Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Mondrowitz Case

From Vos Iz Neias----

Brooklyn, NY - Lawyer Asks AG Mukasey To Intervene In Mondrowitz Case

Brooklyn, NY - Michael Lesher, an attorney who has pursued the Mondrowitz case for more than ten years, and who now represents six men who are among the hundreds of Mondrowitz's alleged victims, has written to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to inform him of the critical posture of the case. The Justice Department, headed by Mukasey, is actively seeking Mondrowitz's extradition, which was ordered by Israel in November 2007 but which Mondrowitz appealed to Israel's Supreme Court.

Lesher, who says he has never been paid for any of his work on this case, wrote to inform Mukasey that the arguments Mondrowitz presented to a panel of the Supreme Court on December 8 -- which seemed to be favorably received by at least one of the three judges -- were clearly contrary to the law and the facts of the case, in Lesher's opinion. His letter cites legal precedents and a previously unpublished document which allegedly disproves Mondrowitz's claim that the current extradition request is untimely.

Lesher expresses particular concern about the idea discussed at the December 8 hearing of trying Mondrowitz in Israel instead of Brooklyn, where all of the crimes for which he was indicted were allegedly committed. Based on documents he has obtained over ten years of research and FOIA appeals, Lesher argues that having Mondrowitz tried thousands of miles away from his alleged victims "would likely result in a grossly inadequate sentence, which would hardly serve the interests of justice -- or of the victims." He notes that Mondrowitz was indicted for thirteen counts of first-degree sodomy and first-degree child abuse, among other charges.

The Attorney General has not responded to the letter. The only American politician that has made any comment about the Mondrowitz case, is Brooklyn Asmblyman Dov Hikind who released the following press release:

“I am deeply disappointed by the recent reports that Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz may not be extradited from Israel to the United States to stand trial for his heinous and criminal actions. This development is a great set-back in the war on sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.

The Supreme Court of Israel should reconsider their decision to give state prosecutors additional time to determine if Mondrowitz can instead be tried in Israel, where he will surely face a lesser sentence.

"I urge the Israeli authorities to cooperate with Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes to set the proceedings back on course to ensure that this pedophile will finally be brought to justice. After 25 years, the Mondrowitz victims deserve no less.” said Hikind.

Letter Of MICHAEL LESHER, ESQ To AG Mukasey On The Mondrowitz Case==================================================================

Michael Lesher Says:

I'm pleased to see this post. Maybe readers would like some contact information in case they have comments for public officials involved in this case:

Brooklyn D.A.'s office, sex crimes unit head: and Orthodox community liaison:

U.S. State Department, the public communication division phone: 202-647-6575. The main switchboard is 202-647-4000.

Israel's Ministry of Justice, public inquiries fax: 011-972-2-646-6357.

Israel's High Court, Public Affairs Department. Phone is 011-972-2-675-9612 and 011-972-2-675-9613. I believe their email address is: and the fax number is 011-972-2-651-3191. Bear in mind it's not proper to try to influence judges, but people can certainly express their interest in the case and in continuing to follow it.

Tizku l'mitzvos.


Last update - 00:00 10/02/2008

Court rules to extradite alleged U.S. serial molester Mondrowitz

By Ofra Edelman, Haaretz Correspondent

Alleged child molester Avrohom Mondrowitz can be extradited to the United States, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Sunday.

Mondrowitz, a member of the Ger Hassidic sect in Brooklyn who posed as a rabbi and psychologist specializing in treating troubled children, fled to Israel in 1984 as New York law enforcement authorities were preparing to arrest him.

In 1985 he was charged with sodomy and other sex crimes against five minors, aged 9 to 15, from the ultra-Orthodox community in Brooklyn. The case first came to light after a report in Haaretz Magazine (November 17, 2007).

The U.S. Justice Department twice applied for his extradition, but legal hurdles prevented this until now. The first extradition request was denied because at the time, 22 years ago, sodomy was not an extraditable offense under the IsraeliAmerican extradition treaty.

The treaty was amended in January 2007, making it possible to extradite anyone who has been charged with a crime that carries more than a one-year prison sentence.

The U.S. submitted a second extradition request in September 2007, and two months later Mondrowitz was arrested in Jerusalem.

In Sunday's court decision, Judge Nava Ben Or ruled that since legal reasons prevented bringing Mondrowitz to justice, the statute of limitations on the crime with which he was charged stopped running the moment Mondrowitz arrived in Israel.

With the statute of limitations still valid, she ruled, he can be extradited to the U.S.

Related articles:
  • Court rules alleged U.S. pedophile Mondrowitz must stay in custody
  • 'I planned to murder Mondrowitz'
  • ===================================================================

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Extradition of Abraham Mondrowitz Approved by Israeli Court

    An Israeli court recently approved extradition to the U.S. of an American Orthodox Jew, according to the Justice Ministry.[1] Abraham Mondrowitz, a member of the Gur Hasidic Jewish sect, was wanted on suspicion of multiple sexual attacks that occurred over twenty years ago.[2] Mondrowitz, now 60, was arrested in Jerusalem in November of 2007 for the alleged abuse of a number of children at his home in Brooklyn, New York which also doubled as his private clinic.[3] He fled to Israel in 1985 while police were still investigating him for these charges.[4]

    Moshe Cohen, the spokesman for the Israeli Justice Ministry, noted that while the Jerusalem District Court had approved the extradition order, Mondrowitz still retains the right to appeal.[5] The final decision on whether to extradite Mondrowitz will ultimately be made by the State, according to Court spokeswoman Tal Rosner.[6]

    In September of 2007, the United States resubmitted an extradition request for Mondrowitz that was originally made a few months after he had fled New York for Israel in 1985.[7] According to the Israeli state prosecutor's office this renewed U.S. request follows the amending of the extradition treaty between Israel and the United States to include those crimes whose punishment is more than one year imprisonment.[8] Prior to the change, which took effect last year, sodomy was not included in the extradition treaty between Israel and the United States.[9]

    For an individual to be extradited the offense charged must be a crime in both the country requesting extradition as well as the country to which such request is made.[10] To fulfill this obligation, it is not required that the name of the offense allegedly committed in a foreign country nor its elements be identical to the name and/or elements of a similar offense in the United States.[11] It is sufficient that the conduct involved is criminal in both the requesting and requested countries.[12] If the particular crimes alleged are criminal in both jurisdictions than any dual criminality provision in the applicable treaty is satisfied.[13]

    Federal criminal defense attorney Douglas McNabb has written extensively on extradition law and has been quoted in articles pertaining to the case of Abraham Mondrowitz. Some of Mr. McNabb’s articles on International Extradition law can be found here. For further information on the Mondrowitz case click here.

    The Awareness Center is the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA)

    Case of Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, M.Sc., Ph.D., L.N.H.A

    (AKA: Abraham Mondrowitz, Avraham Mondrowitz, Avremel Mondrowitz)

    This page is dedicated to all of those who were sexually victimized by Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz; and also a dedication to those who lost their lives as a result of the crimes committed against them.

    Born - Poland

    Tel Aviv, Israel

    Chicago, IL

    Psychologist, Ohel Childrens and Family Services - Brooklyn, NY

    Fundraiser, Jerusalem College of Technology - Jerusalem, Israel

    December 3, 1984 -- Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman's office said Mondrowitz was named in an arrest warrant charging him with two counts of sex abuse". At the time, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz worked in special education school for boys in Brooklyn, that had connections with Ohel Children and Family Services in Brooklyn, New York. He was responsible for about 20-25 young children who already had either emotional problems and/or learning disabilities.

    October 11, 2007 -- Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes finally signed papers requesting the U.S. Justice Department extradite Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz back to the United States. Fled to Israel months after charges were first brought up against him twenty-three years ago.

    November 16, 2007 -- Israeli police arrested Avrohom Mondrowitz, a Gur Hasid who was suspected of sexually abusing children in the United States was arrested pending extradition orders to the U.S.

    November 18, 2007 - At the extraditon Hearing for Alleged Serial Child Molester, Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz, the judge extended Mondrowitz's detention until November 27, at which point he will decide whether Mondrowitz will remain in jail or be placed under house arrest. Mondrowitz's attorney, David Ofek, said he plans to appeal the decision to keep Mondrowitz in custody.

    November 29, 2007 - The Israeli Minister of Justice released that Mondrowitz's extradition case is being handled by the Department of International Affairs of the Office of the State Attorney (prosecutors Nili Gesser and Marlene Mazel-Herskowitz) and in cooperation with the Israeli Police's Interpol Department.

    Avrohom Mondrowitz is originally from Chicago, the son of a highly respected rabbi.

    Mondrowitz, who was born in Poland in 1947, relocated as a child to Tel Aviv and later moved with his family to Chicago. He is the son of a prominent rabbi. In the late 1970's Mondrowitz moved to Brooklyn, NY in the late 1970s and presented himself to Orthodox educational institutions as a rabbi and clinical psychologist.

    While in New York Modrwoitz provided psychological treatment to children from the mixed Jewish-Italian Borough Park neighborhood where he lived. He also opened a yeshiva for children with behavioral problems.

    Four children, all from Italian families and all neighbors of Mondrowitz, complained of sexual abuse perpetrated by Mondrowitz. Jewish victims also eventually testified against him, but only after the statute of limitations had expired.

    In 1985, a New York State court charged Mondrowitz with eight counts of child abuse in the first degree, endangering the welfare of a child and five counts of sodomy in the first degree.

    Mondrowitz and his family fled to Jerusalem after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

    At the time of the indictment, sodomy of boys was not an extraditable crime, since it was not defined as rape under Israeli law. In 1988, the Knesset changed that law, apparently opening the way for Mondrowitz's extradition.


    Silence of the Lam
    Accused of Sexually Abusing Young Boys, a Brooklyn Rabbi Lit for Israel 22 Years Ago. Now One Alleged Victim Wants Him Brought Back for Trial

    By Kristen Lombardi
    The Village Voice
    July 25, 2006,lombardi,73955,2.html

    Abe vividly remembers that wall. The "bragging wall," as he's come to call it, was crammed with certificates and diplomas. He remembers fixating on that wall as the Hasidic psychologist advised him on how to be a good boy. He fixated on it, too, when the psychologist sat beside him, the man's hand shoved down his pants, stroking Abe's genitals.

    Abe was eight years old, the defiant son of a devout Orthodox Jewish family who was sent to the child psychologist in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Every Sunday for four months in 1984, he'd go for counseling in the modest house on 60th Street. Sessions started with talk of his behavior—his mischief at home, his disobedience at yeshiva. Goals were set, rewards promised. Then, Abe alleges, the psycho- logist's hand would be in his underwear.

    "He would fondle and play with my genitals," says Abe, now a thirtyish businessman not willing to publish his last name. For this former Borough Park resident, whose Orthodox faith taught him to revere elders, the encounters were devastating. "I felt very odd, ashamed. I didn't know what to think."

    Out of the shadows: Abe asked the Brooklyn D.A. to reopen the case against Rabbi Mondrowitz.
    Photo by Tacy Kranitz

    Abe hid the abuse for two decades, not telling a soul, yearning to get on with life. Until, in May, he discovered what had happened to the man he claims molested him: He got away.

    That child psychologist was Avrohom Mondrowitz, Abe says, the same one charged with sexually abusing four Brooklyn boys in February 1985. Once a popular radio host whose Orthodox audience had known him as "Rabbi," Mondrowitz skipped town before police could arrest him. He surfaced later in Israel, where he's lived for two decades. (Mondrowitz, now 58 and reportedly in Jerusalem, could not be reached for comment.)

    Abe isn't one of those four boys. He stopped his sessions in the summer of 1984, never to see Mondrowitz again. All these years, he's had no idea his alleged abuser was indicted for molesting kids, on charges that included sodomy. Abe learned of the outstanding case from a mention in a May 22 New York article about an ultra-Orthodox rabbi accused of sexual abuse.

    Seeing the name in print left Abe stunned. He went online, discovering postings about the self-styled rabbi on sites for Jewish survivors of sexual abuse. Reeling, he contacted an attorney. And last month, he identified himself as a victim to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

    Explains Abe, "I could tell this guy was guilty as heck and I had to do something. He needs to be brought to justice."

    The D.A.'s office confirms that Abe appeared at its Jay Street headquarters in June. Prosecutors interviewed him and recorded his complaints. Hynes can do little about the allegations because they fall outside the five-year statute of limitations for sex offenses, according to Rhonnie Jaus, chief of the sex crimes bureau. All Hynes can do is try to use Abe's testimony as supporting evidence against Mondrowitz at trial.

    Jaus maintains that Hynes is still pursuing the 1985 case. The indictment against Mondrowitz is pending; her bureau remains in touch with the original victims, now in their thirties.

    "We stand ready, willing, and able to prosecute him for his heinous crimes," Jaus states. "If he returns to this country, we would arrest him. We would prosecute him. We would do everything we could to achieve justice in this case."

    But there's a lot more Hynes could be doing to achieve justice, it seems. The one person who can reopen the push for extradition is the Brooklyn D.A.; he calls the Justice Department, Justice calls State, State calls Israel. That's how it works. Michael Lesher, the New Jersey attorney who represents Abe, believes Hynes could force Mondrowitz to stand trial, if only Hynes would take a more aggressive stance. Past efforts to extradite Mondrowitz failed only because of a technicality. Under a 1962 treaty, the United States and Israel have agreed "reciprocally to deliver up persons found in its territory who have been charged with . . . offenses mentioned [and] committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the other." This U.S.-Israel extradition treaty lists 31 crimes, including rape. You might think the sodomy charges against Mondrowitz would fit that category. In 1985, though, Israeli law defined rape narrowly as "having sexual intercourse with a woman without her free consent." Oral and anal raping of boys—among the acts of which Mondrowitz is accused—weren't crimes by Israeli standards.

    Today, that loophole has been all but closed. Israel has amended its rape law to recognize males as potential victims, making the act of forcible sodomy a crime punishable by 20 years in prison. Lesher argues the change opens the door to revisit the case. "In theory," he says, "there's no reason for Hynes not to request extradition."

    Extradition lawyers second his opinion. Richard Bierschbach, who teaches criminal law at Cardozo Law School and who has worked on such cases, tells the Voice, "I think he would be extraditable now." Changing the law, he says, effectively changed the treaty. Courts have ruled that modifications to treaties can be applied retroactively, without violating a fugitive's due-process rights. "You can say with a fair degree of confidence that sodomy is now an extraditable offense."

    Even Mondrowitz's attorney suggests that extradition isn't out of the question. Reached in his Tel Aviv office, David Ofek says he didn't believe the charges against his client when defending him in the 1980s, and he doesn't now, calling them "all lies." Mondrowitz has not been charged with a crime in Israel. Nor has anyone accused him of child molestation there. In a heavy accent, Ofek adds, "I found him to be a marvelous and gentle person, and I don't think he's touched a child."

    Still, Ofek acknowledges that sodomy is a crime equal to rape in Israel—one that, in general, is extraditable. "It's a very serious crime," he says, "and we don't like people like that."

    So does that mean his client could be extradited? "After 20 years," he tells the Voice, "try to do it."

    Mondrowitz was a celebrity to start, a Hasidic Frasier of sorts, hosting the call-in program Life Is for Living at the now defunct WNYN radio station, doling out advice over the airwaves. But in a five-page criminal indictment, prosecutors painted Mondro-witz as an insatiable abuser who allegedly preyed on four boys, ages nine to 15, over four years. The 13 counts against him include eight of sexual abuse in the first degree, five of sodomy in the first degree.

    The indictment may tell only a fraction of the story, says Sal Catalfumo. Now retired, he was the main sex crimes detective who investigated Mondrowitz for four months beginning in November 1984, when the Brooklyn South precinct got an anonymous tip about a rabbi. "There were a lot of kids and a lot of allegations," he says.

    Catalfumo identified about a dozen victims to then Brooklyn D.A. Elizabeth Holtzman, whose office pressed charges on the four strongest cases. He had interviewed dozens more, he says. Initially, investigators had suspected Mondrowitz singled out Orthodox Jewish children who attended his special-education class at a Foster Avenue yeshiva or his child-counseling practice on 60th Street. Catalfumo says he ended up discovering victims from Italian Catholic families living on the same street as Mondrowitz did. Some served as altar boys at a nearby church. Others played with his seven kids. Two were prepubescent sons of Catalfumo's former high school classmate.

    "Children told me and my partner that he would be molesting them in one room while their parents would be waiting in the next," Catalfumo recalls. When police searched the office, he says, they uncovered child pornography in the desk drawers.

    By the time police had drawn up an arrest warrant, in December 1984, Catalfumo says, "The guy was gone. He escaped, and he's never had to face the music." All these years later, the former investigator cannot quite put this unresolved case behind him. He cannot quite forget about those, like Abe, who claim to be victims.

    Confides Catalfumo, "Personally, I'd like to catch this guy. He shouldn't be able to evade prosecution for the rest of his life."

    The Mondrowitz case has also haunted Abe's attorney. Lesher's made a lonely campaign out of researching it, filing freedom-of-information requests to obtain classified records. Beginning in 1999, he spent two years collecting documents from the U.S. State and Justice departments chronicling the feds' battle to extradite the fugitive—a battle that stops in 1993, courtesy of Hynes. Lesher shared his files with the Voice for this article. (The Justice Department declined to comment on the case, referring questions to State; its spokesperson refused even to speak generally about the U.S.-Israel extradition treaty.)

    The paper trail starts just as the indictment was about to come down. In January 1985, according to the records, D.A. Holtzman's office began pushing the feds to bring Mondrowitz back to Brooklyn for trial, calling the Justice Department. Two months later, her office made a formal request for "the provisional arrest in Israel of Avrohom Mondrowitz." Prosecutors sent along materials for extradition in September, and kept in contact with their federal counterparts for the next two years. Internal records suggest that Washington officials felt substantial pressure from Holtzman.

    "Natives of Brooklyn are becoming restless," reads one February 1986 memorandum, "and we are receiving calls from Kings County District Attorney's Office."

    Another cable, dated November 1986, reports that the Israeli official on the case "has from time to time been in telephonic communication directly with the prosecutor's office in New York City to discuss the matter."

    Yet another, from March 1987: "Relay the gist of this development to prosecuting attorney handling this case [who] had phoned on February 17."

    Now a Manhattan attorney specializing in government relations, Holtzman declined to discuss her office's efforts to seek extradition. "I can tell you that we didn't sit on cases like that in my office," she says.

    Still, these early requests were stymied. As early as 1985, Israeli officials had informed the U.S. that rape, under Israeli law, didn't cover sodomy. "The Mondrowitz case as presented cannot be acted upon under the terms of the existing U.S.-Israel extradition agreement," states an April 1985 cable.

    Federal officials got creative and asked Israel to consider expelling Mondrowitz, then an American citizen on a tourist visa. For years, the case sat in a kind of legal limbo.

    And then, in February 1987, after a change in leadership, the Israeli Interior Ministry ordered Mondrowitz deported to Brooklyn. Ofek appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, asking for a stay and seeking access to the U.S. extradition package. It included four affidavits from John Doe victims. It also included a letter, purportedly written by a Borough Park social worker, charging that Mondrowitz had infected 28 boys with HIV/AIDS. The claim would be stunning now; back then, it was made more so by the fact that so many people didn't understand the virus.

    "When you say, 20 years ago, that the man had infected children with AIDS, it means that the man would kill children," Ofek says. There were no drug cocktails in 1987. Not many hospitals in Israel could administer an HIV test. Eventually, Ofek says, his client found one. The results came back negative. The court threw out the deportation order. "The United States wanted extradition and the Israeli government wanted to deport him—and I stopped it."

    To hear Hynes's office tell it now, extradition represents the one barrier to prosecuting this case. Just last May, Jaus says, her bureau reviewed its files and consulted with Israeli legal authorities, as well as federal officials. The verdict? "Under the current treaty," she reports, "he is charged with a non- extraditable offense."

    Or not. In 1988, Israel amended its rape law to cover the act of homosexual rape. Internal federal letters make note of the change, urging a second look at extradition.

    "An amendment to the Israeli penal code . . . presents us, we believe, with an opportunity to reopen the extradition case of Avrohom Mondrowitz," reads one March 1988 telegram from the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department in Washington, D.C.

    Interestingly, no records show that federal officials called Holtzman to relay the news. And there is nothing to suggest that her office was keeping abreast of the developments, or even knew about the change. Just when the U.S. may have gained proper grounds to extradite Mondrowitz, the paper trail fades.

    But if Holtzman missed a key opportunity, Hynes has apparently plain sat on the case. He became the D.A. in 1990. In the federal file, there is no record of any activity from Hynes on the matter until 1993, when Justice officials called his office. That's when he all but dropped the case—approving a decision to end extradition attempts for good.

    As one September 1993 Justice Department letter details, prosecutors "contacted our office and advised that they would not be pursuing the case any further at this time."

    "Hynes has never been hot to extradite Mondrowitz," charges Lesher. Why would Hynes allow a fugitive to evade prosecution through an old loophole, especially when a new victim has come forward to testify? "It's a compelling argument," observes Mary- ellen Fullerton, who teaches international criminal law at Brooklyn Law School. "If I were the Brooklyn D.A., I'd consider it."

    Bruce Zagaris, an extradition lawyer in Washington, D.C., notes that the U.S.-Israel treaty is being updated, and that the new protocol would make it even easier to deliver up someone, like Mondrowitz, whose alleged acts haven't fallen neatly into the list of specified offenses. The protocol would replace the list with a provision defining any offense extraditable "as long as the crime is punishable by one year or more and as long as it's a crime in both countries."

    So, Zagaris offers, "Yes, I'd say this guy is extraditable. And under this new protocol, there is even more of a chance that he could be."

    At the very least, argues Bierschbach, the Cardozo professor, "you cannot flat-out say that he's not extraditable. You can make the argument, but it's weak."

    Even so, Hynes spokesperson Jerry Schmetterer maintains, flatly: "After reviewing the files and consulting with authorities, our position remains that under the current treaty, Mondrowitz cannot be extradited. . . . He was charged with sodomy and the treaty has changed. It's our position this change is not retroactive."

    Told that experts say otherwise, he snaps, "That's fine. You write your story. This is the position of the district attorney."

    Maybe Hynes has his own reasons for not pushing extradition. In Brooklyn politics, the Orthodox community can wield considerable influence. Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf explains, "They vote, and they vote in large numbers often." He estimates that the Orthodox population accounts for some 30 percent of the borough's electorate, from Williamsburg to Crown Heights, Borough Park, Flatbush, and Midwood. Especially in ultra-Orthodox areas, rabbis tend to pick candidates and congregants cast votes accordingly.

    "The rabbis are very important because they tell their followers who to get behind," says Sheinkopf. For a politician, he says, that means "you have to play to them."

    Hynes has worked hard to court the community over the years. In 1990, he became the first D.A. in the city to convene a Jewish advisory council, which kept leaders abreast of cases involving Jewish defen-dants or complainants. The council is now defunct, says Schmetterer, replaced by the office's full-time liaison to the Hasidic community, Henna White, herself a Lubavitcher. (He refused to let the Voice interview White for this article, saying, "It wouldn't be her place to talk about this case.") Hynes has been commended for launching such initiatives as Project Eden, a Hasidic-sanctioned program that reaches out to ultra-Orthodox victims of domestic violence.

    Aaron Twerski, the dean of Hofstra Law School and a former council member, describes Hynes's relationship to the Orthodox community as "quite positive." He explains, "Hynes is a presence in the community. He's been responsive."

    But Hynes has bumped up against the community before. The most dramatic example came in 1999, when the D.A.'s office charged a prominent Hasidic rabbi named Bernard Freilich with witness tampering and intimidation for allegedly making death threats against an Orthodox woman who was to testify in a sex-abuse case. The community reacted with fury, organizing demonstrations, accusing Hynes of anti-Semitism. Freilich wound up acquitted at a 2000 trial.

    Lesher says the D.A. has a habit of backing down from prosecutions that Orthodox rabbinical leaders would rather handle themselves. He has researched two instances where the D.A. initiated criminal proceedings against accused Hasidic abusers, only to let them fizzle. In each, he notes, "it was community opposition that spelled the difference."

    With Mondrowitz, the Orthodox community hasn't exactly clamored for justice. No one dared talk publicly about the scandal when it broke. Catalfumo says rabbis refused to answer questions, parents refused to file complaints. Even those who wanted to see Mondrowitz punished—or dead—wouldn't cooperate with authorities, the detective says, for fear their kids would become tainted by a trial.

    Catalfumo doubts the D.A. would do anything to upset the Orthodox community today, and he doubts the community would want to revisit the case. "Let's face it, I don't think they're interested in seeing this surface again," he says. Indeed, Orthodox rabbis and politicians who remember the Mondrowitz case declined to talk about it with the Voice. One Borough Park resident with ties to the same Hasidic sect as Mondrowitz offered this opinion: "Once a case has been put to sleep, it's best to leave it alone."

    Twerski, of Hofstra, advocates "zero tolerance" in the community for sexual abuse. But when told about the newly vocal Mondrowitz victim and his desire to reopen the case, Twerski replies, "I don't know what to say about that. That's an old, old case and I'm not going to comment on it."

    Jaus, for her part, bristles at the suggestion of special treatment. In 2000, her bureau got word from State officials that Mondrowitz was returning to the States. It contacted the original four victims. It had D.C. police ready to arrest him. He never showed up.

    "If we heard this information again, we'd do the same thing," she states.

    Those words offer little consolation to Abe. Sitting in the dining room at his attorney's suburban home, Abe hunches over the table, his arms across his chest, his eyes on his Blackberry, as he relays what he told prosecutors on June 7. How Mondrowitz had begun molesting him during a counseling session one day, and wound up making it routine. How the psychologist had even invited him upstairs, and fondled him there.

    Abe had hoped his testimony would inspire Hynes to push for extradition, he says. "I came away with the realization that my experience is a footnote in a case the D.A. won't do anything about."

    At least, Abe believes, not without incentive. So on June 24, he contacted an anonymous blogger known as Un-Orthodox Jew, who has posted controversial diatribes about sexual abuse and cover-up in the Hasidic world. Abe posted his own entry, writing:

    "MONDROWITZ ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Has anyone contacted you as being a victim of Avrohom Mondrowitz? . . . There is renewed interest in this case & . . . I am trying to find out if other victims have also recently come forward so that we can pool our resources & pressure the DA's office."

    So far, he's received little response, though two Orthodox Jewish men who claim to be victims of Mondrowitz have contacted the Voice, expressing a desire to bring him back.

    To Abe, it all seems so upside down—the way Hynes didn't push for extradition in 1993, the way he won't now. That his alleged abuser can live in Israel, his whereabouts known, yet run around scot-free, seems almost as bad as the abuse.

    As Abe confides, "That makes it seem like a big slap in the face by the D.A."


    Mondrowitz Extradition Case Thrown Into Limbo

    Avrohom Mondrowitz being led into a Jerusalem courtroom for a hearing last year shortly after his arrest on charges that he sexually abused children in Brooklyn two decades ago.Getty Images
    Avrohom Mondrowitz being led into a Jerusalem courtroom for a hearing last year shortly after his arrest on charges that he sexually abused children in Brooklyn two decades ago.Getty Images

    by Hella Winston
    Special To The Jewish Week

    The latest twist in the long-running extradition case of alleged Brooklyn pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz has apparently thrown the case into limbo and for the first time in decades raised the specter that Mondrowitz might be tried in Israel.

    In what is being seen by some close to the case as an unexpected move, the Israeli Supreme Court last week gave prosecutors representing the state until Dec. 23 to gather additional information on whether Mondrowitz — who was charged with sexual crimes against children in Brooklyn over two decades ago — can be tried in Israel.

    Given that a lower court in Israel earlier this year had already deemed Mondrowitz extraditable, observers were optimistic that last week’s final appeal would result in a decision to send

    him to Brooklyn to stand trial. Instead, questions raised by the justices have generated concern that this may not happen, though no decision has yet been made.

    “[Some of the justices’ questioning] really seemed to come out of left field,” said Michael Lesher, an attorney who represents several Jewish adults who allege that they were molested by Mondrowitz as children. “I’m simply surprised, considering that there was a 40-page, detailed decision written by the lower court which really [went into] all the issues,” Lesher said.

    Some of those issues relate to the possible implications of recent changes to the U.S.-Israeli extradition treaty and an Israeli statue providing for the timely prosecution of crimes.

    On Dec. 8 Israel’s highest court heard an appeal from attorneys representing Mondrowitz, a former Brooklyn youth counselor who fled to Israel under charges of child sexual abuse and is now in the final stages of extradition proceedings that began with his arrest in Israel in November 2007. A Jerusalem court had deemed Mondrowitz extraditable earlier this year, but he is now challenging that determination in the Supreme Court.

    The Mondrowitz saga began almost 25 years ago, when, in 1984, he fled to Israel and was indicted in absentia on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree against four non-Jewish children in Brooklyn. (While Jewish children were among Mondrowitz’s alleged victims, they were not part of the grand jury that indicted him and thus not part of this case).

    Then-District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman pursued Mondrowitz’s extradition, but was thwarted in 1985 when Israeli officials informed the United States that extradition would be impossible because sodomy was not included in the Israeli definition of rape and thus, under the existing terms of the U.S.-Israeli extradition agreement, was not an extraditable offense (as was rape).

    While federal documents reveal that the U.S. subsequently asked Israel to consider expelling Mondrowitz, no action was taken. Then in 1988, Israel amended its rape law to cover the act of homosexual rape. While a telegram from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to the State Department in Washington, D.C., noted the change, it is unclear from the record whether Holtzman was ever made aware of it.

    In 1993, three years after he was elected Brooklyn district attorney, Charles Hynes approved a decision to end extradition attempts for good. Hynes’ office resubmitted an extradition request in 2007, however, after a change in the treaty between the U.S. and Israel was made that provides for the extradition of suspects who face at least a year in prison, regardless of the offense.

    While Lesher and some experts have challenged the notion that extradition would have been impossible prior to the 2007 change in the treaty, this turn of events nonetheless created a sense of optimism about the possibility that Mondrowitz would be returned to Brooklyn to stand trial — until now.

    According to a transcript of last week’s Supreme Court hearing, one of the justices asked whether, in light of the fact that the scope of extraditable offenses is broader than under the previous treaty, it is consistent with Mondrowitz’s fundamental rights to extradite him under a treaty that took effect after the crimes in question have been committed.

    Further, because Israel has a statute that someone charged with these crimes would have to be brought to trial within 10 years of the alleged offense, questions of timeliness were also raised by the justices.

    According to Lesher, “the unstated issue that is not clarified here is whether that 10-year limit would apply if the suspect is not returned for trial even after an extradition request is made.”

    Lesher believes that neither of these issues should bar Israel from extraditing Mondrowitz. Citing a prior case dealing with the issue of retroactivity and apparently referenced by the lower court, Lesher said, “I think this case law shows very clearly why the retroactive application of an extradition treaty does not raise ex-post facto concerns. ... I am surprised that the issue came up in the hearing.”

    The justices also raised the possibility of trying Mondrowitz in Israel and, despite objections by the state’s attorneys citing the logistical difficulty and expense of such a prospect, asked the state to consult on it further.

    The attorneys for the state did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

    According to documents obtained by Lesher, the issue of trying Mondrowitz in Israel was raised once before, in 1986. An internal Justice Department memo from that year asks, “What sentence is reasonable to expect would be imposed on Mondrowitz were he tried and convicted on our case in Israel?”

    The memo then cites Marvin Hankin, senior assistant to the state attorney in Israel, as estimating that Mondrowitz might serve a total of “2-3 years,” noting that “there are very few sodomy cases in Israel.”

    An even more pessimistic estimate is found in an embassy cable to the State Department, dated Nov. 3, 1986. “The possibility of bringing the case to trial in Israel has been bandied about. In addition to the usual problems of transportation of witnesses and compatibility of evidentiary standards, however, there apparently is another factor that might weigh against any leap toward this option: under Israeli law, it seems that it would be possible that, even if convicted, Mondrowitz could face as little as 18 months imprisonment,” and even less “with time off for good behavior.”

    According to Lesher, under New York law, Mondrowitz could spend “several decades in prison” if convicted of multiple counts of Class B felonies with which he is charged.

    A spokesman for Hynes, whose office requested the extradition last year, says the district attorney is “watching the process very carefully and is prepared to deal with the result no matter which way it goes.”

    Survivors for Justice, an organization formed by people who were sexually abused as children in Orthodox communities and that counts several alleged Mondrowitz victims among its members, is working with a law firm in Israel to prepare an amicus brief asking the Israeli high court to uphold the lower court’s determination to extradite Mondrowitz.

    A spokesman for the group told The Jewish Week that “We believe that after 25 years of justice deferred, Mondrowitz’s victims deserve to see him returned to Brooklyn and tried by the Brooklyn DA, who has on many occasions stated his commitment to see justice done in this case.”


    From The Unorthodox Jew Blog (UOJ)

    As Israel's Supreme Court approaches a final decision on whether or not to extradite Mondrowitz to stand trial in Brooklyn -- we're talking about the man police believe sodomized or sexually abused hundreds of boys, nearly all Jewish -- the silence around the process is deafening! All the more so because things may not be going smoothly.

    We know Mondrowitz has powerful supporters in Israel. And the shameful record of Brooklyn D.A. Charles J. Hynes in this case shows he'd be only too happy never to have to prosecute Mondrowitz... never to have to expose his enablers and accomplices in the community... never shine a light on a case his office has avoided ever since he took office. Well, IF WE STAY QUIET -- HE MAY NOT HAVE TO!!!

    The Jewish Week is already reporting that Israel's top court may be considering a "compromise" by which Mondrowitz isn't sent back -- and gets tried, IF AT ALL, in Israel... probably meaning a much lighter sentence, and certainly keeping other guilty parties -- the D.A., Ohel, the rabbis who covered for Mondrowitz for years, and anybody he may have traded victims or kid porn with (who knows?) -- conveniently out of the picture.

    I've learned more. And it's not comforting!

    Israel's Supreme Court has ordered the State's attorneys (who have been pushing for extradition) to file additional papers by TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23. The judges -- who apparently didn't manage to read the record or the lower court's 40-page decision that explained in detail why Mondrowitz should be sent back for trial -- are suddenly worried that the alleged child rapist's "rights" may be jeopardized if he gets sent back so many years after his crimes were allegedly committed. Never mind that his prosecution is certainly timely under New York law -- because he was a fugitive since 1984, New York's "speedy trial" time limit didn't run. But maybe, asked the judges, it's all America's fault, not the alleged rapist's? Maybe America caused all the trouble by not renewing the extradition request until 2007?

    Now, remember: NOBODY wanted Mondrowitz put on trial until WE got active and started demanding it -- with information in our hands provided by committed people like attorney Michael Lesher and Mark Weiss, and Michael's other (anonymous) clients. Israel refused Elizabeth Holtzman's extradition request in 1985; the Shas Party's Yitzchak Peretz refused to deport Mondrowitz after that; Roni Milo, the next Interior Minister, refused to deport Mondrowitz in 1987 after promising he would; then Charles Hynes got elected D.A. in 1989 and pulled the plug on the case.

    Remember how the documents Michael Lesher finally extracted from the State Department showed that Hynes closed the Mondrowitz case, saying he wouldn't seek Mondrowitz as long as he stayed in Israel? Because he knew damn well that Israel didn't want him brought to justice any more than Hynes did!

    Well, they still don't want it -- and now the dodge they seem to be trying is claiming that since America dropped the ball on the extradition request, it's not fair to Mondrowitz to send him back to Brooklyn after all... now that a wised-up community is not just listening to the Herbert Bomzers and other "rabbis" who said (you saw it on TV!) "Leave him alone." We want justice! -- and they know it -- and that's exactly what they DON'T want.

    Okay: the facts. Michael has given me permission to post two things here. One is a copy of a document that proves the "America dropped the ball" argument is false. Oh yes, Hynes, dropped the ball (if he ever carried it in the first place); it was criminal of him to drop the case, it was unpardonable of him not to use all his efforts to try to get this animal returned to face his accusers. BUT, this embassy cable from September 9, 1988 shows that even back then, after Israel's criminal law expanded to include sodomy, leading Israeli officials were not interested in extraditing Mondrowitz UNTIL A NEW EXTRADITION TREATY WAS SIGNED... which didn't happen until 2007.


    Read it and weep -- with anger! Mondrowitz's lawyer is lying, and if he gets away with it, Israel's Supreme Court will be lying too!! I'm also posting (with Michael's permission) an urgent letter he faxed to the Attorney General. The letter outlines the legal reasons why there should be NO question about sending this wanted, indicted multiple felon back to Brooklyn for the trial he deserves -- finally!

    The amazing this is, with so much in the balance, NO ONE IS SPEAKING. Not the State Department (which ought to want to see its own extradition request carried out); not our Justice Department; not Israel's Ministry of Justice; and certainly not D.A. Charles Hynes!! Not a word from any of them!

    Why not? Well, actually, we don't have to ask that... do we? What DO we have to do? Obviously, DO THE TALKING!! Our voices helped push the D.A. into finally asking for extradition in the fall of 2007; the publicity we generated got Mondrowitz arrested in Israel in November 2007; now we need to go public again! Let's let the people in charge know that we're watching this case, and if there is any dodge, any deal, any mealymouth about Mondrowitz's "rights," ANYTHING that keeps him from being sent back for trial -- we're going to have to know the reason why! And someone may pay for it!! No justice -- no peace!

    Here's some contact information for people who ought to hear from the public: At the Brooklyn D.A.'s office, there's the sex crimes unit head: You can let her know we'd appreciate hearing her voice, and her boss's, loud and clear, saying that Mondrowitz's extradition to Brooklyn is very important to the justice system and the entire community. She and Hynes have said they want to prosecute Mondrowitz: this is the right time to say that again, strongly. You might also ask her if she's sitting on the Mondrowitz file to frustrate a Freedom of Information Law request made over a year ago, in order to shed light on Hynes' recent actions in the case -- and still not responded to! You can also contact the D.A.'s Orthodox community liaison:

    At the U.S. State Department, the public communication division phone: 202-647-6575. The main switchboard is 202-647-4000.

    Israel's Ministry of Justice, public inquiries fax: 011-972-2-646-6357.

    The message for these characters is that we're watching this case closely, we believe the law and facts clearly favor extradition and we hope their efforts toward achieving that result are completely successful.

    Finally, there's Israel's High Court, Public Affairs Department. Phone is 011-972-2-675-9612 and 011-972-2-675-9613. I believe their email address is: and the fax number is 011-972-2-651-3191.

    Bear in mind it's not proper to try to influence judges, so the message there is more or less: we are very interested in this case and its status; we know its history; we intend to continue to follow its progress. If they get enough calls, the word is sure to filter through. Remember: final briefs are being filed on TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23. A decision from the court will follow. If we wait until a dirty deal is announced -- God forbid! -- it will be too late.

    THIS IS THE TIME TO MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD. Let's show that there are still responsible citizens out there, and Jews who care more for the victim than the criminal!


    UOJ is amazing at what he does best - uncovering what was covered up by the slime buckets and dreks of the earth. Please do not stay silent. Most importantly, use the contact information above for the powers that be to force the extradition of Abraham Mondrowitz to the U.S.A. NOW!!!!!!!

    The 3 documents below are courtesy of the UOJ blog.


    I am ashamed said...

    By Hadassa Ben-Itto

    I always tried to integrate public activity into my personal life. I felt a special obligation to do so, as someone who had the good fortune to grow up here and to take part in the magnificent Zionist enterprise of establishing the Jewish state. I eschewed the political and media tracks: I do not denigrate their importance and centrality, but I decided they were not appropriate for me. Instead, I chose to join the justice system, as I believe it makes a vital contribution to shaping the face of a democratic country, and to be active on behalf of the Jewish people, whose future is intertwined with the future of the State of Israel.

    Recently, I was invited to give the keynote speech at a major event in Bern to mark the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. The crowd included members of the clergy, ambassadors and other state representatives. There, I said that we observe memorial days not only to commune with the memories of our dead, but also to remind the world, publicly and resoundingly, that we will never abandon memory - even if it seems that the world seeks to forget, and to avoid learning all the necessary lessons. We remember not only the perpetrators and the collaborators, but also all those who saw but kept silent, and who, by their silence, cooperated with and contributed to the atrocity, and will never be able to wash their hands clean. Today as well, I said, the world is required to learn the lessons, and not to remain silent in the face of what is being done to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

    Since then, I have watched on television as young Jews in Hebron assaulted their neighbors, including defenseless families - vandalizing property, destroying, burning and defacing sites holy to others. And my words in Bern are ringing in my ears. I told myself: I, too, am keeping silent. And I was ashamed.
    Therefore, I am breaking my silence. Because I believe that the individual is also obligated to make his voice heard - his personal voice, not a political voice - in order to warn against atrocity. I will not be drawn into the unnecessary debate over whether there was or was not a "pogrom" in Hebron, because what happened in Europe in the past cannot be likened to anything; it has no parallel in human history. The lawbreakers' use of similar terms against our security forces is also an unforgiveable crime.

    It is not only the world that must learn the lessons; so must we. Every one of us. Including myself. And I must do so honestly, publicly. To tell the public what I have held back for so long.

    I am ashamed of my silence. I saw the uprooting of olive trees, the overturning of market stalls, the attacks on property, and sometimes on innocent people, and I kept silent. I heard the words of incitement, I identified the messages and I was ashamed, but I kept silent.

    The 20th century proved that words can become a strategic weapon that threatens the entire world, I said in Bern. It is a weapon that our enemies still use against us today. It has been proven that incitement always precedes action - that in a place where one can say anything, one can also do anything. The actions were preceded by brainwashing: statements that planted messages masquerading as ideology, in the name of which everything is permissible, in the hearts of young people trying to find their way. That is how they silenced the voice of conscience. And these young people unhesitatingly perpetrated ruthless deeds.

    We boast of equality, oppose discrimination, and thereby confer the freedoms promised by a democratic regime even on those who cynically abuse them in order to undermine democracy. In the name of tolerance, freedom of expression is abused to disseminate hatred, to incite, to engender dangerous, undemocratic processes.

    In Bern, I also spoke about the danger of political correctness, which forbids us to speak truth lest someone be hurt or offended, or lest we err by generalizing. When media outlets abroad report on terror attacks committed by Muslim terrorists, they always add that such behavior does not represent all Muslims, that the majority is moderate. Even if terrorists utilize religion in their messages and send suicide bombers to commit attacks in its name, it is not because of Islam, for Islam preaches peace. And thus the media fail to tell the world what they teach in the madrassas, what they preach in the mosques, what they broadcast on television.

    That is how our enemies manage to distort the political discourse and give the world a false picture of the meaning of the conflict. That is how they poison public opinion against us. No amount of public diplomacy on our part has proven capable of preventing these distortions.

    How did it happen that we, too, have adopted the rules of political correctness? It is not the entire public from which the lawbreakers spring, the media always stress; the majority is moderate. Once, we called them "wild weeds"; now, they are a "small minority" that the majority is unable to control - as if it were really trying.

    And we do not dare to ask out loud: Who educated them? Who incited them? Who says that he "disagrees" but nevertheless "understands"? Who embraces them? Who keeps silent? Who defends them when they are unwilling to cooperate with the authorities? Who praises them when they violate government orders and erect caravans on hilltops? Who defends the girls who refuse to give their names and instead choose prison? Who turns them into heroes when soldiers are compelled to drag them along the ground as they scream? Who rolls his eyes and warns of civil war if we dare to interfere with the lawbreakers? We are a Jewish and democratic state, we proclaim. But since when is majority opinion in a democratic state a mere nonbinding recommendation? Have we ceased to live in a state governed by law? Is sedition not a criminal offense?

    Is it a religious commandment to violate judicial rulings? Is it a religious commandment to commit crimes that even the Torah explicitly forbids? Who annulled the halakhic principle that "the law of the state is the law"? Does it only hold for non-Jewish states? And what will become of the Jewish State, which we dreamed of establishing as a just, modern state governed by law, as a beacon that lights the way for the entire Jewish people and invites all the Diaspora to join it? What will become of it?

    The author is a retired judge and honorary president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.sociation of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.

    Anonymous said...

    I just can't believe this guy was living on the lam for so many years in Israel while his neighbors and community stood by doing zilch.

    Anonymous said...

    What a disgrace. Mondro should be brought back and castrated.

    Benzy said...

    Why are you judging Mondrowitz? Until we hear all the facts he is innocent until proven guilty as is written in the toirah.

    I was molested by that psycho said...

    Give him the gas chamber!

    Obama said...

    Is Stephen Lendman an Arab or a self hating bigoted Jew? What about Richard Falk?

    Obama v. Richard Falk on Israel and Occupied Palestine
    by Stephen Lendman
    Monday, 22 December 2008
    Obama's team suggests that peace in the Middle East is a nonstarter; the occupation of Iraq and Palestine will continue; Iran may be targeted; Pakistan as well; the war in Afghanistan will be expanded; imperial adventurism will be stressed; so will permanent war and homeland repression; and human rights advocates like Richard Falk will be sorely tested in their jobs.
    Obama leaves no ambiguity where he stands. From public statements, campaign pledges, policy advisors, and war cabinet selections, his positions affirm:

    * one-sided pro-Israeli zealotry;
    * continued Palestinian oppression;
    * no end to the Iraq war and occupation;
    * possibly attacking Iran and/or allying with Israel to do it;
    * pursuing an imperial agenda; targeting Pakistan, Russia and other countries;
    * expanding the size of the military; increasing expenditures for it; and
    * providing Israel annually with billions of dollars; the latest weapons and technology; the same zero interest rate loans Wall Street gets; liberal debt forgiveness; virtually anything Israel requests on the pretext of security, to wage aggressive war, or expand its illegal settlements; and
    * acquiescing and remaining silent after Israel insulted a high UN official by harassing and detaining him, then expelling him from the country.

    Last March, Richard Falk replaced John Dugard as the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine. UNHRC is mandated:

    * to promote and protect human rights globally;
    * detect and speak out objectively against violations and violators;
    * "provide a forum for identifying, highlighting and developing responses to today's human rights challenges,
    * act as the principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information, and advocacy activities in the United Nations system," and
    * respect the rights of everyone irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, language, age, or religion "as stipulated in the United Nations Charter."

    Navanethem Pillay became Human Rights High Commissioner last July. Richard Falk has regional responsibility for Occupied Palestine. On December 14, he arrived at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv to perform his assigned duties. He led a three-person mission that intended to visit the West Bank and Gaza, assess conditions on the ground, then report on Israel's compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law.

    Israel was informed of his trip, his itinerary, individuals he planned to meet with, and issued visas for himself, a staff security person, and an assistant. Falk had no reason to expect interference, and as he put it: "I would not have made the long journey from California, where I live, had I not been reasonably optimistic about my chances of getting in." Nonetheless, he was denied entry and harassed as follows:

    * despite his UN status, he was put in a holding room with about 20 others experiencing entry problems;
    * then "treated not as a UN representative, but as some sort of security threat, subjected to an inch-by-inch body search and the most meticulous luggage inspection I have ever witnessed;"
    * separated from his two UN companions; they were allowed entry and taken to the airport facility about a mile away;
    * required to put his luggage and cell phone in a room, then taken to a "locked tiny room that smelled of urine and filth;"
    * five other detainees were with him in very cramped, uncomfortable quarters;
    * he was confined there for the next 15 hours, "which amounted to a cram course on the miseries of prison life, including dirty sheets, inedible food and lights that were too bright or darkness controlled from the guard office;"
    * Israel's "obvious intention (was) to teach me, and more significantly, the UN a lesson: there will be no cooperation with those who make strong criticisms of Israel's occupation policy."

    Israel accuses Falk of bias for making inflammatory comments about its occupation of Palestine. He rejects the charge and asserts that, like his predecessor John Dugard (whom Israel earlier assailed) he assesses facts and relevant law truthfully. "It is the character of the occupation that gives rise to sharp criticism of Israel's approach," especially its collective punishment of 1.5 million Gazans under siege. Although denied entry and expelled, Falk insists that he'll continue "to use all available means to document the realities of the Israeli occupation" and report as fully and truthfully on them as possible.

    He's mandated to assess conditions on the ground, prepare detailed reports on what he finds, keep the UN fully informed, the public worldwide as well, and recommend ways of remediating violations. As an international law expert, he's eminently qualified for the task.

    Since assuming his post in May, he's been denied entry into Israel and Occupied Palestine. On August 25, he submitted his first report covering the first half of 2008. He criticized the deteriorating human rights conditions for Palestinians, called Israel's violations grave, singled out the Gaza siege and a crackdown on free expression and peaceful assembly.

    Earlier this year, Israel denied a Bishop Desmond Tutu-headed UNHRC mission entry as well. He was delegated to investigate the Israeli occupation force November 2006 Beit Hanoun massacre, an appalling act of mass murder killing 18 civilians (including seven children and six women) and wounding 53 others. The mission had to enter Gaza from the Egyptian side through the Rafah International Crossing Point, but even that way is rarely easy.

    Other international delegations have been obstructed as well, including diplomats, humanitarian workers, and journalists. Last November, the IDF stopped an EU one and one other comprised of 20 representatives of international organizations seeking entry into Gaza. Israel is extremely brazen, so far with no world community condemnation of its practices.

    As a UN member and signatory to various human rights conventions, it must honor their mandates. Nonetheless, it doesn't as well as much other international law and UN resolutions going back to the 1947 General Assembly Partition Plan (Resolution 181). It divided Palestine 56 - 44% for Israel.

    When Arabs were nearly 70% of the population, Jews got most of the fertile land, nearly all urban and rural territory, 400 of over 1000 Palestinian villages, but it wasn't enough. After Israel's 1948 "War of Independence," it secured 78% of Mandatory Palestine, expelled or killed about 800,000 Palestinians, destroyed 531 of their villages, 11 urban neighborhoods, and committed grievous crimes of war and against humanity. They've been documented and included:

    * cold-blooded massacres of civilian men, women, children, the elderly and infirm;
    * destruction of homes, villages and crops;
    * mass instances of rape; and
    * other atrocities on a vast scale;

    The State of Israel was born. The US was the first country to recognize it. Palestinians lost 78% of their land, and in 1967 the remainder. They now live under military occupation. It's harsh and cruel. Their rights are ruthlessly denied. They experience daily abuse and neglect. Their refugees aren't able to return. Conditions on the ground are intolerable, and UNHRC is mandated to assess and report on them. Richard Falk, like John Dugard before him, is dedicated to do it.
    "Slouching toward a Palestinian Holocaust"

    In July 2007, Falk's used this title for an article, and Israel noticed. He wrote: "it is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to feel compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as 'holocaust'....Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians (in such terms)? I think not."

    He condemned Israel's actions in Gaza and referred to subjecting "an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty." He called it "a holocaust-in-the-making" and appealed to world governments and international public opinion "to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy."

    He urged concerted action to spare Gazans "from further pain and suffering." He took umbrage with how America supports Israel and with European governments for having "lent their weight to recent illicit (and overt) efforts to crush Hamas as (the legitimate) Palestinian (government)." He referred to "Israel's impunity under America's geopolitical umbrella," and the immorality of the international community watching Gaza's "ugly spectacle unfold while some of its most influential members actively encourage and assist Israel" in its efforts.

    He called Gaza "a cauldron of pain and suffering....with more than half (the population) living in miserable refugee camps," dependent on humanitarian aid, and living under military occupation in spite of the sham 2005 "disengagement." He condemned world leaders for not recognizing the legitimately elected Hamas government, calling it a "terrorist organization" when, in fact, it's not, and failing to recognize how its leaders reached out to Israel in peace, declared a unilateral 18 month ceasefire, did it again for another six months, then ended it in self defense after repeated Israeli violations.

    He condemned Israel for being "more determined than ever to foment civil war in Palestine," arm and pit Fatah against Hamas, "make Gazans pay with their well being and lives," crush their will, and maintain separate Gaza and West Bank "destinies."

    Israel intends to isolate Gaza, cantonize the West Bank, seize Palestinian land, expand its illegal settlements, and appropriate "the whole of Jerusalem" as its capital by grabbing all areas Palestinians have and expelling them. While talking peace, Israel wages war, won't compromise, doesn't respect international law, commits grievous crimes against humanity, denies "Palestinians their right of self-determination," and treats the entire population as an "enemy" of the State.

    "To persist with such an approach under present circumstances is indeed genocidal, and risks destroying an entire Palestinian community...." This prospect sends a "warning of a Palestinian holocaust in the making, and should remind the world of the famous post-Nazi pledge of 'never again.' "

    On December 9, 2008 (five days before Falk arrived in Israel), he issued the following statement titled: "Gaza: Silence is not an option." He highlighted the plight of the people, the unacceptable conditions and desperate urgency to act, the cruelty and lawlessness of the blockade, and yet Israel "maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease."

    He called this action "flagrant and (a) massive violation of international humanitarian law" under Geneva and other human rights conventions. He said it's long past time for talk. "The UN is obligated to respond under these conditions." World governments are complicit for going along or remaining silent. The "UN (and) international society (are obligated to discharge) their fundamental moral and legal duty to render protection to the Palestinian people." Israel ruthlessly prevents them.

    Little wonder Falk, or others with these views, are persona non grata at the least or targeted for something far worse, including assassination. Israel is unyielding in its position, yet officials like Falk and human rights activists speak out and act, even at the risk of their safety and well-being.
    What to Expect From Obama

    A new administration is taking shape. Nearly all of its top officials have been announced. In less than a month, it will assume office, so how will it address Occupied Palestine? Negligently and with disdain from the man James Petras calls "America's First Jewish President," Barack Obama, in quoting a prominent Chicago Jew, a former congressman, federal judge, Clinton White House Counsel, and early Obama supporter - Abner Mikvner.

    Obama has been carefully groomed and vetted for his job, surrounded by pro-Israeli zealots, transformed into a committed "Israel-Firster," well-indocrinated, funded and considered safe. As Petras states:

    "By the end of the 1990s, Obama was firmly embedded in the liberal Zionist Democratic Party network and through it he teamed up with two key Zionist figures who were crucial to his presidential campaign: David Axelrod," a long-time Chicago political strategist, and "Obama's chief (one) since 2002 and the chief architect and tactician of his presidential campaign in 2008; Bettylu Salzman, daughter of Phillip Klutznick (now deceased), a billionaire real estate developer, slumlord, zealous Israel-Firster," and Jimmy Carter's Commerce Secretary from 1980 - 1981.

    Chicagoan Penny Pritzker (of the wealthy Pritzker Hyatt Hotels family) was Obama's main fund fundraiser. Called by some the most powerful woman in America, she's certainly notable, one of the richest, an influential American Jew, and staunchly pro-Israel as is her family.

    She had a sordid involvement in subprime mortgage lending, made millions by defrauding the poor, was one of Obama's Transitional Economic Advisory Board members, and Warren Buffett calls her the person to call when you want something done. She'll have a seat at the table in the new administration behind the scenes, her preferred role in business and politics.

    Other figures will be active and prominent, Dennis Ross for one. He was Director of the State Department's Policy Planning office under GHW Bush, after which he became Clinton's Special Middle East Coordinator. He's also a co-founder of the AIPAC-backed Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an extremist pro-Israeli front group with prominent American Jews in it like Ross (on his mother's side) who remains a consultant. WINIP's Board of Advisors is a who's who rogues gallery with names like Richard Pearle, Alexander Haig, George Shultz, James Woolsey, Lawrence Eagleburger, and others.

    Petras calls Ross "a virulent Zionist advocate of Israel's ultra-militaristic policies, including an armed preemptive attack on Iranian nuclear and military installations. Ross is an unconditional supporter of the Israeli starvation siege of the 1.5 million (Gazans) and fully backed Israel's savage air attacks against civilian targets in Lebanon." His closeness to Obama signals a continued pro-Israeli hardline agenda, no letup in the persecution of Palestinians, and the possibility of an even greater regional war. So far no official announcement of his role has been made, but he'll be prominent either publicly or behind the scenes.

    Various positions mentioned include Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (number three behind Clinton), Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy National Security Advisor, or Special Middle East Envoy. In recent months, Ross has been affiliated with the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center that was founded in 2007 by former senators George Mitchell, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Bob Dole. It presents itself as centrist, but, in fact, on key issues is militant and hard line, especially on the Middle East. It advocates coercing Iran to surrender its sovereignty, knuckle under to Washington, or be unilaterally attacked if it won't, and gets its advice from "two leading Iran experts:"

    * Michael Rubin of the right wing American Enterprise Institute, a former Giuliani advisor, closely allied to Bush neocons; and
    * Ken Katzman of the Congressional Research Service, a Middle East specialist who's ideologically allied with the right and no friend of Iran.

    They, Ross and others produced the 2008 report: "Meeting the Challenge: US Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development." It argues that Iran's commercial program, contrary to available evidence, aims to develop nuclear weapons and threatens "US and global security, regional stability, and the international nonproliferation regime." In stark contrast, the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate refuted this claim and stated that Iran has no current nuclear weapons program. Washington ideologues like Ross dismiss it, press their case for war, recommend a major military presence in the Gulf, and pressuring Russia to cease efforts to aid the Islamic Republic.

    He's also current chairman of The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI), another pro-Israeli front group that includes past and present prominent Israeli government officials in its membership as well as influential American Jews. During his Clinton years, he was hostile to Iraq and Iran, advocated war, and subverted all efforts for an equitable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    A noted Arab said about him: "In the 1990s, the "perception always was that Dennis (Ross) started from the Israeli bottom line, that he listened to what Israel wanted, and then tried to sell it to the Arabs....He was never looked a trusted world figure or honest broker." All along he flacked for Israel, and ideologically he's closely aligned with Republican neocons and their permanent war agenda.

    According to the Jewish publication,, he may not become Middle East Envoy with Colin Powell now considered a "serious option" for the job. That is, if he wants it and if Hillary Clinton will accept a notable figure like him circumventing her and reporting directly to Obama. Another possible candidate, besides Ross, is Daniel Kurtzer, former US ambassador to Israel and Egypt, and in other Middle East posts, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He now has a Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs chair in Middle East Studies.

    On December 14, Barak Ravid wrote in Haaretz that "Obama (will) base his Middle East policy on (an) army of envoys," and he named four possibilities - Dennis Ross most prominently, Colin Powell, Dan Kurtzer, and Martin Indyk.

    He suggested that besides a Middle East Envoy, others would be appointed to:

    * Iraq to work with the government; the puppet one, that is, to assure America's permanent occupation, total control over state policy, and unchallenged regional influence;
    * Iran to open dialogue and "participate in international discussions on an incentive package;" in fact, for the government to cease its legal commercial nuclear development, surrender to America's will, and become a vassal state or risk possible attack and mass destruction;
    * Afghanistan and Pakistan "to stabilize the security situation;" in fact, a major effort may be undertaken to destabilize it as part of a broader agenda to stoke violence, increase Washington's presence in the region, double US forces in Afghanistan to 60,000 or more according to recent reports, and "Balkanize" each country, Iraq and possibly Syria into separate autonomous states; and
    * North Korea "to watch over denuclearization and the lifting of international sanctions;" in fact, plans for North Korea include ending its nuclear program, lessening the country's ability to defend itself, bringing it into the US orbit, and making it subservient to America's will.

    Martin Indyk

    He's a lobbyist and very much a pro-Israeli zealot. He's also a former US ambassador to Israel, the only foreign-born one (to a London Jewish family), an Assistant Secretary of State for Near East affairs in the Clinton administration, and currently a senior foreign policy fellow and head of the Washington-based Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

    In the early 1980s, he began his Washington career as deputy director of research for AIPAC. In 1985, he co-founded WINEP (described above). In the November-December 2000 issue of New Left Review, Edward Said said this about him:

    "On the eve of Clinton's inauguration in January 1993, it was announced that Indyk - an Australian national of Jewish origin, born in London - had been sworn in as an American citizen at the express command of the President-elect, overriding all normal procedures in an act of peremptory executive privilege, to allow him to be parachuted immediately into the National Security Council, with responsibility for the Middle East. What had Indyk been or done to merit such extraordinary favour? He had been head of (WINEP) that lobbies for Israel in tandem with AIPAC."

    Said added that the consensus in Washington that Israel is a model democracy "is virtually impregnable." If there's ever a sign of slippage, in pours a phalanx of Zionist lobbyists like Indyk. They constitute an ideological pro-Israeli trump card along with Congress, especially the Senate. Virtually "the entire (body) can be marshalled in a matter of hours into signing a letter to the President on Israel's behalf."

    Regarding Hillary Clinton at the time, Said said that no one better "exemplifies the sway of AIPAC better." She "outdoes even the most right-wing Zionists in fervour for Israel in her avid clawing for power in New York" and will stoop at nothing to get it. She's Machiavellian and very dangerous.

    So is Indyk (Dennis Ross and others) in service to Israel. At WINEP in 1993, he outlined his notion of dual Iran and Iraq containment, and it became policy under Clinton. It postulated that outlier Middle East states be "contained," isolated, and threatened to weaken them politically, economically, and perhaps militarily.

    For Iraq, it recommended continued sanctions, an economic embargo, and if "Saddam's regime crosses clearly drawn lines of appropriate behavior, particularly with regard to its weapons of mass destruction programs and its threats to other countries, the United States should punish it severely."

    A more flexible approach was taken on Iran, saying that its "geopolitical importance is greater than Iraq's and the challenge it represents is more complex. Given (America's) military presence (in the region), Iran does not currently pose a threat of military aggression, but its long-term policies could destabilize the region."

    The report accused Iran of opposing the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process," promoting Islamic militancy, supporting terrorism and subversion, and seeking nuclear weapons. Rather than war, it recommended "a more nuanced approach," but if Iran initiated a "special provocation....clear retaliatory measures" would be called for.

    Targeting Iraq and Iran benefits Israel by weakening or eliminating its two main regional rivals. Iraq is now neutralized, not Iran, but harsh sanctions against it are in place. Pro-Israeli zealots, like Indyk and Ross, want them tightened. They also support war to destroy the country's nuclear infrastructure and much of its military capacity.

    This is Obama's team with others on it, like Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, as belligerent. It suggests that peace in the Middle East is a nonstarter; the occupation of Iraq and Palestine will continue; Iran may be targeted; Pakistan as well; the war in Afghanistan will be expanded; imperial adventurism will be stressed; so will permanent war and homeland repression; and human rights advocates like Richard Falk will be sorely tested in their jobs.
    Steve Lendman

    Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

    Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.

    Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.

    avi shafran said...

    They ought to make an AA for Jews. Perhaps we shall call it AAA (Agudah Alcoholics Anonymous).

    Published on | (
    Substance abuse stigma among Jews leads to group

    For 20 years, he saw every Jewish holiday, big or small, as a convenient excuse for a drink - lots of drinks.

    "I had this knack of trying to make a celebration out of a lot of things nobody else did," said the Norfolk man. Yet as a Jew, the last thing he wanted to see himself as was an alcoholic.

    Now he is launching a chapter of the organization that helped lead him to sobriety: JACS, which stands for Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others. Jewish Family Service is supporting the initiative.

    JACS is a support group for Jewish substance abusers whose addictions traditionally carry a heavy stigma in their faith community.

    "We can come in and talk about how we relate to addiction and recovery from a Jewish standpoint," said the man, who requested public anonymity, a basic premise of JACS and all 12-step recovery programs. "The point is, there's a place for Jews to go."

    Historically, Jewish communities implied that only gentiles could be substance abusers, said Jonathan Katz, an administrator at JACS' New York City headquarters.

    "This is a very strong myth in the Jewish community, going back many years, that Jews don't have alcohol and drug problems," Katz said.

    He said Judaism's ritual use of wine in everything from Friday Sabbath dinners to holidays such as Passover and Purim gave the impression that Jews were very disciplined about alcohol use.

    Jewish culture not only denied substance abuse, it ostracized any Jew who acknowledged a drinking problem, he said. As a result, many Jewish alcoholics refused to seek help out of shame and fear.

    JACS was founded around 1979 in New York and now sponsors retreats as well as support groups for the entire Jewish spectrum, from ultra-Orthodox to the barely religiously observant.

    Katz said JACS complements, rather than replaces, 12-step recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other rehabilitation treatments.

    "A network of people who share your Jewish identity, religion and cultural and social involvement is a great way to reinforce your sobriety and recovery," he said.

    Mark, a Virginia Beach Jewish man and recovering drug addict, said a short-lived local JACS chapter in 1995 helped him.

    "You don't hear about the Jewish people who have substance abuse problems." JACS, he said, "let me know I wasn't the only Jewish person out there with an addiction problem."

    The Jewish premise of JACS also means participants don't have to explain customs that might sound strange at a regular, non-Jewish 12-step meeting, said the man behind the new JACS chapter.

    "You can't walk into a regular meeting and say, 'I got drunk on Purim.' They'll say, 'What's Purim?' Then you'd have to explain it's a religious holiday, and they'd ask, 'You drink on a religious holiday?' "

    Rabbi Michael Panitz of Temple Israel in Norfolk is among local Jewish clergy who endorse JACS, which he said has a record of success.

    There may be less substance abuse among Jews than in the general population, Panitz said, "but there's still enough to warrant this kind of attention."

    Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417,

    Anonymous said...

    In the Basement, behind a Closed Door

    By Aviva Lori
    November 15, 2007

    A few years ago, A. came to Israel with one mission: "To find him and kill him." He didn't think twice, he says; he really intended to do it. "My wife understood. She knew what I felt and she called friends in Israel, who never left me alone for a minute. They saved me from myself. If not for them, it would have ended in murder for sure."

    A. is not the only one to have harbored thoughts of cold-blooded murder for more than 20 years. There are several hundred others, he says: men now in their thirties and forties who two or three decades earlier were students at yeshivas in Brooklyn. They say they were victims of Avrohom Mondrowitz, who lives in Jerusalem's colorful Nahlaot neighborhood.

    Mondrowitz, a member of the Gur Hasidic sect who styles himself a rabbi and a psychologist, was a highly influential figure in the Gur community of Brooklyn in the early 1980s. He had a yeshiva and a private clinic in which he treated mostly children in distress. But the Brooklyn police suspect that instead of educating and helping, he sexually abused his pupils, his patients, children in the neighborhood and friends of his own children. The venues were varied: his office, his home, the yeshiva, his car, the family's summer cottage in the Catskills, amusement parks and public parks. In short, everywhere. Day and night. The respected rabbis of the community modestly averted their gaze. They knew, they saw, they were silent.

    A., now about 40, was born and raised in an Orthodox family in Brooklyn. At the age of seven he was sexually assaulted in the street by an unknown assailant. "That already marked me," he relates, "and it was like a prelude to what came after." What came after was fomented by two respected figures. The first was a revered teacher in Brooklyn. The second respected figure was Mondrowitz. He kept the horror to himself and turned inward. "I became a troublemaker," he says. "I was thrown out of one yeshiva and then out of another. I became a nomad. I lost my self-esteem and didn't care about anything. The hardest part was when I told the rabbis in the yeshiva what the teacher did to me. They just ignored me and did nothing."

    When A. was 15, the rabbis persuaded his parents, who did not know how to deal with their wayward son, to send him to the man who presented himself as a psychologist, a certain Avrohom Mondrowitz, who lived on 60th Street in Brooklyn's Borough Park section. "I was forced to see him three or four times a week, because I was a very special case," A. says. "From the very first, something about him bothered me. I didn't like the way he looked at me. After the first time, I came home and told my mother than I didn't want to go to him anymore, but he came to our place and spoke to my parents, and they persuaded me to go back."

    A. went to Mondrowitz for two months. But the treatment immediately assumed a peculiar form. "It didn't take more than two visits, and he stopped taking an interest in my problems and started to mess with me."

    A. recalls that at first he was very moved and opened up to Mondrowitz, telling him what the teacher had done to him, but instead of being supportive, Mondrowitz began to touch him. "I was in a state of shock. I didn't know what to do. The place you are meant to trust and where you go for help, attacks you. I froze and bottled up completely. I was drained of feelings. I called him 'Herr Doktor,' like Mengele, who also did experiments on Jewish children."

    Did you understand what was going on?

    "I understood immediately. It was like a game. It's hard to explain - only someone who has gone through an experience like that can understand. The assailant knows that you are easy prey, that he can play with your feelings because you are at your weakest point. He will not mess with the tough kids, only with the weak and the miserable. And that's how it went on, every time I went to him. He didn't even try to pretend that he was treating me. He got down to business right away. He took me to movies, for walks, and he kept touching me all the time."

    Why didn't you run away?

    "I have asked myself that question hundreds of times. I feel suffocated when I think about it. It drives me crazy. I didn't run because I thought there was something wrong with me. That I was a whore. I believed that that was my fate. That that is what I deserved - the fact is that it happened more than once. Deep inside I knew it was wrong, but I couldn't control it. I tried to fight with my parents, told them I didn't want to go to him, but they made me, so the yeshiva would agree to take me back - that was the rabbis' condition, for him to say I was cured. And in fact, two months later the yeshiva took me back and I stopped going to him. I told my parents I wasn't going there anymore and that was the end of it."

    But two weeks later, he was expelled from the yeshiva again. That summer his parents sent him to a camp, but there he got into trouble again. Desperate, his parents called Mondrowitz and asked him to help. "I was an angry, rebellious adolescent," A. says. "I was angry at the religion, at the system, at the establishment and at everyone who represented the establishment. I hated the whole world and I fought everyone. Mondrowitz came to the camp, and when I saw him from a distance, I ran. My father didn't understand what was going on. 'He just wants to help you,' he said, and I remember telling him, 'He is a faggot, get him away from me.'"

    In his senior year, A. fell apart completely. He did not attend school and lived in the streets. Most of the time, he saw the world through a haze of alcohol and drugs. His parents could not communicate with him. And then he was thrown a lifebelt: "Someone took me in, looked after me and saved my life. I told him everything, and he believed me. He asked what he could do to lessen my pain. I told him, 'That won't happen until I drive the last nail into the coffin of all the people who hurt me. I want justice to be done.'"

    A. says he had clear, graphic, highly detailed dreams about killing them. The dreams recurred every night and turned into an obsession. "They absolutely took my life from me."

    You wanted revenge?

    "It's not a matter of revenge. Those people are sick, and there is only one way to deal with them - to eradicate them, like stray dogs. Otherwise they will go on doing what they did. They took from me something that will never be returned, and I can never forget, and maybe should not forget. People like me have to spread the word that these monsters are still walking the streets. I have been given the task of warning people about them."

    With the help of the young man who befriended him, A. went to the police and filed a complaint against Mondrowitz. "I didn't know then that there were also other children he had hurt. I thought it was just me. Today I know at least 20 people who were his victims, but I know there were hundreds."

    It was only then that A. told his parents about what Mondrowitz had done to him. "They felt terribly sorry and guilty for having sent me to him. But a few days later I learned that he had fled to Israel and was living the comfortable life of a respected Jew in Jerusalem." A. is now married and has children of his own. He leads a religious life, though when he was in the lower depths, wandering the streets, he removed his yarmulke and spurned religion. Even though his wife and children know about the sexual abuse he endured, he insists on remaining anonymous. He still has doubts, he says: he feels afraid and threatened by the religious society in which he grew up and was educated. He is not the only one who feels persecuted. Most of Mondrowitz's alleged victims live a secret life, fearing exposure.

    A community


    Avrohom Mondrowitz, 60, was probably born in Poland and settled in Israel with his family after World War II. He grew up in Tel Aviv, but in the 1950s the family immigrated to Chicago. He attended the Telshe Yeshiva, in Wickliffe, Ohio, run by the Lithuanian branch of Orthodox Jewry. In the 1970s, he came to Brooklyn, saying he held a master's degree in the sciences, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia, and another Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Florida, in addition to being an ordained rabbi. The Jews of Brooklyn were impressed, and Mondrowitz began to acquire social status. He wrote articles on education for the Haredi press, had a radio program on which he gave listeners advice on how to treat children, established a yeshiva for children in distress and was active in Ohel, a large New York organization for orphans and children from broken homes. Finally, he hung a "psychologist" sign on his door and started to receive patients.

    "He made a name for himself and was very respected in the community," says a Brooklyn Hasid. "Children were referred to him, hard cases from Ohel, and he treated them. Rabbis also referred children to him for treatment. His expertise was treating children who had been sexually molested."

    Children who visited his office, which was located in the basement of his home, remember him boasting about the "bragging wall," on which hung his diplomas and certificates, all finely framed, which attested to his qualifications as a therapist. But according to Patricia Kehoe, a retired New York Police Department detective, "his diplomas turned out to be fakes, including his rabbinical ordination."

    The police suspect that in that office, behind a closed door and drawn curtains, he sexually abused children, including with acts of sodomy. In many cases, the parents were waiting in the next room for the treatment to end, so they could take the children home. Those are the facts as collected by the Brooklyn police and told by the children.

    I understood

    what happened

    Mark Weiss, 40, from Chicago, grew up in a strictly Orthodox family, but in adolescence began to feel constricted by the rigid religious lifestyle. When he was 12, the family spent a sabbatical in Israel, and at 13 he was sent to a less strict yeshiva in San Francisco. He did not do well in his studies and felt out of place. A year later, the yeshiva informed him that he would not be able to continue his studies there, and his worried parents sent him to New York for instant counseling by a renowned psychologist.

    "I was 14, and my parents sent me by plane," he said in a telephone interview. "They knew Mondrowitz's parents from Chicago - sometimes I went with my father to his father's synagogue. Mondrowitz himself attended the yeshiva in which his father was a rabbi. He was well-known. I was sent to him for a week, a week and a half, to get my head straight."

    Mondrowitz went out of his way to make Weiss' stay a pleasant one. He picked him up at the airport, took him out to eat, then to an amusement park and finally to his place on 60th Street. "His family was away in a cottage in the Catskills and I slept with him in the house. At first it was terrific fun. He took me to all kinds of places and I took in every new thing: it was a perfect trap. At night he asked me where I wanted to sleep, in his son's bed or with him. I remember that he created this queasy atmosphere about his son's bedroom, so I said I wanted to sleep with him. During the night he suddenly touched me. From start to finish, including sodomy. I was naive, I didn't understand what was happening, I thought it was part of his niceness, that this is how he wanted to make me feel good."

    What happened in the counseling sessions?

    "Almost nothing. It was all one big fraud. In the morning, he was downstairs in the basement, receiving patients, and when he didn't have patients he went with me to all kinds of places, and at night he would come on to me, and on the weekend we drove up to the family's cottage."

    When he was 16, Weiss was sent to a boarding school in Kiryat Tivon, near Haifa, where he spent two years, before returning to Chicago. He repressed the Mondrowitz experience successfully. He told no one, and it was as though it had never happened. But one day, during the Sukkot festival, he saw Mondrowitz in the synagogue. He was about to go over to him, when he suddenly understood what had happened to him a few years earlier.

    "I froze, turned around and ran home," he relates. "On the way I started to cry, and my mother asked me what was wrong. I told her, but she found it hard to accept. Then my father came home and my mother told him, and he couldn't believe it, either. He tried to find out if maybe I was mistaken. Afterward I went to a friend and told him, but he couldn't believe it, and then I started to ask myself if maybe I was wrong. But a week later I got a call from a rabbi who asked me to see him at his home. I entered his office and he asked me, 'Would you send your children to Mondrowitz?' It was like a bomb went off in my head. I was in a state of shock. It took me a few minutes to reply, 'No, I wouldn't.' He asked why, and I told him, but again, nothing happened."

    Weiss, who is married and has three children, lives in New Jersey, where he installs home movie systems. In 2001 he saw an ad in a religious paper about a conference of rabbis in New York on the subject of sexual molestation. "I went there," he says, "but it was disgraceful. I realized within a few minutes that they had no idea about what really goes on. They think that with them it's not like with the goyim or secular people, and they think they know how to help children. The truth is that they don't have a clue, because they sweep everything under the rug. It's all because of the matchmaking, because if it ever gets out what these people went through, no one wants them."

    Are you angry at the rabbis?

    "They silenced a whole generation. When one of them destroys other people, they do nothing. These are far more important matters than the shmita year [the land lying fallow every seven years] or worms in lettuce."

    A public beating

    G., 44, from New York, married with children, a rabbi's son, knew Mondrowitz as the head of a yeshiva he attended for five years, from the age of 11. "He molested me for many years," G. says. "He collected vulnerable children from broken homes who didn't get along with their parents, and abused them. He took me to the mountains, where he had a cottage. He would bring rifles and play with us, we would have contests shooting air guns, and he would win so that he could later do what he wanted with us as his prize. There was a dirty film playing in Manhattan at the time, called 'Caligula,' and he took me to see it. I was 14, and during the movie he pawed me."

    Did you know that was bad?

    "I'm not sure I knew. He was an adult, the head of a yeshiva. He gave me a lot of money and bought me things. After I understood, I came to the school one day and went up to each kid and told them to keep their distance from him. Then he entered the classroom and in front of everyone he pounded me really hard with both hands, on my face and back. That was already the end of high school; I was 18 at the time. And the whole time he kept telling me that I was weird and would never marry."

    Did you tell your parents?

    "Never. I was afraid he would beat me."

    How do you live with a story like this?

    "It's very hard. I now have terrible guilt feelings that maybe I did something bad and deserved everything that happened to me. I get very aggressive toward people when they seem to be approaching my children. I overprotect them and I have become very suspicious. All these years I repressed everything, and only recently did I begin professional therapy."

    245 years in prison

    At the beginning of the 1980s, when Mondrowitz was at the height of his glory, married and the father of seven children, rumors started to spread in the Orthodox community about the type of treatment he was giving, and his yeshiva closed down. On November 21, 1984, Detective Patricia Kehoe received an anonymous phone call about Mondrowitz's many victims.

    "I will never forget it, because it was my birthday," Kehoe says in a phone conversation. "I was working in the sex crimes unit. It was a horrific conversation, but even more horrific were the stories of the victims we found that night. My partner and I went there immediately, and on his block we met children, but not Jews. His street was mixed - Jews and Italians lived there. It turned out that he was the friend of all of them, and all the parents thought he was this great guy. They told us that he took the children for weekends and bought them bikes. That shook me, and I asked the parents to let me talk with the children alone.

    "The first boy I talked to broke down and said straight off what happened, and so did all the other children on the block. That night we found five victims. From them we received the names of other children and went on investigating. Then we received another anonymous call from someone who said he was a rabbi, and he told me about Jewish children he had molested. I went to the yeshiva to question more children, but they wouldn't let me in."

    Kehoe's investigation eventually yielded four complaints by children of Italian origin aged 11 to 16, which led to an indictment of 13 counts: five counts of sodomy in the first degree and eight of sexual abuse in the first degree. The maximum punishment for these offenses in New York State is 25 years for each count of sodomy and 15 years for each count of sexual abuse, a total of 245 years. Two weeks later, the District Attorney's office issued a warrant for his arrest. When Kehoe and her partner, Detective Sal Catalfulmo, arrived at Mondrowitz's home with the warrant, they found it empty.

    "We got the warrant from the judge in the middle of the night, but when we got there he was already gone," Kehoe says. "In his study we found lists with the names of hundreds of children and a great deal of pedophilic material. It then turned out that his wife and children hid with relatives and he went to his parents in Chicago, from there apparently to Canada and then to Israel. If you ask me, the whole thing worked too slowly. The DA's office delayed and he was able to escape."

    Was there nothing you could do to speed up the process?

    "I was only a policewoman, not a politician like the DA. If it had been up to me, I would have issued an arrest warrant immediately after the children complained. I am very happy that these people have now decided to talk, because at the time, when we tried to reach them to question them, we did not get cooperation, but now, when they are parents themselves, they understand how important it is. That man should have been in prison for the past 23 years. It's very frustrating, especially after I heard all the stories about him from the children."

    Kehoe learned that Mondrowitz continued to teach and was around children in Israel. "That is awful. Everyone has to be warned about him. I only hope that God will give me a point in my favor after all the efforts I made, even though, at the end of the day, I didn't succeed."

    Fake degrees

    Avrohom Mondrowitz doesn't leave his home much these days. The last place that employed him, the Jerusalem College of Engineering, has dispensed with his services. "He taught here until the end of last year," says the college spokesman, Daniel Berman.

    Why is he no longer working there?

    "Because of what you know. What you heard, we also heard."

    Searching for a job, Mondrowitz offered himself to the Herzliya Municipality as director of the education, welfare, culture, youth and sports department. When that didn't pan out, he tried for a less prestigious position, as director of a home for the aged, also in Herzliya. He claimed to have considerable experience in treating the elderly.

    Mondrowitz's CV is flexible, changing with the circumstances. With every job application he attaches a CV to fit the requirements, or as he himself put it on one occasion, he possesses "a rare talent for flexibility and adaptation."

    So rapid is his adaptability that it's hard to follow. According to one resume, he obtained a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University in 1977, but elsewhere he wrote that in that year he completed a master's degree in educational administration at Long Island University and proceeded immediately to an MBA at Harvard. According to this version, he did not obtain his Ph.D. in psychology until 1984, though still at Columbia. But in yet another place he states that the 1984 degree is in developmental, not clinical, psychology, and is from Columbia University in Florida. And that is not the end. According to another CV, his doctoral degree in clinical psychology is actually from Heed University in Florida.

    As far as the Israel Police know, Mondrowitz is currently devoting most of his energy, in the many leisure hours at his disposal, to the Internet. There he gratifies his deviant inclinations by watching clips of sadistic activity and pedophilic material. In his remaining time he makes a living by issuing bogus academic degrees to all comers, particularly to students from the Third World. He has emblems and logos from various universities, as well as seals, examples of signatures and registration forms. He refers most of the students to Thornhill University, in London, which grants degrees by correspondence and has a branch in Brooklyn. The letters that are sent out are signed by a Dr. George Coleman, who probably does not exist. A student who sought a Ph.D. in nuclear physics received a reply from Dr. Coleman to the effect that he was overdoing it, and that on the basis of his academic achievements the most that could be done for him was a degree in a less prestigious field such as education or psychology. In return for issuing a doctoral degree in theology and evangelism, for example, Dr. Coleman gets $2,000.

    The Israel Police are taking an interest in Mondrowitz's various Internet occupations, and a month ago, on October 18, he was called in for questioning and released under restrictive conditions, says attorney Adian Daniels, from the law firm of Yigal Arnon, who is in contact with the police. "I am doing this pro bono, because I believe it is in the public interest," he says.

    Avi Aviv, head of the computer crimes unit in the Israel Police, confirmed that Mondrowitz had been questioned, but declined to provide further details.


    The indictment against Mondrowitz was drawn up in February 1985, and a court order was sent to his empty home in Brooklyn. However, it was not until September of that year that the Brooklyn District Attorney, Elizabeth Holtzman, sought his extradition from Israel. But that was impossible at the time. To begin with, it was not until 1988 that sodomy was recognized in Israel as full-fledged rape, including the sodomizing of males. In addition, at that time the extradition treaty with the United States included rape of a woman, but not sodomy against the will of a male.

    "We were ready then to stretch a point and construe sodomy as an extraditable offense, on condition the Americans would also change it in their treaty, but they declined, so we decided not to extradite Mondrowitz," says attorney Irit Kahan, who headed the Justice Ministry's international department. "Recently the extradition treaty with the United States was changed, and now extradition is possible for any offense for which the punishment is more than one year in prison."

    Despite this development, the Americans still did not rush to request Mondrowitz's extradition. The victims accuse the present Brooklyn DA, Charles Hynes. In the opinion of attorney Michael Lesher, who represents six of Mondrowitz's alleged victims, "This is an elected position. The Haredi community in Brooklyn has a great deal of electoral clout. Hynes was elected in 1989 with the support of the Orthodox, and no one wants to commit suicide because of some criminal who is sitting quietly in Israel."

    In the past year, the community in Brooklyn has begun to seethe. The children of that period, those who see themselves as Mondrowitz's victims, organized and, through Lesher, put pressure on the DA's office to issue a new request for Mondrowitz's extradition. They all declared that if it proves necessary, they will testify in court. As a result, in February of this year the Brooklyn DA's office transferred all the material to the U.S. Justice Department.

    "On September 6, the Justice Department issued an official extradition request to the State of Israel," a spokeswoman for the Justice Department said in response. "The statute of limitations does not apply here," Lesher says. "In the case of sodomy, you only have to be charged within five years of the perpetration of the offense, and he was charged but was not brought to court because he fled. There is also a time limitation from the time you are indicted until you are tried, but if the accused leaves his area of jurisdiction, that regulation is suspended. So there is no problem in extraditing Mondrowitz and bringing him to trial."

    What stage have the extradition proceedings reached? The Justice Ministry says that the State Prosecutor's Office does not comment on extradition requests, "whether they have been filed or not."

    Like poison

    Dr. Amy Neustein, a sociologist from Brooklyn, has devoted the past 25 years to getting Mondrowitz arrested. She and other Orthodox Jews established a group with the goal of locating Mondrowitz and bringing him to justice. She also set up a research center in New York called Help Us Regain the Children (HURT), within the framework of which she is investigating the phenomenon of pedophilia within the closed Jewish society. The author of two books, she works with victims of sexual assault to help them cope.

    "My aspiration to see justice done and get Mondrowitz tried became an obsession, because of all the molesters, he is the worst, according to the charges. He abused children in the light of day, perpetrated these crimes in front of his colleagues. I was told this by people who witnessed it in the yeshiva he worked in. Everyone knew, and they all covered up for him. As a sociologist I ask, if this is what happens when everything is in the open, what happens when things are less open? It is perfectly clear that Mondrowitz is not alone. He is a microcosm of the Orthodox society, in which pedophilia is rampant, in which the use of pornography is thriving and known to everyone - but it is all hidden under the rug. In the 1980s, everyone was afraid that if he started to talk he would take down others with him."

    Neustein and others in Brooklyn tell about three cases of young people committing suicide and one case, last year, of suicide by an adult. "All three went to Mondrowitz for treatment and afterward became deeply depressed, and the families believe that this was the reason for the suicides."

    A. says that he can fully understand a boy who would want to commit suicide after undergoing abuse by Mondrowitz. "It is very hard to live with so much pain and guilt. I also have no doubt that some of these victims will do the same things to others. I am certain that it works like poison that was injected into you as a child and then you pass it on."

    Mark Weiss has never considered suicide, but he too can understand those who contemplate the act. "I am still alive, and that is not to be taken for granted. There are some who killed themselves, and others who are wandering around like crazy people."

    Reached by telephone, Avrohom Mondrowitz refused to comment. He hung up even before he heard the allegations against him. W

    Magistrate Jon Scoles said...

    Judge denies release of former slaughterhouse CEO
    Associated Press Writer

    An Iowa judge has ordered the former manager of a kosher slaughterhouse to remain in jail pending his trial on charges of harboring illegal immigrants, document fraud and identity theft.

    Magistrate Jon Scoles denied former Agriprocessors chief executive officer Sholom Rubashkin request for release Monday despite Rubashkin's promise to hire round-the-clock guards.

    Prosecutors say Rubashkin tried to tamper with evidence after his released from jail on Oct. 30. He was returned to jail after being arrested on the bank fraud allegations, and prosecutors say agents found passports and about $20,000 in cash and silver coins in a travel bag in his bedroom.

    Rubashkin has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says he will appeal the denial.

    Share your observations and experiences about news. Lively, open, civil debate is the goal. Please refrain from personal attacks or comments that are racist, vulgar or otherwise inappropriate. If you see an inappropriate comment, please click the "Report as abuse" link.

    Magistrate Jon Scoles said...

    Judge denies release of former slaughterhouse CEO
    Associated Press Writer

    An Iowa judge has ordered the former manager of a kosher slaughterhouse to remain in jail pending his trial on charges of harboring illegal immigrants, document fraud and identity theft.

    Magistrate Jon Scoles denied former Agriprocessors chief executive officer Sholom Rubashkin request for release Monday despite Rubashkin's promise to hire round-the-clock guards.

    Prosecutors say Rubashkin tried to tamper with evidence after his released from jail on Oct. 30. He was returned to jail after being arrested on the bank fraud allegations, and prosecutors say agents found passports and about $20,000 in cash and silver coins in a travel bag in his bedroom.

    Rubashkin has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says he will appeal the denial.

    Share your observations and experiences about news. Lively, open, civil debate is the goal. Please refrain from personal attacks or comments that are racist, vulgar or otherwise inappropriate. If you see an inappropriate comment, please click the "Report as abuse" link.

    Catholic Church said...

    Catholic group calls for bishop to resign in wake of sex abuse report

    Tuesday, 23 December 2008

    A radical lay Catholic group has called for the immediate resignation of the Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee, in the wake of a damning sex abuse report.

    The 'Voice of the Faithful' lobby, which campaigns for more accountability in the Irish Catholic Church, said that if Bishop Magee fails to step down, Pope Benedict should exercise his supreme authority by demanding his resignation.

    The pressure on Bishop Magee (72) to quit follows the publication of an internal church report that found child protection practices in the Co Cork diocese were inadequate and dangerous, thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm.

    The report, by Ian Elliott, the chief executive of the Republic's National Board for Safeguarding Children, censured the former secretary to three popes over his handling of a series of complaints of sexual abuse made by five people against two priest rapists in the diocese.

    Bishop Magee has said he intends staying in office to implement best practice child protection procedures in the diocese which he has headed for 21 years. But last night Sean O'Conaill, the acting coordinator of 'Voice of the Faithful' said that this response from Bishop Magee was not good enough and he should go.

    "The NBSC report on the management of two child protection cases in the diocese of Cloyne shows clearly that, three years after the Ferns report in 2005, an Irish bishop had failed to ensure that the safety of the children of his diocese was paramount in the minds of all those answerable to him for the safety of Catholic children," Mr O'Conaill said.

    "Other children were thereby still being endangered at this late date -- despite the guidelines supposedly adopted by all Irish bishops in the wake of the Ferns report. We therefore call upon him to resign this office immediately. In the event of his failing to do so, we call upon the Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, to exercise his supreme authority to request the resignation of Dr Magee."

    Anonymous said...

    Mondrowitz had a job in EY, walked the streets a free man, and probably abused so many more we don't even know about. Can someone explain why for twenty + years they let this happen. No protests or calls for his head in EY? This is shameful.


    Bias claim rejected, bail denied in Postville case


    A federal judge was unswayed by contentions that he discriminated against Jews when he denied bail to Sholom Rubashkin.

    Rubashkin, the former top executive at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, has been in jail since Nov. 14. He faces federal charges of bank fraud and conspiracy to hire undocumented workers at the plant, site of an immigration raid in May.

    Prosecutors successfully argued last month against bail in the case, saying they feared Rubashkin would flee the country. Their arguments included references to Israel's "Law of Return," which allows Jews from around the world to become Israeli citizens. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles also cited that law when he denied bail.

    Defense lawyers asked Scoles to reconsider, saying the government argument amounts to unconstitutional discrimination because it could lead judges to set a higher standard when deciding whether to grant bail to Jewish defendants. The controversy has brought national attention in the Jewish press and the Wall Street Journal.

    Scoles ruled Monday that Rubashkin must remain jailed. He wrote that the "Law of Return" issue is a minor part of the reason. "Defendant attaches too much significance to that single reference," the judge wrote.

    Scoles noted that law officers who arrested Rubashkin at his house found a travel bag containing thousands of dollars in cash, his birth certificate and his children's passports. The discovery strengthened suspicions that he might have been preparing to flee, Scoles wrote. The judge added that at least one other former Agriprocessors manager is believed to have fled to Israel through Canada.

    Scoles was unconvinced by Rubashkin’s offer to hire a private security company to keep him under house arrest if bail was granted. The judge said the offer did not represent “new information,” which would lead to a new bail hearing.

    Defense lawyers said Rubashkin would agree to numerous safeguards, including an electronic tracking bracelet and millions of dollars in bond money. They also said Israel has a strong extradition treaty with the United States.

    Defense lawyer Guy Cook said he would appeal Scoles’ ruling to Linda Reade, chief federal judge of the northern district of Iowa. Cook said Rubashkin has a right to be released on bail because he has agreed to safeguards that would guarantee his appearance for future hearings. “This is not a violent crime. There’s no reason this man should be locked up,” he said.

    Cook noted that bail was granted in the case of Bernard Madoff, a New York investment adviser recently accused of bilking clients out of $50 billion. That’s vastly more than Rubashkin is accused of taking, Cook said.

    Shmuley Boteach said...

    Madoff and Rubashkin: A contrast in two scandals
    Dec. 22, 2008
    Shmuley Boteach , THE JERUSALEM POST

    When I was chosen this year to serve alongside Queen Rania of Jordan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson as one of the judges for CNN's Heroes, I met and befriended an incredible woman named Carolyn Lecroy who runs the Messages Project, which videotapes prison inmates reading bedtime stories and communicating with their children. As I watched Carolyn's work with my own children on the DVD CNN sent me, tears streamed down all of our eyes. We immediately identified with the millions of children who have done no wrong but whose parents' incarceration brings them unending suffering.

    In this spirit, consider the case of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, the former chief executive of Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, who has been denied bail and is being detained pending trial in the Dubuque County jail where his wife can visit him once a week for 25 minutes and communicate only through video conferencing. She is charged with looking after their 10 children on her own, including their 15-year-old autistic son Moishe.

    WHAT COULD this rabbi have done that would cause the justice system to be so harsh? To be sure the charges against him are serious, including child labor violations and knowingly employing hundreds of illegal immigrants. But Bernie Madoff allegedly ripped off $50 billion and took scores of Jewish charities to the cleaners, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Yet he's sitting under house arrest at his $10 million East Side apartment! Rubashkin and his wife Leah long ago surrendered their passports to federal authorities, not to mention the fact that he was previously fitted with a GPS ankle bracelet. So why did the judge deny a multimillion dollar bail package offered for his release, with 32 people offering mortgages on their homes to back the bond?

    In his November 20 decision, federal magistrate Jon Stuart Scoles offered the astonishing and disquieting rationale that Rubashkin is a flight risk because "under Israel's Law of Return, any Jew and members of his family who have expressed their desire to settle in Israel will be granted citizenship." Huh? A federal judge designates 5.5 million American Jews as potential flight risks due to Israel's Law of Return, and the Jewish community responds with silence?

    It is possible that there are uncharitable motives behind the absence of any Jewish outrage to a ruling with potentially devastating consequences to our community's basic rights. Until he imploded, Bernie Madoff was in a business Jews consider sophisticated and noble, finance. He was a secular Jew who made good on Wall Street and even brought the community pride by becoming chairman of Nasdaq. Rubashkin, by contrast, was essentially a glorified shochet and butcher, the country's largest producer of kosher meat. Rubashkin's beard and black hat were enough to unnerve many Jews. But that his missteps at Agriprocessors highlighted what others consider the unsavory sight of Jewish ritual slaughter all but guaranteed Rubashkin's total abandonment at the hands of American Jewry.

    THIS EXPLAINS why, in sharp contrast to what is developing in the kosher meat industry, there has been no move afoot to establish something akin to "Hechsher Tzedek," a rabbinic certificate of ethical excellence, for financial institutions. After all, how is it that when so many of the people going to jail on Wall Street turn out to be Jewish, the Modern Orthodox and Conservative movements have not immediately launched a campaign, as they are doing with kosher meat, to evaluate firms that invest Jewish money to ensure that they conform to the highest ethical norms in terms of treatment of employees and overcompensation of dead-beat executives?

    Why is it that only kosher meat is being singled out as being in need of ethical reform? I suggest it is because the Jewish community has an obvious sense of discomfort with ritual observances that the non-Jewish world finds confusing or distasteful rather than the Jewish money machine which, when it works soundly, everyone rather enjoys.

    To be sure, Judaism commands the highest ethical treatment of animals, including the commandment to feed one's livestock and pets before oneself. Indeed, the whole purpose of shechita is the severing of an animals' carotid arteries leading to death by asphyxiation so that an animal dies without suffering. I for one applaud many of PETA's goals of ensuring humane treatment of animals, even as I decry some of its more radical means, like their comparison of the slaughter of animals to the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust.

    BUT LET'S be honest, the hatred that Jewry feels for Rubashkin cannot be completely divorced from his profession as a giant kosher butcher no more than secular Israelis natural scorn for the bearded settlers can be completely divorced from their view of them as religious fanatics who are obstacles to peace. Consider the fact that Israelis have expressed no strong outrage against former Knesset speaker Avrum Burg who recently published a book, highlighted in The New York Times recently, suggesting that "Israeli Arabs are like German Jews during the Second Reich and that the entire society felt eerily like Germany just before the rise of Hitler." Burg adds that "the Israeli government would probably soon pass the equivalent of the Nuremberg laws, with provisions like a prohibition on marriage between Jews and Arabs."

    Now who is more of a fanatic? The settlers, or Burg who equates Israel with Hitler but is largely given a pass because of his essentially secular bearing (diminutive yarmulke notwithstanding).

    WHEN I was a teenager at Chabad yeshiva in Los Angeles, my friend Dovid Goldman's sister Leah married a young rabbinical student from a Lubavitch family distinguished for its pedigree and vast philanthropy, including a decades-old soup kitchen in Brooklyn that fed thousands. His name was Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin and there was great chatter in our yeshiva because his wife Leah was a ba'al teshuva (returnee to Judaism). I had never met him but respected him for rejecting some of the sillier ideas inherent in Orthodox courtship, including the fact that those from religious backgrounds do not marry those who are new to Jewish observance.

    Those who read my columns know that I can be a sharp critic of this kind of Orthodox excess. Still, I have always been extremely proud of my faith, just as I have encouraged my Christian and Islamic brothers and sisters to be proud of theirs. If Rubashkin is guilty, he will pay a terrible price. But our rejection of him as some kind of fiend before he even goes to trial says more about us than it does about him.

    The writer is the founder of This World: The Jewish Values Network. His upcoming book, The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets to Recreate Desire and Recapture Passion for Life will be published by HarperOne in January.
    This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1229868818904&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    San Francisco Union Square lighting said...


    The Jewish Week said...

    BreakingThe Silence
    Asher Lipner in his office. “I see healing beginning to take place in therapy rooms where families torn apart by sexual abuse are courageously learn to love each other in healthy ways.” Michael Datikash

    Asher Lipner in his office. “I see healing beginning to take place in therapy rooms where families torn apart by sexual abuse are courageously learn to love each other in healthy ways.” Michael Datikash

    by Hella Winston
    Special To The Jewish Week
    At this time last year, Dr. Asher Lipner had no idea he was on a course to become a grass-roots community organizer, particularly around such a delicate issue: child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. But having successfully organized a conference attended by close to 50 survivors of abuse, clinicians, advocates and rabbis in Brooklyn in September, that, as well as a compassionate and outspoken advocate for victims of abuse throughout the Orthodox world, is exactly what he has become.
    Lipner, who is 42 and lives in Flatbush, has a Ph.D. in psychology and works in the Orthodox community as a therapist specializing in issues related to sexual abuse. He is a teddy bear of a man, with dark hair and a salt-and-pepper beard,
    and over coffee at a café in his neighborhood he spoke thoughtfully about an issue that he has become passionate about.
    Lipner claims that the idea for the conference came out of a growing sense of frustration among colleagues and friends who had been dealing with the issue largely in isolation, and longed to find a way to work with others to confront what they saw as a communal problem. Lipner drew on his extensive network of clinicians, advocates, survivors and rabbis to create a list of invitees, which ultimately grew into the triple digits.
    The conference, which was held on Sept. 21, drew men and women from, according to Lipner, “Yeshivish black-hat backgrounds, Modern Orthodox, Satmar Chasidim and Lubavitch/Chabad, some religious, others no longer so.” Featured speakers included Rabbi Yosef Blau, the mashgiach ruchni (spiritual adviser) of Yeshiva University, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Elliot Pasik, the president and a founder of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children. Sessions focused on topics ranging from “Enlightening Our Leaders” and “Community Education” to “Government at Work Protecting Kids” and “Survivor Support.” Attendees came from as far away as Baltimore, Florida and Los Angeles.
    Despite the level of interest and participation, the meeting was not publicized beyond the list of invitees out of concern for the privacy — and even safety — of the participants.
    “It actually felt a bit like a meeting of Soviet Refuseniks discussing survival under the nose of the KGB,” Lipner said. “It’s a shame that our community still has this need to protect its own image more than it’s ready to protect its children,” he added, noting that significant progress has been made.
    “Dov Hikind has been publicizing this problem on his radio show, the Jewish Board of Advocates has successfully lobbied for legislation to protect yeshiva students, and now [the haredi umbrella group] Agudath Israel has publicly agreed to back up their position on mandated finger printing and background checks.”
    While Lipner says he is not yet sure what the fruits of the meeting will ultimately be — a handbook for parents, teachers and survivors is already in the works — he says the reaction of one of the survivors in attendance convinced him that the gathering alone was worthwhile.
    “An adult survivor who has been especially outspoken was supposed to moderate one session of the meeting,” Lipner said. “However, in the middle, he began to walk out. I followed to see if he was all right, and he said that the subject matter was overwhelming him emotionally. ‘You have spoken to hundreds of rabbis and leaders about your personal story. Your story has been written about and publicized. You are a courageous fighter for change. And my meeting has overwhelmed you?’” Lipner asked the young man.
    “His answer made my day: ‘Asher, he said, this is the first time I see that people care.’”
    While Lipner’s work as a therapist has given him tremendous insight into the issues confronting those who have been sexually abused — not to mention the particular struggles of Orthodox abuse survivors — he also has a more personal connection to the topic.
    As a teenager, Lipner attended an East Coast yeshiva, where, he claims, he had “a relationship with a rabbi who acted inappropriately and made sexual advances.” While the experience proved traumatic for the “young and naïve” Lipner, he was able to tell his mother about it, and she promptly intervened, causing the rabbi to back off. However, another student, a friend of Lipner’s, wasn’t as lucky.
    After enduring similar treatment at the hands of the same rabbi, this young man went to the administration, which, without conducting an investigation, promptly asked the boy to leave the school. It was only after some “political maneuvering” that the student was allowed to remain at the school, under the condition that he keep quiet about the incident.
    To this day, Lipner says he feels “guilty that I did not come forward and stand up for the injustice and for the danger that this rabbi presented to others. My fear and shame, so common to victims of abuse, prevented me from coming to the help of another innocent victim.”
    Lipner, it seems, is no longer content to remain silent. Though he acknowledges that speaking out can have a price, he is committed to this issue and will continue to work on it.
    “Some people feel ... if you publicly name a rabbi as a molester, you are ‘anti-rabbis,’ or if you publicly criticize a yeshiva that acts irresponsibly you are ‘attacking yeshivas,’ or if you say the Orthodox community has a problem, just like everybody else, then you are ‘anti-Orthodox.’ Several people who care about me warned me that I would not be able to advance as a professional in the Orthodox mental health field, and that my shidduch [marriage] potential would be hurt.”
    Despite these dire warnings, and a few raised eyebrows, Lipner claims nothing he has done has hurt him in his “career nor in my personal life.” In fact, he feels that things are beginning to change in the Orthodox world, and that the “fear so many have of speaking up is based on a stigma that is illogical and disappearing with education and awareness” — both things he hopes to continue to provide.
    “The sex abuse problem can only be cracked with an interdisciplinary approach, and that is exactly the type of conference Asher organized,” says Pasik of the Jewish Board of Advocates For Children. “With passion and a sense of purpose, he brought to the table representatives from law, government, criminal justice, medicine, psychology, and rabbis. It was a huge stepping stone towards concrete solutions, including much overdue legislation that will finally rid our yeshivas and all nonpublic schools of people who would do harm to our kids.”
    Ultimately, Lipner believes, education and awareness are about healing.
    “I see this kind of healing beginning to take place in therapy rooms where families torn apart by sexual abuse courageously learn to love each other in healthy ways,” he says. “I see it in the coming forward of hundreds of victims to Dov’s task force to tell their stories, and in the letter sent out by a yeshiva principal in New Jersey to parents ... encouraging them, with the backing of a reputable posek halacha [decisor of Jewish law], to cooperate with a police investigation of [a coach accused of] sexual abuse. I see healing in the public statements of Agudath Israel expressing empathy and understanding for bloggers who have been more than critical of what they perceive as Aguda’s lack of leadership on this issue.
    “This olive branch is, I believe, a harbinger of reconciliation between those who have been hurt in our community and the leaders who represent the community.”

    The Jewish Week said...

    Rabbinic Molesters Issue Moving Agudah
    David Zwiebel of Agudah says he is closely watching emerging details of proposed sex abuse legislation in the Senate and Assembly.

    David Zwiebel of Agudah says he is closely watching emerging details of proposed sex abuse legislation in the Senate and Assembly.

    by Larry Cohler-Esses
    Editor At Large

    The recent rash of cases in which rabbis have allegedly molested young children going back decades has moved one group that usually bristles at government involvement in Orthodox schools to envision shifting its stance.

    “Our general sense is that we’re much better off when government leaves us alone,” said David Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America for government and public affairs. “But because of the sensitivity of this particular issue, I could see the possibility of our rabbis affirmatively encouraging schools to buy into the system, and even maybe affirmatively encouraging government to impose it on us.”

    Zwiebel was speaking specifically about a new law that will, for the first time, allow non-public schools to voluntarily take part in a program to
    fingerprint school employees for use in criminal background checks.

    But for Agudah, an umbrella organization of ultra-traditional Orthodox groups that seek a degree of insulation from the secular world, it was a striking statement.

    To be sure, Agudah contemplates no welcome mat for a mandatory government fingerprint program just yet. That would be “quite premature,” said Zwiebel. Agudah, he said, wants first to see how the state implements the voluntary law.

    But in an interview with The Jewish Week, Zwiebel, with whose organization many in Albany check first on legislation involving the Orthodox community, appeared to offer a wary road map to supporting greater oversight by the government on issues relating to sexual molestation of children.

    The pressure for increased government involvement has been building for years. It began with the shocking emergence earlier this decade of Catholic priests who, it turned out, had molested children under their care for decades, and had often been protected by their Church superiors.

    More recently, credible allegations have emerged here in New York against a small number of yeshiva rabbis said to have also sexually abused their students over several decades. The alleged victims — often now adults — have also charged that the yeshivas and rabbinic supervisors were informed about their teachers’ conduct but did nothing, or even protected them.

    Now, state Assembly Member Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), who has become deeply involved in this issue, speaks of hearing “hundreds” of reports of rabbinic sexual abuse — reports that appear to him to be credible. This week, speaking at a conference on this controversy, Hikind for the first time numbered these reports in the “thousands.”

    Slowly, and somewhat erratically, the state legislature has begun to take up the question of legal reforms to address this situation. The fingerprinting law passed last year will permit non-public schools to voluntarily take part in a program that is already mandatory for all public schools.

    But some lawmakers hope to go further next year, with legislation to make non-public school participation mandatory. They also want to pass a bill that would make clergy and non-public school officials “mandated reporters” — individuals required by law to report to the authorities any information or evidence they receive that a child has been abused or molested in a school setting. Public school officials are already required to do so, thanks to an education law passed in 2000 that excluded the private school sector.

    Another bill, now stalled by differences between the Assembly and Senate, would extend the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of molesters and for civil suits to be filed against them. Presently, prosecutors cannot go after a child molester once the child in question reaches age 23. And a child victim of sexual molestation must sue his molester — or a school that fails in its duty to protect him — for civil damages by between one and six years after he turns 18, depending on the nature of the allegation. But experts say child victims can take many years, or even decades, after they reach adulthood to process what was done to them and act on it.

    Agudath Israel does not oppose any of these measures in principle, Zwiebel said. But God is in the details. And one red flag for the group is disparate treatment.

    “It’s never been our position that non-public schools should be treated differently than public schools,” when it comes to protecting children, he said. “But our position is that they should not be singled out.”

    This led Agudath Israel to vigorously oppose a 2003 proposal that would have required members of the clergy and certain categories of religious educators and administrators to go to the authorities with any information they had received about child abuse by other clergy over the last 20 years. Inspired by the continuing revelations coming from the Catholic Church, the bill singled out the duty of these religious workers to report on their colleagues — but not on sexual abuse from other sources.

    In a memo then to leaders of the state Assembly and Senate, Zwiebel denounced the legislation as “patently unconstitutional” for its “apparent assumption that religious functionaries, more than any other element of society, are inherently suspect — and should therefore be subject to special legal scrutiny and reporting requirements — regarding allegations of child abuse.”

    Since then, critics have frequently denounced Agudath Israel’s stand as obstructionist and cited its opposition to this bill as evidence of an intent to shield rabbinic abusers. Condemnations on the Internet against the group have been especially angry and intense.

    But Zwiebel said that if the Legislature were to introduce a bill that simply included non-public school officials in the duty to report evidence of abuse of students in a school setting, as public school officials already must do, “At a minimum, I am pretty certain we’d advise our friends in the Legislature we don’t oppose this.”

    As for efforts to expand the statute of limitations, whether criminally or civilly, “I don’t imagine we’ll oppose any of that” either, Zwiebel said. “Whether we would affirmatively push it, I can’t answer.”

    Indeed, legislation on this appears to be stuck between the State Senate and the Assembly. And according to a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County), it is opposition from the Catholic Church and the insurance industry that is playing a role.

    The Assembly’s bill would significantly extend both the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse going into the future. But the Democratic-dominated Assembly is determined to also give those now beyond the civil statute of limitations a key back into the courts. Its bill would establish a one-year “window” for adults with allegations of childhood abuse to file suit, regardless of when the abuse took place.

    Skelos’ spokesperson voiced concern about this provision, citing the potential difficulties of obtaining evidence in very old cases. The Senate, he noted, has passed three different bills to eliminate or extend the criminal statute of limitation. But it has refused to pass the Assembly’s bill. The Assembly, in turn, has held fast against the Senate’s bill.

    Meanwhile, the regulations have yet to be published for implementing the law passed last year that would allow non-public schools to opt in on fingerprinting and criminal background checks of its staff.

    Zwiebel made clear that Agudah’s willingness to accept a bill to make this mandatory for non-public schools will depend on how the voluntary program goes.

    One regulation under consideration, he related, would institute a “roach motel” principle: Once a school chooses to opt in, it will not be allowed to opt out.

    “I’m troubled by that,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like wise public policy.”

    Another proposed rule would mandate that a school opting into the system must require every employee to be fingerprinted, without exception.

    “I don’t understand that part of it,” he said. “It would allow us no discretion to [exempt], say, certain veterans about whom there have never been any questions from a criminal background check.”

    Still, he said, “I’m not necessarily implying those two rules would push us away. I’d like to know exactly what the details are.”

    In many cases, Zwiebel said, Agudah’s views have been misrepresented. He pointed, among other things, to an error in a recent Jewish Week story — since acknowledged — that stated the group opposed a mandatory fingerprinting law and another to make yeshiva officials mandated reporters.

    But referring to disturbing exposes that have appeared in this paper and elsewhere, he said, “Some of the anguish and pain that has come in the last few years, though uncomfortable, promotes consciousness of a problem that’s been in the shadows. So, though our views have been misrepresented, I can’t say [the critics] are bad people. They obviously care a lot about this issue.”

    Hella Winston contributed to this story.

    Anonymous said...

    Zweibel and Agudah are a bunch of frauds. They don't represent me. They don't represent a ben torah. They think they do. How else to explain their silence about these important issues like molestation which they have ignored mostly all this time.

    Anonymous said...

    Benzy said...

    Why are you judging Mondrowitz? Until we hear all the facts he is innocent until proven guilty as is written in the toirah.
    I hope you're joking but if not you better run to you local pharmacy and have them prescribe them pills for you. Get maximum strength.

    The Jewish Week said...

    Bernard Madoff’s alleged, record-shattering Ponzi scheme may ignite a crisis of confidence among donors to Jewish causes, adding to the impact of an economic climate that already has many reeling.

    A prominent Jewish activist in Washington described his own Madoff-related rebellion. While writing end-of-year charity checks last week, this activist decided to withhold his customary $1000 contribution to the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Washington. The reason: the group revealed it had lost at least $10 million in the Madoff collapse.

    “I realize a lot of groups were caught up in this, and maybe their motive really was to maximize their return so they could do more good works,” this activist told The Jewish Week. “But part of me resisted; why should I give more money
    to an organization that made this kind of mistake, without some assurance it won’t happen again? I’m donating money because the federation provides important services, not to give them money to put into risky investments.”

    Arnold Schwarzenegger said...

    Asta lavista baby!

    Schwarzenegger: Half-Ton Menorah a “Beacon of Light”
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Chabad-Lubavitch of California and local Jewish community leaders to inaugurate a 13-foot menorah at the foot of the capitol. In a Dec. 18 speech making note of the need to spread light throughout the world, the governor dedicated the menorah to the victims of the recent terror attacks in Mumbai, India. During the Thursday ceremony – the 15th such event to take place in Sacramento in as many years – Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of the West Coast headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch, and Rabbi Menachem M. Cohen of Chabad of Sacramento presented the governor with a silver charity box.

    mad world said...

    Good Article.

    Bernie Madoff, for one. Here is a gonif who preyed on the weaknesses of his own people and stole money not just from the wealthy, but from charitable organizations. How much smaller can you get?

    How many Bernie Madoffs are there in the Jewish community? The truth is, for every Madoff we hear about, there are probably a million honest Jews we never hear about. Madoff may be a disease, but he's not an epidemic.

    Every day, thousands of deals are made in our community, one Jew trusting another Jew and no one getting ripped off. We don't hear about these, precisely because no one gets ripped off. There's no doubt we ought to do more due diligence at all levels of Jewish philanthropy, and I'm sure that as a result of this scandal, we will. But let's not kid ourselves: For as long as there are human beings, trust will play a central role in the affairs of men.

    Trust serves as a convenient shortcut for making decisions, but it also serves a deeper human purpose -- it strengthens our emotional bonds. It gives us a chance to show loyalty and faith in other people, and when it is reciprocated, we feel a deeper connection.

    Complete Madoff CoverageFrankly, what worries me most is not that we will see more Madoff-level crimes of betrayal in our community, but that we so easily ignore the millions of little offenses we regularly inflict on each other. Those little offenses may not rise to the level of illegal behavior, but they have the cumulative power to corrode the human bonds that tie our families and communities together.

    what is the law, can Madoff be charged in his death? said...

    Hedge fund founder Thierry de la Villehuchet kills self after losing $1B in Madoff scandal

    Daily News Staff Writers

    Avraham Mondrowitz said...

    NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City child psychiatrist has been convicted of sexually abusing a 16-year-old patient during two therapy sessions.

    Queens District Attorney Brown in a statement said Dr. Raj Danthuluri was convicted Monday of endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree sex abuse after a non-jury trial by a Queens judge.

    The 40-year-old Hicksville, Long Island resident has medical offices in Rego Park, Queens. His attorney, Joseph Hanse, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

    Authorities say the 16-year-old patient told her mother the doctor had engaged in inappropriate sexual touching during visits in May and July, 2007.

    The doctor could face up to one year in jail when he is sentenced on February 13, 2009. He will also register as a sex offender.

    Will Obama be as friendly to Israel? said...

    Bush Forgives Man Convicted for 1948 Aid to Israel
    Rare Posthumous Pardon for B-17 Sale

    By Dan Eggen
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, December 24, 2008; A03

    In 1948, Charlie Winters took an unusual step for a Boston-born Protestant businessman: He waded into the bloody struggle for a Jewish state in the Middle East, selling decommissioned B-17 bombers to the Haganah resistance group and even helping to fly one of the planes overseas.

    The assistance earned him a federal conviction for violation of the Neutrality Act and made him a hero for many Israelis who have long decried his case as a grave injustice.

    Winters, who died in 1984 at age 71 and is buried in a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem, was granted a rare posthumous pardon yesterday by President Bush, nearly half a century after he was convicted and served 18 months in prison.

    "I'm elated," said Winters's son, Jimmy, of Miami. "This is an example of a man who did something for his friends that he thought was the right thing to do, and it had nothing to do with race or religion or money."

    The forgiveness of Winters was among a holiday list of 19 pardons issued yesterday by Bush, who also commuted the life sentence of a convicted methamphetamine dealer in Iowa. Bush has granted 190 pardons and nine commutations so far, less than half the number granted by Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, the other most recent two-term presidents.

    Only one other U.S. president has intentionally given a pardon to a dead man: Clinton granted clemency in 1999 to Henry O. Flipper, the first black graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, who was wrongly accused of embezzling commissary funds. A few others have died unexpectedly during the pardon process, according to experts.

    The Winters case brings a close to a little-noticed episode of postwar U.S. history, when Winters and two other Americans were prosecuted for aiding the Jewish resistance in its fight against Arab League nations following the withdrawal of British forces in 1948.

    Winters, who ran a business flying fruits and vegetables to the Caribbean, helped transfer two planes to the Israeli air force. He personally flew one of the aircraft from Miami to Czechoslovakia, where it and others were retrofitted for Israel's use as bombers, according to historical accounts. The B-17s were the only heavy bombers in Israel's air force and are widely credited with helping turn the war in its favor.

    Winters, who had few resources to fight the charges, pleaded guilty in January 1949 to violating the Neutrality Act and served 18 months in prison.

    The others involved in the case -- publisher and radio personality Herman Greenspun and former Army flight engineer Al Schwimmer -- were also convicted but never served prison time. President John F. Kennedy pardoned Greenspun in 1961, and Clinton pardoned Schwimmer in 2001.

    Jimmy Winters, who runs a neon sign business, said he did not know about his father's conviction until after his death. "He didn't want his kids to find out he went to prison," said Winters, 44. "He was old-school that way."

    Those who appealed to Bush for clemency in the case included filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who called Winters one of the "unsung heroes of America and of Israel" and wrote that a pardon "would be a fitting tribute to his memory and a great blessing to his family."

    Reginald Brown, a Washington lawyer involved in the pardon request, said Winters "probably would have been a bit embarrassed about the publicity but grateful that his country saw value in what he did."

    P.S. Ruckman Jr., an associate professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Illinois who writes the blog, said posthumous pardons have traditionally been shunned for a variety of reasons, including the belief that they were effectively an admission of guilt.

    But Ruckman said the Flipper and Winters cases could pave the way for more pardon requests on behalf of deceased felons, such as African American boxer Jack Johnson, who was convicted on disputed morality charges in 1913.

    Ruckman said the Winters case was particularly strong since two other defendants had already been pardoned and because his role was limited. "My impression was that this was as strong a case as I've ever seen for a posthumous pardon," he said. "He wasn't the mastermind of this thing."

    Yesterday's pardon list includes a variety of other crimes, from drug and gun violations to mail and bank fraud. The list does not include any of the high-profile people, such as former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who have been the focus of widespread speculation as Bush pardon candidates.

    The White House has said it would not rule out the possibility of more pardons or commutations from Bush before he leaves office on Jan. 20. Clinton came under fire for a flurry of last-minute pardons that included fugitive financier Marc Rich, while Bush's father was criticized for the Christmas Eve pardon of Caspar Weinberger and others accused in the Iran-contra scandal.

    The Anti-Defamation League said...

    The Anti-Defamation League has asked the U.S. attorney general to ensure that Israel's Law of Return is not used to deny bail to Jewish defendants.

    In a letter Wednesday to Michael Mukasey, an Orthodox Jew, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman took note of a federal magistrate judge's recent denial of bail to the former manager of the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant.

    The judge, Jon Scoles, ruled that Rubashkin posed a risk of flight and declined to release him on bail, pointing to evidence that he had a travel bag with cash and travel documents on hand at the time of his arrest. He also noted that two others accused of crimes connected to their work at Agriprocessors are believed to have fled to Israel.

    Scoles took note of Israel's Law of Return, which grants automatic citizenship to Jews.

    On Monday, the judge denied a request to reconsider the judgment. Rubashkin's attorneys are said to be considering an appeal.

    “The most troubling aspect here is that the government does not appear to have alleged, nor does the Detention Order conclude, that Defendant Rubashkin has any particular ties to Israel (he is alleged to have visited Israel in December 2007),” Foxman wrote. “Instead, the government and the Detention Order appear to conclude that simply because Defendant Rubashkin is Jewish, and because Jews may have a claim on Israeli citizenship, his religion is relevant to a bail hearing.”

    In their request for consideration, Rubashkin's attorneys argued at length that invoking the Law of Return was illegitimate, noting that under the government's reasoning, every American Jew would be viewed as a heightened flight risk, including Mukasey himself and two justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. They further proposed several additional measures to ensure Rubashkin did not flee, including 24-hour security surveillance at the defendant's expense.

    In denying the motion, Scoles asserted that Rubashkin's attorneys “attach too much significance” to the Law of Return factor in the original decision and that they had not produced any new information bearing on his risk of flight.

    Rubashkin was arrested in late October on charges relating to the hiring of illegal workers at the company's Postville, Iowa, packing plant. While free on bond, he was arrested a second time and charged with bank fraud.

    Meir said...

    Mondrowitz escaping to Israel and eluding justice is bad enough. But to think he may never have to face a courtroom in Brooklyn is pouring salt on the wounds. I just hope he is extradited. This is so ridiculous.

    fatso margo said...

    Ah fart is nisht geferlech un oichet a grepsel. Vus el zein mit the ganzeh velt as ich macht yene besumim ven ich geit in de mikveh erev shabbes? ich fammacht in my hoinzen the ganzhe tug oichet - nu?

    Dear Dan: My girlfriend of seven years has disgusting manners. She eats loudly with her mouth open, farts and belches incessantly, snorts instead of blows her nose, and so on.

    I used to find it refreshing to be with a girl who was so uninhibited. But now, it is getting on my nerves, and it's embarrassing when she farts in front of our friends. I am starting to be turned off by this, and I don't see her as desirable anymore. She thinks I am being sexist and have a double standard. Am I intolerant? And is there something wrong with me that I'm losing my libido?

    Grossed Out

    Yes, there's something wrong with you—there's something wrong with anyone who could spend seven years with this woman. Seven minutes sounds intolerable.

    I wouldn't tolerate a dude who behaved the way your girlfriend does—or advise a woman to tolerate one—so there's no sexist double standard on my end. And so long as you're not ripping farts in front of her friends or chewing with your mouth open, there's no double standard on your end, either, GO. Fact is, your girlfriend is a pig and a slob, and she'd be a pig and a slob even if she had a cock and balls. There's a guy out there for her somewhere—a guy with similar habits, or a guy with a higher tolerance for loudly chewed food, or a guy with a fetish for girl farts—and the sooner you DTMFA, the sooner she can start delighting him with her uninhibited ways.

    America's Most Wanted said...

    * Video: Notorious Child Molester Pleads Guilty

    Notorious Child Molester Pleads Guilty
    Man Put Pictures Of His Daughter's Rape On Internet

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- One of the most notorious child molesters in the world – a man who raped his daughter in Portland -- pleaded guilty to his crimes.

    Kenneth Freeman, 46, told a judge in Spokane, Wash., he raped his daughter, took pictures of it and posted it on the Internet.

    Court documents show that Freeman committed some of his crimes in the Portland area, including child rape and making child porn as he was doing it.

    Video from "America's Most Wanted" showed Freeman, the former body builder and law enforcement officer from the Tri Cities, captured in Spokane.

    Freeman, who was described as arrogant and a narcissist admitted that after his daughter turned 10, he took her to Portland and raped her.

    He made child porn of his attack and posted it on the Internet and it became the most downloaded child porn ever, Investigators said on "America's Most Wanted."

    "This girl had not only been raped by her father, but he had sent pictures of her all over the world," an investigator said.

    Kylie finally told her mother, but Freeman took off for China.

    "America's Most Wanted" ran shows on Freeman, Kylie spoke out and investigators finally found him, arrested him and brought him back to the Northwest.

    His agreement calls for 50 years behind bars.

    Reports said Freeman blamed what he did on a "major emotional episode" after his second divorce and issues from his childhood.

    yudi kolko said...

    Could have been me. Charles Hynes is a guy who I will always be indebted for.

    MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) _ A North Carolina man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for molesting his friend's 6-year-old son on Long Island.

    The Nassau County district attorney says the abuse lasted more than two years and occurred at a home in Hempstead, N.Y., and three hotels.

    Victor Johnson, of Hobbsville, N.C., was convicted in August of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced Friday.

    Johnson and the boy's father knew each other from their job at a car dealership, and Johnson would sometimes baby-sit the boy.

    avi shafran the putz said...

    If I may weigh in with my two cents on this pornographic article it would be to stress how unfunny it is. No need to make any reference to abuse while bringing Chanukah into the discussion. I find the tone and choice of words rather ugly and distasteful. The 'A' word (abuse) signifies that we have such a problem in our community and I for one do not believe we do. I feel that certain blogmeisters embellish the circumstances and that if they only perceived the Agudah position as coming from a different perspective they might just understand our position. What I mean by that is the direction we take on abuse is it's perfectly fine to refuse comment if a chilul hashem can be avoided, it's done leshem shomyim, and the abuser has a large family to feed. Merry Chanukah...

    The pornographic article can be read here:

    Homosexuality and Slavery said...

    It is amazing how the bible is interpreted and dissected each to his own. One of the largest issues I have with orthodoxy lies with what is the real answer (not what the clergy claim based on their own hypothesis). It is confusing to no end.

    Homosexuality and Slavery

    Here’s what Lisa Miller wrote:

    Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument). Common prayers and rituals reflect our common practice: the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer describes the participants in a marriage as “the man and the woman. But common practice changes — and for the better, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” The Bible endorses slavery, a practice that Americans now universally consider shameful and barbaric.

    And here’s the response of C. Ben Mitchell, director of The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and associate professor of bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity International University:

    Such sweeping a statement as “Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition” is breathtakingly dismissive of an ancient text, taken to be authoritative for millennia, and attended with interpretive traditions that, until the sexual revolution of the 1960s, went virtually unchallenged on this particular topic. This smacks more of propaganda than accurate reporting.

    Throughout her essay Miller mistakes the Bible’s inclusion of a practice as a recommendation of that practice (e.g., polygamy and slavery). Just because slavery is mentioned in the biblical material does not constitute an endorsement. As a matter of fact, the Apostle Paul’s instruction to Philemon not to treat Onesimus as his slave, but as a brother in Christ was simply revolutionary (Philemon 1:1-6).

    The slavery practiced by the Hebrews was as different from other Ancient Near Eastern forms and from American chattel slavery as chalk is from cheese. For instance, slavery among the Hebrews was not based on race, but was largely an economic arrangement. A Jewish slave sold to another Hebrew because of his inability to pay his debts was to be released after six years. A Hebrew who sold himself into slavery was released during the Jubilee year. A slave could be bought back at any time by a relative. Moreover, in the New Testament both Paul and Peter insisted that slaves be obedient to their Roman masters. Masters were urged to be kind (Ephesians 6:9), and slave trading was condemned (1 Timothy 1:10).

    But what does slavery have to do with homosexuality? It is hardly an apt analogy. Not only so, but the nuptial principle of monogamous heterosexual marriage is as old as the book of Genesis. It does not have its origins in the Book of Common Prayer. Furthermore, the principle rules out practices that everyone except the most radical ideologue would find abhorrent. For instance, the principle that marriage is restricted to one man and one woman eliminates bestiality as an option. Because the nuptial pair are to come from different families, the principle proscribes incest. Presumably Miller would agree that bestiality and incest are wrong. But why? Is it merely public disapproval that keeps these practices from being beyond the pale? If so, the likelihood is high that these mores will change in the not too distant future as well.

    We must agree with Miller, however, that the Bible has influenced cultural practices tremendously down the ages. The Bible’s support for the dignity of every human being; the sanctity of every human life; the prohibitions against abortion, infanticide, and wife abuse have clearly informed the Western way of life — and thankfully so. The biblical work ethic, the encouragement of innovation, and economic freedom are also rooted in the Bible, as are property rights, principles of fair trade, and even the freedom of speech and of the press which provides the vehicle for Miller’s ludicrous claims.

    Most relevantly, the Bible has provided the basis for the basic foundation of Western civilization: the family, marriage, and the limited powers of government under a constitution. All of us are beneficiaries of a great inheritance. We should protect these gifts from our forebears with great care. What we do not value, we will not protect, much less nurture.

    5tjt said...

    Mental Health Training Courses For Rabbis Now Under Way

    Nearly 100 pulpit rabbis attended the inaugural lecture of the Advanced Mental Health Training in Pastoral Counseling series in Brooklyn at the end of October. From substance abuse to religious conflict, suicide to premarital counseling, the intense ten-session course now under way, given over seven months, focuses on a breadth of mental-health issues affecting the Jewish community.

    The National Council of Young Israel’s Division of Professional Development of the Department of Rabbinic Services, in conjunction with Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services and Touro College, has developed a course of study in psychological and social issues as well as basic counseling skills.

    In today’s world, the rabbi is most often the first port of call for someone in distress. Community members more typically approach a rabbi than a psychiatrist when confronting issues of mental health. The challenge is that rabbis are, understandably, not always informed as a mental-health resource. This speaks to the critical importance of collaboration and mental-health training amongst pulpit rabbis.

    It is the purpose of this workshop series to educate community rabbis to be more informed and sensitive to an array of mental-health issues, and to empower such community leaders with the tools of early detection to encourage professional referral without delay. Rabbis are not expected to treat, but to use their influence, help, and assist.

    Proving that real life is more illuminating than fiction, rabbis were asked to share some immediate cases they have had to confront. They told of a boy planning to kill his father; a bipolar diagnosis; community hysteria; and the alarming complaint by parents who felt abandoned in the lack of Jewish and Orthodox support groups. It immediately became clear that practical examples would not be hard to come by.

    In his opening remarks, Manny Wertman, COO of OHEL, conveyed the important message “that one should be careful not to think that those with a psychiatric disorder are violent or even have a propensity to be violent.” Mr. Wertman attributed this misunderstanding largely to frequent media hype and conveyed that the reality was that a mentally ill individual was more likely to be a victim than a perpetrator of violence.

    Importantly, the set of sessions will also focus on the burnout of rabbis themselves and the public life of a rabbi today—a reflection of the complexity of emotional and mental challenges that can be faced by all.

    Upon completion of the ten-course curriculum, each participant will receive a certificate from the National Council of Young Israel, Ohel, and Touro College.

    Applications are available through the NCYI office and are subject to review. Space is limited. For questions or to request an application, please contact the National Council of Young Israel’s Department of Rabbinic Services at 212-929-1525 ext. 113 or by e-mail at

    Cancer Cure said...

    Florida Man Clears Another Hurdle For Cancer Cure

    SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. - John Kanzius hopes that a project that began in his Sanibel Island garage holds the key to killing cancer cells.

    WPBF News 25 has been following Kanzius since 2005 and now, the former television executive, says he is another step closer to his goal.

    Kanzius' theory, that has now been recognized in a recent scientific journal, is that radio waves can target and kill cancer cells. spoke with Kanzius Monday night to get an update on his work. The treatment would involve patients getting injected with an antibody that carries nanoparticles to cancer cells where they would be absorbed. Then, radio waves would heat those nanoparticles and kill the cancer cells without harming the nearby healthy cells.

    Over the past year, Kanzius' work has been featured on CNN, "60 Minutes and television network morning shows.

    A Houston doctor who has been using one of Kanzius' machines plans to meet with the Food and Drug Administration in 2009 about what needs to be done to get approval for human clinical trials.

    Kanzius, who battles Leukemia, says he is looking for an alternative treatment to chemotherapy.


    Obama said...

    WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf, a longtime Chicago rabbi whose synagogue was across the street from Barack Obama's home, has died.

    Wolf, the rabbi emeritus at the KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park, died suddenly on Tuesday afternoon. He was 83.

    Wolf served at the Reform synagogue for 20 years before retiring in 2000. For eight years he taught philosophy at Yale University and was the school's Jewish chaplain. Wolf also served as a Navy chaplain during the Korean War and in 1957 was the founding rabbi of Congregation Solel in Highland Park, Ill., according to the Chicago Tribune.

    Wolf was a strong supporter of Obama's presidential campaign in the Jewish community, writing a widely circulated piece titled "My Neighbor, Barack." Wolf called Obama "one of our own" and wrote that "it's not neighborly instinct that's led me to support the Obama candidacy: I support Barack Obama because he stands for what I believe, what our tradition demands."

    Funeral services are scheduled for Friday morning at KAM Isaiah.

    yisroel belsky identified as truck driver said...

    Bones found at rabbi's tomb on Mount Meron ignite uproar
    By Eli Ashkenazi

    It was not immediately clear why the guard, Fitousi, sat huddled up next to a space heater, its cord plugged into a socket some distance away, guarding a seemingly empty piece of ground near the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai on Mount Meron.

    Even without the heater, the piece of ground has been red-hot for a week; like everything having to do with the sacred tomb, it is the source of unending conflict.

    Two pits, apparently tombs, uncovered during restoration work at the site, have raised a furor among the ultra-Orthodox. The storm was fed by rumors that the bones of Bar Yohai himself had been uncovered, and that a truck-driver who had agreed to remove the earth of the desecrated tombs had flipped his truck.

    It all started with the decision to build a new path to lead to the women's section, which would prevent eye-contact between men and women and be more comfortable than the previous one.

    The decision to renovate was made by a committee consisting of four representatives of ultra-Orthodox groups, who have been managing the sacred site for several years. The committee is now headed by a representative of the state, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, the rabbi in charge of Israel's Jewish holy places.

    His appointment garnered such a backlash that Rabinovich had to be given bodyguards.

    The paving of the path was apparently intended to calm things, but the discovery of the bones had the opposite effect at the site, which, with an estimated million visitors per year, is the second most popular Jewish pilgrimage site in Israel after the Western Wall.

    Rabinovich said work stopped immediately with the discovery of the bones.

    "We will not act until we receive directives from the experts," he said.

    However, last Wednesday night, a group of ultra-Orthodox came to the site to protest that the works were still underway.

    The tomb that was uncovered is believed to consist of a niche in which bones had been laid, although final determination has not been made.

    Following the discovery, an ultra-Orthodox High Court issued a warning that members of the priestly class (who are not permitted in cemeteries) should not come to the site.

    Yeshiva students at the tomb Wednesday said the truck-driver who had removed the earth from the site, over the requests of protesters, overturned a few minutes later near Moshav Safsufa. The driver, who would not give his name, said on an ultra-Orthodox internet news site that he had indeed overturned.

    "I hope it isn't because of the bones. It's scary. I feel bad. I won't do that work any more," he said.

    Conflicts have been erupting over control of the tomb for 200 years, and the latest flap comes amid struggles over the division of space at the site. Most of the area, where a majority of the charity boxes are, is under Sephardic control. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, who is to visit the tomb in the coming days, has issued a harsh critique of the site's management.

    pearl kaufman from be'er hagolah said...

    Would they permit a bigoted Cuban woman with no manners to serve as director for this women's headquarters?,7340,L-3644271,00.html

    Shmuel said...

    Little outrage over this. Arabs would be torching buildings and shooting people if this was directed at them. Just look at what they did over some cartoon characters invoking the name of prophet Mohammad.

    Jewish groups blast TV show

    Jewish groups have condemned a Belgian public broadcaster for airing a show in which a standup comedian jokes about the Holocaust and the persecution of Jews.

    Anonymous said...

    This is sick. Get Mondrowitz back here. I hate him and what he's done to me.

    Anonymous said...

    Why does the yated give so much kovod to child molester enablers? Every time there are pictures of these same so-called godliness saints. It makes me sick.

    mad world said...

    Rabbi: Kick Madoff out of the Jewish people

    By Ami Eden · December 26, 2008

    Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, religious leader of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn., wants Bernard Madoff excommunicated. Here's the rabbi's letter to Malcolm Hoenlein (not sure why this is a job for the Conference of Presidents, but we can discuss that another time) making the case for such a drastic step:

    Malcolm I. Hoenlein
    Executive Vice Chairman
    Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

    Dec. 23, 2008

    Dear Mr. Hoenlein,

    I call upon the leadership of the American Jewish community, specifically the Council of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations -- which includes both lay and rabbinic groups -- to initiate action leading to the excommunication of Bernard Madoff.

    Such a move would be unprecedented in the annals of American Jewry, and by its scope and power, perhaps in all of Jewish history. But never before has one man done such damage to individual Jews, Jewish organizations and Judaism itself. His actions were a betrayal of trust of an unprecedented degree. An overwhelming and overpowering statement of condemnation is essential. A clear message needs to be sent to others who might also be involved in similar schemes, to the Jewish public seeking moral leadership and to the public at large.

    There have been many who have done more harm to Jews. To my knowledge, Madoff has not killed anyone (update: Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet committed suicide on Tuesday, after the hedge fund he operated lost $1.4 billion because of Madoff). But the foundations and charities he has harmed irreparably will prevent people from getting needed health care or educational assistance, will likely keep Jewish youth from rediscovering their identities and aged Holocaust survivors from recording their stories. Mark Charendoff of the Jewish Funders Network described it to “The Forward” in near apocalyptic terms, as "an atomic bomb in the world of Jewish philanthropy.” An apocalyptic crime calls for an unprecedented response.

    But the greatest damage done by Madoff has been to Judaism itself.

    David Harris of the American Jewish Committee wrote in a letter to the New York Times of his concern that the Times’ coverage of Madoff had placed a “striking emphasis on his being Jewish.” But the Times is hardly alone in drawing that connection: Google “Madoff” and “Jewish” and 295,000 Web links already appear. The ADL called this a spike in online anti-Semitism. So we have a situation where Jews are being blamed for a crime that has disproportionately harmed Jews. I can understand why Jewish organizations are jittery about anti-Semites having a field day on this matter, but the most effective way to address it is through a clear repudiation not only of Madoff himself, but of the anti-Judaic nature of his acts.

    Abraham Joshua Heschel said that in a free society, some are guilty; all are responsible. On so many levels, beginning with that commandment about not stealing, Jewish tradition abhors what Madoff has done. Unless we Jews raise our voices louder than anyone else in condemnation of these acts , we are not only giving credence to all the false images being perpetrated by the anti-Semites, but we are perpetuating what the ancient sages dubbed a “hillul ha-shem,” a desecration of God’s name.

    Rabbis have employed excommunication often over the centuries, particularly in chasing down husbands who refuse to grant religious divorces to their wives; but usually the impact has been localized. In medieval times, it was used as a political weapon against alleged heretics, like Spinoza and some Karaites. In our time this tool has lost its clout, simply because the Jewish community lacks unity, and because rabbinic sanction has little impact outside the ultra-Orthodox world.

    But Madoff’s crimes cut across the Jewish spectrum - like a hatchet, not a scalpel. Hadassah reportedly lost $90 million; the Robert E. Lappin Foundation of Boston, which sent twenty of my community’s teens to Israel for free two years ago, was forced to shut down. Imagine if all the organizations represented by the Council of Presidents were to come together and say, flat out, that Madoff has done irreparable harm to Jews and Judaism and that he is not welcome in any synagogue, JCC or Federation event anywhere. No rabbi will marry him or bury him. No organization will make excuses for him. He is to be cut off. Period.

    The mechanism for excommunication would need to be devised from scratch, along with the precise consequences. There would need to be a degree of rabbinic and lay cooperation that we’ve rarely if ever seen among Jews in this country. We are in uncharted territory. But to this point, the response of the organized Jewish community to this scandal has been tepid at best, likely because many fear the anti-Semitic backlash that, ironically, will only be exacerbated by continued tentativeness. Most of those directly impacted by the scandal were blameless save for their blind faith, but too many traveled in the same social circles that honored this man for all the wrong reasons; too many proclaimed his genius. Those images are what will remain unless American Jewry recognizes that there is something rotten that must be exorcised from our culture and from our midst. Some have said that what we need is the equivalent of a moral bailout. What we certainly need is resolute action.

    Ultimately, it’s not because of the anti-Semites that this needs to be tackled head-on. Our own children are watching us. If the communal response to Madoff is concerted, unified and reasonable, this could be American Jewry’s finest hour. If not, it will be the continuation of our worst nightmare.


    Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

    Rabbi Shlomo "crocodile tears" Mandel said...

    Just this past week I was included in the yated gedolim section once again. Sharing the same section was Harav Belsky. The kovod felt zeir git. Ah groisen yasher koyach to Reb Pinny Lipshits. I know he really adores child molester enablers.

    cain yirbu said...

    Kill ALL the Hamas terrorists. Wipe them out once and for all.
    US urges Hamas to cease rocket attacks on Israel

    By DEB RIECHMANN – 2 hours ago

    CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — The U.S. on Saturday blamed the militant group Hamas for breaking a cease-fire and attacking Israel, which retaliated with strikes of its own during what became the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

    The White House called for the cease-fire to be restored, yet there were few indications that the violence, which has left more than 200 people dead and nearly another 400 wounded, was waning. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the operation in Gaza would widen if necessary.

    It was "completely unacceptable" for Hamas, which controls Gaza, to launch attacks on Israel after a truce lasting several months, said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

    "These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people," Johndroe said in Texas as President George W. Bush was spending the week before New Year's at his ranch here. "They need to stop. We have said in the past that they have a choice to make. You can't have one foot in politics and one foot in terror."

    President-elect Barack Obama was receiving an intelligence briefing on Saturday from various security agencies, Johndroe said. Bush has spoken to regional leaders and the administration will remain in close contact, he said.

    Obama also spoke during the day with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was keeping Bush abreast of the situation.

    Brooke Anderson, Obama's national security spokeswoman, said Saturday that Obama "is closely monitoring global events, including the situation in Gaza, but there is one president at a time."

    As Israel bombed Gaza, defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge. Hamas "will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

    Moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the West Bank, condemned Israel. Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded.

    Asked if the United States would back a continuation of the retaliatory strikes by Israel, Johndroe said: "The U.S. doesn't want to see any more violence. I think what we've got to see is Hamas stop firing rockets into Israel. That's what precipitated this."

    At his ranch, the president took a call from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who wanted to discuss the violence that began eight days after a six-month truce between Israel and the militants expired.

    "The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the cease-fire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza," Rice said in a statement. "The cease-fire should be restored immediately. The United States calls on all concerned to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the innocent people of Gaza."

    Israeli warplanes launched counterattacks on dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes. Most of those killed were security men, but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead.

    Hamas said all of its security installations were hit, threatened to resume suicide attacks, and sent at least 70 rockets and mortar shells crashing into Israeli border communities, according to the Israeli military. One Israeli was killed and at least six people were hurt.

    With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise. The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.

    Johndroe said the U.S. was concerned that humanitarian needs were being met in Gaza. He urged Israel to avoid striking civilians, but he refrained from commenting specifically on positions that had been hit on the ground.

    "I know they are targeting security and Hamas headquarters facilities," Johndroe said. "We urge them (the Israelis) to avoid civilian casualties."

    "The message from the United States is that Hamas is a terrorist organization that is firing rockets into Israel and they fired them onto their own people as well," Johndroe said, noting reports he'd seen about the death of two Palestinian girls. "Hamas has done nothing for the people of Gaza."

    The offensive has sparked angry protests throughout the Arab world. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Vatican, the U.N. secretary-general and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair called for an immediate restoration of calm. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation.

    con conned by con said...

    Con Man Turned Rabbi Conned In Ponzi Scheme

    Listen Now [4 min 31 sec] add to playlist

    Morning Edition, December 26, 2008 · Reformed con man Mark Borovitz recently found out he'd been conned. Now a rabbi, Borovitz runs a synagogue and treatment center in Culver City, Calif. The endowment for his organization lost as much as $300,000 in the alleged Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff. Rabbi Borovitz talks with Renee Montagne about how much that loss will hurt his group.

    Anonymous said...

    Obama’s silence on Israeli airstrikes disappoints many

    By Khalid Hasan

    WASHINGTON: President–elect Barack Obama blew the first opportunity that had come his way to show that unlike his predecessors, he was going to adopt a more even-handed approach to the Palestine question by choosing to keep quiet after savage Israeli airstrikes across Gaza.

    Obama who was expected by people in Arab and Muslim countries to turn his back on earlier American administrations that have supported Israel, right or wrong, could only have caused widespread disappointment among those who were hopeful that he would be different. If his first reaction to the Israeli outrage is any indication, it is clear that he is going to be as enthusiastic in his support of Israel as his predecessors.

    While, as could have been predicted, the Bush White House held Hamas responsible for having forced Israel’s hand, Obama, who spoke for eight minutes on Saturday to Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, could not bring himself to say even one word about the savage Israeli attacks which continued on the second day, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians. All an Obama spokesman was prepared to say was, “He (Obama) will continue to closely monitor these and other global events.” Bracketing the Israeli assaults with “other global events” is intended to suggest that the Israeli airstrikes were yet another of “global events’ that called for no more notice than the president-elect had already taken of them.

    The White House said it holds Hamas responsible for the renewal of deadly violence in Gaza after the Islamist group broke its ceasefire with Israel. Rice said on Saturday, “The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza.” Meanwhile, Howard L Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement, “Israel has a right, indeed a duty, to defend itself in response to the hundreds of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza over the past week. No government in the world would sit by and allow its citizens to be subjected to this kind of indiscriminate bombardment. The loss of innocent life is a terrible tragedy, and the blame for that tragedy lies with Hamas.”

    Hamas thugs said...

    “Palestine has never seen an uglier massacre,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. His group vowed revenge in Israel’s ‘cafes and streets’. Israeli military affairs commentators said the Israeli offensive did not appear to be aimed at retaking the Gaza Strip or destroying the Hamas government. Instead, they said, Israel wanted to force Hamas into a new truce.

    yechiel said...

    Extravagant fireworks display by mighty Israel. My fear is they will repeat mistakes of the past and not take out the whole terrorist infrastructure. Should they not relentlessly continue bombing the gehenoim out of Gaza and kill out the extremists, I'm afraid they would just be costing many Israeli lives for a worthless cause.

    Ahavas Torah in Monroe said...

    CHESTER — A fire caused by an oil candle in a menorah destroyed the home of Rabbi Nochum Laskin early Thursday morning, according to fire investigators.

    Firefighters were called to 22 Lincoln Road, in a development off Lakes Road, just before 2 a.m.

    The rabbi was home with his wife, Beatrice, at the time. He tried to extinguish the fire and was treated for smoke inhalation.

    Laskin, the rabbi at Ahavas Torah in Monroe, was once principal of the now-closed Hebrew Day School of Orange County in Middletown.

    Neighbors said the couple is staying with family in New Jersey.

    thomas said...

    The condemnation of Israel is an ever transcending formula that never evaporates. Many people (including religious Jews) question the strategy of retaliation by Israel, saying it will only spur more hatred and reason to attack the Jews. Truth be told, though, those who hate will always hate no matter what. It boggle my mind to think we can't strike back against our enemies. How insane to have that kind of mindset.

    Herman Rosenblat said...

    A Holocaust survivor who was bar mitzvahed at a late-age ceremony on Long Island in 2006 has recanted his story of how he met his wife when he was a starving prisoner in a concentration camp, and she was a curly-haired Jewish girl hiding outside as a Christian.

    The story - in which the girl threw Herman Rosenblat apples and bread over the fence every day until he was sent to another camp, only for the two to meet years later on a blind date and marry in New York - amazed many, including Oprah Winfrey during the couple's two visits to her show. The story also became a children's book, and spawned plans for a memoir and movie.

    But on Saturday, Rosenblat, 79, of North Miami Beach, Fla., said he had made up the story of meeting the girl at the camp, although historical records prove he is indeed a Holocaust survivor.

    Berkley Books announced it would cancel his memoir, "Angel at the Fence," which was to be published in February.,0,2135983.story said...

    Teams Provide Spiritual Encouragement to Israelis
    As Israel’s air force struck deep in the heart of the Gaza Strip in its quest to put a halt to the Palestinian rocket fire that has terrorized Israeli civilians for years, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries set out on a mission to provide spiritual support to citizens and soldiers dealing once again with war.

    Anonymous said...

    Monday, December 15, 2008
    violence in Bet Shemesh on the upswing

    There has been an increase in violence again in bet Shemesh, with a couple of recent incidents. That leads to the following guest post - Menachem wrote it better than I could, so I asked him if I could guest post it....

    A Guest Post by Menachem

    Below is an important letter about recent horrific events that occurred in Beit Shemesh. The young rabbi who wrote it has been at the forefront of trying to peacefully solve the issues between the Dati Leumi neighborhood in the Givat Shaaret neighborhood (Sheinfeld and Nofei Aviv) and our neighbors in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet. He has met with their "Rav" and leader, set up lines of communication to deal with issues as they arise, and even arranged a project where the people in the DL neighborhood gave Shaloch Manot to our neighbors.

    I'm giving you this background so that you'll understand that the person who wrote this letter is not given histrionics on this issue.

    This is a very said time for us here in Beit Shemesh. You all have to realize that we are not dealing with some small insignificant fringe, the numbers below put the lie to that. We are dealing with a systemic problem in the Chareidi world that is spreading like a cancer. The more the chareidim make political advances like they did here in Beit Shemesh, the more they will be emboldened to behave in the manner described below.

    If you consider yourself "chareidi" and this offends you, I'm sorry, but the massive silence on the part of the greater Chareidi community toward this behavior has made all chareidim accomplices to this terroristic activity.

    This cancer must be eradicated. Preferably by isolating it and cutting it off from its source, but if that can't be done then more drastic means will be necessary. We are talking about nothing less than the heart and soul of Yiddishkeit.

    We here in Beit Shemesh WILL react to this and we hope all good, decent Jews will join us.



    Dear Friends,

    I am sorry to report that there has been a recent surge in violent activity in the neighborhood.

    1)Last Friday night some boys and girls were sitting together on the steps from Gad to Herzog and were confronted by some gold garbed hasidim. It was all verbal and related to "we don't do this in our neighborhood." But, of course, what is now verbal can quickly escalate to more as you will see in the next item.

    2)This past Friday night things went to a much worse level. Three properly dressed girls were walking from Sheinfeld to RBS at around 9:30p.m. They were not making any kind of noise or drawing attention to themselves. After they past the bridge and began making their way up the hill they were confronted by many men - it began at like 20 and swelled to close to 50. The men were yelling that they should get out of their neighborhood. Two managed to run away but one was caught. They grabbed her, threw her to the ground, and kicked and beat her. A boy from our neighborhood was walking on the other side of the street and ran over to try to help. They beat him as well and he was told that if they saw him there again they "would kill him." Thank G-d, neither had to be hospitalized despite their bruises and scratches and thank G-d a chareidi family in the neighborhood called for them to run to them for shelter which they did.

    I assume you are as enraged and as shaken as I am and we cannot remain quiet. The question becomes what to do. There are political options (I don't think it is a coincidence that these events happened on the heels of the new Mayor taking power and these people feeling they now can do as they please), police related options, press related options, and I am sure there are other ideas which some of you might have.

    Leib Tropper said...

    You see - I am just a normal dude. This guy knows it. ejf is needed just like colon cleanser.

    Anonymous said...

    Dear Daas Torah,

    Recently, I have been following your tirads against R. Tropper. It is difficult to judge based on your input. What is his crime? You claim that he wines and dines spouses (and children) who are in a mixed marriage. Please tell me the prohibition. Conversion is always a risk. Hillel converted people by using his intuition. He took a chance. Shamai did the right thing. No question. I realize that we require kabalos mitzvos. How do you know that he has not achieved it? His video shows success stories.

    Surely, it is better that we violate a small issur (if there is one) and save families from annihilation.

    There is proof that our sages went on expeditions to convert people. It was later happenings that made us gun shy. In the middle ages you could get killed. Look what happened to the Geroh. He went to jail. But, please spell out the issur. Maybe, R. Tropper is a brave man.

    I am onborad late so please bring me up to speed. Letters from R. Sternbuch is not enough. I require reasons before I agree with anyone to attack my brother. Have you not gone overboard? Maybe, you did "convince" people. Reporters should "report" and not "make?!? news.

    EJF adverisment in hebrew said...

    college is a good thing said...

    Many yeshivos dissuade their students from this important education.

    Haredim want secular higher education, but are hampered by a lack of basic math and English skills, according to a new study.

    Fifty-seven percent of 148 haredi men surveyed in a study conducted by researchers at the Jerusalem Institute of Israel Studies said that they had looked into attaining a college degree, and another 15% said they had received advice about the possibility of pursuing studies in a college or some other institute of higher education.

    Three-quarters of the respondents were aged 20 to 30 and 84% married with children.

    Dr. Dan Kaufmann, Asaf Malchi and Bezalel Cohen, the three researchers who performed the survey, recommended that the State of Israel and philanthropists use their findings to help haredim get higher education.

    Their main recommendation was that haredim receive economic support for college education, as some 70% of the haredi men surveyed said that they would be willing to pursue a college degree if they received such support.

    In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post, Kaufmann said that young haredi men were usually married with children, and that "for them to pursue a college degree, including the preparatory courses in English and math that are necessary before they can even begin, entails a major economic sacrifice. Many are simply unable to do it."

    The researchers also polled haredi men and women already enrolled in institutions of higher education.

    A total of 312 haredi students were surveyed, 193 men and 118 women.

    The researchers found that while 29% of respondents mentioned rabbinic support as a factor in their decision to pursue higher education, 75% said that economic aid had been a factor.

    But the single most important factor was knowledge of English and math and the level of exposure to information about educational options.

    "There was a direct correlation between knowledge of English and math and motivation. The more respondents knew, the more they were motivated to pursue higher education. People who saw themselves as unprepared... were less motivated because they realized they would have to work hard to close the gap."

    Another interesting finding was the high percentage of haredim already enrolled who said they had chosen their course of learning based on personal interest, proving that "in contrast to preconceptions, haredim see their secular studies as more than just parnassa [a job]," Kaufmann said.
    This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1229868806378&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

    JW said...

    New Rift Opens Up In Beit Shemesh

    After about a year of quiet, the feud reared its head on a recent Friday night when a group of haredi youths allegedly threw eggs and kicked a 15-year- old Modern Orthodox girl traversing the religiously strict Beit Shemesh Bet neighborhood while walking a friend back home. The bone of contention? The girls weren’t dressed modestly enough.

    Rabbi Pinny LipShits said...

    The yated staff is pro sexual-abuse. Our photo snappers are busy figuring out which abuser and/or enabler to feature in this coming Wednesday's edition. Should we put in reb shlomo mandel again? yaakov mandel? reb yisroel belsky? reb tzitis shinberg? reb shmuel kamanetzky?

    Some 28 percent of girls and nine percent of boys under the age of 14 have been victims of sexual abuse, according to the most recent study on the issue, conducted in 2004.

    yosef meystel said...

    Sex-abuse cases may lead to law changes

    As some debate the breadth of abuse in nursing homes, experts and victims' families plan to seek more safeguards for the elderly.

    Avrohom Mondrowitz said...

    Child sexual abuse a mishandled crime

    Publication date: Monday, 29th December, 2008

    By Jonas Mbabazi

    THE crime of child abuse has taken an endless cycle. This year, children have been threatened more than ever before. The media has been awash with headlines of child sacrifices and murders.

    During this festive season, parents should be mindful of the ill-minded people who will take advantage of any situation to abuse any unaccompanied or unprotected child.

    I have been particularly frustrated at the handling of child abuse cases.
    Many children have been abused sexually but the scenarios have been mishandled, and many perpetrators have gone scot-free and still pose a big threat to the children.

    If it is suspected that a child has been sexually abused, the caretaker or parent should not wash or bathe the victim but immediately report the case to the nearby Police station and record a detailed statement including who the suspected perpetrator is.

    Thereafter it is important that the child is taken to a clinic for examination and care for injuries. In examining, the medical practitioner should take into consideration the physical, emotional needs of the child. Screening for STDs and pregnancy in case of a girl child, should be done with care.

    Physical injuries are the best proof of force and in collecting evidence it is important that they are photographed, described and documented in the examination report. But this should be done with the consent of the victim.

    Ultimately, the parents and medical practitioners should note that the findings from the examination shall help to confirm recent sexual contact, show that force or coercion was involved, identify the perpetrator and corroborate the victim’s story.

    During Christmas season, children are on holiday and parents should keep watch of them, always know where they are and do not trust anyone with a child given that relatives, family friends, neighbours or babysitters can also steal children.

    To prevent being misunderstood, parents should try and understand their children because at times the “do not talk to strangers” restriction may not work.

    In most cases parents have not openly talked about sexual issues with their children. Parents should teach children that no one should touch the “private” parts of their body.

    Children need to know that sexual advances from adults are wrong and illegal. Their confidence should be built to assert themselves against any adult who attempts to abuse them.
    Children should be taught that their bodies are not to be manipulated by anyone.

    Children are trusting and dependent and will often do what is asked of them to gain approval and love. Parents should always use this as a tool to influence and protect them.

    The writer is a social worker

    This article can be found on-line at:

    New York Post said...


    December 28, 2008 --

    A Staten Island mother accused of killing her 10-year-old son abused him for years - stuffing him full of junk food and beating him with a belt buckle before finally ending his life by brutally slamming his head against a wall, officials said today.

    Jaquan Porter didn't have much of a chance. While the steady diet of fatty sweets that blew him up to nearly 250 pounds didn't kill him, the constant physical abuse allegedly did.

    Sources said the fatal blow came Friday, the day after Christmas, which happens to be his mother, Melissa Sekulski's birthday.

    While other boys his age were playing with new toys and video games, Jaquan was being rushed to Richmond University hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

    Earlier, Sekulski, 30, hit him in the head so hard that his head struck a wall in the basement apartment where they lived at Grandview Avenue, authorities said.

    Sources said Sekulski admitted to striking the fatal blow, and said she was responsible for the boy's prior injuries.

    She was arraigned today on a first- degree manslaughter charge, and held without bail.

    Sekulski has a previously scheduled Family Court hearing today, and a court date on the criminal charge Dec. 31.

    A spokeswoman for the city's Administration for Children's Services said the agency is investigating to see if the family has a file with any of its caseworkers.

    Authorities said Jaquan was home-schooled, and neighbors said they rarely saw him at all. Some didn't even know Sekulski had a child.

    "Everyone knows everyone here, and I never saw that kid, never saw him go to school or nothing," said Rico Pedrazza, 24, a neighbor.

    "But she was always in and out."

    Those who did see Jaquan described a boy who was obviously obese, who breathed heavily after short sprints and who frequently gorged on junk food his mother provided.

    Officials said Sekulski and the boy's father split up at least three years ago, and that she and Jaquan had previously lived in Brooklyn and The Bronx.

    Sources said the boy and his mother lived in squalor in an apartment infested with bugs.

    A boy who played with Jaquan occasionally said he saw signs of abuse, but said nothing because he didn't want to embarrass his friend.

    "I would see him with marks - they looked like belt marks or hit marks - but he never said anything," the friend said.

    Neighbor J.R. Moore, 50, said he saw Sekulski run out of the apartment on Friday screaming hysterically.

    "She was screaming, 'My baby, my baby,' " said Moore, who followed her back inside to try to revive Jaquan, who was not breathing.

    "He was just laid out on the floor, lifeless," said Moore, who said the boy was stretched out on a blanket and dressed in sweatpants and a T-shirt. "I thought he was too overweight and needed to be on a diet. The way he was laying there I knew something was wrong."

    OU said...

    Confucius, meet Dr. Atkins
    Posted by Douglas LeBlanc

    OUInspected.jpgOne of the pleasures of magazines is in an editor’s creative matching of writer and subject. When the matchmaking defies obvious choices, the results can be especially satisfying, as in Patricia Marx’s profile of two rabbis who inspect food factories in China for kosher compliance (abstract here; full article requires registration).

    Stories about melamine poisonings from Chinese sources appear with a distressing frequency these days, and this report could have easily become a book-length analysis by John McPhee. Instead, Marx — a veteran comedy writer who also writes for The Huffington Post — deals with the melamine angle briskly, and toward the end of her report:

    Like an I.R.S. auditor, a mashgiah [kosher inspector] is there to make sure that nobody is cheating. A mashgiah does not bless food. Nor is it his job to vet anything for hygiene or safety. But that may be changing. Apparently, there are only so many cartons of toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, pet foods, and milk products that can be poisoned before the big machers in kashruth decide that they ought to tinker with an ancient tradition. Kosher-certifying organizations, including the [Orthodox Union], issued a statement saying that they will soon issue another statement saying that any Chinese company seeking their approval must comply with certain safety guidelines, which have yet to be specified. In the meantime, as [Rabbi David] Moskowitz put it, “Food scandals are always good for the kosher business.”

    The clearest moment of Judaism-meets-China is in this narrative by Rabbi Mordechai Grunberg:

    “There are two religions in China,” he said. “One is food. The other is money.” He told a story about a time, a few years back, when he addressed a group of Chinese authorities whose approval he needed in order to continue working in China. Having been warned by a colleague not to bring up God during his presentation, he explained to his audience that a kosher-certified factory could potentially bring in an extra million dollars a year in revenue. “Their eyes lit up,” he said. “Then one of them asked the big question: ‘What is kosher law based on?’ I asked him if he had ever heard of the Atkins diet. I said that Atkins wrote a diet book that’s very popular in the United States. And that, similarly, Moses gave the Jews the kosher diet, with rules that are also codified. I said that, from the little I’d read about Confucius, he, too, would have done the same thing. The Chinese all smiled. And they said, ‘Rabbi, even if what you’re doing here is illegal, keep doing it! We’re going to try to get the laws modified so you can do lots of business in China.’”

    Grunberg’s paraphrase of the Chinese officials’ response sounds a bit rich, but his explaining the concept of kosher in modern terms certainly is rewarding.

    Image of the Orthodox Union’s kosher-certified logo used under a Wikimedia Commons license.

    Anonymous said...

    Neturei Karta = Palestinians said...

    Another slaughter of Arab Palestinians. Jewish, scientists, philosophers, writers, artists, rabbis warned against the violent partition forced upon the Palestinians by Zionists and the colonial powers. Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Erich Fromm, many thousands of Jewish intellectuals. Neturei Karta Orthodox Rabbis have been the most steadfast and articulate in their opposition to the existence of the present state of Israel!


    At the time of yet another mass slaughter of Arab Palestinians, it seems appropriate to remind ourselves of the multitude of Jewish scientists, philosophers, writers, artists, rabbis who were against the violent partition forced upon the Palestinians by the Zionist movement and the colonial powers.

    Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Erich Fromm stand out in our memory for their warnings, but they are just three among the many thousands of Jewish intellectuals from all over the world who spoke out, and the Neturei Karta Orthodox Rabbis, have been the most steadfast and articulate in their opposition to the existence of the present state of Israel,

    Within Israel, which they refer to as occupied Palestine territory, and internationally, these well-spoken Neturei Karta rabbis are gentle, warm, kind, patient and gracious in appearance and demeanor, eloquent in describing their faith in the Torah, firm in their condemnation of Zionist crimes against humanity, but fiery in their repudiation of Zionist claims to represent Judaism.

    On the Neturei Karta web site one can read of their representations, protests and loving support for all the peoples of Palestine in public statements, publications and see photos of the Rabbis at demonstrations, meetings and convocations, in Jerusalem, New York, London, Washington D.C., Montreal, Toronto, Tehran, various cities in Europe and elsewhere.

    Neturei Karta - Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism
    "Neturei Karta is an international organization of Orthodox Jews dedicated to the propagation and clarification of Torah Judaism."

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said...

    In his speech, Ahmadinejad made a thinly veiled attack on the U.S. and its allies: “If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly he would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers,” he said

    medicaid fraud said...

    speaking of frauds, pinny lipshitz and his soggy sorry tabloid tops them all-----

    Annual Medicaid Fraud Report Released said...

    As Israel Defense Force air strikes against Hamas targets in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip extended into the fourth day of fighting, enemy rockets rained down on civilian centers, sending citizens scurrying and damaging homes, including that of Rabbi Chananel and Tzivia Pizem, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries in the border town of Sderot.

    The intermittent barrages throughout the morning – which wreaked havoc as far as Ashdod, almost 40 kilometers from Gaza – followed a day of some of the worst rocket attacks in the war. Three Israelis, one a Bedouin construction worker, were killed on Monday.

    Tzivia Pizem said that it was because of Divine Providence that she and her whole family were not home at the time of the 11 a.m. barrage. She normally travels to the central Israeli village of Kfar Chabad every Tuesday for a full day of Torah learning, and this time decided to take her husband and children with her.

    Reached as she and her husband made their way back to inspect the damage, Pizem was in tears.

    “Thank G-d we’re fine,” she said. “We’re not home yet. We’re getting there. I’m thinking, ‘What now?’ I have no idea.”

    Pizem’s 19-year-old nephew, Osher, was with a friend outside when the air raid siren went off.

    “We saw the explosion,” said the man. “I said to my friend, ‘That looks like my uncle’s house.’ He said that it looked like his mother’s home.”

    It took the pair about 20 seconds to reach the scene, where they found a crater in between the two structures. An old man was covered in blood, and was treated at the scene. Authorities later indicated he suffered minor injuries.

    Anonymous said...

    What a terrible time it is for Israel. It's war. It entered my mind that so many orthodox Jews take this to heart and are real hurt at the prospect of lives being lost. At the same time I wondered would these same ones take it just as hard when their fellow brother suffer silently everyday from a crime that leaves no bloodied evidence, a crime called child molestation. I concluded that many of these same Jews wouldn't be as broken hearted with the latter.

    Aron Twerski said...

    'Rabbi' Pinchus Lipshits of the Yated is an honorable Yevannite. His paper makes for some honorable toilet reading.

    this is ridiculous said...

    w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

    Criminal probe opened against rabbis who signed anti-Arab labor ads
    By Tomer Zarchin and Nadav Shragai, Haarez Correspondent

    A criminal investigation for incitement to racism will be opened against 29 rabbis who signed two advertisements urging people not to hire Arabs, Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan decided Tuesday.

    Both advertisements were issued following terror attacks in Jerusalem carried out by East Jerusalem residents: the shooting attack at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last March and two rampages by bulldozer drivers in July.

    "Again and again, it turns out that ostensibly cheap Arab labor exacts a price from us in blood, which is more dear than all," read the ad published after the bulldozer attacks, which appeared in the right-wing newspaper Kommemiyut and was also distributed as a flier. "The murderous tractors driven by Arabs from East Jerusalem are only the tip of the iceberg of a national problem that has long since become an existential danger that threatens the welfare of the nation that dwells in Zion: from taking over of sources of livelihood and pushing Jews out of every place, through a creeping takeover of Jewish neighborhoods, chutzpah and effrontery, growing verbal and physical violence and systematic and deliberate injury to the honor of the daughters of Israel, to mixed marriages with Jewish women who fall into their nets."

    The ad then urged people to "stop employing the Arab enemy, at least in the spheres closest to us. We won't let enemies into our homes, we won't buy from enemies, we won't directly employ enemies."

    Several of the signatories, who include Rabbis Shmuel Eliyahu (the chief rabbi of Safed), Yitzhak Ginzberg, Dov Lior (the chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba), David Druckman (the chief rabbi of Kiryat Motzkin) and Yaakov Yosef, are state employees.

    The other ad, published after the Mercaz Harav attack, urged people to "stop employing and supporting the Arab enemies and switch to Jewish labor and commerce with Jews."

    Of the 29 rabbis, nine signed both ads, while the others signed only one.

    One signatory, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, responded that the ad was aimed at saving lives, and "if someone thinks he needs to investigate and try me for that... It will be to my credit."

    Nitzan also ordered an investigation against a group of ultra-Orthodox kashrut supervisors in Jerusalem who tried to get the businesses they supervised to stop employing Arabs.

    They were relying on a religious ruling by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky that Jewish businesses should not employ Arabs. Nevertheless, Nitzan did not order a probe of Kanievsky, due in part to his old age.

    Dov Holtzberg a'h said...

    Elder child of Chabad Mumbai attack victims dies of long-term illness

    Facing Fears in the Orthodox Community said...

    By: Clara Hersh
    Posted: 12/30/08
    In the film "Narrow Bridge," writer and director Israel Moskovits confronts the controversial issue of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish world. Moskovits plays the protagonist, Daniel Schneider, a philosophy major attending secular college. He meets Rachel Goldberg (Samantha Leshin) in a philosophy class. The pair quickly forges a bond discussing philosophy and religion, enhanced by the fact that they are seemingly the two Jews on campus. While Rachel has not grown up religious, she is interested in learning more about her heritage. Daniel helps Rachel learn about Judaism and both grow to admire each other over the process, during which they begin dating and eventually become engaged.

    Their relationship has its complexities. Rachel is quick to open up to Daniel and divulge her past, but Daniel is very elusive about his life before college. Whenever Rachel asks about his past, Daniel evades her questions and hastily changes the subject. A flashback reveals that the reason for Daniel's elusiveness is because when he was young, Rabbi Kaufman, a teacher whom he trusted and who had helped him in his struggle with Judaism, had one day offered him a ride home, then took a detour and sexually abused him.

    When Rachel goes home with Daniel to meet his parents, Daniel is once again confronted with his childhood trauma, as well as Rabbi Kaufman himself. This throws Daniel into a state of panic. He starts to fight with his mother and fiancé and draws away from them. His behavior is so erratic that Rachel begins to question whether or not she made a mistake accepting Daniel's marriage proposal.

    The climax occurs when Rachel gives Daniel an ultimatum. She demands Daniel tell her what is bothering him, and threatens that she will go back to college and break off the engagement if he does not comply. In an emotional confession, Daniel tells Rachel about the rabbi who abused him, and she suggests that he bring the rabbi to justice. Before Daniel can have such closure, however, the rabbi is struck by a car and killed. Daniel is left to mend his emotional wounds without the resolution he needed. He ultimately finds solace in his relationship with G-d, his fiancée, and his supportive family.

    "Narrow Bridge" confronts many contentious themes. First, Moskovits tries to tackle the quest of a Modern Orthodox boy in college. Daniel is the first one in his family to go to college. After a lifetime of Jewish education, he is thrust into a secular college where he must survive as the only Orthodox Jew on campus. This situation has a straining effect on Daniel and his family, and his mother is not entirely supportive of Daniel's engagement to a baalat teshuva [one who chooses to return to Judaism.] Daniel disagrees with his family on what it means to be an Orthodox Jew and this conflict manifests itself when he brings Rachel home to meet his parents.

    The other main theme in "Narrow Bridge" is the presentation of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community. There is a false assumption in many religious communities that sexual abuse does not exist within their enclosed society, making it harder for victims to come out or call their abusers to justice. Although "Narrow Bridge" was amateur in its filmmaking technique, this particular message is presented with powerful force, showing the damage inflicted on the victim and the effects that appear later in life. Daniel's relationship with Rachel was strained because of his abuse, and it also affected his view of G-d and justice because in his view Rabbi Kaufman had not received proper retribution.

    Sexual abuse occurs in all communities. What may cause it to be more damaging in a religious community is the denial of its existence, or worse, total awareness of the situation, followed by abrupt concealment. There have been cases where teachers were found to be sexual abusers, but rather than being publicized, were merely relocated to other schools, putting other children at risk. Many abusers are not strangers, but individuals that have a bond with their victims. Like the Catholic priests who abused children in their community, Rabbi Kaufman was a clergy member in power who had the respect and admiration of the child he damaged. Sexual abuse from a clergy member could be even more traumatizing because it has the power to cause disillusionment of the religion itself. One of Daniel's most admirable attributes in "Narrow Bridge" is his utter conviction to Judaism despite his abuse.

    Israel Moskovits deserves commendations for confronting this important issue. In his film he exposes the reality of sexual abuse in the Jewish community, making it accessible not only to Jews, but to non-Jews, too, who are unaware of the effects. "Narrow Bridge" has been screened on campuses around the country and is continuing to open the dialogue in the Jewish community about this significant problem just beginning to break its surface.

    The Jewish Week said...

    Mondrowitz Accusers Seen Ready To Testify
    The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, right, has indicated that the alleged victims of accused pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz, left, will testify if Mondrowitz stands trial.

    The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, right, has indicated that the alleged victims of accused pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz, left, will testify if Mondrowitz stands trial.

    by Hella Winston
    Special To The Jewish Week
    The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has indicated to prosecutors in Israel that the alleged victims of an accused pedophile who fled to the Jewish state more than two decades ago will testify should he stand trial, The Jewish Week has learned.
    An excerpt of the letter from the head of the sex crimes bureau was contained in a brief submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court by attorneys representing the State who have been arguing for the extradition of former Brooklyn youth counselor Avrohom Mondrowitz. He was arrested in Israel in late 2007 after a change in the Israeli-U.S. extradition treaty provided a basis for returning him to the U.S.
    While a Jerusalem court ruled Mondrowitz extraditable earlier this year, he appealed that decision to the
    Supreme Court, which heard his final appeal on Dec. 8.
    At that hearing, the Justices asked the State’s attorneys to consider three issues: the propriety of retroactive application of extradition treaties; the prosecution’s decision to extradite Mondrowitz despite the many years that have passed since the commission of the alleged crimes; and whether Mondrowitz should be tried in Israel.
    The excerpt from the letter from the sex crimes bureau chief, Rhonnie Jaus, was part of a larger brief responding to those questions and filed with the high court on Dec. 23.
    “Over the last twenty-two years, these victims have had to live with this childhood trauma. Knowing that the efforts they made to testify against Mondrowitz [have] not brought them any justice [has] made living with this nightmare that much more difficult,” Jaus wrote. She was referring to testimony given by the victims to a Brooklyn grand jury, which indicted Mondrowitz in absentia in 1985 on four counts of sodomy and eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree against four children in Brooklyn.
    “Over the years when these victims, now grown men, have been contacted by our office, they have maintained their interest in the prosecution of Mondrowitz,” Jaus’ letter continued. “They are concerned for their own privacy and safety, but willing to pursue the case.”
    A spokesman for the Brooklyn DA confirmed that the letter had been submitted and that the victims “have a continued interest in the case and have expressed a willingness to testify.” He also noted that Jaus’ letter communicated the fact that these victims were “in terror of Mondrowitz” in 1985.
    Jaus’ letter is significant, according to Michael Lesher, a journalist and attorney who has been deeply involved in this case. Lesher says it is “the first direct statement in an official forum that specifically tells us that the original complainants are in contact with the DA’s office and [that they] are prepared and do want to proceed with prosecution. That’s an important and encouraging sign.”
    Indeed, these victims’ identities have never been publicly revealed nor has any of them ever come forward to comment on the case. In fact, one of the many notable aspects of this case is the fact that the victims named in the original indictment are not from Jewish families. But comments over the years by those in law enforcement indicate that Mondrowitz may have had hundreds of Jewish victims, among them those sent to him for counseling, referred by the Brooklyn-based Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, and other Orthodox communal institutions and individuals.
    Several of Mondrowitz’s alleged Jewish victims have spoken to the media in recent years, though the statute of limitations bars them from being a part of any criminal or civil action.
    Two of these men, Mark Weiss and Boruch Sandhaus, also wrote letters to the Israeli Supreme Court, as part of an amicus brief submitted to the Court by Survivors for Justice, an organization they helped to found which seeks to assist victims of sexual abuse in the Orthodox community obtain justice in the criminal and civil courts.
    In the brief, submitted to the high court by SFJ’s pro bono Israeli counsel, the law firm Yigal Arnon & Co., Lonnie Soury, a spokesman for the group, writes that, “Returning Avrohom Mondrowitz to the United States to defend against the criminal charges will send a clear message to those who have been sexually abused in our community, and in the similarly insular haredi communities in Israel, that authorities from New York to Israel intend to do everything in their power to protect our children.”
    Urging the Justices to uphold the lower court’s determination to extradite Mondrowitz, Sandhaus writes, “It is now over 20 years and Avrohom Mondrowitz has yet to face his victims in court and defend himself against the numerous horrific charges of abuse he committed against us when we were children. I live daily with the indescribable agony and torture of the memories Mondrowitz left permanently burned into my brain. Knowing that this monster is still out there amongst children just adds to the immeasurable agony I feel.”

    Read here:

    Anonymous said...

    Signs of Sexual Abuse

    There are various lists of possible physical and behavioral indicators of child sexual abuse, some of which are:

    * Waking up during the night sweating, screaming or shaking with nightmares.

    * Masturbating excessively.

    * Showing unusually aggressive behavior toward family members, friends, toys, and pets.

    * Complaining of pain while urinating or having a bowel movement, or exhibiting symptoms of genital infections such as offensive odors, or symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease.

    * Having symptoms indicating evidence of physical traumas to the genital or anal area.

    * Beginning wetting the bed.

    * Experiencing a loss of appetite or other eating problems, including unexplained gagging.

    * Showing unusual fear of a certain place or location.

    * Developing frequent unexplained health problems.

    * Engaging in persistent sexual play with friends, toys or pets.

    * Having unexplained periods of panic, which may be flashbacks from the abuse.

    * Regressing to behaviors too young for the stage of development they already achieved.

    * Initiating sophisticated sexual behaviors.

    * Indicating a sudden reluctance to be alone with a certain person.

    * Engaging in self-mutilations, such as sticking themselves with pins or cutting themselves.

    * Withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities, like school or school performance change.

    * Asking an unusual amount of questions about human sexuality.

    (By Kathy Smedley, Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist, and Program Director for the Northeast Texas Children's Advocacy Center.)

    Yeshiva of Brooklyn said...

    We act worse than the Roman Catholic Diocese and nobody can stop us.,0,515227.story
    Sex abuse lawsuit alleges racketeering by diocese

    December 31, 2008

    HARTFORD, Conn.
    Click here to find out more!

    A Connecticut woman has filed a racketeering lawsuit accusing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich of conspiring to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests.

    The woman is known only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Hartford. She alleges she was sexually abused by the late Rev. Thomas W. Shea in 1976 when she was 13 and he was assigned to St. Joseph's Church in New London.

    The lawsuit claims the alleged cover-up conspiracy involved diocese officials transferring Shea and several other priests to other parishes numerous times after they were accused of sexual abuse.

    The woman's lawyer, Robert Reardon, said he believes the lawsuit is the first racketeering case brought against the Catholic Church in Connecticut. Similar lawsuits have been filed around the country, but nearly all have failed, in attempts to get around time limits for taking legal action.

    "We tried to demonstrate through a number of different instances, and through a course of certain conduct, how this conspiracy went," Reardon said. "Whenever there was a complaint, the priest would be transferred."

    Norwich diocese spokesman Michael Strammiello released a written statement Tuesday in response to questions from The Hartford Courant.

    "We cannot comment on active litigation and risk jeopardizing the proceedings," he wrote. "Allegations of abuse from the past are always difficult for everyone involved. The church and our diocese have come a long way in preventing and assuring that these issues will not be part of our present or future."

    Abuse complaints were first filed against Shea in the 1950s and he was transferred numerous times after being accused until he was placed on leave in 1983, according to the lawsuit and published reports.

    The lawsuit says the diocese and current and former diocese officials should be held accountable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It accuses the defendants of concealing priests' criminal conduct, obstructing justice, bribing victims to keep criminal conduct secret and other crimes.

    Racketeering carries up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 per count.

    The lawsuit was first filed in New London Superior Court on Nov. 18, but was transferred recently to federal court at the request of the defendants.

    The diocese and its insurance company have paid nearly $5 million to alleged victims of sexual abuse, according to the church.


    Information from: The Hartford Courant,

    Yudi Kolko said...

    I want to thank YOB and R' Shlomo Mandel, shlita, for allowing me to proctor regents and donning me lekaf zechus. It's nice to know there are rabbonim who protect pedophiles.

    Dr. David Ribner said...

    Interview on Sexuality in the Orthodox Jewish Community
    the Observer:

    Thanks so much for making time for us! Could you explain exactly what it is that you do/ what position you hold?

    Dr. David Ribner: I am the founder and director of the Sex-Therapy Training Program at Bar-Ilan University, the only program of its kind in Israel, probably in the Middle East. I am certified as a sex therapist in the United States and Israel, and I have a private practice in Jerusalem. I see primarily religious and Haredi couples. I write and lecture extensively about Judaism and sexuality.

    The Observer: If you could provide some background information for my audience, that would be fantastic. When people come to you, what is it exactly they are seeking to find out?

    Dr. Ribner: I'll use the model of the organization most prominent in America - the American Association of Sex Educators and Counselors. What they have created is a 3-tier structure in which there are sex educators as one particular group of professionals, there are sex therapists and in the middle are sexual counselors who deal with less difficult, less complicated situations. Sex therapists deal with a variety of issues that relate to an individual's sexual functioning - anything from unconsummated marriages to issues that are more complicated such as premature ejaculation in men or vaginismus in women and sometimes more subtle issues like the couple's attitude with regard to sexuality as individuals and with each other.

    The Observer: I'm not exactly sure of the structure in Israel, but how would most religious couples/ people obtain their information about sex?

    Dr. Ribner: The structure in Israel and America is roughly similar- the madrichim and madrichot - the chassan teachers and kallah teachers - evolved into the primary source of information in the community. Most sexual health professionals who are part of this community are concerned that the information is often insufficient, inappropriate or outright wrong. While there are programs to improve the situation, I think for most students who come from religious background, there is little sex information that is taught in high schools whether in Israel or the States. Unfortunately, most parents don't talk to their children about any aspect of intimacy and information tends to be transmitted through peer groups. We feel that this is something that should more of a community concern.

    My own focus is that I would really hope that parents take a greater role in transmitting accurate sexual information to their children. It was once a parental role and I think it would be ideal if we could return it to that.model.

    The Observer: At what age do you think parents ought to have that conversation with their children?

    Dr. Ribner: Starting out with 7 or 8 so that children know this is a topic that can be talked about in their home. As they mature and topics become more subtle and sophisticated, so should parental responses. The greatest confusion and most difficult challenges come with adolescence, when our children are most in need of guidance. Adolescents will more likely feel comfortable raising issues and asking questions if this is a topic that has been discussed with them earlier in their lives. Parents can then talk to their children before marriage about physical and emotional intimacy, and not just one week before the wedding, so that this information can be weighed, questions can be asked. If parents need guidance on how to do this [talk to their children], that guidance is available from a variety of sources.

    The Observer: Tzelem in the states had a program run through high schools. What are your thoughts on that?

    Dr. Ribner: The fact that information ends up transmitted in high school underscores the idea that only a teacher can talk about sex rather than parents- it's better than nothing, but ideally parents should reclaim this role.

    The Observer: The people who come to talk to you-what level of sexual knowledge do they generally already have?

    Dr. Ribner: First of all, I'm rarely the first stop- if someone has a sexual difficultly, chances are they talk to a Rabbi, Madrich, and brother or sister- I would say that the overwhelming majority of people who come to me, whatever their background, come with insufficient information.

    The Observer: For the people who are not in the know- who is it they should talk to in order to get this information? Or are there books they can read?

    Dr. Ribner: There isn't really a great book that I could recommend now- there is a Sefer from Rav Elyashiv Knoll entitled Ish v"Isha which I think will be translated and published in English which is the best thing at this point, although in terms of actual sexual information it's still lacking. Currently I am working on writing a book with Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld, as I think that there is a definite need for information of this kind. Other than that, there is little available right now. If you can find a Madrich or Madricha who has a reputation of imparting clear, accurate, up to date sexual information, that is probably the best option for now.

    The Observer: Would you say that talking about sexuality in the Orthodox Jewish world is a taboo topic, and if so, why do you think that is?

    Dr. Ribner: I don't think it is necessarily taboo; it is a topic that makes people uncomfortable and consequently people don't discuss it. Classical Jewish sources have been very forthright about dealing with sexuality. A couple years ago there was an article published by R' Aharon Lichtenstein in Tradition which I think is an excellent survey of halakhic literature over the past centuries. My understanding of contemporary poskim is that couples should be able to experience sexual pleasure and enjoy themselves in this realm. Many people who refer to me are Chassidish Rabbeim, Roshei Yeshiva and Mashgichim - people whom you might be surprised to hear talking about sexual dysfunctions but who realize that unless a couple is able to resolve these issues, it can be problematic or destructive.

    The Observer: You mentioned earlier that people often come to you with insufficient information; is that information regarding the technical aspects of the sexual act or the Jewish point of view on the matter?

    Dr. Ribner: The truth is that I don't really deal with people in terms of halakhic issues- if they have a problem with halakha, I send them to their Rabbi. And if there is a need for the Rabbi to consult with me, I will ask that he call me. I have no problem working within the boundaries he sets.

    The insufficient information is generally how bodies are built, how hormones affect behavior, the "how to" of sexual activity. Couples have come to me after two or three years and have not known how to consummate their marriage because they simply have not known what to do.

    The Observer: How can people acquire accurate information about sex, their bodies and the like?

    Dr. Ribner: A number of your questions ask for specific information regarding normative sexual functioning and dealing with various sexual dysfunctions. What follows is a list of Internet sites that provide reliable, updated information:

    The Observer: Have you encountered any prevalent myths within the Orthodox community about sexuality? What are they, and could you explain how they are flawed?

    Dr. Ribner: I am not aware of prevalent myths within the Orthodox community about sexuality. Regarding how others see us, I would be happy to email an article on this topic to anyone interested.

    The Observer: Could you give the name of some books/ manuals/ places parents can go to seek guidance about how to have conversations with their children about sexuality?

    Dr. Ribner: Guidance for parents wishing to talk with their children about sex and intimacy can be found at, including a list of resources. Currently, no such material exists written for Orthodox families.

    The Observer: How do Kallah Teachers/ Chassan Teachers generally acquire their knowledge/ expertise in this area i.e. have they spoken with you or other doctors? What makes someone a reliable Kallah/ Chassan teacher?

    Dr. Ribner: In recent years, Chassan and Kallah teachers have been afforded the opportunity to acquire reliable sexual information through courses given both in Israel and the U.S. in, for example, Bar-Ilan University and Yeshiva University. Unfortunately, there is no requirement that these teachers take such a course nor is there any way of knowing what information the young couple receives and the attitude with which it is presented. We have been lax in demanding communal quality control in this critical and sensitive area. We should not be proud of the fact that we expend significantly more energy ensuring the kashrut of our chickens than properly preparing our children for one of the most important aspects of their lives.


    Other articles written by Dr. Ribner are available at Yeshiva University's Tzelem Resources webpage:

    Those interested in contacting Dr. Ribner may do so by emailing him at:

    Belsky thugs said...

    Rav Belsky has instructed us to rough this husband up.-----------

    Divorce recalcitrant to pay NIS 700,000

    Haredi couple lived together for three months before woman fled home pregnant due to domestic violence. Husband has refused to grant wife a divorce for more than 11 years

    Vered Luvitch
    Published: 12.19.08, 11:39 / Israel Jewish Scene

    The Israeli Family Court on Wednesday ordered a man to pay his wife some NIS 700,000 (about $187,484) in damages for refusing to give her a divorce for 11 years.

    The woman filed a claim for punitive damages against her husband, demanding that he compensate her over his refusal to grant her a divorce. The two, an ultra-Orthodox couple, were wed in 1997 in a matchmaker marriage and lived together for only three months before the woman fled the house pregnant due to harsh domestic violence.

    Stubborn Spouse
    Husband grants wife a divorce after being jailed / Yair Harush
    Woman seeks divorce after her husband becomes religious. Husband refuses, but short visit to jail helps him change his mind
    Full story
    Since then, the husband has refused to grant her a divorce, despite 25 discussions of the matter at the Rabbinical Court between the years 1997 and 2005. The man did not show up for most hearings, and when he did, it was only after a habeas corpus was issued against him.

    The Rabbinical Court had ruled that there was no room for a joint life between the couple and that the husband must grant his wife a divorce.

    The woman claimed, however, that the husband was intentionally refusing to give her a divorce, knowing this caused her great agony as she is a haredi woman who, as an abandoned wife, cannot start a relationship with other men and give birth to additional children.

    The woman told the Rabbinical Court the husband set new conditions for the divorce, like waiving child support and erasing national insurance debts, relinquishing custody of the child, and additional demands.

    Attorney Susan Weiss, founder and executive director of The Center for Women’s Justice (CWJ), and Attorney Yifat Frankenburg appealed to the Family Court, claiming that denying the divorce subjected the woman to prolonged psychological abuse and prevented her from leading a reasonable and normal life, by forcibly and illegally using the defendant's right to abandon the woman and depriving the wife of her freedom, as well as negligence.

    After reviewing the circumstances of the case, Judge Tova Sivan ruled that there was no doubt the man was a divorce recalcitrant who has been deriving his wife of her freedom for more than 11 years.

    Thus, she ordered the man to pay his wife some NIS 60,000 ($16,040) a year in damages – a total of NIS 600,000 ($160,404) – as well as NIS 100,000 ($26,734) as increased compensation due to the severity of his acts.


    Knesset Member Menachem Ben-Sasson (Kadima), chairman of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, said in response to the court ruling, "On the one hand I hail the Family Court for taking into account the ongoing injustice suffered by abandoned women, and hope this new line answers the distress the Constitution Committee has been dealing with thoroughly.

    "On the other hand, I would like to warn the Rabbinical Courts not to view these verdicts as verdicts which should not be accepted for some reason."

    Anonymous said...

    Chabad committee formed to help Rubashkin defense

    December 30, 2008

    NEW YORK (JTA) -- Chabad members formed a committee to support the legal defense of former Agriprocessors manager Sholom Rubashkin.

    Rubashkin, who managed the now-shuttered kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, was arrested in late October on charges that he helped illegal immigrants secure fraudulent documentation that permitted them to be employed at Agriprocessors. While free on bond he was arrested a second time on bank fraud charges. Rubashkin is now being held in custody following a judge's determination that he poses a flight risk.

    “We are a group of guys who, No. 1, are looking to help Rubashkin get out on bail,” committee member Rabbi Shea Hecht told JTA. “And No. 2, to voice our concern because we believe that much of this attack is not just an attack on the Rubashkin family and Agriprocessors, but it's really an attack on kosher food. And it's questionable if it's one step beyond that -- an attack on Jews.”

    Prosecutors claimed that a travel bag with money, silver coins and passports were found in Rubashkin's home and that -- partly because Israel's Law of Return grants Jews automatic citizenship -- the former plant manager posed a risk of flight. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles concurred and ordered Rubashkin detained until trial. A request to reconsider that decision was denied. Lawyers for Rubashkin are said to be considering an appeal.

    The successful use of an argument based on Israel's Law of Return has sparked significant concernnot only among members of Chabad, but in the wider Jewish world, where it is feared such claims could be used to deny bail to Jews on the basis of religion alone.

    Leading figures from several Orthodox organizations, including the National Council of Young Israel and Agudath Israel of America, reportedly are planning solidarity visits to the prison in Dubuque, Iowa, where Rubashkin is being held.

    A leading figure in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, Hecht serves on the board of the National Committee for the Furtherance of Jewish Education, which is supporting the Rubashkin effort through an existing fund for the redemption of Jewish captives -- a mitzvah known as pidyon shvuyim.

    About Me

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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!!!!!!!