Feb 28, 2011
This Isn't "Dirty Laundry"

Op-Ed: The argument that talking about indecent abuse will give the community a "bad name" does not supersede the obligation to protect the innocent from being hurt.

by Eliyahu Federman

As part of a series on protecting children, an educational seminar to take place March 8th, 2011, at 8:00 PM, at Bais Rivka, 310 Crown Street, Brooklyn, is going to revolve around identifying, reporting and preventing child indecent abuse - a largely unaddressed issue in our community.

Noted lecturer and Chabad.org columnist Mrs. Bronya Shaffer is coordinating the event and believes it should be mandatory given the necessity to address child indecent abuse issues.

(As of now, participating schools include Bais Rivka High School, Bnos Menachem, Darchei Menachem, Bnos Yisroel, Beis Chaya Mushka, Oholei Torah, Lubavitch Yeshiva and is being endorsed by Igud Hamenahalim.)

In an article titled Creating a Sane Environment: Protecting the Innocence of Children, Rabbi Manis Friedman chillingly surmises that close to half the people he has met were abused.

That is a staggering figure from someone who has been working in our educational system for decades and certainly reflects national survey averages of a 25% rate of childhood indecent abuse (this is an average of slightly varying statistics from different agencies and includes both men and women).

The panel will consist of Dr. David Pelcovitz, Rabbi Shloime Sternberg, Professor Gavriel Fagin and Assistant District Attorney Henna White. Mrs. Shaffer will emcee.

Attorney White spearheads Project Kol Tzedek Hebrew for Voices of Justice a program offering culturally sensitive support, assistance and advocacy for victims of abuse.

Dr. Pelcovitz is a psychologist whose career over the past 25 years has focused on clinical practice and research in areas related to trauma, child abuse and parenting. Prof. Fagins clinical practice is devoted to identifying and treating young offenders and survivors of indecent abuse.

As someone who regularly refers survivors to professionals, Rabbi Sternberg will reflect on his experience in the educational system. Mrs. Shaffer explained that having Rabbi Sternberg speak would send a loud and clear message that there are those within the community who care, recognize the problem and believe in seeking help.

This seminar will be a tremendous Kidush Hashem because it will show the secular world that we are not afraid to confront the challenges that our community faces and in fact every community faces.

The argument that publicity will give the community a "bad name" and "why air our dirty laundry in public?" does not supersede the obligation to protect the innocent from being hurt. Of course we all agree that our essential concern should be protecting our children and families, not our perceived reputation.

Rabbi Simon Jacobson said it best in an op-ed titled Shoftim: Exposing Abuse: "The greatest Kiddush Hashem is when a Torah based community demonstrates that it isnt merely concerned with reputations and shidduchim, but that it demands the highest standard of accountability amongst its citizens, and invest the greatest possible measures to protect its children from predators, create trust and absolutely will not tolerate any breach or abuse. That the greatest sin of all is ignoring or minimizing crimes being perpetrated against our most innocent and vulnerable members: our children."

After expressing resounding support for a seminar on this subject, Rabbi Manis Friedman explained to me that that the most damaging element of being abused is suffering in silence and by identifying the abuse early on and providing a medium for a child to speak out you ameliorate the suffering.

It is every parent's and teacher's mandate to help prevent abuse by establishing a dialogue with their child or student in order to be able to detect and identify early signs of abuse and nip the issue in the bud.

In essence, the seminar will provide practical advise to teachers, parents and the community on how to: (a) detect early signs of abuse, (b) insure that children will be comfortable talking about any inappropriate behavior, (c) report abuse while protecting the anonymity of the survivor and (d) identify, address and distinguish between potential deviances versus healthy behavior in adolescents and teens.

What are your thoughts on this upcoming educational seminar? Do you think it is imperative on every parent, teacher and community member to attend?

Related Articles:
+ Where were you last night?
+ Tonight: Stopping Child Abuse
+ Who's Responsible for Abuse?
+ Shliach to Fight Family Violence
+ Study: Spanking Lowers IQ
+ Am I My Brother's Keeper?
+ Lecture Deals with Abuse
+ How to Prevent Child Abuse

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Opinions and Comments
It Happens Everywhere
It is not about IF it happens but how you handle it that shows what type of community you are. To many children, for to long, have had to endure terrible things because the administrations and rabbonim where unwilling to address the issue (and in many cases actively suppressed it making it worse). Yasher Koch to everyone involved in bringing this to light.
(2/28/2011 9:05:55 PM)
Enough Sensationalism; Tackle Community Issues in Good Faith
Dear Mr. Federman,

Don't you think that R' Manis Friedman, whom you cited for the proposition that half the children in the our education system have been abused, was exaggerating?

Do you in good faith take R' Friedman at his word that half of the people he meets were indecently abused as children? It delegitimizes advocates against problems of "indecent child abuse" (as opposed to "decent" abuse?) when they use sensationalism.

I do not mean to belittle your work. However, you, as a professional, should rise above hyperbole by finding verifiable statistics to demonstrate how widespread the problem is (surely far less than 50% of children, based on common knowledge). Alternatively, you should make a compelling argument by focusing on the pressing issue without regard to numbers or estimates.

Yanky N.
(2/28/2011 9:29:57 PM)
Yash Koach
Of course it is obligatory to attend! Eli, thank you for helping to bring this issue to light.
(2/28/2011 9:36:12 PM)
when and where
when and where is this seminar?
is it open for the public?
(2/28/2011 9:59:33 PM)
pass it on
Last time, many people I spoke to said that they had not heard of the event till afterward, such a shame. Please pass this on to everyone you know who has children.
(2/28/2011 10:54:55 PM)
why do you call it "largely unaddressed"?
"largely unaddressed" --- hmmmm...
how many speeches and articles would it take to make it "addressed"? the N'shei Chabad Newsletter has been carrying articles and letters on this topic since September of 2006. There have been numerous community events (two by Rubashkin, two by Shaffer, one in JCM, one in Bais Rivkah at 310, one in Mosdoth for staff, and several parents' workshops in parents' homes). Every single Rov and Menahel in this community has met with Dr. Pelcovitz at least once - many have met with him several times. Give us some credit, please!
This is not to say that another event is not needed - it surely is - in fact many more are needed. people are eager to learn and to protect their children and that is beautiful, B"H. but there's no need to j'accuse an entire community of sweeping it under the rug. give credit where due.
(2/28/2011 10:57:43 PM)
come to this lecture! show you care!
(2/28/2011 10:58:27 PM)
see first line of article, number four:
As part of a series on protecting children, an educational seminar to take place March 8th, 2011, at 8:00 PM, at Bais Rivka, 310 Crown Street, Brooklyn, is going to revolve around identifying, reporting and preventing child indecent abuse - a largely unaddressed issue in our community.
(2/28/2011 11:00:18 PM)
video of last event
the video of the last event can be seen at: http://www.vimeo.com/18144457
(2/28/2011 11:00:42 PM)
Att. Yanky N.
Perhaps Rabbi M Friedman was referring to all the Beis Chana women, who obviously don't all come from Chabad homes.
Nevertheless, pouring cold water on this issue due to a technicality is wrong. Better that parents should be overzealous in protecting their children b/c they think it's 50%, then them being lax about it Ch"vm
(2/28/2011 11:02:14 PM)
Dear Yanky. (2)
Dear Yanky, thank you for being the amolak and throwing cold water, all that was needed to confirm how important an event this was, was some opposition, so yasher koach. but I'm sorry for you that it had to come from you.
You would be well advised to contact Mrs. Shaffer, to get educated , and than once you're a bit more informed, you could make the sincere apology you so desperately owe her.
Mrs. Shaffer is one of the most honest and dedicated members of this community, looking out for its wellbeing in ways that you can't even imagine. You may not have heard from her, as she lacks the publicity of controversy and machlokes that we have come to expect from our community activist. If only you had the sense to see this, and may you never need her help (though to be sure, she would help you regardless).
Yanky, you can be sure that any event that has Mrs. Shaffer Emceeing, is well worth your while to attend. I'm sure you will have ample opportunity to attack those you don't like, but you sure chose a rotten time.
(2/28/2011 11:14:45 PM)
To #2
Dear Yanky,

I appreciate your perspective but strongly disagree with your characterization of my statements.

First, my statement was based on Rabbi Friedmans discussions with me and his published article on Chabad.org not any sort of independent double-blind study.

Furthermore, I never claimed nor did Friedman claim that half the children in the system were abused but rather that half the children he has met were abused. There is a huge difference because he is more likely to meet children who were abused.

Lastly, the statistics I actually cite is 25%. That figure is clearly supported by national survey averages. I hope this helps clarify my statements.

Eli F.
(2/28/2011 11:16:03 PM)
abuse is important to discuss
and it is great to see that a seminar is being prepared on this issue.

I can see how emotion can get to people, but we have to stay away from hyperbole - like the 50% quote with R' Manis Friedman...
(2/28/2011 11:16:20 PM)
Silence is support. Their blood is on your hands
Pedophiles commit their terrible acts until they are caught. It's settled. We know this.

Hiding the crimes or transferring the criminal to another yeshiva or silencing the victims allows them to continue. As long as they can get away with it, they will violate little children.

Opportunities they can provide. Victims they can find and groom and vent their unnatural desires. The one thing they require from you is your protection.

Every time you silence a child who has the heroic courage to come forward you destroy an innocent life. Every time you tell the rabbi instead of the police you partake in the rape of someone's precious baby. Every time you shun the victim's family you drink their tears. Every time you do this you drive a Jewish soul away from G-d.

It really is that simple.

Shame on anyone who tells you differently.
(2/28/2011 11:17:38 PM)
As opposed to "decent" abuse?? NO abuse is to be tolerated. Yasher Koach to this group that is facing the issue and helping those that are victims or know someone who is a victim express themselves and get help.

COLlive response:

We are using the word "indecent abuse" by the suggestion of a mashpia as a clean alternative to the otherwise explicit-sounding term.
(2/28/2011 11:24:34 PM)
The Protected Child
Rabbi Levi Kaplan, menahel of JTVS, was a featured speaker at the recent The Protected Child event, and the first menahel to endorse next week's event...in his words: "It is an honor to be listed among those endorsing the program."

Bronya Shaffer
(2/28/2011 11:40:02 PM)
to Yanky N
I don't see anywhere it refers to rabbi friedman as saying 50% of children in our educational system have been abused. The comment refers to people he has met and I assume that means people he's met WITH. Since it's pretty common for people to meet with rabbi friedman to discuss
(2/28/2011 11:55:28 PM)
Pidyon Shevuyim
This well presented introduction to the issue is welcome (as is the planned event itself, although one wonders whether and where the publicity should appear.)

On a deeper dimension, adding a flavor of a Halacha nature, adds importance to the issue. Anyone, whether child or adult (yes, adult, as in abused women who have frequented my doorstep); anyone who is the subject of abuse etc. is in fact a prisoner to the "reality" within which they live. They are the most tragic "shevuyim" one can imagine. Captive to a persons shielded by their respectable status. Sometimes by the aura of position, such as teacher, mashpiya (yes, the ones who, even as bochurim, were gathering younger boys to special farbrengens, excursions etc.) school principal or director, and even Rabbi (usually with adult women in stress.) This aura is nigh impossible to break, as my personal experience illustrated to me for years in Monsey, where a neighboring Rabbi was impervious (until exposed). My words of caution to individuals was either ignored, or ascribed to my supposed jealousy of a colleagues success. (There are still followers deniers.)

PIDYON SHEVUYIM is the highest priority in monetary Tzedaka can it be any different in time and effort Tzedaka?

There is a very serious practical issue, as far as Anash and the outlying extensions are concerned. My absolute frustration is, in holding highly sensitive information, given in the most faithfully sworn confidence. What does one do, when tangible (if not conclusive) evidence indicates, that, for example, a pre-school director in an outlying arm, is in fact guilty of multiple M.

It is not unheard of, in other types of issue, for me to turn up at a crisis center and case out the situation first hand. However, any attempt on my own part, to make an appearance (personally) to an outlying post, would be unusually clumsy, and abortive to the purpose of the visit. (The same would apply to turning up locally, here in the Shchunah, to a venue of question, such as a party for kids and or etc. They happen. Farbrengens with lots of mashkeh for the young, propelling them to a stupor, where memories of what transpired will be blurred.)

There is a possible solution, but it is not for here.

Rabbi Mattis Kantor, Eastern Parkway, NY.

P.S. The following quote from Rabbi Manis Friedman appears to have mistaken the context:
Rabbi Manis Friedman chillingly surmises that close to half the people he has met were abused. That is a staggering figure from someone who has been working in our educational system for decades and certainly reflects national survey averages of a 25% rate of

(a) His experience is with mature girls who have come to Minnesota for a complete change of life. There is a background motivation to this (which does not diminish the correctness and the mitzvos.) This is not a statistic for Lubavitch in any location chas vesholom.

(b) He refers to half how does the op-edder concur that 50% to 25%?
(2/28/2011 11:57:50 PM)
to Yanky N
I don't see anywhere that it refers to rabbi friedman I saying that 50 percent of the children in the educational system Has it been abused. It does say that he commented that 50 percent of the people he met have been abused. Assuming that is referring to people he has met with, that does not seem surprising at all. Many of the people who come to speak to Rabbi Friedman do so because they are trying to work through challenges and traumas they have experienced. 50% would actually seem low in that case.
(3/1/2011 12:03:31 AM)
How are we supposed to have a mature, candid conversation about this serious issue when among adults we have to tiptoe around calling it child "indecent" abuse? ROFL
(3/1/2011 12:26:40 AM)
To Mattis Kantor. Would you mind to disclose your professional credentials, please. Much appreciated.
(3/1/2011 1:38:47 AM)
to Yanky
I actually agree with you.

This is an important topic and doesn't need to be "sensationalized". From the way the author wrote it, it did not come across the way he explained it in comment 11.

Yasher Koach to all involved.
(3/1/2011 1:57:50 AM)
To #2 Yanky N.
Good faith...works both ways. Please trust/have emunah in the good offering/gift/contribution of Rabbi Friedman and Mr. Federman and their loving efforts.

As well, let's have good faith in the greater community (beyond the numbers) to be able to discern "sensation"/"hyperbole"/exaggeration from the everyday reality of the issues occurring "in the trenches." Let's give people credit that they notice what's going on in their own "backyards."

The community doesn't need to see exact numbers to alert us that we have a problem with issues such as child abuse.

More importantly, we first need to communicate about and address them, giving them voice (such as in this forum). Perhaps, more accurate numbers can come later (with your help?).

Additionally, it's inappropriate for our children's fates to hinge on us striving for an outwardly unflawed image ("professionalism"), instead of acting on chesed/connection and redemption.

Also, keep in mind that people like Rabbi Friedman and Mr. Federman are trying and taking on a very sensitive issue - trying to resolve them while protecting people's dignity (definitely a "monumental" feat for anyone - no exaggeration).

The works of Rabbi Friedman and Mr. Federman... please receive their "gifts" lovingly, even if the "wrapping paper/packaging" may not appear immaculate in your estimation. Maybe you can assist them. Ask yourself, "What support and contribution to solutions am I bringing to the table?"

There's nothing stopping you from gathering the most "accurate" statistics and editing for every detail, "sweating over the small stuff" - hatzlacha with that undertaking.

We look forward to your show of what your "professional" results look like, while the well-being of our precious children (our future) is being communicated, advocated, and fostered.

Yoel A.
(3/1/2011 2:46:57 AM)
To 20 Sam
It's called, "modesty"/tznitus and overall sensitivity and respect for those of us who wish not to be exposed to associations with graphic details (which, perhaps in your experience, you may be have had multiple exposures to - resulting, possibly, in you becoming desensitized to their impact over time).

Candid conversation in this forum is being accomplished - with modest words (as best as possible). This is not a matter to be taken lightly - "worlds" are created and destroyed by speech. Thank you for understanding a way different from yours.

(3/1/2011 3:11:13 AM)
#20 of course a mature candid discussion is in order. BUT NOT ON COL! As they have already said, the mashpia advised them to use the word indecent on this most public of forums! I'm sure at the event itself, people will be as open as they want!
(3/1/2011 3:19:45 AM)
A Victom
Baruch Hashem

Kol Hakavod!
(3/1/2011 4:40:28 AM)
To Sam (20)
If you didn't read the previous comments, the term used is based on a mashpia's suggestion, not on a babyish whim. I would guess the reason, besides not using unclean language as the Torah does, (" And all the animals that are not clean" instead of 'impure') it might be that this site is visited not only by adults, but by children, and exposing them to such terms would damage their innocence.
(3/1/2011 5:44:14 AM)
thye 25% stat is greatly overblown. Its all about funds. And yes this is part of the womens lib movement too. And it refers to all segments of society. Jewish abuse does exist but is much lower. http://www.amazon.com/Child-Abuse-Industry-Outrageous-Rebellions/dp/0891074015
(3/1/2011 7:54:40 AM)
Yet Another Example of Community Sensationalism
Dear #11,

My comment was directed at Mr. Federman. As a colleague of Mr. Federman, I gave him professional criticism (see R' Matis Kantor's postscript above in comment 18 for the problem with the language).

Notwithstanding no mention in my comment of Mrs. Shaffer, you launched into a tirade and called me Amalek for a supposed attack on Mrs. Shaffer. I did not direct my comment at Mrs. Shaffer, nor did it refer to her backhandedly. Neither was my comment directed at the event or the underlying problem of child abuse. There is simply no way to conclude from my words that I meant ill, or any sentiment at all, toward Mrs. Shaffer. Before replying with smug and sensationalist tirades against someone generally on your side of the issue, it would be well-advised that you use your critical faculties instead of finding innocent scapegoats.

Yanky N.
(3/1/2011 7:58:08 AM)
After all the att. Yanky N's. Now att. Sam
You are rofl?!
Interesting reaction to this issue.
Plus, as collive responded, we are Frum Jews, and the other terminology is explicit-sounding. Finally, a Frum, Lubavitch forum on the subject, coming from our prespective of Chassidishe, Yiddishe, and moral values.
(3/1/2011 8:21:50 AM)
Yanky: Take your head out of the sand
As a mechanech for over a decade and someone who deals on a regular basis with "at risk" children, I can unfortunately attest to the fact that a vast majority of heavily troubled children (both boys and girls) within the Lubavitcher educational system have been intimately abused. This is a fact that stands true for every segment in our population, including EVERY segment of the frum community.

Working on preventing this trauma and treating children (and adults) who have unfortunately gone through such a harrowing trauma is HATZOLAS NEFOSHOS MAMOSH!
(3/1/2011 9:19:39 AM)
to 20
Your point is well taken but is misguided.

There are numerous instructions from the rebbe not to use the common used term, but rather to use a tzinusdiker term.
(3/1/2011 9:22:48 AM)
What Manis Friedman actually said
From his article:

"We hear a lot about child abuse. It seems that half the people we meet have been abused as children. "

It's quite obvious from the context that he was making a sweeping general observation which was obviously somewhat exaggerated, not offering a statistic based on his actual experience.
(3/1/2011 9:29:28 AM)
Largely unAddressed??!
How many speeches and articles would it take to make it "addressed"?!

the N'shei Chabad Newsletter has been carrying articles and letters on this topic since September of 2006.

There have been numerous community events (two by Rubashkin, two by Shaffer, one in JCM, one in Bais Rivkah at 310, one in Mosdoth for staff,

and several parents' workshops in parents' homes). Every single Rov and Menahel in this community has met with Dr. Pelcovitz at least once - many have met with him several times.

Give us some credit, please!

people are eager to learn and to protect their children and that is beautiful, B"H.

but there's no need to accuse an entire community of sweeping it under the rug!! just to sensationalize!!
(3/1/2011 9:39:36 AM)
I think part of the problem, which absolutely needs to be addressed, and without it, we are losing an important weapon against abuse.


how many times is this epithet thrown indiscriminately at people who care and try to make a difference.
yes there is a concept of not being moser, but it is NOT a blanket issur. there definitely times when being moser helps not only victims, but even perpetrators.
when criminals in the frum community know that they will have the backing of the community against the evil non-jewish justice system, it encourages bad behavior.

we NEED to have an adult conversation about what really constitutes mesirah and when it is a legitimate tool.

ps this is not only an issue within abuse, but within many areas of our community. whenever there is a fight, you can count on at least one of the sides, if not both, calling the other side "mosrim"

we need to know when it is ok to take a stand, using all available tools in the fight against injustice and abuse
(3/1/2011 10:38:45 AM)
I see COLLive took my advice
a few weeks ago there was an op-ed article about some shidduchim event that (should of had more, but) had very poor attendance. So I commented saying, that had the op-ed been posted PRIOR to the event, then all those reading it now would have actually attended. People these days don`t blink an eye to an advertisement, but as soon as they see an "op-ed" they make sure to read it from head to toe! Kudos to COLLive for playing it smarter this time!
(3/1/2011 11:13:23 AM)
shouldn't the title for this be...

That way everyone will read it and hopefully attend, as opposed to many skipping over what might be just another op-ed article.
(3/1/2011 11:21:05 AM)
The rate is about 25% according to the studies
+ Although child indecent abuse is reported almost 90,000 times a year, the numbers of unreported abuse is far greater because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2004).
+ It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have experienced an episode of abuse while younger than 18 years. The numbers of boys affected may be falsely low because of reporting techniques (Botash, Ann, MD, Pediatric Annual, May, 1997).
+ Sixty-seven percent of all victims of assault reported to law enforcement agencies were juveniles (under the age of 18); 34% of all victims were under age 12. One of every seven victims of assault reported to law enforcement agencies were under 6. Forty percent of the offenders who victimized children under age 6 were juveniles (under the age of 18). (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).
+ Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, although boys are more likely than girls to be abused outside of the family. A study in three states found 96% of reported rape survivors under age 12 knew the attacker. Four percent of the offenders were strangers, 20 percent were fathers, 16 percent were relatives and 50% were acquaintances or friends (Advocates for Youth, 1995).
(3/1/2011 1:45:43 PM)
Point Proven in a Mechanech's Words
Dear #31 (The Mechanech),

Let us analyze your words to determine if you agree with me that the number is much less than half of the population of Lubavitch youth, or if it is half, or even close to half. You said: "... a vast majority of heavily troubled children (both boys and girls) within the Lubavitcher educational system have been intimately abused."

Breaking that down, you assert that it is 1) a "vast majority" of the 2) "heavily troubled children" 3) "within the Lubavitcher education system." Giving you the benefit of the assumption that you are not exaggerating by calling it a "vast majority," it still only refers to only a minority of the minority of population of Lubavitcher school students; not just the troubled children, but within that subgrouping, the "heavily" troubled children. Either you agree with me that it is nowhere near half, or it is your head in the sand. You have limited the focus of the problem to a very small percentage of children, where it is probably - again, based on common knowledge - more widespread. "Indecent" abuse does not only happen to "heavily troubled children." Sometimes, victim-children show no signs whatsoever of the abuse or are able to repress the harm. Additionally, because we are dealing with children in the "Lubavitcher education system," one cannot premise numbers on R' Friedman's estimate - even was it accurate in his experience.

None of this fretting over numbers takes away from the immediacy and importance of the issue at hand. However, to be taken seriously, and to bring effective results, it is necessary not to exaggerate the issue.

If you think my head is in the sand, you have the wrong person. I can provide the names of eight people who were sitting around the table this past Shabbos, when I walked in and expressed how appalled I was to see a mother threaten and then proceed to smack her 3-4 year old child right on Kingston Avenue. What was worse, the mother showed no signs of embarassment when she looked up and saw me in shock. Sadly, this type of discipline is common place in our community and it is legal. This is also only among the mildest forms of physical and emotional abuse, but it is symptomatic of the pervasive problem.

Yanky N.
(3/1/2011 3:18:46 PM)
To Jeff in Comment 20
You can't begin to solve the problem until you're willing to look at it and shine light on it. That means being frank, even blunt.

The excuse that this violates "tznius" is balderdash. Nobody's going to run out and commit adultery because they know the facts about child abuse. But as long as you hide behind it I can guarantee you will make life easier for the monsters who harm our children.

The non-Charedi world has learned how to teach children about child abuse. You can make things clear to them without being too graphic. Most of all they have to know that nobody, not a teacher, not a relative, not even their Rabbi has the right to touch their private parts and that you will listen to them. Teaching them to be ashamed and afraid of even the hint of an echo of these words makes the molester's job easy.

If you can't tolerate the same language we use to educate five year olds your sensibilities are much too fine to deal with the dirty diapers and runny noses that come with raising children.
(3/1/2011 3:33:41 PM)
The bedrock issue
Jews must report child abuse to the police. We know how "the community" deals with it. Molesters are quietly moved around. The witnesses are silenced. The children and their families are coerced into silence. The criminals go on to violate again, and again and again, generally in a community where nobody knows about their crimes. Their victims feel angry at the communities, betrayed by their leaders and bitter and resentful towards Judaism. These feelings are perfectly justified.

Rabbis are not qualified to do criminal investigations. Neither are Beis Din. They aren't detectives or forensic psychologists. They simply don't have any of the necessary skills or legal powers.

And they have a terrible track record.

If you suspect abuse, go to the police. If you don't know what qualifies, ask them. If you're a teacher, a therapist, a doctor or any of the other mandatory reporters it's your legal duty. If you can't do the duty you agreed to by taking the job, find another job.
(3/1/2011 3:42:07 PM)
read the article completely and understand it before you make your stupid comments!!
(3/1/2011 4:34:48 PM)
To #41
To date there has not yet been even 1 Menahel in all of CH who has reported even 1 Pedophile to the Police, every yet in the past 60 Years in CH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I assume this means the CH is the only community in the entire world which is immune to ever having had any pedophile in our midst ever yet.

What a Miracle!

We in CH are safe!

We in CH can all go to sleep rest assured that Menahalim have never ever yet had anyone arrested because of this miracle that CH is the only community in the entire world to never have had a pedophile ever yet in history.

Or did we have them and no one ever got them arrested perhaps?

So which Menahel is first to change his proven record on this so far?
(3/1/2011 6:57:37 PM)
Moms - Go. Really. For the sake of your kids.
i was by the first event and all i kept thinking was "Where were the other 25 mothers from the class? Don't they care as much as I do about their sons?"
Moms - Go. Really. For the sake of your kids.
(3/1/2011 6:58:22 PM)
To #40 from #24 - Tznius and addressing abuse
My fellow Jew, I come from and live in the "non-Charadi world" you mention. I am a baal teshuvah. My wife is a Conservative rabbi (sure, call me "rebbetzin":)).

I daven Chabad. I will "change diapers, wipe runny noses, and speak about body parts" (which you mention in the last sentence of comment #40).

Having been on both "sides of the fence," I recognize the worth/value in the concepts such as tzniut (that pervade all areas of our lives - not just in appearances and intimacy, but in speech, as well as in many other applications).

Also, while reading comment #40 - especially the last sentence - I recognize how divisive and hurtful it feels to be judged (for example, using "we" - as in, "we versus you meshugah frum" - as well as determining, in your estimation, that the frum are making children "ashamed," in addition to you determining what merits "raising children").

This "we versus you" elitist talk is divisive. I hope you recognize yourself as being blessed to be part of a PEOPLE - a very diverse, unique people, at that (especially while in exile/diaspora).

WE ALL need to be respectful of our differences and contributions among the various observances - WE ALL need to understand our roles (which includes gender and speech) in serving Hashem ... big picture here.

WE can't possibly believe we are designed and intended to be and do everything. I can't have a baby... but I can daven and do mitzvot. We have roles that are better suited for us to best produce and function... Similar to only some locations being best suited for growing grapes for wine, for example, while other locations are ideal for growing oranges.

Go spend Shabbos with an observant Jewish family (go visit Chabad or Charadi, like I did) - ask questions and refrain from continuing to rely on judgement, fear, and hearsay (How much hearsay is upheld in a court of law as "truth"? ...Not much at all.).

Further, WE should only aspire to elevate our connections with each other and, therefore, draw closer with Hashem.

Is the gossip in certain circles that tzniut/observance means not "...changing diapers, not wiping runny noses, and not talking about body parts"??? If so, such destructive, baseless, divisive talk needs to stop. Understanding and personal interaction needs to happen - similar to the source of problems in Arizona, regarding immigrants. Understand why I wash lettuce 3 times, for example, but maybe you don't - and that it's not just "meshuga."

Please make sure to read carefully - NO ONE IS EXCUSING CHILD ABUSE IN THE NAME OF "TZNIUT." The impression from comment #40 is of some people (like from my un-G-dly upbringing, which included abuse) ...People who indulge themselves as "sophisticated"/"of- the-world"/"egalitarian,"and, therefore, welcome everyone with a big smile... except (...in a whisper behind the back) observant Jews and "their 'meshugah' rules, looks, and ways" (that mess up everything for fitting in/'going with the flow).

Please understand - these "rules," such as tzniut are actually caring ways/minhagim in which observant (including Charadi) people use to protect themselves and others from potential harm. I wish I had such values in my upbringing.

Additionally, please understand that certain words, actions, and appearances are reserved for private forums - just like we wouldn't use curse words with or wear a bathing suit to visit the President or in a job interview. Perhaps what you are saying is that we, as a community, need to openly discuss and agree upon appropriate ways and outlets for reporting abuse - a great idea.

It seems from comment #40 that you actually personally agree that there is much value in protecting ourselves and people from harm, nachon? Then you must also respect the value of the concept of tzniut which purports the same.

The next time you READ the tefillot/prayers to Hashem, it's all there - for ALL JEWS: "...guard my tongue," "protect me so my eyes do not go astray," "protect me from a harmful person," and "please forgive me for anyone who I may have hurt" - Hashem, protect us!!!!

Just because tzniut reserves certain words, appearances, and actions for the sanctity of the private realm, does not mean it restricts serious issues (such as child abuse) from being addressed and discussed as a community (as definitely needs to happen).

Please, no more bashing - it will behoove all of us to stick to the universal principles and truths G-d gave us in the "Triple T" (Tefilah/prayer, Tzedakah/giving, and Teshuva/repentance) - the ways to ahavat Yisrael (loving your fellow Jew) and to Hashem and his ways

Ahavat Yisrael and Moshiach now!
(3/1/2011 7:35:05 PM)
Largely Unaddressed
As someone who works with Orthodox Survivors of Childhood Abuse, I would confirm that the issue is still largely unaddressed.

I see people who have kept a secret from the age the abuse happened as a child...well into their adult life, and only went for help, when their life became unbearable, often well into their adulthood, after suffering in silence for decades.

The stigma in our community associated with being a victim, often prevents children from coming forward, and even families, if they do find out about it, from dealing with it head-on, which makes out community a very safe place for the perpetrators of these crimes, and prevents survivors from getting the help they need to move on with their lives.

While our statistics are 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men that were victims of childhood abuse, consistent with the rest of the American population, and our rate of reporting abuse is close to 0%, and our rate of getting our children to therapy is still low, I think its fair to say that it's largely unaddressed.

As to Rabbi Friedman's comment that close to half the people he met with have been abused, I would say that if you work with the struggling youth, struggling married couples, teens with addictions and eating disorders, you will find a similar experience, of at lest half the people having been victims of childhood abuse, who did not get the therapy they needed.

Thank you Eli Federman, Bronya Shaffer and all the panelists for speaking out for our survivors who haven't yet found their voice.

(3/1/2011 10:09:53 PM)
Halochos Of Mesira
Shulchan Aruch
Code Of The Jewish Law
By Rabbi Shneur Zalman Of Liadi
Laws of Money Damages (Laws of Messira)
[Chosen Mishpot Kehot Printing Safer Vov- Page Kof-Chof]

For Original Hebrew Print Click Here

[Free Translation]

(6) It is forbidden to Masser a Jew in to the hands of a Goy (Gentile), it makes no difference if its his body () or money (), even , which means even if its a light (small) amount of money.,

This prohibition () applies by , which means outright Messira through speech, Or even revealing what a fellow Jew wants to do, for example giving a hint, for example: if the Goy () asks the Yid where he can find strew, it is forbidden to tell him that it can be found in a specific Yids house, or even to just point to the Yids house, without even saying anything, and anyone that does Massira has no part in the world to come.

Even a wicked person () and a sinner ( ), it is forbidden to Massir on him, both in regard to his body () or money (), and even if this person is a constant bother, for example, hes always harassing you, its forbidden to Masser.

However, if this wicked person Massered on you, you are allowed to Masser on him, if there is reason to believe that this wicked person will continue his Mossering and the only way you can save yourself is by- Mossering on the wicked person or in a case that you were Massered on and that Messira was not dismissed, meaning its ongoing, your allowed to Masser, if thats your last resort, and no other way out.

Also one that is violent who regularly hits people and there is no other way to protect yourself from him, unless you will Masser him to Goyim, that they shall take his money or cut off his hands that he may not be violent again. However, someone who hit his friend but he is not regularly violent rather this was a one time thing, it is forbidden even for the person that was hit, to Masser his friend, for even though if in this case, the person that was hit does Masser, there are those opinions which exempt him from ( ) Judgment from man, because a person isnt ( ) [Baba Bathra 16: Raba said: This teaches that a man is not held responsible for what he says when in distress[. Still () to begin with it is forbidden to according to everyone and he is a Mosser (if he does).

And even if you have a violent Jew, and he doesnt want to go to Bais Din, it is forbidden to go to the authorities to force him to come to a Din Torah, until you receive permission from Bais Din, also to force him through the means of Goyim to fulfill the Psak (Halachik Ruling) of Bais din, it is forbidden till you have consent from Bais Din.

(7) Someone that Massers it is permitted to kill him, in any place, and at any time, even in todays time, even before he actually Massers, like if he says Im going to Masser on someone either on his actual body or money etc he has permitted himself to death, and we warn him, and we tell him: Do not Masser. If he has Chutzpa and says no, Im going to Masser anyways, it is a Mitzva (commandment) to kill him, and whoever is first in doing so, the merit is his.

For someone that goes to Masser money of a Jew into the hands of Goyim, its as if hes chasing ('''') after his soul. And if someone is chasing ('''') after your friend to kill him, it is allowed to save him (your friend), by killing the killer (Mosser).

And if there is no opportunity to warn him (the Mosser), you do not need to warn him. However if you can save the victim by hurting the killer (Mosser), for example by cutting off his tongue, or to poke out his eyes, then its forbidden to kill him (the Mosser).

(8) If the Mosser followed thought with his plot (of Messira), it is forbidden to kill him, unless hes assumed in Messira, which means he has done Messira three times, then you can kill for he may continue to Mosser on others. It is forbidden to destroy the money of a Mosser by hand, meaning by physical action, or through Messira to Goyim, even though its permitted to destroy his body (by killing him). For his money is fit for his inheritors. However its permitted to cause him lose of money, because since his body is void () so is his money, and for sure you dont have to pick up his lost item to return to him. However it is forbidden to take the Mossers money for yourself (even if its something that the Mosser lost) since it is fit for his inheritors.

There are those who say that a Mosser has the law of a Mumar () to the whole Torah (see Rambam Laws of Repentance, Chapter 3, law 9, for what a Mumar for the whole Torah is). And if you find the Mossers lost object it is yours and is forbidden to return it to him.

(9) Someone thats assumed as a Mosser, and it seems that the only reason why his words are heard is because of his money, meaning he is rich, and if he would be poor his words will not be heard, it is permitted to destroy () his money, or to Masser on him to Goyim, for with this you are saving other people from this Mossers Messira.

(3/2/2011 3:22:18 AM)
To #46
Very well said! That is the core issue....
(3/2/2011 10:27:48 AM)
Halachos of Mesira
Thank you for the text...this is academic. In any and every given situation, a rav paskens the halacha. Most rabbonim today, including Lubavithcer rabbonim, will NOT condone protection of a molester from the law. Do some research, not just text study. Halacha is very clear, but application of the halacha absolutely requires a posek.
It's ludicrous to think that one should protect a molester from a legal system, while allowing children to be harmed by him! It's this kind of thinking that t hese program are addressing. By posting this block of text you continue the aveira of protecting a rodef while allowing victims to accrue.
(3/2/2011 2:42:50 PM)
To #49
Very well said!
(3/2/2011 4:08:44 PM)
I will be there iy"h
Can we the parents demand that our Rebbies and principals attend too???????
(3/2/2011 8:23:41 PM)
1) hi Jeff I think I recognize your voice- didn't you write for the N'shei Chabad Newsletter once?
2) Bronya, you are impressive. The sheer number of hours you have put in to organizing these events to enlighten the community and protect the children!
3) IYH all these comments make me think there is going to be a magnificent turnout. That is exciting B"H
(3/3/2011 6:42:40 AM)
Any survivors?
If any survivor is willing to speak publicly about their abuse please contact the organizers. It would he a tremendous kidush hashem and a way to empower others and reduce the stigma unfortunately attached to survivors.
(3/3/2011 7:41:11 AM)
Reporting Molesters to Police is not Mesira
#47 talk about Mesira:

His talk about Mesira is a non-issue as proven by his own words.

In his own words, someone who hits and is violent and there is no way to stop him you may Moser him according to Shulchan Aruch.

All Pedophiles are 100% unstoppable.

It's a proven established fact.

All Pedophiles are SICK IN TH HEAD and there is no cure this mental illness.

It is 100% for sure that they will continue their immoral hitting (abuse) and hurting children in a way which is worse than killing children.

Throwing them in jail does not cure their disease it only stops them (for the time being) from doing it until they are eventually let out of jail, when they will once again continue the same thing they did before going to jail.

There is no question about it and all Rabbonim agree that a Pedophile should be reported to Police since there is absolutely no other way on earth, to be able to stop this diseased man from hurting more children.

You are wasting time if you claim we need not go to Police because there is no way on earth to stop abuse any other way. It is 100% physically impossible to stop such sick people any other way.

(3/3/2011 8:39:11 AM)
What The Rav says about the MITZVAH of Mesira against a Pedophile
#47 indicated what Halacha says about a Moser:

May we or must we report a Pedophile to Police?

Halacha not only permits but MANDATES that we MUST Masser upon someone who is himself already a Moser.

see comment # 47 item # 6 paragraph 4

The reason we may kill or maser on someone who is a Moser is because he has a din Rodef.

The facts are that all Pedophiles are all repeat offenders and what they do is constant perpetual abuse and there is no way to stop them except by locking them up or else they continue their abuse.

Therefore all Rabbonim agree that it is not only permitted to Moser a Pedophile to police but it is OBLIGATORY to report him to police because a Pedophile not only has a "Din Rodef", he actually is a Rodef, constantly abusing children non-stop and is unstoppable unless he is locked up.

Any Menahel who covers up and does not report a Pedophile, has a Din Rodef himslef and it is permissible and obligatory to report this Menahel to Police for his own crimes of covering up Pedophiles in his Mosad.
(3/3/2011 8:55:35 AM)
To #55
Thank you!
(3/3/2011 1:14:11 PM)
Jeff to #52... Sense of humor
:) I appreciate your sense of humor. "Rebbitzman" is another one... comes with the territory:) When people ask, "What are you, if your wife's a rabbi?" I just say, "Lucky!" (...my kallah came up with that:)).

Lucky, indeed... before her, I was in my mid-30's, living in a place called, Norcross, GA - where Yiddishkite is gornisht (please give tzedakah/support to shaliach, Rabbi Lerman in his monumental efforts there).

In my personal life, even after much exposure from generous shluchim, I knew and practiced nothing - for example, I still didn't know basics such as birkat hamazon, asher yatzer, kashrut, kiddush, havdalah... gornisht.

And here I was yearning to have a Jewish home and be a Jewish husband, father - be a man... How?! Because there were few Jewish single women in my area, I went on Sawyouatsinai.com (SYAS) - was too frum for my level, I was totally intimidated and inadequate..

Jretromatch.com (a site owned by SYAS) is where I met my wife (thank G-d).

Rabbi Lerman, who is still "my Norcrosser Rebbe:)," - even though I no longer live in GA - shared with me two important main ideas related to me dating my current wife: 1) "a Jew is a Jew" and 2) already in my mid-30's, I'm "not going to get any better."

Yes, he was talking about the quality of single women my age not improving. BUT, now (3.5 years later), I also see deeper into what he said - "I'M not going to get any better" was, in my opinion, more about where my life (that is, my prospects of having a Jewish home) was going the longer I stayed single and "self-centered".

Thanks for connecting, Rishe, and have a good Shabbos. I'll think of this message after saying asher yatzer, davening, making kiddush (yes, me making:)), giving a drash, saying birkat and davening before shluff.

It's good to be "home," thank G-d.
(3/3/2011 4:12:04 PM)
To Rishe
I would like to state that it's not only the hours the Mrs.Shaeffer puts in to organize these amazing events but it's also the heart that she puts in when she helps somebody. She was my kallah teacher and it was amazing how easy it was to disclose to her so much painful things from teh past. She treated me like her own child and helped me find a specialist in abuse. I can actually say that because of her my husband and me have a wonderful relationship in 'every' single way. When I started to learn kallah classes I thought this will never be possible for me.
Yes, the psychologist helped me, but it was like a doctor who helps a child who has a loving and caring mother to find the right doctor and to talk to him about the issues.
With hashem's help let us hope that no child will ever suffer like so many of us victims , or rather survivors.
(3/3/2011 4:16:17 PM)
Kol hakovod to Eli Federman
Thank you for helping a most vital issue to the forfront!

I hope you do not mind some 'friendly fire'

I agree with all that you wrote, but I take exception to this pargraph:

"This seminar will be a tremendous Kidush Hashem because it will show the secular world that we are not afraid to confront the challenges that our community faces and in fact every community faces"

Permit me to rewrite it
This seminar will be a tremendous Kidush Hashem because {we are}finally{going to} confront the challenges that our community faces

"showing the secular world that we are not afraid to confront...." is a to weak of reason here. when our childrens lives are at risk.

From what I have seen in our community,25% is no big exagregation,. Of course, I did not conduct a scientific study, but unfortunately our community and the frum communities do not seem to be different than the national average.

There is even a extreemly professional helpline for frum victim of any form of abuse. It is manned by caring professional frum people from Chassidish, Litvish and Lubavitch people (from CH).

They are discreet and confidental. They offer ounselling, intervention and even legal help. They are caring people who volunteer their time, just like the members of Hatzolah.

If you or anyone you know was abused, please call them
It is not your fault, the shame is not yours, it is theirs!
If you are abused, you are not alone.They will help you.

Abusers have a free reign, if nothing is done to stop them, (according to what I read) they will abuse apround 80 victims.

Many of the victims, rebel against the system or their parents, some drop out of school. Some cannot function
well in life, At lease one of the suicides that you heard about was as a direct result of abuse.

Parents, teachers, askonim, this is serious, please do the math, if you have
a classroom of 25 beautiful kids, there may be 4 or 5 that are abused!! This is scary and shocking, and your child may be a victim!

I would put the phone number down to enable anyone to call, but unfortunately I cant find it anywhere. (Can someone please help?)

This number should be posted in every classroom and listed on every bulletin. If you are in teh printing or advertising business, and you are printing a fridge magnet newsletter or magazine, I beg you, please print the number of the help line, You may save a life!

(3/5/2011 10:35:36 PM)
The SOVRI Helpline is an anonymous and confidential helpline that provides information, support, and referrals to Orthodox Jewish survivors of abuse. The helpline is open Mon-Thurs 9:30am-5:30pm and Fri 9:30am-1:30pm. The number is 212.844.1495.

It is a project of Beth Israel Hospital
(3/6/2011 1:21:55 AM)
To # 60
are there any other resources available to "Orthodox Jewish survivors of abuse"?
(3/6/2011 11:26:27 AM)
Friendly Fire is Right
We should have nothing to prove to the secular world. The way we perceive ourselves and care about our community should be enough of a reason to do something!
(3/6/2011 2:45:55 PM)
taken from the Sovri website
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are we?
We are an emotional support helpline for Orthodox Jewish survivors of ______ abuse. We help, support, listen, and provide resources to any person who chooses to call us. We are anonymous, confidential, and don't have caller-ID. The helpline is open Monday-Thursday 9:30am-5:30pm and Friday 9:30am-1:30pm. The phone number is 212.844.1495. We are under the auspices of the Victims Services Program of Beth Israel Medical Center.

Who answers the phone?
The helpline is answered by trained volunteers. Our volunteers have gone through a 40+ hour training program focused on the dynamics of *l abuse in the secular and Orthodox communities, childhood * abuse and *, healthcare and legal protocol, post-traumatic stress disorder, * harassment, domestic violence, suicide, and how to recommend appropriate resources. All of our volunteers are Orthodox women. All of our volunteers are supervised by licensed social workers who have extensive experience in dealing with these issues.

Who calls the helpline?
We receive calls from men, women, teenagers, and children who have survived any type of * abuse, ........, ......... harassment, emotional abuse, or domestic violence. We have received calls from every type of religious background and from many different communities.

What happens when I call?
You will be immediately connected with a trained volunteer who will listen to you, support you, and help you with what you need. She will also be able to give you information about other resources that can help you. All calls are strictly confidential and anonymous. We don't have caller-ID.

When can I call?
The helpline is open Monday-Thursday 9:30am-5:30pm and Friday 9:30am-1:30pm. If you call outside those hours, you have the option of leaving your first name and telephone number and a volunteer counselor will return your call as soon as possible. In your message please let us know when it is a safe time to call you back.

(3/6/2011 3:26:33 PM)
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