Monday, September 04, 2006

The new "Chiddush" in Lakewood = = is takke; nisht azoy the "Chimmush"

Klal Yisroel needs new young blood desperately. We are on the verge of a deadly epidemic. The only way to avert this disaster is to find a cure now.

How do you find the antidote for this vicious plague? The answer is simple, you remove the drek. If chas vesholom someone has cancer, if the tumor(s) is/are removable, that would be the first priority and best resolution to fix the problem. Remove it totally and hope it doesn't reappear.

Fellow Yidden: We have a problem that is bigger than the catholic church. At least the church acknowledged the pedophile behavior of their priests, and are doing something about it. In the YOB and YTT travesties, it's business as usual for the butchers of children (Lipa Margulis and Shlomo Mandel). These so called "rabonim", are disgusting, manipulative intimidators who deserve to be locked up behind bars.

To say that I lost all kovod for these lowlifes, would be a feeble way of putting it. And until we get rid of this "Chara" there will be no changes at all in our yeshiva's. Rabonim will still get to keep their jobs, even if they molest, because as long as the filth such as Margulis and Mandel remain in a position of power, held unaccountable for their horrible crimes, there will Unfortunatley be no drastic changes to the way our children are treated.

The answer is clear. GET RID OF THESE LOSERS NOW! THEY ARE CURRUPT AND A DISGRACE TO SOCIETY AND JUDIASIM.

Why in the world is a scum bucket like Margulis being treated with kovod and royalty as was outlined in a 2 page spread in this week's Yated Neeman? and to add insult to injury, he's being given kovod by our supposedly gedolei hador such as r'matisyou solomon? This is the trash and crap that turns people off from judiasim.

Then there is dush bag # 2 ==== The faker, crocodile tears when he recites tehilim, Shlomo Mandel. Shlomela claims he wants to help children today, because on shabbos he tells kids on Ocean Pkwy not to smoke in public. What a nice guy, isn't he? He cares about kids, until they bring up abuse, then he pulls a "i did not know about the abuse" defense. Had I known........... Shut up Shlomela you disgust me! You are as fake inside as you are outside, with your "rosh yeshiva" garb and up hat. Dido for Margulis!

Then there is a "Rov" who is related to Margulis (you know who you are), who talked the talk but couldn't walk the walk. He failed us, miserably.

Basically he lied about helping out with YOB. He is a fake in my book. Yes, this Rov does many nice things, but when it comes to catching the big fish, he goes into reverse and disappears like the rest of them.

The problem is, these fakaroos hide behind the Torah. They give 100 reasons not to fire a molester. It's a chilul hashem, Loshon Hara, not enough proof, not a Jewish thing to do, and so on and so forth.

What about holding accountable those who harbored these abusers of children?
They also have 100 reasons not to do it. They didn't know, they're good people, yirei shomayim, blah blah blah...........

Dear Friends, Let's make it our goal to not allow even one more victim to suffer at the hands of these wicked people. Arafat, Castro, Margulis, and Mandel, what do they all have in common? They all control or controlled (arafat) their positions in power for over 4 decades. They all are corrupt. They all abused their position in power. They all didn't practice what they preached. They all have Jewish blood on their hands. And they all used intimidation tactics to achieve their desired goals.

How in heck, does this ugly disgusting guy (Mandel), have the nerve and audacity to discredit claims of sexual and physical abuse abuse without so much even conducting a good faith investigation, when very credible evidence was brought to his attention in the 1990's and again this past year? How does R'Manis Mandel dismiss allegations of sexual abuse by insisting the victim "is reading too many books" and he's "making this stuff up". Is there some sort of logic that processes these irrational thoughts and converts them into reality?

Please someone explain to me how that is so. Because it seems that this line of thinking is rampant in YOB, YTT, and other unworthy yeshivas. That's very disturbing, because this is a pattern that was and is, and won't change until we finally get rid of the people who were/are recklessly negligent with our children. They earned our wrath and distrust. My disdain for such people holds no boundaries.

It is my mission to rid our Yeshiva's of the communism that flourishes there. The only way to achieve that goal, is to get a fresh start and to bring in new young blood that will lay down the law and bring some respectability back to our yeshiva's. Let us insist on getting rid of those who continue to disregard the lives and neshama's of our children. Opening up a new TT in Lakewood is just pulling the wool over our eyes once again. It's sweeping the dirt under the rug once again. Business as usual.

These outdated "rabonim" just don't get it" nor do they want to get it, and that's a crime in of itself. Shame on you, Margulis. Shame on you Mandel. You perverted justice. You destroyed countless lives. You defend a RODEF, when the torah tells us to have no mercy on such a person.

You are disgraceful, and Hashem will punish you severely for your crimes against humanity!

Please contact me if you are a recent, or not so recent victim of sexual or physical abuse, or if you know of a victim of child abuse. This pertains not only to the YOB victims, but to any other schools as well. There is hope in finally achieving some form justice. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

However, that light will become ever so much brighter, once we deposit the waste products that are these fake "rabonim" into the trash bin. Let them go live in china somewhere, where they can be as far away from our children as possible.

Do not tolerate child abuse any longer. Everything will be held in total confidentiality.

matzil_nefoshos@yahoo.com


15 comments:

exposemolesters said...

I thought this was worthwhile posting.

Anonymous said...

The Truth about Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel

At the risk of being naïve, I’ll assume for a moment that the bloggers who are revealing information about alleged sex offenders mean leshem Shamayim, to protect the community, and want to know the true facts. This assumption may be challenged by the fact that even when someone who really knows sends in corrections, the blogger does not erase the rumor that was previously posted, no matter how damaging or ridiculous it might be, but leaves it there and just adds the correction. This is in spite of the fact that the blogger wants to be believed and considered credible.
A typical case at hand is this. Although someone, who knows Rabbi Sobel personally, wrote that he never learned in Baltimore nor did he ever have any ties with Mattis Weinberg, the headline of the blog remains “Here is another shady character from Baltimore…he had ties ….”
Bearing this in mind, I hesitate to take so much time to “set the record straight” regarding Rabbi Sobel, if all my efforts are going to be futile because the bloggers’ attitude is, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve already made up my mind!”
However, since we are dealing with the most serious offenses in the Torah, embarrassing a Jew publicly - which under certain conditions applies also to a sinner too – I feel that I am obligated to try my best and hope and pray that my words are not falling on deaf ears, or, in this case, eyes.
However, I am sending you this information on condition that you print all of it (it took me a long time to write it – your readers can take the time to read it) and that you delete all wrong and mistaken information others wrote based on things they heard, think they heard, and/or fabricated.
First of all, in dealing with blogs, one should always remember the Gemara (Bava Metzia 59a; Sanhedrin 107a) which tells us that after King Dovid’s incident with Bas Sheva, there were those who were probably concerned about the Halachic implications of his act and the Chilul Hashem, and if it was legitimized by him etc. and therefore they would ask King Dovid publicly: “One who has relations with a married woman, how should he be killed?” To which King Dovid replied, “He should be killed by choking but he has a part in the World-to-Come; however, one who embarrasses someone in public, has no part in the World-to-Come!”
Another important halachah. When someone sees a rodef – someone who is pursuing someone else in an attempt to kill (or otherwise harm) him, he is obligated to save the victim at all costs; even if he must kill the rodef in order to do so. However, if he could have saved the victim by merely wounding the rodef, yet he chose to kill him, he is considered a murderer and is responsible for the blood of the rodef which he spilt unnecessarily.
Therefore, even if we assume that the blogs are permissible in order to protect victims from harm, and, of course, that is our primary concern, nevertheless, at the same time we are obligated by the Torah to take into consideration the perpetrator too. If we can protect the innocent victim by merely “wounding” the perpetrator we must do so. If we do more than we have to, then we have sinned and may be worse than the person we are attacking.
CERTAINLY WHEN THE PERSON WE ARE ATTACKING POSES NO THREAT TO ANYONE, THERE IS NO HETER (PERMISSION) IN THE WORLD TO DISGRACE HIM PUBLICLY OR EVEN PRIVATELY, FOR THAT MATTER. There is a specific Torah prohibition to say (even privately) to a ba’al teshuvah (a penitent), “Remember your previous acts.”
I am, once again, risking being naïve by assuming that I am addressing Orthodox, observant, Jewish people to whom the mitzvahs of the Torah have meaning and value, and, with the best of intentions, do not want to violate any prohibitions, certainly not Torah ones. If the blogs are just being run and participated in by a bunch of slanderers and gossipers who couldn’t care less about what is permissible and what is prohibited then I really am wasting my time.
Finally, whenever the Chofetz Chaim teaches a rare situation when it is permissible to spread lashon hara, he always lists the conditions. One major condition is always that the one who is speaking has no personal gain and no ulterior motive. He is not the person’s enemy who regales at the opportunity to take “kosher” revenge at the person being attacked. Furthermore, he may never exaggerate or add any more detail to the story than is absolutely true.
One last word. Whereas the Torah commands us not to believe nor relate harmful information unless it has been proven true by at least two kosher witnesses in Beis Din, some bloggers are not ashamed to admit that they will add any rumor ever whispered to their site. That is really a strange way to conduct business when the business involves people’s lives and the lives of their families.

After this rather lengthy introduction, let us deal with the case at hand: Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel.
First of all, I am probably one of the most reliable authorities on him. I have known him for many, many years and I know his attributes as well as his faults. I have thoroughly researched the unfortunate incidents of his very colorful life and I know what is true and what is not. If anyone has unanswered questions about him after reading what I write, you may ask me by e-mail. My address is: Hamashgiach@yahoo.com and I will be glad to respond privately; not in a public forum.
To set the record straight, let us begin at the end. Rabbi Sobel currently resides and works in an office in Jerusalem . It is the office of Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman shlita, Chief Rabbi of Migdal Ha’Emek, Founder and Dean of Migdal Ohr, which campus is situated in Migdal Ha’Emek, almost a hundred miles away from Jerusalem . Rabbi Sobel’s job is strictly administrative; PR and fund raising. He is not involved in the chinuch of Migdal Ohr IN ANY MANNER, neither directly or indirectly. He has absolutely no contact with the students or campers or even the staff, for that matter. He has nothing to do with the schools. He works with his computer and his telephone to solicit donors. That’s it! He has been working in this position for over 15 years and nothing has changed.
The very documents which apparently made some people nervous and which appear on blogs bear witness to what I just wrote. The articles in the various newspapers clearly identify him as Rabbi Grossman’s assistant who runs his office in Jerusalem . He discusses the camps, solely in an attempt to raise funds for them. In the picture with Pastor Hagee, we see him receiving a check on Migdal Ohr’s behalf. That is his job - and he seems to doing a very good job, baruch Hashem – finito!
Much ado about nothing.
He is not involved in chinuch and has not been since he left Neveh Zion in 1985. As some other, apparently knowledgeable, person wrote, he did not return to chinuch even when given permission to do so (as we will soon discuss). Therefore, he is absolutely no threat to anyone, and parents in Israel do not have to be warned about him.
Rabbi Grossman always says: “When someone has a very bad disease, the doctor can take the easy way out and just kill him on the operating table. Does that mean that he cured him of his illness? Of course not. On the other hand, the learned professor will try to cut away the bad part and save the good so that the sick man can recover and continue to live and function properly without the negative component.
Rabbi Grossman is a very big tzaddik but he is also no fool. His life’s mission is rehabilitating people who fell; but he will never do that by putting someone else at risk. He checked very carefully into Rabbi Sobel’s situation before he took him to work for him 6 years after he had left Neveh Zion. He checked with the doctor who had treated him and was convinced that he is “clean” (more about this later). And after all that, he gave him an office job in Jerusalem , far away from the campus, with nothing to do with chinuch.
Someone claimed that Rabbi Sobel never “fessed up” like someone else did. This, like most of the things written about him, is not true. He always acknowledged and dealt with his unfortunate problem and fully cooperated with the authorities when he was approached by them (more details soon). He did not make a public apology over the internet since that is not called for. He apologized to those victims he was able to approach and accepted full responsibility. Whenever attacked by zealots, his response was always filled with deep humility and remorse (there are many documents to prove this). Recently, his typical reaction when he was told that he is being scandalized on blogs was: “I deserve any and all abuse I may get. I desecrated Hashem’s Holy Name internationally, and, in return, my name is similarly being disgraced. Halevai that it be enough penance for my grave sins. I only feel bad that my wonderful, innocent family must suffer disgrace due to my big mistakes!”
DOES THIS SOUND LIKE THE MONSTER BEING DESCRIBED BY SOME IRRESPONSIBLE PEOPLE ON THE BLOGS?
Let’s discuss now the size of Rabbi Sobel’s sin, before we get to the sin itself. People on the blogs are debating whether or not he is the greatest predator or not. People have claimed that he hurt hundreds of students etc. That he is a pedophile.
Let’s get the record straight. The amount of boys Rabbi Sobel “got involved” with is less than 10 – I know them personally. I AM IN NO WAY UNDERESTIMATING THE SEVERITY OF HURTING EVEN ONE STUDENT – but we must keep things in proper proportion. There is a big difference between a murderer and a serial killer.
None of the boys were minors (he is not a pedophile as someone suggested nor a “serial sodomizer of minors”). Nor were they “troubled kids” as some have written. Neveh Yehoshua and Neveh Zion were not created for “troubled kids” who may not be responsible for their actions. On the contrary, whenever Rabbi Sobel met with the parents of potential students, he told them that if their son has a problem and needs professional help, then Neveh is not the place for him. It was geared to boys who lacked motivation in learning and commitment to Judaism. Today there are many yeshivas for high school boys who were not successful in their yeshivas and were even, perhaps, turned off to learning and often to being religious. Rabbi Sobel is the father of all of these yeshivas. Until he came along, these guys were considered “lost cases” as far as Yiddishkeit was concerned. He designed a learning program and a method of chinuch which successfully turned hundreds of these rebels into religious, G-d fearing people. Many of them even became educators themselves and are to be found all around the world teaching their students.
All of the students he got involved with were capable of making their own decisions. It is true, of course, that he misused the trust they had in him as their Rebby whom they highly respected, and that is very unfortunate. But none of them learned from him to do the same to others (so much for fear about the Torah Ohr “link”). (There is a very good reason for this which I don’t want to get in to since it is too complicated for this post.)
Someone argued that every predator who gets caught says that he’s going into therapy. That may or may not be true but in the case of Rabbi Sobel, he didn’t just say it – he did it – and there are doctor’s records to prove it. He spent thousands of dollars on therapy for half a year and not until three years later – after testing him unknowingly several times – the doctor signed a letter for the Bidatz proclaiming him cured and able to return to chinuch, which, as I’ve already written, he chose not to do, even when the Bidatz, and other prominent Rabbis subsequently signed documents giving him permission to. (By the way, Harav Shach never claimed that he may never teach again. The opposite is true.)
Now, let’s go back to the beginning and refute the vast majority of what people have written about him. Many of the descriptions seem to be written by people with perverted minds who apparently have read many exciting pornographic novels and are trying to write one of their own, using Rabbi Sobel as the main character of their insidious plot. However, most of their “facts” are total fabrications and those few who know the truth defended him. It is not the defenders who should be embarrassed but those who believe every rumor they hear or think they heard.
First of all, get it straight – Rabbi Sobel has absolutely nothing to do with Baltimore except that many of his best students went on to learn there. That reference should immediately be removed from the blogs because it is meant to add shame to the yeshiva and to him and it is totally not true.
He learned in RJJ (and has absolutely no connection to Ner Yisroel Baltimore or to Mattis Weinberg whom he hardly ever met) and was one of the best students in his era. Even as a bachur he was teaching other bachurim and many of them are the finest educators today, thanks to him.
After he was married, he lived in Monsey. He never owned a house and never sold it – as some misinformed person wrote on a blog. There were no major sex scandals about him in the States except for one boy whose family admitted that he is not well adjusted and falsely accused many others before.
In 1977, he moved to Israel . He didn’t run away from the USA . He was offered a prestigious job as a mashgiach of the Americans in Itri – Chadera. He didn’t convince anyone to make a school for him for troubled students in a remote place so that he could molest them. When the hanhala of ITRI noticed how successful he was with American students, they approached him and asked him to establish a school strictly for Americans on a campus they had purchased in Bet Yehoshua, Netanya. This was subsequently called Neveh Yehoshua. After four years, due to Itri’s financial problems, Rabbi Sobel became independent and moved the yeshiva to Telz-Stone and renamed it Neveh Zion.
Rabbi Sobel was always extremely highly respected by Gedolim, Roshei Yeshiva, parents and students alike for his sacrificial dedication to his students and his success with them. Klal Yisroel owes him a lot. His students are scattered around the globe and many of them – whether educators or askanim – are having a very positive effect on the Jewish People. Many called him “The greatest Rosh Yeshiva of the generation.”
Now comes the bad – sad – part. Many wondered how Rabbi Sobel was able to succeed with students with whom so many before him had failed. One of the answers is: with genuine love. He loved each student as if he were his own son and he cared for him as if he were his father. Unfortunately, since Rabbi Sobel had a serious problem (which he was apparently born with) this genuine love sometimes crossed boundaries that are taboo and led him to inappropriate behavior with several students over the years (not hundreds as I’ve already explained – and never with minors – and no one committed suicide because of him nor was anyone institutionalized because of him).
The “fabulous and well known story of how he got caught” (either in California or with his driver) is all total hogwash – as is his “method” of telling boys to lie down on the couch and tell him their problems. These were all apparently fabricated by people who find this kind of writing and reading titillating. That was not his “method.” And he was never “caught” at all. What happened was that one of his students told Rabbi Elya Svei what he had experienced with Rabbi Sobel (sorry if it’s not exciting enough for your warped imagination).
Now we come to another interesting point. Rabbi Sobel was always aware of his problem and recognized it. He tried therapy several times but, unfortunately, it did not help. On his own, he felt that perhaps he should leave chinuch. However, when he asked advice from prominent people they told him not to do so. It’s very possible that at that time (over two decades ago) they did not yet understand the severity of the problem and knew, on the other hand, how much good Rabbi Sobel was doing for the community. So they insisted that he stay.
He, however, decided that he must limit his direct contact with the students on an individual basis, and only deliver his famous, inspiring sichot to a public audience. Therefore he hired a mashgiach and eventually a menahel to do the work that he really was best cut out to do; in order to distance himself from the students. He let himself get more and more involved with fund raising and less and less in chinuch.
When he was finally told by Reb Elya Svei to leave chinuch, he immediately agreed and left quietly and with no battle a few weeks later. He then contacted a professional therapist he had met (by Hashgachah a few weeks earlier) and he proved to be the shaliach who could successfully heal him (as he had healed others before him) after many months of therapy. Rabbi Sobel was not given a clean bill of health overnight. Only three years later, the therapist was totally convinced that his patient was healed and could be trusted to return to chinuch and issued a formal letter to the Bidatz of the Edah Hachareidis who also did not rush to give Rabbi Sobel permission to return to chinuch. When they finally did, Rabbi Sobel decided on his own that he would not rush to return to formal chinuch.
Over twenty years have passed since then and Rabbi Sobel has been watched like hawks by his neighbors and acquaintances. If he had done anything wrong since then, it would be known. But, although he has had many opportunities (some of which were deliberately set up in order to test him), he passed every test. He has earned for himself the honorable status of a sincere ba’al teshuvah and he should be honored and admired, not disgraced. He should be used as an example of what a person who, unfortunately, fell should do. Psychologists say that only a small per cent of people with his problem are sincere and strong enough to straighten out and he is one of them. This is a proven fact – not like all of the other rumors collected by and from irresponsible people who have no idea of the truth. He is no danger to anyone and it is absolutely forbidden to cause his family any more anguish by publicizing what happened over two decades ago.
And, by the way, a note about teshuvah – which some bloggers seem to think is a light matter. Teshuvah is a very difficult process, if done properly. Indeed, when the Rabbeinu Yonah suggests that one who has sinned should do teshuvah as soon as possible, he writes (in Sha’arei Teshuvah, Chapter One, Os Daled) one of the reasons as being that if the yetzer hara tries to tempt him again, “He will remember how the cup of bitterness passed before him and he will not drink of it again.” We see by the fact that he calls it a “cup of bitterness” that teshuvah is no simple matter – certainly no cup of tea.
I am not aware of the particulars of Rabbi Sobel’s teshuvah, but I know that he consulted many Tzaddikim and Mekubalim about it. They prescribed many difficult things which include fasting and other means of suffering which he has been doing for the past twenty years and continues to do so.
Someone wrote how happy he is that justice may finally be served. My dear misguided friend; justice was done over twenty years ago. There isn’t a judge in the world who would not agree that Rabbi Sobel paid for his crime – big time. He was one of the most prominent Roshei Yeshiva in the world and lost it all to public, international disgrace. He fell from grace and lost the empire he had built with his own hands. Today he is a humble office worker (not a “holy rabbi” image), struggling to make a living and marry off his children (the big check was for Migdal Ohr, not for him). We should all just let him be. He has suffered enough.
Since he is a brilliant talmid chacham, many have sought ways that he may continue to teach with no danger involved. Some suggested he write his Torah and you, too, may benefit from his marvelous thoughts on the weekly parashah which are praised and recommended all over the internet. He is invited from time to time to speak for various groups and these are the ads that sometimes appear. But he is not involved in chinuch - and certainly not in Migdal Ohr.
A famous blogger wrote in a letter of June 16, 2004: “At the same time, if you or anyone else wants to provide us with documentations that prove that …(or any other of the alleged or convicted offenders on the site) took steps to not only take responsibility for wrongdoings, asked forgiveness of victims, had entered and completed treatment with a psychotherapist who has recognized experience with treating sexual offenders and who is willing to give a written letter that they are no longer posing a risk to others--we would not only be thrilled for the steps to healing taken by members of our community, but will seriously consider taking the case off the site, or moving it to a link for offenders who made “teshuvah” (not only between them and G-d but also between Adam-Lechavero) and can be models to others who erred.”
All of this applies fully to Rabbi Sobel!
In conclusion, it is Halachically and morally wrong to persecute someone who has paid for his crime and is now living an exemplary life with no danger to anyone. I implore all bloggers to place my FACTUAL report on their blogs, to set the record straight, and immediately remove all of the false rumors they have accumulated. After a while, my report too should be removed and Rabbi Sobel’s name should not be mentioned at all on any blogs. As I mentioned before, the Torah says that it is strictly forbidden to say to a baal teshuvah, “Remember your previous acts.”
Kesivah vechasimah tovah.

exposemolesters said...

It was brought to my attention from reliable sources whom i trust, that the above letter is not credible. As I am sure that R'Sobel is regretful for his actions, he must still maintain his distance away from children.

exposemolesters said...

Please come forward and email me if you went to YOB or know people that went to YOB. I am seeking to verify some information that was given to me. Everything held in total confidentiality.

Anonymous said...

the above letter is despicable. he is discussing a molester as if he was moshiach ben yosef. it is attitudes like that which create YOB size sex scandals.

exposemolesters said...

It's a disgrace that people do all they could in defending molesters, and all they could in sabotoging the victims of abuse. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of that Rasha, Yisroel Belsky?

exposemolesters said...

What do I think? The guy is an apicoreth and a phoney. He is a wannabe mobster who won't be in business too much longer. He should be put in cherem and excommunicated from our world.

Anonymous said...

forget Belsky he is small fry compared to the organized yeshiva crimeworld where the mob families of Shechter and Mandel run Brooklyn.

exposemolesters said...

Yes, belsky may be small fry compared to Shechter, Mandel, Margo, and the rest of the rabbi thugs, however he still is an apicoreth and wannabe mafiosa, who is having a negative effect on Klal Yisroel. His dirty ass must be sanitized by his permanent removel from orthedox jury (including OU). He is dangerous. The big fish mentioned above will get what they deserve surely, sooner rather than later.

Let's not forget the crime mobsters that are the Jewish Press, Hamodia, Yated etc.

With the power of reaching millions of readers, they use their clout to put headlines of low importance. G-d Forbid, if they used it to benefit the klal from protecting them from molesters, abusers, and treifa meat.

These papers of trash deserve to be held accountable for contributing to crimes against the klal and for avoiding the real issues.. and that my friends is an avlo gedola...

Anonymous said...

What exactly is uncredible about the letter about Rabbi Sobel? It seems pretty credible to me and, contrary to everyone else's comments, it appears to be written by someone who really knows the truth.
Concerning maintaining a distance from children, Rabbi Sobel seems to agree with you and, as this guy writes, didn't return to chinuch even when he was given permission by the highest halachic authorities. He seems to be working for klal yisroel in a very safe way, posing no danger to anyone. I say kudos to him for dealing with the problem properly. I wish others would learn from him

exposemolesters said...

Anon,

The author of the Sobel letter has written an excellent piece. However, a well written letter doesn't make its writings true and accurate. Obviously, the author seems to be someone who is a very good friend of Rabbi Sobel, and is doing everything possible to defend him.

At first, when I finished reading the letter, I had the same reaction as you. If you look at UOJ's blog, you will see that I was one of the very first people to defend Rabbi Sobel. I was overcome with pity and forgivness fever for him.

Yet, as I always check, verify, and confirm everything, it was brought to my attention that SEVERAL things claimed by the author of this letter was an outright lie and distortion.

Therefore, because the accuracy and credibility of this letter is very much in doubt, it makes the one who wrote it extremely suspect.

Again, I verified this letter with several sources who are credible and who know about the Sobel case, and they have rejected this letter as false and inaccurate.

In conclusion, I do hope and wish that Rabbi Sobel is a "changed man" and that ultimateley he will suffer no more. However, studies show that this sickness never goes away. Most child molesters re-offend. In that regards, it is extremely mind boggling that a "cured" offender chooses to still work as a "fundraiser" in a yeshiva. lifnei iver loy sitain michshol (do not place on obstacle in front of a blind man), why then does Rabbi Sobel still work in a yeshiva where the chances of interacting with students by virtue of his position, is still highly probable? Why not be a fundraiser where there is no access to children (especially considering Sobel's offending status)?

Why does Rabbi Sobel send Parsha sheets and torah tapes? You would think he would want to keep a low profile and not bring attention upon himself if he were truly humbled and repentant for the people he hurt so much?

Anonymous said...

As a matter of fact, I did see your reaction on UOJ as well as your exchange with Rabbi Blau, and that is the reason I wrote to you. You seem to me to be a level-headed guy who wants the truth, whatever it is.
But the difference between me and you is this: You obviously checked it out with people who are full of hate and prejudice. I checked it out with people who are unbiased: neighbors and people who worked and work with Rabbi Sobel. And they verified every single point in the letter (except, of course whether or not he is actually cured, which no one could know except, perhaps, Rabbi Sobel himself). Some of them, who know him very well, told me some details of the teshuvah he is doing, including many fasts and other things like that, and I can only say that halevai we should repent for our sins like he is for his.
But most important, I also wrote to this guy who calls himself “Adam” since he left his email address for all of us to use if we have questions. Frankly, if you had doubts about his piece, I’m surprised you didn’t contact him yourself. I know he doesn’t want to be bothered, but he does reply – although it sometimes takes him a while to do so. He seems to be a busy guy. But he does seem to be a guy who was close to Rabbi Sobel all of the years and has the real, documented facts – not lot everyone else who is living from rumors and adding his own thoughts at will. And he had answers which satisfied me completely – not like your complainers who just shoot from the hip.
“Adam” wrote me that he too was impressed at first and then disappointed at your reaction to his piece. He wrote a second piece to answer some obviously confused guy, who spent a short time at Neveh and didn’t like the place (no place is good for everyone) and left quickly. Now, he claims to be an authority and is writing things which are very obviously all mixed up. “Adam” says that he tried to send the piece to you but couldn’t find a way to get directly to you. He did send it to UOJ (where he had seen your comments) but he got back an auto-answer saying he’s on a well needed vacation (we are both assuming that you and UOJ are not the same person). He sent it to Luke who printed it but then that confused guy (who claims to be a friend of Luke) wrote a rebuttal which any half intelligent guy can see is totally inaccurate.
Anyway, I’m sending you “Adam’s” second piece which he sent me. It seems to answer all of your questions so I am reserving my comments for now. Except to say that I think the bloggers are doing a tremendous wrong to someone who is not a threat to anyone any more, whether or not he has cured (and I’m surprised that you still use the word “child” molester when it’s quite clear that he never had anything to do with any children.) You were right when you wrote: “There is no basis for continuing to knock Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel anymore. The man has clearly paid for his mistakes and deserves to be commended for his agmas nefesh in trying and succeeding in getting the help he needed.”

(Following is "Adam's" response. Please post it together with my above comments. Thank you.)

The Truth about Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel (Part 2)

I don’t usually read blogs, especially these. However, when someone brought to my attention that there was a lot of inaccurate accusations being hurled at Rabbi Sobel, I checked it out and decided to reply. Naively, I thought that if I take the time to present the facts as they really are, bloggers and their readers would be satisfied and would stop spreading misinformation and would even remove his name from the blogs completely. Therefore I decided to take the time and respond only once – although I gave my email address for anyone who might still have had some issues to deal with (and it was used by some honest people). I really did not intend to reply again since I don’t have the time, especially during this holiday season.
However, I am forced to pen my comments again.
First of all, I realize that my piece was quite long but if one is truly searching for the truth he should take the time to read it carefully. In fact, those who did were convinced of its sincerity. Those who continued to argue, repeated claims which I had already dealt with and which they apparently didn’t notice or didn’t absorb.
I have heard some argue that I am Rabbi Sobel (and what would be wrong with that? Can’t a person defend himself or are these blogs only intended for those who want to destroy others?) No, I am not Rabbi Sobel but I did check all of my facts with him (I mentioned that his reaction was that he deserves the international embarrassment and did not want me to fight it at first until I convinced him that it could hurt his innocent family more than they have already been hurt. Everyone who knows his Rebbetzin knows that she is an absolute tzadeikus and that their children are very fine. They certainly don’t deserve to have their lives destroyed because of his mistakes).
I call myself Adam Harishon because I was with Rabbi Sobel from the very beginning of this very sad parsha. I have a file of all of the events with names, dates and sometimes even the times that they occurred (many of the meetings I witnessed myself). No one can argue with me based on rumors he heard. I don’t deny that there were many, many rumors. But they are not true.
Exposemolesters was convinced until he read Rabbi Blau’s reservations. I respect Rabbi Blau for the honest, talmid chacham he is, but what actually did he say? That he heard rumors to the contrary from students and staff members. I realize that Rabbi Blau personally feels the pain very strongly, since one of Rabbi Sobel’s victims is closely related to him. Rabbi Sobel often told me that anyone who was hurt by him has the right to bear a grudge forever and never forgive him. Although he has tried to ask forgiveness from them (and offer restitution) he told me that he does not expect them to forgive him. Nevertheless, he feels that he owes it to them to humble himself before them and try to be mefayes them even if they will not accept his pius. (However, this doesn’t have to be done publicly since it is a matter strictly between him and them and is of no one else’s concern.)
Rabbi Blau does not want to believe that Rabbi Sobel was healed or that his past sins were not as great (in quantity and in quality) as he has been told or that he is no longer a threat to anyone. So he prefers to believe the rumors of unreliable people rather than the absolute truth which I have documented.
Rabbi Blau theorizes that Rabbi Sobel writes Torah on the parsha as an attempt to get back into chinuch. Actually, the opposite is true. It is because he has no hope of ever getting back into chinuch (and has never even tried), that he was told by Gedolim to share his vast Torah knowledge with those who seek it by transmitting it in a way that everyone will agree is safe: by writing. The Gedolim were right and his Torah is very popular all over the Net and his thoughts are being used by speakers in their drashos all over the world. He didn’t use a pen name, which would have been quite simple, so that it not appear that he is trying to deceive anyone. He uses his own name and those who wish to learn from him may do so and those who wish not to have the right and the ability to ignore it. But he naturally follows the advice of the Gedolim he always respected and not the suggestions of those who argue with them.
As far as his public addresses are concerned, even at the very moment that Reb Elya Svei decreed that Rabbi Sobel could not be in chinuch, he told him that he could and should continue to participate in harbotzas Torah in a safe way. He explained that he could not run a yeshiva nor be a staff member in one, because that is dangerous. However, he could be a guest speaker who comes and speaks and leaves and has no contact with his audience.
Rabbi Sobel has kept to these rules strictly, for over 20 years, despite the fact that the Bidatz and other very prominent Rabbis gave him written permission to go back into chinuch after they were convinced that he had, indeed, been healed and was no longer a threat to the students whom they cared about no less than the bloggers and their readers.
On another blog, a former student of Neveh (I’m pretty sure I know who he is) had the audacity to argue that what I am writing is not true and that he has the real facts, which he admits himself are based on rumors. Once again, I am not saying that he is lying – I believe that he heard these things said – but that does not make them true. Although he wants us to depend on his reliability (and perhaps Rabbi Blau would), he doesn’t even know the name of the yeshiva. He repeats the often mistaken claim that Neveh Yehoshua was renamed Neveh Zion after Rabbi Sobel left, in an effort to hide its identity. Anyone who knows anything about the basic history of the yeshiva knows that it was named Neveh Yehoshua when it was founded by Itri in 1977 on Moshav Bet Yehoshua, and was renamed Neveh Zion 4 years later, in 1981, when it became independent of Itri and moved to Telz-Stone. In 1985, Rabbi Sobel left.
He further claims that he knows better what kind of boy the yeshiva was made for – troubled teenagers – and tells a story about a student who left to Diaspora and spoke against Rabbi Sobel but was not heeded.
Anyone who learned in Neveh and attended the very first orientation (as well as the initial interviews before being accepted) knows of the “I.E.s” = “Instant Expulsion.” One of them was drugs. As a matter of fact, the boy he is referring to was sent away because he used drugs and that’s why he went to Diaspora Yeshiva where it was tolerated. Of course he was angry at Rabbi Sobel for sending him away and spoke against him then. But he straightened out over the years and today runs a program to train avraichim for Kiruv in Chutz La’aretz – AND HE INVITED RABBI SOBEL TO SPEAK FOR THEM, SEVERAL TIMES! Does that tell you anything?
He also argues that Rabbi Sobel didn’t leave willingly. He claims that there were many newspaper outcries demanding that he leave.
I’m not sure on what planet he, or anyone, saw these newspapers. Rabbi Blau himself mentioned that there was absolutely no media coverage – and that is the truth. Rabbi Sobel left so quickly and quietly (a few days after he spoke with Rav Shach on Shushan Purim) that most people had no idea why he had left. The rumor was that he had embezzled money from the yeshiva.
He continues to argue that Rabbi Sobel comes from Baltimore because “we all heard it.” Unfortunately, in spite of what he heard and how many times, Rabbi Sobel never studied there nor taught there. I’m sorry if the facts disagree with the rumors and he chooses to believe the rumors.
He insists that Rabbi Sobel was indeed caught with his driver – whom he knows personally. Well, I know him personally too. First of all, he didn’t have “A driver.” No driver could last more than one day of his unbelievable hectic schedule – from early morning till late at night – and he had a different driver every day. Yes, it is true that some of the (few – less than 10) guys he got involved with drove him around occasionally, but they were never caught - period! One of his victims went to Rabbi Svei and exposed him. I know the guy and I know what he said. That’s it. Sorry, but no dramatics.
And as far as LA is concerned, hey, I am the one who made all of the arrangements for his stay in LA. I know every house he was at and everything that went on there. And he was not caught anywhere! (I understand how this rumor may have gotten started since right after he met with Rav Svei he went to LA, and then the story began to break in some places so they probably assumed that something must have happened in LA which caused it. But the driver story is total hogwash.)
But you know what; all of this is totally irrelevant. If you want to believe that his past was much worse than it actually was; go ahead and believe what you want. I won’t confuse you with the facts if you’ve already made up your mind.
If you want to believe that he was not healed; go ahead and continue to be choshed him. Never come too close to him if you think it’s dangerous.
But you cannot argue with the fact that today he is not a threat to any student anywhere and no one has to be warned. He has not even attempted to get back into chinuch since he left Neveh over 20 years ago and I challenge everyone to find one person who will say, “Yeah, he called me and asked if he could teach in my yeshiva,” or anything like that. No one is discussing whether or not he should be trusted again with children. That is not the issue at all. He is supporting his family by helping Klal Yisroel in a way that is healthy and safe and we should use him as an example of what we expect other people in his situation to do.
Someone asked why Rabbi Sobel works in the office of a yeshiva where he is subject to maris ayin? I guess he didn’t read what I wrote last time. He is not in a building where the office is downstairs and the students are upstairs. He works in Jerusalem where only the administrative offices are – 2 hours away from the campus where the children are. He has zero to do with them and there isn’t any maris ayin for anyone who has proper vision! Every news article put up on the blogs declared that he is a FUND RAISER who works IN THE OFFICES IN JERUSALEM. He has nothing to do with the students or the campers or even the staff of the school.
As for why he chose this profession, I will tell you something interesting. Anyone who heard his very marvelous sichot (which guys came from all around Israel to hear) must have heard him say many times that a person should dedicate his life to Torah. The best way, he said, is by learning and teaching. But if one cannot or does not want to do that, there are plenty of other ways of proliferating Torah; by supporting it or being an askan or the like. Then he would say, “If I could not teach Torah, I would raise funds for a yeshiva that does!”
At the time, we thought he was just making a point. Years later, in retrospect, we realized that he had apparently been planning to leave chinuch because of his problem and was preparing for his next undertaking in life to which he would dedicate himself fully for the sake of Torah.
There is absolutely no heter in the world to embarrass his family in public and make them problems concerning shidduchim and the like. It is not our job to punish anyone or take revenge for sins of the past. That is solely Hashem’s department. If someone is a danger to society we must protect them from him (according to the ways the Torah allows) but that is not the case here.
Someone complained about my suggestion that embarrassing a person is worse than the sin he committed, and said that the rabbis made this rule up to protect themselves. Listen sir, I quoted a Gemara that Dovid Hamelech said that embarrassing him in public is worse than committing adultery with someone else’s wife. If you don’t believe in Chazal then I have nothing to discuss with you. I thought that these blogs involved religious, believing people. If I was mistaken then I’m really wasting my time here.
I appeal to all bloggers to recognize the truth of my words and ignore rumors which were spread by slanderers. If anyone needs more clarification from the man who knows the truth, my email address is hamashgiach@yahoo.com I think that it would be a big zechus for Yom Kippur if the story of Rabbi Sobel’s unfortunate past were removed from all blogs since it is not relevant to anyone at all today.
Gemar chasimah tovah.

exposemolesters said...

Anon,

Thanks for writing on the Sobel letter.
You Write:

"But the difference between me and you is this: You obviously checked it out with people who are full of hate and prejudice. I checked it out with people who are unbiased: neighbors and people who worked and work with Rabbi Sobel. And they verified every single point in the letter (except, of course whether or not he is actually cured, which no one could know except, perhaps, Rabbi Sobel himself)"

I checked it out with people who know the facts period. Weather some of the people I checked it out with are "disgusted" or "prejudiced" as you are implying, is outright wrong. Are they disgusted by Rabbi's that abuse children or even adults? Of course they are, which normal and sane person wouldn't be (I could name some rabonim who care not one iota, but let us save it for now)? That does not make them prejudiced, it makes them real. As far as you checking it out with Rabbi Sobel's friends, neighbors and the people he works or worked with, does that not sound prejudiced and biased to you, using your own argument?

You also write:

"Anyway, I’m sending you “Adam’s” second piece which he sent me. It seems to answer all of your questions so I am reserving my comments for now. Except to say that I think the bloggers are doing a tremendous wrong to someone who is not a threat to anyone any more, whether or not he has cured (and I’m surprised that you still use the word “child” molester when it’s quite clear that he never had anything to do with any children.)"

Don't you think if Rabbi Sobel is not cured it could pose a great danger to other students or bucharim? You admit twice that there is no way of knowing if Sobel is cured or not, that in itself is reason to monitor the situation and alert the public.

Contrary to your belief, bloggers are doing a tremndous chesed in saving Jewish neshamas (more than any gadol hador you want to name). Of course bloggers must blog responsibly, and I believe that most of them have).

As far as sending parsha sheets and torah tapes i disagree with it totally. Someone who is doing sincere tshuva shall not go out of his way in this manner. Rabbi Sobel should not be bringing attention upon himself. He should be keeping a low profile and stay out of the public's eye. There is plenty of torah out there and I do not think we will go crazy without sobels tapes and parsha sheets. Could you imaging one of Sobel's victims coming across these Parsha Sheets or torah Tapes, wouldn't that bring back all sorts of bad memories? Isn't that something you should care about? That would just not be justice for the victims having to relive their horrors.

Rabbi Sobel it seems, is seeking advice from gedolei hador who don't even know how to even address the Rabbi abuse problem in general. Perhaps he should seek guidance from a trusted proffessional in their field, such as a Phsycatrist and Psycologist. The rabonim clearly have no clue on how to proceed with such delicate issues. The rabonim are busy calling us bloggers "evil" and calling for us to "sweep it under the rug". For goodness sake, wake up and smell the coffee.

Perhaps my advice you and Rabbi Sobel is this. Get a respected person who is experienced in sexual abuse to come out and declare that Rabbi Sobel is no longer a threat or danger to anyone. (I guarantee you no such proffessional will make that claim, becuase history shows that it is most likely they will re-offend).

In closing i say this:

Does it seem that Rabbi Sobel is sincere in doing tshuva? I believe yes. Is he seeking advice from the wrong people? I believe yes. Is Rabbi Sobel going to re-offend? It is very possible. Do the public have a right to know about Rabbi Sobel? Absolutely.

I wish you and Rabbi Sobel the best. May Hasehm be with you.

Afreilichen Chanukah!

The Half-Heretic said...

I was in Neveh Zion in 1984/85, and remember what happened with R. Sobel at the time. Frankly, I never liked him, personally. I thought he was a bit too full of himself, with his video cameras and the microphones that came down from the ceiling of his office. I always wondered what his deal was.

All that said, I gotta say that Adam's comments aren't completely out of line with what I remember.

The events were, from a student's (at least this student's) perspective, very confusing. I was a first-year guy at the time. I remember rumors that R. Sobel was being kicked out of the yeshiva started flying. I remember The Mash (R. Yisroel Blumenfeld, Shlita) calling everyone into the Beis Medrash, and telling us that R. Sobel had to leave the yeshiva, and that he had spoken to R. Shach about it. The Mash never told us exactly why R. Sobel had to leave, and there was much speculation about it. Rumors started flying, including the ones about his driver (and who the driver was) and others. The Beis Medrash guys were in an uproar. Many of them were visibly angry, and were seen darting in and out of the Beis Medrash, packing up their s'forim, and leaving in a huff. Most of those, I never saw again. Some of these were the only people I remember hearing talking of fighting it. I personally don't even recall R. Sobel ever coming back "up the hill."

There were a few guys crying. Everything was very confusing. I remember feeling that I was lucky because I had never liked him anyway, so I wasn't hurt. But some guys were really affected. I know for a fact that there were some guys who completely left "the derech" afterwards, including at least one Beis Medrash guy from that time.

I do disagree with Adam's point about Neveh not taking "troubled teens." It's true, they didn't take kids with deep psychological problems, and there were the I.E.'s (I think I broke every one of them), but Neveh took in the kids other places wouldn't. The kids who went through the "Day School System", and were totally turned off to Torah. The terms, "troubled teens" and "teens at risk" didn't really exist yet, per se, but the kids Neveh took were often very much at risk.

I also wanted to comment on some other articles I've seen written out there in cyberspace about R. Sobel. Adam's right - some of them make major historical mistakes. One of the most often found, when doing a Google search on "Ben Zion Sobel," says a whole bunch of things that are just flat-out wrong.

It's been over 20 years since those events happened, and I've never written about them before. I still don't think highly of R. Sobel. I wouldn't want him anywhere near my kids, and I'm not likely to start downloading his Torah thoughts. I certainly haven't kept in contact with him, and I have no idea whether he's as repentant as Adam says. But when I contrast Adam's cogent and historically accurate account of what I remember myself to be true, against what I know to be inaccurate accounts; when I read things written as fact, that I knew were early rumors back then, with no corroboration from The Mash or any other Neveh staffers, I have to say that Adam's account is just more plausible to me.

Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see Rabbonim who are actively involved and still running Yeshiva Neveh Zion today, continuing to live in denial more than 20 years after Rabbi Sobel sodomized young, innocent, and vulnerable children, by posting such ridiculous defenses to his despicable actions. "Adam" is a Neveh Rebbe who continues to defend all of his bad decision making over the past 30 years. When "Adam" will be big enough to admit that he and all the other Rabbanim care more about protecting their personal livlihoods than about destroying another Jewish person's life, maybe he will see fit to post an apology to all of Rabbi Sobel's victims who are forever haunted by his criminal behavior.

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It is unfortunate that it has come to this. It is a big darn shame it has come to this. It is very hurtful that it has come to this. But yet, IT HAS COME TO THIS. It has come at the price of a GREAT CHILUL HASHEM. It has come to Hashem having to allow his holy name to be DESECRATED so that his CHILDREN remain SAFE. Shame on all those responsible for enabling and permitting Hashem's name to be desecrated! When you save children you save the future. You save the future you save generations. You save generations you save lives. You save lives you have saved the world!!!!!!!