The Silence Must End Now

ABC aired its Nightline segment on Rabbi Avraham Mondrowitz, a pedophile who preyed on Jewish and Italian kids in Boro Park and then escaped to Israel, where he has lived openly without censure for about 20 years.

The Brooklyn DA has been faulted for not strongly pursuing extradition. This may in part be because until very recently, his Jewish victims refused to cooperate. Why? Rabbinic and communal pressure.  Rabbinic actions encourage cover up, not disclosure. And children are tortured as a result.

But the sad fact is, short of a Federal investigation, only one thing will help protect haredi children from their molesters – attribution. Victims must stand up and say "My name is ________ and I was raped by Rabbi __________." That attribution will allow the government and media to do what haredi rabbis will not do – root out and deal with the abusers among them.

Do you want to spare others the pain and horror you have suffered? If you do, come forward now. Go to your local District Attorney or the police. Call the New York Times or ABC. Act now. The rabbis who allowed Kolko to molest for thirty years and Mondrowitz to live safely in Israel are the same rabbis who will allow the next rabbinic abuser to escape justice, while his victims suffer horrors only you truly understand.

Now is your chance. Stand up for these kids. Save their lives. If you remain silent, rabbis will enable their rape, just like they enabled yours.

What if someone had stood up to Rabbi Kolko 30 years ago? Or Mondrowitz? Imagine the pain you would have been spared, how different your life would be! You can do that now for an entire generation of children. You can give them a gift larger than any other – life. May God help you, guide you and protect you as you do. The chain of silence and fear must be broken immediately. 

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11 Comments

Filed under Crime, Haredim

11 responses to “The Silence Must End Now

  1. S. Shalom

    To the Chief Editor and owner of this Blog, since there is no other way to reach you at this time I am posting this here in the hope that you will read it and respond:

    Good Mo’ed to you and Yasher Koach on the good work that you do on this Blog.

    We are writing (actually improving) an article about Barry Gurary on Wikipedia, see it at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Gurary

    As you can well imagine, editors who are not Lubavitch want to include truthful information unlike Lubavitcher editors who are fighting it.

    Perhaps you may want to comment and add information, every article has its own talk page on Wikipedia, see

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Barry_Gurary

    Do you know how to get a good photo of Barry Gurary that would not be bound by Copyright issues or one that has been freed into the public domain by its owners? There are a number of photos of Barry Guaray from his youth on your Blog, but there are copyright issues that need to be clarified first to satisfy Wikipedia’s rules about these kind things, before photos can be downloaded and posted to the website to become part of the article on Wikipedia, which as you may know is the world largest Encyclopedia.
    Do you know of any good photos of Barry Gurary in his later years?

    Finally do you know (I am sure you do) the years of birth and death of the late Rebbetzin Chana Gurary?

    I look forward to hearing from you, and I have entered my Email in the required field for you to contact me.

    Shalom and a Gutten Yom Tov!

  2. Nigritude Ultramarine

    Mesira. Don’t you just love it?

    According to Amy Neustein:

    “Rabbis sign on to this edict about Mesira stating that he who informs to the Christian authorities can be murdered at the first opportunity. Well of course that sends such a chill to the family that they pick themselves up with their children, from Brooklyn and they ran out of the county.”

    Lovely, an institutionalized death threat, signed by rabbis. I wonder if a DA can find this to be actionable under the law.

  3. Nigritude Ultramarine

    Maybe it’s actionable under RICO.

  4. D

    “According to Amy Neustein…”

    Yeah, let’s talk this resident expert in the matter of abused children.

  5. Nigritude Ultramarine

    More mesirah talk for Chol HaMoed.

  6. Nigritude Ultramarine

    Yeah, let’s talk this resident expert in the matter of abused children.

    So the mesirah edict never happened. Right.

  7. Nigritude Ultramarine

    “It’s called Mesira. And that’s a prohibition on the books of reporting fellow Jews to the authorities under any circumstances. — Rabbi Dratch

    The mesira edict was published in a Yiddish-language Orthodox Brooklyn newspaper called Der Blatt in the wake of a case of a 6-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy who had brought allegations against a rabbi who had been tutoring him. — ABC News

    Oops! It looks like there was a mesira edict.

  8. Mesirah

    Mesirah? What they didn’t air was Rabbi Dratch’s position that mesirah does not apply in this case. See his article, “The 411 on 911: Reporting Jewish Abusers to the Authorities” at http://jsafe.org/pdfs/mesirah.pdf.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Despite the objection of Keli Hemda that this biblical prohibition should never be waived under any circumstances “because a person is obligated to forfeit all of his wealth and not violate a prohibition,” rabbinic courts often granted permission to Jewish litigants to turn to the general courts for adjudication and for enforcement of their legal rights. And if a person refused to attend a Jewish court or to submit himself to its authority, rabbinic tribunals granted permission to the plaintiff to submit his complaint to the general courts. In each of these cases, there is no violation of the arka’ot prohibition as the litigants first submitted themselves to the Jewish courts for direction. The prohibition obtains only when one could otherwise successfully adjudicate his concerns in a Jewish court.
    There are other circumstances in which it permissible to seek help from arka’ot.
    Rambam notes that the prohibition of mesirah restricts a private individual who is being harassed from making a report to the civil authorities. However, when there is a meitzar ha-tzibbur (public menace), informing is permissible. While this would seem to restrict an abused wife from calling the authorities on her husband, or a concerned party from reporting an abusive parent, this is not the case. First, the rate of recidivism in child abuse cases is high and therefore a child molester can be considered a “public menace.” Second, Shakh records that where a person is a repeat abuser (“ragil le-hakot—strikes on a continuing basis”), one is permitted to report him to the non-Jewish authorities in order to prevent him from abusing again. And third, Geresh Yerahim limits Rambam’s reading of the Talmudic statement above (Gittin 7a) to situations in which the abused faces no real personal harm. He points to Rashi’s explanation of Mar ‘Ukba’s complaint that “Certain men are annoying me,” explaining that they were merely insulting him. But, if Mar ‘Ukba would have been subjected to greater injury, i.e., physical or financial harm, it would have been permissible for him to complain to the non-Jewish authorities, even though he is just an individual. Similarly, Me’irat Einayim adds that the distress of the private individual that is forbidden to report is tza’ar be-alma (general distress). However, if one is the subject of assault or attacks, reporting is permitted.
    In addition, there are situations in which a rabbinic court is ineffective, incapable of adjudicating and powerless to protect victims. This can be for any number of reasons: perhaps one of the parties will not appear before it, perhaps a party will not feel bound by its decision, or perhaps the bet din will be unable to protect one of the litigants from physical or financial harm. Rabbeinu Gershom Ma’or ha-Golah understood that even if someone agrees to come to the rabbinic court, he may be doing so only because he thinks he can delay or obfuscate the proceedings, or because he feels that he will be able to avoid certain punishment or fines if he avoids the civil courts. Rabbeinu Gershom enacted that in such cases the bet din should give the other party permission to go to the general court. Radbaz confirms that “this is the practice of all rabbinic courts in every generation in order not to give the upper hand to aggressors and intimidators who do not respect the judgment [of the bet din].”
    In a ruling of great significance for victims of abuse, Rema writes, “A person who attacks others should be punished. If the Jewish authorities do not have the power to punish him, he must be punished by the civil authorities.” According to Rema, the victim has the right to go to the civil authorities not just to prevent an attack, but to seek punishment and justice for an attack that has already taken place.
    Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyahiv ruled that one may report a child abuser to the civil authorities in America, but only if he is certain about the abuse; a false report that can destroy a person’s reputation and life. And Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, author of Teshuvot Shevet ha-Levi, applies this reading of the Talmud to the case of a tax agent who must report tax fraud to the government for prosecution. Rabbi Wosner obligates this Jew to do so, arguing that 1) this is the law of the country and 2) the report will not cause the imposition of a dangerous sentence on a Jew. Furthermore, a child abuser is worse than a meitzar and is in the category of rodef concerning whom one is permitted to do anything to stop the attack.
    Others maintain the prohibitions of mesirah and arka’ot do not apply to these situations altogether. R. Yitzchak Weiss avers that the state has an interest in the safety and welfare of its citizens and one may report those who are endangering that safety. Rabbi Herschel Schachter stated that the prohibition of mesirah applies only when testimony assists civil authorities in illegally obtaining the money of, or excessively punishing, another Jew. It does not obtain when it aids a non-Jewish government in fulfilling such rightful duties as collecting appropriate taxes or punishing criminals. When the information concerns the criminal activities of a fellow Jew—as long as the Jewish criminal has also violated a Torah law and even if the punishment will be more severe than the Torah prescribes—the ban of mesirah does not apply.
    Arokh ha-Shulhan maintains that mesirah was prohibited because of the nature of the autocratic governments under which Jews lived throughout much of history. Such informing often led to dangerous persecution of the entire Jewish community. He maintains that this injunction does not apply to those societies in which the government is generally fair and nondiscriminatory.

    The Bottom Line
    Child abusers must be reported to the authorities. In all states there are mandated reporter—generally those who work with children in some sort of professional capacity—who are obligated by civil law and by Jewish law to report abusers. But even those who are not mandated by state law to report, are obligated by Jewish law to do so. “You shall not stand by the blood of your neighbor” (Lev. 19:16) is not limited to professionals; it applies to everyone.
    It is permissible for a victim of sexual or physical abuse to seek the protection and help of civil authorities. Rabbis and rabbinic courts are powerless to do much in these cases and cannot protect women, children and men from repeat attacks. It is permissible to seek orders of protection and to seek prosecution of the abuser as the law allows.
    Many authorities maintain that victims should go directly to the police or the courts for protection. Any delay may prove dangerous. But a word of caution: a small group of authorities interpret these laws more narrowly than outlined above and, in their communities, turning to civil authorities without first obtaining rabbinic permission may have unfavorable and harmful results. Those who do proceed without rabbinic authorization may well be worried about becoming the object of communal censure and pressure, and possibly the withholding of a get. In cases of abuse one must be concerned about harmful results of exposure. Some rabbis rarely, if ever, grant such permission. Others who do consent to the involvement of the police and courts may do so only after great delay. However, victims of abuse must beware that inaction in these cases carries the possibility, indeed probability, of the danger of further abuse by the same person, and the risk to many future victims if the abuser is not exposed and restrained. In almost all cases, abuse victims should certainly rely upon the strong halakhic basis detailed above to seek the necessary protection from the police and courts.

  9. Check out this blog:
    aboutuoj.blogspot.com
    Some great reading about UOJ!

  10. I hope Paul sues your ass off. What you write is verifiably false. You should be made to pay for that, as should any rabbi who encourages you.

  11. Michael Lesher

    The current New York Jewish Week describes the District Attorney’s refusal to discuss the failure of his office to seek extradition in the Mondrowitz case.

    God willing, there will be more publicity along the same lines until we achieve some results in this shocking case.

    The article follows. A link to the original on-line article appears at the head.

    Michael Lesher, Esq.
    Counsel for numerous victims of Avrohom Mondrowitz

    http://thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=13124

    10/20/2006
    HYNES MUM ON MONDROWITZ
    Jennifer Friedlin
    A recent episode of ABC’s “Nightline” discussed the case of an Orthodox Brooklyn therapist who fled to Israel to escape prosecution for sex-crime charges.

    Those on the side of a group of alleged victims hoped the national attention would finally force Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes to fight for extradition of the suspected pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz, who has been on the lam for nearly a quarter of a century.

    But the DA refuses to discuss the matter.

    “We are not commenting on this case,” a spokesman for Hynes, Sandy Silverstein, told The Jewish Week after Hynes declined to appear on “Nightline.”

    Mondrowitz was indicted in 1984 on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree for allegedly abusing four boys – none Jewish – in Brooklyn. After he fled, then-District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman fought for Mondrowitz’s extradition. But because the Israeli definition of rape did not include sodomy, and, therefore, Mondrowitz had not broken Israeli law, extradition was off the table.

    Israel changed the definition of rape to include sodomy in 1988. But after Hynes was elected the following year, the matter faded.

    Hynes’ office has said it did not pursue the case because the extradition treaty could not be applied retroactively. But a memo from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department regarding Mondrowitz indicated the case could be reopened, said Michael Lesher, a lawyer currently representing six Jewish people who say Mondrowitz abused them.

    One of them, Mark Weiss, now 39, says Mondrowitz sexually assaulted him during a summer stay in Mondrowitz’s home when Weiss was 13. After years of keeping quiet, he decided he was ready to publicly tell his story in the hopes that both Hynes and the Orthodox community would take greater action to fight sex abuse.

    “I don’t think the DA is going to be able to say it’s a dead issue now,” said Weiss.

    After the “Nightline” show, Lesher faxed Hynes additional statements from four more people who claim for the first time that they, too, were abused by Mondrowitz in Brooklyn.

    “If the DA doesn’t pursue this case, it’s hard to say what case they would pursue,” said Lesher, who believes Hynes won’t push for extradition because of a cozy relationship with Brooklyn’s Orthodox community.

    Lesher is waiting for some answers from Hynes in response to the latest claims.

    So far, Hynes is keeping mum.

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