Category Archives: Mikva Abuse

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein and Child Sexual Abuse

According to Luke Ford, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, a haredi, LA-based rabbi and polemicist, has this to say about blogs and abuse:

“Halakhicly, you should not read blogs. It is not our business to punish people. Vengeance is not a Jewish idea except for in a court of law.”

“In some cases, a cover-up is not the worst thing.”

“Discretion is not the worst thing.”

“Cities should put together a special law court, beit din, for issues of abuse. Chicago put together a special beit din for issues of abuse. I guess there will be such a thing in Los Angeles.”

“Journalistic exposure is a last resort. The zeal to go after an accused abuser [often leads to bad results].”

While it is true Adlerstein dismisses the idea that halakha forbids going to police or warning others about abusers, his "solution" to the abuse problem is foolish at best. This type of "solution" is what gave us 40 years of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko’s abuse, and Kolko is not a lone example.

But one piece of Rabbi Adlerstein’s advice is good. He holds blogs should not be read. I suggest you all take him up on that by refusing to read the blog he and his fellow abuse coverup expert Avi Shafran write for.

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Mikva Abuse

BROOKLYN PEDOPHILE ALERT

A friend forwarded the following email to me:

Yeshiva boys commonly accept rides from strangers who appear to be “frum.”  However, appearances can be deceiving and this practice has lately proven to be extremely harmful.

Recently, a Jewish male in his 40s, had been offering rides to Yeshiva boys waiting at bus stops on Coney Island Avenue and other Flatbush and Boro Park venues.  One of his regular passengers confided to his father that the driver had exhibited unusual behavior.  The boy’s father decided to accompany his son and confront the driver.  The driver fled the scene when he saw the father.  It has since been discovered that the driver had been previously arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree sex abuse.

Because of early intervention, no crime was committed this time.  However, this predator has escaped incarceration and remains free to prey on unsuspecting boys.  The authorities are investigating this matter.

The pedophile has been identified as follows:

Vehicle:*          Blue 1987 Chevy Caprice – New York license plates
Age:                 Early to mid 40’s
Height:             5’ 11
Weight:            Approximately 220 lbs.
Facial hair:      Clean-shaven
Color:               White

*Please note that he may have access to more than one vehicle.

We urge you to caution your children never to accept rides from strangers without your explicit permission.  Instruct them to immediately report to you any strange behavior displayed by any adult in their lives.

We must be proactive about containing and preventing these incidents in our community.  Please pass this information on to everyone you know.  Please advise anyone who suggests this falls into the category of loshon horah, that they are mistaken.  A pedophile is a rodeph and we have a halachic obligation to protect our children and the children of our community from harm.  The Torah asserts that we are forbidden to sit idly by while others are in danger (lo samoid al dam re’echa).  As Harav Shalom Yosef Elyashiv has ruled, we are obligated to report known pedophiles to the police.

Keep your eyes and ears open and insist that your child do the same.  Help keep our children safe and healthy.

The alleged pedophile’s name, address and license plate number were in the original email. While my friend has proven to be absolutely credible, I am not printing the alleged pedepohile’s identity until I can verify it. I will say that he lives in a haredi area of Brooklyn and has a very Jewish first name and family name.

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Mikva Abuse

Not A Word About Sex (Or Rape, Or Abuse)

Ha’aretz reports that haredi-controlled media in Israel – including HaModia, Yated Ne’eman, and Kol Hai have not mentioned the nature of the charges (in HaModia’s case, the indictment itself was not mentioned) against Israel’s now-indicted president, Moshe Katsav. Why? Because haredim want to keep their media "clean". Here is one haredi example from the article:

…The religious radio station Kol Hai’s news bulletins have been covering the Katsav affair since the attorney general’s announcement Tuesday, but broadcasters, reporters and commentators have been ordered not to mention the nature of the charges or say words like "sexual harassment," "rape" and "abuse."

Interviewees are also warned not to use those terms on the air.

The channel did not broadcast the recent news conferences live, but only after offensive phrases had been deleted.

"When a father sits in his car with his children listening to the news, my job is to protect the children and not use terms alien to the children’s pure world," said Mordechai Lavi, the radio’s main news broadcaster.…

A friend who has worked extensively with New York City haredi communities told me one of the biggest in dealing with haredi abuse cases is that victims, especially those from Williamsburgh, Kiryas Joel and New Square, lack the vocabulary to explain what it is that has happened to them. There are often no Yiddish words for what has happened to them, even for some body parts. They are hurt and confused, and this additional burden makes comming forward that much harder. (So does, my friend is quick to add, is the communal and rabbinic pressure to stay silent.)

Haredim need to realize this extreme ghettoization often does not protect children; instead, it hurts them.

[Hat Tip: KK.]

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Israel, Mikva Abuse

Censorship In The JBlogisphere

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz writes about his website, which he recently reconfigured to function as a blog:

…After giving it some thought, I decided not remove any of the negative comments. (For the record, I removed the posts that mentioned people’s names or names of institutions with regard to the abuse issue.) Why? Because I felt that once I decided to open my website to unedited comments, I felt that the honorable thing to do was to leave the negative ones on the site as well as the complimentary ones. Additionally, I felt that once I chose to solicit funds using the site, it was fair, if not unpleasant, for people to question my motives.

In the greater scheme of things, the flow of comments posted to my columns – positive and negative – in the past month has been eye opening for me, and I feel that my response ought to be to read them all carefully.

Let’s face it. Blogging is here to stay and people will respond to my columns in one way or another. On my website or on someone else’s. If anything, the exponential advances in technology will only add to this phenomenon of instant polling and interactive discussions in ways we cannot even imagine at this time.

I think that I am best off following the sage advice of Dovid Hamelech (Kind David), who, sadly, knew a thing or two about discord and adversity. “Be’komim alay me’reim tish’mana aznei (Tehilim 92:8)– When my adversaries rise against me, my ears should hear [their words].” There is a Chassidic interpretation that Dovid prayed to Hashem that he maintain the moral strength to carefully listen to the rebuke of the people who were criticizing him, rather than ignore their words as those of ‘enemies.’ I ought not get defensive or reactionary, but rather reflect on the criticism of those who took the time to post the comments – and hopefully grow from reviewing them.…

In other words, Rabbi Horowitz removed any specific reference to individuals, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, say, and institutions, like Torah Temmimah and Agudah, but left in any attacks on himself. This is far more open than other haredi sites, which for the most part heavily filter all comments. It’s a step in the right direction – a step other haredim are unlikely to follow.

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Filed under Blogs, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Mikva Abuse, Modern Orthodoxy

Lakewood Internet Ban Spreads To Brooklyn

Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum writes in the Jewish Press:

More than 120 rabbis, dayanim, heads of yeshivos and principals of girls schools in Boro Park and Flatbush, met on Sunday, Asarah B’Teves, December 31, to implement a takanah to counteract the sakanah (danger) of the Internet. The meeting was called for by Rabbi Yosef Rosenbloom, Rosh Yeshiva, Shaarei Yosher; Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, Karlsburger Rav; Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, Novominsker Rebbe; and Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, Mashgiach, Yeshiva Torah Vodaath.

         The attendees were advised of the steps the observant communities of Lakewood, Monsey, and Skver (Spring Valley) have successfully taken to stem the influence of the Internet. Rabbi Moshe Greenfeld, chairman of the Monsey effort, described the unity of Monsey’s Torah institutions in their campaign.…
   
         The Karlsburger Rav reviewed the 60-page directives that were distributed to the meeting’s participants. The Rav elaborated on several of the key steps that are being taken and must be strengthened.

         The Novominsker Rebbe recalled that American Jewish history was replete with battles to protect Shabbos, kashrus, Taharas HaMishpachah, all of which are proudly adhered to in observant Jewish America today. However, the Rebbe stressed, the threat of the Internet is greater than all the previous perils combined.

        Rabbi Moshe Green, Rosh Yeshiva in Monsey, described the Internet as destroying the religious character of those who trespass there. Rabbi Nochum Gotlieb, menahel, Yeshiva Bais HaTorah in Lakewood, described the necessity of always being on guard. Any child, he reported, can purchase an Internet access device for a mere few dollars and connect any computer to the Internet within seconds. Lakewood, as a yeshivish community, has achieved the greatest success to date, in the battle against the Internet.…

The Internet breaks the rabbis stranglehold over information. It allows the weak and powerless to fight back against rabbinic oppression. It levels the playing field. And rabbis can’t win if the game is played fairly.

Meanwhile, the point man for haredim in dealing with "at risk" kids has this to say about what the real threat is:

…In my opinion, the number one risk factor – by far – for children abandoning Yiddishkeit is abuse and neglect. This is not to say that the majority of kids who are off the derech were abused. But of all the complex and varied educational, social and familial factors that present risk to our children, the most damaging by far, in my opinion, is abuse. The very real threat posed by external influences, such as TV, Internet, ‘bad friends’ are all firecrackers compared to the “atom bomb” of sexual abuse.…

The grand pooba of Agudath Israel, the Novominsker Rebbe, is busy attacking blogs and banning the Internet, while ignoring the issue of rabbis and rebbes who sexually abuse children. If there ever was a morally bankrupt organization, it is Agudath Israel of America.

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Filed under Blogs, Crime, Haredim, Mikva Abuse

What To Do With Today’s Gedolim? Let The Talmud Tell Us

Are rabbis like trees? If so, when is it appropriate to ‘chop one down’ or cut a rabbi down to size? Steven I. Weiss has a talmudic quote from Ta’anit 7a that explains, in the name of Rabbi Yochanan:

…This is to create a parallel with the situation of a great scholar (”talmid chacham“). If it’s appropriate, you eat from it and do not cut it down, and if not, destroy it and cut it down.

I would think much of today’s Orthodox leadership, especially the haredi leadership, should be ‘kindling’ by now.

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Filed under Crime, Divre Torah, Haredim, Mikva Abuse

Dov Hikind and Child Sexual Abuse

Dov Hikind – elected official, former close Kahane follower and the address for much of Brooklyn’s Jewish politics – devoted his radio show last night to child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. The show can be downloaded from JewishSurvivors or here (part 1, part 2).

I just downloaded this and have not listened yet. I am told, however, that Hikind does not tell people to go to the police. This is remarkable because Hikind is an elected official with the responsibility to uphold the law.

[Hat Tip: Dr. R-F.]

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Filed under Crime, Haredim, Mikva Abuse