Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Expert: Sexual abuse an 'epidemic' in Jewish world

"We're not teaching our kids how to protect themselves," Gross said, advising parents to start when children are 2 1/2 years old. "Tell your children that most people are good but you might have one who is not," she said. "Teach safety skills," Gross said. Tell children, "Say no, right away, tell your mommy."

Debbie Gross of the Crisis Center for Religious Women in Israel, discussed sexual abuse in the Jewish community before an audience at Chabad Central of Boca Raton

Debbie Gross, founder and director of the Crisis Center for Religious Women, a 20-year-old organization that provides emotional support and counseling to victims of sexual abuse (including men, boys and girls) in Israel, was in South Florida last week to talk about sexual abuse in the Jewish community and to reach out to Jewish schools to provide training for teachers and students.

During a presentation at the Chabad Central of Boca Raton, Gross talked about how parents can keep their children safe.

Sexual abuse is an epidemic and people are realizing it happens in the Jewish world, she told an audience composed primarily of women. We need policies and programs in schools and synagogues, Gross said. "The idea is to find a way to keep kids safe; to be aware ourselves."

She urged members of the audience to "Take your communities back."

"We're not teaching our kids how to protect themselves," Gross said, advising parents to start when children are 2 1/2 years old. "Tell your children that most people are good but you might have one who is not," she said. "Teach safety skills," Gross said. Tell children, "Say no, right away, tell your mommy."

Gross said she teaches "stranger danger." She explained, "Often we can think our children are going someplace safe and they are not. Think twice about rides, bar mitzvah tutors — any time the child is alone." Boys and girls, Gross added, are at the same risk.

Answering questions from the audience, Gross said parents should teach their children that no one can touch their private parts, on top or under their clothes. "We tell them, 'Any area that is covered by your bathing suit,'" she said.

Camps should have child safety programs and trained counselors, Gross said. There also should be a "safe adult" in the camp — a mother or a nurse — she said.

"We can't make everybody safe," Gross said. "We can make our schools safe. We can make our shuls safe."

In an interview with the Jewish Journal, Gross said she met with rabbis from Jewish schools "across the spectrum" in South Palm Beach and hopes to return in February 2014 to train teachers.

Gross said she also met with Jewish Community Services in Miami last week to arrange for training and reach the Jewish population.

Asked if she met with anyone from the Broward County Jewish community, Gross said she hasn't met with anyone but would be interested in doing so.

Sheri Siegel of West Boca Raton, who identified herself as "a teacher, social worker and a mom," said she went to the Chabad to hear Gross' presentation because sexual abuse is a "taboo topic" and "people don't like to talk about it."

Siegel, who teaches at the Hillel Day School, said the school hasn't trained teachers to deal with sexual abuse.

Parent Eric Aiken of Boca Raton said he asked the Chabad to host the program after he learned that Gross would be in South Florida. "I'm trying to make communities more aware of sexual abuse in the Jewish community," Aiken said. "I think it's much more widespread than people think. It's very much covered up in the Orthodox community."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Welcome The Newest Member of the Tendler Clan!



Friday, November 22, 2013

Any religious sect that imposes crippling taboos on healthy sexual interaction between adults will inevitably breed a culture of sexual abuse and perversion.


 Judaism’s fundamentalism problem


John Mahoney / Postmedia News

When I speak to Jewish audiences, I often am asked about the “double-standard” that exists in the media. Israel, they complain, is held to a higher human-rights standard than any other country in the world. And they’re right.

But in another respect, Jewish communities — both in Israel and the Diaspora — sometimes are held to a lower standard. Despite emerging evidence of widespread, appalling sex abuse within fundamentalist orthodox Jewish communities, this problem gets only sporadic attention, especially compared to the massive media onslaught that accompanied the Catholic sex-abuse cases that have emerged since 2002. In part, this is because Jewish whistleblowers are shamed, harassed and effectively excommunicated. In the New York City area, where North America’s fundamentalist Jewish sects are concentrated, local politicians and prosecutors have been pressured to ignore the pleas of abuse victims, lest they bring dishonor to their communities.

The Catholic Church hierarchy once approached the problem of abusive priests in the same unconscionably negligent way. But the scandals of the last decade have forced it to change. Reporting protocols have been put in place, and pedophile priests are no longer simply shuttled around from posting to posting. With few exceptions, no such reforms have been put in place in fundamentalist Jewish communities: Too many local rabbis still try to hush up pedophilic sex crimes and discourage investigation by outside authorities. (This summer, a Montreal Orthodox Jewish religious court informed families that children should tell a parent or rabbi if they have been sexually molested at school or camp, which counts as progress. But the court pointedly neglected to instruct parents of their obligation to report serious incidents to the police or youth-protection officials.)

Last week, in Brooklyn, the NYPD Special Victim’s Squad arrested an ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi — Yakov Yitzchak Roth, of the Hasidic sect Shomrei Emunim — after it was discovered that he’d neglected to report on his U.S. visa application that he’d just served a 16-year Israeli sentence for sodomizing a child relative. This is just one of many troubling cases served up by Brooklyn’s Hasidic community in recent years. Others include Baruch Lebovits, a Hasidic cantor whose 2010 conviction on eight counts of molestation recently was overturned on technical grounds (he likely will be retried in 2014). Lebovits’ sexual habits reportedly were widely known in his community for years. But the state prosecuted him only after a Hasiddic whistleblower, Sam Kellner, went public with claims that Lebovits had groped his son. For his troubles, The New York Times reports, “Kellner found himself denounced on the street and barred from shul [synagogue]. His business suffered; [and] he pawned his silverware last year.” (Kellner also has been embroiled in his own protracted legal saga, whose details are too complex to summarize in this space.)

Another whistleblower is Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, who once was a leading member of Brooklyn’s Satmar community (a particularly backward-looking, anti-Israeli, patriarchal strain of Hasidim), but has since been exiled because of his activism against what he describes as rampant pedophilia within the Satmar community. (In 2012, he was attacked outside of a fish store by a fellow Hasidic community member, with a glassful of what he believes was bleach.)

The New York Times, to its credit, has published some useful reports on Kellner, Rosenberg, and the few other whisteblowers within the Hassidic ranks. But in general, the media coverage is a pale shadow of the front-page bombshell treatment that every new Catholic sex-abuse revelation got. Many Jewish journalists feel a misguided Fiddler-on-the-Roof sentimentality toward fundamentalist Jewish communities, and non-Jewish journalists often are scared off by the task of investigating groups that seem hostile and cultish to outsiders.

But not all journalists have been scared off. This month, Vice.com ran a lengthy interview with Rosenberg, in which he described an appalling scene from a ritual Jewish bathhouse in Israel, where child-rape is, by his report, a tacitly accepted practice among some of the older men.

“Rabbi Rosenberg believes around half of young males in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community … have been victims of sexual assault perpetrated by their elders,” Vice.com reports. “Ben Hirsch, director of Survivors for Justice, a Brooklyn organization that advocates for Orthodox sex abuse victims, thinks the real number is higher. ‘From anecdotal evidence, we’re looking at over 50 percent. It has almost become a rite of passage.’ ”

“Ultra-Orthodox Jews who speak out about these abuses are ruined and condemned to exile by their own community,” Vice.com’s Christopher Ketcham adds. “Dr. Amy Neustein, a non-fundamentalist Orthodox Jewish sociologist and editor of Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals, told me the story of a series of Hasidic mothers in Brooklyn she got to know who complained that their children were being preyed on by their husbands. In these cases, the accused men ‘very quickly and effectively engage the rabbis, the Orthodox politicians, and powerful Orthodox rabbis who donate handsomely to political clubs.’ The goal, she told me, is ‘to excise the mother from the child’s life.’ Rabbinical courts cast the mothers aside, and the effects are permanent. The mother is ‘amputated.’ One woman befriended by Dr. Neustein, a music student at a college outside New York, lost contact with all six of her children, including an infant she was breastfeeding at the time of their separation.”

Western Muslims, in particular, might be especially curious why there is not more attention paid to these Jewish fundamentalist practices. Whenever some controversy emerges over the cloaking of women or the disparagement of “infidels” by fundamentalist Muslims, I often receive emails from right-wing bloggers claiming that this is but one step on the Islamist path to the complete Sharia-fication of North American society. And it is true that an obsessive patriarchal domination of women, especially in the public sphere, is a hallmark of retrograde interpretations of Islam. But the same goes for fundamentalist Judaism: Any religious sect that imposes crippling taboos on healthy sexual interaction between adults will inevitably breed a culture of sexual abuse and perversion.

Which brings us to the profoundly creepy tradition by which women in extreme Hasidic communities are expected to shave their heads, and live out their married lives as bald women, in deference to an absurd interpretation of Jewish scripture. Earlier this month, a brave female exile from the Hasidic community in New York, Frimet Goldberger, went public with her disgust at this practice. The most memorable part of her account comes when she describes her meeting with the Va’ad Hatznius — a sort of Taliban-like Committee of Vice and Virtue that purports to judge God’s will in regard to female modesty — after word had spread within the community that she secretly carried an unshaven head of hair under her turban. During the entire proceeding, the chief of the group kept his right hand in front of his eyes, to shield himself from Ms. Goldberger, lest he contaminate himself visually with her wanton harlotry, and directed his comments only to her husband. In a move straight out of Saudi Arabia, the Va’ad Hatznius indicated that it would soon be spending a female inspector to Goldberger’s house, to examine what lay under her turban.

What’s worse, her son was being expelled from the local Jewish education system: A letter arrived indicating that he was being thrown out “because of my failure to dress in accordance with the stringent [modesty] rules of the holy shtetl.”

That was five years ago. “Many lifestyle changes and adjustments later, I no longer cover my hair as many of my Orthodox peers do, and I am no longer capable of accepting, let alone understanding, the practice of forced head shaving, much less the threats and intimidation used to maintain it within the community,” she now reports. “But I am grateful for the fact that this very last, most personal violation of mine led my husband and me to gather the strength to take control of our lives and to make decisions for ourselves, our children and for me — my own body.”

Both Montreal and Toronto have Hassidic communities doctrinally connected to their counterparts in New York and Israel. The rules of public life among these groups often is dominated by Rabbis held who become de facto cult leaders, prompting vicious propaganda struggles and excommunication campaigns. In the Quebec community of St. Agathe, Lev Tahor, a small cult-like group of fundamentalist Jews led by an eccentric rabbi (and convicted child kidnapper) named Shlomo Helbrans, has been dogged by abuse claims for years. (In fact, according to The Times of Israel, members of the group left their compound this month out of fear that their children would finally be removed from their households.)

“Members who have left the group described a diet of dough, goose eggs and goat’s milk, but no fruits and vegetable,” the newspaper reports. “There are regular beatings, long prayers, and for the girls, dark clothing covering all but the face, and household servitude. Children, including babies and toddlers, are removed from their parents to live with other families, often repeatedly. Girls are routinely married off at 14, in some cases to men more than twice their age … Tahor’s written regulations describe women as disgusting and deserving of isolation and a subsistence diet. A husband may hit his wife for disobeying the ‘rebbe’s’ teachings.”

Since the dawn of modern feminism, social liberals have sought to liberate women from the clutches of conservative Christian doctrines that keep them under their husbands’ thumbs. Since 9/11, a similar project has been underway in regard to Muslims. It is time to take a broader view toward this project. All patriarchal religious traditions that make a fetish of separating the sexes, that entertain phobic and repressed attitudes to human sexuality, that privilege group solidarity over the well-being of children, and that treat women as debased creatures who cannot be trusted to walk among us, except under wig or veil, must be subject to the same scrutiny.

— Jonathan Kay is Managing Editor for Comment at the National Post, and a Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Enemy Within - Part Two - The Evolution of Right Wing Fanatacism

From The UOJ Archives-Saturday, July 30, 2005 B.C. (Before Convention) Posted on the original site:unorthodoxjew.blogspot.com

The Enemy Within-Part Two-The Evolution of Right Wing Fanaticism

There are four separate catagories of movements that constitute right wing Judaism in the U.S.A.

1- Yeshivishism
3-Agudah/Lobbyism/Government Activism.
4-Boro Parkism/Flatbushism

There are overlaps in ideology or lack thereof between the above groups. The tzad hashava (common denominator) between all of them is money and power.

This blog will focus on category one, or Yeshivishism.

The Yeshiva" movement", as we know it today, began after World War Two. Of course there were yeshivas around before the war, but it was not a" movement", it was a place to get your child educated.

There is a huge difference between the two.

One of the main differences is that before the war the yeshivas were institutions, run by board members and not by individuals. Certainly the heads of the yeshivas were where the board members looked for direction, but ultimately, and sometimes after great battle, the board rendered the final decisions.

Rabbi Aron Kotler (RAK), was the first yeshiva head to turn yeshiva education into a movement. That means he had absolute total control of everything.

Yes, he had baalei batim that supported him financially, but they had no say in anything at all other than the mundane issues of dinners, housekeeping etc.

Do not let anyone fool you, NO BAAL HABAYIS HAD ANY SAY AT ALL IN THE RUNNING OF THE YESHIVA. It was his way or the highway. If you dared to condradict his philosophy, there was no tshuva, you were history.

He was on a mission to replace the lost Torah scholars of churban Europe, a very noble, and what most people believed was an unrealistic task. While an extremely worthwhile project, it was not what people are now calling that idea, an idea of "genius."

Many refugees had the same idea. To name a few; the Rebbes from Satmar, Klausenberg, Rabbi Y. Kaminetzky, Rabbi Y.Ruderman, Rabbi M. Feinstein and probably twenty to thirty other prominent refugees from churban Europe.

What made RAK's idea a bit more novel was his concept of Torah Lishma. That meant that his yeshiva was to enroll anyone that wanted to learn Torah exclusively, there was not to be any other considerations about secular education or any education that would teach one a parnassah..etc., outside the world of Torah.

The yeshiva and Hashem would provide.

Money was hard to come by, but RAK was a super salesman, he had a niche product, a salesman's dream. He believed in his product and targeted every single Jew with a conscience and money. He played on the Holocaust; which resulted in the demise of most of Judaism, and the death of most European Torah scholars.

To use a tired but appropriate cliche, he was in the right place at the right time.

His customer base was broad, comprised of the bright yeshiva students with a future in chinuch, to the yeshiva boy who had nothing else to do but to go out and get a job. All were welcome. Naturally, every boy that came into the yeshiva had family and extended family that RAK approached for funds.

Slowly but surely not only did he encourage his idea of Torah lishma exclusively, but he was beggining to claim that all other ideas of learning Torah in conjunction with any other learning was against halacha.

He treaded lightly at first, but before his death in the early sixties, HE CLEARLY DENOUNCED ANY OTHER YESHIVAS THAT PERMITTED THEIR TALMIDIM TO PREPARE FOR A PARNASSAH WITH ANY FORM OF STUDY OTHER THAN TORAH EXCLUSIVELY, AS APIKORSUS AND RISHUS. NO EXCEPTIONS. He used outlandish and very descriptive language to make sure his ideas were well understood.

He passed on, and his ideas were used by his students as a springboard to what became Yeshivishism, or right wing fanatacism.

The primary yeshiva to promulgate this new trend was the Philadelphia yeshiva led by Elya Svei and Shmuel Kaminetzky. Svei, a noted and erudite talmud chochom, was well known for his kannaus or intransigence.

There was another side of him which was generally unknown, and that was his desire and goal to control the Yeshivish movement singlehandedly, after RAK's death. Kaminetzky, not nearly as bright, but realized he would make a good front man, did just that. They created the first Ivy League yeshiva. They made it difficult to get in, unless a student was very bright or of course there was money in the family.

In a relatively short period of time, their campus was built with state of the art facilities, and they had no mortgage.

Svei was free to wander off to head Torah Umesorah, and ultimately almost brought the Jewish day school movement to the brink of disaster with his outrageous and outlandish nonsense. What played in New York, did not play well in Peoria. He did not get his way and was forced to leave. He tried his shenanigans at the Agudah's Moetzes, and again was marginalized, until he left the organization.

His students idolized him, although it was clear to any rational observer of the Jewish scene, that he was losing it, and doing way more harm than good. His speeches were long and rambling, and his message was hard line, irrational and incoherent.

Nevertheless, He solidified RAK's ideology of Torah lishma, where it now became shameful for anyone to ever consider doing anything other than becoming a lifer (kollel for life.)

Easy for him to say, he now had a multi-million dollar campus paid off completely, and a student base primarily of wealthy kids. He did not take in any Iranians or Russians until he was absolutely shamed into it. Nice guy!

Shneur Kotler, RAK's son, took over the reins at Lakewood. He was a simple guy, and was not a Torah scholar of stature. There were rumblings and discontent over his automatically being named rosh yeshiva, but the antagonists were quickly dealt with by removing them from within the yeshiva.

This was the first time in the non chassidic world, that a yeshiva was turned over to a non-qualified family member. All the other major yeshivas at that time, upon the death of their rosh yeshiva, picked the rosh yeshivas from the best qualified candidates.

G-D fearing Jews understood the yeshiva did NOT belong to them, they were doing Hashem's work, and therefore the yeshiva belonged to the klal and NOT their family.

An ugly and dishonest precedent was set, and the uncouthed tigers were out of their cages.

Shneur Kotler evolved into a charismatic fundraiser. He inherited a well-oiled machine, and worked real hard. A confluence of factors caused the "movement" to grow geometrically. The onset of the Vietnam War, the Baby Boomers and the seeds of serious financial wealth in the Orthodox community, were very definite contributing factors to this astonishing growth.

By the time that Shneur Kotler passed away in the early eighties, the cultish concept of going to Lakewood was solidified. ANYONE could park himself in the yeshiva with no supervision, and stay as long as they felt like it.

Again, the yeshiva (or rather Shneur's wife), put at its head a way below average Kotler, her son Malkiel, and for window dressing they titled other relatives with meaningless positions.

The Kotlers had their dynasty with access to millions of dollars of the public's money, as well as millions of dollars in questionable government grants. Until today, no person can dare enter the yeshiva without filling out a government assistance form that goes directly into the Kotler coffers.

The common denominator between the greatest advocates of learning for life, are TWO FAMILY OWNED INSTITUTIONS WITH TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN REAL ESTATE UNDER THEIR FAMILY NAMES.

Elya Svei and Shmuel Kaminetzky have their imbecile kids running the yeshiva, while Kaminetzky is globetrotting and Svei is at home hallucinating.

The two Kotler brothers have under their direct control and legal title to approximately one hundred million dollars in real estate, in addition to millions of dollars a year in gross income from the public and the government.(in many cases bogus programs)

In summary, these two institutions, by claiming that it is forbidden to get a secular education in order to feed one's family, have no risk of going hungry themselves. They are charlatans of the first order.

Rabbi Yaakov Kaminetzky had advised some of his premier talmidim that it was in their best interests to get a college education. Rabbi Hutner encouraged college education for individuals with no interest in earning a living in chinuch, and was himself college educated as well as his daughter Bruria David. In addition,the two above great rosh yeshivas DID NOT PASS ALONG THEIR YESHIVAS TO THEIR FAMILY.

My point is this.

The dishonesty of preaching a philosophy that will bankrupt families and create so much misery for generations, must come to an end.

The Chofetz Chaim ran a grocery store.

It is not shameful to take care of your wife and children, it is shameful not to. To hell with the Sharptons and Jacksons with beards and black hats.

When you start living in two room apartments and have no money for food, give us a call. Until then, stay far away from our gullible kids.

To the idiot financial backers of these fraudulent money grubbing hucksters, stop being accomplices to the greatest crime to hit our community in recent memory.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What Could Have Been!

The UOJ Classics - March 1, 2008

I wanted to know that in fact I had made a difference for the better of Judaism, for Jewish children, for children the world-over, and for people everywhere of all faiths and no faith, to understand that there is right and wrong, good and evil.

I was more than willing to give up my "successful career" as a Jew who happens to blog, rather than a blogger who happens to be Jewish --- for a new and improved Judaism - where rabbis really understood the seriousness of their deplorable conduct and fessed up. I care! I love Judaism! Without hesitation - I would die for the values I believe in! I know that we deserve better. We have been lied to by evil scoundrels without scruples! They took our beautiful heritage and turned in to a cult for peasants. I despise them and what they did, and if they died in the street, I would step over their dead bodies and not even call the morgue - chevrah kadisha!

Judaism is an ever evolving work of art - designed and painted by our Creator - at least it was. Every nuance was beautiful and destined to be a model to the world. We were envied - for the Judaism of unlimited beauty, our value system, our traditions, our holiness ---and then - oh yes - there's a big but(t) - enter "Gedolim" - pathetic ignoramuses who know nothing about human behavior, nothing about affairs of the world, nothing about the needs of our people, totally unschooled about our psychological make-up, know nothing about the needs of our children, care about nothing - other than themselves - who until today are proudly protecting child-rapists --- and then taking control over a Judaism we were once so proud of! They are destroying your lives and those of your children - with their distorted and ignorant world-view! The kollel crisis...will destroy your families. The lack of secular education - will destroy your children! The "singles" crisis - will get worse! The child-rapists crisis is going un-addressed - except when one gets caught by the Authorities - after all kinds of cover ups!

I would have gladly gone away....if.....

1- The rabbis would have admitted they have failed our children and our families by permitting scores of child rapists to have access to our children. And that they would have seriously addressed the issue in a meaningful manner...including active police involvement --- like human beings would!

2- Address the crisis --- of the future of our children - not being educated, not enabling them to be able to support themselves and their future families.

3-  Understanding that the vast majority of shalom bayit problems are caused because there is no parnassah - and kollel is a huge part of the problem!

4- The financial rape of our middle and lower income families - by schools that will unofficially blacklist children - simply because their parents are not affluent!

5- The kashrus crisis of bogus hashgachas and intentional fraud - by many more --- the likes of Moshe Finkel - who for at least a decade - sold non-kosher food to thousands of "kosher" consumers. It was not like this guy was Modern Orthodox or something - Rachmana litzlan! Beard, payos, bekisher - kids in Brisk and Lakewood -the whole Charedi nine yards!

What do we get - an urgent call to action - to ban a concert - and cause massive financial damage to an untold number of innocent bystanders! You beg the world to laugh at us - for the same reasons we mock the Islamic-Fascists! How could you do this - as the entire world is pointing at us Jews and are saying - "we told you these Jews are despicable people - they rape their own children!?"

You don't like concerts for your insane twisted reasons - for Heavens sake - sit down with the producers, organizers and entertainers and speak with them! Give them notice! Ask them to abide by your seventh century - throwback - Taliban-like - world view. Give them a chance to "fix" their "sinful" ways! Who do you think you are - destroying lives and causing suffering - without a darn phone call to anyone? You are not human! You are seriously disturbed! You are mentally and emotionally impaired! Retire - you criminals - before you do any further damage to us innocents!



So I'm staying around - and will mock you forever --- until the next, new generation takes over - hopefully with a normal and healthy understanding of what a rabbi should look and behave like!

Do me something - I love Judaism and will attempt to fix whatever I can, in any way I can - with every ounce of strength and God-given talents - even if it takes me the rest of my life!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parents of ultra-Orthodox victims must get permission from a rabbi before they can report their child’s abuse to the police...

Is Alleged Shakedown Artist a Hero or Crook?

By Paul Berger

Published November 14, 2013, issue of November 22, 2013.
This is a story about religion, sex abuse, power, extortion, bungled prosecutions and the pitfalls of pursuing justice in an insular Orthodox community where disputes are solved internally and mistrust of outsiders reigns.

It involves a convicted sex offender; a Hasidic multimillionaire oil and diamond dealer; a drug addict; a New York assemblyman; a supporting cast of ultra-Orthodox rabbis, private investigators, victims’ advocates, bloggers and lawyers — including Alan Dershowitz — and a cache of secretly taped conversations.

The story plays out against the backdrop of a bitter 2013 election battle for the post of Brooklyn district attorney in which claims of corruption, connivance and race-baiting abounded.

But it began for me in 2010, in a courtroom in Brooklyn, where Baruch Lebovits, a Boro Park cantor recently convicted on eight counts of child sexual abuse, appeared for sentencing.

On one side of the courtroom sat a phalanx of Lebovits’s black-clad supporters in neat rows. As one of Lebovits’s daughters entered the courtroom, she turned to the mass of advocates occupying the benches opposite and, fixing her red, raw eyes on them, insisted, “My father is innocent.”

The advocates, many themselves victims of other ultra-Orthodox child molesters, were in court that day to show support for the victim and to see if justice would finally be served.

Prosecuting child sex crimes is hard enough in a secular society, but in the ultra-Orthodox world, with its prohibitions against gossip, lashon hara, and ratting out a Jew to the secular authorities, mesirah, it is tortuously difficult.

Parents of ultra-Orthodox victims must get permission from a rabbi before they can report their child’s abuse to the police. Even with permission, they. and their families are often barred from synagogues and schools. They are publicly shamed and denounced, their businesses destroyed, their marriage prospects shattered.....


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sexually abusing minors is not only a severe crime on every level, but it is a crime against humanity...

In response to your posts about Heshy Nussbaum & Harvey Ehrlich; THANK YOU so much for your work and efforts! (Via e-mail with permission to post.)

Dear Paul,

I was raised in Toronto, and went to Bais Yaakov, followed by seminary. I just found out about this recently, and I am still processing my shock and pain for the known and untold number of his victims. I have a lot to say about this subject, about the way that Toronto dealt/is dealing with it, and the fact that he apparently is welcomed at the Agudah Shul with little consequence.

A shul which is very popular, and has a lot of children who regularly attend and partake in its activities. I want to say to the victims of both Heshy Nussbaum and Harvey Ehrlich, that no matter how alone you feel, or how convinced you are that you are alone, you are not. There are those that do love and care for you, and may not be aware of what happened to you, let alone of your chronic, extreme, persistent suffering. Sexually abusing minors is not only a severe crime on every level, but it is a crime against humanity.

 Those co-conspirators are those who knew/know, and who fail to take the appropriate action for the survivors. Such people, NO MATTER their title, position, reputation in the community, etc, are not only responsible, but ENABLE the behavior. Pedophiles are extremely sick and dark people, and modern science has yet to find a cure or explanation.

 They can only be supervised, and preventative methods put in place so there will be no more future victims. Jail is the best known intervention at this point. There is no rehabilitating them, and certainly enabling them in any way, is throwing gasoline into an existing inferno.

 I know some of his victims, and I say that with a very heavy heart. Victims go through life with a "silent wound", and it doesn't matter how long ago it happened, just that it DID happen to YOU, that your suffering is real, and that you go to the Toronto police, as they instructed. I believe in the end, justice will prevail, and the cries of the victims will be honored.

  Like I said, there is so much more I can say about this matter, especially since this subject, and city, is very close to my heart. Toronto leaders is /was lacking grossly in protecting, defending and aiding the victims, and seem to be doing so for the monster, since his father founded Agudah. For the victims: there is plenty of real, genuine love and support for you. I urge you to reach out and embrace it, wherever you are, and who ever you are. Your days of silence and shame can come to an end.

YOU have nothing to be ashamed of. Pedophiles are Masters of Disguise and Deceit, and are in the business of making sure that THEIR toxic poison is transferred and implanted on to their victims. Like this they don't have to believe they are the bearers of such shame and sickness, since their victim now does the job instead of them. But until the victim becomes aware of this very truth, and stands tall enough to return it back to his tormentor. He / she does it by speaking their truth, and resolving not to live in silence and pain any longer.

 What follows from that decision is each individual survivor's journey. You are not alone. I was going to post anonymously, but then I realized that I too, am so tired of the hiding.

Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W Author of: “Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide”.

Respectfully Yours,

 Rivka Edery, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Tel: (646) 691-7771 E-mail: rebecca.edery@gmail.com Website: www.rivkaedery.com/default.html Author of: “Trauma and Transformation: A 12-Step Guide”.

“This isn’t a problem about a few aberrant cases or an old-fashioned community reluctant to talk to police about sexual matters,” said Michael Lesher, a practicing Jew who has investigated Orthodox sex abuse and represented abuse victims. “This is about a political economy that links Orthodox Judaism with other fundamentalist creeds and with aspects of right-wing ideologies generally. It’s an economy in which genuine religious values will never really rise to the top, so long as they’re tied to the poisonous priorities that elevate status and power over the basic human needs of the most vulnerable among us."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ask Torah Umesorah - Can you screen sex abusers in schools?

 The Vulnerable Children Bill, now before a select committee, could significantly tighten up on how people work with and for children.
The controversial piece of legislation states that within six months, a new, complex vetting and screening process for teachers will be developed.
The bill stems from the White Paper for Vulnerable Children and the Children's Action plan spearheaded by the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett.
The minister said training would be made available to all school staff to enable them to detect signs of child abuse.
"It would be both a surprise and a concern if teachers didn't want to do it."
By 2015 standard child protection policies for organisations including schools will be legislated.

These will incorporate reporting systems to recognise and report child abuse.
School's will risk hefty fines if they are found ignoring them.
Amanda Meynell, Child Matters national manager of child protection, said this was a huge breakthrough.
"This is the first time we have had a whole government approach looking out for our vulnerable children.
"Every day there are children who live in fear of abuse and neglect and we don't know about all of them. It's really important that people know what signs to look out for."
She said a lot of Child Matters training was about being safe, not sorry. "Often people don't raise concerns out of fear they are wrong. But we always say ‘what if you're right?' "
The vetting process will ensure that if known child abusers attempt to work with children, they will be identified and the children protected.
Ms Meynell said the vetting system would be more robust than a police and background check. Among other things it would involve having people who knew about child protection on the interview panel, she said.
New Zealand Principals' Federation president Philip Harding said the idea of compulsory child sex training was promising.
"We need to strengthen school staff's ability to recognise and identify the symptoms of abuse in children and then to act wisely swiftly and safely," he said.
"But there are risks around that process as well, like casting questions of doubt on someone who is innocent."
New Zealand Teachers Council director Peter Lind doubted that there could be an easily applied test for child abusers within a school's budget constraints.
"In reality if you wanted a test that would give you very good predictability and be highly reliable and valid, you are asking for a significant psychological screening."

He said teaching staff were required to have yearly appraisals ensuring they were not put in "vulnerable positions" such as finding themselves alone with children.
These appraisals are centred around an annual plan and should consist of conversations with both the teacher and the students, Mr Lind said.
Proof the system works was in the statistics, he said.
"We have over 100,000 registered teachers. We've had shocking cases of paedophilia but in terms of the total number working in the field it's a terribly small proportion that these incidents have happened."
Preventing or exposing that relied on strong policies, open communication and competent leadership, he said.
But the appraisals were not flawless.
"In our experience usually you see indicators that people have acted outside the policies of the school and no one has told them not to."
He said if there were any concerns, it was the principal's job to have the "hard conversation".
"Sometimes we don't broach those subjects hoping they will go away."
But the biggest difficulty arose when no one spoke up, he said.
"There can be lots of checks and balances in place but occasionally someone abuses not only children but the profession itself.
"We need to make examples of those individuals and say this is totally unacceptable behaviour. I can't give you a sure-fire way of avoiding these [incidences] every single time."

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Despite complaints, Hayman was never reported to police and left Australia to live in the Los Angles Jewish community, where leaders again acted to shield him.

Daniel Hayman charged over child sex at Bondi's Jewish Yeshiva centre


Arrested and charged: Daniel Hayman
Arrested and charged: Daniel Hayman.
Sydney detectives have charged a businessman with child sexual abuse offences at Bondi's Jewish Yeshiva centre during the 1980s.

A 49-year-old man was arrested on Monday afternoon in the suburb of Queens Park in Sydney's east and later charged with two counts of gross indecency against 14 and 16 year old males at the Jewish Centre in 1985 and 1986.

He has been refused bail and detectives want people with further information about the alleged 1980s offences to come forward.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the arrested man is Daniel Hayman, who has been residing in Los Angeles in recent years.

Despite complaints, Hayman was never reported to police and left Australia to live in the Los Angles Jewish community, where leaders again acted to shield him.

Corporate records show Hayman was a director of a major Australian Jewish educational arm for several years after his alleged sexual abuse of boys.

Fairfax Media has previously revealed that Hayman recently told one of his alleged victims that Yeshiva spiritual leader Rabbi Pinchus Feldman had admonished him about 25 years ago over his relationship with a boy.

The leader of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, Moshe Gutnick, in March revealed he failed to alert police to an anonymous complaint about Hayman in the 1980s.

Rabbi Gutnick said in hindsight he was wrong not to alert police. Rabbi Feldman said he had no recollection of any confession of child sex abuse 25 years ago.

Fairfax also revealed this year an audio recording of another senior Australian rabbi discussing Hayman's alleged interaction with boys or adolescents.

In the tape recording, Rabbi Baruch Lesches said some of Hayman's alleged victims may have consented.

Rabbi Lesches, who was at Bondi Yeshiva at the time of the alleged incidents and now is a major New York Jewish leader, also cautioned against reporting Hayman to police.

He later apologised for his private remarks after Fairfax released the audio of his discussion about Hayman.

Two recent convictions of men associated with Melbourne's Yeshiva college in St Kilda for historic child sex offences have put the spotlight on the attitudes Australia's senior orthodox Jewish leaders to handling abuse claims.

Victorian detectives are investigating how senior St Kilda Yeshiva figures handled complaints against David Kramer and David Cyprus, who were both employed by the school.

Strike Force Bungo was formed last year to investigate child sexual abuse in the Jewish community in Sydney's east. Hayman is alleged to have abuse the boys while a volunteer supervisor at a camp run by the Yeshiva centre.

Police have urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit their website.


Mr Daniel Hayman was arrested yesterday on charges of child sexual abuse allegations from more than 25 years ago.

Mr Hayman attended Yeshiva Synagogue to pray or for classes but was never an employee or teacher at the Yeshiva Centre. Any volunteer work that he offered Yeshiva did not include responsibility for children.

We would like to assure the community that Mr Hayman currently has no association with Yeshiva and has been disassociated  from the Sydney Yeshiva Centre for more than a decade. He was instrumental in establishing the Tzemach Tzedek Synagogue which broke away from Yeshiva over ten years ago.

There have been media reports that Mr Hayman claims to have privately confessed child sex abuse crimes to Rabbi Pinchus Feldman 25 years ago. Rabbi Feldman does not have any recollection of such a confession.

Rabbi Feldman wishes to reiterate the following which he has publicly said on numerous occasions:

"To make my position absolutely clear, I endorse the unequivocal Rabbinical rulings encouraging any victims of abuse to report to the police and I will continue to support the efforts of law enforcement agencies in investigating and taking action to protect our community."

Yeshiva unequivocally condemns any form of abuse, including child sexual abuse.

As part of a commitment to the highest standards of care for our pupils, our school Yeshiva College has comprehensive child protection policies in place. Those policies and procedures are constantly being reviewed and updated to ensure maximum safety and protection for our students.

As has been widely reported, in 2003 a case of child sexual abuse was promptly reported to the authorities by Yeshiva, and that has always been and continues to be the policy at Yeshiva.

We welcome investigations by the Police to uncover and prosecute against such crimes and are confident in the outstanding competence and professionalism of the Australian authorities to ensure the protection and welfare of citizens in our society.



Sunday, November 03, 2013

Failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse should be made a criminal offence in Britain

Not reporting child sex abuse should be a criminal offence says former top prosecutor Keir Starmer
Speaking on BBC Panorama, Mr Starmer said: “I think the time has come to change the law and close a gap that’s been there for a very long time.

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky SHLITA
Missed opportunities: Jimmy Savile
Jimmy Saville
Failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse should be made a criminal offence in Britain, the former director of public prosecutions said.

Keir Starmer believes it is time to “change the law” and said it should be “mandatory” to report allegations.

Speaking on BBC Panorama, Mr Starmer said: “I think the time has come to change the law and close a gap that’s been there for a very long time.

“I think there should be a mandatory reporting provision.

“The problem is if you haven’t got a central provision requiring people to report, then all you can do is fall back on other provisions that aren’t really designed for that purpose and that usually means they run into difficulties.

“What you really need is a clear, direct law that everybody understands.”

Mr Starmer told the programme he has spent a lot of time thinking about how the criminal justice system could improve its response to child sexual abuse.

“I went to Washington to see how the specialist teams there deal with it,” he said.

“They do have a mandatory reporting scheme, a very straightforward, simple scheme and something like that I think could work in this country.”

The Government currently has no plans to change the law - with the Department for Education stating that mandatory reporting is “not the answer”.

A spokesman said: “Guidance is already crystal clear that professionals should refer immediately to social care when they are concerned about a child.

“Other countries have tried mandatory reporting and there is no evidence to show that it is a better system for protecting children.

“In fact there is evidence to show it can make children less safe.”

Panorama: After Savile: No more secrets? is on BBC One tonight at 8.30pm.