The Truth About Rabbis

A woman who heads an Orthodox women’s organization is told by a university student that a rabbi on the university’s staff has molested her. The student says:

“I was broken, and I cried day and night,” the student, who wishes to remain anonymous, says. “I had reached out for help, and I was thrown into a deep, dark pit. I had never touched a man before that, and no man had ever touched me.”

The organization offers a deal to the rabbi – remove yourself and we will stay silent, if not we go public. The rabbi does not answer. Soon the rabbi’s lawyer sends a letter threatening to sue for libel. In addition, a long list of public figures, professors and rabbis, come out in support of the accused.

Nevertheless, an investigation ensues and the rabbi is dismissed. Later, a prominent rabbinic supporter of the fired rabbi becomes dean of a college at which the woman who heads the women’s organization has taught for 12 years. Her hours are immediately cut and she is threatened with dismissal. It seems to be clear retaliation. The case winds up in court, and is yet to be decided. The woman has this to say about the ordeal she has been through:

“The message for women is: Next time, don’t confront a rabbi, because if you do, you’ll pay a price. Over the years, I have lost many good friends. Neighbors who were like family no longer speak to me. This is a war in the religious world.”

The first university? Bar Ilan. The second? Orot Yisrael College. The message? Rabbis often behave like thugs.

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9 Comments

Filed under Crime, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy

9 responses to “The Truth About Rabbis

  1. Ibn Tznunya

    Something needs to be done about what has clearly emerged over the years as a culture of coverups within the rabbinical power structure. And while I don’t always agree with your supercriticality on some issues, the magnitude of this hilul Hashem is simply out of control. I don’t think that I have the guts for your mission, but on this issue I share your moral revulsion. G-d help us. Ciao, Reb Yid

  2. Anonymous

    It so sad that Religious Zionist world is just as bad as the charedi world.

  3. Anonymous

    The first university? Bar Ilan. The second? Orot Yisrael College. The woman who got molested? Shmarya.

  4. BenBagBag

    Shmarya,
    How about reporting Temple Grandin’s visit of Rubashkin (without any snide comments)? I am no Rubashkinner Chossid but you have to appear to be fair. Be a man and take the hit…

  5. Neo-Conservaguy

    The OU propaganda text, which contains no actual quotes from Dr. Grandin, again appears to support the previous accusations of issues at the plant. After all, something was wrong to require the “improvements”.

    The question is only partly, “what is the current state of affairs at the plant”. The other, more troubling questions are, “can they – Agri and the OU – be believed if they allowed the problems in the first place and didn’t fix them until forced by the PETA report?”

  6. Yochanan Lavie

    The message? Rabbis often behave like thugs.

    Next thing you’ll be telling me there is gambling in Casablanca. I’m shocked! I’m shocked!

  7. Anonymous

    Thursday, July 06, 2006
    NER ISRAEL RABBINICAL COLLEGE OF BALTIMORE HAS A SEXUAL PREDATOR-R’ MOSHE EISEMANN AND WILL NOT TERMINATE HIM!

    The Victims Write And Their Stories Are Verified!

    When I was — years old, I was a talmid of Ner Israel. At that time, the Mashgiach Ruchni was Rabbi Moshe Eisemann. I became close to him and trusted him totally like a father figure. He is a very sick man. He would tell me he loved me and would hug and kiss me inappropriately. In this day and age, what rebby does this? He tried to control me by telling me loshon harah against my friends and family, and by telling my best friend not to be friends with me, and other ways.

    I was very uncomfortable, but thought I was crazy for thinking he was weird. One day, he felt up my rear end IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BEIS MEDRASH! I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked, angry and dismayed. But I did not have the guts to even say excuse me, what the hell are you doing. I did have the guts to tell my parents that he was “bothering ” me and my mom called him and told him to stay away. He did not listen at first, but had the nerve to approach me a couple more times and to write me a letter threatening that love can easily turn to hate. I may still have that letter.

    I know that this story does not sound like much, but there is more. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine had problems and was thrown out of the dorm. Rabbi Eisemann offered to take him into his house. One night in the middle of the night, thinking my friend was asleep, Rabbi Eisemann went in and put his hand under the cover, and groped my friend’s privates. My friend was only —. He was horrified. The next day he told ……., who went to the hanhalla. Rabbi Herman Neuberger, A”H, reacted by saying that the boy had to leave the yeshiva.

    My friend was devastated. He came to me to ask me to come forward. Es Chatai Ani Mazkir Hayom, I wasn’t ready completely. I told him if there was any other way to save his brother, he should do it, but if not I would come forward. He found another victim whose father was a huge gvir and who had also been touched inappropriately. So my friend was allowed to stay.

    Reb Tzvi Berkowitz,the son-in-law of Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky of Philadelphia, told my friend not to tell anyone what happened because it could be bad for the yeshiva.

    I have suffered for years. Only years later was I able to tell my parents what truly happened. I have still not been able to confront the yeshiva satisfatorily on this issue.A few years ago, I DID tell Shragi Neuberger about it. He is a rebby, and Rabbi Neuberger’s son and we were close once upon a time. He did not deny the problem. In fact he told me that there had been a bochur who told Reb Dovid Cohen a similar story (a Russian bochur with no political clout) but that the story was “unsubstantiated”.

    I told Shragi that I’m here to substantiate the fact that R. Eisemann has a real problem. Shragi said he’ll think what to do, but follow up phone calls have gotten us nowhere. I want to go further, but am afraid of being hurt personally by the yeshiva.

    What I would like to know from you is, do you have a way to investigate and find others who have been affected? I’m sure there are. I found another person who said that he was also was felt up on three occassions, and although he was not traumatized he decided to stay away from Rabbi Eisemann. His story happened several years after mine. He also knows of one other person. By the way, I was traumatized mostly because of the relationship I had with Rabbi Eisemann, and also by the covering up and complete lack of caring on the part of the yeshiva. It is true that what happened to me from a sexual standpoint was “not as bad” as some other stories. After all there was no penetration, right??? There might not be a lawsuit, but is that really necessary even at this point? Wouldn’t you think that the thought of a scandal now would get them to act? But Rabbi Eisemann is still sitting on the dais at the recent Rabbi Neuberger memory dinner, and what’s worse, still talks in learning with unsuspecting yeshiva boys on a daily basis. What is wrong with these people???? Ignorance is only an excuse up to a point, no?!

    If you have any ideas or advice for me, I would be so grateful.

    One last thing. I thought of you this yomtov. Take a look at the Yalkut Meam Loez on Rus on Vayehi Bimay Shfot Hashoftim. He says that the judges / leaders of Klal Yisroel were judged by the people for their corruption. He writes pages and pages about this. He says that when Moshe Rabeinu “criticized” the Jews saying , a little more and they’ll stone me”, it was not a put down but praise that the Jewish people don’t stand for phony, incompetent, self-interested leaders, but demand integrity from them, no matter who they are. I felt like he was writing about you. Really, take a look, and let me know what you think.

    Yasher Koach, and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Another victim writes….

    I went to Gary Rosenblatt to ask advice. He’s the editor of Jewish Week who did the expose on Baruch Lanner. He had been the head of the Jewish paper in Baltimore. He told me that Rabbi Neuberger had been involved in a case in the city (Eisgrau) where he insisted that it be kept quiet and nothing was done. It’s as if there is some kind of Mesorah that he had that this is the correct thing to do in these situations. You know, chillul hashem, etc.

    Reb Shragi told people that Rabbi Eiseman has a heart condition, and this has to be considered in deciding to act or not. He also told me that the Neubergers had been aware for years of Matis Weinberg’s problems, but did nothing. When I asked him why, he said “Everyone knows that the Neubergers and Weinbergs don’t get along well, so they would not have believed us.” Come again???

    David Mandel from Brroklyn had started a Beis Din in Baltimore to investigate allegations of sexual abuse in the frum community.The Beis Din consisted of Shragi, himself, Rav Heinneman, Rav Hopfer, Rabbi Hauer, and Rabbi Goldberger. He confided in me that when Rabbi Heinneman is at the meetings they can’t really speak about it because he doesn’t get it as well as the rest of them. How do you explain this? A rabbi on Beis Din who does NOT understand the sickness?

    According to Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, “There are as many rabbis out there that will hurt you than will help you,” and “There ARE no more Gedolim, veharaya, that people come to me with questions that they used to go to gedolim.”

    Another victim writes….

    Did you hear about the two evenings that Ohel had entitled “let’s talk about what never happened, but it really did”? The first one featured Rav Pam, Reb Shmuel and Reb Dovid Cohen and was emceed by Sruly Reisman. I gave them an A for effort, but their cluelessness caused, I believe, much pain to the victims/survivors in the audience. Reb Shmuel was asked by a lady what she should do about being molested 30 years ago and never telling anyone. She said that she was recently experienceing psychological symptoms. He told her to see a shrink, but to not tell her husband under any circumstances, because there is no way he would understand. This is in public and on tape. Rav Pam spoke about frum people with psychological issues like OCD, but didn’t mention molestation, abuse of any sort, anything to do with sex or what the purpose of the evening was supposed to be. I wonder if someone told him, even? My favorite was of course, Rabbi Reisman, who after offering the caveat that he was not a psychologist, still felt that he had something intelligent to offer on the subject beacause of his experiences with victims. He then told two stories in which he went out of his way to point out that the molester was NOT Jewish. It did not take my years of leaning lamdus to make the diuk that apparently frum people of course don’t molest, and that what had happened to many of the people in the room, really didn’t happen at all according to the resident Navi expert. To “help” people even more, when asked by one survivor about the feelings of betrayal, he opined that this was not an issue at all, because like Don Rumsfeld said about the war in Iraq, “Stuff happens”.

    Basically, the message was to victims: we want to help you to get over it… so get over it, ok?

    Another victim writes….

    I hope you took no offense that I called you meshuga. I think that anyone who is not made meshuga by the horrible world of hypocrisy that is called the frum velt has something really wrong with them. Anyway, sorry for the choice of words. Again, you are my hero.

    One thing that impressed me about your approach, is that with the Gerrer situation (the gerrorists) you got the job done and didn’t feel the need to “take them down” or to necessarily go after the yeshiva, etc.

    I’m mentioning this, because although sometimes the situation calls for drastic measures like multimillion dollar lawsuits and possibly razing a yeshiva to the ground, each situation is different and this whole problem does require sophistication as well as passion. In my case of Ner Yisroel, maybe something subtle like a letter writing campaign, or a few choice phone calls asking politely for Rabbi Eisemann to be taken care of, might do the trick especially now that they see what the problem could lead to.

    Another victim writes…

    I do not think it is enough to dismiss these people from their jobs. Look at the two guys who were fired. They go to Israel and will most likely end up like Mattis Weinberg molesting again at a later date. What needs to be done is:

    Rabbi Eisemann should be told that the community, i.e. hanhalla of yeshiva, will monitor him and talk to his therapist to be sure he is complying. He will be given a job doing something with no child contact, but if he does not comply, he will be punished with fines or something else. His passport should probably be taken away.

    His treatment should be comprehensive at a place that specializes in sex offenders and should include objective assessment for pedophilia (lie detector test, sexual deviancy measures, etc.) group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapy.

    The yeshiva, as part of the change that needs to be made, should have to track down as many victims as possible and apologize.

    Am I asking too much?

    Another victim writes…..

    You have touched on many issues, and are right on target.

    Firstly, Shlomo Gottesman at Torah Umesorah is a big part of the problem, he’s known about these problems At Ner Israel for years and is deeply involved in covering up this issue.
    The gedolim, at least the ones they call gedolim, are clueless outside their daled amos. As a general rule, the Europeans don’t get it, and the great chachomim like R’ Ruderman are gone.
    The present rabbonim in America are either businessmen protecting their businesses, or shluchim from them. I can’t think of one name today that can compare to the toes of a R’ Ruderman.
    What’s worse is that they in their ignorance and self-interests are causing the destruction of authentic Orthodox Judaism. R’ Moshe didn’t know about N.Y. water? Romaine lettuce?
    Chumras upon chumras…where’s the beef??? kinderlach’s lives and neshomas??????
    The Neuberger’s behavior come as a shock and will come back to haunt them. What about Tzvi Berkowitz?/ Is he out of his mind or just waiting for the rosh yeshiva’s job? Eiseman is sick, he has molested me for years when I went for shabbes to his house. He said it is ok to feel good. How crazy is that???I’m at a loss to explain what’s going on. Maybe this is the next dor hamabul…the rishaim seem to be everywhere. I need time to think of an aitza, right now, I’m shocked out of my mind.

    Sincerely and all the very best,do not let the Neubergers fool you, they will do nothing.

    Another victim writes….

    I know five of us that Eiseman masturbated, but I’m not sure how many would agree to help or come forward. There is the Russian boy but only Dovid Cohen know who this bochur is. I’m shocked that Dovid Cohen did not do anything to get rid of Eiseman, he told people years ago that he spoke to the Neubergers and they agreed to fire him.

    Another victim writes….

    Oh, by the way, you know that Moshe Eisemann went for years and years to Russia to work with unsuspecting Jewish children there under Agudas Yisroel’s plan for harbotzas torah.
    I’m going to write Neuberger that he really needs to fire Eiseman, pronto. And if Eiseman takes the yeshiva to a din torah (sure) then I’m willing to back up the yeshiva. But I will not help them in any way until he’s fired.

    Another victim writes…

    I have two more victims of Eiseman who might be willing to contact you anonymously. Maybe three. Reb Dovid Cohen was also approached by somebody about Eiseman a while ago. I’m sorry you are having health problems. I’m suffering a lot too. Will it be all over soon? Or will it take as long as YTT is taking? Have you gotten any response from Ner Israel?

    Another victim writes…..

    I have an insider in Torah Umesorah…they ( Ner Israel) have no interests in doing the right thing at all. They’re more concerned about finding me. I went to Herman 12 years ago and told him that Eiseman is sick, so they know full well and decided to do nothing. They learned NOTHING from the Margulies fiasco. I will be going public. Hopfer has been covering for Eisgrau…Eisgrau raped his own daughter, I’m in contact with her.
    They’re going to learn the hard way. I’ll testify if needed!

    Another victim writes…..

    Guess what.

    Apparently someone calling himself UOJ told Reb Sheftel that they’ve got 10 days to act or else. I had been wondering if they would make the top 3. Suddenly, Shragi says they are ready to act. Not to botch it up like TT did. He wants to go to a beis din first with Rabbi Hopfer. Many people told him that that’s a waste of time, totally unnecessary. All they need to do is retire Eiseman based on 2 credible complaints, period. I said what are you afraid of that Eiseman will sue?!! I told him not to worry about Eiseman’s heart condition, because Tshuva is good for the heart. I think he might have heard me, but we’ll see. Either way, I think in 10 days it will all be done. I hope. Shragi asked me if you had other victims. You told me that you didn’t want to name others to me about other victims. He was very puzzled about how the molestation had taken place in the beis medrash, and I clarified to him that for some very sick individuals, that is what gets their rocks off.
    Yasher Koach and keep up the good work. Soon it will be done and you can take a real hiatus and recuperate, I hope.
    I’m feeling better already, but it ain’t over till its over.

    Another victim writes……

    On second thought, I don’t trust Shragi at all to be looking out for my interests, I don’t feel a need to confront Eiseman to his face, and I certainly don’t want to have to speak to this guy Hopfer. So, I’m going to call off the charade and tell them to just do what you are calling for, which happens to also be the best thing for all people concerned. I truly hope they do what they need to. Maybe a little bit, I want the nekama of seeing this blow up in their face.

    A victim responds to a question that I pose about them calling for an immediate hearing:

    No, they did not agree. In matter of fact my friend just got a call from Shragi from Eretz Yisroel, that when he gets back, he wants to have a meeting with me, my friend, any other victims, Rabbi Eiseman and Rabbi Hopfer. I’m not quite sure why they need his involvement. I’m not sure why they need anybody’s involvement. It makes me nervous, but I’m willing to help do things their way for now. It’s the bottom line that matters. I’m nervous about this too. Shragi now talked to my friend about making “restrictions” for Eiseman, it seems Eiseman is staying, and the talk of his dismissal is a charade.

    Any victims of Moshe Eisemann please contact me. I am willing to assist you in legal action against Ner Israel and Eiseman.

    The next yeshiva has one week to terminate their in-house sexual abuser!

    UOJ

  8. sylvester green

    I find it intresting that with all these accusations,not a single name is given.Could it really be that after serving the jewish community for fourty plus years, a bunch of anonomous posts(that could have been written by one person)can destroy a person? How dense are we? Think about it. Picture yourself getting mad at someone.Isn’t it easy to pull this off? With all these accusations, can we hear a single name? NOT ONE!!!! What are these (supposed) people afraid of? Their not in ner israel anymore. Furthermore to say “their scared” is ridiculous because the world would be behind them as we saw by the catholic church. Lets use our brains a little, and not jump on someone based on absolutely nothing thats being backed up, except by anonomous postings. As far as the person whos behind this: EL NEKAMOS HASHEM….

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