hershy Deutsch, founder of a local safety patrol, told the Daily News, “Don’t cover up what happened to children in this community. This has been happening for too many years.”

Meanwhile, law enforcement has fallen short.

At right, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes defends his record of prosecuting sex abuse among the ultra-Orthodox, a voting bloc that has been instrumental to his repeated reelections.

He points to creation in 2009 of the Kol Tzedek (Voice of Justice) program to encourage and support victims who come forward. Left unspoken is that prosecutions were far less frequent in his previous 19 years in office.

That period included the ugly case of David Zimmer, accused in 1998 of 24 counts, including the rape of a 10-year-old. Zimmer, who was represented by the husband of Hynes’ liaison to the Jewish community, pleaded guilty to a single sexual abuse count and was sentenced to probation. He has since been accused in a series of molestations.

Hynes also entered a deal with a yeshiva teacher, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, who had been the subject of abuse complaints for 30 years and pleaded to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to probation without having to register as a sex offender.

More recently, the executive director of an influential advocacy group, Agudath Israel, told Hynes his organization would encourage victims to consult rabbis before going to the DA’s office. As he writes in the Op-Ed, Hynes acquiesced as, perhaps, a step toward encouraging reports.

He’s in dangerous territory because intermediaries have no place standing as a routine matter between crime victims and law enforcement.

Here comes da judge as Orthodox pervert gets 20 years jail time said...

The wheels of justice may move slowly, but they are speeding up for accused Orthodox child molesters as judges start to hand out heavy sentences for the unspeakable morally perverse crimes the molesters commit in spite of Charedi cover-up efforts to the contrary:

From the New York Daily News:

"Call to duty: Judge urges Jews to report child sex abuse as he sentences molester Michael Sabo

Brooklyn Justice Vincent Del Giudice gives Sabo 20 years and says, 'It is a duty for all adults to protect our children' by cooperating with law enforcement

Monday, May 21, 2012

[Photo caption: Judge Vincent DelGuidice sentenced Michael Sabo on Monday to 20 years to life for sexually abusing two young children and said, "There should be peace in your heart that this person will never ever be able to harm another child."]

A BROOKLYN JUDGE urged members of the tightly guarded Orthodox Jewish community to report sex abuse as he sentenced a man who preyed on their children to 20 years to life in prison.

“There is a duty for all adults to protect our children,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent Del Giudice said Monday. “And the only way they can be protected is if they cooperate with law enforcement.”

The warning came at the sentencing of Michael Sabo, 38, who confessed to sexually abusing two young children. Sabo’s case exemplified the difficulties prosecutors face in getting abuse victims in the close-knit Jewish community to come forward.

Sabo’s crimes came to light after a rabbi was presented with an incriminating photo of a tied-up boy. It took two years to track down the boy’s family, who then contacted prosecutors.

Sabo, a nurse and father of four from Marine Park, Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to abusing a 5-year-old boy for five years starting in 2001, and 6-year-old girl for at least three years.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office had evidence of seven additional victims. Prosecutor Kevin O’Donnell said some of their families refused to cooperate “because of the intimidation they thought they would endure as part of the Orthodox Jewish community.”

...Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has recently come under fire for refusing to release names of Jewish abusers. In his defense, he has citing the community’s insularity and fear of reprisal against victims.

At Sabo’s sentencing, the father of the male victim read a letter that the boy, now 16, wrote.

“You’re a miserable rotten piece of slime,” the victim wrote. “I want to kill you over and over again. I hope you’ll never see another (happy day) again.”

“Why? Why did you hurt all these innocent children?” the father asked after reading the note. “They were young innocent children who did nothing. . . . You took away their trust in adults.”

Sabo faced hundreds of years in prison on the abuse charges and on 120 counts of possessing child pornography.

The judge gave the “lenient” sentence because of the pressure victims and their families faced and to spare them from testifying.

Sabo agreed to the deal two weeks ago. His lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz claimed his client had been molested as a boy but never received any help.

“He languished, he suffered and, ultimately, he acted out as well,” the lawyer said.

That didn’t sway the victims’ family. At the sentencing, the sister of the female victim called Sabo “a sociopath.”

“You ruined her childhood and perhaps her whole life,” she said. “You are a monster.”

Del Giudice told the families he hopes seeing Sabo sent to prison will give them closure.

“There should be peace in your heart that this person will never ever be able to harm another child,” he said.

[Photo caption: Michael Sabo [wearing kippa], a father of four, is sentenced for sexual abuse of children.]."

Play ball! said...