Category Archives: Marvin Schick

Chabad Schools and Abuse

The JTA reports:

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has no written conduct guidelines applying specifically to its estimated 4,000 global emissaries, known as shluchim, or its approximately 3,000 multi-use facilities that double as synagogues and are usually referred to as Chabad Houses.

However, many Chabad Houses have adopted behavioral policies originally formulated for the movement´s schools, according to movement spokesman Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin.

In addition, according to Shmotkin, shluchim must strictly abide by the Shulchan Aruch, the 16th-century code of Jewish law that prohibits non-married or unrelated adults of the opposite sex from being secluded with each other.

On the school front

Some of the denominational policies examined by JTA are designed to guard against situations that could result in inappropriate contact with minors, regardless of their sex. They mandate, for example, that at least two adults be present when a child is receiving private religious instruction.

A non-seclusion requirement is among many anti-abuse provisions included in mandatory school behavioral policies adopted by Chabad about five years ago. The policies cover approximately 2,000 personnel at some 350 Chabad schools attended by about 24,000 students.

The policies also instruct school officials to consult two recognized rabbinic authorities — one Chabad-affiliated and one not — regarding the centuries-old Jewish legal injunction known as mesirah, which in some instances prohibits Jews from reporting Jewish perpetrators to non-Jewish authorities.

Mesirah has been blamed for the reticence of some Orthodox sex abuse victims to go public with their complaints. In a spring 2004 article in the anti-abuse publication Working Together, [Rabbi Mark] Dratch of JSafe said that in cases of child sex abuse, "the consensus of contemporary Jewish religious authorities is that such reporting is religiously mandatory."

Now, compare this to Torah Umesorah, the Aguda-afilliated haredi day school-yeshiva movement:

Three years ago, several safeguards were adopted by Torah Umesorah-The National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, a service organization — the largest of its kind in the United States — that provides religious educational materials for nearly 200,000 Orthodox students spanning that denomination´s ideological spectrum.

The Torah Umesorah guidelines, which were presented to school principals, warn teachers and other staffers to refrain from sexually immodest behavior or speech and from inappropriate touching. They also prohibit school personnel from being secluded with students.

But the guidelines are nonbinding because each of the hundreds of schools served by Torah Umesorah are self-governing.

"We´re a service agency, not a governing agency," Rabbi Joshua Fishman, the organization´s executive vice president, told JTA.

Elliot Pasik, a New York attorney and children´s rights advocate, said the way in which the guidelines were distributed calls into question Torah Umesorah´s commitment to protecting students from sexually predatory teachers and other staffers.

The guidelines were accompanied by a Sept. 24, 2003, cover letter signed by Fishman that said in part: "This document should be maintained with a sense of confidentiality. It should only be shared with your educational administrative and teaching staff."

Perhaps as a result of that directive, Pasik said few, if any, parents he knows with children attending schools serviced by Torah Umesorah were told about the rules unless they called the Torah Umesorah national office in Manhattan. Pasik´s children have attended yeshivas affiliated with Torah Umesorah.

Furthermore, he added, "I have personally spoken with several teachers and they knew nothing about these guidelines."

Asked to respond, Fishman declined comment, except to say, "We believe that molesters should be reported."

Pasik said the situation shows the need for a centralized governing body — perhaps a state or federal agency — that can hold schools accountable for the safety of students.

"It´s hard for people in any organization to govern themselves," he said. "We´re not being patrolled or governed by anybody."

Chabad has the better policy and the stronger enforcement. And who is closely aligned with Torah Umesorah? Why, Marvin Schick, the self-appointed day school expert and blowhard. Schick is a big fan of not going to the police.

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Crime, Haredim, Marvin Schick, Mikva Abuse

Former Haredi Comfronts His Haredi Molestors – On Camera

Breaking Silence
(Translated from Hebrew to English)
Ma’ariv Dec,
http://www.nrg.co.il/online/11/ART1/523/767.html

As a Charedi (ultra-orthodox) child he had been through a series of
molestations and attempted rapes. Even after he left the religious
life, he suffered from nightmares and sleepless nights. Now Menachem
Lang decided to gather his courage, confront his attackers, and force
the Charedi world to deal with its demons. Dressed as a Charedi, he
infiltrated Bnei-Brak and followed them–until he managed to squeeze a
detailed admission and request for forgiveness; all in front of the cameras.

Menachem Lang was born as a Charedi in Bnei-Brak. Already at a young
age he was discovered as someone who possessed a unique voice for
Chazanut (leading the community in religious song)and became the wonder
child of the Charedi world. However, alongside the success, Lang was
hiding a relentless dark secret.

"The first time was when I was 7 years old," tells Lang. "The
attacker took me to the bathroom and spent five hours with me there. He
rubbed against me and touched me, breathed like a drunkard. I just
lowered my eyes and waited for it to be over." This week, almost 20
years later, Lang went back to the streets of Bnei-Brak–and this time
as a non-religious Jew dressed as a Charedi–in order to confront the
people who sexually assaulted him.

Menachem, 25 years old, is an actor in the Ensemble of Herzelia
Theater, went on the shuddering trip into his past accompanied by
Channel 10 reporter Guy Lerer. "I always wanted to do this," he says,
"it hurt me that these people are walking free. It haunted me nights,
but I didn’t have the courage to do this because I didn’t have anyone
to do it with. I made the decision when Lerer came to me to prepare a
report on the show I participate in. I told him about my dream and he
immediately told me ‘we’re doing this!’. During the shooting we walked
into the Satmar borough dressed as Charedis, the same Chassidic group
that sent its people to meet with Ahmad Nigahd. It is a hard, violent
place."

"I am regretful!"
About two weeks ago, Landg and Lerer, outfitted
with a hidden camera, arrived in a neighborhood in Bnei-Brak. He waited
under one of the houses, dressed as a Charedi. A few minutes later, a
familiar figure approaches up the street. Menachem identifys "A", the
man who attacked him violently and molested him when he was 13. He goes
to him and calls him to stop. "A" turns and flees, Menachem runs after
him. Several tens of meters later, he catches him, and the two begin to
fight. When "A" understands that he has no place to run to, he stops,
and after he calms down a bit an exchange develops between Menachem and
him.

Continue reading

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Israel, Marvin Schick, Mikva Abuse

Marvin Schick’s Dishonesty and the Jewish Week’s Role

Marvin Schick has another disingenuous ad in the Jewish Week. In it, under the headline, "What’s Wrong With Mesirah," (informing; telling the police, media or government about crimes committed by Jews) Schick tells us: everything is wrong with mesira.

Schick’s argument is simple. American (and Israeli) justice is unfair and imperfect. Criminals are not given the option of restitution rather than jail. Therefore, you should not tell the police about crimes committed by Jews. Schick has one caveat to this blanket condemnation of reporting Jewish criminals to police.

He writes, "There are instances of spousal abuse, child abuse, and other situations where leading Orthodox rabbis have instructed that civil authorities be notified."

What Schick does not tell you in his carefully parsed language is that those instances are few and far between. Only one or two haredi rabbis of note have endorsed going to the police and that endorsement has been on a case by case basis. Indeed, a wide range of leading haredi rabbis both knew about Rabbi Kolko’s abuse and forbade victims and parents from going to the police. Rabbis as diverse as Elya Svei, Avraham Pam, and ArtScroll’s Nosson Scherman all are said to have known about the allegations. Pam and Scherman fought to have Kolko banned from teaching. None went to the police and Rabbi Kolko continued to abuse young boys. Take a moment and read the alleged history of Rabbi Kolko and the rabbinic coverup.

Schick continues, "The yeshiva deans who compromise the board of Torah Umesorah, the National Association of Hebrew Day Schools, adopted a policy statement …" What is this policy statement? It is an old statement about child abuse, in place during the last years of Rabbi Kolko’s abuse but not enforced. Schick does not bring the meat of the policy statement. All we know from what he quotes is that Torah Umesorah agrees that child abuse is bad and that, according to a letter sent by the organization’s executive director, "If there is indeed an allegation of child abuse, and that allegation proves to be true, and the matter that had come to your attention was not attended to, you will be liable both in the eyes of G-D and according to secular law."

What Schick does not tell you is that Agudath Israel of America and Torah Umesorah both opposed mandatory reporting law that would have made rabbis mandatory reporters of suspected abuse. If that law had been in place, many of the "gedolim" would now be facing criminal charges in the Kolko affair.

In
an earlier ad, Schick urged readers not to go to rush to the media or
government with complaints of abuse, because the resultant publicity
would be bad for Orthodoxy
.

Schick concentrates much of this week’s ad decrying the imprisonment of financial frauds, cheats and thieves. What Schick does not tell you is that his beloved nephew is one of them, having defrauded dozens of investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This would be a disclosure any journalist would need to make. Schick – who uses his bought and paid bully pulpit to club the press – does not make this necesary disclosure because he holds the press to a higher standard of honesty than he holds himself or his community.

Which brings us to the Jewish Week. Schick’s ‘columns’ are paid advertisements, and need to be labeled as such by the Jewish Week. Indeed, the Jewish Week promised me months ago that they would begin doing so immediately. If you look at the PDF of the ad (Download schick_mesira.pdf ), you’ll note that, within the borders of the ad there is one small line of type that reads, "This space is privately sponsored." No respectable publication would consider that a sufficient disclaimer. Indeed, the standard disclaimer on any ad of this type (something that does not look like display advertising) is to label it, "Paid Advertisement," and put that label above and under the ad to show the newspaper is not a party to the ad’s contents, and to do so in a way that cannot easily be missed.

The Jewish Week ran Schick’s paid ads – ads that in some cases libeled others – without a disclaimer. Now it runs them with a small,  ambiguous note within the ad itself.  Gary Rosenblatt and Company know better. Schick is a stain on the Jewish Week, and that stain is made measurably larger by this type of deceptive behavior. Put more simply, it makes you look dishonest, Gary.

[Hat Tips: Yisroel for the tip and Dr. R-F for the scan.]

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Marvin Schick, Mikva Abuse

Marvin Schick’s Dishonesty and the Jewish Week’s Role

Marvin Schick has another disingenuous ad in the Jewish Week. In it, under the headline, "What’s Wrong With Mesirah," (informing; telling the police, media or government about crimes committed by Jews) Schick tells us: everything is wrong with mesira.

Schick’s argument is simple. American (and Israeli) justice is unfair and imperfect. Criminals are not given the option of restitution rather than jail. Therefore, you should not tell the police about crimes committed by Jews. Schick has one caveat to this blanket condemnation of reporting Jewish criminals to police.

He writes, "There are instances of spousal abuse, child abuse, and other situations where leading Orthodox rabbis have instructed that civil authorities be notified."

What Schick does not tell you in his carefully parsed language is that those instances are few and far between. Only one or two haredi rabbis of note have endorsed going to the police and that endorsement has been on a case by case basis. Indeed, a wide range of leading haredi rabbis both knew about Rabbi Kolko’s abuse and forbade victims and parents from going to the police. Rabbis as diverse as Elya Svei, Avraham Pam, and ArtScroll’s Nosson Scherman all are said to have known about the allegations. Pam and Scherman fought to have Kolko banned from teaching. None went to the police and Rabbi Kolko continued to abuse young boys. Take a moment and read the alleged history of Rabbi Kolko and the rabbinic coverup.

Schick continues, "The yeshiva deans who compromise the board of Torah Umesorah, the National Association of Hebrew Day Schools, adopted a policy statement …" What is this policy statement? It is an old statement about child abuse, in place during the last years of Rabbi Kolko’s abuse but not enforced. Schick does not bring the meat of the policy statement. All we know from what he quotes is that Torah Umesorah agrees that child abuse is bad and that, according to a letter sent by the organization’s executive director, "If there is indeed an allegation of child abuse, and that allegation proves to be true, and the matter that had come to your attention was not attended to, you will be liable both in the eyes of G-D and according to secular law."

What Schick does not tell you is that Agudath Israel of America and Torah Umesorah both opposed mandatory reporting law that would have made rabbis mandatory reporters of suspected abuse. If that law had been in place, many of the "gedolim" would now be facing criminal charges in the Kolko affair.

In
an earlier ad, Schick urged readers not to go to rush to the media or
government with complaints of abuse, because the resultant publicity
would be bad for Orthodoxy
.

Schick concentrates much of this week’s ad decrying the imprisonment of financial frauds, cheats and thieves. What Schick does not tell you is that his beloved nephew is one of them, having defrauded dozens of investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This would be a disclosure any journalist would need to make. Schick – who uses his bought and paid bully pulpit to club the press – does not make this necesary disclosure because he holds the press to a higher standard of honesty than he holds himself or his community.

Which brings us to the Jewish Week. Schick’s ‘columns’ are paid advertisements, and need to be labeled as such by the Jewish Week. Indeed, the Jewish Week promised me months ago that they would begin doing so immediately. If you look at the PDF of the ad (Download schick_mesira.pdf ), you’ll note that, within the borders of the ad there is one small line of type that reads, "This space is privately sponsored." No respectable publication would consider that a sufficient disclaimer. Indeed, the standard disclaimer on any ad of this type (something that does not look like display advertising) is to label it, "Paid Advertisement," and put that label above and under the ad to show the newspaper is not a party to the ad’s contents, and to do so in a way that cannot easily be missed.

The Jewish Week ran Schick’s paid ads – ads that in some cases libeled others – without a disclaimer. Now it runs them with a small,  ambiguous note within the ad itself.  Gary Rosenblatt and Company know better. Schick is a stain on the Jewish Week, and that stain is made measurably larger by this type of deceptive behavior. Put more simply, it makes you look dishonest, Gary.

[Hat Tips: Yisroel for the tip and Dr. R-F for the scan.]

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Marvin Schick, Mikva Abuse

Marvin Schick, Haredi Schools and Abuse

Marvin Schick’s son Joe writes about abuse he suffered at the hands of a hasidic teacher in grade school. Most interesting is Marvin Schick’s knowledge of that abuse and his apparent public silence about it:

When I was in sixth grade [in Toras Emes], in 1984, we had a chasidic rebbe, probably in his mid-30’s, for the 12-1 chumash session. One Friday toward the end of the school year, he demanded that a number of kids stay after school. I ignored him, and walked out the door, when, presumably infuriated by the affront to his honor, he grabbed me, slammed my head and body against the wall and punched me repeatedly. This went on for quite a while. When he was done, he warned me not to tell my parents, or he would have me thrown out of the yeshiva.

I did not tell my parents, however, on Saturday night, my mother noticed that my back was badly bruised. I reluctantly told her what happened.

The next morning, my parents went to the yeshiva principal, a man who was principal of the yeshiva for more than 40 years, to demand that the rebbi be fired. It is worth noting that my family had a fairly good relationship with the principal, and that my father was fairly well known in the community.

The principal finished his meeting with my parents, and asked me and the rebbi to come to his office. My parents quietly told me not to worry, to tell the principal exactly what happened and not be scared of the rebbi. I told the truth. The principal asked the rebbi to respond. The rebbi’s response was that I was a liar, and had banged my own head against the wall when he demanded that I stayed late, and that he did not lay a hand on me except to restrain me from hurting myself further.

The principal’s response was to berate me for making false accusations against a rebbi, and he actually forced me to apologize to the rebbi. The rebbi was not fired and I went back to his classroom.

On the last day of school, the rebbi asked me in front of the entire class to forgive him. I responded sarcastically that there was no reason for me to forgive him, since I had thrown myself against the wall, and he never touched me. He then asked me privately for forgiveness, and I ignored him.

On erev Yom Kippur, I was walking home from mincha in Boro Park when I met the rebbi. He stopped me, told me that he was no longer teaching at the yeshiva (I assume the principal conveniently decided to terminate him at the end of the school year, and berated me only for some stupid purpose of protecting the authority of the rebbis) and that he had been thinking about what he did all summer, that he was very wrong, and since it is erev Yom Kippur, G-d clearly decided to have me meet him for a reason, and he hoped I would grant him forgiveness. I muttered okay, I forgive you, and walked away. Given that I don’t recall ever seeing him again (and I lived in Boro Park for 13 more years), perhaps there really was a divine reason for that chance meeting.

Ultimately, I think the principal’s actions are as reprehensible as the rebbi’s. The rebbi did a terrible thing, and then refused to accept responsibility instead blaming his victim, but at least in the end he seemed to have understood the wrongfulness of his conduct. The principal, a school educator, berated a kid who had been badly beaten by his own rebbi two days earlier for no reason other than some archaic notion of supporting authority figures.

This happened to Marvin "Mr. Day School – Yeshiva Expert" Schick. Imagine what happens to kids whose parents don’t come from prominent families and don’t have protectzia.

[Hat tip: Dr. R-F.]

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Unchosen

Hella Winston’s wonderful book, Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels, is now out in paperback. Here is 16 minute interview (scroll down the page a bit) Leonard Lopate did with Hella last year when the hardcover edition was released. Note how she is very respectful of the hasidic way of life and of haredim. (Here’s a longer interview from Michael Krasny at KQED, as well.) The point is Hella is more than fair to haredim. Now look at Marvin Schick’s attack on Hella Winston. Note the deception and the complete lack of mentchlekeit Schick displays. Winston is secular. Schick is a haredi mouthpiece. Even 10 years ago, at the height of my haredism, I would much rather my children act like Hella Winston than act like Marvin Schick.

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Filed under Books, Marvin Schick

Another Strike Against Marvin Schick

At last week’s Agudah convention, Rabbi Mattisyahu Salomon, speaking for the rabbinical and political leadership of Agudah, admitted there were many cases of rabbinic and other abuse haredi rabbinic leadership had handled quietly, dealing with the problem and then "sweeping it under the carpet" to avoid bad publicity, etc. The problems with this admission are many, not the least of which is that "sweeping [abuse] under the carpet" allows the abuser to relocate and continue abusing, something specifically alleged in at least two separate cases. But the admission also again proves Marvin Schick to be either willfully naive or a liar, or both. Perhaps it’s time for Marvin to apologize to the abuse victims and advocates he has so disparaged. What do you say, oh "day school and yeshiva ‘expert’"? Maybe you could use your Jewish Week "column" to apologize – if you have the guts, that is.

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