Sep 14, 2014
Abuse Org to Relaunch in NY

An event in Crown Heights will relaunch the organization Jewish Community Watch to combat child abuse in the Orthodox community.

Event to relaunch Jewish Community Watch after org raised $150,000 in 24 hour Crowd-funding Campaign

Brooklyn NY, September 11, 2014 - Hundreds of Orthodox Jews are expected Monday, September 15 at an event in Crown Heights, Brooklyn to relaunch Jewish Community Watch (JCW) and to raise awareness for child abuse (CSA) in the Orthodox Jewish community.

A crowd-funding campaign in July helped raise $150,000 in 24 hours to cover a major portion of JCWs annual budget enabling it to recommence its services. Survivors, rabbis, therapists, educators and JCW directors are scheduled to address the crowd on the issue of CSA while covering details of JCWs relaunch including policy discussion and project introduction. A short film, entitled Speak Up which explores the stories of seven Jewish abuse survivors from the orthodox community, will also be screened.

Jewish Community Watch was founded in 2011 by Meyer Seewald, himself a victim of abuse, with the stated goal of breaking the silence and shame that surrounded CSA in the Orthodox Jewish community. Meyer worked with Crown Heights community rabbis to release the first rabbinic mandate calling for abuse to be reported directly to the police. JCWs first website was launched featuring the Wall of Shame where, after taking testimony from victims followed by extensive investigation, alleged molesters had their pictures posted to warn communities of their actions. JCW collected testimony from victims and worked with many of them to file reports with the police and to pursue justice through the legal system. In addition, the services offered by JCW began to increase to include education on CSA, awareness events and other activities. Despite its success, JCW was forced to close down in February 2014 due to an enormous caseload which lead to a lack of funding.

After receiving hundreds of calls and messages protesting its closure and commitments to donate towards the reopening of JCW, a relaunch plan was strategically formulated. The plan significantly expanded its activities to incorporate a number of services including: therapy for survivors, education, private investigations headed by licensed PIs to investigate allegations of abuse, and an improved Wall of Shame. At the Monday event, JCW will detail those expanded activities as well as bring more transparency to the organization by introducing their board and defining their policies and procedures.

Founder of Jewish Community Watch, Meyer Seewald said, "As a community, we are coming together and by doing so are making a tremendous Kiddush Hashem (bringing honor to God and the Jewish people). Finally, we are admitting we have a problem and facing it head on and declaring that we will no longer ignore or cover it up. Survivors are coming forward with a reinforced dedication, with their heads held high - no longer ashamed. Our communities must follow their lead and even though it may be an uncomfortable topic we must blush for a few moments so others don't have to bleed.

"This event being endorsed by organizations and community leaders demonstrates just how far we've come, but there is still so much work to be done and that's what this event is all about.

In memory of Dave Gordon; a lone soldier and survivor of CSA

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Opinions and Comments
Which rabonim endorse it?
(9/14/2014 11:20:21 PM)
This issue has be dealt with properly when relating it to children. Otherwise they may C`V blackmail or ruin someones life. Otherwise, B"H for such an organization!
(9/14/2014 11:32:55 PM)
Impossible to prove such statistics
Maybe a slap by a parent is part of these numbers....otherwise it's rediculous.
(9/14/2014 11:38:36 PM)
To all those deniers...
Continue living in denial...if it was your kid ch"v you'd feel very differently..
(9/15/2014 8:10:37 AM)
To #2
...and child abuse doesn't ruin anyone's life?!
(9/15/2014 8:11:50 AM)
The Neshei Newsletter wrote about this EIGHT years ago. Bronya Shaffer organized classes for parents and rabbonim and principles SEVEN years ago.
At that time Lubvitch Yeshiva and Oholei Torah refused to allow this subject in their school adn the events took place in private homes and then in the JCM.

So our community has come a long way, thanks to those who first opened the door. To have this event 'officially' in Lubavitch Yeshiva is a HUGE leap forward.

But our rabbonim?? Maybe another eight years until they'll openly support the eradication of child abuse!
(9/15/2014 9:26:50 AM)
Safety Kid Program-Has the school's support
To number 7, Both OT, Lub Yeshiva, Bais Rivkah, Bnos Menachem, Ohr menachem, Darchei Menachem-all our local schools have the SAFETY KID PROGRAM that teaches child safety to children. How can you say the schools haven't supported the issue? They are doing THEIR part and hosted Parent Safety Workshops.
(9/15/2014 10:57:47 AM)
It is very important that this time around they do not have the "Wall of Shame." It should be called something else -- e.g., "The Safety Wall." What needs to be emphasized is not the negative -- punishing perpetrators, but the positive -- keeping the community safe. Furthermore, JCW has to be very careful about their investigations. The police arrest people falsely all the time; thus JCW needs to do *their own investigation* even in the light of an arrest, to determine if the arrested party should have his name bismirched for life or not.
(9/15/2014 11:00:52 AM)
out of town
Anyway to see this live or later? Need it!!!
(9/15/2014 11:29:40 AM)
Post script to Yankel
Kol Hakovod that this very very hurtful, damaging, painful, traumatic issue is finally being strongly and addressed in a community. But as with every gathering that we do leshem Hashem we need to be careful. The main goal shouldn't be to punish the guilty (who are often victims themselves)rather the goal should be to protect the innocent and help the victims. Hatzlacha Rabba!
(9/15/2014 12:15:37 PM)
Hatzlacha Rabba
This event was phenomenal in Miami and iyh Meir Seewald will have another incredible and powerful evening. Protecting children is everyone's responsibility
(9/15/2014 1:58:50 PM)
sorry but
8 and 10 are wrong. The punishment ie isolation/imprisonment of molesters goes hand in hand with protecting would be victims. When an adult makes a choice to perpetrate these actions,he is responsible.
(9/15/2014 2:56:42 PM)
agree agree
#12 is CORRECT
(9/15/2014 5:15:50 PM)
Is there a way COL can put it so we can watch it live?
(9/15/2014 5:54:49 PM)
To #10
Wrong. Statistically nearly 70% of child abuse offenders have between 1 and 9 victims, at least 20% have 10 or more victims, and some have many more. Publicizing, isolating, punishing, and imprisoning offenders is critical, and failure to do so essentially guarantees that they will offend again.
(9/15/2014 9:42:42 PM)
Interesting how some point out, correctly, that police over arrest and that all kinds of things have been used as false ploys and that one needs to be careful and may "out" innocents, instead of concentrating on safety programs, and people write "no they have to be outed." Since the first set of posters, who they were addressing, were talking about the falsely accused, what are the last set of posters talking about?.... Seems pretty counterproductive at best.
(9/15/2014 11:33:35 PM)
Schools in crown heights...
Have had the safety program, but are not necessarily ensuring the safety measures in their schools are being met. In oholei Torah windows on doors are routinely covered by some rebbes, claiming it's distracting to have kids looking in their windows, and other such excuses! Try taking a walk thru the halls of your kids school on a random day and see the reaction you get from the principals....
(9/15/2014 11:49:58 PM)
it was amazing. there is no going back now, we are clearly and strongly and effectively going forward
(9/16/2014 1:59:40 PM)
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