Sent: 5/17/2009 4:16:10 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: [RavAviner] Reporting Child Abuse [1 Attachment]
[Attachment(s) from Mordechai
Friedfertig included below]
Prepared by Rabbi Mordechai Friedfertig Visit our blog: www.ravaviner.com
Reporting Child Abuse
["Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah" – Behar-Bechukotai 5769 – translated by R. Blumberg]
We unfortunately see a phenomenon of unbridled parental child-beating, and there are also cases of parents or other relatives raping boys or girls. This heinous phenomenon exists in the same percentages amongst the religious as amongst the secular. In fact, it is actually higher amongst the religious and Chareidi [“UltraOrthodox”], but it gets reported only when matters get too far out of hand, or it comes to light by itself, and by then many more cases crop up.
And why don’t people report it? “It constitutes forbidden gossip… It might destroy the lives of the abuser… it’s unsavory to report it… it will bring calamity on the abuser and his family…” Obviously, all this is wrong. This is the sort of report that one can and must make. After all, the child is small, and who will protect him? It’s one thing if abuse happens outside of a family. One can hope that perhaps the family will stop it and protect the child, but if it occurs within the family, the child has no one to save him. Therefore, whoever knows about it has to report it. Obviously, first one has to talk with the parents, or with the teacher if he is the abuser. If they stop and go for treatment, all the better. If not, however, one is required to report to the welfare department or the police. Some among the Chareidim argue that one is forbidden to report abuse in accordance with the Jewish law that one is forbidden to be a “mosser”, i.e., a person who “betrays a Jew to the non-Jewish courts”, which, by analogy, they apply to the courts of the State of Israel. Yet that is wrong as well, because the child’s life is at stake. The author of the book “Nishmat Avraham”, Rabbi Dr. A. Avraham, relates that he asked the illustrious rabbis of our generation, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg and Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv about this, and all of them said that it is a mitzvah to report the abuse, and the person who does so is no “mosser.” Quite the contrary, the parents or family members or the teacher who commits the abuse, whether physical or sexual, is to be categorized as a “rodef,” an attacker, and one who reports a “rodef” is not to be classed as a “moser." Those same rabbis rule that even if, as a result, the child will be removed from his family and placed into a secular institution or adopted by secular parents, or – in cases abroad – even if he is placed in an institution of non-Jews – this is a matter of life and death. We must certainly strive to have the child not undergo such placement, but even if there is a chance it will happen, as noted, this is a matter of life and death (Nishmat Adam, Vol. 4, page 207).
Therefore, whoever knows, has to report it. Sometimes the counselors in a youth organization notice the child’s tension and distress, and they must report to the next echelon in the organization. Sometimes they can tell that something has happened to the child. He is sad. He doesn’t function. He’s woeful and introverted. These are worrisome signs. Or the opposite, suddenly the child becomes violent and acts this way to other children. Often, the victim, himself, becomes the attacker. In short, such things have to be reported – and right away!
One time I asked people in the know: How can a religious, G-d-fearing person, a person who learns Torah, behave this way? They yelled at me: “Don’t be naïve! Do you think that an abnormal person who learns Torah is going to become normal? No! He must go for treatment!” They’re certainly right. For example, we see that Rambam did not make due with writing many books about faith and halachah, but saw the importance in writing a book called “Shemoneh Perakim” about improving one’s character. It may well be that a normal person who learns Torah will naturally improve his character that way. But if someone is in bad shape, it won’t suffice. He will need special treatment. In our case, he will need psychological treatment in order to take hold of himself. Have pity on the child!
In summary, if you see abuse, you’ve got to save the child and report it, and immediately! G-d have mercy!
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Vicki Polin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, May 19, 2009 at 12:41 AM
Subject: [jewishadvocates] Agudah Head Rabbi Criticizes Bloggers, Activists, Victims
To: * TheAwarenessCenter- Yahoo <TheAwarenessCenter@yahoogroups.com>
Agudah Head Rabbi Criticizes Bloggers, Activists, Victims
Failed Messiah Blogger - May 18, 2009
Also see: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Kolko_Yehuda.html
Yet, many years ago when asked to intercede to stop Rabbi Yehuda Kolko's child molestation, the Novominsker Rebbe allegedly declined saying, "It's a Flatbush matter." Perlow, who lives in nearby Borough Park, did not call police.
Novominsker Rebbe Addresses Agudath Israel’s 87th Anniversary Dinner
“We live in changing times,” Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe and Rosh Agudas Yisroel observed, but “the truth is that times always change. “The challenges and pitfalls of one generation are not those of another.” And with that introduction, the Rebbe chose the occasion of Agudas Yisroel’s 87th anniversary dinner last night to address two painful social issues facing the observant Jewish world at present.First, however, he reminded his listeners that what makes Agudas Yisroel special is that “it seeks the truth of Torah” and discerns it in the understanding of Gedolei Torah. That determination to divine what is proper for Klal Yisroel “resists even well-meaning daas baalei batim,” Rabbi Perlow proclaimed, and certainly “the bloggers and the picketers, presumptuous promoters” of the notion that “they know better what is good for the Jews.”
“A serious issue” has arisen in our community, the Rebbe went on. “Individuals have been hurt and deserve redress, acknowledgment and empathy.” There is a need, the Rosh Agudas Yisroel continued, “for tikkun ha’ovar” - correcting the past - and for addressing the future, “creating means to guide against wrongdoing to children.”
Not many people, Rabbi Perlow noted, know of the countless hours spent by the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel and the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva of Torah Umesorah over the past two years discussing the many complex facets, including the implications “for mosdos haTorah.”
“No one really knows the sensitivity that went into this entire process,” over the course of many meetings regarding “this painful parsha.”
He called his listeners to carefully read and comprehend the joint statement that was issued several weeks ago by Agudas Yisroel and Torah Umesorah, reflecting the conclusion of the rabbonim at their helms. “It was carefully drafted,” he averred, “and is not to be misread or treated cavalierly.”
That statement made clear that the signatory organizations fully acknowledge the horror of abuse, “the devastating long-term scars it all too often creates,” and the fact that “for too long many victims have suffered alone.” It declared that Agudas Yisroel and Torah Umesorah would have “no objection to legislation designed to give victims of abuse greater recourse against perpetrators. Nor would we object to extending statutes of limitations for criminal proceedings against perpetrators.” But it objected to legislation that, due to its proposed year-long total suspension of the statute of limitations for civil suits against institutions, could, with the proliferation of lawsuits that might come in its wake, “destroy schools, houses of worship that sponsor youth programs, summer camps and other institutions that are the very lifeblood of our community.”
contemporary issue addressed by the Rebbe at the Agudah dinner involved an issue
born of the constant balancing a Torah-faithful community has to undertake when
living in a larger culture with very different ideals, some of them even
“repugnant to our sacred values.”
“We live in a malchus shel chesed,” Rabbi Perlow asserted, “and we appreciate all that it has done for us.” At the same time, though, he continued, “we must proclaim Sheim Shomayim loud and clear,” and must declare “our opposition and strong protest” against efforts to “change the meaning of marriage” - the agenda of legislation currently before the New York State legislature.
The Rosh Agudas Yisroel then turned his listeners’ attention to the terrible loss the Torah world had suffered mere months earlier upon the petira of Reb Elya Svei, zt”l, the Philadelphia Rosh HaYeshiva and long-time elder member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. The challenge facing the Torah world today, he said, “is now greater,” as Rabbi Svei had so deeply invested himself in, and felt achrayus for, inyonei tzibbur.
The need now, he continued, is for further investment of the olam haTorah’s kochos into work on behalf of the klal, and an invigorated sense of achrayus on the part of all who carry the banner of Torah for undertaking efforts on behalf of the tzibbur. Reb Elya, zt”l, the Rebbe noted, undertook his responsibilities at the Agudah “as a link” to the great Lakewood Rosh HaYeshiva Rav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, and “a bridge” to a “pristine” past. “Tzaddik ovad, lidoro ovad.” - “The loss of a righteous man is his generation’s loss.”
The Agudas Yisroel dinner began with remarks by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel - his first at an Agudah dinner in his position as the organization’s executive vice president. Rabbi Zwiebel took note of the constant growth of Agudas Yisroel as a force for kiddush Hashem nationwide, referencing not only the group’s Washington Office but regional offices in states across the country. He then focused on New York City, where Agudas Yisroel is headquartered, pointing out how the personal histories of the parents or grandparents of so many in the room - himself included - are bound up with the city. And how New York has today become home to over 240 elementary and secondary Jewish schools, servicing more than 88,000 children, “kein yirbu.”
Agudas Yisroel has had, and likely always will have, “disagreements, even
serious ones,” with local governmental officials, “on balance, we’ve been able
to work with leaders” of city government to benefit both the Jewish community
and New York itself. With that, Rabbi Zwiebel introduced Michael Bloomberg,
mayor of New York and the evening’s guest speaker, pointing out how helpful to
the Orthodox Jewish community Mr. Bloomberg has been, on issues like the
protection of bris milah, aid to private schools and security for religious and
Mayor Bloomberg began his remarks by imagining his elderly mother’s reaction when he calls her to tell her that he sat on a dais with members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah that evening. “Wow!” was his guess. He imagined that his late grandfather, a rabbi, would have been similarly impressed at the venue at which he was speaking.
With Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu set to meet with President Barack Obama the next day, Mayor Bloomberg recalled the President’s comment during the presidential campaign that “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”
“I hope,” said Mr. Bloomberg, “that the President’s remark will be in his mind tomorrow.”
The New York Mayor
went on to speak about the state of the city, and how, despite the “tough times”
it is undergoing, “I find it hard not to be optimistic.” He recounted the drop
in the crime rate and contrasted the Crown Heights of two decades ago with what
he called “a safe neighborhood” today. He also proclaimed accomplishments and
determination in the realm of affordable housing - an issue of great interest to
the observant Jewish community - and economic opportunity plans.
Acknowledging that some of the Orthodox community’s needs “are unique” and may not always fit into the existing structure of governmental responsibilities, “if there is any way we can help, we will.”
Honorees at the dinner included: Rabbi Avrohom Halpern, who received the Rabbi Moshe Sherer Memorial Award, for lifelong devotion to Klal Yisroel; The Jewish Observer, which was honored as the recipient of the Hagaon Rav Aharon Kotler Memorial Award, for distinguished service to Torah; Irwin Mehl, z”l, whose family accepted the Reb Elimelech Tress Memorial Award in tribute to Mr. Mehl’s role in preserving the legacy of the Shearis HaPleitah; and Binyomin Berger, who received the Moreinu Yaakov Rosenheim Memorial Award, for distinguished service to Agudath Israel.
Avodas Hakodesh awardees were Ronald Coleman, Yankie Klein, Yosef Rapaport and Dovid Winiarz. Rabbi Raymond Haber was the recipient of the Wolf Friedman Leadership Award. Shimon Lefkowitz serves as dinner chairman, and Meir Lichtenstein as co-chairman.
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Forwarded message ----------
From: Vicki Polin <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, May 18, 2009 at 8:53 AM
Subject: [jewishadvocates] Asher says "Please read this. Including Menken as a spokesperson for Orthodox Judaism in Baltimore is a new event in how low a community can sink."
To: * TheAwarenessCenter- Yahoo <TheAwarenessCenter@yahoogroups.com>
Who Cares About Sexual Abuse in Baltimore?
On Sunday, May 18, 2009 in the Baltimore Community, there was a rally to protest the idea of the Owings Mills JCC being open on Saturdays (the Jewish Sabbath). Though the notion of the rally was a good, what I personally find disappointing is that the orthodox community appears to care more about a JCC being open on shabbat then they do about protecting their own children being molested.
If you look below at the photograph from the Baltimore Sun, it shows an orthodox child standing, with sea of men in black hats in the background. Those who organized this rally are the same individuals who refuse to do anything about the sexual predators living within the Eruv (Jewish community). In the orthodox world they believe there needs to be a seperation of man and women for reasons of modesty (to help control the sexual urges of men). The problem is that it does not deter a sexual predator from committing sex crimes against children or adults. One such alleged sexual predator is known to have been at the really yesterday. He goes by the name of Rabbi Yaakov Menken, and is the director of an online kiruv organization (Jewish Outreach) called Project Genesis. He also operates the web page, Torah.org. It is on record that he was there because Rabbi Yaakov Menken was quoted in the following Batlimore Sun article.
There have been several complaints made over the years that Rabbi Yaakov Menken (AKA: Ken Menken) allegedly uses his own grooming process to lure young woman into performing sexual favors. Rabbi Menken's modus operandi has been to become a father figure to vulnerable young women, replacing himself with their real family and friends, taking them into his confidence, having them spill their sexual secrets and questions only to him. There was also one case in which he attempted to convince a woman that she was molested as a child by one of her family members, even though the woman had no memory of such abuse. Yaakov Menken has no training as a psychotherapist. His education is in the computer industry.
You can learn more about Rabbi Yaakov Menken at: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/menken_yaakov.html