Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dov Hikind: “We are all guilty of not doing more to address sexual abuse in our community”

Hikind To Host Morning Of Chizuk For Victims Of Abuse

On Sunday, March 1, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn is scheduled to host a community-wide event entitled “A Morning of Chizuk” to show solidarity with victims of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community and to provide information to concerned citizens. The program includes inspirational speeches and the recitation of Tehillim.

Addressing the audience will be Dr. Benzion Twerski; Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum, director of Iggud HaRabbanim; Shmelke Klein of Eitzah; and Rabbi Yerachmiel Milstein, executive vice-president of Project Chazon, among others. “We are all guilty of not doing more to address sexual abuse in our community,” Hikind said. “The time has come to ask forgiveness from the victims and to pray for continued strength from G-d to combat this issue. I urge the community to join in this unprecedented event.” A Morning of Chizuk will be held at the Boro Park Y, 4912 14th Avenue, at 11:00 a.m. Separate seating for men and women will be available.

In furtherance of Hikind’s mission to educate the public about sexual abuse in the Orthodox community, Hikind is dedicating two radio shows, on February 21 and 28, to interviewing sex-abuse victims from the Orthodox Jewish community. During the course of the shows, Hikind intends to announce that the multifaceted plan created by his task force to tackle sexual abuse is nearing completion. “We are putting the final touches on our plan to implement education, prevention, and intervention systems in homes, schools, camps, and the general community,” remarked Hikind. “Education and awareness are the only way to protect our children from predators.”

Hikind invites listeners to share their opinions by calling 718-436-1700. The Dov Hikind Show airs Saturday nights at 11:00 p.m. on WMCA 570 AM.

Published on 26/02/2009

Abuse comes to light: Hasidim silence on perverts cracking

Saturday, February 28th 2009, 10:13 PM

Just before last Thanksgiving, a 13-year-old Brooklyn girl told her parents she had been molested. They didn't go to police.

Her dad went straight to their rabbi.

The religious leader told him to go to another rabbi for guidance. The frantic couple spoke to two more rabbis before taking their advice: Talk to cops.

"I wanted to find the right way to go about this without traumatizing my daughter any further," the 32-year-old mom told the Daily News.

"I knew if I called the police, they would ask us to come down to the precinct. It would become public knowledge and my daughter would have to retell the story over and over again."

The family met privately with a detective and a prosecutor, and authorities charged a 59-year-old neighbor, Arye Ickovits, with sexually abusing the young teen after luring her into his bedroom.

As crimes go, the Dec. 3 arrest was so run-of-the mill, it barely made headlines. But until recently, it might not have happened at all.

Sexual abuse in New York's Hasidic community was almost never reported to police for fear of shaming the victim and exposing the insular world's less savory elements.

Advocates say that wall of silence is starting to crumble.

"They are coming to terms, standing up and saying, 'No more sweeping the abuse under the rug; no more denial. We need to deal with it, to face it, and to protect our children,'" said Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn).

Since October, at least four men living in Brooklyn's Hasidic enclaves have been charged with sexually abusing children, ranging in age from 7 to 15.

"In the past few months, communication between the community and law enforcement has improved, there is more sharing of information," said a law enforcement source who works with the Brooklyn Jewish community.

One of Orthodox Judaism's biggest political champions, Hikind is hosting a forum today where mental health experts and rabbinical leaders will openly address the problem.

The purpose is "to say to victims of sexual abuse, 'We are sorry we didn't see your pain,'" Hikind said.

Even with recent progress, investigators say it is tough to navigate the closed culture.

Just as the "stop snitching" mantra hides crimes in the hip-hop world, a similar code of silence keeps Hasidic families from talking to cops.

They fear being branded a moser - a violator of religious law that forbids Jews from informing on each other.

"If the family goes to the police, the family is worried that they can't send their kids to yeshivas, they worry that they can't marry off their daughters, they worry that they will be known as traitors," said one police source.

"The only way to stop it, is to stop people that offend, and that is to go through the criminal justice system," the source said.

During a recent interview with The News, Ickovits said he asked the teen to help him up the stairs of his home, where he did nothing wrong.

"She helped me. She came in, and I told her goodbye and she ran away," said Ickovits, who uses a walker. "She gave me a kiss and I gave her a kiss and she ran home."

Ickovits also said he handed the girl cash in exchange for helping him up the stairs.

Some in the community have said it was cruel to lock up Ickovits, a stroke survivor in frail health, but the victim's mom has ignored them.

"Everybody has a responsibility to come forward and speak up when they know that a child is being hurt," the mother said.


Brooklyn Hasidic Community Grapples With Scandal

Coburn Dukehart/NPR

Joel Engelman, 23, says he was abused by a rabbi when he was 8.

Read The Coverage

Last month, NPR told the stories of two men who allege they were sexually abused as boys.

Weekend Edition Sunday, March 1, 2009 · A month after allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced in the mainstream press, the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, N.Y., is taking cautious steps to confront the scandal. Meanwhile, outsiders are tackling the issue head on.

On Sunday, state Assemblyman Dov Hikind plans to host a community-wide "morning of chizuk" (support) for the alleged victims of abuse. Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who is largely responsible for bringing public attention to the scandal, has recruited rabbis and community leaders to speak at the event, which takes place in Boro Park, the center of the Hasidic district he represents. Some community members believe the gesture is merely symbolic, but Hikind calls the event "unprecedented."

"No one has touched this subject before," he says. "We're telling the victims we're sorry we didn't see your pain before, and we're turning the corner."

Another development is potentially much more powerful. The New York State Assembly recently introduced a bill to increase the age by which a person must bring a criminal or civil complaint to 28 from 23. In addition, the House is proposing that for one year, anyone can bring a complaint, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The House has passed this legislation several years in a row, but it always died in the state Senate. This year, however, several new state senators have pledged to support the bill, and victims groups are optimistic that the law will be changed.

Inside the community, the talk has taken more muted tones. Pearl Engelman, mother of one of the alleged victims, Joel Engelman, says "everyone" in her community heard the NPR story because it was posted on the community's most popular blog. The story drew a huge nu0mber of online responses, she said, "more than anything else I can remember."

"Many people said they knew people personally who had been abuse," she said, "and some said they were themselves victims."

This story has received attention by the local Jewish press, notably The Jewish Week. But even with the publicity generated by NPR's coverage, Engelman says, there's been a "deafening silence." Her neighbors have avoided the subject with her, she says, largely because people in this Hasidic community do not confront Jewish leaders, because they depend on them to educate and later arrange marriages for their children.

"It's unusual to come forward," she says. "It's unusual to be outspoken about issues, especially a subject that's been swept under the rug like this. And [it] hasn't only been swept under the rug, but there are many people standing on the rug."

Engelman notes that this silence is a recipe for enabling the abuse to continue, but she believes her son's case may have created a small fissure in the dam.

Since the NPR story aired, a new victims' group, Survivors for Justice, met and welcomed several new people. According to people at the meeting, one young man said he had witnessed a child being molested in a mikvah, a bathhouse, a few years ago. A detective from the Brooklyn sex crimes unit was in attendance, and, one source says, she is investigating that case and several others that have come through the group's tip line.

A couple of other people have come forward anonymously to say they had problems with Rabbi Avrohom Reichman, the school teacher accused of abusing Joel Engelman. Reichman is still teaching, and school officials refuse to discuss the case because of an ongoing lawsuit.

Asked what it will take to change the school system, Pearl Engelman responds, "Exactly what we're doing now — bringing awareness and attention to the situation, and making schools uncomfortable with covering up with these criminals. Uncomfortable because they now have a fear there will be others like Joel."


exposemolesters said...

From The Awareness Center:

The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209

February 25, 2009

CALL TO ACTION: NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16).

"Whoever who saves one soul of Israel, it is said about him that he/she has saved a whole world" (Sanhedrin 37A).

New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind is organization a solidarity rally in Borough Park (Brooklyn, NY) on Sunday, March 1st. Dov Hikind has a radio talk show in which he has been talking about sexual abuse in the Jewish orthodox world of Brooklyn. Because of this survivors, parents and other concerned citizens meet with him to discuss their cases and or concerns about alleged sex offenders living in their community.

Being a lawmaker in New York Dov Hikind is not a mandated reporter. Considering he is an orthodox Jew, someone who is supposed to be following the laws of Torah (the Jewish bible), a parent, and someone acting as an advocate for survivors he should be reporting cases to the New York Child Abuse Hot-line when he suspects a chld is at risk of harm. Unfortunately, Dov Hikind refuses to do this . . . which most likely leading to more unsuspecting children becoming victims of sex crimes.

I am asking that if anyone goes to this event to start protesting his refusal to protect children. If you find news media folks there bring this to their attention and let them know how you feel. As long as Dov Hikind refuses to report suspected cases of any form of child abuse and or neglect -- he is no friend of children or those who have already been sexually violated.

For more information on Halacha (Jewish Law) go to:

For more information on cases of child molestation in the Jewish community go to:

Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC

around the blogs said...


To those who neglected to address the issue in the past, those furtive souls who sheltered sick people such as Kolko, Mondrowitz and others, we ask whether you’ll come clean and finally take the right stand this Sunday—or continue burying your head in the sand, or worse yet, deliberately denying, avoiding or covering up.

“When people say ‘It’s a Chilul Hashem,’ I say, ‘When you don’t do something, it’s a Chilul Hashem!’, Hikind says. “We do so much about tznius, but how can you avoid this? People ask me, ‘You have to talk about it publicly?’ and I say, ‘We’ve had too much silence. Now’s not the time to be silent. And if there’s one thing that keeps me going, it’s that I know that Hashem wants me to do this. Why should I not do this? Who could have problem with what we’re doing? What’s the problem with saying tehillim? Does anyone have a better plan?”

“The time is now. G-d forbid we should miss this golden opportunity and go back to where we were. The pedophiles would be happy about that. But we also have to help them. They need help and we have to get help. We have to make sure they don’t get to our kids. The answer to ‘How do you identify a pedophile?’ is ‘Look in the mirror’—anybody could be a pedophile. They’re charismatic, they’re sick and they need help. We need to remove them from the street.”

Most importantly, Mr. Hikind is the catalyst of currently incomplete legislation that will provide state funding to new programs that will help victims of abuse.

the chutzpah of these guys said...

Ingenuous pieces of slime. They out of all people are responsible for not doing enough to combat the sexual abuse epidemic.

In a statement released to VIN News by David Mandel, CEO of OHEL.

“OHEL welcomes all efforts that help in promoting awareness and abuse prevention within the community. Assemblyman Dov Hikind has been a champion of many important causes in our community, and this day of chizuk lends support to a vital concern we all share in protecting children.

OHEL stands on the front line in addressing sexual abuse and all forms of abuse in the community. OHEL provides a myriad of services from counseling for victim survivors and their families, the treatment of perpetrators, community-wide awareness forums and professional training seminars. “

Rabbi Avi Shafran The Director of Public Affairs for Agudath Israel of America, said of the Chizuk Event the following:

"While I’m not fully apprised of the details of the event, any gathering that sensitively and responsibly offers chizuk to those who are suffering is a more than deserving endeavor" said Rabbi Shafran. "And if it serves to, without inappropriate finger-pointing and conspiracy-theorizing, raise awareness of a threat to our children and promote the effective addressing of a terrible societal problem, all the more so."

Rachel said...

There is indication that Hikind is this "savior," but is he really?

He promised to protest in front of yeshivot who sweep under the rug, has he kept his word?

He has not!

He talks and talks. Is he cooperating and handing over the hundreds of names of molesters he has claimed to have accumulated?

So far he has not. What is going on here?

He sets up a task force of mostly Rabbinical figures. Where are the real professionals who are trained to deal with abuse and who don't have ulterior motives?

Something doesn't add up over here. Hikind is suspect in my opinion.

Radio shows and meetings are nice. Having within you the power to do so much more and holding back is not so nice.

New York State ASSEMBLY said...

Dov Hikind
48th Assembly District

Contact Information

1310 48th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11219

LOB 551
Albany, NY 12248

Assemblyman Dov Hikind on the money said...

“The President cannot seriously consider attending a Conference where the organizers include violent dictators and virulent anti-Semites like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Raul Castro of Cuba, and Muammar Al-Gaddafi of Libya,” Hikind said. “President Obama’s policy of change should not include U.S. participation in an Israel-bashing conference disguised as a human rights forum.”

Barry said...

Shafran is an imbecile with a runny mouth and leaky brain cells. He defends the perps and chastises the better good.

Is kosher meat always humanely slaughtered? An ugly surprise.
1 comment
February 26, 12:12 PM
by Eric Burkett, Food Examiner

This is the final installment of a series about kosher food and the non-Jewish consumer. Part one; part two.

For the non-Jewish consumer, the decision to buy kosher meat is often marked by the desire not only for quality but also by the need to know the animals that supply the meat were slaughtered humanely.

As the Orthodox Union puts it: "The Torah requires that meat and poultry be slaughtered in a prescribed manner known as shechita. The trachea and esophagus of the animal are severed with a special razor-sharp, perfectly smooth blade, causing instantaneous death with no pain to the animal. Only a trained kosher slaughterer (shochet), whose piety and expertise have been attested to by rabbinic authorities, is qualified to slaughter an animal for kosher consumption."

In the past, before the days of massive slaughterhouses and feedlots the size of small towns, shechita was done on a small scale basis and customers probably even knew the slaughterer personally. Nowadays, of course, that’s so rare as to be remarkable.

Even more remarkable was the discovery last year that the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse – AgriProcessors – had been raided for hiring illegal immigrants. That raid helped uncover what critics described as inhumane conditions not only for the animals, but for the workers, touching off a storm of controversy within the Jewish community.

Certified by the Orthodox Union, the Postville, Iowa, plant was raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement which arrested nearly half the slaughterhouse’s 1,000 employees. AgriProcessors denied allegations of employee abuse, which included charges of sexual harassment and unsafe working conditions.

This wasn’t the first time AgriProcessors had run into problems, however. In 2004, the company was accused of brutal slaughter practices after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video they had shot in the plant depicting employees ripping out the trachea and esophagus of still-conscious animals immediately after their throats had been slit. In one case, the New York Times noted, one animal survived for a full three minutes.

By law, the animals must be unconscious before they’re killed. According to kashrut, or kosher law, the cutting of trachea should cause instantaneous death, causing no suffering to the animal. The rabbi overseeing the plant insisted everything was in order but many differed and the video certainly told a different story.

The entire AgriProcessor debacle, in addition to many of the other issues surrounding food in general, inspired many Jews to see kashrut as more than just a set of rules designed to set them apart, but to interpret them as ethical guidelines which can be used to improve conditions, not only for the animals, but for the people who work in the food industry. The web site, The Jew and the Carrot, examines justice and ethics and food and strives to inform readers about the role of kashrus as a tool for ethical living.

The lesson here? Whether you choose to buy kosher or not, know where your food comes from. What you eat effects more than just your diet.

around the blogs said...

PC triumphs in the Buffalo murder
Posted on February 24th, 2009
by Nancy Reyes in All News
Read 203 times.

Imagine a crime scene: the terribly mutilated body of a young woman,and the suspect, a rich media mogul. The media mogul has beaten her in the past, and she is now planning to divorce him. She even has a restraining order to protect herself, to no avail.
It should be a story in the way the OJ case was a story, or the murder of Chandra Levy was a story.

Except that the story has had little coverage in the media (177 stories on GoogleNews), and the question is why (1,700 plus news stories, mostly on right wing blogs, covering the media coverage, or more accuratly, lack therein.).

Huh? What’s going on?

Well, actually, the story is being covered, but a lot of the media seems to be ignoring the victim in their coverage.

Like this NPR story, which explains that beheading one’s wife after years of abuse has nothing to do with Islam.

Orthe cliche ridden Washington Post “faith” Blog, which writes it this way: Immans asked to preach against domestic violence“.
This type of story sees to imply that there are Immans who preach it’s okay to behead your wife, but now after the murder, they will rewrite their sermons.

What nonsense….indeed, if I remember correctly, there is a Sura that says a man who mistreats a woman will not even have his prayers heard…

But the reason for the non coverage of the story?

It turns out the murderer is Muslim. And not just any Muslim, but a man who started a TV station to present the face of moderate Islam to the US.

I side with the NYState chapter of NOW, which blasts the
press for their non coverage of the murder:

exposemolesters said...

For the record:

exposemolesters is very vigilant in watching Dov Hikind's posture with respect to the child sexual abuse plague.

He has the power to fulfill the hopes and desires for those seeking a better and safer future for all.

The fact is he can do a lot for the Jewish community. Whether he is up to the task remains to be seen.

The avenues he has chosen is sufficient in breaking the ice, however, should he he continue to withhold the names of pedophiles, and should he put all his eggs in one basket, he will cause more damage than good.

If Hikind is truly up to the challenge and task, and if he is unconcerned with ruffling a few feathers, the correct approach would be living up to his promises of outing those who give refuge to evil.

Saying tehillim is wonderful, but that should be in conjunction with attaining the results necessary by eradicating the filth that has engulfed us.

shafran riddle said...

There are five kinds of meisters to choose from. To which do I belong?

a) covservmeisters
b) reformeisters
c) recunstrunctmeisters
d) Conservadoxmeisters
e) spinmeisters


I am the one who spins a needle and a thread with


Since Israel's establishment, the Reform and Conservative movements in this country have waged a war to gain recognition as a legitimate expression of Judaism, entitled to equal rights with Orthodoxy. They have consistently maintained that they too are heirs to the Jewish tradition. In the Conservative Movement's case, it claims, like Orthodoxy, to be halachically based, that is until sociological realities force it to alter Halacha.

same hillary who kissed the terrorist's wife said...

Jewish Leaders Blast Clinton Over Israel Criticism
Zuckerman, Lawmakers, Local Jews Say Secretary Of State Not The Hillary Clinton They Used To Know
Hillary Pressuring Israel To Speed Up Aid To Gaza


Whose side is Hillary Clinton on in the conflict in the Middle East?

In a swift about face from her views as New York's senator, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now hammering Israel over its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.

As First Lady, Clinton raised eyebrows when she kissed Suha Arafat.

Since she was then seeking a Senate seat the resulting brouhaha caused her to "re-think" her positions.

"I'm a very strong supporter of Israel," Clinton said back in February 2000.

On Thursday, as Secretary of State she had yet another about face in the form of angry messages demanding Israel speed up aid to Gaza. Jewish leaders are furious.

"I am very surprised, frankly, at this statement from the United States government and from the secretary of state," said Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News and member of the NYC Jewish Community Relations Council.

"I liked her a lot more as a senator from New York," Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, said. "Now, I wonder as I used to wonder who the real Hillary Clinton is."

Clinton's decision to hammer Israel comes as the Clintons and President Barack Obama are planning to give the Palestinians $900 million toward the rebuilding of Gaza in the wake of the Israeli offensive that was sparked by Hamas rocket fire.

"We are working across the government to see what our approach will be," Clinton said.

Is Hillary Taking Sides? Submit Your Comments Here.

"I don't believe that we should be in a position at this point to do anything to strengthen Hamas," Zuckerman said. "We surely know what Hamas stands for as I say they are the forward battalions of Iran."

For some, Clinton's change of position is upsetting.

"I feel it's unfortunate that they don't continue the policy of the Bush administration, which was much more pro-Israel," said Akiva Homnick of Jerusalem.

"I happen to have a lot of family who live in Israel and I feel, personally, when you are dealing with people who are very strong against you, you have to stand up to them," said Tami Davudoff of Kew Gardens.

"Hillary had Mrs. Arafat here and she invited Mrs. Arafat for lunch when she was the first lady," added Babak Chafe of Great Neck. "She is pro-Palestinian 100 percent, really. Of course, we always knew it."

"The easy way to make a peace agreement is to pressure Israel because you can't pressure the Arabs," said Solomon Loewi of Monsey, N.Y.

All this could lead to a chilly reception when Mrs. Clinton arrives in the Middle East next week.

The new U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, arrived in Israel on Thursday with a mission to inject new life into peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Donald D. Manigold said...

Man sentenced to 55 1/2 years for sexual abuse of children

A sex offender with convictions for molesting children dating back to the 1970s will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Donald D. Manigold, 62, of Philadelphia was sentenced to 55 1/2 years in state prison for sexually abusing three girls in Cinnaminson.

Late last year, a Burlington County jury convicted Manigold of aggravated sexual assault, multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child and luring.

On Thursday, Superior Court Judge James J. Morley sentenced him to several consecutive terms for the victimization of each girl, including an 18-year term for aggravated sexual assault and four consecutive 8-year sentences for endangering.

All the girls were under 10 years of age.

Authorities began an investigation in March 2006 after one girl told school officials that Manigold lured her into his van, forced her to disrobe and sexually assaulted her on several occasions in 2005.

Morley said some of the abuse spanned four months, while other abuse took place over four years.

Rush Limbaugh said...

Surprise? Hillary Abandons Israel
February 27, 2009

Listen To It! WMP | RealPlayer
Audio clips available for Rush 24/7 members only -- Join Now!

RUSH: Guess who's mad at Hillary? Jewish people in New York who thought she was great as a senator, they are really disappointed in Hillary Clinton. What's the big mystery? She has adopted totally the Obama foreign policy of pro-Hamas, whatever is going on in Gaza. I mean, it's not a mystery at all. If you add further to this, take a look at who it is that's donated to the Clinton Library and Massage Parlor: African, Middle East donors to Clinton's foundation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ten million to $25 million, Sheikh Mohammed H. al-Amoudi, Ethiopian-born Saudi businessman, between $15 and $25 million, Nasser al-Rashid, between $15 and $25 million, Gilbert Chagoury, Lebanese Christian businessman, and Dubai Foundation, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, all these guys between $15 and $25 million. There are four pages of other donors in smaller amounts down to $250 to $500,000, $500,000 to a million, but the top bracket here is ten million to $25 million, one million to five million. What in the world? Sometimes you want to beat your head against the wall. Sometimes I want to beat my head against the wall when it's so obvious, in the case of the Clintons, that they can fool so many people about their support for Israel. Now she's secretary of state, fully in line with the Obama policy of $900 million to Hamas, supposedly for the victims of the Israeli bombs in Gaza. It's $900 million to Hamas! Hillary's all for it. Dov Hikind, who is an assemblyman in New York, had this to say about secretary of state Hillary.

HIKIND: I liked her a lot more as a senator from New York. You know, now I wonder again, as I used wonder, who's the real Hillary Clinton?

RUSH: I guess it's tough 'cause when the Clintons are running around courting you, apparently people swoon over them, but I wish this would be a teachable moment, that these people would actually learn who their real supporters are and aren't.

JTA said...

Sydney council condemns Israel for ‘war crimes’

March 1, 2009

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) -- A local government council in Sydney passed a motion condemning Israel for "war crimes and violations of human rights" in Gaza.

Marrickville, an inner-city council that controversially signed a sister-city relationship with Bethlehem in 2007, voted 9-3 in favor of the Feb. 17 motion.

The motion was proposed by Councilor Cathy Peters, who said the issue was "close to her heart" because her father was a Jewish refugee who fled Berlin in 1938.

In a statement, Peters said, "I am horrified by Israel's attacks on Gaza and think that Marrickville Council -- especially considering its sister-city relationship with Bethlehem -- should take a humanitarian stand against the continued oppression of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel."

New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff blasted the motion.

"It is full of inaccuracies, uncritically accepting assertions which have been exposed as Hamas propaganda, leveling charges against Israel for which no foundation in fact or international law has been established, and ignoring realities on the ground," Alhadeff said.

The motion called for "a permanent end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza; for Israel to withdraw from all settlements in the occupied territories; to negotiate with the [Palestinian Authority]; and for an international independent investigation into war crimes and violations of human rights and Geneva Conventions in Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces."

A second local council, Canterbury, in southwest Sydney, also passed a motion last week that "condemns all violence, and is particularly concerned with this disproportionate offensive of Israel," according to a report in The Australian newspaper.

Meanwhile, activists launched a campaign earlier this month to boycott Max Brenner, the Israeli-owned chocolatier that has seven stores in Sydney.

"Choose an alternative to Max Brenner and apply the pressure on Israeli goods that support war crimes and occupation," say leaflets urging a boycott.

yudi kolko said...

No boiler room at this school?

Detectives say the abuse began when the boy was six, and occurred repeatedly, possibly as many as 20 times, in the school gym, library, and rest room.

Depression in the Jewish Community: An Interview with Dr. David Pelcovitz said...

By: Mollie R. Sharfman
Posted: 2/26/09
Dr. David Pelcovitz is a Professor of Education and Psychology at Yeshiva University and is Special Assistant to President Richard Joel. He is a nationally renowned authority on parenting, adolescent development, family trauma, child abuse, and at-risk youth. His focus is on how these issues affect the Jewish community.

The Observer: Thank-you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to discuss mental health issues, particularly in the Jewish community, with us. To your knowledge, what are the mental health issues that are predominant in the Jewish community?

Dr. Pelcovitz: Sure. Depression is the "common cold" of mental health issues globally, but particularly in our Jewish community as well. Statistically, there is a higher risk of depression in Jewish men than in the rest of the population. In the general population, for every depressed man there are two depressed women. In the Jewish population, the ratio is one to one; therefore it is double the risk. It may be genetically oriented, but regardless of the cause there seems to be a higher risk of depression in the Jewish community.

The Observer: What can be done about this high risk of depression in the Jewish community?

Dr. Pelcovitz: Primary intervention is crucial. Keep in mind that the earlier there is recognition of a mental illness, the better the chance a person has in leading a "normal" life. It is better if it is caught before people become parents. If there are young parents who are depressed, the effects on their children can be quite devastating. It becomes very likely for them to pass it on to their children.

The Observer: Why do you think that depression is so common in the Jewish community?

Dr. Pelcovitz: In the Orthodox community in particular, there is a very intense academic pressure. The pressure for every kid to succeed academically sometimes causes parents not to recognize the unique needs of their kids, if they have a learning disability for example.

The Observer: Were there any studies done that linked academic pressure with depression?

Dr. Pelcovitz: Yes, a study was done at Columbia University comparing students that grew up in affluent homes with their less-privileged counterparts. They found that there is a higher risk for the more affluent students to develop anxiety, depression, or have problems with substance abuse. They found three interacting issues which had a strong mental health implication. It isn't enough for an adolescent that grows up in an affluent home particularly in Jewish homes to be average. No one brags that their children scored in the 50th percentile on the SAT. It isn't enough to be normal and that puts real pressure on kids. There is so much emphasis on academics and not on the whole. Being good at art, or doing a lot of chessed (volunteer or charity work) isn't as revered if one doesn't have an illustrious academic record.
The Observer: Is it solely the academic pressure that causes kids to become anxious or depressed?

Dr. Pelcovitz: No, the second factor is that parents in affluent areas aren't as available to their children. Time is at a premium. Kids don't get that much one-on-one time with their parents. In the Orthodox community in particular, one has to pay tuition and because of this there are tremendous financial demands put on each family. It is also a very busy and demanding lifestyle running from one social obligation to the other; from the l'haim [toast] to the vort [engagement get-together] in one night in different neighborhoods. It is a beautiful thing that the community is so socially connected but because of this there is not very much parental time.

The Observer: Have parents and children complained about this lack of family time?

Dr. Pelcovitz: 1500 couples in the Orthodox community from New York and California were asked about the different issues and conflicts they face on a day-to-day basis. The number one conflict was that there wasn't enough family time, and additionally they never had time for each other.

The Observer: What was the third issue?

Dr. Pelcovitz: The third issue is that because of the academic pressure, kids are never asked to do chessed or be helpful to others. It is a selfish existence and it is a risk that the kids are not able to develop themselves fully, because helping others helps one to develop oneself. This issue isn't as common in the Orthodox community because there is a large emphasis on helping others in school and at home. These three interacting issues-the academic pressure, lack of time, and a selfish existence-may be tied to mental health issues. These kids are expected to become the cookie cutter mold, which places an enormous amount of pressure on them that can cause mental health problems.

The Observer: Is there a stigma within Orthodox Judaism when it comes to depression and mental health? Is it usually swept under the rug?

Dr. Pelcovitz: There is a stigma, but it has been getting better over the last ten years. I have an office in my home and my kids will often have some of their friends over and they will tell them "Oh, I saw your dad." In general, people in the United States are becoming more open to things. A Martin Seligman consumer report study that surveyed tens of thousands of people. The vast majority of them find therapy to be something quite helpful and the word has gotten out that going for therapy is not only for the "crazy" people anymore. But in the Orthodox community in particular we still have a ways to go, and there are many people who are embarrassed about their or their family member's mental health issue.

The Observer: Is there a particular age at which people are at higher risk of developing a mental health problem?

Dr. Pelcovitz: It probably depends on the disorder. With schizophrenia, that is a more biologically driven disorder so there is no age that is at higher risk, but with depression and anxiety, in junior high and in high school are the most common ages mental health problems are diagnosed. Attention Deficit Disorder will show itself much earlier though.
High school is when you start getting kids with more serious problems, maybe problems that were ignored earlier but at the high school age one is no longer able to ignore them.

The Observer: Are Jewish high schools equipped to handle mental health issues?

Dr. Pelcovitz: Most Modern Orthodox high schools now have mental health workers at least part time. A relatively recent phenomenon that I have seen is that the further to the "right" the high school gets, the less resources they have and are less likely to have a mental health worker on staff. The kid suffers and their problem will keep getting worse until they become an adult and get blamed for his or her actions. Many learning disabilities go undiagnosed for years. In general, the more modern schools diagnose learning disabilities early and have the resources to educate the child in the appropriate manner.
The Observer: What about at the college level? Are there high risks of depression and anxiety at that age? What are different issues that college students face that can cause these mental health issues?

Dr. Pelcovitz: Yeshiva University in particular has really beefed up the presence of staff, especially at the counseling center. They have really extended their services. At the college age there is always a fair amount of depression and anxiety, sometimes leading to suicide. In college, there are the obvious ones: relationships, dating, figuring out where one is going in life. Finding oneself is unique to this age. At this age, one starts becoming truly responsible for oneself. For example, coming to terms with family issues that had not been dealt with when they were younger, or maybe previously diagnosed learning disabilities that the student cares about now because they want to take life more seriously. One filters things through a different prism when one is at a place where one is getting ready to take things on oneself.

The Observer: Are there any insights from Tanakh that directly discuss mental health issues or how to handle them?

Dr. Pelcovitz: There are incredible insights in Tanakh. One example is Yonah [Jonah] going into his three-day sleep. He was so overwhelmed, and one can see how sometimes being overwhelmed shows itself. If one looks at the family relationships in the book of Bereishit [Genesis] for example, the temperament of Eisav [Esau] and the famous Rav [Rabbi] Hirsch on the words in Toldot 25:27, "Vayigdalu Haniarim." ["and the young people grew up"]. Eisav didn't belong at Yeshivat Shem V'ever [a pre-Mosaic yeshiva in Jewish tradition]. If Yitzchak [Isaac] hadn't given them the same education, maybe history would have been different. Rav Hirsch brings up here the famous "educate the young according to his own way" (Proverbs, 25:6). Children don't all learn the same, and need the appropriate way for them. There are incredible insights into forgiveness, anger, and sibling rivalry in the whole story of Yosef [Joseph] and his brothers and their process of forgiveness. There are people who try to look at Tanakh and diagnose disorders. One can't read Kohelet [Ecclesiastes] without thinking about depression.

This article can also be read at:

"Rabbi" Elior Chen said...

J'lem mother in 'Rabbi Chen' abuse case signs plea deal with state
Mar. 1, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

A mother of eight from Jerusalem who is on trial for severely abusing her children signed a plea bargain on Sunday in which she would turn state witness in return for only five years in prison.

The 38-year-old American-born woman, who was arrested and indicted last year in one of the worst child abuse cases ever uncovered in Israel's history, has remained in detention since her arrest.

The alleged ringleader in the abuse case, "Rabbi" Elior Chen, who fled the country after news of the case broke, is fighting an Israeli extradition request in a Brazilian court. According to the agreement published on Sunday, the mother's testimony would likely provide incriminating facts which would help Israel solidify its extradition case.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1235898313261&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Charles J. Hynes double talk said...

Is Charles J. Hynes for real? Kolko goes home with a slap on the wrist. Monster Mondrowitz is permitted the luxury of living on the lam for 23 years because of Hynes. The recent revelations by Dov Hikind have not brought down the hammer of justice. And now Hynes would have us believe he is enforcing the law and taking molesters off our streets? I don't think so, Mr. Hynes..

Keeping Children Safe From Sex Offenders

By Charles J. Hynes
Kings County District Attorney

In New York State, pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) — New York’s version of Megan’s Law — convicted sex offenders must register with a special sex offender registry. Sex offenders who fail to register or re-locate without notifying law enforcement face prosecution by my office. All concerned parents and guardians should visit the New York State Criminal Justice Services’ (NYSCJS) site at, or call them toll free at 1-800-262-3257. The NYSCJS web site and staff provide an overview of SORA, give tips on how to keep children safe, and explain how the public can obtain information about sex offenders. “SAFE CHILD CARDS” can be obtained through the web site or at other listed locations. These cards contain a high-resolution photograph of your child, up-to-date height and weight information and a digital fingerprint, all of which can help the police respond quickly if a child disappears. If your child is missing, call 911 immediately — every second counts.

In addition, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) releases SORA information to New York City public schools. Principals maintain a book listing information about the sex offenders living in their area. The book is available for parents and guardians to review. At the start of each school year, principals send letters to parents outlining safety tips and informing them about the book. If an offender moves into a neighborhood during the school year, NYPD provides updated information, which is then sent out to the parents.

As a father and grandfather, I remind everyone of the importance of speaking with their children about personal safety. Let them know they can and must stand up to adults when necessary. If someone tries to take them, they should scream for help. They should never get into a stranger’s car. If they are being followed, they should run to the home of a neighbor, a friend, a school, or even a store to get help. Approach police officers, mail carriers, school safety agents, and firefighters with your child. Let your child know these adults can help them.

Finally, abuse is often perpetrated by a person a child knows. Children must learn to tell someone if an adult makes them feel uncomfortable. Moreover, we must all be proactive if we suspect a child is being abused. Do not look the other way. Alert the authorities. Children are helpless victims, and we are all responsible for their care.

For additional information visit To have your questions answered in a future column, send them to

very sad said...

Thousands of Crown Heights and Five Towns residents attended the tragic funeral of the 9-year-old Levi Wolowik A"H. A healthy boy, Levi went to sleep as normal Friday night, but was unresponsive when his mother tried waking him up Shabbat morning. Leaving from the Shomrei Hadas Chapels in Borough Park, family and many friends drove past 770 and the Chabad House in Cederhurst headed by the child's parents, Rabbi Zalman and Chanie Wolowik. The shock and anguish was evident on the faces of all present.

Anonymous said...

Hikind is a corrupt politician.
Do not trust him one bit.

He sent his kids to Toras Emes where there was rampant abuse of the poor children who went there. he obviously doesn't care.

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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!!!!!!!