Sep 15, 2014
Hundreds at Event Against Abuse
Photos: Itzik Roytman

A standing-room only crowd packed Lubavitch Yeshiva in Crown Heights for a powerful event Monday to combat child abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.

By COLlive reporter
Photos: Itzik Roytman


A standing-room only crowd of 800 packed into Lubavitch Yeshiva hall in Crown Heights Monday for a historic event to combat child abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.

The "Night of Education and Awareness" organized by the Jewish Community Watch organization was a powerful and eye-opening event, which highlighted the effects of child abuse on its victims and educated participants about abusers.

Participants were called upon by MC Zvi Gluck, director of operations of Zaka International, to stand up and take action to prevent abuse against children, because "any precious soul that is lost is on the hands of those who did nothing to stop it."

Benny Forer, a Deputy District Attorney for LA County who is on the board of the Jewish Community Watch organization, related surprising facts about accusations against an alleged abuser.

"People say it's a 'he said, she said' situation, that one person makes an accusation and it ruins a life," he said. "Not true. There are many steps taken and extensive investigation" before anyone is arrested, he said, noting that only 20% of the cases in California are filed, while the rest are rejected for lack of evidence to prosecute.

Brooklyn's recently elected District Attorney Ken Thompson made an appearance, telling the crowd that he is "determined to keep everyone in Brooklyn safe, and treat everyone fairly - and protect all of our children."

An emotional speech was given by a young woman who is a survivor of abuse, who urged victims to remember, "it's not you who should be ashamed, but the animal who did this to you."

"It may take millions of tears, but you will survive," she said, to a standing ovation.

Renowned orator Rabbi YY Jacobson spoke passionately about the organization, saying that he attended the event to "ask forgiveness for the fact that so many of us have ignored, willingly or inadvertently, the silent cry of so many young beautiful souls whose lives have been affected, and sometimes shattered" by abuse.

Rabbi Jacobson implored victims not to remain silent any longer. "Speak up, we will not blame you," he said. "Speak up - you will be embraced. And you will be loved," he said.

Other speakers included Eli Nash, a survivor of abuse, psychologist Rabbi Benzion Twerski, Yocheved Sidoff, founder of Lamplighters Yeshiva and Chaim Drizin, marriage and family therapist.

The event marked the relaunch of the organization, founded and directed by Meyer Seewald, after it halted operations a year ago due to lack of funding. 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.


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Opinions and Comments
1
Glad to see that
Thanks for organizing this kind of events! It will help a lot of people.
(9/16/2014 6:05:52 AM)
2
great org- got question
how do we protect the abusers spouse children and grandchildren ?who are innocent victims too ?
- would love to see this relaunch of this organization a bit more sensitive-----
(9/16/2014 7:14:57 AM)
3
Question?
Did anyone see the principals from our yeshivas? Especially the boys yeshivas??
(9/16/2014 7:24:00 AM)
4
Meir Seewald...
You are a hero!
(9/16/2014 7:25:01 AM)
5
why do they still not have reputable lubavich rabbis on their board?
Its hard to trust an organization that is run by kids who have anger issues, even justified anger issues, without respected rabbis who have a much better understanding of things.
The idea is good, but the implementation needs help to really get people on board
(9/16/2014 7:29:41 AM)
6
hey
Hey Moshe banda I knew you would be there nice seeing you
(9/16/2014 7:30:54 AM)
7
Thank you...
To all the speakers who had the courage to stand up and let their anguish be heard by all! Rabbi Jacobson demanded we hear the real kol of the shofar coming from all people who suffer , especially the silent ones! May this Rosh hashana bring the final geulah from ALL suffering!
(9/16/2014 7:32:18 AM)
8
was there
Hopefully they back their words with action and are there to have a educational website rather then using all of this tobhavea website as a way of revenge for people for the last 60years
(9/16/2014 7:37:21 AM)
9
So Happy...
For all the naysayers who thought that CH doesn't care about the abuse going on, because they objected - rightly so - to the previous vigilante approach of CHW, I think the great turnout from the entire CH spectrum, including many teachers and educators, is proof that WE DO CARE.

We just want it to be done properly, with care and sensitivity, with accountability and professionalism.

Well done. Let us hope and pray that they avoid the mistakes of the previous round, where they did so much more damage than good and lost credibility. We need it. And we need it to be done properly.

Let us all work together to protect our children so no one ever has to suffer again.

Thank you to all those who are making this happen.
(9/16/2014 7:59:20 AM)
10
Wow
What a powerful unblievable important event !
Thank you !
(9/16/2014 8:27:34 AM)
11
Thank you for your bravery
Chilling
A major event that will change the lives of many
Thank you for the bravery and the strength of those who spoke up .. Through them many will be saved

Yasher koach Eli ... May no more kids ever suffer again :(
(9/16/2014 8:37:46 AM)
12
Brilliant
Awesomeness
(9/16/2014 8:54:38 AM)
13
Powerful and awe inspiring
Thanks to everyone who helped put this together, it was raw, heart wrenching and inspiring all at the same time.
To share how amazing it was: My wife in middle of the event sent me a text that we need to talk/educate our 7 year old innocent child so he can stay innocent.

Thanks again.
(9/16/2014 9:12:47 AM)
14
Amazing!!!
So proud to be Chabad!
(9/16/2014 9:19:47 AM)
15
Your uncle in Detroit
Looking good, Leiki
(9/16/2014 9:26:57 AM)
16
Yankel
It is important to take to mind that where a false accusation is made, in all likelihood there is a true perpetrator who got away with it. If an innocent person is sitting in jail, then the true predator is still out there on the loose. It is fundamentally important to root out false allegations, for the sake of catching the true offenders.
(9/16/2014 9:33:49 AM)
17
Why now?
Just curious where all these people were at all the other awareness events in Crown Heights over the last 5 or 6 years. I've been to at least 3, and there were never more than 100 people there. Glad to see a better turnout this time!
(9/16/2014 9:46:23 AM)
18
PARENTS' GUIDE
In a photo, I see someone holding a parents' guide, RAISING SAFE KIDS. How can I get a copy of it? Thank you.
(9/16/2014 9:47:35 AM)
19
It was AMAZING!!!!
Amazing event!! This event is needed in each community. Thank you so much for organizing!
(9/16/2014 9:48:00 AM)
20
Very informative and BH well-attended!
Thank you for being there for us and our children. May you be well-funded and receive emotional and technical support always
(9/16/2014 9:49:37 AM)
21
Heartening
While other communities turn a blind eye and pretend this problem doesn't exist, it's nice to see that our community is recognizing a problem and addressing it. That's the first step to a solution.
(9/16/2014 9:57:23 AM)
22
i was there.were you???
to #3 rabbi dechter was there from begining till the end at 11,30
(9/16/2014 11:15:51 AM)
23
great event to bring awareness but what's with all the...
plaid shirts? the men in the audience look like they are attending a rodeo.
(9/16/2014 11:22:49 AM)
24
Sruly Clapman.
After a long hard day at work. I decided my laying in bed would be Unaccepted. I got to ULY and the place was so jammed that there was barley standing room! Kol Hakovod to all those that attended and showed support for this most important issue facing any community in the world.
Shame on anyone with influence that did not attend.
All that was lacking were boxes of tissues for all the tears that freely flowed.
God bless the organizations that protect the most precious possession we have OUR CHILDREN.
(9/16/2014 11:46:26 AM)
25
Sholom
The True leaders and mechanchim of the rebbe's community showed up last night, and to them I say "Ashrecha" You should be blessed, it's not always popular to do the right thing, but it's the right thing to do. To those that claim to be community leaders and that are always around for the photo op with whichever politician traipses through the neighborhood and that couldn't be bothered to show up to last nights event, I say shame on you, you clearly do not represent the interests of the people living in Crown Heights... The organizers of this cause deserve our heart-felt thank you. Best Of Luck to you all.
(9/16/2014 11:57:57 AM)
26
wow
Eli I commend you for your courage.
You have been through a lot and you took the time and effort to get help. I'm sorry you had to endure this tragedy but you have proved to be an amazing gentleman and an inspiration to many.

(9/16/2014 12:37:55 PM)
27
To #5
Halevi our Rabbi's could be counted upon to "have a much better understanding of things." It is way past time that our own Chabad Rabbonim recognize that they ALSO need to be educated by recognized specialists about abusers of all kinds (molesters, spouses, financial, etc). Until the day comes that they can take off their blinders and bittel themselves to genuinely seek the knowledge to help those that are suffering, their names will not appear on any boards. I am past angry, I am very sad.
(9/16/2014 1:06:30 PM)
28
To #24 you said it perfectly.
This was a great event and just shows how petty gossip and internet comments don't reflect true public opinion. Based on all the bad mouthing that goes on against JCW you'd expect less then 300 people to attend; instead I believe even the 800 number is low balling it.

The speakers each out did each other and bringing in the DA to make it clear that the Hynes administration's games are over will hopefully help send a strong message to potentially abusers and their supporters.

Both of the victims who spoke, I truly hope have a complete healing and they both seem to have a great skill for public motivational speakers.

Lastly Meyer & his team have really shown that while their open to change and understand the valid criticism they won't back down and won't let the shush it up crowd have the last word.
(9/16/2014 2:03:31 PM)
29
Important work that needs get get done
Just needs to incorporate more people who learn chassisdus and have yiras shamayim
(9/16/2014 2:21:12 PM)
30
Eli Nash
I would have attended the event if not for Eli Nash's involvement
(9/16/2014 2:28:18 PM)
31
to #3
Rabbi Minsky - menahel mesivta in chovevei Torah was there.
(9/16/2014 2:30:47 PM)
32
is this really the right thing?? I don't know
did they apologize to those they may have mistakenly put on their wall of shame??
(9/16/2014 2:31:52 PM)
33
thank you
To all those who are speaking up. I am sure it must be very difficult to tell your stories, remember and feel the pain. As a mother I can't tell you what your courage means to me. You are helping to prevent further victims and you may also be helping the perpetrators. Stopping them ultimately helps them.
To the family members of the perpetrators it is also very painful but ultimately it is better for people to be aware if someone is dangerous. Family members are very often victims of the abusers and it is difficult for them to speak up. Older people do continue to abuse sometimes so we can't say that just because someone is sixty they will not be abusive.
(9/16/2014 2:56:22 PM)
34
Kol hakavod
Kal hakavod to all the brave individuals . As a young parent I feel very blessed and secure knowing this organization exists to make our community safer.
(9/16/2014 3:16:36 PM)
35
Thank you!!
Where can we get the "raising safe kids" and get help out of town?
TX!!
(9/16/2014 3:21:05 PM)
36
attended
It is sad to know there are perpurtrator
s getting on in years still roaming the streets freely. They have ruined lives my molestic kids 40 ago and these grown up victims still suffer
(9/16/2014 3:27:53 PM)
37
wow
in answer to #2
it is painful to be the spouse and children, but at this time they are trying to help tho victims and prevent more victims!! They probably feel done with with sensitivity!!!
(9/16/2014 3:30:14 PM)
38
where are you?
Where are you, our community's rabbonim and mashpiim and mechanchim???
Where are you? Where are you, our principals? Where are you, our hanholos?
It's not enough that hundreds came out to listen and learn; if you are the heads of our mosdei chinuch and our community, you need to make your voice heard!!!
Where are you?? So busy with bashing internet and girls clothes that you can't be bothered with this? You're too busy making sure the kids in your schools follow the rules no matter what, that you have no time to show that you CARE about these kids? You're so busy kicking out the ones who don't fit, that this subject is too unimportant for you?
If you don't think this event was worth your time, then come out and say so! If you oppose CHW (as we know you do!) then stand up and say why!
You want our respect?? Show us why we s hould!!!
(9/16/2014 3:44:29 PM)
39
To #31
THERE WAS NO ONE MISTAKENLY PUT ON THE WALL OF SHAME.....Stop perpetuating that myth.
(9/16/2014 3:48:46 PM)
40
Thank you
Thank you Meir! And everyone else who supports JCW. This really means so much to me and so many people!
(9/16/2014 3:58:21 PM)
41
To #3
A lot of principals were not there because they would have a lot of people to answer to!
(9/16/2014 4:48:02 PM)
42
#38
That's what they need to hear. I was recently at a house of someone (a Rabbi) high up in our community, someone who is central to our shul and school, and he was speaking very disrespectly about a survivor of abuse (which happened in the school before this rabbi's time but only came out in the last 5 years). The abuse survivor is a thorn in the community's side because he wants accountability for something everyone knew happened but noone did anything about. I couldnt believe what I was hearing to be honest. they keep on talking about all their policies but it will be a long time until people's attitudes really change.
(9/16/2014 5:14:41 PM)
43
ch mom
how do i get a copy of keeping kids safe that was distributed last niight?
(9/16/2014 5:15:49 PM)
44
Anonymous
Does JCW have a website?
(9/16/2014 5:24:17 PM)
45
I attended
I wished more people showed up. But I intend to speak up and get the word out. I was so inspired and humbled by what I heard. Even more, I wish to become more sensitive to this subject as an educator and turn crown heights over! Meir Yoshar Koach! Like you said, the Rebbe's brachos are with you!!! You are a true example of a soldier whose mission is to get the job done right!!
(9/16/2014 5:26:22 PM)
46
If you didn't go, you missed a powerful, educational experience
People who are asking questions here, most of your questions would've been answered if you'd attended. There's a data base of 350 people whose names are not publicly posted on the Wall of Shame but who are suspects being investigated. Research appears to be done very, very carefully and properly. One person's story even showed how a perpetrator was hopefully helped because of the organization! I thought I knew a lot about this subject but I learned quite a bit last night that I never could have imagined. BTW, Bais Rivka principals/staff were there, as well. Yes, the people involved in JCW are young (and I'm not), and I have a tendency to be skeptical of the younger generation due to their lack of experience on the planet. But it looks to me like these folks are running the organization in a good, constructive, secheldig way, and they have my support. Kol hakavod to all the speakers, especially the very brave Meira, Eli and Meir. You are incredible, beautiful neshamos. Our tefillos are with you and all victims and survivors for complete healing!! Let Moshiach come now and put JCW out of business. Meanwhile, I encourage everyone to attend the next event and be educated, and stunned.
(9/16/2014 6:52:24 PM)
47
Thank you
AMAZING video! Thank you to all those involved in JCW for protecting my children.
Sincerely,
A thankful mother
(9/16/2014 7:32:30 PM)
48
To where are u
Lets stop with always bashing and pointing fingers. Its not our job to decide who should or shouldnt b where. Our principals do an outstanding job and work day and night- using their absence or presence at this event is a poor judgement in deciding how much they care.
(9/16/2014 8:19:53 PM)
49
JCW should get Rabbis to comment on individual cases
JCW is an amazing organization and I commend all the Rabbis who spoke out against abuse and abuse coverups. They now need to go to the next level and raise the profile of individual cases in need of support. Instead of talking generally and not confronting actual people, we need to see them make the difficult decisions and stand by victims against perpetrators who may be Rabbinical colleagues. Will this ever happen? I am not hopeful.
(9/16/2014 8:42:45 PM)
50
Thank you JCW
#5 Sometimes it needs younger people to deal with
Matters that Rabbonim have not and can not accept
The fact that abuse is a problem, as we have
Here in London
All of u at JCW thank you, thank you very much
JCW has worked as far as London in relation to
Chizuck
(9/16/2014 8:43:20 PM)
51
Please!
Unless you yourself are someone who was put on the Wall of Shame without committing any wrongdoing, please stop promulgating the notion that JCW randomly put up names.

I think that a community's critical self-examination is extremely important, and we must always ask ourselves if we are doing/supporting the right cause.

In the case of JCW, we have every reason to believe that those running it are people of honesty and self-sacrifice.

I am proud to be part of the community that is of the first to take a real stand in protecting our children. It is a shame that some of the establishment still is not ready to face this ugly reality. As always, change once again is coming from the grassroots - from caring individuals who are determined, even at their own risk, to finally make a difference.

May Hashem bless them!
(9/16/2014 11:36:50 PM)
52
great job
someone should follow the example and make a Wall of Shame for all deadbeat dads in our community
(9/17/2014 1:57:12 AM)
53
Was Australia discussed
Why didn't the event talk about the specific cases in Australia and address the Rabbinic leadership directly, and by name. Without making the difficult confrontations, THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE!

"Speak up, we will not blame you....Speak up - you will be embraced. And you will be loved..."

Did the Rabbi provide examples to back up his empty rhetoric.
(9/17/2014 6:34:31 AM)
54
...
(9/17/2014 8:41:33 AM)
55
Interesting discussion
I did not attend the talk but am impressed with the supportive comments, as well as a number of people addressing the fact that community leaders are not supporting victims enough. Unfortunately, it is only a rare religious leader (whether we are talking about the Catholic Church or another faith community) who speaks up for victims and survivors. I know this because my organization teaches faith communities about child abuse. Discord is hard and people may feel pressured to conform, but in the end, it takes congregants to band together in support of victims perhaps in search of new leaders who care about victims' rights.
Janet Heimlich
Child-Friendly Faith Project
(9/17/2014 10:06:41 AM)
56
Meir, you are wonderful, a brave brave man
Let me tell you, all those who turn away from the truth, this is a. serious situation and destroys a person from the core of their very essence.

This has been sadly going on for all time, but...there are many people speaking up and strong enough to go after their attackers, and i say attackers because that what it is. An attack. Meir and the team, Gd bless you, Gd bless you, you are saving so many people by speaking out and not taking a back seat, to be a bystander to abuse of children is like....the worst.

And stop bullying NOW.....stop ABUSE and how about teaching empowerment into the schools, how about really teaching children how to assert and really root out those that seek to destroy them. Enough with the meek and mild attitude. Being afraid of speaking up......enough of that attitude, I've always spoken out against injustice and have had clashes with others, but I'd rather defend and say the real deal than turn away and let evil carry on.

Meir and friends, go from strength to strength.

A mom you helped once
(9/17/2014 11:59:59 AM)
57
#52
AND MOMS?
(9/17/2014 4:26:26 PM)
58
#51
THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH SOME THAT ARE RUNNING IT, IS THAT THEY ARE TOO EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. SOMETIMES THEY CANT DO THE RIGHT THING,YOU HAVE TO FEEL BAD FOR THEM BUT IT DOESNT ALWAYS MEAN THE RIGHT DECISIONS
(9/17/2014 4:29:13 PM)
59
To Number 58
Again, perpetuating a myth. Did you not see that Benny Forer, Reb Chaim Drizin, Rabbi Dr. Twersky, etc are involved??? Did you not see that? Why do you keep repeating that its kids with emotional problems?
(9/17/2014 5:26:11 PM)
60
Video of event
Was the event video taped? Many of us were unable to attend but would really appreciate being able to see videos of the speeches
(9/17/2014 11:01:53 PM)
61
really effective event
I was in C.H. from out of town and came just because i wanted to support this very worthy cause. The speakers were all outstanding and in my opinion this org. is already helping save many lives. Thank you meir and your team!!






(9/18/2014 2:16:23 AM)
62
still crying
Meir u and ur team should b on the wall of fame!!.Kol hakovod and may u all b blessed with a healing year full of happiness and success in the wonderful things u do. May Hashem show his Compassion and heal all those who have been hurt in any form of abuse Refua Shleima to klal Yisroel!Kesiva Vchasima Tova!Shona Tova UMASUKA
(9/18/2014 2:39:00 PM)
63
wish I had known about it
Thank you so much for dedicated efforts to protect our children. Please do inform us where we can access this pamphlet that was mentioned and please let us know if there is a way to view a video of the event.
(9/19/2014 1:47:46 AM)
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