Thursday, November 27, 2008
by Hella Winston
Special To The Jewish Week
Ever since Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind revealed two months ago that he had assembled files on “hundreds” of people alleging sexual abuse at the hands of Orthodox rabbis and yeshiva employees, he has been under scrutiny both from inside and outside the Orthodox Jewish community.
Now, two weeks after Hikind was served with a subpoena by an attorney representing alleged sexual abuse victims, that scrutiny has intensified.
While many have praised the Brooklyn Democrat for bringing much-needed attention to this issue, early criticism of his efforts came, perhaps surprisingly, from some of the victims’ groups and advocates. They argued that Hikind, while deserving of credit for trying to shed light on the problem, had actually harmed their cause by attempting to deal with the
issue within the Orthodox community. The best route, they claim, is to take such cases directly to law enforcement, who are in the best position to investigate allegations and alone have the power to arrest, prosecute and register offenders.
Michael Dowd, an attorney representing alleged victims of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a former teacher and principal at Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn, recently subpoenaed Hikind for records and testimony regarding rabbis and yeshiva employees who have allegedly sexually abused children, and rabbinic leaders who may have protected the abusers. Dowd is interested in any information Hikind may have gathered that could be relevant to his clients’ cases.
Continue reading full article here:
If Dov Hikind is so enraged and sickened by the Rabbi on-boy sex epidemic - as he portrays himself to be - he would demonstrate it with his actions by cooperating with Michael Dowd.
Dov: We know Al Sharpton is an Anti-Semite. Trivia question for you. Someone who refuses to reveal the name of child molesters to law enforcement is Anti________?????
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Malevolent intentions displayed by the Central Rabbinical Congress (CRC) - Anti-Zionist - Pro-sexual predators
The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings.
Leonardo da Vinci:
He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done.
Anti-Abuse Rabbi Says He’s In Danger
by Hella Winston And Larry Cohler-Esses
A Williamsburg community activist who has spoken out frequently against child sexual abuse in the Brooklyn Orthodox community claimed Monday that his life had been threatened multiple times as a result.
Rabbi Nuchum Rosenberg claimed that the threats culminated last month when he was “shot” on Berry Street, near the Williamsburg Bridge by unknown assailants.
Speaking at a press conference outside the 90th Precinct Police Headquarters in Williamsburg, Rabbi Rosenberg complained that police were unable to protect him. He pointed to a scarlet wound seared in the middle of his forehead to indicate the spot where he was hit.
But in interviews he gave before and after the press conference, Rabbi Rosenberg said he was actually uncertain just what hit him on the forehead,
saying it could have been a pellet gun or even a rock.
“A car flew by as I was walking, and I felt something hit me,” he told The Jewish Week. “I didn’t see what it was.”
Police sources confirmed Rabbi Rosenberg had filed at least three complaints about being harassed or threatened over the last several months. But he acknowledged that he filed a complaint about the attack on him last month several days after it had occurred. Rabbi Rosenberg said the assault took place on Oct. 16, the fourth day of Sukkot, but that he went to the police only after the eight-day Jewish holiday.
Rabbi Rosenberg, 58, said that prior to this incident he was threatened twice at gunpoint by an unknown person speaking Hebrew who warned him to close down a telephone hotline he operated. The Yiddish language hotline featured recorded messages on which Rabbi Rosenberg addressed a host of sensitive community issues, including child sex abuse, and on which he made often incendiary charges.
On one recorded message obtained by The Jewish Week, Rabbi Rosenberg denounced various individuals by name as an “extortionist,” and a “mafia thug.”
The hotline messages also offered educational warnings to children and their families about what to do if confronted by molesting teachers or other adults and advice on how to protect against it.
On both the recorded messages and at his press conference, Rabbi Rosenberg claimed that a group in the Williamsburg community known as the Meshmeris Ha’Tznius, or Guardians of Modesty, protected pedophiles and other sexual offenders in exchange for money.
“It’s a gang,” he said at the press conference. “They’re getting white envelopes with green leaves inside.”
Law enforcement officials and community leaders have long reported that victims of sex crimes in insular, ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn communities frequently will not go to the authorities, severely limiting their ability to investigate and prosecute such crimes. Most attribute this to social strictures and community and rabbinic pressures against turning to outside, secular authorities that would expose the community to external scrutiny on matters considered shameful.
State Assembly Member Dov Hikind says he has compiled dossiers of at least 1,000 cases of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn Orthodox communities, based on first-hand accounts of victims and their families who have come to him. Many involve molestation of children at the hands of yeshiva teachers and rabbis, he says. But “99 percent” will not go to the authorities, he told The New York Times.
Benzion Twerski, an Orthodox psychologist who agreed to serve on a community panel formed by Hikind to address the issue, resigned last September after one week, citing communal pressure on him and his family.
But at his press conference, Rabbi Rosenberg said that in exchange for extortion payoffs by perpetrators, Meshmeris Ha’Tznius in Williamsburg protected sexual predators from exposure and pressured the families of any victims that might think of going to the authorities not to do so.
On his hotline, “I said who they are and what they are,” he said. “I told the stories that they tried to extort $10,000 from this one and $10,000 from that one.
“I even told them stories that when a girl was raped, they went to the rapist and they took out the money from him, and they never gave help to the girl that was raped. They tell the father don’t you dare have anything to do with the people that are trying to investigate. It’s against the Jewish law.”
Rabbi Rosenberg’s claims could not be independently confirmed. But there is no doubt the hotline provoked a fierce firestorm of denunciation against Rabbi Rosenberg.
Last July, 33 rabbis signed a public condemnation of Rabbi Rosenberg published in Der Blatt, a Yiddish language weekly paper based in Williamsburg.
“He speaks all kinds of dirt that the mind can’t tolerate, that come from places that are impure and makes other people impure,” the ad said, warning readers not to call his hotline. “He should stop from his bad ways and shut his dirty mouth.
“This destroyer is like a stone that is thrown at the Jewish people, and his position is like a transgressor who makes the public transgress,” the ad said.
The rabbis stated that Rabbi Rosenberg should not be allowed to pray with any congregation and that no one should hire him as a consultant on the building of ritual baths, which is his profession.
Yitzchak Glick, a member of the Central Rabbinical Congress, a body that represents many of the rabbis who signed onto the ban, declined to comment about the decree or Rosenberg’s allegations.
Another tract, distributed anonymously throughout Williamsburg, depicted a twisting snake with Rabbi Rosenberg’s head superimposed over the serpent’s, his forked tongue sticking out.
“Cursed are you from every wild animal,” the leaflet decried, citing him by name. “The name of this evil person should be obliterated. Get out unholy one. Obliterate the snake (Nuchem Satan) from all corners of the world.”
The ad by the 33 rabbis and others signed by the “Meshmeris Ha’Tznius” denounced Rabbi Rosenberg as a moser, one who endangers a Jewish community by informing on it to secular authorities.
Historically, in the shtetls of Europe, when Jews were persecuted, someone found to be a moser could be put to death. But “there is a general consensus today that this doesn’t apply,” said Rabbi Mark Dratch of JSafe, a group dedicated to preventing child abuse and domestic violence in the Jewish community. “I would [assume] that none of these rabbis were literally calling for his assassination. That said, I am not saying that they did not mean to intimidate him. He was being intimidated.”
Satmar Squabble Rages On
By GIMPEL the SHISTER, HasidicNews.com Writer
WILLIAMSBURG (HN) - The squabbling between the two Satmar Newspapers "Der Yid" and "Das Blat" rages on.
Originally "Der Yid" was the only Satmar newspaper. When the Satmar Congregation split into the Zalmen and Aaron teams, Der Yid ended up as expected in the hands of Zalmen. Aaron's people launched "Das blat as a way of asserting their independence and counter the pro-Zalmen Der Yid.
One of the ironic outcomes of this inner squabbling is the shedding of some traditional no-no's like pictures. Der Yid never used to show any pictures. Das Blat in an attempt to attract readers and perhaps convert them to their cause, started showing pictures. Der Yid quickly followed suit.
One notable prevailing attitude is for one paper not to discuss any news occurring in its opponents team. This is somewhat odd, but quite common in the Satmar world. Ever since Satmar started fighting Belz about 15 years ago, Satmar official media never mentioned anything about Belz, including The Belze Rebbe's highly-publicized visit to the US about seven years ago.
Rabbi Nauchm Rosenberg has been advocating for Jewish survivors of sexual violence in Williamsburg/Borough Park (Brooklyn) New York for over 35 years. Over the last several months he had his life threatened if he did not close down a hotline. A little over two weeks ago there was a drive by shooting in which someone shot a him. Please listen to him tell his story and demand that he is protected. His goal is to help survivors make police reports and testify in court to help put an end to sex crimes in his community and around the globe.
NOTE: this is a four part series. Please watch all 4 parts. (Click link above to watch video)
Thursday, November 13, 2008
New York Times
November 13, 2008
Sexual Abuse Complaints Subpoenaed
By PAUL VITELLO
Since last year, when Assemblyman Dov Hikind invited his radio show listeners to discuss an explosive topic — sexual abuse of children in the Orthodox Jewish community — he says he has collected more than 1,000 complaints and the names of 60 accused sexual predators.
He has kept those stories under lock and key in his Brooklyn office, he says, because the people who said they were victims had sworn him to secrecy, fearful of becoming outcasts in a community where perceived troublemakers risk losing employment, housing and even marriage prospects.
But a prominent lawyer representing a half dozen former yeshiva students who say in a civil lawsuit that they were sexually abused by a teacher in Borough Park, Brooklyn, had Mr. Hikind served with a subpoena this week, demanding that he surrender those files.
Mr. Hikind has refused. “I will go to jail for 10 years first,” he said on Wednesday.
The legal conflict has revealed a deep tension within the Orthodox community that has been reported in the Jewish weekly press, and has been the almost exclusive topic of discussion on some Orthodox Jewish Web sites like http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/ and http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com/ in the months since Mr. Hikind brought up sexual abuse.
“I’ve been shocked and overwhelmed at the magnitude of the problem,” said Mr. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew and a Democrat who represents the predominantly Orthodox community of Borough Park.
The victims have come to his office in a steady stream to tell their stories, he said. “Abusive teachers and rabbis in the schools,” he said. “Pedophiles on the streets. Incest in the home.”
Michael G. Dowd, the lawyer who had Mr. Hikind served with the subpoena, has been a leading advocate for plaintiffs who say they were abused by Roman Catholic priests. He represents six men who say they were abused by Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, a teacher at Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn. Rabbi Kolko, who was charged with sexual abuse in 2006, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and has left the school.
Mr. Dowd’s subpoena demands that the assemblyman turn over not just complaints that Mr. Hikind may have received against Rabbi Kolko, but “any and all reports of sexual abuse at any yeshiva and/or by any rabbi or employee of a yeshiva in New York City.” Mr. Dowd said they were crucial to proving his clients’ contention that sexual abuse was commonplace and routinely covered up by administrators in yeshivas.
He described Mr. Hikind’s refusal as “misguided.” While he said that he planned to have the subpoena enforced, he also said that he understood the reluctance to cross the powers that be in the Orthodox community. “The lead rabbis have the kind of power to shut people up that the Catholic Church had 50, 60 years ago,” he said.
Mr. Hikind said that every complaint he received was in complete confidence, with the understanding that “under no circumstances would their names be known in the community.”
“There is no way in the world, when people have come to me and spilled their hearts out to me, and shared the most intimate and private things with me, hoping I will do something to address the larger, overall issue, that I would ever betray their trust,” he said.
Mr. Hikind said he was responding to talk in the community about unreported sex abuse when he decided to devote three shows in a row to the topic on his weekly radio program, which is broadcast Saturday nights on WMCA-AM (570). The response was immediate and broad, coming not only from Brooklyn but from upstate New York and New Jersey as well.
He has been trying to enlist leaders of the Borough Park community to help deal with the problem, with mixed success. “There is a cultural taboo about this kind of thing, and especially about going to secular authorities with sexual abuse issues,” he said.
In September, a clinical psychologist who initially agreed to head a task force on the issue, Rabbi Benzion Twerski, resigned after a week. In a letter to a Jewish weekly newspaper, he said he left under pressure brought by his children, who told him they were made to feel “shamed” by his participation.
Mr. Hikind said that of all the people who said they had been victims, “99 percent would not go to the police under any circumstances — that is just the reality.”
But Joel Engelman, 23, who grew up in the Orthodox community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and who helped found a group of victims called Survivors for Justice, said that while “well-intentioned,” Mr. Hikind had a classic misunderstanding about sexual predators that is embedded in insular communities like the Catholic priesthood or the Orthodox world. “The community cannot police itself,” he said. “This has been shown again and again.”
In his own case, Mr. Engelman said, a complaint he brought to the attention of administrators at the United Talmudical Academy against a teacher who sexually violated him when he was 8 years old led to the teacher’s brief suspension and subsequent reinstatement. Mr. Engelman has since brought a civil suit against the teacher and the school.
Prof. Marci Hamilton, a visiting professor at the Yeshiva University School of Law and an expert in sexual abuse by religious leaders, said Mr. Hikind’s refusal to turn over the names of alleged predators, if not his entire case file, was “outrageous.”
She said that Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, “should already have convened a grand jury” to investigate.
Jerry Schmetterer, Mr. Hynes’s spokesman, said, “If someone has information about a sex crime, he or she should bring that information to our sex crimes unit, and we will investigate what needs to be investigated.”
A very important message from the mother of a victim at the hands of a Satmar mechanech:
Perhaps by now you've all seen the Jewish Week article describing Dov's subpoena by Attorney Dowd in re to the T/T case. Lest Dov become a MARTYR/HERO to the cause, I'd like to share with you my experience with him in reference to my son's (Joel Engelman) case.
To refresh your memories, Dov Hikind, on his radio program Motzei Shabbos, August 2nd, upon hearing from me Joel's story of molestation by his Menahel in Satmar at 8 1/2, the failed lie detector test of the Menahel, now Rebbi, and the subsequent firing of this pedophile (but only until Joel's statute of limitations ran out) then rehiring him in the summer as Menahel/Rebbi in Satmar Bungalows, declared loudly and vehemently "I PROMISE THIS REBBI WILL NOT BE BACK IN SEPTEMBER. IF I HAVE TO I WILL HOLD A PRESS CONVERENCE IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL".
Remember also the article in the Jewish Week: "Second Victim Comes Forward......." to Dov - the father of the 19 yr old victim of the same Rebbi, now publicly known as Avrohom Reichman, who came to Dov with his son's story of molestation by this same Rebbi?
Remember also Dov's eloquent speech to us at the conference on Sept 21st at Young Israel?
Dov was also privy to the new discovery of a molestation incident with this same Rebbi last year - repeat, last year - not 13 years ago. At the conference I gave some of you the details of of an 8 yr old boy whom Reichman found standing in the school hallway because his "English" teacher had punished him. Reichman took the child into an unoccupied room (not an empty classroom, an unused room) placed the child on his lap, removed the child's belt and gave him 2 slaps with the belt. When this boy found out at the beginning of Sept that Reichman would be his Rebbi for the new zman (after Succos) he began crying and begging his mother and told her how he feared Reichman. Immediately the mother called the school, and at first they were horrifed, then called her back to say her son would not have to be in Reichman's class. She insisted that Reichman was unfit to be any child's Rebbi, but they would not agree, saying only that they were having meetings........
In view of all of the above, on Oct 6th Dov Hikind met with 2 representatives of Satmar: David Niederman and Shulem Deutsch. It was everyone's understanding that Dov would let Satmar know in no uncertain terms that Reichman must leave - children were at terrible risk from this sneaky, insiduous pedophile even now.
To my shock and horror, Dov came away from the meeting completely neutralized! Nay, not neutral - he is actually helping Satmar cover up and keep Reichman in the system! He said to me "Well, I know Niederman for 25 years......(I guess they need each other politically) .....need I say more?????
So no, Dov Hikind is no hero! In my book he is an accomplice, because at the very least, if he was not successful in getting Satmar to remove Reichman, it was his great responsibility to innocent children, to have let the parents, who are being kept in the dark by the school, know that Reichman is a great danger to all children in the school, even those not in his classroom as was the 8 year old made to stand in the hallway. Instead Dov helps Satmar cover up for the school!
As fellow participants in the conference, I ask you, can we just ignore this outrageous cover-up by one who represents himself as the champion of the cause?
This is about "Lo Saamod al Dam Reiacha". The plain and simple truth is that Reichman is a real and known danger to the children, and all adults, especially those committed to protecting them, cannot stand idly by and do nothing. Hikind knows how real the danger is, but he's given in to the machinations of Satmar who want to keep Reichman in the system at all costs. When did Dov sell his soul to the devil? This was a test for him - it was the first Moissed he met with - he had the most damning information - and he simply folded. Because he's buddies with Niederman for 25 years? We cannot just sit idly by and wait - or we are all as guilty as the people we condemn.
Rabbi Nachum Rosenberg, Part 1
Rabbi Nachum Rosenberg is an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse/assault. In this part Rabbi Rosenberg repeated the speech he gave at an event Cardozo Law School.
Links to other related topics that may be of interest to you. Link will open in new window.
- 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!!!!!!!