Friday, August 31, 2012


The Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC) is asking that any victim of Heshy Nussbaum to PLEASE contact the journalist handling this story. I am in contact with Kimberly Gayle, she is highly professional and will guarantee your anonymity if requested.
CBC News Toronto -- Desk: 416-205-6213 -- Mobile: 416-453-5218  - email: kimberly.gale@cbc.ca



Man charged with Indecent Assault Male

Heshi Nussbaum, 71,

Police believe there may be more victims

Broadcast time: 12:53

Friday, August 31, 2012

32 Division


The Toronto Police Service would like to make the public aware of an arrest made in a historical sexual assault investigation into sexual assaults alleged to have occurred between January 1972 and December 1975.

It is alleged that:

- the accused, while working as a teacher in a private religious school in the Bathurst Street/Steeles Avenue area, sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy at the school and during a summer camp

- the assaults continued over a three-year period

On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, Heshi Nussbaum, 71, of Toronto, was charged with Indecent Assault Male.

He appeared in court at 1000 Finch Avenue West on Wednesday, August 29, 2012, at 2 p.m.

Police believe there may be more victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3205, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637), or Leave A Tip on Facebook. Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.

Constable Wendy Drummond, Corporate Communications, for Detective Constable Lynn Beveridge, 32 Division.



I Call Him Avi

Priest Puts Blame on Some Victims of Sexual Abuse

A prominent Roman Catholic spiritual leader who has spent decades counseling wayward priests for the archdiocese provoked shock and outrage on Thursday as word spread of a recent interview he did with a Catholic newspaper during which he said that “youngsters” were often to blame when priests sexually abused them and that priests should not be jailed for such abuse on their first offense.

The Rev. Benedict Groeschel, who made the remarks, is a beloved figure among many Catholics and a founder of Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, a conservative priestly order based in New York. He hosts a weekly show on the Eternal Word Television Network and has written 45 books.

The comments were published on Monday by The National Catholic Register, which is owned by EWTN, a religious broadcaster based in Alabama.

“Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him,” Father Groeschel, now 79, said in the interview. “A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”

He added that he was “inclined to think” that priests who were first-time abusers should not be jailed because “their intention was not committing a crime.”

On Thursday, the comments were taken off the publication’s Web site after the controversy erupted, and the editors, Father Groeschel and his religious order apologized.

“I did not intend to blame the victim,” Father Groeschel wrote in a statement published on The Catholic Register’s site. “A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be.”

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, denounced the comments as “terribly wrong.” But he said the church was unlikely to discipline Father Groeschel, in part because as a member of a religious order, he was not officially a priest of the diocese.

For the past 38 years, Father Groeschel has counseled priests at the Trinity Retreat House in the New York suburb of Larchmont; he founded the retreat at the direction of the archbishop at the time, Cardinal Terence J. Cooke. The retreat is a place of treatment and reflection, and the archdiocese has sent priests credibly accused of sexual abuse to live there, but not since 2006, Mr. Zwilling said.

More recently, priests struggling with problems like alcoholism have been sent there for counseling. Father Groeschel, who has a doctorate in psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University, has also taught pastoral counseling for more than 40 years at the archdiocesan seminary, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.

But though he told The Catholic Register that he continued to teach at the seminary, the archdiocese said that the previous academic year had been his last because of what it described as advancing senility and other health problems. The Rev. Glenn Sudano, another founder of the Friars of the Renewal, whose adherents take vows of poverty and work extensively with the poor, said the remarks might have been the result of Father Groeschel’s advancing age and failing health, as well as the aftereffect of a near-fatal 2004 car accident in Orlando, Fla.

“Poor Father Benedict,” he said. “It is painful for us, seeing someone who was so much an advocate and a defender for the underdog, say that.”

In the interview, Father Groeschel said that he continued to counsel priests and that he worked some 12 hours a day.

Asked if he counseled priests who were abusers, he said yes, and then offered a sympathetic portrait. “People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath, but that’s not the case,” he said. Asked why a child might act as a seducer, he said: “A kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own — and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.”

He also expressed sympathy for Jerry Sandusky, the retired Penn State football coach who was recently convicted of serial child molesting, calling him “this poor guy.”

Many New York priests and others — including advocates for victims of child sexual abuse — reacted with anger at the remarks. “Blaming the abused for their abuse is indefensible,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit commentator for America Magazine.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act & The Ultra-Orthodox Jews

New York state has one of the country's strictest statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims, despite lobbying by advocates who say the law can stymie victims who come forward too late.

Now some attorneys believe that legal framework may be shifting after a federal judge this week allowed a lawsuit detailing decades-old sexual abuse to go forward against one of Brooklyn's elite prep schools.

"Frankly I'm going over my files right now to see if there's anything that could be done," said Michael Dowd, an attorney specializing in abuse cases. He plans to review some 300 suits. (Dowd represents the plaintiffs in the ongoing civil suit against Yeshiva Torah Temima in Brooklyn)

"It's the best news out of a court for the victims of sexual abuse this year, and probably in a number of years," he said.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederic Block ruled Tuesday that the statute of limitations didn't automatically disqualify a case against Poly Prep Country Day School, even though some allegations date back to 1966.

Twelve alumni of the Brooklyn private school and its summer program claim they were raped and abused by Philip Foglietta, a revered football coach whose 25-year career at the school started that same year. Mr. Foglietta died in 1998.

The plaintiffs argued that the statute of limitations shouldn't apply because Poly Prep knew about the abuse and covered it up—continuing to publicly celebrate Mr. Foglietta as an upstanding member of the school. As a result, the plaintiffs say, they were prevented from promptly filing their lawsuit.

In a 40-page ruling, Judge Block dismissed some claims—including racketeering charges against Poly Prep—but allowed substantial portions of the case to move forward.

"Any person who was sexually abused by an institution that covered it up should look very carefully at the specific facts of his or her case before making a determination on whether or not to try and seek legal relief," said the plaintiffs' attorney in the suit, Kevin Mulhearn. "They shouldn't automatically assume that the case is too old and they can't do anything about it."

Poly Prep officials downplayed the decision. The school "believes the claims will ultimately be dismissed following a hearing," said spokesman Malcolm Farley. "We are still hopeful that the case may be settled."

Some legal experts said that the ruling was a significant victory for the plaintiffs—as well as other litigants whose sexual-abuse cases have been blocked by the statute of limitations.

"Generally in the state of New York the courts have been relatively hostile to these kinds of claims," said Marci Hamilton, a Cardozo Law School professor specializing in sex-abuse cases. "So this is a very noteworthy case because a judge has approved a theory that would permit individuals who are older than 23 years of age to still be able to sue."

The case has attracted widespread attention in the wake of local sexual-abuse cases at Horace Mann, an elite Bronx prep school, and within New York City's Hasidic community, as well as high-profile cases involving Penn State University and the Catholic Church.

Messrs. Mulhearn and Dowd represent five of the plaintiffs in the Horace Mann case, which also involves decades-old abuse charges.

Mr. Mulhearn combined several cutting-edge strategies being used in other sexual-abuse cases, many of which had previously failed in New York courts.

One claim relied on the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly known as RICO. Although Mr. Mulhearn and his co-counsel brought RICO claims on behalf of all 12 plaintiffs, only two claims survived in the judge's ruling.

Still, that result may be unprecedented in the context of sexual abuse, he and other experts said. In the surviving RICO claims, both plaintiffs donated money to the school after administrators allegedly covered up their knowledge of the abuse.

Mr. Mulhearn also invoked Title IX, more widely known for providing parity for women's sports programs.

The law can apply in abuse cases if a predator exclusively molests children of one gender.

Mr. Farley, spokesman for the school, noted that "nearly all of the RICO claims" had been dismissed, with the rest now subject to an evidentiary hearing.

New York judges have largely resisted both theories, experts said, preferring to defer to lawmakers.

But advocates pointed to a potential breakthrough.

Assemblyman Vito Lopez, a powerful lawmaker widely seen as blocking legislation in Albany to extend the statute of limitations, was censured last week after an ethics investigation substantiated sexual-harassment complaints made against him.

If the scandal results in Mr. Lopez's departure from the Assembly, "that removes someone who has been a major factor in opposing revision of the New York state statute of limitations for sexual abuse," said attorney Ed Wilson, an advocate for people who claim to have been abused by the Catholic Church.

Mr. Lopez could not be reached for comment.

Write to Sophia Hollander at sophia.hollander@wsj.com


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


School Abuse Case May Proceed Judge Says

A top-tier Brooklyn private school cannot automatically use New York State’s statute of limitations to prevent a case involving sexual abuse allegations against a former football coach from proceeding, a judge ruled Tuesday, because of the possibility that the school may have engaged in a scheme to cover up decades of abuse.

The ruling by the judge, Frederic Block of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn, paves the way for a hearing to establish whether there was a cover-up by the school, Poly Prep, and if it prevented the plaintiffs from bringing a case within the statute of limitations. In New York, survivors of sexual abuse that occurred while they were minors must file a case by the time they are 23.

The judge dismissed all racketeering charges against Poly Prep, but allowed 2 of the 12 plaintiffs to go forward with their racketeering claims against current and former board and administration members. In his 40-page ruling, Judge Block also allowed civil charges including fraud and violations of Title IX, which specifically prohibits sexual abuse, to move forward to a hearing.

The case is being closely watched, as allegations of sexual abuse and the way powerful institutions manage knowledge of those allegations has exploded within the Roman Catholic Church, in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn and in high-profile schools like Horace Mann in the Bronx and Penn State University.

At Poly Prep, 12 plaintiffs, alumni of the school and its summer camp, claim that they were raped and molested by Philip Foglietta, the former football coach. Mr. Foglietta was an iconic leader who started working at the school in 1966 and died in 1998. The first allegation against him by a student came in 1966, the ruling says. Accompanied by his parents, the student told the headmaster that Mr. Foglietta had abused him on multiple occasions. The family was told that an investigation was conducted, that the student’s claims were not credible and that the student would face “severe consequences” if he continued to make such allegations, according to the ruling.

In 1991, Mr. Foglietta retired from Poly Prep. A dinner was held to celebrate his retirement at New York City’s Downtown Athletic Club. When he died in 1998, the lawsuit says, Poly Prep established a memorial fund and solicited donations in his name. The plaintiffs argue that the school treated him as a revered coach, fund-raising on his legacy and celebrating his tenure, in spite of knowledge that he abused young boys for decades.

Judge Block made clear that the plaintiffs still face “several hurdles.” Each plaintiff will have to prove that statements about Mr. Folglietta’s “lily-white reputation were false and made with knowledge of their falsity,” his decision says. Each will have to show that they had relied on the school’s misrepresentations in not bringing a suit earlier, and that once they learned of the school’s alleged deceit, they acted promptly to bring a case.

Kevin T. Mulhearn, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the ruling was a victory. “The court has basically carved out an exception on statute of limitation claims where the party has engaged in affirmative misrepresentations or deceitful conduct,” he said. Edward Flanders, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman L.L.P. working with Mr. Mulhearn, said the “egregious facts” of the case would allow them to clear the hurdles set forth by Judge Block.

Tisha Kresler, a spokeswoman for Poly Prep from Rubenstein Associates, said: “The Court dismissed nearly all of the RICO claims,” she wrote, referring to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. She added that the court had also “ordered an evidentiary hearing, describing the hurdles the plaintiffs must overcome to avoid dismissal of their Title IX and state law claims.” She said that the school still believed the claims would be dismissed, but that it was actively seeking a settlement with the plaintiffs.

Alumni at Horace Mann, which has been grappling with allegations and at least one admission of past sexual abuse, also applauded the ruling.

“This decision levels the playing field between victims and schools by showing that the current statute of limitations isn’t absolute,” said Robert Boynton, communications director for the Horace Mann Action Coalition, a nonprofit organization founded to push Horace Mann to investigate sexual abuse at the school.

The Poly Prep case has taken many twists and turns. In 2004, one alumnus filed a civil suit against the school over abuse. The case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had been exceeded.

In 2009, a larger group of alumni filed a new case, arguing that a cover-up by the school of the abuse prevented the plaintiffs from filing suit in a timely fashion. The vehicle they used to sue was federal racketeering charges, which include mail and wire fraud. The plaintiffs argue that while the school fired Mr. Foglietta for sexual misconduct, it lied to the Poly Prep community about the true nature of his dismissal — and his career there.

Two of the plaintiffs made financial contributions to the school, so they can be considered victims of the school’s alleged scheme to defraud the community through deception about Mr. Foglietta’s legacy, the judge ruled. Those contributions totaled $2,500. But in defending his decision to allow the two RICO charges to move forward, the judge wrote that the scheme alleged is not “just a string of isolated statements.” He continued, “Rather, it is a decades-long attempt to conceal the school’s knowledge of Foglietta’s despicable conduct.”

MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/29/nyregion/poly-prep-sexual-abuse-case-may-proceed-judge-rules.html?_r=1&utm_source=DRAFT&utm_campaign=2012-08-29-Poly+Prep+SOL+Ruling&utm_medium=email

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do No Harm

 On September 13, the New York City Board of Health is scheduled to vote on a controversial proposal that would officially define an ancient Jewish ritual practice as dangerous to an infant’s life. It would require parents to agree in writing that the ritual about to be performed on their son could lead to brain damage or even death. Virtually no other religious practice in America requires parental informed consent, experts say. This would be the first.

The city’s proposal is strongly opposed by a broad coalition of devoutly Orthodox Jews, some of whom have hinted at civil disobedience against what they see as government’s encroachment on their right to practice an essential element of their faith. Given the electoral clout of these groups, it’s possible this controversy could affect next year’s race for mayor of New York City.

All this to protect the right of a mohel, the man performing a Brit Milah, or ritual circumcision, from using his mouth to suction blood from the open wound he has just made when he removed the foreskin from the penis of an 8-day-old boy.

There’s a definite yuck factor in discussing metzitzah b’peh, a practice Jews started abandoning about 150 years ago, when medical knowledge and communal sensibilities persuaded even many revered rabbis to sanction safer alternatives to clean the wound. But those Jews who have maintained the practice do so with absolute determination.

“In those communities that regard metzitzah b’peh as essential, there is simply no way that bris milah can be performed without direct oral suction,” Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudah Israel of America, the major Orthodox advocacy organization, wrote to the city’s Department of Health on July 23. “For them, any government regulation of metzitzah b’peh impinges on an essential religious practice, and thus raises the highest level of constitutional concerns.”

Constitutional concerns mean a great deal here, especially at a time when anti-circumcision fervor is spreading across Europe and finding a hospitable reception among some Americans. But that is why the modest, reasonable steps recommended by New York City’s health officials ought to be supported. They do not ban the practice of metzitzah b’peh, nor restrict its use. The parental informed consent requirement, while highly unusual, points to a necessary truth: that the government’s responsibility to protect the lives of its most innocent citizens trumps all. As it should in Jewish life, too.

This is not a new controversy, but it was newly ignited by the case of a New York City infant whose death in 2011 was attributed to metzitzah p’eh.

Even though the science here is straight-forward, supporters of the practice argue that it is not. And that alone is distressing.

As the Center for Disease Control reported in June: “Oral contact with a newborn’s open wound risks transmission of HSV and other pathogens.” HSV stands for herpes simplex virus, commonly expressed by cold sores; if a newborn is infected with HSV, it can result in death or permanent disability. The CDC reports that male infants circumcised with confirmed or probable oral suction are at 3.4 times greater risk for infection than those whose Brit Milah was performed using the safer method of drawing blood and cleaning the wound through a small tube or pipette — a method that many rabbis, even among the ultra-Orthodox, have said is consistent with Jewish law.

Supporters of metzitzah b’peh are not convinced by this data. They insist that the city’s own records showing that 11 infants were infected with herpes between 2004 and 2011 by this practice (two of whom died) are based on circumstantial evidence and not indicative of a broader risk.

There’s no polite way to say this: They are wrong.

“In public health, there are always ways to create doubt,” said Jay Varma, the Department of Health’s deputy commissioner for disease control, in an interview with the Forward. “But even if you have some doubts on the strength of the evidence, it is incumbent on you to protect human life.”

Voluntary testing of those who perform oral suction is simply not practical. Scientists believe that at least 70% of adults are infected with herpes, which is easily transmitted and does not always present itself in obvious ways. The mouth, a highly unsterile environment, is a breeding ground for this and other infections.

“This practice greatly increases the risk that a child will become infected with a potentially deadly infection,” Varma said. “Parents should be informed of that risk.”

Yes, parents should be informed — even at the cost of relinquishing what we like to believe is our virtually unfettered freedom to practice religion without government interference. Because the government has the right, indeed the obligation, to step in more forcefully when children are involved. Citing case law regarding such conflicts with other religions, Sarah Barringer Gordon, a highly regarded law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Forward: “Where medicine and religion conflict, the concern is to protect the children.”

And the current protocols in New York State are not sufficient. After an infant death in 2005, state health officials worked with the ultra-Orthodox community to establish voluntary guidelines, with health information distributed to new mothers after they give birth in the hospital. That has not prevented infants from becoming infected or, in the instance mentioned above, from death. The more stringent parental consent form is necessary.

It’s clear that this controversy is more than a public health dispute. It is about the autonomy of religious leadership and the imperative of maintaining tradition. It is also reflects deep anxieties about the broader circumcision debate — a worry that allowing government officials to have a say over one religious practice would open the door to more robust interference.

In fact, it may have the opposite effect. “Making metzitzah b’peh about the fight about circumcision has implications for the entire Jewish community,” Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Committee, told the Forward.

In Europe, where fervent secularists are pushing governments to ban circumcision, where a German rabbi was criminally charged for doing what Jews have done for centuries, the argument is about the pain and disfigurement experienced by the infant boy. It’s an argument that is easily refuted, by weighing those real consequences with, in our mind, the far more important value of maintaining a singular religious tradition, one that actually has serious health benefits to the infant.

But if metzitzah b’peh is inextricably linked to Brit Milah and has been proven to be potentially dangerous to the infant, then opponents of circumcision have a far more potent argument in their arsenal.

New York City officials seem to have developed a reasonable compromise that protects the religious rights of parents while ensuring that they receive the information they need to make a responsible choice for their child. Our tradition must be able to absorb and adjust to new scientific understandings. Surely the rabbis whose word is law in these communities want what is best for their children, too.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/161515/do-no-harm/#ixzz24qrPXMxJ

AAP - The Benefits of Male Circumcision Outweigh Risks:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The gravity of abuse and its terrible consequences requires that we do nothing less than wake up, shake up and turn the community upside down.

I believe in every case of  credible allegations of child abuse - the police must be called immediately; they have the ability to sort it out better than any lay person! I'm not certain Rabbi Jacobson takes this position. In addition, he makes a passing reference to the possibility of teshuva or repentance by the predator. That tells me unequivocally, that Rabbi Jacobson is ill-equipped to be a spokesperson for abused children. Rabbi, I suggest that you educate yourself on this topic. Talk to medical professionals in the field, but please don't present yourself as a person that is qualified to advise people on this topic. For the above reasons and the fear that he just doesn't get it, caused me some pause in putting up his piece. Nevertheless, I post his essay for some of the valid points that I do agree with. The entire essay is available on his blog; the link is at the bottom of this page.


"Dear Rabbi,

As chief-editor of a news website, I commend you for courageously addressing one of the worst curses plaguing our community: child abuse.

I receive many submissions exposing child molesters and various forms of abuse in our communities. I would like you to discuss the issue of publicizing this information. On one hand, many argue that we are prohibited from “loshon hora,” speaking ill of others, even if it may be true. On the other hand how can any responsible person ignore the issue that has such devastating effects and just “push it under the rug”?

Please reply. Your response will not only be appreciated, but will guide us in setting policy what to post and what not to post on our public site.

I believe that you have the power to spearhead a major campaign, headed by real Rabbis and activists, to address this issue for the benefit of the larger community. The gravity of abuse and its terrible consequences requires that we do nothing less than wake up, shake up and turn the community upside down.

I am willing to dedicate to this discussion as much space as necessary on our site. Please let’s push and help our kinderlech (children)...

Thank you,


Rabbi Jacobson responds:

Thank you for your supporting words and confidence. I am not really sure whether I can live up to your expectations to spearhead any major effort, but I can try adding my small contribution to this vital topic.

The only reason I have for the last few weeks been writing about abuse is precisely due to its far-reaching and devastating effects on so many lives. And not just for now, but for generations to come. Everything we build and teach our children, all our investments and dedication to good, all our moral standards, our entire education system, can be wiped out in one fell swoop when we or our children are violated.

I have been trained in the Torah way of thinking that any question we have must be framed in objective context, and weighed by various moral criteria that help us achieve some clarity. This is especially true for controversial and emotionally charged issues, due to their subjective effect on all of us – fear, anger, vengeance, shock, disbelief, and all the other complex feelings evoked by abuse.

The first of all ethical and Torah axioms must be stated at the outset: No one has a right to in any way violate in any way the body or soul of another human being. Indeed, we don’t even have the right to mutilate our own bodies, because your body does not belong to you; it is “Divine property.” Let alone someone else’s property. No crime is worse that assaulting another’s dignity – which is compared to the dignity of G-d Himself, being that every person was created in the Divine Image. Even a hanged murderer must not be defiled and his body not left to hang overnight because it reflects the Divine Image. How much more so – infinitely more so – regarding a live person and innocent child…

Abuse, in any form or shape, physical, psychological, verbal, emotional or sexual, is above all a violent crime – a terrible crime. Abusing another (even if it’s intangible) is no different than taking a weapon and beating someone to a pulp. And because of its terrible long-term effects, the crime is that much worse.

What do we do with violent criminals? We punish them. Once it has been determined that abuse was perpetrated, there should be consequences, both for the perpetrator and as a deterrent to other potential violators. The actual consequences need to be determined by local legal and Torah standards by the authorities on location. If for any reason the Torah authorities cannot deal with the situation, the only recourse is the same one employ for murderers, thieves and other criminals: legal action.

The next question is this: What are our obligations as parents, teachers, writers, website editors, or just plain adult citizens, when it comes to abuse?

On one hand we are talking about protecting innocent people from criminal predators, which clearly is a major obligation and priority concern. On the other hand, we do have laws prohibiting embarrassing people (even criminals) in public, always hopeful, allowing people to correct their ways. We have laws about avoiding gossip and speaking ill about others (loshon hora), and not feeding into the base instinct of “talking about others” or “mob mentality” witch-hunting expeditions.

We have several obligations when we see or know about a crime, as well as obligations to prevent further crimes:

1) A witness to a crime who does not testify “must bear his guilt” (Leviticus 5:1).

2) “Do not place a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14), which includes the obligation to warn someone from a danger we are aware of. If you see someone walking down the street and you know that further down the block there is an uncovered pit in the ground or a man with a gun, you are obligated to warn him.

If we are aware of a predator we must do everything possible to protect people from him.

3) “Do not stand still over your neighbor's blood (when your neighbor's life is in danger)” (Leviticus 19:16). It’s interesting to note that this commandment follows (in the same verse) “do not go around as a gossiper among your people,” suggesting that gossip is an issue only when no life is in danger. But if a life is in danger then “do not stand still” even if means speaking about it in public.

4) “You must admonish your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him” (ibid 17).

If one does not admonish, then he is responsible for the other's sin (Sefer HaMitzvot, Positive 205; see Shabbat 54b. 119b). Though at the outset rebuke must be done “in private, kindly and gently,” not to embarrass him publicly (Arkhin 16b; Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative 305), but if it doesn’t help, the obligation is to admonish him in pubic (Rambam Deos 6:8. Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Onaah v’Gneivas Daas 30).

This is true even about a crime that does not affect other people. All the care taken about public shame is because the crime does not affect the public. And even then, there are situations where the admonishment must be done publicly. By contrast, in our discussion about abuse, which affects others, all these restrictions do not apply: Embarrassment of a criminal is never an excuse a reason to put anyone else in potential danger.

Based on the above, I would submit that the following criteria to determine whether to publish and publicize the name of a molester:

1) The abuse must be established without a shred of doubt. Because just as we must protect the potential victims of abuse, we also are obligated to protect the reputations of the innocent, and not wrongly accuse anyone without evidence or witnesses.

2) Publicizing the fact will serve as a deterrent or even possible deterrent of further crimes, or will warn and protect possible future victims. If that is true, than “loshon hora” (speaking ill about someone) does not apply. It would be the equivalent of saying that it is “loshan hora” to warn someone of a weapon-wielding criminal who may cause harm!

If however publicity will not serve any benefit to the public, then there would be no reason to mention an individual’s name. For instance, if abuse took place years ago, and the crime has recently surfaced, unless publicizing the name could potentially protect future incidents, what point would there be to exposing the identity of the abuser? He may even have done teshuvah and been rehabilitated.

Even if he caused great damage to those he abused, and his victims want to get even and publicize his name, that alone may not be enough reason, unless it may help prevent future abuse. What may require further research is whether public shame in this instance is a legitimate form of punishment. This also touches upon the laws of forgiveness, which include the exception that one need not forgive if the perpetrator still needs to be humbled or if in the process the victim is being hurt.

3) Even if a name is not publicized, the issue of abuse itself must be addressed for the same reasons stated: To make the public aware of the dangers, to protect innocent children.

The argument that publicity will give the community a “bad name” and “why wash our dirty laundry in public?” does not supersede the obligation to protect the innocent from being hurt.

Anyone who suggests that abuse must be overlooked, because (as one person told me) it “happens all the time” and “by many people, including our leaders,” or for any other reasons – is not different than ignoring any other crime, and is in itself a grave crime.

One could even argue, that the greatest “Kiddush Hashem” (sanctifying G-d’s name) is when a Torah based community demonstrates that it doesn’t just mechanically follow the laws or isn’t merely concerned with reputations and shidduchim, but that it sets and demands the highest standard of accountability amongst its citizens, and invest the greatest possible measures to protect its children from predators, create trust and absolutely will not tolerate any breach or abuse. That the greatest sin of all is ignoring or minimizing crimes being perpetrated against our most innocent and vulnerable members: our children.

In conclusion: The bottom line in all matters regarding abuse is one and only one thing: Protecting the innocent. Not the reputation of an individual, not the reputation of the community, not anything but the welfare of our children. In every given case, whether to publicize or not, whether to take any other action or not, the question that must be asked is this: What is best for the potential victims? Will or can this action help prevent someone from being hurt or not? If the answer is yes or even maybe yes, then the action should be taken.

But one thing is clear: The crisis has reached a boiling point where it must be addressed and brought to the attention of the public, if nothing else, to make everyone aware of the dangers, the long-term consequences and the zero-tolerance policy that needs to be applied to every form of abuse.

Anything less would be irresponsible, immoral, and, yes, is some way complicit.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Bystander’s Crime - Yes or No!

If someone is (for example) a witness to murder he could have prevented without harming himself, is he as guilty as the perpetrator? I know that is a rather simplistic situation, but I believe it is apropos to situations like the recent Penn State scandal. NAME AND LOCATION WITHHELD

If your question were simply “Is a bystander who knowingly allows harm to occur guilty of something?” the answer would be easy: Yes. But that’s not what you asked. You asked if that person is as guilty as the person who commits the act itself. In the Penn State situation, I think there’s a social pressure to argue that almost every adult involved is equally responsible. But that’s not really accurate; you can certainly view every adult in that scenario as guilty, but they’re all guilty of different things. Unless you view “guilt” as a blanket, uniform classification that applies to all involved parties in every situation, you have to assess every act individually. And that means the (very bad) act of not stopping something harmful is not commensurate with the (very, very bad) act of actively committing harm.

Let’s use your original hypothetical, but with a reversed outcome: Say an ostensibly sane friend tells you he’s going to murder his rival, but you stop him from doing so (you take away his weapon and convince him that it’s a bad idea). Clearly, you’ve done something good. You stopped something bad from happening, and you helped maintain the social order. Your friend, however, can’t argue that he did something good by not killing his enemy. He doesn’t get credit simply for not shooting someone. So while you both share a degree of accountability for this positive nonevent, your respective roles have different values. Your pre-emptive action matters more than his inaction.

A similar principle is at play when the inverse happens. Let’s say that same friend tells you his plan, and you choose to do nothing. You just sit there silently, staring ahead blankly. His murder proceeds as planned. Now, you’ve absolutely done something unethical here; you behaved cowardly and apathetically, and you might be considered an accessory to the crime. You share a measure of responsibility — but a fraction as much as the murderer. Your failure was tangential. If you were totally eliminated from the equation, the violent event would still happen as it did; if your friend were removed from the equation, there is no event at all. Actions have to matter more than mere knowledge.

Your allusion to what occurred at Penn State fits into this model of thinking, but with a few extra levels of complexity. Jerry Sandusky committed sexual acts against children, so his culpability is not unclear. But it can’t be easily argued that the acts would still have happened even if Joe Paterno had never existed. It’s possible that Sandusky was able to commit his crimes only because of the culture Paterno helped create, so his role in the debacle (and the culpability of the institution) is less straightforward. Anytime this type of question is examined outside a vacuum, it becomes highly situational and increasingly intricate (sometimes the person committing the wrong understands the true consequence less accurately then the informed bystander, which implicates the latter individual to a much deeper degree). But right now, we’re still in the vacuum: You’re asking if not stopping a horrible event is the same as actively causing a horrible event. And it’s not.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the Jews Do What?

Penn State Warned by Accreditation Panel

Published: August 14, 2012

Pennsylvania State University has been warned that its accreditation is in jeopardy unless it corrects conditions that contributed to sexual abuse of children by a former assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education issued the warning last week, giving the university until Sept. 30 to report what steps it is taking. The commission, which oversees more than 500 schools, issued 32 accreditation warnings in a two-year period ending in June. Such warnings are almost always resolved without punitive action.

Mr. Sandusky was convicted in June of molesting 10 boys.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Want Such a Duck - איך וויל אַזאַ קאַטשקע

Rabbi Chaim Boruch Wolpin shlita, the present rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Karlin Stolin, perhaps the greatest mind of any rosh yeshiva alive in America today, said over the following parable when he was a young man.

There was a dispute among scientists in the 1600s whether the attraction of males towards females were inherently innate, or was it learned behavior.

So, this group of scientists put it to the test. They took a male infant from birth, and placed him in a monastery of monks, never to come in contact with any female. They decided that they'd take him out of this environment when he reached 14 years of age.

They first took him to a forest. He asked, what is this big and tall brown thing with green things hanging from it? This is a tree my son. The green things are called leaves.

What are those big roundish heavy-looking grayish things? Those are boulders my son, God's way of expressing Himself that he can create all sizes and shapes in any form He chooses of any material. Some need His water to survive, some are inanimate and just exist upon His choosing.

They walked deeper into the forest; monkeys were swinging from trees, snakes were abound, fruit trees were decorated with their various colors, elephants and rhinos were seeking their food, dogs and cats were playing hide and seek.

Each one was questioned as to what it is, and was subsequently explained.

They reached a lake; what is that on the water? Those are ducks my son.

They continued walking lakeside until they chanced upon a group of maidens bathing. What are those? Hmmm...they are also ducks my son. The Jews call them katchkes.

"I want those katchkes and want to take them home with me!"

There is natural inborn, instinctive behavior, and there is learned behavior. Mammals have both. Following orders of leaders was and is learned and evolved instinctive behavior. Whether one wants to go back to the hunter/gatherer days or to  Adam Ha'Rishon, Noah, Avraham Avinu and the Avos, in each of the aforementioned, there were both. Relying on the male hunter for food and shelter was a matter of survival for the women, children and weaker males with no ability to hunt and protect themselves. Adam's conduct  with Eve was instinctive, which was obviously stronger to him than God's command.

What we as Jews and the world at large face is a confluence of weak leaders and instinctive/learned behavior to follow leaders whether they are true leaders, corrupt, inept or despicable excuses of human beings. One needs to look around the globe, whether leaders of any country or supposed leaders of religions, one is desperate to find a person or persons that deserve anything more than our contempt.

Watching Jordan's American educated monarch on Charlie Rose last week, confronted with a barrage of questions on a nuclear Iran, Syria, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood etc.; his final thought was, if not for  Israel's degradation of the Palestinians, all the above crisis' in the Mid-East  would be non-existent.

Our own president was elected only because he is an African-American, if he was a Caucasian he would still be on the picket line on the streets of black Chicago. We've never had a shallower or more inept president in our history. He must be tossed out of office!

Looking at the head of some billion Catholics, a former member of Hitler's Nazi Youth Movement, now preaches morality; as under his watch as a Cardinal and now as the Pope, perhaps a million children's lives have been tormented and covered-up for the predators with his perverted mind and position. And more scandals and nightmarish stories are still bursting out daily all over the planet.

And we Jews have nothing to boast about as we look around at the hoodlums that are in charge of our yeshivas, education systems (or lack thereof), organizations,  and our own community organizers aka askanim.

We need to rid ourselves of certain learned and instinctive behavior, to follow religious leaders just because they say so. We have a Torah and a Shulchan Aruch, and the fifth chelek of the Shulchan Aruch, which is basic common sense given to us by our Creator to use, not to surrender to impostors.

Use it or lose it! Get rid of those katchkes!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

He Calls Him "Glatt"!

I pray that with this publication, peace and closure to the victims of the alleged child molester referred to as "Glatt", is attained to some degree while they are still alive. To the alleged victims that have passed on, may their souls live on with the tranquility knowing that anyone that perpetrates such a heinous act against a child, will be exposed whether they are alive or dead!


Excerpts - Page 118 - 120 -- " One Sabbath Afternoon when I was eleven years old I was standing alone at the top of  the steps of the entrance at the Agudah building on Bedford Avenue... Glatt (not his real name), a charismatic leader of the Agudah, came up the steps. Catching me by surprise, this middle aged man seized my arms and pinned my body against the door post. I saw and felt his knee massaging my groin. For a few seconds I was paralyzed with shock and fear. I still vividly remember Glatt's crazed ecstatic look on his face only a few inches away from mine. But despite my innocence I realized that I had become a victim of a  perverted sexual act. What was amazing to me was that the perpetrator was a pious family man and (a) highly respected leader of the Agudah in America. Almost a few weeks later an almost identical encounter occurred when Glatt ambushed me again in an unguarded moment when I was alone in the hallway of the Agudah. Again his face took on that unforgettable crazed look. A few years ago my close boyhood friend Heshy Nagel, who was also a member of the Pirchei Agudah, reminded me about one boy who came forward and disclosed that he too had nearly identical experiences with Glatt, but had been too ashamed to admit it to anyone.  It is possible that Glatt intentionally directed his sexual depredations to two boys that he assessed as vulnerable since we both lacked parental protection...But the look on his face as he violated me was that of a crazed man in the grip of uncontrollable passions...My two brief encounters with Glatt took place in the early 1950s, and probably left no lasting effect on my emotional well being. As an adult looking back, the lesson I have learned is that even the most promising and seemingly saintly religious and community leaders -- especially if they were like Glatt, charismatic personalities -- could be driven by dark and uncontrollable sexual urges. Had he been my teacher and had the opportunity to abuse me on a regular basis, I am sure the impact on me would have been traumatic."

Philip Fishman grew up in the Brooklyn Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg during the 1950s, when the community experienced a large influx of Hasidic Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe and the area evolved from a multi-ethnic Jewishly heterodox community similar to Jewish neighborhoods in other parts of New York City into a tightly knit re-invention of an ultra-pious East European shtetl. The culture and values of the new arrivals often conflicted sharply with the older community. The fault lines of this kulturkampf were the context of his childhood-and these memoirs vividly describe the personal, familial, and communal tensions associated with this social transformation. Williamsburg's metamorphosis into an exclusively haredi enclave was the first of its kind in the United States, but this neighborhood's profound makeover, with the associated community discord, was soon echoed in many other American locales and is occurring in many Israeli communities. The post-war transformation of Williamsburg foreshadowed a dramatic and ongoing transformation of American Orthodoxy and-more broadly- American Jewish life in the 21st century.

About the Author:

Philip Fishman was a professor of statistics and computer science at the Washington University School of Medicine and a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory and the MITRE Corporation. He has published numerous papers in scientific journals on information and communication theory and quantitative genetics. Dr. Fishman now devotes his time to Judaic, historical, and scientific study and to writing. He and his wife, Sylvia Barack Fishman, professor of contemporary Jewish life at Brandeis University, live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Solomon Schimmel, Ph.D :

"This book is a gem. Dr. Fishman has exquisitely woven together his personal history growing up in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) from the early forties through the early sixties with astute observations of how the neighborhood transformed over time from a Jewishly pluralistic and tolerant community into a narrow minded often fanatical and xenophobic community dominated by various Hasidic sects most of which consisted of refugees from the Holocaust. Fishman's memory of details of his childhood experiences and feelings, and his reflections on various characters on the Williamsburg stage is impressive and makes for engrossing reading. Although Fishman has many positive memories of Hasidic piety and music, and of Hasidim with strong ethical values, he devotes several chapters to the sordid side of the ultra orthodox and Hasidim, including a chapter on sexual perversity. This book is an essential read for anyone interested in the history of New York's Jews, especially those of Williamsburg which was a major center of Jewish life for many decades".

Available at amazon.com:

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Contrasting Cultures

by Rabbi Dov Fischer

Mitt Romney's comments in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, complimenting Jewish culture have brought condemnation. A global ceremony tonight should give his critics pause

Tonight will be a most incredible night for Orthodox Jews and, more, for a massive expression of the culture of all the Jewish people.

The single largest gathering in American history in honor of Torah study will take place at the New Jersey Meadowlands ("MetLife Stadium"), home of the New York Giants football team and the New York Jets. It will be beamed by satellite to local gatherings the world over.

(New Jersey is a suburb of New York City although, for some reason, it has a governor, two U.S. senators, and some electoral votes.)

After our studying a page a day of Talmud for the past seven and a half years, the study of the entire Talmud now is wrapping up with the final folios of Tractate Nidah, the last Tractate of the Babylonian Talmud. To mark the moment, more than 93,000 seats have been sold out at MetLife Stadium for tonight.

Over the past 24 hours, there has been some discussion about Mitt Romney's comments in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, complimenting Jewish culture. Democrats have found reasons to attack what he said, and Republicans have found reasons to love what he said. That is all politics. If it had been Obama who had said that (which it decidedly was not), then it would be the Republicans attacking it, and the Democrats applauding it. That is the cynicism of politics. But the reality is that there is no other people on earth, no other culture in all of human history, that ever has made the Study of Law, the Study of a Book or Books of Law and History and Religion and Culture and Geography and Ethnography so uniquely central to its existence, its very raison d'etre.

The reality is — and Saeb Erekat and all his "Palestinians" know it — that no Arab society is going to fill a stadium to celebrate the national enterprise of having learned a book or an encyclopedic compendium. Nor will — or has — any European society. Or African or Asian society. Nor any other society or peoples in the Western hemisphere, other than the Jews.

I guess our study of Talmud is somewhat a journey into "intellectual history" or "legal history" or "comparative law" or "legislative history." On the one hand, we always have wondered ever-since we or any family members or friends became religious (either by birth or by becoming ba'al teshuvah later in life) "why" Jews do all these strange things. On the simplest level, we do them because our parents or rabbis taught us that these are the things we must do to serve G-d, and we believed them as children or came to believe them as we grew older. For lack of our own study or personally acquired knowledge, we eagerly accepted that they know, that they are right, and we all have come to see enough other people doing these things that we assume it is not a Nigerian-email scam or an April Fool's goof. But we never learn the deeper "how it all came about" and "why we do it."

Talmud study gives us a window into the "how" and the "why." Why does the day start at night? Why do we recite the prayers in Maariv that the Siddur tells us to recite? Why do some recite those extra two pages before the night the central Amidah prayer, while others skip them? Why, for that matter, is there a Maariv service? And, while we are at it, why does the night start when there are stars? Why three? Why not some other demarcation? And why are we told that, if we do daven Maariv, sometimes it is acceptable to pray "too early," but we therefore need to repeat Sh'ma at home? That is Talmud Study.

Meantime, Talmud Study is about history: I heard of Kohanim, descendants of the priestly class, and I know they get the first Aliyah to the Torah, and they bless us on the holidays. But I did not know they ate this unique donated food, which no one else was allowed to eat, and which the impure among them could not eat until they went to the city's outskirts and spent the day there after immersing in a mikvah ritualarium. Who could imagine such a thing? What a spectacle it must have been every day to watch several hundred or thousand Kohanim crossing back into the city at nightfall! No one ever told me that such a thing used to go on. Gee, in a time without clocks and wrist watches, they could almost have known it was nighttime just by their massive entry into the City's gates as the stars came out. That, too, is Talmud Study. In fact, that is among the subjects in the first day of the new cycle.

So there is some of this and some of that. It is the blend of history of people, history of ideas, sociology, conversations and anecdotes, narratives about great historical figures and their failings and successes. Along the way, we gain a window of understanding into why we do so many of the things that encompass our lives and how those practices came about.

As for those who study the Talmud each and every day, a folio a day for seven and a half years, be assured that perhaps the two greatest records of consecutive achievement ever recorded — Lou Gehrig not missing a single baseball game from 1925 to 1939, playing 2130 consecutive games over fifteen years until he was stopped by the horrible ALS disease, and Cal Ripken's record-breaking 17-year streak of playing in 2,632 games between May 1982 and September 1998 — pale in comparison to learning a Folio (Daf) a day (Yomi), with no off-season, no break in the action, no travel dates, for seven and a half years. It is a remarkable thing, and any culture that can make that undertaking a source of unique greatness to be attained by its medical doctors, attorneys, scientists, pharmacists, philosophers, accountants, university professors, entrepreneurs, mailroom clerks, information technology professionals, investment brokers, and delivery boys is a culture whose admiration rightfully is a source of great pride for those who live it.

Transcending all politics, it is a uniquely treasured culture of which we have every reason to take enormous pride as MetLife fills up tonight.

JWR contributor Rabbi Dov Fischer, a legal affairs consultant and adjunct professor of the law of civil procedure and advanced torts, is rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He was formerly Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and writes extensively on political, cultural, and religious issues.


The Power Of One!





...."Rabosai; we are in a generational war. We will win, no doubt. But it will take energy, participation, and fortitude. The Taliban-like rabbis and their supporters must be defeated. There is no room in our civilized society for "halacha" sanctioned evil. The Internet is as evil as a gun. You can use the Internet to protect yourself and your family with it, by learning, studying, researching, increasing your income, providing parnassah, and you can kill yourself with it, spiritually. Did you ever see a gun on trial?

There is a person behind the gun/computer that must be educated and taught responsibile behavior with this great "weapon". You can fend off robbers in the middle of the night with a gun, or you can kill family members, Rachmana l'tzlan. Money can be used for good and evil, do you think these cavemen would consider meeting over a fire on the issue of banning money?".....

This Internet issue is merely symbolic of the fear that they have. Too much information will ruin their business. Their ignorance and their inability to reconcile Torah and science makes them scared silly. You have the ability to access information that frightens them; they DO NOT want you to know anything other than what they tell you. This is not about porn sites, this is about their inability to control your thought process. Their death knell!

If you are convinced that rabbis and rebbes are no more closer to God than you are, they're out of business. If their brachas are worthless, why stand in line until the wee hours of the morning begging them to take your money? The more they take, the better they make you feel. JUST LIKE DRUGS! Do they care about you? Or are you only as good as your last check, or cash under the table to the gabbai-doorkeeper-zookeeper? What a freak show! What circus did they perform at before moving to Boro Park?

To paraphrase the verbiage of the great thinker, scientist/philosopher Carl Sagan; "their posturing, their imagined self-importance, their belief that they are somehow in a position of privilege in the universe, is unfathomable."

And these eternal words of wisdom of Sagan on the psychology of humans;(paraphrase) " the thought that you may have dedicated your life to a lie, that you may have accepted a conventional wisdom that no longer, if ever, corresponds to an external reality, is a very painful realization. A person will go to any lengths to prevent themselves from seeing that inadequate worldview that they dedicated their lives to."

My views and opinions may be the minority view for now in Orthodox Judaism, but since when does the majority view make it the correct view? Did not the majority of Jews in the time of Rabbi Akiva accept Bar-Kochba as the Messiah? Did not the vast majority of Jews in the time of Shabbtai Tzvi accept him as the Saviour of the Jews? Are not the followers of Jesus and Mohammed the majority?..........

What if it all depended on me.
To change the world.
To change the world?
What if my only responsibility was to change the world.
To change the world? Let me be the ONE.
To start a revolution.
Let me sing my song to the people of the
world. It all begins with.






What kind of love can conquer disease.
And change the world. And change the world?
What can I do to make poverty history.
And change the world. And change the world?
Let me be the ONE. To start a revolution.
Let me sing my song to the people of the world.
To the children of the world.

It all begins with...




Please don’t close your eyes
Please don't turn away. Let your voices rise.
Put love on display. And make a difference now.
I believe you and me. Can make a difference now.
Oh oh oh. Oh oh oh Oh oh oh It all begins with ONE