Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Orthodox Jewish community is going through its Catholic Church moment!

Sharing The Secret That’s Haunted My Soul

An abuse victim goes public, and suggests some communal reforms.

My name is David Cheifetz and I am a victim of childhood sex abuse in a Jewish institution.

There. I have said it. After more than 30 years I have shared the dark secret that has haunted my soul.

I was 13 years old, attending sleep-away camp at Camp Dora Golding, an all-boys Orthodox camp that some of you still send your sons to. I was befriended by a 28-year-old member of the rabbinic staff. Over the course of a week he sexually abused me repeatedly. When the activity was exposed, I was summoned to the camp director’s office and forced to confront the assailant. Then I was summarily sent home, as if it were I who had committed the crime. The camp never even told my parents why I was being sent home. They were just advised to pick me up at the Greyhound terminal at New York’s Port Authority.

I do not know if the perpetrator was ever fired; to the best of my knowledge he was never reported to legal authorities. I understand that he went on to a long career in Jewish education, and based on whispers on the Internet, probably continued targeting young Jewish boys within the walls of Jewish educational institutions. [Camp Dora Golding officials did not respond to repeated attempts for comment on the author’s allegations.]

When I arrived home, I was not given a hero’s welcome. I was also not given a victim’s welcome. I was never sent to a psychiatrist or a psychologist or even a pediatrician. The bitter secret was locked away, barely thought of or spoken of over the next 30-plus years. I did once share the incident with my yeshiva high school principal who insisted, “No, Duvid, he could not have been a rabbi. Rabbis never do such things.”

♦The Orthodox community is going through its Catholic Church moment: All elements of the community, from the chasidic to the Modern Orthodox, are being inundated by reported cases of sexual abuse of minors. Each of these incidents is characterized not just by accusations of sexual abuse, but by accompanying allegations of systematic cover-ups — incidents hidden or swept under the rug, in some cases (such as the Weberman case) with allegations of extreme financial and social pressures brought to bear on the victims and their families.

But, as my experience reflects, such behaviors of the abusers and of those that protect them are not new. It is not that Orthodox groups and institutions advocate pedophilia. It is that the Orthodox community is unwilling to address this “inconvenient truth.” Instead of confronting this scourge, many members the community have taken on a “circle the wagons” mentality, perhaps to protect their friends, perhaps to protect their institutions. But in all of this, what is forgotten is the victim.

I know. I was a forgotten victim. But I will no longer remain silent or silenced.

And what happens with these child sex abusers when they are ignored, or allowed to continue working within the community? Research shows that they are serial offenders, they tend to hunt out their prey and commit their despicable crimes again and again. Such is the nature of pedophiles. In the Catholic Church. In the Boy Scouts. And in the Orthodox community.

I look with sadness at my own story. I look at all the unanswered questions surrounding the Baruch Lanner case and the full investigative report conducted by the Orthodox Union that was never released, a study led by Richard Joel, now the president of Yeshiva University. Will there be a full release of the current investigation at YU’s boys’ high school involving its former principal, George Finkelstein. I listen to the voices in the ultra-Orthodox community citing mesirah — the notion that one Jew cannot hand over another Jew to the non-Jewish authorities — a remnant of medieval fear of hostile gentile governments. Thankfully that is an anachronism in our current society. These lingering questions and troubling observations take away any belief, any faith that the Orthodox community as a whole is able to reform itself.

I ask you: how many times in recent months has your congregational rabbi delivered a sermon on the travesty that is sexual abuse of minors in our community? It is headline news, but how many rabbis have raised their voices to increase awareness or called for fundamental change? I worry when rabbis are more prepared to discuss nuclear fusion and complex geopolitical machinations than they are to discuss the despicable sex crimes that are happening in our own Jewish educational institutions.

If change will not come from the inside, then it must come from the outside. And so I am speaking up and encouraging the thousands of other victims of childhood sexual abuse in our community to do the same.

I am also encouraging everyone to withhold financial support from every institution suspected of ignoring or covering up sexual abuse activities in their midst. There are plenty of other important causes and institutions that can benefit from your generosity.

But that is only a start. In order for the Jewish community to seriously address this scourge it must embrace real reforms. I believe necessary reforms include:

♦The establishment of an independent ombudsman sensitive to the needs of the Jewish community, with programs in every major educational institution. Too many rabbis have been hesitant to advise victims and their families to report abuses to the police, to social service agencies, or to the local district attorney. Or they have been outright complicit in cover-ups. So a central, independently funded ombudsman program (preferably funded by a foundation, and not reliant on the financial pressures of communal mood swings) must exist for victims and their families. The ombudsman will work with legal authorities and social service agencies and the schools to investigate all credible allegations and use its voice and power to pursue and bring pedophiles and their supporters to justice.

♦The institution of mandatory training programs for schools and summer camps — leaders, administrators, teachers and counselors — of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. (Isolated programs already exist, but are only in place in limited instances.)

♦The institution of criminal background checks for all school leaders, teachers, administrators and camp staff.

♦The establishments of a “one strike you are out” policy, and the immediate suspension of anyone facing a credible accusation, pending a detailed investigation.

♦The establishment of protocols that penalize not only sex offenders, but those who knowingly ignore, protect and enable their behaviors. These people should be held liable on both criminal and civil levels. And they should certainly not be allowed to work in schools, camps, or other Jewish educational institutions. They too should be held accountable.

Speaking as a survivor, I bear scars that will be with me for life. I wish I did not have that unique set of perspectives. But sadly, the Orthodox community has progressed very little since 1979.

We face a demon in our midst, a cancer that will not go away without harsh measures. The Orthodox community can keep Shabbat and pray three times a day; its members can keep kosher and learn Torah day and night. But that means nothing if the community remains deaf to the cries of the past and future victims, and is ultimately complicit in the atrocities committed against our children and grandchildren.

David Cheifetz is a resident of Teaneck, N.J.


Leib Tropper - The Pig Who Wants Desperately To Become Kosher!

Rabbi Leib Tropper & Philosophy

by Leib Tropper  - (Who else?)

The Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Leib Tropper has recently written a "philosophical" essay regarding a most complex issue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9nage_%C3%A0_trois.

 Rabbi Leib Tropper wrote this introductory article regarding Solipsism. Rabbi Leib Tropper remarked about this topic when asked 'Solipsm is rarely germane to the experience of those who support or disagree with the Solipsistic theory. All experience the same though there are absolute qualitative differences. Rabbi Leib Tropper wrote about this obscure topic to various professors of philosophy nationally and internationally.

Over the course of many years Rabbi Leib Tropper has developed a relationship with various leading whores and pimps across the globe. The esteem that these intellectuals hold for Rabbi Tropper is unusual considering that Rabbi Leib Tropper studied in a whore house and not in a  truly secular oriented environment like a college or university (GASP!)

This essay on solipsism written by Rabbi Leib Tropper is the introduction of an all encompassing study of the topic of Solipsism.

Witgenstein, Russel ,Satre and Leibnitz are just some of the names that are found in Rabbi Leib Tropper's paper regarding this topic.


Surviving sexual abuse takes courage and hope

We were supposed to be knocked down, hung out to dry, and left behind. We were supposed to be the freaks in life, the nobodies, the angered, and the powerless. But we have strength and courage within us that no one possibly could realize they have, unless they have walked in our shoes.

HOUSTON, March 26, 2013 — Not too long ago, a few individuals shared their lives with me, stories of lost innocence. One man shared his story of being sexually molested as a child. Another was a woman who was raped. Still another woman was a victim of sexual abuse as a child. They all have inspired me by sharing their trauma, coming forward with the truth, and speaking so honestly. Their strength, endurance, perseverance, and courage are commendable.

I will not pretend to know what it’s like to be a woman who was raped, but I can relate to having innocence ripped away when as a child, my body invaded by a predator. Children who are molested will have different side effects and issues than a teenager who is raped or an adult who is raped and depending on the nature of the sexual abuse. However there are also similar effects that all sex abuse victims share and we all know the same courage.

I write this letter to my brothers and sisters who have been sexually abused.

My Fellow Survivors,

I’m truly sorry.

I’m sorry someone put his or her hands on you as a child. I’m sorry someone forced himself on you. I’m sorry that the people who were supposed to protect and love you tried to break you. I’m sorry if anyone could have helped by intervening, yet chose not to. I’m proud of your strength and endurance. You are strong and amazing and you are not in this alone.

Do not give up hope!

Six years ago I had a shotgun in my mouth, and now I’m the COO of Vera Wear, a columnist for this wonderful publication, an entertainer, manager of models, a coach, professional speaker, and the list goes on.

Do I share this information, bragging? Yes, I do!

I take pride in the fact that my blueprint in life, like you, was to fail, to become a monster, to be hurt and broken, and angry and bitter. But here I am, still standing. Happy, whole, healed, and complete. I am living proof that you can achieve anything, when you truly want to, regardless of the odds being stacked against you. I represent you.

Pathetically, in the U.S., one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. One in six women have been the victim of an attempted rape or completed rape.

Being a part of this statistic can feel humiliating and embarrassing, and make us feel weak and powerless. This is wrong. Being a part of that statistic is a badge of strength, determination, resiliency, and empowerment.

We were supposed to be knocked down, hung out to dry, and left behind. We were supposed to be the freaks in life, the nobodies, the angered, and the powerless. But we have strength and courage within us that no one possibly could realize they have, unless they have walked in our shoes.

We know what it’s like to have to dig deep within us and rise above the water trying to cover our heads. We know what it’s like to find the strength to heal the cracks in our armor, to put ourselves back together again. But we’re not the same: we are stronger, smarter, wiser, and more loving and accepting because of it.

We can heal and transcend through the past, transform to greatness. Yes, I’m sure you all relate to the residual effects from abuse that may never go away, and that’s ok. We will never know what normal is, besides a setting on a dryer. We’re a bit weird, and a little crazy, odd and eccentric.

But, we’re not broken, we’re not hiding from our past, and we can love who we are. I now embrace my crazy personality quirks with pride, rather than hiding from them in shame. Maybe we’re different, but different is beautiful.

We define our past. Our past does not define us.

To the raped, to the molested, and to the sixteen year old rape victim of Steubenville High School, to the strong young women and brave man who recently inspired me, to all the victims of abuse and rape, we will not be left behind, we will not be hung out to dry, we will heal, we will transcend, we will triumph, and we will achieve greatness. They will not break us. I believe in you!

Love, Carter

Carter Lee is the author of When Jonathan Cried For Me, a child sex abuse survivor and spokesman, host of Carter Lee Presents the Fever, Partner to verawear.com, a coach, and manager of models (Carter’s Bombshells). To learn more about Carter or to see all of his projects visit TheCarterLee.com.