Jun 8, 2009

Local Sexual Abuse headlines in the JPost

The Jpost has picked up the story of local sexual abuse in [haredi] schools. I don't think the problem is specific to RBS, but in RBS we have concerned parents and an organization who have made this a priority and have kept the fight against sexual predators a priority.

Sadly, Zehava, a recent immigrant from the US, has proof of such abuse and is one of a growing number parents from Ramat Beit Shemesh becoming increasingly frustrated with their leaders' continual denial of the problem.

"Families of the victims are made to feel stupid," she says, adding that they are very often ostracized for speaking out about the problem on any level. "But I will not keep quiet; I want to do all I can to make sure that this does not happen to another child," she insists.

"I still feel guilty that I did not pay attention and continued to send my child to [kindergarten] every day," continues Zehava, describing how her child stopped talking, would not sleep at night and was often inconsolable after being continually abused by the teacher.

Only after two years of medical checks and, eventually, speech therapy did the whole story come out. Zehava took her child to the Jerusalem Center for Child Abuse, where her suspicions were confirmed.

"I know this has happened in other schools, too, because I have since met several parents who tell similar stories about their children," says Zehava, who met with other haredi parents earlier this week under the auspices of the Beit Shemesh-based community organization Lema'an Achai to brainstorm ways to tackle the issue.

"We are a lightning rod for all sorts of problems in the community here," says David Morris, founder and chairman of Lema'an Achai, which provides among its services support and guidance for haredi parents who believe their children might have been sexually abused.

Last summer, the organization set up the "Safe-Kids" hot line in conjunction with the Beit Shemesh social welfare services to provide a lifeline to local families whose children have been abused. While the service has not been inundated with calls, Morris says there have been between five and 10 concrete reports of sexual abuse in the community - and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

"If only one in 10 children actually reports what has happened to them, and then only one in 10 parents goes on to officially report what has happened to their child, and the police or social welfare services only get around to investigating one in 10 complaints, that means there are many more cases out there that we don't get to hear about," he says.

According to Morris, the problem is concentrated in local independent schools - facilities partially funded by the Education Ministry but not supervised by it - which have failed to be supportive of parents who claim that their child has been a victim. In most of the schools, a rabbinic authority has the final say, and in many cases ends up believing the perpetrators' story over the victims', he says.


  1. Soon to be blogged on UOJ - and rightfully so.

    Short of lynching them, parents should demand the removal of any Rabbanim and school officials who assisted in ignoring or covering up such abuses.

    Ve'Yafeh Sha'ah Achat Kodem.

  2. Charedi with a concienceJune 03, 2009 11:43 AM

    Nebach on our community! I feel terrible for these kids and their families. I feel worse for the kids who won't be able to get help because their parents are afraid of "making waves".

    My Rav told me that it is because of issues like this that he won't support Lema'an Achai.

    For me it is b'davka because they have the courage of their convictions that I will support them. Unfortunatley I don't have much to give them but I think that everyone who can should support them to make up for those who won't.

    Someone has to stand up for these innocent souls!

  3. While I echo the thoughts of the 2 earlier comments, I was left unsatisfied with the complete lack of information in the JPost article. This is fairly typical of their local news coverage, in that it is long on observations and meaningless quotes and short on information. What is happening and where; who is dealing with it and how?

  4. עולם הפוךJune 03, 2009 11:54 AM

    "Charedi with a concience said..."

    so maybe it is time to find a new rav? I don't even undersatnd the comment - because they help kids who are being abused he can't support them?
    עולם הפוך ראיתי עליונים למטה ותחתונים למעלה

  5. If you're a real person, CwaC, I must say you have a very interesting definition of "My Rav".

    Either you agree with him, or you don't. Pick a side... and stick to it.

    BTW, if you're financially limited, you should be aware that LA can often use volunteers for quite a lot... there are ways to give other than just $$$...

  6. I should have said former rav. I have since chosen a new shul to daven in and a new Rav to ask shailos of.

  7. Concerned parentJune 03, 2009 12:25 PM

    This whole thing is very frightening. We should be able to send our kids to schools without having to worry about this kind of thing.

    I'd like more info. Does anybody know which schools in RBS have been PROVEN to have had abusive teachers and the school hasn't properly dealt with it? I am not interested in rumors. I don't want to start lashon hara thread, but if we could be warned not to send our kids at certain schools, or at least to specific teachers, I think that's allowed.

  8. Please Protect the Children!June 03, 2009 12:50 PM

    Concerned parent:

    I know for a fact that Toras Eliyahu has a rebbe who has been proven to be a molester. While I can't say that he did anything while in Toras Eliyau they did knowingly take him from another school where he had molested.

    They refuse to deal with him or cooperate in this matter. They choose instead to vilify the victims.

  9. bravo to David Morris and Lemaan Achai for taking a stand.

    Maybe its time we start taking an active stance against any Rav or organization that perpetuates this.

    We shouldn't support there Hashgochot, their shuls and specifically ask anybody collecting where their organization stands on this issue.

  10. If the relevant "rabbis" (who are certainly not "religious leaders" in the Judaism I know) are not firing the abusers, and -- as the J. Post wrote -- the police and court system are slow to deal with them, then who is going to protect the children in these schools in the interim???
    (Ya'asher co'ach to L'ma'an Achai for taking a stand and doing whatever it can!)
    Why are the names of the (alleged) abusers and the institutions they work in not widely published/printed on pashkivilim etc. so that parents can protect their children and change schools immediately if the administration won't act?!
    And the sooner the better...

  11. I don't think that we realize what Lema'an Achai is sacrificing by invloving themselves in this issue.

    The same rabbonim that stand behind the perps will now come out even stronger against Lema'an Achai
    in favor of the Kupa.

    In these tough times the last thing that Lema'an Achai needs is to be further hit financially in our community.

    Kol hakavod to them. It is on us to support them in any way possible so that they can continue in their avodat hakodesh in our city.

  12. I don't care what these 'rabbonim' do regarding Lemaan Achai, bc they are not MY rabbonim and they don't represent ME. I prefer to logically associate with an organization like Lemaan Achai who actually have a moral and ethical center.

  13. Kol HaKavod to HaRav Chaim Solveichik-the only rabbinic leader in RBS who I've heard publicly taking the bull by the horns and condemning child abuse and the in action of other leaders.

    HaRav Chaim Soloveichik deserves to be the mara d'asra of our community in light of his courage and principles!

  14. faigie rosensteinJune 03, 2009 1:38 PM

    When children are abused, it is terrible.
    However, there are cases where young children report things and these reports are not reliable - meaning we can't be certain if they are accurate or not.
    In this case, a child allegedly was molested at age three. But this was not reported until the child was five, after therapy. A three-to-five year old reporting on current events is not very reliable, and can be influenced by leading questions and parents' planting false memories.(Kelly Michaels case, anyone?) How much more so a child who is five, has various issues (speech therapy was mentioned) and is asked to name an abuser and comes up with a name of a teacher from two years before.
    I know this teacher, and she can be tough on kids who are the type to refuse to clean up toys. One of my kids said he didn't like her, and we have zero suspicion of abuse. This teacher was alone with another of my kids many times, and that would have been a great chance for abuse - we do not suspect anything, our kid seems fine and never reported anything.
    This teacher has taught for years and nobody ever complained. This teacher does not fit the profile of an abuser, making this very unlikely from a statistical perspective. Imagine if every teacher, therapist or psychologist's career could be destroyed when a parent says that a child reported that two years before, he or she was abused, though there is no evidence to prove it.
    And we should not lump together every form of abuse. A teacher raping children or inserting objects into their bodies or fondling constantly IS different from a one time event of inappropriate touching. Nobody even knows what the teacher supposedly even DID.
    Maybe this story is true. But there is a good chance in this particular case, that it is not. Meanwhile, a teacher's life is being destroyed.
    Everyone needs to try to supervise their kids, report suspected abuse, and go after abusers - but we also have to be rational and careful and not make witchhunts on the basis of information which can unfortunately not be proven either way, and is too weak to stand up in court. There is abuse in our community, and there are also false reports of abuse.
    May all our children stay safe.

  15. Yasher koach to David Morris and Lemaan Achai, an organization that stands as a beacon in RBS.

    I now have determined to give much more of my tzeddakah to Lemaan Achai-may they continue to set an example for all of us.

  16. Witch Hunt? I Think Not.June 03, 2009 1:55 PM


    Nice angle HOWEVER there is another case in the police/welfare department from less than a year ago. A diiferent class. A different student.

    Same teacher.

  17. Faigie -- you are completely correct about the importance of correctly evaluating the accuracy of a child's testimony, years after the fact.

    However, the rest of your comments shows not only bias, but ignorance.

    Quote, "This teacher does not fit the profile of an abuser, making this very unlikely from a statistical perspective." What profile would that be? Not all molesters wear trench coats and whisper to kids from the shadows enticing messages about showing them cute little puppies. [for the record, I have no idea who is being discussed here, and I have no idea if he or she does in fact do this...].

    Furthermore, you comment about comparing "a one time event of inappropriate touching" to rape shows that you've obviously never dealt with anyone of this type. Baruch Hashem! That said, if you are familiar at all with these issues, you'd know that (a) there's no such thing as one time (ever!) and (b) tell that to a child who's been abused. Or perhaps you wouldn't mind so much if you were assaulted on a (non-mehadrin, of course) bus one day by someone who deliberately chose to stand way too close, and more, or maybe in a dark alley one night, so long as you were allowed to remain dressed... I mean, after all, it's just touching. It only happened once.

    Oh, and going for speech therapy does not mean a child "has issues." If you want to impinge the character of the family and the child involved (to justify your claim that "there is a good chance in this particular case, that [the allegation] is not [true]."), you'll need to come up with some better accusations.

  18. Parents, please be aware that this could potentially be more of a problem in summer camps than in school. Do your research. Talk to your kids.

  19. HaRav Chaim, HaRav Chaim Solo, HaRav Chaim Soloveichik-the most popular song in Ramat Beit Shemesh!

  20. Aseh lecha Rav-this is an important principle which we must follow. However, we have the power to choose who we want our Rav to be. After having invested thought into this I realize that my Rav is taking an unreasonable stance on the issue of child-abuse. And thus I am exercising my Torah-given right to choose a new Rav.

    My choice is HaRav Chaim Soloveichik who has done so much to stand up for true Torah values!

  21. The problem is this: The law requires no less than 5 (!!) official complaints against a teacher to proceed with criminal action, but in the current climate of intimidation and ostracism, is it any wonder parents are reluctant to turn to the authorities and report? In addition, testimony of children of this age (3, 4, 5) is not relied upon for criminal prosecution. So, although in this particular case MORE THAN ONE tik has been opened with the police and child welfare department against this teacher (a matter which can easily be verified through a phone call to the child welfare dept.) which means that the children first went through taped interviews at mercaz hagana in J-m, then a prelim investigation was done by the police which determined that "yesh raglayim ladavar" and only then were the files opened, no criminal action can proceed. People hear this and say, "Well, if this truly happened, surely they would have prosecuted the teacher. The fact that they haven't initiated criminal proceedings means that it's all empty lies." This is simply untrue.

    Parents, educate yourselves not only about child sexual abuse but about the system and procedures involved when, ch"v something does happen. At the very least, it will help you evaluate any information you hear. You will know what it means when someone has been accused of sexual abuse (the definition is very specific) or when a tik has been opened with the police and child welfare (they have met complex criteria and followed guidelines far, far beyond simply walking into the police department off the street and accusing with no evidence). This is serious. Very serious.

  22. I know that in the beginning there was Abraham and Issac and Jacob... there were 12 tribes...

    But I don't know the end....

  23. It is great to hear all of these praises of Lema'an Achai and Rabbi Soloveichik but when push comes to shove what will you all do?

    When the knock comes on the door each month from another organziation are you going to say sorry I can only give you a few shekel this month becuase Lema'an Achai needs my help and many people won't support them?

    Will you now go to Rabbi Soleveichik with your shailos as it is obvious that he is not only a talmid chochum but fears no one but HaShem?

    Will you do everything in your power to ensure that these voices of reason will not be Chas v'shalom squashed by the mafia in our city?

    Please make certain that your words here are not just empty expressions but rather true commitments to protect our children and save our community.

    (And Rafi..I think that this story although somewhat related to the gambling one should stay on top for a while)

  24. I second that. Put this post at the top.
    Shlomo, I don't think that it is fair to R. Soloveichik to suggest that everyone ask him their shailos.

  25. Further to what 5-star mom wrote: Even were all the obstacles listed in the way of obtaining a conviction were met, a defendant can't be convicted of any crime (including abuse) unless the crime is proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" -- a very high standard and way beyond the "more likely to be true than not true" (preponderance of evidence) standard used in civil cases. As a result, it is extremely difficult to get a conviction in cases like this -- and therefore the prosecution often won't even bother to bring charges in the first place.
    In the meanwhile, numerous children are being exposed to people who could ruin their lives. I don't know about you, but I think the standard for dismissing a teacher has to be much lower than that for convicting him/her of a crime! Would you want your children to have a teacher who appears to be an abuser "only" by the preponderence of evidence??
    Also, is it not incredibly suspicious that in all these cases -- as well as those decades old that are only now coming out in NY -- the adminstration always sides with the teacher? Something is very wrong and, as I wrote earlier, parents should know what schools and teachers are involved so that they can make eductaed choices for their children.

  26. faigie rosensteinJune 03, 2009 3:56 PM

    Dear Friends,
    As far as I know, in the case I spoke of, this particular teacher has ONE complaint filed against her (by the five year old saying it happened 3 years ago). I did not say there was anything wrong with that family (Mikeage, can you read? I said the child has some issues - speech therapy was reported, and that leads anyone not hysterical to conclude that this child is likely to have trouble with communication in some form - and I said in general, it is POSSIBLE for teachers/parents/therapists to plant ideas, ask leading questions, etc.) Yes, there was a second complaint filed - by a parent who - guess what? -knew about complaint #1. this mother took an innocent comment (again, a comment!!!! by a 3 year old, there was no evidence of abuse - and became very concerned. I heard complaint #2 was retracted.
    About the profile: Speaking of likelihood, you never can tell who will abuse children. Yes, it can be the man with the long white beard, we know. BUT we also know that certain people are MORE likely to be abusers. To put it bluntly, prisons are not full of men because women are just smarter about getting caught. Most violent crimes are committed by men, most cases of child abuse are committed by men, and most sex abuse is...you guess it...committed by men. So a married woman with small children of her own that she can abuse if she wants to is a very unlikely person to be abusing children. OF COURSE it can happen, but it is unlikely. Anyone who disagrees with that fact is just plain silly.
    Next, how could any thinking person disagree with the fact that there are differences depending on what sort of abuse a teacher is accused of? There are some forms of abuse that ARE worse than others. (Again, can any normal person disagree with this? This is the kind of hysteria and crazy thinking that drives the witch hunts I spoke about. No form of abuse is acceptable, but there's a difference between a teacher who has violently raped a child and a teacher who has patted a child's behind. One kind of abuse leads to physical and emotional trauma, and the other kind is less likely to lead to emotional scarring. And Mikeage, guess what? I HAVE been groped when my clothes were on (on a subway, airplane, etc.) and while I did not like it, and do remember it, and yes, I much prefer that to being raped, thanks. Don't say stupid things when people are trying to have a serious discussion.
    We need to try to solve this problem of abuse in our community, but we don't want to create a new problem in our community - namely - where any teacher can be destroyed because a parent says a child said that a few years ago the teacher touched them inappropriately....
    If in this case, there are multiple complaints, as someone said, then there is a pattern of abuse, and then the teacher (likely profile or not) needs to be investigated/prosecuted/removed. I am not aware of multiple complaints.
    Again, let's please try to keep calm. I trust that L'Maan Achai will try to work on this in a reasoned fashion, and we need to discuss it in a calm way too, b'davka because this is such a terrible issue and of course the thought of our kids being hurt makes us crazed.

  27. Faigie,

    Call the revacha and you will find that there are multiple complaints against this teacher (from 2 different years of students).

    What do you mean in saying that " I trust that Lema'an Achai will try to work on this in a reasoned fashion"? First of all Lema'an Achai does everything in a reasoned fashion. They have halachik guidance and are staffed/volunteered by professionals.

    Lema'an Achai has simply created a hotline for parents to call and find the right avenues to pursue their concerns. They also seem to want to just raise awareness.

    What could possibly be unreasoned with that?

  28. Faige,

    Just pick up the phone, call the welfare department and have it confirmed! 2 confirmed cases reported. Again, that does NOT mean 2 people off the street making any wild old accusation that floats their boat. It means having subjected their children to a highly trained interrogation ON CAMERA, cooperating with a preliminary police investigation, and now having to deal with comments such as yours and others like you.

    You seem to think that this issue is black and white; either you believe it's true or you believe it's false. I suggest the middle path, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that WE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THE RELEVANT INFORMATION, NOR SHOULD WE!! However, since the nature of the allegations is so serious and can potentially carry severe lifelong ramifications for THE CHILDREN, it is not only prudent but OBLIGATORY to take the necessary steps to protect them just in case it is true. It is not our job to judge either way. Do not believe it but do not deny the possibiliby that it can be true and leave children unprotected.

    BTW, had the school handled this properly to start with, namely by QUIETLY cooperating with an investigation to determine if indeed there is any substance to the allegations instead of stonewalling, becoming hostile and threatening the class parents this could have been conducted QUIETLY without needlessly "ruining" anyone's life. It is actually the mishandling of these situations that causes all the damage.

  29. The Catholic church spent many decades protecting the pedophiles

    in their clergy and and causing untold damage to numerous children.

    The price for this is now being paid in many ways.

    Instead of learning from their mistakes the haredi community is

    emulating their cover-up tactics. They have put the potential perpetrators

    before the safety of the children. In the case in RBS they have taken
    it one step further and put him back into local system in a local school.
    At least the priests in question were moved to other area to hide their
    crimes. Not right but a lot smarter.
    Since child molestation is a crime anyone involved with protecting
    the molesters should be held legally responsible. Maybe some of the leaders involved
    in protecting them would think twice if they had a price to pay.
    A Rav many years ago told me don't blame the rav who allows his
    congregation to put him on a pedestal but the congregation that put him
    there. You go to a Rav to get advise not for him to do your thinking
    for you. A smart individual listens to educated teachers and then makes
    his own decision, he does not follow blindly.
    The most valuable asset any people can have is their children and
    those who harm them and those who do not protect them must pay the

  30. http://www.jsafe.org/

    This site has some interesting resources about abuse in the jewish institutions along with policy and halachic considerations.

  31. Faigie RosensteinJune 03, 2009 5:08 PM

    Dear Confounded -
    I said "I trust L'Maan Achai will try to work on this in a reasoned fashion." They are a good organization staffed by professionals, so I am certain they will do things in a legal, calm, helpful way. Why are you asking what I meant by that and jumping to write defensive statements about L'Maan Achai? You seem to have some issue here...even when someone writes something perfectly reasonable that nobody would think is controversial, you jump on them!!! Again, we need to have a calm, reasoned discussion.
    To 5starmom,
    I agree with you completely! We DO NOT have all the facts. So let's try to do the proper, legal thing, and keep our kids safe, but try to discuss it calmly and handle things well. As I said over and over again (but again, hysterics can't seem to listen to others): some "reports" of abuse MAY BE false. (And anyone who disagrees with that sentence is not sane.) That being fact, we need to be careful - careful for our children, and careful for our teachers (and I am a teacher!!!)
    If in the case I was discussing, there is more evidence (and we CERTAINLY should investigate), then appropriate steps must be taken. But there's NO SENSE in getting crazy about things, and we should be careful when we are dealing with very young children, who are, by definition, unreliable reporters. (Want to hear what my three year old told me yesterday? She was insisting she went to London. She never did. I am SURE of this. Children might also say something vague and false about a teacher, but parents take it the wrong way. The Kelly Michaels case began when a little boy who was having his temp taken rectally said to a doctor, "My teacher does this to me at school." With no other evidence of abuse, the parent concluded that her child had been molested - hey, why would the kid lie? Well, maybe he didn't lie- maybe he meant she takes his temperature orally. The next thing you know, 16 other kids accused the poor young woman of abuse - which 3 other teachers at school never witnessed....and on and on. This woman went to prison - was convicted of 100 counts of crimes - and was INNOCENT.
    So please, people, just let's keep calm in our actions and discussions, and realize that it is possible that a report of abuse may be false. Why is anything I am saying something to disagree with?
    Any readers astounded at how reasonable statements like mine can be taken so hysterically? It is attitudes like these that fuel the witchhunts (like the Michaels case) I mentioned.

  32. Faigie,

    sorry, you're assum ing and generalizing too much. Here in chicago, I had a Rebbe in yeshiva who spent extra time with myself and another bochur. he never once did anything inappropriate to me, but as we later found out was molesting other boiys and in fact was finally publicly caught years later at a frum elementary school.

    Appearances mean nothing. personality means nothing.
    ANYONE can be a molester and you are sinmply being too apologetic. Speech therapy does not mean they have a "problem" communicating necessarily. It also could mean they simply mispronounce certain letters! Please, spare us your version of Dan l'kaf zechus and be a bit more protective of the children. The term is "chosid shoteh" and enabler for what you are doing.

  33. Faigie,

    I think you should go back and read your original post.

    You sight only one case against this teacher and try to soften it by saying that the child has issues.

    You also say that "Maybe this story is true. But there is a good chance in this particular case, that it is not. "

    Why is there a good chance? Just because you feel there is one?

    I think that you should re-read your three posts and what you are trying to say.

  34. Faigie,

    when it comes to abuse nowadays, we as a community have covered up so much under the assumption that a small percentage may be innocent, we have "killed" many more children . The rambam says in hilchos teshuva that to find the middle ground, one must go to the opposite edge and then a happy medium will be attained. here too. it is time to sacrifice the JOBS, not lives, of the few innocents, in order to get out the rodfim. A stink doesn't have to be made. the school should automatically "suspend" the suspect untill a resolution is determined. No one has to know why theres a suspension either. but it's time we stop using the innocents to protect the guilty.

    ps, my wife is a teacher as well. there are certainley many ways for a teacher to protect oneself from suspicion. never be alone in a closed room with a student. keep your hands off the students. etc... not perfect, but helpful. certainley enough to maintain a chezkas kashrus for yourself.

  35. Kosher or Yosher?June 03, 2009 6:12 PM

    I would like to "toss around" a thought to the rabbonim and people who live and breathe by their every word.

    Let's say you heard that pizza store "x" or coffee shop "y" had questionable products, etc.

    Would you continue to eat there? Would you be concerned for the loss of owner's parnassa becuase of the accusations?

    Those of you who are honest will say "no, I wouldn't eat there no matter what about parnassa".

    Then why all of a sudden is it ok to subject innocent holy neshamos to possible danger????? And why is it suddenly a problem that the rebbee/teacher/morah may have to change jobs.

    You'd take the chance for defaming a coffee shop to protect yourself from questionable pasta or cheese.

    Give your children at least the same courtesy.

  36. windows in all classrooms etc.
    No being alone with students
    ask your school if they have these rules. If not what are they doing to protect your child.
    Are they willing to make changes?

  37. Yes, all those who can see how principled HaRav Chaim Soloveichik is should now be asking him their shaylos. There is no need to "have mercy" on Rav Soloveichik-he is perfectly capable of answering numerous questions and if need be money can be raised for there to assistant rabbis to him as well.

    Btw, nobody should be or is claiming that HaRav Soloveichik is mashiach.

  38. Bamakom Shain IshJune 03, 2009 6:31 PM

    Rav Chaim is a great man and my Rav.
    He is corageous, a tzaddik and knows how to learn to boot.

    Isn't it a shame however that we have to laud him for being the exception when it comes to standing up for what's right?

  39. After making Aliyah in the summer,my daughter's Gannenet came to us with a problem. She was not responding to being hugged. We explained that in chul a teacher would not dare touch a kid in anyway for fear of being sued/charged. The Gannenet was shocked because kids need to be loved and shown affection.

    A teacher should not have their career (and life) railroaded on a false accusation. On the other hand cases of real abuse need to be carefully investigated and those who are abusing children need to face the justice system.

    It seems the people in the know on these cases are qualified to identify that there is a real problem.

    I like the fact that the teachers here are more open with kids. If action is taken now in cases of abuse, then the school system will not need to shift to be like North America where teachers are afraid to help students out of fear of a false accustion.

  40. HaRav Chaim Soloveichik is a shining light!

    May HaRav Soloveichik and Mosdot HaRav Aharon Soloveichik continue to act courageously on behalf of the community.

  41. Wow.. with all these people championing R' Soloveitchik, the only refrain missing is someone pointing a shiur from HaRav David Bar-Hayyim available at machonshilo.org (that's machonshilo.org).


  42. You can be sure that were Rav David Bar-Hayim to be a local RBS rabbi that he would be quite vocal in his opposition to the conspiracy of silence regarding the child predators in our community.

  43. Bet Shemesh LawyerJune 03, 2009 8:35 PM

    "The law requires no less than 5 (!!) official complaints against a teacher to proceed with criminal action, but in the current climate of intimidation and ostracism, is it any wonder parents are reluctant to turn to the authorities and report? In addition, testimony of children of this age (3, 4, 5) is not relied upon for criminal prosecution."

    False. False. False. I am a lawyer and can state unequivocally that the above quotation does not reflect Israeli law.

  44. faigie rosensteinJune 03, 2009 9:23 PM

    Thanks Bet Shemesh lawyer for providing another example of proving people are just letting out their emotions without having facts.
    As I keep saying, we don't always have the facts in every case, so we should be careful in our discussions.
    I note with sadness all the people critical of my factual statements. I have not yet said ANYTHING about what is legal in Israel, what steps schools should take, etc. For the comment that asked me what my point is and attacked me for trying to point out that in a given case, there might not be enough evidence against a teacher, I'll explain one more time and then I give up.

    My point is that while the community needs to take steps to prevent abuse (through educating teachers, parents, and children; changing the culture of schools - i.e. NO adult staff being in a closed room with a child ever, and yes, a little less hugging has to happen; going after molesters as much as the law permits, etc. etc.) BUT there may be cases where the claim of abuse is flimsy, and in those cases, we need to be careful. And use our brains. If five 7 year old boys complain against a rebbe, that is different than the case I mentioned. If a 5 year old - after much therapy, and I bet anyone anything that this child was not just having a little articulation therapy, thank you, Shaya g - reports that two years before "Something" (anyone know what?) happened - we have to be a little skeptical, IF that is the only evidence. (Again, for the people who can't seem to follow, I said many times, if there's more on this story, then I would view it differently. But I spoke to the principal, who told me that was the sum of it. The principal called Misrad HaChinuch, but if you guys know better than the principal, good for you!) I feel very strongly that we have to get these sickos out of the schools, trust me! But we also have to be careful, and in a preschool classroom with a few teachers, and a no-teacher-in-the -bathroom and no-teacher-alone-with-kids policy, it seems to me parents shouldn't be so worried about one questionable report that "Something" happened to the point that they stop sending their kids to school, which is what is going on. To not send your kid to school when there are three teachers there, two of whom know what #3 was accused of and #3 herself who knows she's being investigated and is never left alone with the kids, seems a bit illogical, and can not reflect real risk. YES, I am aware that anything is possible, but in some situations, something is so unlikely that it would make more sense for parents to stop allowing their child to ride in a car if they fear for their child's safety.
    I give up now.

  45. The Kelly Michaels case that was brought up happened in the eighties when people did not know much about how to conduct investigations. This is NOT an issue today. I know what the teacher did to this child. It came from the child without anyone putting ideas into her head. I know the principal is downplaying what she knows. This is from an article about Kelly Michals case: "With a frighteningly focused zealotry, these investigators inundated the three- and four-year-olds with graphic sexual material, including details of anal and oral penetration.

    Using anatomical dolls, complete with adult genitalia, these "institutional abuse investigators" would invite these very young children to undress and name the "private parts" of the dolls. After graphic sexual material was introduced into the discussion, the children were handed various eating utensils, including knives, forks, and wooden spoons, and, using the dolls, told to "tell us where Kelly might have hurt you or your friends." Transcripts of the interviews reveal that children were routinely chastised for "no" responses with such threats as "I'm going to have to tell your friends [or in some cases Mommy] that you aren't going to help us."

  46. Trying not to be paranoidJune 03, 2009 10:18 PM

    My husband has always insisted on a policy of never driving any of my daughter's friends home unless someone else comes along in the car. He says that's the only way to protect himself from a false accusation of abuse. Once accused, it's pretty much impossible to clear your name. I always thought he was being completely paranoid, but after hearing the details of this case from parents in the gan, I have concluded that he is 100% right. The two cases on file that everyone keeps mentioning, are the one brought by a five year old two years after the alleged abuse, and the recent one which the mother has since retracted. BTW, she coincidentally only made this accusation after having personally heard about the first case from the other mother. Yes of course the first priority must be to protect children. But we do have to stop and wonder- what if Faigie's theory is right and the teacher is innocent? Isn't it at all scary to think of your name being publicly dragged through the mud based on nothing? In this particular case, I believe that it is a false allegation and my heart goes out to the ganenet.
    5starmom- You are way off base in saying that "had the school handled this properly to start with, namely by QUIETLY cooperating with an investigation to determine if indeed there is any substance to the allegations instead of stonewalling, becoming hostile and threatening the class parents..." I don't know where you're getting your info from. In fact, the school called a meeting and told all the mothers about the accusation. They also removed the teacher from the class for several weeks, although mothers were calling the principal to express their feeling that this was an unfair and hysterical response. If anything, the school was too harsh on the teacher and not the other way around! Legally, she should have remained in the classroom with someone observing her, and in fact it looks like the teacher will probably sue the school for jumping to assume her guilt.

  47. Beit Shemesh Lawyer,

    The legal info I provided comes directly from a child sex abuse professional who works for the city and knows the relevant laws and procedures from the inside, as she deals with them every day. In addition, it has been confirmed with the revacha.


    Your arguments put our child victims into quite a catch-22. On the one hand, you maintain that there are differing degrees of abuse which cause different degrees of suffering--"issues", if you will. Yet on the other, you point to a child's "issues" as an indication of questionable reliability. So according to you, if the victim suffers no issues, then no real abuse took place. But if he/she does, well then now they've got issues so we can't rely on their story!

    I'm also not sure where you're getting your education from but I have been told by 2 individual child sex abuse professionals with more than 40 years' experience between them that although male perpetrators are more common, female perps are by no means a rarity. They have both said that there is no sex abuser profile, nor for that matter is there a victim profile, and it is just as likely to be a strong, confident kid as a weak, vulnerable kid. Faige, please please educate yourself with accurate information.

  48. 5Starmom,
    You really think you can just make up your facts, huh? And we'll all be stupid enough to buy it. You say you don't know where Faigie got her "education from but I have been told by 2 individual child sex abuse professionals with more than 40 years' experience between them that although male perpetrators are more common, female perps are by no means a rarity." Well, the U.S. department of justice compiled statistics - go to http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats2.htm#Offenders
    and according to them, 97% of convicted sex offenders are MEN. So Faigie saying it is rare that offenders are women is a tiny bit more accurate than your made-up information from "two sex abuse professionals" who you quote as big experts. Most thinking people would think 3 out of 100 is rare. Not as rare as one in a million, but still, pretty rare. It is pretty rich that you lecture her to educate herself with accurate information! Also, where did you get that she said that if people don't suffer issues, no real abuse took place? You might want to read her post again, maybe you didn't understand it.
    Faigie - I see why you gave up, but please post again, we need rational thinking on these issues.

  49. Nobody is really ignorant enough to think sex abuse is committed by women as often as men, are they?

  50. 5starmom is just trying to say that you never can tell who will be an offender, who will be a victim, or if you know for sure what happened.
    Maybe if she expressed it in a pleasant way pple would realize that

  51. Let's be rationalJune 03, 2009 11:03 PM

    No offense, but two people's report does not make a statistic. Just because your supposed experts haven't figure out the profile of an abuser doesn't mean that "there is no sex abuser profile." That's why governmental agencies were created- to track things that your expert friends can't track on their own.

    A five minute google search will confirm what Faigie said. It's a documented fact that women account for somewhere between 1-4% of sexual offenders and of those cases, 96% involve abuse of family members, AND the overwhelming majority of female inflicted abuse victims are MALE. So yes, it is a FACT that for a woman to sexually abuse a non-relative female child, (leaving aside the fact that it supposedly took place in a classroom setting, when many other children including another teacher were present at the time) would most certainly classify as an extreme rarity.
    I'm not naive and I know that doesn't mean it's impossible for it to happen, but it's not helpful, and frankly it's simply silly to try to convince all of us, that it's relatively common for that type of abuse to happen.
    Is it possible that it happened? Yes. Is it likely? Obviously not.

  52. 5starmom:
    One more question: do you agree or disagree with Faigie's statements? She said:
    1.it is POSSIBLE for teachers/parents/therapists to plant ideas, ask leading questions, etc.) and "some "reports" of abuse MAY BE false."

  53. saddened by the storyJune 03, 2009 11:18 PM

    I got Faigie's point -- but what's 5Starmom's point? To tell us that she thinks the story is true because sex offenders are often women? Is she trying to say she ALWAYS believes EVERY reported abuse? Does she think three year olds can always tell over what happened (not to mention telling it over two years later?)
    I think discussing this is a waste. We need to talk about what to do to prevent, stop, and jail abusers!

  54. For the record, I think abusers are scum and should be punished severely, BUT in this case I feel that a woman's reputation was ruined due to the hysteria surrounding this issue. Most people's attitude seems to be a shrug, that's life- in order to protect all the real victims a few innocent people get accused- big deal. Assuming she's innocent, I think that's really the wrong attitude, particularly when we're talking about a frum woman. I don't know that there's a solution to this, but I can't imagine the horror of seeing this in a newspaper and knowing it's not true. I know we have to protect children first and foremost, but does that mean that when it comes to this kind of accusation, there is no halachic obligation to be dan l'kaf zchus at all? Is it muttar for women to talk to one another about it even in cases where it's clearly not being reported on a need-to know-only basis? Would we be so sure that an absolute acceptance of the abuse accusation is always correct, even if it was our wife or daughter being accused?

  55. Rav Chaim, Rav Chaim Solo, Rav Chaim Soloveichik-the latest hit song in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

  56. Somehow it seems that some on this list have detoured to non-central issues. The bottom line-are we, and our leadership doing enough to stop the predators?

    Furthermore, are we naiively going to assume an alleged predator's innocence when police investigations reveal that a suspect is likely to have done the crime,especially when there is moer than one complainant?

  57. when did dan l'kaf zechus become a mitzva di'oraysa? In avos, it's a ethical and moral advice on how to live life better, but not a tzivui from Hashem! In a case where there is an accusation of abuse, we can be dan l'kaf zechus until the facts are known. But that doesn't mean the accused gets to maintain access to the situation. they should be temporarily removed from the situation while it's investigated.

    if someone is accused of robbery, would you leave them alone in your house unmonitored before the trial? why not - they're not guilty yet acc to your reasoning.

  58. Who says that "the police investigations reveal that (she) is likely to have done the crime?" The word on the street is that the second mother has rescinded her accusation and that's why the ganenet has been allowed back into the classroom. I heard that she even offered to take a lie detector test or anything she could to prove her innocence. Supposedly she's suing the school- it doesn't prove anything but it does sound like she has nothing to hide and wants desperately to clear her name. Let's at least not assume that she's guilty. At the least we should suspend judgement. I agree we should focus on the issue of dealing with predators, but it's naive to think that because someone is accused that means they're guilty.

  59. Let's be rationalJune 04, 2009 12:04 AM

    Shaya G-
    She's not being left alone with the kids. She's always with someone else in the gan. She's not "left alone un-monitored." (Nor was she ever alone in the gan with the particular child she's being accused of abusing, which is what makes this story so unbelievable to me.) It's one thing not to be overly concerned with being dan lkaf zchus, but how can you be so cavalier about ruining someone's life?

  60. It's obvious from the article that the author was not talking about a one time case. She used one example to show what is going on in the community. Abuse has been going on in RBS for a long time. The schools and the Rabbonim (except for a few) have been protecting the perpetrators. This needs to stop!

    People are writing in comments that the teacher's family is going through hell. Why don't you think for a moment what the child and his/her family goes through every day of their lives. I personally know a family who was affected by a sick demented molester. Their lives have been shattered. Did they ask for this? Did they not do what we all do - send our children off to school with a kiss and "have a good day," thinking that the child is learning, growing and becoming closer to Hashem and what is going on in these schools - Rabbeim, teachers, Morah's (yes Morah's - studies show it's not frequent but it does happen) are taking our children, our little neshamos that we daven for on a daily basis and they go and violate the children against their will! Where are our senses. Children do not make up stories and licensed psychologists do not write reports unless they believe the story from a professional point of view.

    Schools – you need to wake up! Start dealing with this issue! How many ganim or classes are held in private apartments here in the Ramah. Who makes sure that the children are safe in these apartments? How many Rabbeim have access to the school building after hours where children are asked to stay behind to "help" the rebbe?

    Rabbonim - If we would come to you and tell you that we have reason to believe that a certain store is serving non-kosher food - you would grab your frocks and run. You would not be so concerned about the shopkeepers' parnassah. You would all proudly proclaim "we have to close the store down, it is pikuach nefesh!"
    But when parents come to you and tell you the horrifying tales that their child has been abused, suddenly all sorts of excuses (parnassah, lashon Harah, motzi shem ra,) come pouring out. But this problem too is Pikuach nefesh. Even more so than the treif restaurant. How many generations will be affected by the molesters. It sometimes takes children years and years to finally express what has happened to them. Sometimes they are threatened, ashamed, confused, scared, told that they will not be believed etc.....

    One final word - To all you sick molesters out there - Get the hell off our kids, Get the hell out of the classrooms and get the hell out of our community. (Might as well do all this hell now, because that's where you are going - so get used to it).
    We the community will hunt you down. We don't care about your parnassah. We care about our kids.

    RBS let's get together and make Hashem proud!

  61. I am not cavalier about ruining someones life. i justy hold the childs life more valuable than that persons parnassah. as I said earlier, If my yeshiva would have dealt honestly about the rebbe, more children would have been saved. People were more concerned with the rebbes parnassah than with the kids and it turns out the children were right.

    a temp suspension and reinstatment if proven false is better than finding out it's true and having more access to the kids.

    treat with teacher with the same gloves you look for kashrus. if it even shmecks of a problem, you wouldn't eat it. lshitascha, what about the parnassah of the shopkeeper and the manufacturer? obviously, untill it's your kid, it's easy to say dan lkaf zechus, but thats really disingenuous.

  62. Food For ThoughtJune 04, 2009 12:19 AM

    what about when the main gannenet(the one responsible for the safety and welfare of the children) took the children out to the park and some children were forcibly held back by the accused.

    Do you think that the case would have made it to the Attorney General's office if there was no basis to it.

    How does the Revacha have another case on file from another child who was in the Gan last year?

    This gannenet was inviting children to her house, since when are children invited to the gannenets house on a weekly basis for sleepovers? (Explain that one)

    She'll do anything to clear her name, you say. You say she will take a lie detector test - so let her. Why should we send our daughters to gan when we have even the slightest doubt, and don't give me this baloney about this parent who retracted. I know the parent. She didn't retract anything.

    Rumor has it that the only reason she is back in the classroom is because her family is very well connected and has been pressuring the school big time.

    Our daugters are so precious to us, why would we risk their lives even if its a doubt?

  63. Food for thought-
    #1-In order for the attorney general to be dealing with the case, there would have had to have been an arrest and/or an indictment. There has been neither, so that clearly is not true.
    #2- The other accusation has been discussed in previous comments. In short, a child who was in the gan when she was three, accused the ganenet of abuse two years later. If you really know the mother in the current case, ask her- she heard all about the previous allegation from the first mother shortly before bringing her own charges.
    #3- Are you trying to claim that you personally know of a parent who allowed her three year old to sleep over every week at the ganenet's house? Since my daughter is in the gan, I know most of the mothers but not every single one, so I can't prove that you're lying, but it strikes me as extremely odd to think that anyone sent a three year old for a weekly sleepover at the ganenet's house unless there was some kind of a problem in the home. What normal mother would do such a thing? It seems to me that it's much more bizarre for a mother to send a child on such visits, than for the teacher to have allegedly invited a child over.
    #4- Do you expect her to self-administer a lie detector test? The point is that the police, whom you claim have forwarded this case to the AG, have not deemed it necessary to give her one and therefore she hasn't had one.
    #5- I'm sorry to hear that the parent hasn't retracted her accusation. I guess to many of us mothers in the gan it seemed obvious that she would, and that's probably how the rumor started.
    #6- Your final statement is indicative of the climate of hysteria surrounding this story. I resent your saying that the majority of us mothers who feel comfortable sending our daughters to gan are "risking their lives."

  64. Kosher or Yosher:

    This is off topic but when I hear rumors about a kosher establishment, my first assumption is that the rumor was either started by an unscrupulous rival or is Rabbinic politics. When there is really something to it, there is usually a serious community announcement not a rumor.

    Of course no such considerations apply in the case of molestation.

  65. Yes, Mike.S. The main witch-hunter in this case is a woman whose child has just been disciplined severly by the school after verbally and psychologically abusing girls in her class for several years. Until now, a model mother, she is now spear-heading a campaign against the school and this teacher. Revenge? Or deflection? At a meeting two days ago, individuals completely separate from this school were invited to submit names for investigation. There was quite a long list. RBS is about to turn into the Salem witch trials. Oy.

  66. Sometimes, when there are signs that abuse has taken place, although the MOST likely offender is a family member, parents are desperate to find a scapegoat- even if it means accusing a ganenet who taught the child two years ago.

  67. Confused parent in RBSJune 04, 2009 9:01 AM

    I am a parent with a child in Toras Eliyahu. Although my child does not have this rebbe I had considered taking him out. My Rav said that I should not (it could affect my son to be moved mid-year)unless I know for sure that something happened.

    Someone told me that case against the rebbe there (which happened in a different school) has been closed. I was relieved that this was unfounded until I investigated further.

    It was the Attorney General who closed the case because there are 4and not 5 complaints and because they are from children it is difficult to prosecute.

    The police think that something did happen to these children but can not arrest without prosecution.

    If they and the AG felt that nothing had happened there would not have been a case to close.

    Once again I am apprehensive so I spoke to my Rav. This time he told me that if I feel uncomfortable with the school then I should remove my son but try to wait until after chofesh.

    I'm now looking for alternatives.

  68. Wow... now that's a much better ad hominem than just "has issues".

    "[...] a woman whose child has just been disciplined severly by the school after verbally and psychologically abusing girls in her class for several years. Until now, a model mother ... Revenge? Or deflection?"

    And it's even anonymous! Perfect!

  69. Confused Parent, take the child out now.

    And get a new Rav, preferably one with common sense.

  70. I don't know much about this case, which is why i have stayed out of the conversation, but many of you are making very broad statements.

    "take out your kid", "find a new rav", etc.

    It is not always so easy to do. how do you find a new school so quickly? it might be difficult to get the kid in. who says a satisfactory school (as per each parents requirements) can be found so quickly. who says the school will accept them. and what do you do until then - keep the kid home? what if nobody is home by day to supervise the kid? parents work.

    Sure, the kids safety is most important, but if parents feel the claim is likely to not be true, why should they go through the bothe rof all that? And don't "pooh, pooh" it. it is not easy to find new schools for your kids so quickly. And you say just move the kid to another school, but maybe a family has 3 or 4 kids in the school, making it even more difficult to move kids.

    These things are not that easy and can take a lot of time to work out. Some parents might feel that the type of claim does not justify all that. Especially if they are happy with the school in general.

  71. Just to set the record straight. The symptoms of sexual abuse started showing up during the year that the child was in Gan. This was a regular fully healthy happy child and all of a sudden mid-year very strange symptoms started showing up. Maybe you should contact Tipat Chalav and ask if they are aware of this case. They were actually questioned regarding certain sypmtoms that the mother was seeing on her child during the gan year. The concerned mother started researching during that year to get to the bottom of what was going on It took a year and a helf of research and many professionals until the child actually expressed herself and she stated outright many times and with extreme detail all that was done to her by this teacher. Yes the teacher was named in the psycological report, many times. No this was not implanted in the child's head. All the talking came from the child herself in a two hour discussion with two witnesses.
    Maybe the school should actually read the psycological report.

    No the child never slept at the teacher's house. But isn't it strange that this child was invited so many times to sleep over. The teacher herself directly invited the child by asking the mother herself. And of course this mother said no.

    The sexual abuse that took place was in the Gan itself. And no it was not just a hug or kiss like some people would like to believe.
    We are talking about serious crimes.

    Take a look at where the Gan is located. How many times has the gan been to the Park with just the main gannenet! Yes children were not given a choice and were forced to stay back with the Sayat.

    If you want to know if the case made it to the Attorney General's office - why not call them in Yerushalayim to find out the truth.

    As was told to this parent by the head of the Revacha - It will take more children getting sexually abused to finally stop this woman. How sad.

    The Revacha is aware of the other case. Maybe you should contact them.

    The truth will eventually come out. It might take a little bit of time but these people who do these things have serious problems. They do not stop at one or two children.

    Hashem will make sure that justice is done eventually.

  72. I'm reading the blog here in Brooklyn,so from a distance I would like to comment, if I may:Faigie Rosenstein seems to be making a lot of sense.It would be very unusual for a frum female teacher to molest young children.Of course it could happen,BUT, and this is a big but, is basing oneself on a 5 year old telling you what happened when she was three REASONABLE??
    I mean we all have kids and know that this is pushing the envelope quite a bit, to say the least.
    Going back to the statistics about females as abusers quoted earlier:Someone correctly pointed out that even in the pretty low numbers (like 3% of abuse)it was a female abusing a male.I'm going to guess without knowing, that those cases were the kind of abuse that involved a high school female teacher who had abused a male high school student.Although, technically this is abuse it's a very far cry from pedophilia.I would go out on a limb and say that real pedophilia against children under age ten by female abuser is much less common than the 3% figure.Actually I'd be surprised if any of the posters recalls such a case.
    So people, obviously be protective of your kids but I think you are starting to see molestation behind every tree and its a gross exaggeration

  73. No we are not seeing molestation behind every tree. This really happened. Predators are very well planned out people. They choose to work around children. A Gan atmoshpere with 3 year olds is a great location. I'm sure this teacher is in shock that this child actually spoke out. She was probably thinking - which three year old would speak up especially after she was told that her mommy will be very angry at her if she tells her anything. Most three year old's would be silent, except for a very intelligent child which this child happens to be. And no she did not keep it inside of her Thank God. Just think of all the other children that are keeping it inside. Will they one day want to commit suicide because of this deep secret inside of them. They are not going to get help if noone is aware of the problem. This child is very lucky that she has the support to get through this and she will be a successful healthy adult which I cannot say for all the other children who might have suffered in this gan.

  74. With all due respect, we seem to be confusing two separate, albeit related issues: (1) whether or not the particular Gannenet who is alleged to have abused a child or perhaps more, is in fact guilty as charged; and (2) the overall problem discussed in the article, wherein David Morris of Le'Ma'an Achai reports that there are between 5 and 10 concrete reports of sexual abuse in the community (the assumption being for each reported case, there are many that go unreported) and wherein various rabbis and principals are refusing to deal with the situation and the alleged accusers in any way -- other than, in many cases, ostracizing the complaining family.
    Whether or not the female Gannenet accussee is guilty in no way affects our need to do something serious about the overall problem ASAP.

  75. If the Charedi Rabbonim and schools refuse to believe that this happens, than how are we supposed to get the community together to deal with this issue? Aren't people supposed to listen to their leaders? If the leaders are not facing reality than what is there to do?

    Maybe we need to look around the world and see how this is being accomplished. Maybe someone should contact Dov Hikind in New York to ask him for some ideas of how he is fighting this issue in New York.

  76. I agree with Tamar.
    For arguments sake let's say that the case discussed here was a false accusation.
    Still, that should not take away credibility or seriousness from other cases.

    As important as it is to use the police and justice system, unfortunately it seems that it just isn't enough. They aren't doing their job. If it is true that they won't pursue a case without 5 victims accusing, that is terrible.

    What we need most is prevention, and when that fails at least an efficient way of gathering evidence and stopping it early.
    Prevention includes talking to children, windows in classrooms, not allowing teachers to be alone with students, obviously background checks on teachers prior to hiring.
    teacher and parent education to spot warning signs, child education to know what is ok and that it is ok to say no to an adult and that nobody can tell them to keep a secret from their parents.
    I think the schools need to be transparent about what they are doing for prevention and education on this topic. If they don't know how there are experts that can be consulted.
    In any case of an accusation a professional licensed therapist MUST be consulted "mima nafshach" if it is a false accusation then obviously the child needs help, if it is real the child needs help too, and the therapist should be able to recognize whether it seems to be a legitimate claim.

  77. Let's be rationalJune 04, 2009 11:50 AM

    I agree- let's leave aside this particular case. In general a principal/Rosh Yeshiva should be considered criminally liable if it can be proven that they knowingly shielded a staff member who had a history of abusing kids. That would go a long way to stopping a lot of this abuse.

  78. Why do we need to turn to those outside of our community for sage guidance when we have HaRav Chaim Soloveichik.

    We have someone to turn to, and better sooner than later.

  79. Accountability of molestors and those who help cover up for them might help.

    Raise your hand if you plan to approach your school and ask what they are doing for your children. Please, let us know what they say. Perhaps, we can name schools and write what each one's policy is.
    If they knew that parents cared they might be more careful about it.

  80. I have made this comment on previous discussions and I am still waiting for some one to explain it to me.

    If parents know that a school hired a teacher who is under investagation, how do parents send their children 6 days a week to an institution which obviously does not care for their children?

    Parents- this is what you know about, what about the other teachers, do you know who they are? Can you trust an adminstration who operates like this?

    It's easy to blame Rabbonim and anyone else you want- but at the end of the day- Hashem gave you these children and it's your responsiblity to watch over them. IF chas v' shalom something happens- you knew there was potential there.

    I am not just talking, I took my son out of his TT when his teacher physcially assualted another boy in the class. He stayed at home for a long time till we got him into another school. Schools were hestitant to accept us as we were known as parents who are involved in what goes on in the classroom.

    The only way abuse will stop is if the parents take control- an insist on a Vaad Horim who has influence on school policy. Schools should not be private bussiness, for the owners to make money, they should be runned as public institutions.

  81. Rafi G:

    You said: "...if parents feel the claim is likely to not be true..."

    For sure, we parents and citizens don't have enough information to decide that she is guilty, but neither do we have enough of a basis to determine that it is "likely to not be true" and she is not a danger. However, 2 psychologists, the police department and the child welfare department DO have all the relevant information and have determined that there is enough substance here to warrant persuing this as a criminal matter.

    Convicting someone in the court of public opinion and freaking out is decidedly extreme but deciding based on partial information and misinformation that these are empty accusations and carrying on as usual with no response at all is equally extreme.

    The moderate approach in any situation such as this would be not to believe the allegations to be true, BUT AT THE SAME TIME to take steps to protect the children from any risk, including not allowing the accused access to children, until such time as the process can be completed and her name cleared.

  82. 5starmom - I do not dispute that. I am just commenting on the statements that parents should be taking their kids out, and other such statements. Such things are not always so easy or even possible, especially if a prent might not believe it. And from the conflicting comments here in this post of people who claim to know the situation, I am willing to bet that a lot of parents dont know and are less inclined to believe it. A few might be bold enough to take out their kids form school and look to switch them, but in these situations, most will not.

  83. Mr. Chiam Soloveichik is no different then his Father Dr. JB. They should all be in charim. Has anyone asked what these children did to provoke the Adult. What about the childrens parents why did they rais these children in such a way that they flaunt themselvs in front of Rabonim like this. Maybe the mother walked around with bare feet or the father didnt ware a hat in the house at all times.

    True Da'as Torah

  84. lol@troll. perfectly done, spelling mistakes, poor grammar, just the right degree of offensiveness.

  85. Mikeage - dont forget the incorrect info, such as Rav Chaim's father being Rav JB..

  86. If you think youre petty insults are scarey for me just wait until the next pashkaval includes your names as well. We in the Toyrah world will crush you and all those who oppose the Way of the Gidolay Yisroel!!!!

    True Da'as Torah

  87. Ah, now you've proven you're a fake. The new pronunciation (chadash assur, I thought?) is Teireh.

  88. For all the people who think the child is accusing the teacher falsely, why not head to the Revacha in Beit Shemesh or send a school representative to find out the truth. Two different families who do not know each other have filed a complaint that their 3 yr. old daughters were molested by the same teacher. Just maybe there is real truth here.

  89. Rabbi Malinowitz challenges David Morris to a public debate about the existence of a "chareidi-Rabbinic " coverup of sexual abuse charges in RBSA.
    "David--come prepared with facts, figures, and numbers, to justify your baseless and careless charges.Shame on you!"

    The shul (Beis Tefilla) might no longer have enough seats to accomodate the crowds expected this shabbos at the drasha (starts usually about 10am), so get their early!

  90. How dare he! This Rav has chosen on many occassions NOT to get involved in local affairs when his Kehilla has needed him. He has made a choice NOT to live in this community. David Morris has workled tirelessly with the extraordinary team of Lemaan Achai volunteers to make this town a better place. Rav M. would not get involved when several Beis Tefilla boys were shoved around in the park when Rav Perlstein decided to impose separate seating at a Simchat Yechiel event. He did not address the issue when Rav Perlstein walked out at a Beis Tefilla Melave Malka the moment Rav Solovechik began to speak. Much of Rav M's politics is highly questionable for someone who puports to hold to a "haredi" mainstream view, but goes against the "haredi" establishment when it suits his politics. When this Rav has achieved the greatness or dedication that David Morris has, then he can challenge him.Rav M. has made a point of NOT being involved with the chinuch needs of his Kehilla, not bothering to establish a relationship with those heads of the schools where most of his shul sends their kids. What a shame that he turns a potentially great shul into a soapbox for his pet peeves.
    Shame on you!

  91. I find it very interesting that 'Rav' Malinowitz is sooo incensed over the audacity of Lemaan Achai to publicize this issue that he will publicly denounce them.

    Hmmm, where was he when the children were being abused? How come he didn't seem to show the same level of outrage to speak out about the abuse and the suffering of the victims in the first place?

    I guess innocent children don't seem to invoke the same response as getting called on your politics.

    Hmmm. makes you wonder.

  92. I dont know much about the specific incident referred to, and I don't know Rav Malinowitz's involvement, if any.

    That being said, from what I understand he is upset not at the publicity of helping the kids, but at the public statement that the rabbonim (others, in this case I think) are not concerned about the kids but only the [alleged] molesters.
    The rabbonim (others in this case, I think) took a different approach than the one advocated by DM and LA Safe Kids, but that does not mean they did not care about the kids, and publicly claiming so in the name of Lemaan Achai is what upsets Rabbi Malinowitz..

  93. Is it true that Rav Malinowitz has threatened David Morris, by saying the Rav will put a cherem on Lema'an Achai in his drosha this coming shabbos?

    "David - Apologize publicly for criticizing rabbis who enable abusers, or I will punish the poor."

    If this is chas vesholom true - that Rav Malinowitz is blackmailing David Morris, by threatening the poor of Ramat Bet Shemesh - then this is an outrage.

    And who can prededict the consequences of the inevitable machlokes which will split our community.

    Neither do I see that punishing the poor, will be helpful in protecting victims of child abuse.

    Lema'an Achai is the only community organization to take a stand on combatting the scourge of child abuse, by assisting victims and their families.

    David Morris and Rav Soloveichik are the ONLY people with the guts and integrity to speak out publicly on this issue.

    They deserve medals - from all of us - not a cherem by R.Malinowitz.

    I also fail to see how this threatened cherem will even promote Rav Malinowitz's and his colleagues' personal Kovod - which, is apparently our community's most pressing issue (according to R.Malinowitz).

  94. Dear Rabbi-

    1. Should I buy the pink toilet paper of the white one?
    2. Should I stop buying diet drinks -- they say the aspartame is bad
    3. Should I take my kids to the pool or the indoor park
    4. I know I shouldnt wirte my checks in red, but should I use blue or blakc ink
    5. My son's teacher is abusing him, cna you please tell him to stop?
    6. Would you mind if I report sexual abuse to the police?

    What do all the above have in common?


    ...keep the rabbis for ritual matters -- use your God given common sense for everything else

  95. Rafi,

    You said:
    "That being said, from what I understand he is upset not at the publicity of helping the kids, but at the public statement that the rabbonim (others, in this case I think) are not concerned about the kids but only the [alleged] molesters."

    If he is so upset why has he waited until now to speak? These allegations have been going on in our community (as well as the frum community at large) for decades.

    After little or no word from rabbonim David Morris makes a statement and all of a sudden it will be the hot topic.

    Perhaps if Rav Malinowitz would have spoken even once in the past there would not have been a JPost article.

    This seesm to be clearly a Rav malinowitz vs David Morris/LA thing.

    Rafi..I'm surprised at you!

  96. if there is a child potentially being abused we should do all we do can to prevent it. i am sure if you go to the park tonite and talk to the screwed up kids in the park that you will find a good percentage of them were abused...
    a rav has an obligation to his kehilla and his community not to other rabanonim and BS...David & LA & rav Meyers and SOloveichek are the only ones i knew who give a damn and doing stuf about it

  97. I completely agree with what Outrage wrote! This is exactly what the article is referring to - the Rabbis in this community are NOT interested in helping the victims!
    Here is the message Rabbi Malinowitz sent our community - Not only will we do nothing to help the victims - we will now take food out of the mouths of the poor. We are all working hard to pay these rabbonim - this is a community problem - Rabbis get involved and stop threatening the only organization that will stand up to this problem!!

  98. Sam,

    "Rabbis get involved and stop threatening the only organization that will stand up to this problem!!"

    Most of the Charedi rabbonim of this community give all of their support to Kupa, which is fine. However they must also know that the majority of Lema'an Achai's clients are Charedi!

    It's ok for them to tell thier kehilla to take Lema'an Achai's money but Chas V'shalom that you'd give to them?

    Every Charedi Rav looks for an excuse not to support Lema'an Achai...and some look harder than others.

  99. This is the shul that just hosted the ACHDUT event! There is going to be an outcry and a schism in the Anglo community. I am sure that every word that David Morris states publicly is checked our by his Rav ( Solovechik) so in issuing this challenge, Rav Malinowitz is now declaring this Rav's involvement and opinions null and void. What a busha! What does Rav Malinowitz suggest people do when the Beis Tefilla members become ostracized by their neighbors? Beis Tefilla is hardly recognized as Haredi since it issues its anti-haredi political statements ( and has openly supported Lemaan Achai).If this Rav's planetary sized ego needs to use Shabbat Kodesh to get involved in a smear campaign against one of the biggest tzaddikim in our neighborhood then I don't give him much of a chance of sticking around here. David didn't attack him personally and none of the other Rabbonim seem to care much ( or read the Jerusalem Post)

    Let David get on with his job and let this egoist slink back to Sanhedria.

  100. nobody here, including myself, knows what Rav Malinowitz is going to say. Anybody suggesting what he will say is making an assumption, and his comment should be viewed accordingly.
    Lehavdil it is like the lead up to the Obama Cairo speech. the press, and people, were full of wild assumptions about what he would say and how anti-Israel he would be. In the end, it was a very kumbaya woodstock type of speech in which he said just about nothing new, and the analysts can't even agree as to his intentions.
    Perhaps he has sinister motives that we will be privy to at a later date, perhaps not. But it was all assumptions, and they were all wrong.

    There will not be a debate, to the best of my knowledge. I fear where it is going, and hope people will not get hurt, but I always try to withhold assuming what someone else will do or say, and I do so now as well.
    If you are interested in hearing what Rav M has to say on the issue, come to BTYA for shacharis (or about 10am if you want to daven elsewhere) on shabbos.

  101. rafi...not a debate?

    Did you not post:

    Rabbi Malinowitz challenges David Morris to a public debate about the existence of a "chareidi-Rabbinic " coverup of sexual abuse charges in RBSA.
    "David--come prepared with facts, figures, and numbers, to justify your baseless and careless charges.Shame on you!"

    This sounds like debate to me.

  102. there will not be a debate, to the best of my knowledge. it was offered, but it will not happen.
    Personally, if DM would ask my advice, I would say I think it is a bad idea. There is nothing to be gained.
    As far as I know there will be no debate, but Rabbi Malinowitz will be speaking about the topic. What he will say, I dont know.

  103. I did not intend to comment, but after reading the numerous opinionated and subjective comments, I feel compelled to clarify a few points:

    1. I have been in close touch with Rav Malinowitz. He is personally offended by one point, and one point only - that David Morris personally accused him (albeit without mentioning his name) of protecting predators over children. There is nothing further from the truth.

    2. Rav Malinowitz has been personally involved in dozens of abuse cases this year, as have other charedi rabbonim in the community. They consult with social workers, PHDs, AND Lamaan Achai! The have worked with Mr. Morris on numerous cases. Just because they don't post articles or email lists does not mean they are not involved behind the scenes.

    3. We only hear of the incidents where parents make noise of dissatisfaction with the seeming lack of response by the rabbonim. Again, I know personally, that the rabbonim spend hours upon hours dealing with issues. Nobody hears of issues that are resolved! Dozens of them, unfortunately.

    4. Simple logic dictates, Chas V'Shalom, that honest, Gd fearing, Yorei Shomayim who have their communities best interest at heart care any less about the well-being of our children than Lemaan Achai. How foolish to even consider that LA has a monopoly on caring for our children!

    5. Rabbi Malinowitz has been a staunch, devout supporter of Lemaan Achai for years and years. He is by far the most verbally supportive charedi rav in the entire community. Just ask Rabbi Harry Greenspan, Beis tefilla's LA representative as to the support Beis Tefilla has given them. So to make empty claims that this has anything to do with politics or the Kuppah is completely baseless.

    6. There will be no debate, and the subject of the shabbos drasha in Beis Tefilla will not be controversial or inciting in nature.

    In conclusion - the response by Rav Malinowitz is based upon the feeling that his years of devotion and hours of work to deal with the community issues have been completely discounted. And worse, been blamed somehow for the abuse of children in our community. While Mr. Morris may or may not have intended this, it was taken this way by Rav Malinowitz and hs requested an apology or clarification.

  104. RBS Torah,

    If the Rabbonim have spent sooo many hours working on these cases why are there so many molesters still in classrooms with access to so many children. What are the Rabbonim actually doing. Spending hours and hours nullifying what psycologists have said and what the families have brought to them is not exactly called dealing and caring for the problem and yes Rabbi Malinowitz has denied outright that this problem occurs in this community, let alone deal with this problem. No, Rav Malinowitz has not come forward to help the families who have suffered, and he has told numerous families that have come to him that this doesn't happen. All of a sudden he knows that this went all over the world so he has no choice but to respond, finally. So instead of acting and getting the molesters away from children, he is taking his anger out on Lmaan Achai. Its time for the Rabbonim of this community to wake up and deal with the real issues at hand instead of just standing behind the pulpit giving a wonderful Shabbos Drahshah.

  105. RBS Torah - were you exaggerating when you said "dozens of abuse cases this year, as have other charedi rabbonim in the community."?

    I sure hope so. It is frightening to think there are so many cases going on in such a small community in such a small time frame (i.e. "this year"). and clearly we only hear of a small percentage of them.

    Please tell me that was an exaggeration.

  106. What exactly did David Morris say that Rabbi Malinowitz is taking as a personal accusation?

  107. Rafi G.

    Unfortunatelly this is not an exxageration. This problem has been going on in this community for a very long time, and the Rabbonim have covered it up. Now that Lmaan Achai was brave enough to publish the reality in J-Post, (and understandably so, being so sick and tired of dealing with suffering families with no Rabbinic backing) the Rabbonim are forced to deal with an issue they wish they could continue to ignore. In short, sorry to say Rafi and all of RBS, this is no exxageration. This problem is all over in more shools than you can imagine and it is our job as a community to stand up and finally take action.

  108. The "offending" sentences are apparently these:

    "According to Morris, the problem is concentrated in local independent schools - facilities partially funded by the Education Ministry but not supervised by it - which have failed to be supportive of parents who claim that their child has been a victim. In most of the schools, a rabbinic authority has the final say, and in many cases ends up believing the perpetrators' story over the victims', he says."

    I personally don't see this is attacking Rabbi Malinotiz.

    So why does Rav M think it's aimed at him?

    Did he ask Mr Morris if "most + many" = Every?? Or even Rav. Malinowitz specifically...

    Seems Rav Malinowitz is taking specific personal offense at a very generic & qualified statement.

    And isn't the REAL issue the child abuse ("dozens of cases"), not the honor of "some" rabbonim??

  109. I don't know anything about these abuse cases baruch Hashem, but I am very turned off by Rav Malinowitz on the basis of his sponsorship of the "mehadrin" mikva. The mikva on Dolev has the exact same standards as American mikvaos and almost all Israeli ones as well. Rav Spector asked many times to meet with R'Malinowitz in the past so they could work together but was refused. Why won't Rav M. explain publically what is wrong with the mikva? Why do we need such a divisive thing as a mikva with "two sides." As far as I'm concerned, a community that can't share a mikva can never hope to be b'achdus.

  110. David Morris has not mentioned Rav Malinowitz and anybody reading the J Post article would not have thought of implicating Rav Malinowitz.

    By making an issue of this Rav Malinowitz is making it seem that he really does have a guilty conscience for being willing in more than one case to assume that an alleged predator was innocent at the potential expense of little children.Thus, those who up until now had no reason to believe that Rav Malinowitz has conducted himself in such a fashion will come to believe that he really is at fault.

    We see then that it is not the J Post article which will lead people to believe that Rav Malinowitz is at fault but his own behavior.

    Rav Malinowitz will be hurting his own credibilty and causing people to suspect him of wrongdoing by speaking about the RBS child predator scandal this Shabbos morning.

  111. In Beis Tefillah there are quite a few Jews who have brains. When they discover that Rav Malinowitz does not exercise proper discretion in child abuse cases and also threatens a prestigious tzeddakah organization like LeMaan Achai in order to protect his name from being tarnished because of his improper conduct regarding the abuse of of children-what do you think they are going to do?

  112. you are all coming to conclusions based on assumptions of what you think he is going to say.

    Be patient, wait until Shabbos, hear what he has to say, and then comment. In the meantime I am suspending comments on this post. After shabbos I will either open it up or make a new post for discussion.

  113. I have re-opened this post for comments. As I said, anybody who assumed they knew what would be said was wrong.
    If I see the comments becoming disrespectful, I will close it down again.

  114. Nu! What did he say?

  115. blerI was quite appalled by Rav Malinowitz's drasha. It was an appeal to authority and did not address the issue of child abuse and the necessary rabbinic response. It amounted to saying that in the same way that you must trust rabbinic discretion when they reach conclusions concerning issues such as mehadrin chickens, expensive tefillin or mikvaot, you must trust rabbinic leaders concerning the child abuse issue.

    But, this constituted a complete evasion of the issues. The real issue is-what should a rabbi do when there is substantial evidence, such as in the form of solid professional assessments which indicate that an alleged child predator has indeed abused a child. Rav Soloveichik would say that one must conclude from such evidence that the teacher needs to be distanced from classrooms. Rav Malinowitz and others have taken the approach of not relying on such evidence since "it is not enough" to justify the harming of the teacher's parnassah.

    If Rav Malinowitz were truly willing to address issues then he would address the issue of how to deal with evidence regarding child abusers and not give drashot which basically are telling everyone to just trust him and others.

    Just maybe Rav Malinowitz and others have taken a mistaken approach on this issue-the fact of the matter is that another big talmid chacham in the neighborhood-HaRav Soloveichik does advocate a different approach on these matters.

    What is disrespectful about requesting that Rav Malinowitz discuss in a forthright manner his current approach? Perhaps by addressing this issue directly he will come to the conclusion that Rav Soloveichik is correct.

  116. there is nothing disrespectful in asking him to explain his approach. go call him or email him and ask him. If he feels you really want to know, he will explain it to you. I know he is planning on discussing it more in the coming drashas, but the purpose of this drasha was to dispel the negatives surrounding the article. I dont know if he will explain fully in coming weeks, but he will get into the issue and discuss active prevention

  117. Active prevention of course is absolutely necessary, but just as necessary is a rabbinic approach which does not distort halacha by opining that only when there is not the slightest doubt does one distance a teacher from the classroom. We are not talking about a beit din imposing a penalty-we are talking about rabbinic ghidance which demands that when a psychologist produces clear findings that one take them seriously.

  118. RBS Torah,

    You made some points that are quite disconcerning:

    "1. I have been in close touch with Rav Malinowitz. He is personally offended by one point, and one point only - that David Morris personally accused him (albeit without mentioning his name) of protecting predators over children. There is nothing further from the truth."

    David Morris never said or hinted to Rav Malinowitz in the article. If he feels personally guilty..sobeit.

    You said:
    "5. Rabbi Malinowitz has been a staunch, devout supporter of Lemaan Achai for years and years. He is by far the most verbally supportive charedi rav in the entire community. Just ask Rabbi Harry Greenspan, Beis tefilla's LA representative as to the support Beis Tefilla has given them. So to make empty claims that this has anything to do with politics or the Kuppah is completely baseless."

    I went over the other posts many times and saw no reference from anyone about Rav Malinowitz and the Kupa. The only reference I saw was that most Charedi rabbonim support Kupa (over Lema'an Achai) and this is true.

    You said:
    "In conclusion - the response by Rav Malinowitz is based upon the feeling that his years of devotion and hours of work to deal with the community issues have been completely discounted"

    Who discounted his, or other rabbonim's work on behalf of the community issues?

    What was said was that there exists a problem and his opinion there are cases that have not been dealt with by community leaders.

    To my knowledge Rav Malinowitz nor any other rav has publicly discussed this issue (until the article).

    So now he spoke about it. Why did it take this article for him to do so?

  119. I heard the drasha and would like Rav Malinowitz to clarify whom he considers Korach.

    Is he referring to David Morris?

    Should David take it personally and react with a drasha saying "sheker, sheker" because Rav Malinowitz's insiuation discounts years of David's amazing work on behalf of klal yisroel?

    At least David won't have to scrounge around to find evidence to the positive contributions that he has made to RBSA.

  120. Rabbi Malinowitz did not say David claimed Sheker things. He said the author of the article wrote and implied sheker. She took David's statements slightly out of context and created an impression that was sheker and that David did not intend. As well, the specific examples cited in the article are what Rabbi M specifically said are sheker based on his personal knowledge of being involved in specifically those 2 cases.
    he never said David said anything sheker.

  121. The famous "two examples" mentioned in the J Post article were not false. I utterly reject the claim that Rav Malinowitz made in his drasha that the rabbinic reaction to those two cases was appropriate. It was not-Rav Malinowitz would do well to consider that though he believes that the rabbinic actions were not faulty-others clearly disagree and therefore to make it seem that the J Post article lied about the rabbinic reactions is itself an unreasonable statement.

    I thought that the drasha smacked of extremism and an appeal to authority. There was no need to cast this as a battle between those who "murmur" against the rabbinic leadership and those who are loyal to the rabbis. Was this to imply that HaRav Soloveichik is not a rabbinic authority? Why was it necessary to cast the J Post article as full of lies when upstanding members of RBS and rabbinic authorities beleive that the article represents the truth?

    It is time for Rav Malinowitz to recognize that there is no monolithic halachic view in this neighborhood and if some choose to follow an approach in line with the Torah of Rav Soloveichik then this does not turn them into "murmurers."

  122. again, could someone please post a synopsis of what was said, for the benefit of those who didn't know about it

  123. he did not say everyone has to accept his way and not rav Soloveitchiks. As a matter of fact, from personal discussions with Rav malinowitz, I know he is personally fine with people who want to take their own approach or that of a different rav on pretty much any issue. But then don't come to him with tainos. And just like you have a different approach, recognize that he has his own approach. You don't like his approach, that is fine, but don't accuse him of what he is not doing. If you want to know his approach and currently do not understand it, speak to him to get clarification (he did not go into what his approach on this matter is)

  124. Rafi,
    Admittedly I only heard about R Malinowitz's speech second hand, but as David Morris claims that he followed the advice of his Rav throughout, so how is he questioning the Moshe Rabbeinu's of our era etc..

    Moreove I'm sorry to say so but the Charedi Rabonnim as a whole here have no credibility in Dati Leumi circles is RBS. There are numerous examples how the feeling is that thaey do not play fair.
    Lmaan Achai although apolitical is going to have a different attitude towards mesira, how to determine and define abuse than the Charedi Rabbinical leadership here, so a clash is inevitable.
    The combination of these two factors has created a clash, and R Malinowitz has clearly chosen a side.

  125. I hear Rav Malinowitz's drasha and it seemed to me that he was implying that those such as David Morris ware to be compared to murmerers. Perhaps Rav Malinowitz could clarify that this was not his intention?

  126. R. Malinowitz sent out this email:

    "The JP article that I spoke about on Shabbos has set off somewhat of a panic-reaction by many---very understandably.
    This is unfortunate (the panic ) , since the situation is far, far from anything that would be considered "epidemic proportions" and "tip -of-the-iceberg" , which, since completely undefined , are nothing but scare words.The article also had an absurd , ridiculous , baseless , completely made-up "statistic" , that every phone call received about a problem really represents 100 incidents (I kid you not).
    Nevertheless, recognizing the concern that is now out there , and being more aware than most that incidents do occur (I have been involved in such matters since my days on a Bais Din in Monsey ) , I recognize that it is time to shift from dealing with a problem when it occurs, to active prevention , b'ezras HaShem , through awareness and education.
    You will be hearing more on this iyh in the coming days and weeks.

    R' CZM"

    "Time to shift" - better late than never.

    Note, not explicit mention in the email about what the "situation" or the "problem" is.
    Is this just the Rav being very careful to use lashon nekiya?

    The Rav definitely has valid points about the article.
    I think that hyperbolic articles and exaggeration mostly harm the cause of protecting children.
    So, let's strive to be accurate.

    I am very interested to hear what the Rav's plans are for prevention and awareness. This can be a major breakthrough, and ultimately may be more effective than trying to hunt down perpetrators.

  127. anon of 2:42:

    Do you think the Rav would be addressing this "issue" were it not for the Jerusalem Post article?

  128. I don't think that he would be addressing it in such a public way had it not already been publicized in the JP.
    I am sure that all of the talk and panic lately has pushed him to take a more proactive and public role.

    If he wants to start encouraging prevention and awareness, I think that's great. I hope he also takes a positive and effective approach to actual incidents of molestation. I wasn't at the derasha, and I don't know exactly what his approach is.

    In general, I don't think that it is a good idea to attack everyone who doesn't agree with every detail about how to approach the issue. If someone has something positive to contribute, let him, and if there are details we disagree with, then we can offer constructive criticism on those points, but not to the point where we ruin what good the person is trying to offer.

  129. Who You Gonna Call? EGO Busters!June 07, 2009 3:21 PM

    "The article also had an absurd , ridiculous , baseless , completely made-up "statistic" , that every phone call received about a problem really represents 100 incidents (I kid you not)."

    His math..now that's ABSURD.

    He is dealing with expotentials and claims that:
    "If only one in 10 children actually reports what has happened to them, and then only one in 10 parents goes on to officially report what has happened to their child, and the police or social welfare services only get around to investigating one in 10 complaints, that means there are many more cases out there that we don't get to hear about," he says.

    It is clear that Mr. Morris was referring to the same one in 10 here.
    I am surprised (but not shocked) that Rabbi Malinowitz who went balistic over David's supposed exaggerations would do the same in his email to his congregation.

    It concerns me that a Rav, who was a dayan, etc. and has to deal with many sensitive issues would take such a cavelier approach to this major problem in our community.

  130. it sounds like it to me as well - 1 in 10 report, and of those 1 in 10, only 1 in 10 of them get investigated.
    if it is an exaggeration I have no idea, but that is what the numbers sound like as stated.

  131. some things are better taken care of quietly. the more people invoved = the more opinions of what to do and then nothing could get done.
    Rabbanim (I don't know about RBS in pparticular- i mean in general)who are involved in these things deal with them quietly and no one knows about it. there are cases that slip by and are blotched but every system has error points, be it the police or courts or anything else.
    Rabbanim with experience in these matters deal with them on a case by case basis usually knowing details that are only shared amongst the most intimately involved. it is bound to happen that people who hear about aspects of the story without knowing all the details will complain with how things are played out, however, the real Rabbanim who deal succesfully with these things don't get too wworked up with what people say or will say - they do what is the right thing in that particular situation.
    as one such Rabbi told me "if we say not to go to the police THEY will complain against the Rabbonim and if we to go to the police then they will complain that the Rabbonim went to the police. bottom line is we gotta do what is right and ignore what the hamon sm think"

  132. anon - I agree. there are two ways to go about it, by a parent. They can either go straight to the police, and then deal with however they deal with it. or they can go to the rabbonim and go that route.

    I dont know which is better or worse. But in the haredi community, where people look at the rabbonim as the leaders and follow their decisions in just about every aspect, naturally will most of the time go to the rabbonim in these cases. Once they do, they should let the rabbionim deal with it the way they feel is best.

    if you don't like the way the rabbonim deal with it, go straight to the police and not via the rabbonim. you cannot put the onus of the work on the rabbonim and then not trust them and the methods they choose to use. If you dont trust them, go the other way.

    That does not mean the rabbonim are always right, and infallible. but none of us know the details of any of these cases and how they were dealt with, and we are all just talking based on generalities.

  133. An Admirer of HaRav MalinowitzJune 07, 2009 3:36 PM

    HaRav Malinowitz, if you really accept the right of others to adopt a different halachic approach then you should also understand that on a pikuach nefesh type issue such as child abuse that those who differ with an approach which demands an extremely high level of evidence in order to justify distancing a teacher out of a classroom will feel the need to speak out demonstratively in order to save the children.

    I have a good mashal-let's say that there were a rabbi who says that we should divide all of Jerusalem which would clearly endanger Jewish lives.Would HaRav Malinowitz not be willing to be interviewed by the J Post in order to condemn that rabbinic stand? Would HaRav sit quietly even though he knows that that halachic approach is distorted and moreover endangers Jews?

    HaRav Malinowitz, of course you would indeed feel the need to condemn such a rabbi in the same way that some in the community feel that certain rabbis in the community have adopted a distorted, dangerous halachic approach regarding alleged child predators.

    HaRav Malinowitz, we all know that you have a tremendous amount of Torah knowledge, and even those who don't follow you respect your courageous stands on Eretz Yisrael-related issues, which deviate from the haredi norm. Maybe you can re-think this issue through again and understand that those who you have implicitly condemned are acting exactly as you would given the right issue.

    I daresay that if HaRav Malinowitz were upset enough about the position that rabbis to the right or left of him took on a given issue that he might speak out and even desire his followers to speak out. If that were the case,HaRav Malinowitz, you would not expect your followers to simply trust what the other rabbi or rabbis were saying on that issue-you would expect them to either think for themselves and be silent or perhaps follow you.

    HaRav Malinowitz, there was no need to raise the tenor of public discourse in the way that it seems you did in recent days. After all, in any case there were no ad hominem attacks by anybody even in the J Post article.

    HaRav Malinowitz, please think this through again. And please realize that these comments represent those who respect you.

  134. I am concerned by Rav Malinowitz's being "nifgah" when no finger was pointed at him.
    I am concerned that he is making a case against David Morris (I heard the drasha and yes I think that he intended to compare David to Korach).

    What concerns me the most is, however, that he has a school, is the posek of that school and my kid is there.

    If his attitude is to downplay Lema'an Achai's concern for the safety of our children and rant because he feels insulted I now fear for my child's safety under his pikuach.

    I am looking for a different school for my son for the coming year.

  135. "Rabbanim with experience in these matters deal with them on a case by case basis usually knowing details that are only shared amongst the most intimately involved. it is bound to happen that people who hear about aspects of the story without knowing all the details will complain with how things are played out, however, the real Rabbanim who deal succesfully with these things don't get too wworked up with what people say or will say - they do what is the right thing in that particular situation."

    Can we infer from this that Rav malinowitz who got worked up and made a big deal is not a "real" rav?

    You better be careful or Rav Malinowitz might come after you!

  136. The approach that one who goes the rabbinic route should be willing to trust the rabbis is painting the picture overly black and white.

    Perhaps certain rabbis have a fundamentally flawed approach which in some cases can be changed? What is wrong with dialogue?

  137. stern - i agree with that. If a parent wants to understand the method of the rabbi he goes to (whether rabbi m or any other rabbi), and discuss possible improvements to that methodology, he should have no problem discussing the options with the rav.

    there is nothing wrong with that, IMO.

  138. oh please. Rabbi Malinowitz got worked up because even though his name was not mentioned specifically, he has been one of the main rabbonim involved in these cases. Clearly a statement that the rabbonim are dealing with it incorrectly or even protecting molesters is a statement he can feel directed at least in part at him, and he has a right to get worked up about it.

  139. Why can't we make a simple distinction-why can't we understand that the fact that we respect our rabbis does not mean that we don't want to understand and if necessary critique them in a constructive manner-it is simply untrue to assume that rabbis can not make mistakes. It seems that some very big rabbis have in the past, for example made such huge mistakes as not encouraging their followers to abandon pre-Holocaust Europe.

    Rabbis have made mistakes and will continue to do so-we do not have papal infallinility in Judaism. Let us respect rabbis, nut let us not stifle constructive critiques.

  140. Friends,
    What would we say to a Rav who paskened that we can't desecrate Shabbos in order to save a child from being a cripple? How could he! He doesn't understand!
    What about a women married to a Cohen who was raped, and is unable to return to her husband. Cruelty!
    What about permitting unabashed murder of innocent children just because they are of a certain nationality (7 nations, anybody)
    Or accusing a woman of agreeing to be raped since she made no vocal protest
    Or allowing fathers to marry off their daughters to strange men without asking their permission (if that's not child abuse ...)
    Or allowing Rabbis to physically abuse their students

    Perhaps our esteemed Rabonnim here are acting according to the dictates of Halachah, which we may not understand, but which we accept with complete faith as being the embodiment of loving kindness as handed down to us by Hashem
    Nobody ever said that "Afilu omrim Lecha al Yemin She Hu Smol" was easy.

  141. respectful - agreed by me. if you have an idea, or want to understand rav M's methods, or any other rabbi's methods, and perhaps make suggestions, speak to them. Make your suggestions. Offer your criticisms (respectfully). Most of the time, most of them are pretty open to hearing people out.

  142. Rafi G,
    It isn't fair to say to people either go to the police and trust them or go to the rabbanim and trust them.
    The police don't seem to be doing an adequate job here. If the rabbanim who are acting as community leaders could supplement it could be helpful. I see no reason why people can't offer constructive criticism on how both the rabbis, the police, and the schools handle this.
    Furthermore, if a certain rabbi in certain situations would advise not going first to the police, then that rabbi would have the responsibility to handle it at least until it is passed on to someone else (police or other), if they aren't doing an adequate job then criticism is necessary.
    The community chooses its rabbonim and leaders, it needs to be able to offer its opinion on the quality of leadership so that it can be replaced if necessary. Sometimes, a leader can be convinced (or pressured) to lead in a certain way and then won't have to be replaced. Sometimes the problem isn't enough to justify replacement, but it is still worthwhile to try to convince the leader to change.
    While it may be true the rabbis have much greater Torah knowledge (and perhaps even wisdom) than their community, ultimately any community needs to do their best to choose their leaders.

  143. Anonymous-nu, come on! We all accept that whatever the halachah is it must be followed-the question is-is there a mistake being made here?

    I think it is incorrect to paint a picture of inevitability here that indeed can exists in such a case as for example when a a kohen's wife is raped-in that case (I'm not familiar with the halacha here) perhaps the result might seem cruel but is inevitable.

    In the case at hand of child abuse it is already clear that there is more than one rabbinic view-there is reason to question here.

  144. you only commented on part of what I said. I agree you can critique and find ways to improve the methods. if you have any ideas, go to Rav M and discuss it with him (or whichever rav you prefer).
    I dont think your concept of the rabbonim supplementing the police is realistic. i think once the police are involved, the rabbonim cannot be involved.

  145. I daresay that even a great rabbi like the Vilna Gaon or Rav Kook would have been willing to listen to constructive criticism.

  146. Anonymous of 3:53,
    None of the rabbis said that it is ok to molest children.
    While their practical approach may be way off, I think that it is a gross exaggeration to say that they condone molestation.
    Perhaps in your last line you meant rav harode es talmido? I think that is quite different than what we are talking about here.

    By the way the rabbis do not allow a father to marry of his daughter to someone that she doesn't want. If he does it it works, but the rabbis forbid it "ad shetigdal v'tomar bifloni ani rotza". (Tosafos mentions an extreme situation which warranted marrying before growing up.)

  147. Rafi thank you for everything-you are providing an important community service-i believe that you are part of the solution.

    Maybe you could be a community rabbi?

  148. anon - if I am not mistaken, the rabbonim would not even say ti works. I recently learned the halachos of that, and the rabbonim would say we do not believe him. nowadays such a marriage does not take effect at all.

    Somebody in our shiur said his community in NY was the one in which a father claimed to have married off his daughter to an unnamed person. He was holding the name of the man silent as a way of holding out on his wife's get. Anyway, this guy said this fellow was in that community when he made this threat, and he does not remember all the details but he remembers the conclusion was the rabbonim rejected the claim and did not consider the daughter married.

  149. I like Rafi - thanks, but no thanks. If this blog is all that gives me the credentials for that, I know it is the wrong move.

  150. Rafi G,

    Here are some ways that the rabbonim can supplement the police:

    1. Encourage schools to adopt policies which protect children (and teachers).

    2. Promote awareness and education.

    3. Make very clear when it is required to report to authorities or go to a trained therapist.

    4. If the police are already involved, unless it is clearly a frivolous accusation remove the teacher from the classroom, or if there is a serious doubt about the accusation have the teacher constantly supervised.

    5. Encourage victims to get professional counseling.

    6. Speak out against people who stigmatize victims for reporting perpetrators.

    7. Encourage people who want to molest to get help before they commit a crime.

    8. Cooperate and encourage your community and schools to cooperate with any investigation.

  151. Rafi G, with the kidushei ketana, you are talking about the father's neemanus.
    However, if we had proof (i.e. witnesses) I think that they would say that it works.

  152. could be. I don't know. makes sense though. I don't know how they would get out of it.

  153. I obviously didn't mean the Torah allows child molestation
    I meant that sometimes the halachah can differ from our basic western world view. Let's say (purely for arguments sake), that halachah dictated that the testimony of a child when not backed up by physical evidence was invalid. Perhaps the halachah states that turning over a religious Jew suspected of a crime to secular authorities is a Moser. Perhaps the Halachah rules that people should be presumed innocent in all ways until proven guilty by Torah standards of evidence. Perhaps testimony extracted by health professionals is not as valid?
    I don't know the answer to these questions, but I know that the Halachah must have a say on them, which is why I know that the Rabonnim must be the ones to address them
    If I don't agree with the outcome, see the examples in my previous comment for some other ideas I don't "agree" with, but which define my worldview nonetheless

  154. As for the father marrying off his daughter, the Gemara states that he could marry her to a "Menuval O Mukeh Schin" (i.e. a less than desirable Chassan). This Svarah is poskened LeHalachah, when speaking about a Naarah. Doesn't seem reasonable that she would agree to such a match

  155. Last comment for now
    As for HaRav HaRodeh Es Talmido, the Gemara in Maccos says that if the Rav accidentally kills the Talmid, he is Patur, since he is doing a Mitzvah. So,
    1. If you can die from it, it seems pretty harsh
    2. It is a Mitzvah! (granted, no longer relevant these days)

  156. HaRav Chaim, HaRav Chaim Solo, HaRav Chaim Soloveichik-the latest hit song of Ramat Beit Shemesh!

  157. The Roar of the AryehJune 07, 2009 4:52 PM

    Why can't someone like Aryeh Sonnenberg get involved in this issue? He is a man of principle who respects Rav Malinowitz and who perhaps can "speak the same language" as the Rav so we can move forward on the issue of taking the predators out of the classroom.

  158. i would like to suggest a scenario.

    a parent has an issue that he suspects a certain teacher to have molested his child.
    he goes to his rav or a community rav. the menahel of the school is contacted as well.
    between the parent, rav, and menahel a quiet investigation is done. the results is ine if the two possibilities:
    1) there is no clear proof and the teacher dennies the accusation.
    the teacher and menahel come to an agreement that the teacher can stay albeit under tremendous scrutiny- (never alowwed to be alone with individual children and a person entering the classroom on a sudden and undetermined basis.)
    2) there is proper cause for concern and the rebbe is fired and word is let out in the person's neighborhood amongst the community leaders that he is a child molester and should be watched constantly and not allowed to teach. the teacher agrees to go to therapy and work on his problem

    in both of these scenarios although one can take issue wuth the approach this is deffinately a valid angle and proper way to deal with the issue, and most people would agreee that the children's safety was taken care of.

    however in both scenarios no one but the people involved and the relevant community leaders are aware of the case.
    how many times might this have happened with no one knowing about it?
    no one knows what really goes on/ real decisions are not made by people that spend time on the internet and on blogs. (even the non chareidim who are successfull in communal affairs are left with little time to surf)
    just a thought to dan the rabbanim lkaf zchus

  159. I Have A DreamJune 07, 2009 5:05 PM

    Wouldn't it be so beautiful if...we lived in a reality where...suddenly Rav Elyashiv would make a dramatic announcement saying that in order to save the children he supports the position of Rav Chaim Soloveichik regarding what evidence is required to take an alleged abuser out of the classroom...too bad I'm just daydreaming.....

  160. Dear Friends and Neighbors in RBS A,
    I think we all know what needs to be done...and we have done it.
    We now have awareness that this problem does go on in our community. We can choose to take steps to prevent and punish molestation - education, school policies, etc.
    If you are a parent, send your kid to a school where you are confident they would try to prevent and stop problems.
    If your kid is a victim, call the police and whoever you want. If some people want to go to rabbis, that is their choice (though it seems like a very strange one. If your kid was kidnapped, would you go to a rabbi? If someone vandalized your car, do you call a rabbi? If someone raped your daughter, do you call a rabbi? Criminal acts need to be reported to the POLICE. If people decide to go to a rabbi when a crime happens, then they can't complain later that the rabbi didn't handle it right. Does a rabbi have clinical psychological training? Can he evaluate preschool children's abuse reports? Can he examine a child for internal injuries related to abuse? What is it people expect rabbis to do? And like every system (courts, judges), rabbis will not always be able to find out the truth, or may suspect the truth but recognize that there is simply not enough evidence to prove it.
    I am sure Rav Malinowitz is a fine rabbi. Don't call him if someone beats up your wife in the street, and don't call him if someone rapes your kid.
    I think by now all the normal schools recognize the problem and are trying hard to prevent it. One local school is going to make all their teachers sign, as part of their contract, an agreement that they promise NOT to sue any parent who files a report of abuse, so parents won't be afraid to come forward.
    There is no crisis or epidemic. Jpost lied. It is fun for them to say chareidim have sex scandals. (So do MO - Lanner anyone?) There are a FEW tragic cases. Let's try to get that number down to zero, but we don't need to say silly things about rabbis - someone posted that rabbis should tell people who want to molest kids not to. anon said rabbis should "Encourage people who want to molest to get help before they commit a crime." Hi, Rabbi Malinowitx, I want to molest the kids in my class." "No, no, don't! Go to a shrink!"

  161. Sometimes We Do KnowJune 07, 2009 5:10 PM

    I hear a constant refrain from some quarters of "noone really knows what the rabbanim are really doing"-this is just the converse of the absurdity a rabbi who asks to be trusted without asking questions. The fact is that there are those who know what rabbanim have been doing in specific cases-let us stop being naive and assuming that "we can never know". In specific cases we sometimes do know which is part of what led to this controversy.

  162. 1. is not a valid approach. the rabbis aren't qualified to do an investigation.
    A trained therapist needs to speak to the child to see if it is something that requires a professional investigation.
    2 is not a valid approach, the guy could skip town and find work elsewhere with children. He can gain access to children outside of his profession.

    I don't think that the rabbanim are malicious. Some of them are just not aware of their limits.

    No doubt that there are many cases that they tried to deal with in this way. Perhaps some even successfully.
    But it isn't enough. It is time for them to update their method.

  163. anon said...
    1. is not a valid approach. the rabbis aren't qualified to do an investigation.
    A trained therapist needs to speak to the child to see if it is something that requires a professional investigation.
    2 is not a valid approach, the guy could skip town and find work elsewhere with children. He can gain access to children outside of his profession.

    actually that went without saying Rabbis that are involved in these things do send to therapists and don't question the children themselves. for the purpose of my point though the therapist was left out because he often doesn't live in the community and even if he does he is bound to privacy laws
    as far as what you said on #2, there is not much of a better idea since the police won't do anything if a child confirms that he was molested and it is an isolated incident with none other reported against him. in the meantime the person can remain in the community and no one is watching over him. when the askanim are the ones threatining him he has to watch his every step and social pressure can keep him in line. also there have benn cases where the molester already sat in jail and was caught molesting agin afterward. so there is not much of an eitzah

  164. But it isn't enough. It is time for them to update their method.

    to what?
    calling the police?
    why do people assume that this is the best way?
    speak to most people that were involved with this and they weren't satisfied with the way police dealt with it. (maybe in the states things are different)
    why do people blindly trust the israeli police that they know what they are doing and the Rabbonim don't?
    i agree that not every Rabbi is trained to deal with these things but Rabbanim who are not just poskim but rather are communal leaders have all had to deal with these things and usually discuss the issues with more experienced people be it therapist or more experienced rabbonim.
    as in every issue that is brought to them they research the topic before rendering a decision.
    as opposed to the average layman who just decides on his own gut what is the best wat to deal with it

  165. As bad as the police are, the rabbis have little enforcement power (they can't arrest someone), and little investigative power.
    They need to use professional therapists and stop thinking that their personal experience is enough to handle the case alone.
    So, yes they should tell people to call the police, but that shouldn't be the end of their involvement. They can exert pressure to remove (or at least supervise) the individual during the investigation if there is a real case etc. (I listed some ways above that the rabbis can supplement the police.)
    Perhaps this is wishful thinking, but maybe if the rabbis and community showed that they took this a bit more seriously and cooperated a bit more with the police then the police would also take it more seriously and it might make their job easier.

  166. !
    rabbi M. never meant anyone in particular except for the jpost
    He is VERY involved in dealing with this story even though you people sitting at your computers just typing don't think so
    his point was just don't think there is a cover up just because he didn't confer with YOU about it

  167. Another sad twist to this taleJune 07, 2009 8:21 PM

    I heard first hand that there are Pediatrician's in our community that are not reporting sexual abuse to the authorities. Why not? I heard this first hand from two different parents who went to the same Pediatrician, told their stories and the Doctor refused to report as is required of him by law. Can he lose his license for not reporting.

  168. Its great that the Rabbonim are making sure that there is awareness and prevention, but what about the molesters that are still in the classrooms with our precious children?

  169. I was in shul and it was clear to me that when the Rav was hinting strongly that Korach was David Morris

  170. In response to Anonymous of 3:53 who also wrote some subsequent posts:
    (1) You quote a mishmash of Torah she b'chtav without the interpretation of Torah She be'al Pe'ah, and/or the Talmus without any subsequent poskim, to reach "halachic" conclusions which, in almost every case, are either wrong or innaplicable/irrelevant today. And when, chalila, something that is still problematic to kvod habriot etc. occurs -- e.g., a kohen's wife being raped, mazerut, or kiddushei ktana, the rabbis go to great length to find a way out of what they recognize is not the desired moral result; it doesn't take a talmid chacham to say "assur" as they say.
    Furthermore -- and this is critical -- "lo tasur yemin u'smol" applies to legal decisions taken by majority vote of the Sanhedrin! Not, as we are wont to think, whatever some rabbi has to say (which of course makes perfect sense: when there was a Sanhedrin, after a vote there was only one halacha for Am Yisrael, but of course nowadays rabbis are of differing opinions, as here).
    Finally, getting back to what others said before, all of this discussion is only relevant to the extent that the question is halachic: whether to call the police or fire department or otherwise protect your family is not IMHO a halachic question -- or decision.

  171. anonymous of 9:15pm - funny, but I thought he was referring to all of us here on the blog! :-)

  172. If the only thing gained out of this latest controversy is to "raise awareness" then this will have been unforunate to say the least.


    Get the child predators out of the classrooms. If you do not your credibility as community leaders will be permanently damaged.

  173. Galus Judaism is what has led to this sad state of paralysis among haredi rabbanim.

    For a way out of this mess there is a need to return to an authentic Eretz Yisraeli mode of Torah Judaism.

    See www.machonshilo.org

  174. I just hope that Rabbi Malinowitz's inference to Korach will not lead to him putting (even a silent) cherem on Lema'an Achai.

    This amazing organziation gets enough bashing from the charedi community..the last thing they need is a death sentence from among the moderate charedi crowd.

  175. Tamar,
    Anon here
    "Furthermore -- and this is critical -- "lo tasur yemin u'smol" applies to legal decisions taken by majority vote of the Sanhedrin! Not, as we are wont to think, whatever some rabbi has to say"
    Not sure where this comes from. Check out the Sefer HaChinuch Mitzah 496 (Lo Tasur), who clearly says that it applies at all times, not only in the times of the Sanhedrin
    You (and other posters here) might want to read the whole piece there, where he explicitly says that EVEN IF RABANNIM ARE WRONG, we should still follow them, since this is the foundation of Yiddishkeit.

  176. Dear Anonymous of the previous message:

    You ask a good question (for my source(s)), and I'll have to get back to you on that. I attended an hour shiur recently exactly on the issue of Lo Tasur, to which the conclusion was that it applies to the Sanhedrin (even then, there's an alternative reading -- I think of the Yerushalmi -- lo tasur EXCEPT when they tell you right is left). Unfortunately I have no notes (it was on Shabbat) and I don't have the source sheet. So I've emailed my Rav for his sources, and I'll get back to you after he gets back to me.
    Thta's aside from the obvious point here that there are rabbanim on both sides of the dispute.

  177. Understanding "Lo Tasur"June 08, 2009 11:34 AM

    Regarding the Sefer HaChinuch's understanding of "Lo Tasur"-the Rambam, the Smag and all of the other monei hamitzvot do not understand this pasuk to apply to anything but a Sanhedrin.

    Certain people for obvious reasons choose to mention the view of the Sefer HaChinuch to the exclusion of all others for obvious reasons. Again, the Sefer HaChinuch is a daat yachid in this regard.

  178. This comment has been removed by the author.

  179. My two greatest heroes in RBS are Rav Malinowitz and David Morris... Both of them display incredible integrity and selfless commitment to the community... I find this business very confusing and disturbing.

  180. Rafi,
    Hey, now you know how to get comments galore on your blog!
    Just bring up child molestation, and BOOM.
    I just wanted to point out that these comments are veering away from the main point, which is, there are a lot of cases, and apparently sometimes (often?) rabbis (and that might include principals) dismiss these claims, or if it is a he said-she said thing, side with the convincing adult over the unreliable child's report. As parents, we need the school to encourage reporting of any abuse - emotional, physical, etc. We all know of definite cases where rebbes in the past beat up kids, whacked them too hard, humiliated them, etc. Now less of that goes on, because it is not accepted. Sex abuse is tricky because it is done in secret - and does more psychological harm. But if all teachers were mandated to sit through a seminar and told about school policies, that would help.

  181. To Rachel K:
    Just so you understand - the controversy is ONLY about sexual abuse. The majority of the chareidi community in RBS (judging from the # of schools) subscribe to violence in the classroom as a legitimate; nay obligatory form of education. As opposed to the Alei Shor.

  182. Rafi and all of the comments:
    I find it surprising and possibly hypocritical that no one has mentioned the names of schools and/or teachers - so the community is aware. rafi - will you allow this? If not, why not?

  183. Let's Think About ThisJune 08, 2009 5:18 PM

    There is a famous story involving the Brisker Rav and Pidyon Shivuim/Hatzolas Nefashos.

    Someone had been taken for ransom in a town some distance from the Rav. On Shabbos morning he called for two people to go bring the money and have the man set free.

    One of the 2 began "claring shailos" about chilul shabbos and which shinuim they should engage.

    The Rav said..you can't go. When hatzolas nefashos are invloved you do first and ask questions later.

    How many of you parents out there wish to take a chance and "clare shailos" when you child's life is at stake, chas v'shalom? You want action taken. Suspend the rebbe for a day, place the teacher on administration leave and let the professionals decide if the suspect is capable of doing these things.

    It pains me to think that there are parents out there who have devoted life and soul to their children but all of a sudden are willing to be "mafkir" becuase of the rebbe's/morah's parnassa.

    There are ways to deal with this (even in an official way) where the rebbe and or morah can come out fine. If, however, the treatment of the child is neglegted there could be damage for life.

    And one final point. For all of you who ask " do you think that the rabbonim don't care about the children" Of course they care but they may not be equipped to deal with the issue.

    Let me ask you..do you think that these parents want this to happen to their child? Do you think that they want their lives turned over, their child in expensive therapy and the ridicule of the community? Do you think that they enjoy watching what can happen to a child who has been abused?

    These parents, like the rabbonim care for the children and love them.

    These parents, like the rabbonim, may not know how to deal with this situation.

    These children, like the rabbonim, should be able to go to the proper address who know what and how to help these children heal.

  184. Rafi,

    Until this issue is resolved (and very child is safe)you should keep this closer to the top!

  185. I think this issue might outlive this blog.

  186. I'll bump it up, but not to the top... life must move on...

  187. Rafi-

    "I'll bump it up, but not to the top... life must move on..."

    I'm surprised at you.

    No life can not and will not move on until each child is safe.

  188. Kol Hakavod to the families,who have come forward to make sure that other children will be safe. This is true Gevurah. May they continue to be strong and stand up for Emes. Hakodosh Baruch Hu is proud.

  189. how much more is there to say? trust me, if there are future developments, they will be posted..

  190. Rafi, you are doing a tremedous service to the community. Getting the word out and boosting awareness is the ONLY way to prevent and finally stop abuse.
    Kol HaKavod - keep it up!!

  191. Who is to whom we must all show gratefulness for his devotion to our community?

    Who is it that we must thank for encouraging dialogue and debate reegarding issues of the utmost importance to our community?

    Who is it that should be the honored guest at every dinner of every shul in the neighborhood?

    Who is it that shows that he really cares not just though words but through actions?

    Who is it that demonstrates that he is capable of thinking beyound party and ideological lines for the benfit of the community?

    Who is it that really, really cares about the welfare of our children?

    Who should we applaud and pat on the back (only men) every time we see him walk down the street?

    RAFI, RAFI, RAFI!!!!

  192. Has anyone asked the big question, "Why" does this happen? Is it considered "Safe S..", Is it over-indulgence on the "male" ?

    Now, when a "boy" gets married, the mother of the Chassan sends a photo album of the chassan (pics from birth to bar-mitzva) to the Kallah?????

  193. Certain factions are blaming the scourge of men abusers on the women because of their clothing! That's right, it's all the women's faults. At least that's what they tell ultra-frum women to get them to wear robes, shawls, raincoats, even in 100 degree temps., et al.

    BUT in the very sheltered life these men lead, how many actually see so many women on a daily basis to create the reason for such abuse.

    This is purely conjecture, but: More likely, it is squarely the result of 'puberty' that creates this type of 'escape mechanism'. And it is more likely that some never 'grow out' of the habit. If you examine the 'halachos' surrounding this and you'll find the reason why it does not disappear.

  194. Wow almost 200 comments. Rafi, can you explain to me why so many are commenting on this issue? Thanks.

  195. I go to Bais Tefillah and have a child in Magen Avos.

    And I want alleged child abusers out of the classroom even if the "only" evidence is a psychologist's report.

    Why should we not be machmir when it comes to pikuach nefesh?

  196. Torah View:
    Ask your Rabbi why he and his colleagues consistently place the lives of the alleged abusers ahead of the lives of the alleged AND potential future abused children?

    If any of you out there still believe that Da'as Torah is a legitamite concept (beyond the 4 cubits of the law) - you are crazy!


    If you have *good* reason to beleive that your child is being "misapropriately handled" please go to the POLICE.

    That's right. Not Rabbis --- POLICE!

    See Choshen Mishpat 388:12 for more information.

    Rabbi Ari Enkin


  198. Machmir for Pikuach NefeshJune 09, 2009 10:27 AM

    To be quite frank it is difficult to imagine any type of halachic claim being made to justify keeping an alleged child abuser in the classroom.

    As "Torah View" stated if there is a psychologist's report which concludes that a teacher has engaged in child abuse then why should this be any different than a situation where we can rely even on a gentile doctor to justify somebody's eating on Yom Kippur. If such a doctor can be relied upon to eat on Yom Kippur which is so chammur then why can we not rely on a psychologist's report to potentially save other kids?

  199. I don't go by da'as torah, but I'm not so sure that Rav Malinowitz does either-he did not say you have to vote Gimmel after the expulsion from Gush Katif.

  200. You're All KoyfrimJune 09, 2009 10:34 AM

    Don't think-just listen to the gedoylim!! Thought is dangerous!!!

    Today you think, tomorrow you're Reform!


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