Yeshiva University’s HS Principal Regularly Hosts a Sex Offender in Public – by David Cheifetz

Yeshiva University’s HS Principal
Regularly Hosts a Sex Offender in Public

Guest post by David Cheifetz (July 4,, 2013)

This Sunday, June 30, 2013, I spoke to the Annual Meeting of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) as part of a panel on Child Safety. I shared my experience as a victim of sex abuse more than thirty years ago and why I am finally speaking out publicly (see Sharing the Secret that Haunted My Soul).

I also shared my concern that too many within the Jewish community are too willing to ignore abuse or even actively cover it up. I repeatedly referred to Baruch Lanner who was a teacher and later a principal in Jewish high schools. For decades he was also a leading figure in the Orthodox Union’s (OU) National Council for Synagogue Youth (NCSY) whose activities brought him into contact with thousands of teenagers. Baruch Lanner was eventually convicted and sent to prison for sexually assaulting a teen-aged girl, and remains a registered sex offender.

Lanner_BaruchPrisonFFStock

Most of Baruch Lanner’s notorious activities — sexual abuse of teenage girls and physical abuse of teenage boys – took place in Northern New Jersey. In 1999-2000 the OU investigated the crimes of Baruch Lanner and interviewed several dozen victims. People familiar with the facts believe Lanner abused several hundred teens over more than 20 years. Of course, no one knows the exact number. I live in Teaneck, New Jersey, ground zero for Lanner’s misconduct and home to many of his victims and survivors.

In my speech to the RCA I asked,

Eichah? How is it possible that the current principal of MTA, Yeshiva University’s (YU) high school, regularly hosts Baruch Lanner in his shul (synagogue), and even had him in his home at a community open house on Purim this year, as an honored guest, at the same time that YU is investigating the accusations about George Finkelstein and others?

I was referring to Rabbi Michael Taubes, the principal of Yeshiva University’s High School, MTA and the rabbi of Congregation Zichron Mordechai (formerly Congregation Tzemach Dovid).

Taubes-2a

Rabbi Taubes called me two days later (7/2/13) to complain about my RCA speech. According to Rabbi Taubes, I misrepresented the frequency of Baruch Lanner’s visits. He insisted that “regularly” implies Lanner attended his shul more than the two times in three years that he admitted. But then he told me that when Lanner attended his shul on those two shabbatot (Jewish Sabbaths), he was also a personal guest at Rabbi Taubes’ home.

Rabbi Taubes also objected to my sardonic reference to Lanner as an “honored guest” at his house on Purim. Rabbi Taubes claimed that Baruch Lanner visited on Purim to deliver shalach manos (Purim presents) “because he still has a chiyuv (Jewish religious obligation) for shalach manos.” He claimed it would have been rude to ask Baruch Lanner to leave an open house. After all, “there were a couple of hundred people coming through the house that day.” I mentioned that Lanner was reported to be sitting comfortably in Rabbi Taubes’ home, not just standing at the front door to drop off shalach manos.

Rabbi Taubes refused to discuss whether Baruch Lanner visited his house at other times over the last three years because “that is none of your business.” We did not discuss the fact that Baruch Lanner attended the June, 2013 wedding of Rabbi Taubes’ son as an invited guest, an appearance reported by many other guests.

Rabbi Taubes insisted I should have come to him directly if I objected to his hosting Baruch Lanner, rather than share those facts in front of his colleagues at the RCA.

Our voices rose as we talked past each other. After all was said and done, I told Rabbi Taubes that instead of being angry with me for sharing facts, he should be angry with himself for his poor judgment. He should look inside his own soul to contemplate real, authentic teshuvah (repentance) for his failings.

Rabbi Taubes does not seem to grasp that he is not just an individual. As the rabbi of a synagogue and the principal of Yeshiva University’s high school, he is a leader and thus a public figure responsible for his influence as a role model. In hosting Baruch Lanner repeatedly, Rabbi Taubes is rehabilitating the reputation of a notorious sex offender who is guilty of abusing tens, if not hundreds, of children. Notwithstanding Rabbi Taubes’ claims, Lanner’s presence as his shul and his home were not “isolated events”. Where I went to yeshiva, repeating an action three times creates a chazakah, a presumed pattern.

Through his actions, Rabbi Taubes has sent out a loud message that it is OK to welcome sex offenders, even notorious ones, to Jewish communal institutions, even to synagogues filled with children.

Rabbi Taubes has ignored the personal pain of the many victims of Baruch Lanner who still live in Teaneck and suffer from the long-term psychological scars of abuse. He is insensitive to the very real trauma of the victims. When I asked him if he knew what a “trigger event” was, he admitted that he did not, explaining that he is not a psychologist. That is an inexcusable gap for a school administrator who holds a Masters in Education from a School of Psychology.

Rabbi Taubes has ignored how non-Lanner victims, like me, might be offended by the presence of a notorious sex offender in our community.

Rabbi Taubes has also disregarded risks to today’s children. I live exactly three blocks away from Rabbi Taubes’ shul. Does the welfare of my own children, or those of the thousands of children in Teaneck, not concern him? Rabbi Taubes would certainly argue that Baruch Lanner is no longer considered a threat. However, since Rabbi Taubes insists he is not a psychologist, I do not know how he could reach that conclusion. Indeed, Baruch Lanner remains on the list of known sexual predators in Florida. I do not know why he is no longer on the list in New Jersey.

Rabbi Taubes has exhibited extremely poor judgment. How can the principal of the high school of Yeshiva University, an institution currently conducting an investigation of sexual abuses committed by a previous high school principal, George Finkelstein, play host, on a regular basis, to the most notorious known sexual and physical abuser in the Modern Orthodox world?

For too long, the Jewish community has looked the other way when it comes to sexual abuse. We MUST change our culture and recognize that abuse exists, must be acknowledged, and must be dealt with by the legal authorities. We must always remember to save our rachmanut (mercy) for the victims, and not the perpetrators that destroy our children’s souls.

Other posts of Interest

The Shul for Scandal: Where the Molesters Prey (Repost with YU Update)

YU Apologizes for Molestation by Two Rabbis

The Voice of Your Brother’s Blood Cries Out to Me!

A Great Day for Hasidic Perverts

Weekly Round-up: June 22, 2013

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About Yerachmiel Lopin

Frum Follies is blog is for those who fight Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in the Orthodox Jewish world where it is Purim all year. I fight corruption and denial by reporting, analyzing, satirizing, and agitating.
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222 Responses to Yeshiva University’s HS Principal Regularly Hosts a Sex Offender in Public – by David Cheifetz

  1. neil stern says:

    if this the attitude of the enlightened so called modern orthodoxy what do you expect from the gedolei torah (bmg) and the Chasidic persuasion

    • I am of course furious about the MO response to their HS scandal, to their tolerance of Michael Taubes’ shtick.

      However, in December I posted about the comparison between YU and Satmar:

      Some of Nechemya Weberman’s defenders are saying, “You see, Satmar is no worse than YU.” That line of defense is grotesque For all of YU’s failings it did fire the two and it did apologize when confronted. In contrast, Satmar retained Weberman and kept feeding him victims, denied his culpability when it was exposed, harassed and intimidated his victims, forced many of them to stay silent, and funded the crimiinal defense of Weberman. Satmar is now embarking on a million dollar campaign to pay for his appeal. Satmar is waging all out war against anyone who dares to confront molesting. A Williamsburg Hasid, Meilech Schnitzler, tried to blind anti-abuse activist Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg. I have no proof that Satmar leadership was behind the attack, but it bears responsibility for fostering a climate in which such attacks are tolerated. To date, they have not publicly condemned the attack.

      Satmar’s culture of molestation is so pervasive and outrageous they even the hacks at Agudath Israel have not risen to their defense and I suspect they won’t. Agudath Israel may be immoral but it is not stupid. they know a lost cause when they see it. They know that even invoking daas torah and stoking paranoia about antisemitism will not fool their own members. It is pathetic but I will say it, the world will be a better place when Satmar at least advances to the moral level of Agudath Israel of America and Agudath Israel of America rises to the level of Yeshiva University. But all three of them should be doing much better.

      Since I wrote that we have the disgusting spectacle of the Senior Posek of OU Kosher defending a convicted molester and having a history of intimidating witnesses against that molester, Yosef Kolko. I am speaking of course about Yisroel Belsky. See http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/belsky-is-0-for-2-on-the-kolkos-and-yet-he-is-the-ous-posek/

      • GAON says:

        WOW! where is that thumbs up icon? Where do we go? not renewal and not reconstruction, where? the extraordinary move to the right is a fascinating cultural sociological psychological phenomenon, and who will write their doctoral dissertation on the subject. i know that there have been some individual articles, OCD self righteousness, not nearly enough to explain this phenomenon. LUVOX. in the H20 system in all Charedi neighborhoods, and something to counteract the inbreeding of DNA in the smaller communities.
        my views are not popular, so be it.

      • GAON says:

        satmar is expletive wasting their constituent’s money a million plus campaign for weberman, be’emet? they are far crazier and more evil than i could have imagined in my worst nightmare a scourge on the Jewish nation, and to compare themselves to YU lamrot the known abuses and the coverups there, is a travesty. . there are degrees of evil and it is sadly , no contest., some claim lakewood is worse than satmar, i am in no sense a bias din, nor do i have the background or knowledge, only what i read., but to compare satmar to YU? and now they are going to milk their constituents to pay for weberman’s, defense, from whence cometh this money from welfare thanks to the US govt, for people who refuse to work, who refute the concept of parnassah atsmit.??? or from those on welfare in eretz yisrael, lomdim yom v’layla to protect the Jewish people (sadly that definition leaves out most Jews)
        Satmar is expletive wasting their constituent’s money, aka that of the welfare state, on a campaign for one of the worst offenders in child abuse history. i could not have imagined this in my wildest nightmares. those who have no parnassah, who live off the teat of the govt gam im ba aretz, v’ gam im ba’artsot habrit., the disgust and outrage have reached such a level, that i may need to turn off this machine called a computer,. and pray that those who care, care, and cause an impact. it makes me sick to my stomach. i am too weak. and i do not want to feel such disgust and anger, it is not healthy, kol hakavod for those like YL ET AL,

  2. If YU is serious about preventing all future sex abuse, it should act now to protect its youngest students, those who attend its high schools. If YU is serious about a new culture of zero tolerance, it should not tolerate a successor to George Finkelstein who has so much rachmunus on Lanner and so little professional and moral sensitivity to the problem of child sex abuse and the cultural attitudes that make it more likely. I believe YU should show it is serious about fighting abuse, serious about repenting for its past failures, by demanding the resignation of Rabbi Michael Taubes.

  3. Just a Civilian says:

    DC: “When I asked him if he knew what a “trigger event” was, he admitted that he did not, explaining that he is not a psychologist.”

    If Rabbi Taubes does not know what a trigger event is, then *as a matter of halacha* he is not in a position himself to competently decide how to treat Baruch Lanner in the community. Trigger events are perhaps the most basic element in grasping the _metziut_ of survivors. One cannot decide halacha if one is deficient in the _metziut_ pertaining to the decision’s consequences.

    This is the kind of _halachic_ nonchalance that got YU into many (perhaps not all) of its troubles.

    • I do not think YU suffers from halachic non-chalance. Like most institutions it suffers from an instinct for favoring institutional reputation over the best interests of those with the least power, such as children. Incredibly this is even worse in the ultra-orthodox world.

      However, I would agree that just as you have no business being a shochet if you can’t tell a trachea from an artery, you also have no business being a HS principal if you do not understand basic facts about child sexual abuse. That is absurd as being a lifeguard and not knowing how to recognize the early signs of drowning or how to do CPR.

      • Just a Civilian says:

        I’m not among those who say that YU is halachically nonchalant across the board. And it’s a common human failing to be oblivious to mental experiences unlike one’s own.

        But the psychology of the oppressed is not amenable to the mere common sense of the majority, yet is crucial to the halacha’s norms of justice. It is about this that one dare not become ‘nonchalant’.

        If one knows the metziut one might still make a halachic mistake. If one doesn’t know the metziut, one cannot *even* make a halachic mistake.

        Triggers can cause pain. Triggers can precipitate crises. Under some circumstances inducing them can be much like tormenting a sick person. As a figure of authority and stature, Rabbi Taubes’ role might very well multiply a survivor’s distress. It seems to me that there are full-fledged *halachic* obligations at stake here.

  4. Emanuel Newgant says:

    Congratulations again to David and the blog owner. David has excellent content and style. Keep hammering away.

  5. Moder Orthodox Psychologist says:

    If you are advocating for perpetrators to be handled by our criminal justice system (which I think they should), then once they have been tried and convicted, have served their time in jail, registered as a sex offender and are complying with the requirements thereof, what more do you want from the guy? It’s not like people don’t know who he is. Your post’s title says it was in public. It doesn’t sound like Lanner or Taubes were endangering any kids or doing anything other than participating in normal community activities. Is the justice system not enough? Who gets to decide what the bonus punishments should be?

    • I think you intended to assume the identity of a modern orthodox psychologist but lost a letter in your name and some important details in the title.

      As a psychologist you should reflect on triggering and its implications in a traumatized community. No one is asking Taubes to chase Lanner out of town with a shotgun. But why make him comfortable in a town full of his victims. Every honor to him is a stab to his victims. If they get invited to Taubes’ son’s wedding they have to wonder if their host expects them to be civil if they are seated at the same table.

      When Moshe Finkel sold trayf chickens in Monsey and got caught he moved out of town within a week. If Lanner did tshuvah he would have apologized to all his victims and spared them his presence by moving away. But like most such molesters he is on a campaign to rehabilitate himself.

      Is Taubes such a tzadik that every outcast and loser in town is given special attention out of his great generous spirit? Not from what I hear. He is trying to help him fit back into town. Sorry, you cannot take on that mission in Teaneck of all places and claim to be on the conscientious about preventing, detecting, and reporting sex abuse when it comes to YU’s MTA HS.

      I have heard of him making Lanner survivors unwelcome just so Lanner would not object. That is lihepech, upside down.

  6. Watchman says:

    1. This personal attack on one of the leaders of the modern orthodox community is nothing short of slanderous and an act of lashon harah.

    2.You should be ashamed of yourself, not only as a Jew but as a civil human being.

    3. To suggest that person such as Rabbi Taubes is unconcerned with the well being of children and that their welfare does not concern him is absurd and unfounded.

    4. You may hide behind your pseudojournalism and your perpetrated vigilante justice but you can’t hide from G-d.

    5. The fact that you were sexually abused as a child is a travesty and one I understand and sympathize with but this does not give you an excuse, halachicly or not, to say whatever you please.

    6. Rabbi Taubes’s relationship with Baruch Lanner is frankly none of your business.

    7. Do you know anything about their interactions? Do you know anything about their relationship? Do you have any idea what they have ever spoken about?

    8. No. You just assume and gossip in a childish attempt to earn this blog of yours a couple more hits and defame an individual that is respected and loved by many.

    9. You make me ashamed to be part of the same community as you and

    10. you need to search inside your own soul to contemplate real, authentic teshuvah (repentance) for your failings as a Jew and a person.

  7. Mark H. Jay says:

    Watchman, you are a vile person and a pathetic excuse for a Jew. For a community leader to publicly host any criminal is grotesque, and to host a convicted child molester is unthinkable. If Bernie Madoff were to be released from jail, would any self-respecting rabbi invite him to the wedding of his son? And that would be a lot less reprehensible than inviting a convicted child molester!

  8. Watchman,

    1. You are mixing up status, question of personal attack, and lashon horah. A leader, even more so than anyone else can and should be criticized when they err. Hence parshas nasi and harayot. (See “When a Leader Sins”). It is not slander if it’s true and it is not lashon harah (gossip in violation of Jewish law) if it is already known by enough others, or if there is a valid toeless (purpose) served, such as protecting others. The hosting was done in front of hundreds at the wedding, the shul and in Rabbi Taubes’ home. There is a purpose, changing a culture of insensitivity to victims of abuse and building a new culture in which abuse is less likely to happen and more likely to be quickly discovered and stopped. We need to make sure there is never another Baruch Lanner whose misdeeds hurt hundreds of children and was covered up for decades at the highest levels of NCSY and the OU.

    2. I am not proud of everything I have done in my life, but I am proud of posting and hosting this article by David Cheifetz. It matches “My Jewish Ethos.” Incidentally I will keep linking to my earlier posts because I have thought of these issues you raise because they are typical of the defenses raised by other defenders of other miscreants. The arguments are not strong, but they are usually delivered in barrages like yours and do occasionally succeed in intimidating others because many defenders of misconduct are bullies who know how to wield Jewish-sounding arguments like a truncheon to batter their opponents into submission. It won’t work here.

    3. David Cheifetz is not suggesting Rabbi Taubes is unconcerned about the welfare of children in other regards. But what he is doing with Baruch Lanner is a major shortcoming which is not compatible with proper concern.

    4. Real facts here. You may not be happy about whose ox is gored by this journalism, but it is most definitely real. It was Lanner who concealed from others what he should not have been able to do if he really believed in G-d. If he had impulses he couldn’t control, he should have at least removed himself from work with children.

    5. Make up your mind about whether you understand and sympathize with Mr. Cheifetz or consider his experience of abuse “a travesty.” I have long noticed that survivors are bullied into not talking publicly and those who allege using pseudonyms are then attacked for hiding behind them. He decided that he would accept the costs of going public so he could speak credibly about the perspective as a survivor. Mr. Cheifetz is not using his abuse as an excuse. But it indeed motivates him to stop other children from being abused. Do you have a problem with that?

    6-7. David Cheifetz was not addressing the personal, behind-closed-doors relationship between Lanner and Rabbi Taubes (BTW, I notice you do not use Rabbi when talking about Baruch Lanner. I gather you feel it is OK to hurt his public status in some ways.) I cannot speak for Mr. Cheifetz, but as for me, I certainly endorse pastoral counseling of truly major sinners. For the umpteenth time this is about a public relationship. Got it? Public!!!

    8. Now you are slandering. You have no proof that I am doing this for hits. I do not get paid for operating this blog. There is NO income stream connected to this blog. The few ads you see are what WordPress extracts as their price for using their blogging software and service.

    9-10. Covered in responses 1-8. I wish defenders of the indefensible wouldn’t keep trying to brandish presumed but unjustified moral superiority. Sorry, won’t wash.

    • Watchman says:

      The fact that you edited my comment to better suit your response is dishonest and suggests a lack of integrity. Obviously, any more responses from me is foolhardy at this point.

      • Watchman, the only editing I did was break up your statement into paragraphs and numbered each paragraph to make it easier to reply to your jumbled concantenation of allegations. However, if you wish I would be glad to undo the numbering and instead reproduce the relevant quote before each of numbered replied. I was concerned about tirchah ditziburah (burden on readership). You complain that my “response is dishonest and suggests a lack of integrity.”

        Watchman, You are welcome to come back and face the music. In deference to your delicate constitution (except when it comes to victims and survivors) I will agree to shield you and not number your paragraphs. Or I will leave your jumble intact, and recopy it and number it in my own comment.

        However, please try and keep your stuff orderly and not intertwine several unrelated insults in one sentence.

  9. Harry says:

    What about John Krug? Anyone who suffered at the hands of Lanner was doubly persecuted by this school psychologyst – – who continues to be the head of gudiance at a prominent local yeshiva. I left NJ because of Lanner. but, I stopped being religious because of Krug. A school rabbi/psychologyst who continues to defend a child sex offender? who used confidential school records to delegitimize accusers? what a joke. how do these guys continue to work around children?

  10. Chaim says:

    Excellent, EXCELLENT article.

    The Halacha is that one who is “Meayeyah” A “Rotzeach” is Chayav Misa.

    For a person (watchman) to say that A Rabbi’s relationship – and open support for – a Rotzeach is “none of your business” is clear denial of reality.

    Further, it is a clear example of why this problem will never be resolved. Because of community “leaders” who support molestors (Rotzchim) and the “watchmen” who blindly follow them.

  11. Jonah says:

    I was In NCSY at the time. he ruined Judaism for my Friends and me. I’m glad I know where I can find him to have few choice words for him

  12. David Cheifetz says:

    I am grateful for the strong agreement I am seeing here and on the broader Facebook and Blogosphere.

    And I am absolutely shocked at the comments of people like Watchman. He does not even reflect on the wisdom, or the flagrant lack of such, of Rabbi Taubes, the Principal of MTA an Congregational leader of Zichron Moredechai, hosting in his Shul, at his home, and at his son’s wedding, the most notorious sex offender in the history of Modern Orthodoxy. I have have simply shared facts. It is up to the YU administration and the Teaneck community to decide if such behavior, such poor judgment, is acceptable.

    We MUST put an end to a culture that looks the other way when children are abused: Whether it is in the Modern Orthodox World, the Conservative Jewish World, the Reform Jewish, Satmar, Monsey, Lakewood, Crown Heights, the Boy Scouts, or the Catholic Church. Sexual abuse scars victims for life. I know. I am one of those victims. And I am in daily contact with many others, including in Teaneck, New Jersey, including victims of Baruch Lanner.

    I do not care how smart a Rabbi is at studying the Talmud and the medieval and contemporary commentators. If he is lacking in basic human sensitivity, what is any of that worth? Im ain derech eretz, ein Torah.

    Have rachmunus on the victims, NOT on the perpetrators and their protectors and defenders.

  13. Dishonest Impersonator of Sam Vogel (Name reassigned by Yerachmiel Lopin to Reflect Reality) says:

    EDITED BY YERACHMIEL LOPIN- BECAUSE THIS IS NOT THE SAME VOGEL KNOWN IN THE Community: See Sam Vogel’s comment submitted afternoon of July 14, 2013, 3:46 pm.

    This is Rabbi Sam Vogel, former teacher at the Frisch School, founder and first principal of Torah Academy, and director of the Ma-Tov Day Camp. I am not the author of the comments listed above. There may be someone else with the same name or a fraudulent attempt was made to associate me with the statements and opinions
    made therein.
    Thank you for making this clear to your readers.

    ————————————————————

    While I have much to say on this matter, for this post I will confine myself to the necessary facts only, and avoid all the hyper-charged emotional rhetoric.
    1) Lanner is a Tier 1 by the request of the prosecutor! Not via a smart defense attorney, or dint of a weak judge. The prosecutor felt that he was not a risk and therefore she made the request to have him tiered accordingly. This was largely achieved due to the recommendation of 2 psychologists including Dr. Phil Witt who helped author the Megan’s law scoring scale for the state of New Jersey.
    2) He has called me and others to ask forgiveness and as such I am justified in assuming that he has dome teshuvah, at least to the extent that such knowable by another human being.
    3) He was released from parole and is not subject to ANY further mandatory supervision.
    4) He has remarried and is attempting to rebuild a life without any formal contact with Jewish education.
    5) He has lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey and has been incident free for over 5.5 years. When he got remarried ,his entire synagogue came to show their support along with many community leaders including Rabbi Teitz and many other well known personalities.

    I could go on, but the point is clear: Whatever Lanner in fact did, he has since been found by the state Legal authorities , NOT a group of “rabbis”, to pose NO threat or danger to the community.
    This site has advocated strongly, and I agree, that these matters should be referred to the mandated civil authorities. Simple consistency demands ,therefore, that we be guided by those same authorities not only for prosecution and judgment, but for rehabilitation and integration back into society as well. Whether Mr. Cheifitz chooses to “welcome” Lanner back or not is his own choice, but he has no right, legal or otherwise, to raise himself above the standards and judgments
    being advocated by the same civil authorities he allegedly reveres. It is pure hypocrisy for him to do so.
    Let those who choose to welcome Lanner back do so in peace, as long as their actions are sanctioned by the legal civil agencies whose authority in these matters we espouse. Perhaps, if Lanner would have been invited to speak or give a shiur in the synagouge,or had otherwise been held up as an object of esteem and emulation, I could accept Cheifitz’s point. But simply because a helping hand was extended to him by a Rabbi, there is no justification for his venom. The courts and duly sanctioned legal agencies have adjudicated that he is ready and able to be re-integrated into society, and he is therefore a viable candidate for such a helping hand.
    Notice, that in this statement I purposely do NOT appeal to any of our clear halachic positions on repentance and accepting back the penitent. These positions are clear but are best espoused by competent halachic authorities. I address only the logically inconsistent view of Mr. Cheifitz which speaks volumes as to his agenda if not to him as a person as well.

    • GAON says:

      Sam Vogel:
      David Cheifetz is extremely articulate and certainly does not need my help or that of others to support his well-written response to you., However, I, as a reader of this blog, am desirous of understanding what hypothetical evil, malificent “agenda” you could possibly be attributing to him. Could you please clarify and explicate your specific concern re his putative malevolent malicious nefarious agenda???
      Curious minds want to understand what evil you are projecting onto him? David took a remarkably brave action in revealing his past abuse. He exposed himself to his family and the world, for what most normal cognitive people would interpret as altruistic reasons, and , you would seem to think that he has some ulterior motive, or that he has an illegitimate axe to grind neged Lanner or Taubes. You made an overt attack, but failed to follow through with your specific suspicions, fears. Your response may say a lot about you….. Pray tell….

    • The Nudnik says:

      Lanner is still a registered sex offender in Florida. Here is the link:
      http://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/flyer.do?personId=39003

    • Questions have been raised about whether this was in fact written by the real Sam Vogel, Baruch Lanner, or a Lanner accolyte. I am awaiting confirmation that this is indeed an impersonator.

      • Sam Vogel says:

        This is Rabbi Sam Vogel, former teacher at the Frisch School, founder and first principal of Torah Academy, and director of the Ma-Tov Day Camp. I am not the author of the comments listed above. There may be someone else with the same name or a fraudulent attempt was made to associate me with the statements and opinions
        made therein.
        Thank you for making this clear to your readers.

        Rabbi Vogel- Thank you for commenting and clarifying- I have ammended all comments by your apparent impersonators to eliminate any confusion about your views.

        • Not Engelmayer says:

          Sockpuppeting of Sam Vogel to make him look bad is a Federal offense. When Ron Torossian’s employee Juda Engelmayer was caught impersonating Rubashkin critics to make them look bad (Torossian’s 5WPR repped Rubashkin), some of the critics threatened to bring charges with the Manhattan DA unless an apology was issued.

          A very weak apology was in fact issued, timed for a July 4th weekend when no one was paying attention to the news.

    • Questions have been raised about whether this was in fact written by the real Sam Vogel, Baruch Lanner, or a Lanner accolyte. I am awaiting confirmation that this is indeed an impersonator.

      Will the party who wrote this please contact me by one of the methods listed on the upper right of the page to confirm his identity.

  14. Jack L says:

    Is there proof of any of this? I’ve never heard of David Cheifetz so I can’t comment on him as a person but at the same time I’m not going to blindly accept what he says as fact. I’ve personally prayed at Zichron Mordechai on numerous occasions and have never seen Baruch Lanner there so I wonder what evidence, if any, exists of Rabbi Taubes regularly hosting him.

    • I do know David Cheifetz and I have heard the same from other people who are very informed and honest. However, I should add that it would help if R. Taubes would stipulate the facts. However, if the argument returns to basic facts, I expect more outraged victims of Lanner to come out of the closet and help pile on the evidence. I saw that happen in the Weberman and Kolko cases.

  15. David Cheifetz says:

    Sam Vogel says: “I address only the logically inconsistent view of Mr. Cheifitz which speaks volumes as to his agenda if not to him as a person as well”

    I have only two points on my agenda: Help victims and their families, and change the culture in the broader Jewish community to one that does not tolerate sexual abuse of children in any form. That is it.

    Baruch Lanner went to prison. He is now free. I have no position on what his current legal status should or should not be. I respect the American justice system.

    I do not question the right of a private citizen to host Baruch Lanner in his home. One who does that is not breaking the law; I do not suggest otherwise.

    I DO know that Lanner’s presence is, to this day, disturbing to the many victims of his past crimes, I do know that they are potentially subject to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I do know that other people in the Teaneck are uncomfortable with his presence.

    I do, however, question the wisdom of a public figure, like Rabbi Taubes, hosting Baruch Lanner in public settings. What is the message being sent? What is the behavior being role modeled? Is this insensitive to others in the community who still suffer the scars of Lanner’s abusive behavior over twenty plus years? Is this a wise act for the Principal of MTA, at a time when YU is conducting an investigation into the behavior and actions of George Finkelstein?

    Will such public actions encourage tolerance of abuse of our precious children and grandchildren in our society? THAT is my agenda.

    • Dishonest Impersonator of Sam Vogel (Name reassigned by Yerachmiel Lopin to Reflect Reality) says:

      EDITED BY YERACHMIEL LOPIN- BECAUSE THIS IS NOT THE SAME VOGEL KNOWN IN THE Community: See Sam Vogel’s comment submitted afternoon of July 14, 2013, 3:46 pm.

      This is Rabbi Sam Vogel, former teacher at the Frisch School, founder and first principal of Torah Academy, and director of the Ma-Tov Day Camp. I am not the author of the comments listed above. There may be someone else with the same name or a fraudulent attempt was made to associate me with the statements and opinions
      made therein.
      Thank you for making this clear to your readers.

      ————————————————————

      Your response is appreciated, but again logically defunct.
      You state that a private citizen can freely host Lanner in his home BUT due to your unconfirmed and perhaps completely reckless diagnosis of PTSD,he should be confined to “house arrest” so as not to engender discomfort in his victims. A present danger and/or a clear threat is certainly proper to disallow in our community, but an “uncomfortable feeling” is quite another matter. There are plenty of ways to avoid seeing him, talking to him, or even smelling his odious presence. Most people won’t even know that he was there until after he has left. If your argument is carried to its logical conclusion, then in effect Lanner should not LEGALLY be allowed to reside anywhere where there is any potential exposure to a past victim. Clearly this runs counter to the whole rehabilitation process ! When the State and its comprising agencies decide that someone is fit for rehabilitation, they are not suggesting that due to PTSD concerns this rehabilitation process be truncated or aborted. If one wants to avoid him, then one may feel free to do so, but please do not presume that everyone ought to have your “sense of smell” for that is the divinely mandated correct one! If one can’t be on the same side of the street as Lanner, he is free to cross the street.
      As far as the Rabbi you mention is concerned, one can argue ,with justification, that his reaching out to a convicted and released criminal who poses NO PRESENT THREAT OR DANGER according to the State authorities, as a model for how to “hate the sin but love the sinner”. He is a Rabbi, after all, and the rehabilitation of the penitent is a basic value in ANY accepted religion. You choose to interpret his behavior as POLITICALLY unwise, and in that regard you may have a point. Certainly this is true dint of the present investigation concerning the school. But from a religiously based theological perspective, it is completely laudable and the fact that it is not self serving, makes it noble and heroic as well. You may disagree with the wisdom of the Rabbi’s decision, but how can you be so blind as to not see the courage which such a decision required?
      The Rabbi gained nothing politically from his decision and quite to the contrary put himself “in the line of fire” for what he believes. While you can certainly disagree with him, the venom you spew in your comments again speaks volumes about you and quite little about him.

      • Sam Vogel,

        You are making this a contest between a heroic rabbi risking disapproval to help rehabilitate a broken penitent and some overly reactive guy with PTSD who should avoid Lanner just as it is wise for a shell-shocked veteran to avoid 4th of July fireworks. In truth, Lanner is not a penitent and David is quite clear that he is not in PTSD. If you read his Jewish account, linked to in his posting you can see that.

        Lanner has a network of supporters who are not merely facilitating his rehabilitation. They are trashing his victims and fabricating fanciful narratives that minimize his culpability and villify his survivors as petty and vengeful. Supporters such as Taubes are not solo actors. They are part of the very culture that enabled his misconduct for decades as reported by the series in the Jewish Week and the OU Commission report. Even after the OU report many still defended him. Even after his conviction in court some are still defending him. The defense is filled with distortions typical of the culture of denial found in many institutions. Just as there is now a war against the “culture of rape” there is also a war against the culture of denial. You can claim he is caught in the cross-fire. However, he continues to spin narratives that help sustain that culture.

        Sam, returning to the fact that he is classified at a lower level sex offender (level 1). Sam can you provide us the information that is available on public record. Or have you gotten your information from the network of Lanner supporters. If the latter, can you confirm that you had unrestricted access to all records and information or were gotten to to make the case with incomplete information. I raise this because of strange doings with his sex offender registry status reported in 2009 by Hella Winston of the New York Jewish Week.

        • Lanner Watch says:

          Sensible rabbis were complaining after Lanner’s release from prison that he was hanging around at gathering places for children in Elizabeth NJ such as Dunkins Donuts and that he was way too friendly towards the children coming by.

          By the way, Lanner’s chief protector Rabbi Rafi Butler and Butler’s high ranking friends in the RCA are still putting forth the Nuremburg defense that an “adam gadol” told Butler to cover up. Can you imagine these modern orthodox hypocrites who otherwise deride “daas Torah”?

          Butler is back in business propped up by his old boys network from OU. He is making a lot of money at his Afikim Foundation and he shares the largess with his old friends by putting wives on the payroll, etc. Butler was made rabbi of the hashkama minyan at Young Israel of Jamaica Estates. Butler’s son was recently arrested by the FBI for multiple ponzi schemes. Bloggers uncovered a money trail of large sums of money being moved around for the legal defense and questioned if tzedaka funds were being misappropriated. Much of the money was moved through an entity controlled by former RCA honcho Rabbi Basil Herring.

          • notwithstanding rumors put out by Lanner or his proxies, Lanner is utterly unwelcome in the Shul of Rabbi Teitz. He davens in a shul where he is not hazard because he is one of the youngest members and even they aren’t charmed by him.

            I believe the claim that Lanner daven’s in Rabbi Teitz’s shul was put out to muddy the waters by indirectly implying an haskamah by Rabbi Yosef Blau’s brother-in-law, Rabbi Teitz. Those that know realize that Rabbi Blau was his nemesis for a long time after Rabbi Blau made the mistake of being a Dayan on the 1989 beit din re lanner. Rabbi Blau has since emphatically and repeatedly said he made a mistake and that batei din are not the place to handle abuse allegations. Only the authorities have the power and skill to properly investigate, adjudicate, and use rison, probation, and registries to help control abusers.

            The false claims about Teitz were designed to sow confusion and create the false impression that even R. Blau’s brother-in-law disagrees with him.

            I urge readers to be alert to deceptions (obviously, whereever they come from). However, re Lanner, most of the deception has come from his supporters who embroyder with impersonations, fabricated legal identities, false claims of support for lanner, etc.

            • Lanner Watch says:

              My comment about Lanner hanging out in Elizabeth has nothing to do with the Teitz-Blau family who of course have an aversion to his mere presence. It’s just that Lanner happened to be in town and he is a sick man who cannot control himself.

            • Jordan Hirsch says:

              From what I have been told by knowledgable parties, the only reason Rabbi Teitz officiated at Lanner’s wedding was because he felt a professional obligation to a resident of his town. With that, his decision did not go down big with some others in the family.

            • Have you confirmed that he indeed was mesader kedushin and whether it was a public wedding or a very small private wedding?

      • Questions have been raised about whether this was in fact written by the real Sam Vogel, Baruch Lanner, or a Lanner accolyte. I am awaiting confirmation that this is indeed an impersonator.

        Will the party who wrote this please contact me by one of the methods listed on the upper right of the page to confirm his identity.

  16. J.L. says:

    Sam are you a Lanner victim? Unless I am missing something, I have not heard of the teshuva Lanner is doing to make it up to all the people he hurt who live in Mr. Cheifitz’ neighborhood. Hard to understand why you are lashing out at Cheifitz who is trying to prevent another Lanner and help the poor victims. Read his speech to the the RCA. Shouldn’t our rabbis be trying to help the victims and those who suffered for many years because of Lanner and because rabbis looked the other way.

  17. joanne berger says:

    I have been watching the exchange between Mr. Chaifetz and Mr. Vogel. I must say that I’m a bit confused. Mr. Chaifitz characterizes Lanner “as the most notorious sex offender in the history of Modern Orthodoxy”. He further identifies Mr. Lanner as someone who abused HUNDREDS of teenage boys & girls for over two decades. My question is simple. If Mr. Chaifetz’s assessment is accurate & factually correct, how come:
    1) Lanner was not a candidate for a civil commitment?
    2) Lanner was found to be a tier one low risk sex offender BY THE REQUEST OF THE PROSECUTOR?
    3) Lanner was completely released from parole and not given community supervision for life?
    4) Lanner is not to be found on the NJ sex offender registry? New Jersey is where he was tried and convicted, not Florida. He never lived in Florida and he never was accused of any crime in Florida.
    Anybody looking at these facts objectively, must conclude that Chaifetz’s assessment of Lanner whom he clearly admits he never even met, is simply a product of his irrational bias and hearsay. This being the case, all that follows from Chaifetz’s assessment of Lanner is highly questionable at best.

    • Joanne,

      Let me try and ease your “confusion.” The OU Commission investigating Lanner was headed by Richard Joel, a lawyer by training, and now President of YU. They issued a report which found that Lanner had dozens of victims based on interviews by investigators and analysis by attorneys at a prestigious firm with a specialty in this area. Most of the victims were either outside the statute of limitations or unwilling to go through the ordeal of being a witness in a trial. Two victims who were girls in his school did press charges. So, Joanne, it is possible to be guilty of assaulting many children and only being convicted for two of them. Nationally, only about 10% of victims are believed to press charges. I know the rate to be much lower in the orthodox community based on my familiarity with some other notorious cases such as Kolko, Weberman and Lebovits. Let’s just assume a 10% rate in the orthodox community. Then we can extrapolate to 20 victims. Lets assume that most victims wouldn’t even talk to the OU commission. Then we can assume a few hundred victims.

      All of your other arguments again confuse what a skilled defendant can pull off in the criminal justice system with the true magnitude and severity of Lanner’s offenses.

      Joanne, let us for argument’s sake suppose I am right about the magnitude of Lanner’s offenses. I can tell you that your sort of comment along with Sam Vogel’s will infuriate Lanner’s victims. I predict that this will stop being an argument about one article and will mushroom into many more voices and activities. Keep it up, and you may have your confusion resolved by many more visible voices.

      • joanne berger says:

        Mr Lopin:

        As an attorney in a sex offense unit in NJ, I can tell you that you are factually incorrect. When it comes to the selecting the appropriate tier for an offender, the court accept ALL testimony and reports. This includes anecdotal testimony, hearsay reports and other such usually inadmissible forms of evidence. Had Lanner have been as notorious as you claim, the courts would have acted accordingly and they certainly had complete access to the report that you refer to. It is clear to me, that you are not an attorney and therefore you are somewhat unaware of the intricacies of these laws.
        It is inconceivable that a court having access to all off this information, including but not limited to newspaper reports, blogs, anecdotal accounts, reports of prior bad acts would have turned a blind eye and tiered Lanner at its lowest risk level. Please note that much more than prior convictions go into the tiering process. It is equally, inconceivable that someone like Dr. Phil Witt, would have supported this low leve tier based on the assessment that you give. Therefore, if indeed Dr. Witt was involved, as Vogel states, then my confusion is only heightened. I appreciate your response, but frankly it falls short of the mark.

        • Joanne,

          I am not a lawyer. However drilling down to the bottom of this question is also the business of responsible lay people. I assume you are not offended by that as presumption. Accordingly I would like you to help us reconcile your assertions with some additional facts and considerations.

          1. On what basis do you write “He (Lanner) never lived in Florida?”

          2. Here is another account of Lanner’s temperament and style that will help you better appreciate him.

          3. Here is an account which suggests that hearing to remove him from the registry might have been conducted without public notice sufficient to get other victims to know about it. Joanne, is that assertion plausible. If not can you direct us to specific information supporting your claims

          4. Here is a claim of hundreds of victims by the editor of the Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt on video (@ 2:20) . But for Rosenblatt’s journalism, Lanner might still be working in Jewish education.

          • joanne berger says:

            Mr Lopin:
            The Megan’s Law hearing in NJ is fully documented and is a matter of public record. The hearing took place before he went to prison and was then revisited upon his release. At the time of his release the prosecutor made the assessment to ask for the lowest level tier that is given to sex offenders. The adjudication to this request is a matter of public record in Union County. I am sure that I need not direct a sophisticated, investigative reporter such as yourself as how to access these public records. It is inconceivable to me that you would form an opinion based on Wikipedia, newspaper articles, rank, anecdotal, unconfirmed hearsay without concomitant perusal of all available public records. I have too much respect for you to assume otherwise.
            Upon perusal of these records, you will find exactly what the court based its tiering decision upon. My point is, and this may be very difficult for you to accept, had Lanner been the notorious offender he is portrayed to be, his score on the RRASOR would have gone through the roof. The Megan’s law prosecutors, in NJ particularly, are notorious for their hard nosed perseverance to achieve the highest such scores possible. Dr Witt helped develop the RRASOR. If indeed he signed off on Lanner’s not being a risk, then you can be assured that such is the case.
            I repeat, all rumors to the contrary, if Lanner’s behavior was even remotely in line with your portrayal he would be a tier 3 for sure and perhaps a viable candidate for civil commitment. According to the court record, he was NOT found to be repetitive and compulsive. This by itself contradicts your portrayal of him as one who abused “hundreds of teenagers for over two decades”. How could that NOT be found to be repetitive and compulsive? Additionally, he was not sent to Avenel, which is the facility of choice for NJ’s most serious sex offenders. He was convicted of over the clothing touching of the breast area on two occasions that he placed his hands over a 15 year old student’s shoulder, nothing more than that. While this is reprehensible and inexcusable, it hardly qualifies as “the most notorious sex offender in the history of modern orthodoxy”.
            As a thinking person, aside from an attorney, I choose to be guided by established facts rather than unconfirmed allegations. The Megan’s law court has a much lower standard of what they will accept in their tiering. They will accept and consider ALL allegations of anti-social behavior even if they are not wholly substantiated. They do this because they view the tiering process as community protection rather than punitive in nature. Nevertheless, even by these relaxed standards they found Lanner to be a tier one. If you have ANY respect for the American justice system, you must face the possibility that your assessment of him COULD be wrong or at least severely exaggerated.

            • Joanne Berger,

              Lanner was originally on the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry sometime between October 2011 and October 2012 based on the age and birthdate in the registry listing 3-4 years after his registration is indicated in the Florida Registry.

              Lanner was placed into tier one, the lowest possible classification based on his score on the RRASOR. RRASOR scores only consider actual convictions or arrests (not crimes for which you were never arrested) and it is more favorable to defendants who molest girls rather than boys and are over the age of twenty five when they are released from prison. Moral of the story: make sure you are not caught early on and make sure you are not charged for most of your offenses.

              Lanner excelled at warding off charges. That was one of the important conclusions of the “Public Summary of the Report of the NCSY Special Commission.” They speak of approximately two dozen girls he molested. They also speak of dozens of boys he “kneed in the groin” which a very polite way is saying he went around kicking boys in the balls.

              Joanne, are you disputing the findings of the Special Commission, headed by Richard Joel? If so, please tell us why you doubt its veracity.

              Joan, did you advise Lanner to establish residence in Elisabeth in Union County. If so I compliment you for your ingenuity. You got a prosecutor who did not bother to check with the Monmouth County prosecutor who secured his conviction and knew about a lot more of his misconduct. I don’t know why he chose Elizabeth since locals say he doesn’t try to connect to the community. But maybe it was a good location for managing his sex offender status.

              Speaking of location, you say he never lived in Florida. Perhaps you can enlighten us on how he ended up on the Florida sex offender registry?

              You assert there was public notice of the reclassification hearing. Can you document that assertion.

              Joanne, I am seriously trying to deal with your claims. I hope you will respond substantively in ways that will help us clarify what went on when Baruch Lanner was removed from the sex offender registry. I am interested in seeing your reply.

        • Dorron Katzin says:

          “Joanne Berger”

          You wrote: “As an attorney in a sex offense unit in NJ,…”

          There is no person with the name Joanne Berger admitted before the bar in the State of New Jersey. I could understand and respect your need to remain anonymous, provided that you disclosed that. But at this point, I am not going to believe any argument you attempt to offer.

          BTW, I am using my real name. Both Yerachmiel Lopin and David Cheifetz know me and can verify that.

    • GAON says:

      Joanne, with alll due respect, are you brain dead. why did Deutsch get a sentence of onlb 6 months with surveillance videotapes showing him pederasting multiple boys, how naive, (no not naive) paid , can you be? Shame on you. and if don’t care who and why they are paying you, Inconceivable that you are so expletive stupid. Why , yeah, why is Jon Corzine still free and not charged with criminal onduct stealing millions of customer funds from MF Global commoditi4sn trading firm, ex Goldman Sachs, chief, ex governor of NJ, and next, after they exonerate him from the civil charges, not criminal, they will reward him with secy of the treasury or Chairman of the Fed. RESERVE. not related?????
      have no idea of what i speak? well , this is the emes, the emet, and you used a distortion of the criminal justice system as an excuse to exonerate a life long pedophile, Teshuvah? please, someone help me out here, can anyone do teshuva and be pardoned?????. as an extreme, if hitler was Jewish could he HAVE DONE TESHUVA? I AM not being sarcastic, I am clearly, am haaretz. is there any point at which, even the most accepting RABBANUT, G’DOLIM MIGHT BE suspect???? of teshuva??? innocent until proven guilty???? o9h, and yes, it matters not what the eventual legal system charges were, that is totloy dependent on who is willing to testify and who not on SOL on I imagine a myriad of factors and no, not a lawyer andnot a psychologist and not ortho. bu your arguments are pathetic,.,.,

  18. Kevin in Chicago says:

    I think one more fact should be added to the mix. From what I have read, Baruch Lanner’s abuse was known and covered up by rabbinic authorities for years. It is not as simple as Sam Vogel sees it, that he was caught, was punished, and according to civil authorities, is no longer a danger. For years his victims saw him defended and befriended by fellow rabbis and congregational leaders, so for them Rabbi Taubes’ hospitality, however well-meaning, is probably a painful reminder and a suggestion that nothing ever changed. (And if it is true that Rabbi Taubes suggested that they not come because Lanner would be a guest, then indeed nothing had changed.) I suppose it is to be expected that Lanner doesn’t “get it,” that he didn’t leave town to spare his victims and their families, as it takes a high degree of narcissism to sexually abuse minors in the first place. That Rabbi Taubes doesn’t “get it” is indeed disturbing.

  19. Koznitzer says:

    It is not uncommon for orthodox felons to be reabsorbed and treated compassionately by their communities. Often, it is the Rabbi who is at the forefront of the acceptance of the individual. However, in his role as the Principal at M.T.A., I think that it is inappropriate for the Rabbi to accomodate Barukh Lanner, because the scandals occurred in the realm of chinuch, and Y.U. has extra work to do to demonstrate that they are beyond reproach. Mr. Lanner should find another shul where the Rabbi is not directly nogeah be-davar. With regards to item 5 on Mr. Vogel’s list, in fact this brings to mind the social and psychological manipulation that characterized Mr. Lanner’s time in youth work and signals more problems than it resolves.

  20. David Cheifetz says:

    Jack L: Baruch Lanner’s presence in Congregation Zichron Mordechai (CZM) on two Shabbatot and at Rabbi Taubes’ house on Purim are not in dispute. In addition to eyewitness accounts, they were acknowledged to me by Rabbi Taubes himself in our telephone conversation of July 2, 2013. It was Rabbi Taubes who informed me that Baruch Lanner was his personal house guest on the two Shabbatot during which Lanner attended CZM.

    In addition, there are multiple eyewitness accounts of Baruch Lanner attending the wedding of Rabbi Taubes’ son approximately a year ago.

  21. J.L. says:

    Sam, cutting through your verbiage,what do you think is the morally sound thing to do on the part of a rabbi of a shul in the very community where many of Lanner’s victims reside, who is also the headmaster of a high school that is part of an institution also subject to scrutiny and, on top of all of that, a rabbi who was privy to what was going on in New Jersey NCSY at the time Lanner conducted his abuse and a rabbi who is a member of a rabbinic organization (the RCBC) that gave Lanner a pass even though it knew of his tendencies and actions and in which there are other rabbis who protected Lanner? What should such a rabbi do to show concern, rachmanus and moral guidance for the people of his community?

  22. David Cheifetz says:

    Joanne Berger: “Anybody looking at these facts objectively, must conclude that Chaifetz’s assessment of Lanner whom he clearly admits he never even met, is simply a product of his irrational bias and hearsay.”

    I suggest you learn more about Baruch Lanner:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Lanner

  23. Harry says:

    This is the sort of eternal debate that will never end and that will never convince anyone to change their position. I would just say this. Lanner should not be the focus of this debate. I am hard-pressed to think of anyone (except John Krug) who would defend Lanner or his despicable conduct. The only debate about Lanner is whether he is capable of real teshuva and whether (and in what manner) such teshuva should be accepted by the community and by his victims. But, that is really not the point of this piece. The issue that requires open debate, is how Public community leaders – – in particular those in education – – deal with people like Lanner. The Lanner scandal was not just about his physical and sexual abuse of children. The scandal was about NCSY and OU faciliting and prolonging the abuse. (For which the OU and NCSY only apoligized after they got bad press). The scandal was about a beit din that forced a lanner victim to publicly apologize to Lanner for the accusations. A beit din that only repented after Lanner was arrested. (Except for Rabbi Blau). The scandal is about a school psychologist who vilified the victims to protect lanner – – even after lanner was convicted. A school psychologist who STILL publicly sides with Rabbis accused of abuse. (and he is in charge of many of your children’s guidance). The scandal is about A high school principal sending mixed messages about a man who has never publicly apologized or expressed regret. in other words, the scandal is not about Lanner. It is about US. And how far we are willing to go to protect children. Does Taubes or Krug or Tirschwell or Yudin or Tropp know for CERTAIN that Lanner has done teshuva? Do they know for CERTAIN that he poses no risk? Of course not. No one does. And, that margain of error should ALSO fall on the side of the Children they are paid to protect and against a convicted child abuser. EVERY single time. And, until we learn that lesson, we need to keep reminding our educators of that important message.

  24. J.L. says:

    You are quite correct Harry and that is why Cheifitz’ speech to the RCA was so important. His point is that the people you identified are “nogeah b’davar,” and incapable of facilitating real change. That is why Cheifitz is prepared to start a new effort to confront the problem of abuse head on and he should be applauded for that. What is scary, however, is that the comments on this post seem to suggest there are some who continue to believe that Lanner really didn’t do anything wrong or has been sufficiently rehabilitated. There is no real evidence of that or at least none that has really made an impact on the many Lanner victims.

  25. Jordan Hirsch says:

    With all due respect to Sam Vogel, who I know personally to be a wise and compassionate man, I think he is arguing over the wrong point.
    No one is suggesting that Rabbi Taubes is not a good guy, that there aren’t halachik reasons for him to behave as he is doing. Indeed, I have known him for many years and have always admired him. In fact, he read the Ketibah under my Chupah.
    And I will not make any suggestions about attempts to rehabilitate Lanner by his defenders. I don’t know that they are, although it is not a far fetched idea. I also understand Lanners desire to marry and rebuild his life.
    The only question here is whether Rabbi Taubes and CZM is the appropriate vehicle for welcoming Lanner back to the community. We do not judge his case merely by what transpired in court, and for Rabbi Vogel to focus exclusively on that is mistaken. There is no secret to Lanner’s misdeeds, except that the most egregious are not widely known. Rabbi Taubes is a public figure and his actions carry greater weight than private citizens. They are actions that come from a place of kindness, I assume. But the lesson to be taken by those of us who were abused physically by Lanner in the halls of The Frisch School, where Rabbi Vogel also taught at the time, or in NCSY, or Hillel, or the female and male students who were boarders at his house in both Paterson and Paramus, or the kids on the NCSY kollel in Israel, or by parents who are looking to safeguard their chdren from predators like Lanner, is that CZM and Rabbi Taubes are not safe addresses for them. Rabbi Taubes has only the best intentions, I am fully confident. But his judgement on this issue leads me to believe that he cannot be trusted to make the best decisions in these cases.
    Cheifetz is not looking for scalps. What he is looking to do is sensitize the community to the cultural changes needed to make it a safer and more responsible place. Rabbi Taubes does not have to agree with what he should or should not do, but he has to understand that there is an element of symbolism in his two jobs, and failing to acknowledge that brings consequences that a man as good as he is should not have to suffer. People need strong gestures of trustworthiness, not exculpatory Talmudic reasoning.

  26. Neal Lehrman says:

    As someone who has intimate knowledge of all of the subjects of this discussion- I believe that I can offer a unique perspective. It seems, that this, and many discussions here on the blogosphere, fast become bar-room brawl’s rather than the civil discourse that they should, and that we all would benefit from. Why they break down, is a discussion for another day. As is, might I add .. the crimes and misdemeanors of lanner and his subsequent removal from the sex-offender registry. ( joanne berger – it is very curious as to why you feel the need to be a staunch supporter of someone- who by overwhelming evidence in the literature tells us can never be rehabilitated from his perversion and antipathic behavior, particularly towards women. Your comments are very suspicious and require interoperation with a very jaundiced eye. )

    What is important here.. and this forum given to DC …is that it is an excellent microcosm of where we need to be going. Namely.. the past is the past..and as life goes on so must we. Cheifetz is very careful to point out that taubes came after him and that by any rational objective view.. taubes would make much better use to spend his time analyzing why he needs to justify lanner’s presence in his life than attempting to couch lanner’s existence as one that is halachically appropriate.As someone who grew up with michael taubes and admired him greatly.. he unfortunately has gone the way of many childhood heroes and exposed that he is nothing more than a man.. flaws and all. This would be fine-however he chose a career path very unlike… a mashgiach in a food processing plant.. where his knowledge would also be useful. The difference between the two is that as a rabbi and educator he needs to show even a semblance of common sense which he continually reinforces to the opposite. Whether lanner has served his time… and is allowed by the state to rejoin society is not really up for debate. From a halachik standpoint.. lanner has not achived the status of baal teshuva given that he has not asked for mechila from all of his victims… ask me how i know…
    Therefore, from a communal standpoint taubes doesn’t understand basic tenets of laws” bein adam le’chavero.”… so who here wants to defend his choice as a leader in our community..taubes has told me and written to me on more than one occasion… ” that lanner too was hurt by all of this …” It was at that moment 10 years ago taubes showed what a vicitm and simpleton he really is.. No serious person would ever dispute this. Sam Vogel…you seem to feel that an apology to you from lanner can be extrapolated to show statistical significancefor the general population. I believe that you are a math/ business teacher.I would not expect to learn much from any course that you are teaching.
    The truth is we need more people like David Cheifitz in our midst.. people who have suffered at the hands of monsters but choose to face reality with dignity and equipoise.. as that is the only path forward.. If we choose to follow the same mistakes of the broken past.. such as those who are for whatever reason wed to disaster…like taubes, we will most certainly end up worse off than when we started.

  27. Joseph Braun says:

    Yerachmiel,

    Thanks for posting David’s missive. I do know him personally and know him to be a decent and well intentioned person. It takes great courage to come out publicly as he has done. His immediate family also deserves acknowledgment and accolades for lending him their unwavering support.

    I generally post on blogs under a pseudonym. However in this case, I’m posting under my real name out of respect for his integrity and commitment.

    David, people as compassionate and altruistic as you often expose themselves to derisive comments and vindictive actions from the small-minded as well as the establishment in power. Thank you for risking your privacy, your position in your community and your reputation, in order to help those who often have no one to advocate for them.

    Yasher koyach

  28. Ephraim Simon says:

    I just saw a transcript of David’s speech to the RCA – one word – amazing. He is saving lives and saving souls by his advocacy and his eloquence and his courage and strength just emanate from his words. Since I was young I have always been troubled not only by evil, but even more so by otherwise seemingly good and decent people who will not stand up against evil and are silent in its midst. Thank G-d we live in a time where the pendulum has swung in the other direction when it comes to child molestation and those who harm children are no longer protected and covered up. Yet, as he so painfully and accurately states, the frum community still has a long way to go in this area. It is people like David that are bringing our community further and further along to where they need to be and only Hashem knows how many children he is saving in the processes. It’s a tragedy and to our horrific disgrace that in our communities institutional reputation and personal friendships often superceded the safety of our children both in the past, but as we see too often, in the present as well. It is people like David who are single handedly changing that fact and G-d willing making a HUGE difference in how rabbonim and askonim view this issue.
    The point here, which is being lost on many, is not whether a particular individual has done teshuva, served his time, etc..that is all irrelevant to this discussion. The REAL point is that we as leaders and rabbonim must first and foremost be concerned with the feelings and the pain of the victims, NOT the perpetrators. When it comes to this issue, the measuring stick of leaders (or anybody else) should be one thing – will our words or our actions cause further pain and hurt to those who have already been victimized. Our mercy and compassion needs to go first and foremost to those innocents who have been abused and we need to ensure nothing we do causes them further pain. To have concern for the perpetrator over the victim personifies the medrash “One who is merciful to those who are cruel will end up being cruel to those who are merciful.” The pendulum has swung and continues to swing but there is a lot of work to be done to ensure our community cares for victims and not the victimizers. David is doing that work. May Hashem bless him with continued strength in his advocacy. He is changing lives and changing the world as only he can do. May he be blessed with only nachas, health, blessing and simcha. I stand in awe of heroes like him.

  29. Not a Secret says:

    For those here who are interested in the truth, I’d like to direct their attention to the following blog which addresses the issue discused here: http://rationalistvoice.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/accounting-firm-manager-engages-in-libel-by-isaac-m-taubes/

  30. David Cheifetz says:

    In The Rationalist Voice blog, the son of Rabbi Taubes personally attacks me. It is sad that he is caught in uncomfortable situation created by his father’s poor judgment.

    Fact: Rabbi Taubes has regularly hosted Baruch Lanner at his Shul and home. He admitted to me that Lanner was a house guest for Shabbat and a guest in his Shul two times over the past three years. (I am not aware if there were additional instances, although in Shul yesterday, someone suggested that he recalled there were.)

    Fact: Baruch Lanner was in attendance at the Taubes home during an open house on Purim. Rabbi Taubes acknowledged this, stating that Baruch Lanner delivered Shalach Manos, and then remained at the house briefly. He was seen at the house by others, seated. This was not a delivery of a child who comes to the door and exchanges packages. This was someone who came inside and socialized at an open house.

    Fact: Baruch Lanner was a guest at the wedding of Rabbi Taubes’ son in Spring/ Summer 2012. (In fact, several people have mentioned to me that during the meal Lanner was seated in an area with former victims. I cannot confirm that, but have heard that from multiple sources.)

    The above facts are not in question. Rabbi Taubes is free to welcome anyone he would like. They are not in debate. The question is about the judgment of a communal rabbi and the principal of MTA, the high school of Yeshiva University, who was hosting a convicted sex offender, one with a notorious reputation. The question is about your father’s judgment in choosing to host this convicted offender in public forums, in Teaneck, New Jersey, a town where the emotional pain of Lanner’s actions continues to resonate.

    The question is Rabbi Taubes’ judgment, the message it sends given his public positions, and the insensitivity it reflects regarding the survivors or Baruch Lanner.

    I have stated facts. I am sorry they are painful. But we must be honest about the uncomfortable realities that our community faces. Sexual abuse is real. The victims are real. The tolerance of, and the enablement of abuse in our community is real. The insensitivity towards victims is real.

    I am sorry that Isaac M. Taubes and others in the Taubes family have been made uncomfortable by the facts caused by the decisions of Isaac’s father. I am even more sorry that the many victims of Baruch Lanner have been made uncomfortable by the facts caused by the decisions of Isaac’s father.

    Rabbi Taubes’ decisions are symptomatic of a broader problem within our community. We, as a Jewish community, must make strides to change our culture, to one that does not look the other way, to one that does not ignore the pain of the victims.

    We must have Rachmunas on the victims, not on the perpetrators and their defenders and enablers.

  31. imtaubes says:

    You have not stated facts. You do not get to decide what is fact and what is not.Simply placing the word “FACT” in front of a statement does not make it true. I have never seen you in my house. I have never seen you in my shul so I am forced to assume that these ‘facts’ are based on gossip and a game of broken telephone.

    • Jordan Hirsch says:

      Imtaubes, you did not read carefully. Rabbi Taubes himself said that Cheifietz had his facts straight.
      In your zeal to protect your father, you are making a crucial error. You are impugning the honesty of those calling him to account. If it makes you any happier, I have seen Lanner at CZM more than once. I know for a fact that he was at the wedding. Cheifetz has not said anything except that Rabbi Taubes is using bad judgement in harboring, even briefly, someone whose criminal conviction did not scratch the surface of his crimes. There is more to say, but neither Cheifetz not I are interested in personal attacks. We want to build, not destroy. But if destruction is required, then reluctantly, that is what we will do.

    • Isaac Taubes,

      You are right that labeling something a fact does not make it so. I believe David Cheifetz is right, not because he used the word “fact,” but because he refers to real events corroborated to me by others.

      If I recall correctly, Soviet Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, returned from his famous first manned flight in space and announced, “There is no G-d; I did not see him.” An old Christian Babushka from the provinces wrote to Pravda, “There is no Yuri Gagarin;I was in Moscow and did not see him.”

      David never claimed to have been in your house or shul. He was referring to information he received from others and carefully corroborated. That fact that you don’t remember seeing David, does not prove your arguments about Lanner.

      Isaac, I respect your dilemma. I am sure that in many ways your father was and is wonderful to you and others. However, your parents have hosted Lanner. I am sure your mother and father have their reasons. Whatever they are, their acts are a problem, especially because of your father’s leadership roles in Teaneck and MTA.

      • imtaubes says:

        Yerachmiel Lupin, I have access to the seating arrangement at my brothers wedding. Baruch Lanner is not even on the list, let alone placed in a section near victims. Statements such as that one made by David Cheifetz above are such gross misrepresentations that in the name of honesty I am forced to act.
        I believe it was Albert Einstein who wrote “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” I am more aware of the truth regarding this issue than a man who has never spoken to my father aside from a heated conversation a few days ago. I am also more aware of the truth than any of these nameless corroboraters as I was always there.

        • em says:

          it’s strange. your initial post takes issue with the claim that the wedding was in spring 2013, which it was not (a fact that does not appear disputed). you did not deny that baruch lanner was a guest at a recent wedding. and you still don’t. presumably you were there. your saying “he was not there” would be relevant, even if contradicted by others. your stating that you have access to the seating arrangements is indirect to the point that it looks like intentional obfuscation. are you trying to imply that lanner came but was not officially invited?

  32. imtaubes says:

    Mr. Hirsch, I ask you this: What destruction do you think is required? Your wording reveals your desire for blood but this is not something that I will subscribe to. Were you part of the phone conversation between my father and Cheifetz? How do you know what transpired? As I was not part of that conversation I will refrain from commenting much on it. I can only comment on my own personal experience and the truth. In your zeal to protect Mr. Cheifetz you are making a crucial error. You are impugning my personal honesty and the honesty of anyone who dares question the somehow infallible David Cheifetz. An individual who has never had any interaction with my family before.

    • Jordan Hirsch says:

      You ask a fair question. I don’t think anyone, certainly not me, WANTS any destruction. On the contrary, the whole thrust of Cheifetz’s address to the RCA, in which the reference to your father was a short part, was about building: building better safeguards, building an organization that will support educational and religious institutions in monitoring their staffs, building trust in the clerical and lay leadership that the crimes and abuse perpetrated by people like Lanner and others will not be tolerated by them.
      But here’s the key point. No person or institution is bigger than the principles they claim to uphold, or the emotional and physical safety of its constituents. If the institutions cannot successfully guarantee those two things, then we will have to find new institutions or people to fill their functions.
      I love YU. I love NCSY. I love and admire many of the people that have made those two institutions as successful as they are. But if they or their leaders cannot successfully change their culture, so that there is no place where a victim, past or present, doesn’t feels safe, so that parents can send their kids there without reservation, then we will have no choice but to give others a chance. I reiterate what I said before. Rabbi Taubes is acting with the best of intentions when he welcomes Baruch Lanner in his home and Synagogue. But he undermines the credibility of the institutions he serves, despite the fact that his dedication to Jewish Education is sincere and profound, regarding the responsibility of those institutions towards the safety of their constituents. Both he and Baruch are too conspicuous, in their own ways, for the public aspect of their relationship not to be fraught with meaning, not to send a negative message, not to cause pain to those who have suffered. To listen to people use their understanding of US law or Halacha to justify the actions of others does not address the harm, whether inadvertent or not, of those actions on the people who were subject to the abuse by Lanner or the retribution meted out towards the whistleblowers by his supporters. To show kindness and generosity towards someone like Lanner is one thing, but if in order to do that one has to turn his back on those who suffered because of him, that person is revisiting the abuse on the victims. Such a person needs to question whether his course of action is correct, or if perhaps they are not fit for the positions they hold.

      • imtaubes says:

        Mr. Hirsch, What exactly puts you in this position? Who elected you the personal representatives of the victims? Who elected you and your partner (the “we” you speak of) the judge, jury and executioner for my father? We do not live in a society that believes in an individual proclaiming himself the voice of the people.

        But that is not my point. My point is that a lie filled vendetta is doing nothing to help victims. Absolutely nothing. No matter how noble your ultimate goals may be, if their foundations are built on lies and hate then they will crumble. Perhaps you should take a minute and reflect on your own personal biases before continuing this attack.

        • Jordan Hirsch says:

          When I say “we” I mean the community as a whole. I am not referring to any kind of cabal. And I am not on the attack. I am merely pointing out that some of the criticism directed at Mr. Cheifetz is actually being directed at a straw man version of what he is saying.
          Your reflexive defense of your father is causing you to accuse others of lying. There is no vendetta here, and as far as I know, and certainly in my case, no hatred. There is no plot to destroy or ruin anything or anyone. But having been around this block a few times, what I am saying is that at some point, the community which is served by YU and NCSY and other organizations like these will demand changes.
          But what I really would like you to do is read over what I have written very carefully. I write without rancor, and whether you believe it or not, without bias. Making the speech at the RCA the bad guy in this story is misdirecting attention from the very real cultural change that needs to take place. I have gone to great pains in my comments to assume only postitive motivations to all the people in this dispute. I believe that about your father, and I believe that about Cheifetz. Disagreeing with Cheifetz does not require impugning his honesty or his intentions. Since I happen to agree with the observations Cheifetz made, I am going to do the best I can to convince anyone who will listen that his concerns about community leaders who have relationships with problematic individuals are valid concerns, and may be doing harm, however unintended.

          • imtaubes says:

            My “reflexive defense” is not what’s causing me to accuse others of lying. I am accusing others of lying because, as I’ve already demonstrated, they have lied. Do not act like Cheifetz made this blog post primarily to facilitate change and help victims when that fact was barely even mentioned. This blog post was a cold and calculated attack on my father using tactics intended to rile people up as much as possible. As a case in point, the picture of Baruch Lanner from the sex offender registry placed just before the photo of my father. The selective quotes from their conversation, the fact that he goes to great lengths to make it seem as if my father was angrily yelling at him while he remained calm and collected. I could continue but I believe you already know this to be true. If you don’t want to call what the two of you are doing an attack or a vendetta then you may call it what you wish but I will continue to make sure the truth has it’s day.
            If the community is interested in facilitating change for today’s youth than perhaps it’s time to start to focus on today’s youth instead of focusing on bitterness as it has and will never help anyone.

            • Jordan Hirsch says:

              I have insisted that I assume only positive intentions and motivations for all the parties involved. I have not called for anyone’s head. I have spoken of mistakes and poor judgement. I have spoken of my admiration for your father. For you to characterize my attempts to put the words of someone else in context as a vendetta and an attack grossly misrepresents what I have said.
              I done. If you ever want to talk about this you know where to find me.

            • Just for the record, David Cheifetz was not involved in the placement of the pictures. He gave me the text, I pasted it into my WordPress editing pane and I made the decision of where to place the pictures. He did not give me any instructions about their placement. He was not involved in the production of pictures. That was totally my doing. I placed Lanner’s picture near the first appearance of his name. I placed your father’s picture near the first description of him. That is standard journalistic practice.

              Isaac Meir Taubes, I sympathize with your predicament. You see your father as a kind and decent man. He probably is all those things to you. David and I are not trying to globally demonize him. I understand your impulse to defend him. I respect your empathy for him and your generous interpretation of his conduct. However, I wish you would recognize, that even if you think David, I, Jordan and others are wrong it does not do to attack us as malicious, dishonest, bitter, and of destructive intent. Perhaps you can at least see that we have different understanding of how best to get from where we were when Lanner was allowed to run amok to the point that our children are genuinely safe (as much as they can be in an imperfect world). Some people say, forget about the past and move into the future. We believe the past can only be transcended by an effective reckoning. Our model is not punitive but more akin to truth and reconciliation processes in countries emerging from dictatorships. Reconciliation is the goal but can only be possible with truth about past abuses. You seem to alternate between saying your father had no consequential relationship with Lanner and saying, “guys, just get over it!”

              In taking that position you are doing violence to the Jewish concept of teshuvah. It is not a Catholic style one-shot confession and dispensation. For the sorts of crimes committed by Lanner and on their scale, he would be lucky to be able to say at the end of his life that he at least did his best to ameliorate damage that he can never completely undo. Sadly the kinds of campaigns he periodically unleashes are the opposite of teshuvah. One can never prove one is doing one’s best at teshuvah just as very few gentiles can ever completely prove they are free of antisemitism. But one can do things that undercut the claim of doing teshuvah just as a gentile can prove he is an antisemite by certain actions or words.

              Isaac Meir, please consider arguing for a different interpretation of your father’s choices or noting his positive qualities instead of going into nasty attack mode. Really, it would garner him and you some more sympathy.

      • kweansmom says:

        Wow. Very, very well said.

  33. J.L. says:

    No one can fault a son for coming to a dad’s defense. But you need to understand that your dad is a “public figure” whom we invest with the license and authority to model conduct and preach/lecture to us about ideal behavior and values. He is, therefore, subject to greater scrutiny than the rest of us. You must well know that Mr. Lanner is not just any odd person or wrongdoer, and especially not in Teaneck. He physically victimized many who reside in Teaneck, some who still live close by your dad’s shul. His moral deviancy caused quite a crisis for the community as a whole. In addition, there are many, including some area rabbis, who ignored Lanner’s outlandish behavior (perhaps you are not aware of the Beis Din fiasco) and who were more concerned about “loshon haro” than the harm done to scores of victims (including at least one suicide and many who continue to suffer). So, take a moment to reflect on what David Cheifitz is trying to accomplish and put aside the personal slight (which understandably is hard to swallow). What you should see is there is someone brave enough to stand up to the leadership and force them to stop worrying about the feelings of the perpetrators (if Lanner wants to do teshuva, he shouldn’t be coming to your house, he should be begging forgiveness and paying therapy bills for those he victimized). Now, is the time to show concern for the victims not the perpetrators.

  34. imtaubes says:

    I can understand what David Cheifetz is trying to accomplish and it is commendable. However, David Cheifetz himself has recently put himself in the position of a public figure. What this means is that like all public figures, he is now held to that same scrutiny which you mentioned.

  35. J.L. says:

    Fabulous, now there’s the start to a constructive conversation. Let’s all concentrate on making David Cheifitz’s efforts a reality. Let’s get the OU, the RCA, YU, the RCBC and the area rabbis to help David’s efforts become a reality. Let’s resolve that no one in the community should be hosting Lanner, rationalizing his behavior or claiming that he has done teshuva. There are still many victims in our midst that need our help and assistance. Those are the people we should be supporting and defending. Let’s resolve to devote all of our rachmanus energy toward the victims not the perpetrators. I am sure if you want to be part of that effort, your assistance would be appreciated.

  36. imtaubes says:

    I am obviously completely behind helping and supporting victims. With that said, I will always refuse to engage in any sort of McCarthyism which I staunchly believe does nothing to help anyone, let alone victims.

  37. Chaim says:

    Why do keep people saying how brave David Cheifitz is? There is nothing brave about attacking someone in public at an RCA convention. There is definitely nothing brave about attacking people on a blog. I am not assessing his claims here but let’s stop making Cheifitz into a martyr and somebody with guts, when all he has done at this point is make some negative remarks about a rabbi which in our crazy world has gotten him more attention than he possibly deserves.

    • Joseph Braun says:

      Maybe if you took the time to read his autobiographical essay about the abuse he suffered (see link in first paragraph), you’d have an answer to your facetious question. Do you think it’s easy for any Orthodox Jew to make a politically incorrect stand in front of the rabbinate?

  38. Uri says:

    It is extremely sad to witness the vitriol spewing across this blog. The attacks on Rabbi Taubes are inappropriate and the language used in communicating with his son is shameful.

    I find it rather odd the attacks focus on Rabbi Taubes rather than Rabbi Teitz who is associated with JEC and Bruriah and the Rav of a large congregation in Elizabeth.. I suppose David Cheifetz and Yerachmiel Lopin have conducted an in-depth analysis of Lanner-victim whereabouts and concluded that there are many more victims in Rabbi Taubes’ shul where Lanner has apparently appeared three times than in Rabbi Teitz’s shuls in Elizabeth that has evidently welcomed him as a member of the community.

    Don’t misunderstand me-the facts and conclusions expressed by Sam Vogel and Joanne Berger have convinced me that attacking either Rabbi is inappropriate but singling out Rabbi Taubes simply because he is associated with MTA rather than JEC is nonsensical.

    I suggest David Cheifetz spend his valuable time on the laudable, appropriate focus he has on protecting children from sexual abuse by working with the administrations of Yeshivot and other institutions to identify abusers and teach children to recognize signs of abuse and report them to authorities. As for Yerachmiel Lopin, I suggest he check with his rabbinic authorities to determine whether his blog encourages lashon hara, rechilut and other aveyrot.

  39. Dorron Katzin says:

    Here is an essay which, in my opinion, touches on the issues raised in this discussion:

    Morethodoxy: Exploring the Breadth, Depth and Passion of Orthodox Judaism
    Of Sexual Abuse, Yeshiva, and Teshuva by (Rabbi) Yosef Kanefsky
    http://morethodoxy.org/2013/07/07/of-sexual-abuse-yeshiva-and-teshuva-by-yosef-kanefsky/

  40. I Knew Them All says:

    I grew up in the heart of this community in the years relevant, though I am no longer associated with it in any way. I was thankfully not abused, though I ate and slept in the homes of nearly all the abusers and enablers at the center of the Tendler, Lanner, Gordon and Finkelstein scandals.

    I also went to school with Michael Taubes for much of K12 and college, though we were not close friends. I never had anything but affection and respect for him, until now.

    Michael, how is it possible for a moral being to maintain a relationship with Burrie Lanner (as I called him when I knew him) after his return from prison when you:
    1. Are principal of the High School whose former principal (George) sexually abused boys for decades?
    2. Are Rabbi in a community in which another Rabbi and MTA Rebbe (Macy) who sodomized a boy (in the MTA dorms!) was the center of Modern Orthodox life for decades? If I am not mistaken, this is the shul you grew up in.

    I left the Frum community because it felt imprisoning to me, but until now maintained a warm heart towards it. Now I understand how my Catholic friends feel.

  41. Emanuel Newgant says:

    “I Knew Them All” gets to the real problem when he asks about “a moral being”. As a frum Jew with a full beard I also ask: how is it that (Ultra) Orthodoxy has become so separated from common morality?

    • imtaubes says:

      I ask you this: What is ultra orthodox? Do you mean the people who follow the Torah to the letter? I thought that’s what orthodoxy was supposed to be. Or do you mean radical Judaism? Although perhaps some people find it simpler to bunch the two together. Makes it easier to hate.

      • Emanuel Newgant says:

        Hmm. You’ve got it all neatly worked out. So I ask you this: using your terminology, are the players in the Lakewood/Kolko/Belsky/OU/RCA scandal part of “ultra orthodox”, “orthodoxy” or “radical Judaism”, because I don’t want to simply bunch the three together.
        Discussion is great, but past a certain point, it becomes revealed as attempting to defend the indefensible.

        • imtaubes says:

          I don’t know. I am not the one who made the terminology which is why I was asking you. In what way is that defending the the indefensible?

  42. Avi says:

    The part I don’t follow is this: Baruch Lanner was convicted and served his time.
    He is on the offender registry. His whereabouts are known.
    Understanding that his very existence sickens his victims, what is he supposed to do? Hole up somewhere and die? Move to the Adirondacks?
    Who are we to define “Teshuvah” for him? If he doesn’t do what he was convicted of doing, does that not make him a Baal teshuvah?
    I’m not suggesting to make him president of a shul. But f he goes to a shul, he can daven there, no? If he goes to the rabbi’s open house, must the rabbi pull a Bar Kamtza treatment on him?
    Is he Cain – he must be נע ונד for the rest of his life?
    Who are we to decide that?
    I really don’t understand. Thanks.

    • J.L. says:

      This comment is scary and makes Cheifitz’ point. Lanner’s evil not only physically and emotionally hurt people but seriously damaged the moral integrity of the community. Lanner was very much a part of the community, one of the boys, with the “right” background, education, credentials and associations. Granted, RMT and the other boys will find it difficult to fully believe that Lanner and others from the same circumstances could do such evil and they will, therefore, conduct themselves more in consideration of the perpetrators than the victims. Cheifitz realized this when he saw that another Teaneck rabbi recently preached that there is a moral responsibility not to go to the police if the statute of limitations had passed. Amazing. Evil still lurks in our midst and we are told to not do anything about it. There is not a stitch of evidence that Mr. Lanner has done teshuva (real teshuva, ameliorating the pain and suffering he caused people and their community) and yet you think we should turn the other cheek. Cheifitz spoke candidly to the powerful to get out of the way in the best interests of the victims. So don’t worry so much about one personal slight that will dissipate with time. Start thinking about we do for the victims and not how we can pretend that some of the boys are not so pious and smart.

    • Avi, you write, ” If he [Lanner] doesn’t do what he was convicted of doing, does that not make him a Baal teshuvah?

      Avi, demand a refund on your yeshiva tuition. You were cheated if you think that the only requirement for teshuva is not being caught again, or even not repeating an act. We are dealing with an aveirah, bein adam lichavairo. Even Yom Kippur is not mechaper unless actions are taken to repair the damage. If you were to carelessly drive into your neighbor’s car would you say “leave me alone about the body shop bills; I have not hit another car since I was convicted of that hit -and-run?”

      At least when you hit a car you can pay the body shop bills. Even if you total the car, you can pay for a replacement. When you injure a human it is harder to repair the damage. When you total a human and they commit suicide there is no way to ever pay for a replacement or to fill the void for their relatives and friends. When you damage a human there is no way to repair lost health, relationships and careers. These sorts of consequences of sexual abuse are well documented in the research literature on child abuse.

      So, Avi, no, even if Lanner never repeated his acts after his first few hundred victims, he is not a baal teshuvah. At best he could be striving towards that. However, his insensitivity to his victims is proof that he is not even doing what he can to mitigate the horrible effects of his narcissistic, self-indulgent rampage.

      Baruch Lanner is not an ignoramus. He knows he is distorting the meaning of teshuvah when he claims he has done it. I have to hand it to him. He is successfully manipulating adults just as he once manipulated kids.

      There are certain things I don’t usually write, but in his case I will make an exception.

      Baruch Lanner, you are an lying, deceiving, manipulative SOB. Baruch, if you had any courage you would stop hiding behind the jackets and skirts of your proxies and come onto this dialog to do your own PR dirty work. Baruch, you are still using kids to do your bidding. Come on out and be a man. Rabbi and Mrs. Taubes and his son, Isaac Meir, are taking a shellacking for hosting you. At least do them the favor of thanking them and trying to justify them. Come on Baruch. Let us see if you still have that old NCSY magic.

      • Moshe says:

        Yerachmiel: The remarks that you directed at Baruch Lanner are very much in place.

        However, I wouldn’t be too quick to assume that Lanner hasn’t already posted comments on this thread…

        • Very good point. Besides being a manipulator he is a shape shifter. So it is never easy to know if he has gone transgender, written under a pen name or or merely inspired others. All are in his repetoire. Some of the comments have the fine veneer of his style.

  43. David Cheifetz says:

    Isaac Taubes – NO ONE has a vendetta against your father. Certainly not me.

    You are understandably defending you father. That is commendable. Kibud Av Va’Aim is a critical mitzvah.

    I suggest, in your quest to defend your father, you do the following:

    – Ask your father about the facts regarding the frequency of his hosting Baruch Lanner in public settings in his Shul and at your home.

    – Do not refer to seating charts at your brother’s wedding, noting that Lanner’s name was not present, and then concluding that he was not sitting near victims. There are MANY eyewitnesses to Lanner’s presence at the wedding. Ask your father.

    – Ask you father if he feels that bringing Baruch Lanner to Teaneck in a public setting might have been insensitive to the many victims of Baruch Lanner

    – Ask your father why he, as principal or MTA, at a time when MTA is going through a soul searching about sexual abuse, hosted a notorious convicted pedophile in a public setting. Ask him if he thinks that this was a reflection of good judgment. Ask him if, given the opportunity, he would do the same thing again?

    – Ask you father what changes he thinks are necessary to bring about cultural change in our community regarding the topic of sexual abuse

    I have zero intention of impugning the basic character of your father. I am simply questioning his judgment

    One last point: Your personal attacks on me and others are misplaced. I suggest you sit down with your father and ask him about the facts. Then I suggest you do a bit of research into the actions of Baruch Lanner. Read the newspaper articles. Read the published report of the OU from 2000. And maybe speak to a few of his victims. They are all around you…

    Then do a bit of research into the trauma carried by sex abuse victims their whole lives. Read up about PTSD.

    And then you are free to draw your own conclusions as to the wisdom of your father’s actions, and decide for yourself whether you, in the same circumstances, would have shown the same judgment.

    • imtaubes says:

      David Cheifetz, if what you are saying is true then this article would have looked a lot less like a piece of yellow journalism. I have spoken with my father regarding the truth and the truth does not match what you are claiming. Not about the regular attendance of Baruch Lanner in my home and shul. Not about his position as an honored guest on Purim and not about his supposed seating position near victims at my brothers wedding.
      It is entirely possible that you did not lie about these things intentionally and were simply misinformed. I am willing to give you that benefit of the doubt. Either way, I did not need to consult with my father first because unlike you, Yerachmiel Lopin, or Jordan Hirsch I was there every single time. I did not get my information from various third parties. I am tired of repeating this and you continuously accusing me of lying.

      You claim that you have ‘zero intention of impugning the basic character of’ my father. How can you even say that? You posted a vile and quite public blog post that did just that. You did not fact check. You made a nasty blog post that does nothing but cause more anger, more mistrust, more hatred (if other people’s comments are any indication), and, I believe even more pain for victims. I know all about trigger events and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I highly doubt most victims want to see these kinds of discussions and debates in a public forum due to it’s obvious sensitive nature.

      One last thing, if you disagree with things my father does than that is your prerogative. While I believe a public attack on a blog is the least mature, civil, and decent way to handle things I suppose such a thing is also your prerogative. What is not your prerogative is to mistreat the truth and misrepresent facts in order to sway public opinion. I will not allow this to go on. You claim I am free to draw my own conclusions, well, perhaps you should have taken more time before settling on your own.

      • Just a Civilian says:

        imtaubes: “… and, I believe even more pain for victims. I know all about trigger events and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I highly doubt most victims want to see these kinds of discussions and debates in a public forum due to it’s obvious sensitive nature.”

        Having no personal knowledge of the Lanner affair, I rely upon the Public Summary of the Joel report.

        The Lanner affair was anything but a case about a lone abuser. It was a protracted case of *clerical* abuse in an *institutional* context. Such cases tend to significantly exacerbate the psychological harm, compared to comparable abusive acts inflicted by low-status individuals. Bishops and psychiatrists were aware of this no later than the ’70s.

        When revered communal institutions are *inseparable* from the harm inflicted, many of the most important issues are *necessarily* public.

        I have no remit to speak for any other victims. As one who suffered clerical abuse (not Lanner, as I said), I can personally say that public disinterest and its sequelae are *by far* the most harmful and painful elements of my experience. *For an intrinsically public case*, this is precisely what the research and clinical literature would lead one to expect.

  44. imtaubes says:

    Yerachmiel Lopin,
    First, my name is not Meir. Moving on, do not take anything I say as a personal attack on your characters, despite the harshness of my words I am once again only looking to defend the truth. You make a claim in your most recent post that I alternate between defending my father and saying ‘guys just get over it’. Not once in a single one of my posts have I ever suggested that anyone just get over it and claiming that I did is once again, a misrepresentation. You state that you have no intention to demonize my father yet in another response you expressly stated your intention to go after my fathers job. How can you claim I am the one in “Nasty attack mode?”. Like I said in my response to Jordan Hirsch, even if your goals are noble, if their foundations are built on lies and hate then they will crumble.

    • J.L. says:

      Isaac, no one is motivated by going after your father’s job. Cheifitz’ RCA speech and his efforts to create an effective organization that finally confronts the scourge of abuse has little to do with your father’s job. Understandably, you see negative comments about your father as a personal attack and you wish to defend his and your family’s honor. The bottom line — whether well intentioned or not — is that your father and many of his colleagues are nogeah b’davar. Some looked the other way when Lanner committed his heinous acts, some made excuses and others gave him a pass when the issues needed addressing. One now preaches that victims should not reports abuse (the exact opposite of being vigilant in wiping out evil). That they wish to see Lanner today as rehabilitated, a model of teshuva or even to welcome him in their homes and shuls does not mean that they are bad people who are disqualified from being rabbis (though it does affect their ability to preach and teach to us effectively), it means, as Mr. Cheifitz keeps saying, that they have exercised bad judgment and that, it is apparent, they are incapable of showing good judgment on this issue because of history and their connections. What it means most of all is they should get out of the way so that the community stops making excuses when it comes to abuse and starts confronting and addressing the evil it has wreaked on victims.

      • imtaubes says:

        J.L, maybe you believe that this is no ones motivation. But it is quite clearly and obviously incorrect. I don’t know if you noticed it but there is a comment up above regarding why people here are attacking my father when Baruch Lanner has been completely and totally accepted into the Elizabeth community, Shuls and all. I highly suggest you read it. You may realize at that point the political nature of all this. MTA is Yeshiva University’s high school. Yeshiva University is attempting recovery from it’s most recent scandals. It is not hard to notice a trend. I don’t know who is preaching that victims not report abuse but it is most certainly not my father and to compare to two is disgusting to me. In regards to Mr. Cheifetz, he does not get a free pass to say whatever he pleases just because of his well intentions. That’s not how things should work in the community, or anywhere for that matter.

    • 1. henceforth I will not repeat my mistake of calling you Meir.

      2. Yes, I did call for YU to ask for your father’s resignation. In that I differ from David Cheifetz. I think at this moment of crisis about sex-abuse in MTA it is essential that the leadership must be held by people with impeccable judgement about what needs to be done and how they need to be seen. In other places at times I believe your father could gracefully adjust his practices and image. Alas, right now, I do not think that is possible. So, whatever your father’s virtues as a respected scholar, lamdan, and educator the fit is not good right now between him and the needs of MTA.

      3. In my life (I am in my 60s) I have lost out on promotions and opportunities and it hurt. Sometimes I am convinced, the decisions were wrong. In other cases I later realized I was not the best candidate for a job. But I did not automatically accuse those who rejected me of being vile and dishonest.

      4. You may find it hard to believe, but I am not motivated by hate for your father. I actually hate very few of the people I criticize on my blog. I you look it over and get out your parochial bunker you will see I cover other issues outside the MO world or even the issue of sex abuse. In fact most of my blogging has been about sex abuse in the Hasidic world. In fact, for over 3 years I barely addressed the MO world until the MTZ Finkelstein scandal broke this year. Anyone reading me will sense that my personal sympathies lie closer to the modern orthodox world. But surely the MO world can aspire to be better than Satmar in its defense of Weberman. I do despise some of the molesters though others I pity but still feel protecting children is more important to pity on them.

      5. I do not despise your father. I just feel his misjudgment in this matter is too big a problem to be ignored.

      • imtaubes says:

        I have attempted to refrain from insulting you or your blog as a whole. I do not believe I sit in a ‘parochial bunker’ I am well aware of what goes on in the world but with that said the internet is not the final authority when it comes to matters such as these. I am not going to rehash the points I’ve made before as I don’t believe there is much more to be said. It has been exhaustive so I am going to leave the decision of what to believe with the people as ultimately the decision lies with them.

  45. james says:

    imtaubes, you’re clearly in a difficult position. You keep asserting that they are lying but you’re proof of that doesn’t seem to hold up. Everyone will agree that if the accusation is based on lies it’s not good, so you need to prove that the accusations aren’t true. Not seeing his name on a guestlist does not equal him not being there. You not seeing him at your house also doesn’t (especially since he isnt accused of being there frequently.) You seem to be goodhearted but you need to focus on the facts, on the specific accusations.

    • imtaubes says:

      James, When I said that there was no wedding in June 2013 when it was claimed there was, that was proof. When it was claimed he was seating near victims at a 2012 wedding and then me subsequently having documented evidence that he was not, that was proof. My not seeing him at my house (especially since he is accused of being there regularly) when I live there and would know, that is is proof. I have focused on only the specific accusations, I’m not sure what evidence would satisfy you.

  46. lannercorruption@nj.com says:

    Rabbis accused of coverup in sex case
    By MITCHEL MADDUX
    Bergen Record – Wednesday, July 19, 2000

    After interviewing a half-dozen teenage boys in 1989 who said they had been physically abused by a local rabbi, weekly newspaper editor Susan Rosenbluth said she contacted members of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County, expecting that the Orthodox organization would intervene.

    But instead of showing concern about the alleged misdeeds of Rabbi Baruch Lanner, Rosenbluth claimed, three of the council members tried to protect him.

    “One called me and said, ‘If this gets into print, we will see to it that no stores under the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County can advertise in your newspaper,’ ” Rosenbluth charged in an interview.

    “It was made clear to me by the rabbis who spoke to me that this was an RCBC decision,” she said, declining to name the rabbis. “I said, ‘You’re kidding me. Is this real?’ ”
    ….

    Rabbinical Council of Bergen County letterhead
    http://www.levana.com/pdfs/RCBC%20Supervision%20letter%202009.pdf

  47. lannercorruption@nj.com says:

    Willig talk draws protests because of Lanner link
    By JOANNE PALMER
    The Jewish Standard (Teaneck, NJ) – January 30, 2003

    A controversy with its origin in the Baruch Lanner affair is arousing strong emotion in parts of the Orthodox community in Teaneck and next-door Bergenfield.

    On Sunday at 8 p.m., Rabbi Mordechai Willig, a member of the 1989 bet din, or court, called by Rabbi Lanner, is scheduled to speak about chinuch habonim — loosely translated as Jewish parenting — at Cong. Beth Abraham in Bergenfield. Some current and former area residents are protesting his talk because of his connection with that case.

    Rabbi Michael Taubes of Kehillas Tzemach Dovid, who is also menahel of the Mesivta of North Jersey, was forceful in his disapproval of the situation, and of this newspaper for writing about it.

    “It seems that certain people have a grievance in terms of Rabbi Willig,” he said. “The letter wasn’t addressed to the newspaper, and it shouldn’t have been sent to the newspaper. I’m sure lots of people write letters about lots of things that don’t appear in the newspaper. In what way is this a public issue?”

    He dismissed the controversy as having no merit. “I don’t know if there is a real issue,” he said. “It seems to me that people are looking for a platform to make a big issue. The letter indicated that the people who were involved spoke with Rabbi Willig in person. Okay, they weren’t satisfied with the response. How does that make it a public issue? What does that have to do with the rest of the community?”

    “Whoever sent in the letter sent it in because he or she or they knew that this is a way for it to become a public issue. I believe they’re looking for a soapbox, and I find this is wrong.”

  48. Elliot Pasik says:

    Jewish Board of Advocates for Children once hosted an event, co-sponsored by OU, RCA, and others, at Cong Ohab Zedek on the West Side in Manhattan. One of the speakers related how she witnessed the following while a participant at an NCSY event, where Lanner was the youth leader. I well remember the speaker’s name, but in the exercise of discretion, I’ll skip it, because I don’t want her retaliated against. At the NCY event, years ago, she witnessed Lanner and a girl teen, go into a private room, close the door, and sometime later, they re-emerged with visible perspiration, and their clothes somewhat not as neat as before.

    Much more so than the articles I read about Lanner, it was this speech that makes Lanner so disgusting to me. And I can only imagine how it disgusted the others who witnessed this event.

    Some are saying that Lanner did teshuva. I know that he hasn’t, because if he had, he wouldn’t be living in New Jersey, so close to so many victims.

    Deviants like Lanner are notoriously clever. They are notorious liars. For 30 years, he got away with his antics. He even managed to out-smart one beis din of three smart rabbis – Rs Willig, Blau, Levine, and continued his deviancy for another 10 years. And now, living in New Jersey, where he did so much damage, he’s being clever once again.

    David Cheifitz gave a great, important speech, which is raising a very important issue, mostly overlooked until now. What do we do with released sex offenders in our community?

    In prison, they get shul with a minyan, kosher, religious texts. Outside prison, it needs to be determined, first and foremost, Which shul? Is he a danger to children? Should he be psychologically tested? Should he be banned from all shuls, or allowed in some where there is an older group? Should he be banned from shuls where there are victims, which will cause trigger reactions? Should a shomer be assigned when he is in shul? Who decides – the rabbi alone, the board of directors, or the entire membership?

    I generally favor a democratic process, where people like David Cheifitz can be heard. The mistakes of the past should not be repeated. Rabbi Teitz in Elizabeth and the shul leadership there, and Rabbi Taubes in Passaic and his shul leadership, and indeed, all of the shuls everywhere, need to come up with a coherent plan. Ad hoc, rabbi-only decision making is not our friend. It is frustrating to those who have always been outside the process, and moreover, damaging to the victims. Elie Hiller was one of the lone voices protesting against Lanner for years, and nobody listened to him, until he was proven right. Lanner in his old neighborhood = that should bother all of us.

    • Elliot, Thank you for this additional information.

      One small but important correction- Lanner is not hosted by Rabbi Teitz in Elizabeth, NJ and he is not accepted in the community for a number of reasons. Rabbi Teitz is the brother-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Blau his nemesis for over two decades. So, he is trying to fake a haskahmah and trying to put his attackers on the defensive. But his sweaty desperate efforts will not wash. Anyone in the know realizes that Rabbi Teitz was one of Lanner’s earliest critics after he witnessed manipulativeness and before he was even aware of his sexual misconduct.

      Elliot, you are so right. It is his manipulation that is fundamental to his character. For him to do teshuvah would require a cheshbon hanefesh to encompasses manipulation. That is a very hard trait to give up after exploiting others all his adult life.

  49. lannercorruption@nj.com says:

    Stolen Innocence
    by Gary Rosenblatt
    New York Jewish Week – June 23, 2000
    Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the charismatic magnet of NCSY, was revered in the Orthodox Union youth group, despite longtime reports of abuse of teens.

    Baruch Lanner is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant, dynamic and charismatic educators in Jewish life today. As director of regions of the National Conference of Synagogue Youth, an arm of the Orthodox Union, the 50-year-old rabbi has been working with and supervising teenagers for more than three decades. He has also been a principal and teacher in yeshiva high schools in New Jersey, and for many years has led a highly successful six-week NCSY summer kollel program in Israel offering Torah study to up to 300 American boys.

    But even while he is credited with bringing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of youngsters closer to Judaism, reports have continued to circulate that he has harassed, if not abused, many scores of teens sexually, physically and/or emotionally, from the early 1970s to the present.Though Rabbi Lanner’s erratic behavior has long been an open secret in some Orthodox circles, for the first time more than a dozen former NCSYers and others have come forward publicly over a three-month period, telling their stories to The Jewish Week. They described in detail firsthand experiences, including Rabbi Lanner’s alleged kissing and fondling scores of teenage girls in the 1970s and ’80s, repeatedly kicking boys in the groin, and reports of taking a knife to a young man in 1987, and propositioning girls in 1997 at the yeshiva high school where he was principal for 15 years.

    But what upset Hiller most was an incident that had taken place two summers earlier, Aug. 7, 1987, after Rabbi Lanner sought to dissuade Adina Baum, a young woman who had boarded at the rabbi’s house while in high school from marrying Hiller’s younger brother, Jonah, because he had Hodgkin’s disease.

    Jonah, who was 22 at the time, drove up to Rabbi Lanner’s summer bungalow to ask him not to interfere in his relationship with his fiancée. According to Elie Hiller, Jonah and Rabbi Lanner exchanged words and then the rabbi, in a rage, grabbed a kitchen knife, lunged at Jonah, and cut him in the neck and arm, and tried to choke him.

    Hiller, who worked for Rabbi Lanner at the time, says that after the incident, the rabbi called to tell him that he and Jonah had just had an argument and that he had tried to calm Jonah down. ‘Then he laughed and talked to me about getting me a raise,’ Elie said.

    Elie wasn’t amused. He quit his NCSY job, and he and his family, after contacting an attorney, sought to have the OU remove Rabbi Lanner from his job, threatening to go to the police otherwise.

    Eventually they reached a compromise with the organization that would have Rabbi Lanner save face by easing him from his job as director of the New Jersey region, have no contact with staff or members of the region, and have no active participation in Shabbatonim.

  50. David Cheifetz says:

    Isaac Moshe Taubes

    For the record — I have not called for your father, Rabbi Michael Taubes, to be removed from his job. I have simply pointed out what I consider to be extraordinarily poor judgment on his part. Others can reach their own conclusions as to what practical implications, if any, there should or should not be regarding holding him accountable for his decisions. I have not, and will not, speculate publicly on that topic. That is not my place.

    What concerns me most is that your father’s behavior — his decisions — are a part of a broader pattern in which our community too frequently covers up for and/ or coddles victimizers and disregards the needs and sensitivities of victims. And as such, people within our community, good people perhaps, become enablers of abusers and cause additional victims, Chass V’Sholom, and additional pain to previous victims and survivors of abuse.

    Again — For the record — My speech at the RCA was not about your father. Sadly, his judgment is illustrative of a broader pattern, a broader culture, that must be changed within our community and within our leadership.

    • imtaubes says:

      Your speech to the RCA may not have been about my father, it may have indeed been about facilitating change in the community. But I did not respond to the RCA speech, I responded to this blog post. A blog post that was made in reaction to a heated conversation. A blog post that is filled with errors and goes to some lengths to make my father come off as bad. I don’t see how this blog post helps victims or anyone in the community at large.

  51. lannercorruption@nj.com says:

    Report Slams O.U.’s ‘Failure’ in Lanner Abuse Scandal
    By AMY KLEIN
    FORWARD – December 29, 2000

    A scathing, 54-page document released this week confirmed many of the allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse made public in June against Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the former director of regions at the Orthodox Union’s National Council of Synagogue Youth.

    Absent from the document, however, are specifics about who was responsible for allowing Rabbi Lanner to continue to work at the O.U. despite knowledge of his inappropriate behavior. Although the summary makes wide-ranging recommendations on financial and organizational restructuring of the O.U. and NCSY, victims’. families, concerned parents and other O.U.-watchers are expected to be disappointed that the summary does not suggest specific staff changes.

    “The failure of certain members of the O.U. and NCSY leadership to take [effective] action allowed Lanner’s conduct to continue unchecked for many years,” the document states.

    The document states that Rabbi Lanner sexually abused women and teenage girls, physically abused boys and girls, attempted to control the lives of NCSY students, initiated sexual discussions with girls and engaged in other inappropriate conduct, such as operating an unauthorized bank account, soliciting donations for NCSY programs and probably depositing them in his own bank accounts.

    The eagerly awaited document summarizes a longer, 331-page report prepared during a four-month period by an NSCY special commission appointed to investigate the O.U.’s role in the Lanner affair. The law firm Debevoise & Plimpton conducted the investigation in coordination with the nine-member commission, interviewing more than 175 witnesses in some 6,000 hours.

    Only 13 members of the O.U. board have reviewed the longer report, and they will be responsible for presenting their proposals to 167 members of the full executive board. The executive board meeting, which was postponed from December 25 because of Chanukah, is likely to convene sometime after New Year’s weekend when the national conference takes place at the Rye Town Hilton in Westchester County, N.Y.

    The longer report provides a chronological narrative describing events from 1972 to the present and includes “disturbing, graphic evidence” of Rabbi Lanner’s conduct and details about what the O.U. professional and lay leadership knew or should have known about Rabbi Lanner over the years. The summary report — which can be viewed online at the O.U.’s web site, http://www.ou.org — does not include the chronology, nor does it include many of the details set forth in the comprehensive report.


    The summary report points out that “Lanner’s improper conduct, while committed directly by him alone, was made possible by the inaction of various individuals in the lay and professional leadership of the O.U. and NSCY and a lack of effective management controls in those organizations. Certain members of the O.U. and NCSY professional and lay leadership, although not directly aware of some of the most serious elements of Lanner’s abuse, were aware of his overtly inappropriate behaviors and frequently abusive personality traits. This knowledge alone should have led them to take effective action against Lanner at any one of many points in his career. The failure of certain members of the O.U. and NCSY to leadership to take such action allowed Lanner’s conduct to continue unchecked for many years·. The commission believes that many of these failures reflect the exercise of extremely poor judgment by otherwise well-intentioned people.”

    The report details four specific instances — in 1972, 1977, 1984 and 2000 — when leaders of both organizations were notified of Rabbi Lanner’s sexual misconduct, but did not remove him from his position. Leaders denied receiving some of these reports, the summary states, and the commission did not receive evidence that “actual, detailed knowledge of abuse by Lanner was widespread” aside from those four incidents. The report lists examples of 12 “red flags” — from 1977-2000 — that should have alerted the leadership that something was wrong, the commission found.

    Rabbi Lanner — who is repeatedly referred to in the report as “Lanner,” without his title — originally refused to testify before the commission because it would be “inappropriate” to provide testimony since he is still under investigation by the Monmouth County, N.J., police department, his lawyers wrote to the commission. Rabbi Lanner’s lawyers later sent a 10-page document stating that their client denied having committed any crime, but acknowledging that “in the past, his conduct on occasion was inappropriate. He did or said things in the past that, in hindsight, should not have occurred.”

    He also acknowledged that his behavior “was unbefitting for anyone, particularly one in his own position.” According to the summary report, Rabbi Lanner’s statement denied many — but not all — of the allegations of physical and sexual abuse lodged in The Jewish Week’s June 24 article that first made the story public, and it was silent on many of the allegations the commission received that were not contained in the article. Rabbi Lanner also claimed in the statement that some of the actions were consensual, a claim dismissed by the commission because of the young age of the girls and the position of authority that Rabbi Lanner held over them.

    A former NCSY officer and a critic of the O.U.’s handling of the Lanner case, Murray Sragow, said he felt vindicated by the commission’s summary but warned that unless the report becomes public, or is released to the entire board, there will be “trouble,” including a possible lawsuit to release the full report. Mr. Sragow, a youth committee chairman at Rinat Yisrael Synagogue in Teaneck, N.J., who heads an email list of 150 people concerned about the Lanner affair, said, “The victims and their families deserve the answer to who is it that failed to take care of the kids. This report fails to do that.”

    Other highlights of the report include:

    Ten women testified that Lanner engaged in sexually abusive behavior during his NCSY career.
    “Credible” witnesses provided testimony describing abusive sexual conduct by Rabbi Lanner toward 16 additional girls.
    Some 30 witnesses testified to having suffered or witnessed Rabbi Lanner kneeing the boys in the groin.
    Witnesses testified to several occasions during which Rabbi Lanner punched, hit or otherwise physically assaulted them, in addition to those described in The Jewish Week.
    Rabbi Lanner repeatedly targeted and engaged in “intense and abusive emotional manipulations” of students who were having emotional or family problems.

  52. lannercorruption@nj.com says:

    Report Slams O.U.’s ‘Failure’ in Lanner Abuse Scandal
    By AMY KLEIN
    FORWARD – December 29, 2000

    A scathing, 54-page document released this week confirmed many of the allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse made public in June against Rabbi Baruch Lanner, the former director of regions at the Orthodox Union’s National Council of Synagogue Youth.

    The document states that Rabbi Lanner sexually abused women and teenage girls, physically abused boys and girls, attempted to control the lives of NCSY students, initiated sexual discussions with girls and engaged in other inappropriate conduct, such as operating an unauthorized bank account, soliciting donations for NCSY programs and probably depositing them in his own bank accounts.
    ..
    The report details four specific instances — in 1972, 1977, 1984 and 2000 — when leaders of both organizations were notified of Rabbi Lanner’s sexual misconduct, but did not remove him from his position. Leaders denied receiving some of these reports, the summary states, and the commission did not receive evidence that “actual, detailed knowledge of abuse by Lanner was widespread” aside from those four incidents. The report lists examples of 12 “red flags” — from 1977-2000 — that should have alerted the leadership that something was wrong, the commission found.

    Rabbi Lanner — who is repeatedly referred to in the report as “Lanner,” without his title — originally refused to testify before the commission because it would be “inappropriate” to provide testimony since he is still under investigation by the Monmouth County, N.J., police department, his lawyers wrote to the commission. Rabbi Lanner’s lawyers later sent a 10-page document stating that their client denied having committed any crime, but acknowledging that “in the past, his conduct on occasion was inappropriate. He did or said things in the past that, in hindsight, should not have occurred.”

    He also acknowledged that his behavior “was unbefitting for anyone, particularly one in his own position.” According to the summary report, Rabbi Lanner’s statement denied many — but not all — of the allegations of physical and sexual abuse lodged in The Jewish Week’s June 24 article that first made the story public, and it was silent on many of the allegations the commission received that were not contained in the article. Rabbi Lanner also claimed in the statement that some of the actions were consensual, a claim dismissed by the commission because of the young age of the girls and the position of authority that Rabbi Lanner held over them.


    Other highlights of the report include:

    Ten women testified that Lanner engaged in sexually abusive behavior during his NCSY career.
    “Credible” witnesses provided testimony describing abusive sexual conduct by Rabbi Lanner toward 16 additional girls.
    Some 30 witnesses testified to having suffered or witnessed Rabbi Lanner kneeing the boys in the groin.
    Witnesses testified to several occasions during which Rabbi Lanner punched, hit or otherwise physically assaulted them, in addition to those described in The Jewish Week.
    Rabbi Lanner repeatedly targeted and engaged in “intense and abusive emotional manipulations” of students who were having emotional or family problems.

  53. I Knew Them All says:

    David, I have so much admiration for the way you are conducting yourself. Yerachmiel, you as well.

    It is ten years since Mordy Willig gave a heartfelt and sincere apology for his errors and arrogance in enabling Lanner. It is seven months since YU formally apologized for the horrors of George and Macy. What should the priority of the leader who has inherited the community of Macy Gordon and the school of George Finkelstein be?

    You might think the correct answer is creating an environment in which a Lanner, Gordon or Finkelstein could only commit a crime once. This is, after all, Modern Orthodoxy, in which the vast majority of Rabbis have advanced degrees in secular disciplines and are sophisticated professionals (this was the case 35 years ago too, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). This would be a worthy accomplishment.

    Unfortunately, Shalach Manos takes precedence. Wow, Michael!

    The Satmar have the excuse of being a dysfunctional, ignorant community. You do not.

    • After the Hasid,Baruch Mordechai Lebovits of Boro Park, was arrested, he continued to occasionally visit monsey and daven in the shul of his brother, the Nikolsburg Rebbe. However he never got another honor and knew he had to sit in the back row. After he was convicted, the rebbe gave a speech at shalosh seudos (shalashides for the chasidim) about how a man could turn into an unrepentant sinner. It was completely clear to all in the audience who knew the Rebbe’s style, that he was talking about his brother.

      You don’t need a college degree to understand that our choices of associates are in and of themselves powerful messages.

    • I Knew Them All says:

      This is how an authentic moral leader conducts himself – Listen to Rabbi Willig open his heart.
      http://www.torahweb.org/torah/special/2003/rwil_stmtSicha2.html

    • tesyaa says:

      The Shalach Manos Defense is just too much – one has to laugh so as not to cry.. I Knew Them All too, and the same people – the three T’s but certainly others – were in Lanner’s thrall then, and,call me naive, it shocks me that they still are today.

      • tesyaa says:

        Just to clarify, the three T’s I’m referring to do not include the name Teitz.

        • I Knew Them All says:

          What role might the overall culture of sexual repression have played here? Overt healthy sexuality was treated as a more severe threat than twisted behavior that stayed in the shadows.

          I am thinking back to all the over-age hangers-on I knew in my Black Hat HS, all-boys summer camp, YU, etc,, who everyone knew to stay away from. A young man having sex with a local girl offsite in summer camp would have been treated with far more severity than the “Uncle Ernie’s” of those settings.

          There are exceptions of course, such as the decisiveness, morality and clarity with which Label Steinhardt dealt with an over age abuser at Camp Mogen Av 15 years ago. http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com/2006/03/pinchos-sheinbergs-grandson-infamous.html

  54. lannercorruption@nj.com says:

    http://www.levana.com/pdfs/RCBC%20Supervision%20letter%202009.pdf

    Vaa’d Harabonim Rabbinical Council of Bergen County letterhead

    Past Presidents
    Rabbi Michael Taubes
    Rabbi Macy A. Gordon

    • Helping victims does not call for McCarthyism says:

      Is this a joke? Are you trying to imply that Rabbi Taubes is connected with child abuse because both he and Rabbi Macy Gordon – who has been anonymously accused but not convicted of abuse in the 1970s – were past Presidents of the RCBC? Interestingly, you only listed Rabbis Taubes and Gordon, failing to include the other prominent rabbis that are included on this stationary in between their names. Posts like this make it obvious you are trying to villainize Rabbi Taubes for no apparent reason.

  55. imtaubes says:

    I have said what needed to be said, I have exposed the lies for what they are but it seems this community I thought I was a part of desires blood more than truth. Insult me, criticize me, accuse me of lying, accuse me of being sympathetic to criminals, I no longer care. Fight among yourselves because I have no desire to be a part of it anymore.

    • I Knew Them All says:

      One thought experiment, young man. If Lanner had beaten or sexually abused one of your first cousins (I went to school with your uncle as well), would he be allowed in your home? If the answer is no, how can you value your own family’s physical, emotional and spiritual health over that of others?

      I understand this is heartbreaking for you. But lose the self-pity – you are not the victim here. Your father is well able to fight his own battles, which will likely be frequent going forward.

      • imtaubes says:

        Self pity? Victim? I don’t really care who you are or who you went to school with, if you misinterpreted my statement as a cry then you are sorely mistaken. I express my shock in the blood-lust I am seeing. Don’t cower behind a pseudonym and lecture me about value when you clearly have no sense of it yourself.

        • I Knew Them All says:

          What about my thought experiment? Do you have the integrity to answer it with an open heart?

          • imtaubes says:

            As i don’t wish to bicker, let alone with someone who isn’t brave enough to put a name behind his words, I will simply offer a thought experiment of my own. If someone publicly slandered a member of your family, whether it be your child, your sibling or your parent, and said things you knew were false, what would you do? I do not wish for you to answer it here, just reflect on it before hastily attempting to discredit me.

            • I Knew Them All says:

              Would you support your father allowing Baruch Lanner in your house if he had hurt someone close to you? Yes or no, without insulting the person posing the question.

            • Just a Civilian says:

              imtaubes: “… let alone with someone who isn’t brave enough to put a name behind his words …”

              I believe you have no idea how *protected* an individual you are, or how *protected* a personage your father is. (But note: I do not know the identity of “I Knew Them All”, so I don’t know why he writes pseudonymously.)

              None of this is to say that I advocate incivility toward you, nor persecution, nor ostracism.

  56. Benny Forer says:

    I have tried to follow the blog posts and to evaluate and consider all the arguments. I do not personally know any of the parties posting and have no dog in this fight.

    For me it comes down to a simple issue: Does a sex-offender deserve or have a right mechilah? The answer is a resounding no. A person who harmed children, despite his subsequent service of jail time, sex-offender registration, or other punishment (and regardless of what level of offender status dicatated by the state), has the immense blemish that he harmed a child. No amount of punishment or rehabilitation will change that past. Thus, he deserves the right to live with the condemnation and shame of his actions. We have no obligation of mechila, nor any requirement to reaccept this person into our societies. I truly dont care about the predators ability to daven with a minyan or get an aliya. If a private individual chooses to accept/welcome the predator–that’s their choice, but it should not be thrust on any community.

    In line with that perspective, no rabbi or community leader should EVER give a sex-offender any amount of kavod or acceptance. A real rabbi/leader would never allow a predator into his shul and would make a point of warning all his community members of the presence of a predator. That isnt loshon horah, rather, it’s leadership.

  57. Dorron Katzin says:

    Mr. Taubes,

    I am posting under my real name. I will repeat the “thought experiment” posed to you earlier and, by doing so, remove your excuse for not responding.
    If Lanner had beaten or sexually abused one of your first cousins (I went to school with your uncle as well), would he be allowed in your home? If the answer is no, how can you value your own family’s physical, emotional and spiritual health over that of others?

    As to your rejoinder, in my opinion, your father has not been slandered. I believe the statements by Mr. Cheifetz and others to be factual. And, as Mr. Forer recently clarified for us:
    “…no rabbi or community leader should EVER give a sex-offender any amount of kavod or acceptance. A real rabbi/leader would never allow a predator into his shul and would make a point of warning all his community members of the presence of a predator. That isnt loshon horah, rather, it’s leadership.”

    Dorron Katzin
    Chicago

    • imtaubes says:

      Well, Dorron Katzin from Chicago, I will have the decency to take time and reflect on the thought experiment even if it has little to do with what I’m saying. But I ask for you to show me the same respect as you did not answer my original question. I did not ask what your personal opinions are regarding whether you thought I was a liar or not. The fact that you personally believe that what others are saying is factual does not change the fact that my father has been slandered.
      Regardless, I asked “I Knew Them All”: If someone publicly slandered a member of your family, whether it be your child, your sibling or your parent, and said things you knew were false, what would you do?” That was my question.
      Don’t attempt to fight with me as I do not wish to take part.

      • I Knew Them All says:

        Yitzie,

        Can I ask that you listen the mp3 I posted of Rabbi Willig’s mussar? Seriously.

      • Dorron Katzin says:

        Mr. Taubes,

        As Elliot Pasik sets forth more clearly below, your father has not been slandered. Therefore, your question as merely theoretical. Nonetheless, I will endeavor to respond.

        In the event that I felt that a member of my family had been slandered, I would of course respond. As I mentioned above, I do not believe that has occurred here.

        I await your response to the “thought experiment”.

        Dorron Katzin

        P.S. I am not attempting to fight with you. Nor am I calling you a liar. It is natural for a son to rise in defense of his father. I again refer you to the comments of Elliot Pasik at 2:21pm ET today.

  58. Elliot Pasik says:

    Mr. Taubes, I appreciate the defense of your father. Nevertheless, speaking as a lawyer, there are times, and this strikes me as one such time, when it is just not wise for one family member to advocate for another. Surely you can see that dispassionate observers can call your objectivity into question. Blood is thicker than water.

    Going back to the alleged offending words, we’re not talking about that much – only this one sentence in David Cheifitz’s RCA speech is being complained about:

    “How is it possible that the current principal of MTA, YU’s high school, regularly hosts Baruch Lanner in his shul, and even had him in his home at a community open house on Purim this year, as an honored guest, at the same time that YU is diligently investigating the accusations about George Finkelstein and others?”

    You keep calling this a slander – strictly speaking, that word means defaming the reputation of another. This sentence does no such thing. At worst, there is a small factual dispute about how many occasions, over what period of time, Lanner attended your father’s shul. That’s just not slander, and actually, by you repeating slander, you’re chilling other advocates from speaking out, because they will be afraid of getting skewered on the Internet, or even sued.

    I do agree – “honored” guest should not have been said. Mr. Cheifitz explained the word as “sardonic”, and not to be taken literally. But – I think you’re nitpicking here, and losing the overall message of Mr. Cheifitz’s excellent speech – and nobody else is complaining about any other part of it.

    One important message here is that there is no halachic doctrine of rabbinic immunity. When Rabbi Michael Taubes, or a Rabbi John Doe, permits a convicted sex offender in his shul, the simple truth is, that people are going to talk – on blogs, at home, or on the street. Jews talk. We’re supposed to talk. And these are the things we’re supposed to talk about, i.e, “Did you hear that a convicted sex offender is davening by….”

    And just to be clear. A convicted sex offender does have post-release legal rights. But what rights? Again, what shul if any, should he be allowed to daven in? I don’t believe this should be a one-rabbi decision. I also don’t know how the decision was made in Rabbi Taubes’s shul. I do believe the board and the members, and knowledgeable professionals, need to be consulted, and only then, a decision made. I also don’t believe it is productive for rabbis to overreact, and get very defensive, when their judgments are called into question, particularly when the source of the comment is an abuse survivor and advocate.

    • imtaubes says:

      Mr. Pasik,
      Thank you for your appreciation. I don’t really care what the dispassionate observers think or do. They are not my concern. I will repeat what I’ve said earlier, it is not the RCA speech that I am responding to, I am responding to this blog post. The definition of slander: “slander n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed.” And that is exactly what I believe has transpired.

      You may see some of the many problems I have with this blog post as small factual disputes but, with respect, I do not agree. You claim my father overreacted and got very defensive, I will repeat what I said earlier; were you part of their phone conversation? Do you know what transpired? You are correct though, Jews talk and it is can be productive at times. Unfortunately there are many times where rampant gossiping is unproductive and results in people assuming things that are factually incorrect.

  59. David Cheifetz says:

    Isaac Moshe Taubes

    The truth hurts. I am sorry.

    I suggest you calm down. Your points have been made. Witnesses can be produced regarding the presence of Baruch Lanner at the Congregation Zichron Mordechai, at your home on Purim, and at your brother’s wedding. So I suggest that stop using the word “slander”. I have shared facts.

    And, for your information, I did have a person in the room with me when I had the one hour phone conversation with your father. So there is a witness. So it if ever comes down to a he said/ he said, I have will bring in a third party to share what he heard.

    The fact is: Your father exhibited very poor judgment — Welcoming a convicted, notorious sex offender in public settings, in the locus of where many of those offenses occurred. And your father is the principal of MTA! Repeating yourself again and again will not change the facts.

    What signal did your father’s actions send to victims and survivors in Teaneck? What signal did your father’s decisions send to people concerned about the treatment of abusers within the confines of Yeshiva University?

    יג לֹא תוֹסִיפוּ, הָבִיא מִנְחַת-שָׁוְא–קְטֹרֶת תּוֹעֵבָה הִיא, לִי; חֹדֶשׁ וְשַׁבָּת קְרֹא מִקְרָא, לֹא-אוּכַל אָוֶן וַעֲצָרָה. יד חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּמוֹעֲדֵיכֶם שָׂנְאָה נַפְשִׁי, הָיוּ עָלַי לָטֹרַח; נִלְאֵיתִי, נְשֹׂא. טו וּבְפָרִשְׂכֶם כַּפֵּיכֶם, אַעְלִים עֵינַי מִכֶּם–גַּם כִּי-תַרְבּוּ תְפִלָּה, אֵינֶנִּי שֹׁמֵעַ: יְדֵיכֶם, דָּמִים מָלֵאוּ. טז רַחֲצוּ, הִזַּכּוּ–הָסִירוּ רֹעַ מַעַלְלֵיכֶם, מִנֶּגֶד עֵינָי: חִדְלוּ, הָרֵעַ. יז לִמְדוּ הֵיטֵב דִּרְשׁוּ מִשְׁפָּט, אַשְּׁרוּ חָמוֹץ; שִׁפְטוּ יָתוֹם, רִיבוּ אַלְמָנָה.

    13 Bring no more vain oblations; it is an offering of abomination unto Me; new moon and sabbath, the holding of convocations–I cannot endure iniquity along with the solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed seasons My soul hateth; they are a burden unto Me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

    (Isaiah, Chapter 1)

  60. J.L. says:

    Isaac: I think most people here including Cheifitz have said they understand your reaction and that you should always defend the honor of your family, but that’s not really the issue we as a community are confronting, is it?! You can fight the defamation battle, though I suppose as attorney Pasik instructs, you are unlikely to get much of anywhere with it, since its pretty much undsiputed that Mr. Lanner has been a guest in your home and has prayed at your father’s shul. Your defamation claim comes down then, I guess, to a question of what is meant by “regularly,” and there I suppose the conclusion is a matter of opinion, something not actionable as a defamation claim. Perhaps you would do better to stop worrying about whether there has been defamation; something tells me your father isn’t going to have much trouble weathering the storm. His RCBC colleague on the same street down by River Road seems to say all kinds of mean spirited and crazy things including defending the perpetrators of abuse and no one seems to mind. Now is a time to take sides — are you with moving forward to help the victims or will you perpetuate the status quo that believes things aren’t really as bad as the allegations claims, that Lanner has been “rehabilitated” and is a model of teshuva and and that the RCBC and other rabbinic organizations are capable of handling this issue even though they are nogeah b’davar. Which side are you on?

  61. imtaubes says:

    I have remained calm throughout all of this. I was part of no yelling match. You and I seem to have different definitions of the word fact. Your blog post was filled with errors, you have even admitted to some of them in the comments section, but most people do not read the comments section, they see your post and assume every letter is true. This is my last post as there is no more to be said.

    כ בְּאֶפֶס עֵצִים, תִּכְבֶּה-אֵשׁ; וּבְאֵין נִרְגָּן, יִשְׁתֹּק מָדוֹן.
    כא פֶּחָם לְגֶחָלִים, וְעֵצִים לְאֵשׁ; וְאִישׁ מדונים (מִדְיָנִים), לְחַרְחַר-רִיב.
    כב דִּבְרֵי נִרְגָּן, כְּמִתְלַהֲמִים; וְהֵם, יָרְדוּ חַדְרֵי-בָטֶן.
    “20 Where no wood is, the fire goeth out; and where there is no whisperer, contention ceaseth. 21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body.” (Proverbs Chapter 26)

  62. David Cheifetz says:

    Was it wise for the current principal of MTA to publicly host Baruch Lanner with this brewing?

    http://forward.com/articles/180007/former-yu-high-school-students-file-m-suit-cla/

  63. Emanuel Newgant says:

    Isaac M. Taubes: I don’t know you or your father, I have no idea of how “nice” either of you are, I have no idea how old you are, or how wise you think you are, but without intending to be insulting, in relation to what is being discussed on this particular post, I am certain that you do not “get it”. This is factual, unless you are just pretending not to get it. I suggest you do as you have stated several times above, but have proved that you were not telling the truth by not carrying thru: you should “not continue this dialog any further.”

    • Jack Lavin says:

      Emanuel Newgant I have no idea how old wise or nice you are but if I had to guess it’s not very. Your comment was clearly meant to be insulting and disrespectful. He has left the conversation so stop trying to instigate. it is unbecoming and counterproductive.

      • Emanuel Newgant says:

        Jack: When someone supposedly intelligent, as IMT is purported to be, doesn’t get it after this long series of very personal comments, I do lose respect for that person. He doesn’t even show the humility to admit that he may not understand what’s flying, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. I’ve had enough discussions with apologists and enablers and their defenders to recognise them when I see them, and eventually I lose patience with them and tell them to get lost when they won’t stop pretending. Not all points of view have equal weight: “things happened a long time ago so let’s just get over them” is no longer an acceptable point of view.
        Is that ok with you?

        • Jack Lavin says:

          No it is not ok with me. I have been following this with great interest and I don’t recall him ever stating anything even along those lines. he has made clear his defense of his father and that certainly doesn’t make him an apologist or enabler. that makes him a human being. perhaps you should keep your temper in check and think before you write something you might regret

  64. Dorron Katzin says:

    A Catholic friend sent me this essay. It is part of a training module for Catholics who have responsibility for the well being of children. It is obviously directed to a Catholic audience, but much of what is written is appropriate to anyone who is concerned with the protection of children.

    Protecting God’s Children for Adults – Listening to the Silenced – By Paul Ashton, Psy.D., D.Min.

    “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

    Silence is Golden—or is it? It is said that you can find God in the silence. But can you? You can break silence, reduce someone to silence, and give your consent by being silent. It is said that silence can be deafening—or worse—silence can be deadly. We can hurt others equally with our silence or comfort. Like many things, it can be either good or bad depending on how it is used.

    Our language contains many ways to soften the meaning of words by using other words or terms to lessen the impact of an event, feeling, or action. A euphemism substitutes a more, vague or mild word or expression for one considered too severe or direct. The ancient Greeks used the term euphemism meaning, “to keep a holy silence” (speaking well by not speaking at all).

    It seems that we are living in a “culture of silence” or keeping to the unwritten code of some universal silence. It should be understood that silence, when not chosen, can indeed be deadly. Silence, when inflicted upon another is paralyzing. It immobilizes persons and freezes them in places too dark for minds to accept. It condemns a person to repeat a never-ending cycle of anxiety, which instigates an exhausting search for triggers and ways to avoid them in life.

    Because we know that what happens to a victim of child sexual abuse is overwhelming and destructive we tend to use euphemisms to make it easier to bear. Sometimes the use of these euphemisms contributes to silencing victims. Perpetrators of sexual abuse rely on our discomfort with this topic because it reinforces shame and thus silences the victim into not telling. I have heard perpetrators euphemistically refer to the “relationship” they shared with their victim. These were not relationships—they only resembled relationships. They were grooming behaviors carefully orchestrated by a perpetrator to get closer to a child and his or her family. Grooming confuses both the children and the adults in their lives to create a more hospitable environment to commit a vile crime. Any other words soften the reality.

    Victims hurt. And when others want to make it all “okay” by using words that make it look and appear less evil, it hurts further. We should do everything we can to call sexual abuse what it is, name the demon, and move forward toward healing from a dark place to a place of light.
    In May 2010, the National Review Board (see works cited) presented the following ten points about what they learned from the sexual abuse crisis. It is honest, direct, and clear language that names things about child sexual abuse, as they ought to be named. They are well worth repeating here and reflecting on, in the hope that we come closer to understanding what victims face and try harder to listen to their stories more and the excuses of the perpetrators less.

    1. We have learned that it takes great courage for a victim/survivor to come forward with his or her story after years, sometimes decades, of silence and feelings of shame.
    2. We have learned that to the victim/survivor it is so important to finally simply be believed.
    3. We have learned that, in spite of their own pain and suffering, many victim/survivors are just as concerned that the Church prevents this abuse from happening to more children as they are about themselves and their own need for healing.
    4. We have learned that, while each individual’s story is different, what is common is the violation of trust; some survivors trust absolutely no one to this day, while others have been able to work through this pain with the help and support of loved ones.
    5. We have learned that today there are methods of therapy that work particularly well with and for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and that individuals can be helped even after many years of unsuccessfully trying to simply “forget about it.”
    6. We have learned that very many victim/survivors have lived for many years with the belief that they were the “only one” to have been abused by a particular priest.
    7. We have learned that the abuse has robbed some victim/survivors of their faith. For some this means loss of their Catholic faith, but for others it means loss of any faith in a God at all.
    8. We have learned that, while some victim/survivors have been unable to succeed in various areas of life (marriage, employment, education, parenting, etc.) as a consequence of the great emotional/psychological harm, others have gone on to lead very healthy and productive lives. We have learned that between those two “ends of a continuum” there is as much variation as there are numbers of victims.
    9. We have learned that to be privileged to hear an individual victim/survivor’s story is a sacred trust, to be received with great care and pastoral concern.
    10. We have learned that we still have much to learn.

    Works Cited:
    The National Review Board is an advisory group of 13 laypersons with expertise in areas such as law, education, media, and psychological sciences. The board was established in 2002, when the U.S. bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People to oversee efforts of the Office for Child and Youth Protection. The National Review Board is responsible for a three-year Causes and Context Study undertaken by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The study looks at the clergy sexual abuse of minors problem to ascertain the factors led to it and how it can be prevented going forward.

  65. Lanner Victim says:

    I have read this repetitive debate with great interest. I have was once very close to Rabbi Taubes and still have a great deal of love and respect for him. I was also once a student and, later, a victim, of Lanner. I once loved him and I later hated him. Today, he means nothing to me. He no longer consumes my life or my soul. But, what is the statute of limitations on sexually abusing children? Is 6 years enough? 10? “You ruined scores of lives, you sexually and physically abused teenagers, but after 8 years, we will welcome you into our homes and our shuls.” I dont get it. Has he EVER publicly apologized? Has he contacted his victims for teshuva? I do not know of a single victim who has received any message of regret from him. No, it wouldnt matter and I would not accept his apology. but, how can ANYONE say he is sorry? Or done teshuva? or is cured? And, with any doubt on those fronts, no one, but especially not those involved in our children and education, should be embracing him or sidestepping his crimes. but, I digress. I don’t care about Lanner anymore. I care about Perry Tirschwell, Matt Tropp, and John Krug. Those unapologetic Lanner supporters/defenders/apologists are STILL teaching and interacting with our children. Every day. They have publicly supported Lanner – – even while was on trial. While he was in jail. And, while he was committing his crimes. Some (Krug) vilified and attacked accusers. How is he the head of guidance in a yeshiva high school?
    So, here is the takeaway, for rabbi Taubes. The crime of orthodox leadership was in facilitating and defending and supporting Lanner. it compounded and worsened his crimes. Perhaps as bad as the crimes themselves. Many have learned the lesson. Most have changed their ways. But, with that context, you can see why Taubes’ chummyness with Lanner is more than just inappropriate. it raises the question – – has he learned anything from the past? Has YU learned anything? Can you imagine the message and the lesson if our rabbis scorned and ostracized our pedophiles until they met certain public criteria for teshuva. Apologize publicly. And privately. Get public counseling. Get constant help. Show sensitivity to the community. Taubes is a leader. He is an educator. He is charged with protecting our children. let the social workers, private sector, and family friends welcome Lanner and exchange mishloach manot. Let our educators, do NOTHING except watch over our children and stay clear of ANYTHING that comprimises or blurs that message.

  66. disappointing says:

    Reading through these posts I felt ill. I have lived in this community my whole life and at no other point was I ever so ashamed to say that. You may think what you like about what has happened in the case of Rabbi Lanner- most of us, myself included, have only about %50 of the information- no mater how many wiki/blog/facebook articles we read- but to attack a man and to say horrific things to his son because you disagree with him is ridiculous.

    I do not like what happened with Baruch Lanner. I am disgusted when I hear of sex offenders whos victims and misdeeds are ignored and I would be proud to be part of a group whos aim is to correct this problem but that doesnt seem to be the case here. There are many avenues to travel if you are trying to work on a problem in our community and many social workers and even Rabbis who will work with you, but a post like this does nothing but spread miss information, stir anger, and bring forth the fools. In fact from what I have read fixing a problem and helping our community is not the ultimate goal, it seems that in truth the goal of this was to attack and tear down Rabbi Taubes. If that is in fact your cause you are entitled to it, foolish and misguided though it may be, but have the decency to come out and say what you mean. If you were trying to bring attention to a real issue you may have tried doing a bit more research first, getting more of your facts straight and actually speaking to those involved before writing about it. Dont wrap your personal anger at Rabbi Taubes in a real cause it is deceiving, insulting to our intelligence and ends up harming the cause you are using.

    Personally I do not daven at Rabbi Taubes shul, mostly because they start to early and the davening is a bit long but I can assure you I would not feel any discomfort davening there now, nor would I feel uncomfortable sending my child to his school. I trust Rabbi Taubes, I trust his judgment and I dont think he would ever put his congregation or community in harms way.
    The pointless slander of Rabbi Taubes’ name in this manner and -almost more importantly- the attacks and verbal assaults on his son- a young man who has managed to keep his comments more appropriate and to the point than many of the people going after him- needs to stop!

    I can only hope that with Tisha BaAv approaching everyone will take a moment to think better of their actions and their words and I hope that God might show us more forgiveness and understanding than we seem willing to show one another.

    • I am disappointed in your tactics. Classic. First a gesture to civility followed by character assasination. There is not much point in engaging in fisking your argument. You are saying that this is slander, motivated by mindless malice or even motivated malice. Having dropped the line, you argue R. Tabubes is the best thing since sliced challah, and imply that that the good citizens in Teaneck are ready to go out on the streets with pitchforks and torches to defend a great guy and then all daven there in a show of solidarity. There is you argument. You didnt have to use a whole screen to obfuscate.

      Simple fact- Close to 5,009 people have come to this webpage, this is spreading virally. It is not because of any magical powers, bribes, threats, etc. Teaneck is a community of sophisticated people who know the essential facts and they are outraged and getting more outraged. The era of Lanner power is OVER. He still has his few hanger-ons and buddies. But Lanner’s hold is over.

      This is progress. Keep up your tirades. It only helps motivate people to respond to you and others like you.

  67. Neal says:

    im Taubes.. your father wrote me a letter in response to something I wrote to him , in 2000 after the trial where he clearly states that you ( Neal ) need to understand as”lanner has gone through a lot also.. it hasnt been easy on him..”
    Are these the words of person who exhibits good judgment ? or are they the words of someone who at best is an unconcious victim himself… I shudder to to think of the alternative.. because that would make your father the worst kind of enabler of pedophiles like lanner.. and I know him NOT to be that way at all.. That said.. it is clear that there is block within your father regarding who and what type of animal lanner is…. I suggest you ask your father if he attempted to facilitate lanner speaking with some of his victims ( yet another game by the pos lanner ) and then advising them that he wasnt “chyav” to ask more than three times…. once again.. your father’s judgement begs scrutiny….I know your father for many years.. was his student and daresay friend.. he needs to be judged on his behavior.. not just on how we want to believe him to be.

    • Neal,

      Thanks for sharing the information. This business of asking three times and being absolved is a distortion. Even if someone is completely sincere in repairing damage, he is not absolved by asking. However a person who refuses three SINCERE requests is considered a rashah. However, there is no mitzvah to accept an insincere apology. That makes a mockery of teshuvah.

      However, this nonsense keeps on being peddled by those who specialize in rehabilitating molesters. If R. Taubes was an am haaretz, I would say it was merely an innocent misunderstanding. But Rabbi Taubes is well known to be a learned man. How can he not know that?

      BTW, Neal did you mean to say after the Special Commission report in 2000 or after his trial and conviction in 2002?

      • Just a Civilian says:

        As a thought experiment: Were Lanner undertaking teshuva for chilul hashem for the rest of his mortal days, what would he be advising Rabbi Taubes right now? YU?

        Loss of conviction, on manifest empirical grounds, in the prudential wisdom of the rabbinate is no mere abstract matter, it is a tangible and painful harm — most of all for survivors, in an inclusive sense, but very significantly for the community at large, as the discussion here shows.

      • Benny Forer says:

        Halacha does not follow the perspective that mechila must be given if asked three times. In situations of bein adom l’chavero, the victim has no obligation at all unless he is repaired of the damage.

        E.G., D stole money from V. Many years later, D begs forgiveness and is completely and utterly sincere. V is under no obligation to accept the apology if D never paid him back.

        In areas of sex abuse, this notion is even more compounded. My understanding of the halachic standard is that the amount of restitution is the amount one would pay to not have the harm happen to them. I.e., no amount of money can repay for murder (hence, Arie Miklat are built for accidental killings where the prep didnt even act negligently. In actual negligent scenarios, arie miklat dont work and the “restitution” is the perps life!). Even assuming Lanner asked mechila, no one is obliged to give it and he certainly is not off the hook unless he repairs the damage he has done.

        That leaves us with the question: How much would any of Lanner’s victims pay to not have this harm befall them. The answer is no amount of money could satisfy the harm. Thus, Lanner is actually an unrepentant and still culpable person. He should have to live with that shame and should be treated as such….a leper who is unwelcome in any community.

        • Emanuel Newgant says:

          Excellent Benny. Nice to see people finally calling it as it is. Unpleasant message, but true. Oh, and before the whingers start demanding of the victims to act “lifnim mishuras hadin” etc, they should reread the last line of this post: “We must always remember to save our rachmanut (mercy) for the victims, and not the perpetrators that destroy our children’s souls.”

  68. Moshe says:

    For those seeking to evaluate the soundness of Rabbi Michael Taubes’ judgement on matters relating to Baruch Lanner and sexual abuse, here’s a bit of background information:

    Taubes was one of Lanner’s major supporters back in the days of YU’s “kangaroo court” beit din in 1989 that covered up Lanner’s abuse, and which forced the man who dared to publicize the truth about Lanner to recant.

    In 2003 — half a year *after* Lanner’s conviction — Taubes hosted a controversial appearance, in his shul, of Rabbi Mordechai Willig — one of the YU rabbis on the so-called beit din and a major enabler of Lanner — in which Willig spoke on the topic of Jewish parenting and education(!). A group of people formerly connected with NCSY wrote and circulated a letter objecting to Willig’s appearance, and questioning Willig’s suitability to speak on the topic of raising children, given his history as a willing enabler of a sexual predator. When a Jewish newspaper published an article about the letter, Taubes responded by attacking the letter-writers, saying that their objection to Willig was not a “real issue”. He also attacked the paper for having reported the story. (The Jewish Standard, “Willig talk draws protests because of Lanner link”, January 30, 2003).

    • Moshe says:

      One small correction: Taubes was a sponsor of Willig’s 2003 appearance, but it wasn’t held in Taubes’ shul; it was in Cong. Beth Abraham in Bergenfield.

      • Jack Lavin says:

        That’s a pretty large correction…

        • Emanuel Newgant says:

          And you are saying this purely to be totally objective, right? Mr Lavin, I have formed an opinion about you, as I am sure you have/will about me…

        • Moshe says:

          You’re entitled to believe that if you wish.

          Most objective people, however, will understand the significant points as follows:

          (1) Taubes sponsored and promoted a lecture on Jewish parenting by a man who willingly protected a sex offender, and who knowingly enabled that offender to go on sexually abusing countless Jewish children.

          (2) Taubes publicly disparaged those people who objected to the lecture, responding that their claim of inappropriateness was not a “real issue”.

          (3) Taubes attacked a newspaper for informing the Jewish community of these peoples’ objections.

          • J.L. says:

            Moshe, is this the article you refer to?

            By JOANNE PALMER

            The Jewish Standard (Teaneck, NJ) – January 30, 2003

            A controversy with its origin in the Baruch Lanner affair is arousing strong emotion in parts of the Orthodox community in Teaneck and next-door Bergenfield.

            On Sunday at 8 p.m., Rabbi Mordechai Willig, a member of the 1989 bet din, or court, called by Rabbi Lanner, is scheduled to speak about chinuch habonim — loosely translated as Jewish parenting — at Cong. Beth Abraham in Bergenfield. Some current and former area residents are protesting his talk because of his connection with that case.

            Willig and Rabbi Herschel Schachter are both listed as speakers at Beth Abraham; both scholars are on the faculty and roshei yeshiva at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. They are members of TorahWeb, a group of RIETS faculty members whose writings are available on the Internet. Their talk is being sponsored by Beth Abraham and congregations Bnai Yeshurun, Keter Torah, Rinat Yisrael, and Tzemach Dovid, all in Teaneck. Lanner is the former Orthodox Union employee who has been accused of sexually and physically abusing some of the teenagers with whom he worked for more than 30 years. In June he was convicted of sexually abusing two young women who were students at the Hillel Academy in Deal, where he had been principal, in the mid-1990s; he is now out on bail pending appeal. In 1989, Lanner sought to clear his name against allegations of abuse made by Elie Hiller, then of Teaneck, who had circulated a letter making public some of the charges that had simmered against the charismatic rabbi. The bet din, according to the NCSY Special Commission the OU had charged in 2000 with unraveling the story, “concluded that Hiller’s allegations were `unsubstantiated or highly exaggerated,'” although it also concluded that Lanner had “kneed teens in the groin, used `salty’ language and engaged in `crude talk with sexual overtones.'” According to the commission’s report, when its members interviewed witnesses, “Many of the members of the OU and NCSY leadership familiar with Lanner, as well as all the members of the beis din, told the commission that, in their view, Lanner either engaged in conduct unbecoming a rabbi, was not someone they would have hired or was not someone they wanted their children to have as a role model.”

            The decision, or psak, of the 1989 bet din was not made public; instead, it was released on a “need to know” basis. Instead, misinformation abounded. The NCSY report found that “a senior professional of the OU and NCSY misrepresented the findings of the 1989 beis din as being an affirmative approval for Lanner to continue his employment with NCSY. This individual also falsely suggested that the beis din was responsible for continuing to monitor Lanner. This unfounded and exclusive reliance on the beis din caused the organization to abdicate its responsibility to investigate Lanner’s conduct and to take action against him.

            “The description of the beis din’s September 1989 psak (the beis din chose not to issue its psak in written form) as a complete exoneration of Lanner and as a mandate for allowing Lanner to continue his work for NCSY was simply not true….

            “These inaccurate representations about the findings and role of the beis din continued over the course of the next 10 years.”

            In 2000, Gary Rosenblatt of New York’s Jewish Week wrote an article about Lanner; it caused an uproar. Lanner’s employment with the OU ended the day after the article appeared; the OU commissioned the report, assembled by a group headed by Richard Joel, now head of Hillel and soon to become president of YU. The article led to changes at the OU and to the court case in Monmouth County.

            When Willig’s talk in Bergenfield was announced, a group opposed to his appearance tried to have it stopped. People on both sides set up a marathon meeting where they attempted to come to some understanding. Despite what have been described as good-faith efforts to reach a compromise, none was reached. People on both sides say they hope to continue the conversation, but so far scheduling difficulties are said to have interfered.

            This weekend, The Jewish Standard obtained a copy of an open letter being sent to the presidents of Beth Abraham, Bnai Yeshurun, Rinat Yisrael, and Keter Torah. The letter, signed by 19 people, all of whom have had some connection with NCSY, says, “We are writing because, in light of Rabbi Willig’s public history regarding parenting issues, we do not believe that he is an appropriate presenter on the topic [Jewish parenting] and we want to urge you to reconsider your shul’s sponsorship.”

            The letter goes on to say that the 1989 bet din “demanded that Hiller publicly apologize for his statements, apparently prejudging the case in Lanner’s favor. Had he permitted the Beit Din to function fairly, perhaps Lanner could have been stopped a decade and many victims earlier. More troubling is Rabbi Willig’s silence since the proceeding, which fed (and continues to feed) the impression his Beit Din created: that the Beit Din vindicated Lanner and found against Elie Hiller….

            “Actually,” the letter continues, “the Beit Din found Lanner guilty on three charges, including physically abusing children entrusted to his care…. The Beit Din knowingly sealed its psak to protect Lanner’s reputation, refusing to release its written decision publicly….”

            The writers say that they have chosen to speak now because “Rabbi Willig has delivered several addresses over the last two-and-a-half years on issues of child-rearing and/or sexual abuse. He has had ample opportunity to share with the community the hard lessons of that Beit Din from long ago. But he has never sought to explain his actions or offer his perspective on what happened at the 1989 Beit Din and afterward, so that as a community we can make sure the mistakes are not repeated.”

            The Jewish Standard telephoned Willig to ask if he would care to address the situation. He faxed a statement to the newspaper. Signed by all three of the rabbis who sat on the bet din — the other two are Yosef Blau and Aaron Levine — it reads:

            “Several weeks ago, we met at length with Elie Hiller and a group of concerned individuals to discuss their perceptions, concerns, and expectations. “The group conveyed to us then its strong feeling that some perceive that in 1989 our bet din had vindicated Baruch Lanner and vilified Elie Hiller. On the contrary, we never intended this regretful result. In fact, we informed the group that Lanner was guilty of a number of charges.

            “Our commitment to meet with Elie and members of the group remains steadfast. We do not think it is appropriate to comment publicly at this time.”

            Over the phone, Willig said that he is not comfortable talking to the press, but Leon Meltzer, who has known all three of the rabbis on the bet din since the mid-1980s and counts them all as friends, acted as his spokesman. “About the three rabbis — these are three good guys,” Meltzer said. “No malice was ever intended. They are respected by their communities, they are respected by their students, they are respected by their colleagues. They would never defend actions they had found to be wrong.

            “Elie Hiller demonstrated a lot of courage in stepping forward,” he added. “And unfortunately, in the aftermath of the din Torah he paid a price for his heroism.”

            Emphasizing the NCSY Commission’s report on the bet din, he pointed out that the bet din, which met only for the Lanner case, had disbanded. It had no ongoing role as Lanner’s overseer. What followed the issuing of the psak was miscommunication, according to Meltzer.

            He said that the rabbis, who do not live in New Jersey and do not move in the circles frequently by NCSY members or their parents, did not know that their psak was misunderstood. “I never heard these stories either,” he said.

            “As far as I know, no one ever told them.”

            Two of the shul presidents who received the letters did not return the Standard’s telephone calls, and one is out of the country. Mike Roth of Bnai Yeshurun did return a call. He said, “I would not pull my sponsorship. There’s not enough time to investigate, and I feel no need to investigate. I don’t feel that we have enough information at this point to do anything. This is opening up an old wound. It’s finished. Lanner’s going to jail. I would just drop it at this point. There’s no proof in the letter, and no one in any other community is making an issue of it. Inasmuch as that’s the case, we’re not looking into it any further.”

            Rabbi Michael Taubes of Kehillas Tzemach Dovid, who is also menahel of the Mesivta of North Jersey, was forceful in his disapproval of the situation, and of this newspaper for writing about it.

            “It seems that certain people have a grievance in terms of Rabbi Willig,” he said. “The letter wasn’t addressed to the newspaper, and it shouldn’t have been sent to the newspaper. I’m sure lots of people write letters about lots of things that don’t appear in the newspaper. In what way is this a public issue?”

            He dismissed the controversy as having no merit. “I don’t know if there is a real issue,” he said. “It seems to me that people are looking for a platform to make a big issue. The letter indicated that the people who were involved spoke with Rabbi Willig in person. Okay, they weren’t satisfied with the response. How does that make it a public issue? What does that have to do with the rest of the community?”

            “Whoever sent in the letter sent it in because he or she or they knew that this is a way for it to become a public issue. I believe they’re looking for a soapbox, and I find this is wrong.”

            The people who signed the letter are all connected to NCSY, mainly as former members or staffers. They are Deborah and Todd Baron, Teaneck; Robert Dinerstein, Commack, N.Y.; Daniel Geretz, Highland Park; Nechama Goodman, Bergenfield; Shayndee and Dani Hiller, Hollywood, Fla.; Jordan Hirsch, Teaneck; Mindy Chassin Horowitz, New York, N.Y.; Marcie Lenk, Cambridge, Mass.; Laurie and Steve Kurs, East Windsor; Tova and Avi Sacher, North Miami Beach, Fla.; Aubrey Sharfman, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Allen Sragow, Long Beach, Calif.; Howard Sragow, Bronx, N.Y.; Murray Sragow, Teaneck; and Daniel Wildman, Edison.

            • Moshe says:

              I believe so, although there were other articles that appeared on the topic as well.

  69. elliot76 says:

    Personally, I give the survivor-victims much leeway in terms of the things they say. Its therapeutic. I quote the pasuk, Tsedek, tsedek tirdof, l’maan tihye… Just by pursuing justice, you live. you become empowered. You avoid depression, and self destructive behaviors. The psychologists recommend this type of activity.

  70. Emanuel Newgant says:

    I am in Australia, and don’t know Taubes. But reading on this post about his ACTIONS, as opposed to how how nice his children and defenders think he is or want him to be, is very interesting: we have the same nonsense over here.

  71. YU - Torah Madua says:

    The house that Lamm built has no kiyum. Lamm left the Torah Vodaas that his grandfather co-founded to seek “enlightenment”.

    First his hero Michael Broyde who Lamm called the “gadol hador” was hoisted by his own petard and displayed for the world to see what a fraud he is.

    Now Stormin’ Norman’s own corruption has some to the fore.

    If Dr. Lamm still had his mental faculties the question to ask him would be, who are the REAL “cavemen”, Norman?

    • GAON says:

      Dr. Lamm claims he made a mistake in “judgment”. No person with an IQ over 80 could have made a mistake in judgment in letting known sex offenders take new jobs at other institutions without revealing them as sex offenders. And while it may be that now, that is in fact his IQ, tragically, due to evident senility, a mistake in judgment it never was, ;: it was a political and PR decision. Sacrifice the lies of dozens and dozens of boys to keep the name of Yeshiva U. pristine. Strange that at his advanced deteriorating age he has the mental faculty to use the phrase “infrangible and pellucid”. Kol Hakavod Dr. Lamm. and your ghostwriter.

  72. YU - Torah Madua says:

    Norman Lamm is the modern orthodox counterpart of Torah Temimah’s Lipa Margulies.

    They are both megalomaniacs who won’t let anything – even the blood of innocent children – get in the way of their pride and their institution’s “good name”.

  73. joanne berger says:

    I’ve decided to re-emerge on this blog because I have a totally new point to bring up. I am not going to discuss the propriety of whether or not Rabbi Taubus should have invited Rabbi Lanner. Too many facts are unclear for me to have a conclusive opinion. I do feel that given all that is going on, it certainly was not the politically correct thing to do. Of that I am sure. What I am going to focus on is something that bothered me from the very beginning and recently my doubts have increased.
    David Chaifetz delivered a talk before the RCA. When I read that talk something struck me as very strange and I ask you to approach this with a clear, unemotional, unbiased perspective. Here was an individual who is supposed to be relating his own personal incident of abuse at Camp Dora Golding. In that talk he DOES NOT identify:
    a) the nature of the abuse (which I can understand because it may be too painful)
    b) the alleged abuser by name
    c) the camp director who allegedly callously & brutally sent him home
    d) the camp friend who allegedly heroically reported the incident (although that may be deemed irrelevant)
    In short, there is a COMPLETE ABSENCE OF ALL IDENTIFYING SPECIFICS. I found this to be very odd. On this blog abused past victims seem to have no hesitation to give many specifics. At first I thought that Mr. Chaifetz was perhaps being overly kind and protective due to “lashon hara”, but that can’t be. He had no problem discussing Rabbi Lanner by name who he himself admits he never met and has absolutely no firsthand knowledge about. He has no problem identifying and criticizing Rabbi Taubes by name, despite his position in the community. Yet, when it came to his own personal story, there wasn’t an iota of authenticating data. He presents his story of abuse an that’s it.
    Subsequently, I started my own inquiries. I called several people from Cam Dora Golding whom I have known for years and have absolutely no vested interest in this entire issue. I asked them to look into this matter. After a week of research, they each came back with the same story. There was absolutely no confirmation as to the truthfulness of Mr. Chaifetz’s account on ANY LEVEL.
    While I am not prepared to challenge the integrity or veracity of Mr. Chaifetz, I am equally not prepared to ignore the truth. I would therefore very much appreciate Mr. Chaifetz at least furnishing us with the name of the Director who sent him home and the name of the abuser. While his comments on the wisdom of Rabbi Taubes’s actions, or the lack of same, stand on their own and require no verification, his claims of abuse and his positioning himself as a victim of abuse DO require verification. If we are going to be skeptical about everybody else we have to be equally skeptical of a person who claims something and refuses to substantiate it. If Mr. Chaifetz would have indicated from the start his sensitivity towards lashon hara I would not bring this up. But once he has dropped the challenge and has drawn the sword I now have the right to know what his credentials really are. I am sure that there will be hot heads on this blog who will scream and yell and pronounce the rights of the victim and my lack of sympathy towards the victims of abuse. I don’t direct these remarks to them. I direct it to the rational people among us.
    If Mr. Chaifetz can validate his credentials then I apologize in advance for even bringing this up. But if he cannot or if he chooses not to then even if his comments about Rabbi Taubes and Rabbi Lanner are 100% correct, he has shown himself to be….

    • aweisbrot says:

      This has to be the stupidest, most offensive post yet! Would ANYONE publicly shame themselves or their family or their children by inventing a story of childhood sexual abuse? The details of Chaifetz’s story had no relevency to his recdent speech or blog post. Would Joanne Lanner demand that every time he raises any issue relating to abuse, he begin his discussion by identifiying the specifics of his personal nightmare? I have no idea why Joanne feels SO strongly that she needs to defend convicted pedophiles or to attack those who claim abuse but I hope she decides not to re-emerge anymore. And, please stay away from children (just in case).

    • Jordan Hirsch says:

      Joanne, in his talk he did mention the name of the director who sent him home. David Himber. I guess it did not make it into the print version. He did not mention Taubes by name until after Taibes called him.
      The story took place in the late 70’s. I doubt anyone who was there then is there now. I know that on the blogosphere, people get heated, but in all his speeches and meetings, Cheifetz has explicitly stated that his immediate goal is to use his experience to address systemic and cultural issues. Taubes is only an issue insofar as it shows that leaders are not sufficiently sensitized to the significance of their actions. To label it political correctness understates the potential for adverse reactions among abuse survivors, as well as the mixed signals leaders can send regarding tolerating abusers. It’s why I have said all along that no one questions Taubes’ intentions. Well, not me anyway. But that doesn’t change the result. Feel free to discuss this with me offline. I live in Teaneck and am easily found.

      • joanne berger says:

        Mr. Hirsch,
        1) Thank you for supplying the name David Himberg.
        2) I would like the name of the abuser.
        3) I would like Mr. Chaifetz to verify these names online.There is no reason for you to be representing him on this issue, although I appreciate it.
        4)The people I spoke to were all from that era. When Mr. Chaifetz will supply the names requested I will be glad to supply Mr. Chaifetz with the name(s) of the people I spoke to.

        • Jordan Hirsch says:

          I only know David Himber’s name because I was at the speech, and as per conversations with Cheifetz himself. But I have to say, he does not have to pass muster with you, regarding his story. You are trying to undermine his credibility for no other reason than you do not like what he is saying. Of you would like to discuss this further with me, I will only do so in person.

        • “Joanne Berger”

          I use quotes around the name you are using. You claimed to be an attorney in New Jersey (in a sex crimes unit); however, there is no person with that name admitted before the bar in the State of New Jersey.

          Don’t expect to be taken seriously unless you reveal your real identity.

        • Benny Forer says:

          What shocking chutzpah!

          The distinction between a public figure and a rabbi hosting a convicted sex offender vs a victim’s choice of silence on a predator is vast beyond belief. What makes you think you have a “right” to demand such information from David? Additionally, legal issues may prevent revelation of the perpetrator for a number of reasons. You’re callous and inappropriate attempt to blame the victim is shocking.

          As an actual DDA, I can smell a rat when I see one. My instincts tell me that you are not a DA for NJ, regardless of fake name. My prediction is that you are a solo criminal defense attorney who has previously represented sex-offenders in court (hence, the self styled “attorney in a sex offense unit”.

    • J.L. says:

      Gee let’s consider the logic here. Somebody leading a rather normal and comofortable life decides one day to write an article in the Jewish Week in which he states right at the beginning that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child. He decides to make that revelation because he is watching additional abuse cases all around him and rabbis preaching (as one very outspoken one only a mile from his home did) that those molested but barred from pursuing leagl action by the statute of limitations should not speak up. He decides further that it is not enough for him to make that revelation but he should disrupt his professional and personal life by creating an organization and mechanism to protect the victims since he comes to the right realization that so many of the existing organizations are run by rabbis and former colleagues of the abusers who cannot (no matter how well intentioned) put aside their allegiances to old friends. He throws himself in the lion’s den by speaking truth to power in making the RCA speech. Where “Ms” Beger (or might you be one of those rabbis) is the basis for suspicion? I suspect one day the name of Cheifitz’ abuser will come out and lest you think Dora Golding is so pristine, you might want to find out what’s been going on recently at that wonderful camp?

    • GAON says:

      “Joanne Berger” what is your game here? The vast majority of abused children, male or female, DO NOT describe the specific details of their abuse. If you were abused would you share with the community into which hole of yours the lucky guy inserted??? (halvai aleinu). You make me sick, the rest of your comment is trash, you are ignorant AND evil, and you, my dear “ms berger” as an anonyous commentor have no right to know anything. wth are you in loco elohim, in loco judge and jury. David Cheifetz has to “validate his credentials” for you?. At the moment he has no moral or ethical need to validate anything, for anyone, since he has no open criminal or civil case as far as the public knows. His complaints stand on their own. re this rabbi Taubes. Any other advocate for child abuse victims has the same moral, and ethical right. to criticize Rabbi Taubes behavior given all of the circumstances.

      You want “validation”??, wth do you want, an expletive video tape? Lamm is at least senile, you are insane and evil, a very pernicious combination. I hope no one else answers you on this comment board, although you merit total excoriation.
      Perhaps you have some totally non child abuse score to settle with David??? from perhaps the busiiness world? That could explain your total hatred. You are consumed. I cannot even finish reading your trash.
      just wondering if the moderator of this site, ever investigates the email address, ISP addr of pernicious posters? but you have broken no laws yet, nor has David.

      • >but you have broken no laws yet,

        I’m not sure that “Berger” hasn’t violated the law.
        for example http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article190.htm#p190.25

        S 190.25 Criminal impersonation in the second degree.
        A person is guilty of criminal impersonation in the second degree when
        he:
        1. Impersonates another and does an act in such assumed character with
        intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another; or
        2. Pretends to be a representative of some person or organization and
        does an act in such pretended capacity with intent to obtain a benefit
        or to injure or defraud another; or
        3. (a) Pretends to be a public servant, or wears or displays without
        authority any uniform, badge, insignia or facsimile thereof by which
        such public servant is lawfully distinguished, or falsely expresses by
        his words or actions that he is a public servant or is acting with
        approval or authority of a public agency or department; and (b) so acts
        with intent to induce another to submit to such pretended official
        authority, to solicit funds or to otherwise cause another to act in
        reliance upon that pretense.
        4. Impersonates another by communication by internet website or
        electronic means with intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud
        another, or by such communication pretends to be a public servant in
        order to induce another to submit to such authority or act in reliance
        on such pretense.
        Criminal impersonation in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

    • GAON says:

      “I called several people from Cam (sic) Dora Golding, who I have known for years..”
      Fascinating, joanne….. truly inspiring, you have raised your level of credibility exponentionally.
      A new reincarnation of joanne berger, perhaps I missed your admitting your lie re being an attorney in the State of New Jersey involved with sex abuse cases……
      Was there a confession of the BIG LIE that I missed, or is it just one of the bizarre coincidences that you are both an Attorney dealing in sex abuse cases, and just happen to know several people from Cam Dora Golding for years. Perhaps there were reported cases there even years ago?
      Joanne, who will you be in your next gilgul (reincarnation) on this site?
      This CAT has nine lives.

  74. David Cheifetz says:

    Joanne Berger, or whatever your real name is:

    I find it quite ironic that someone who proclaims herself to be an “attorney in a sex offense unit in NJ” — though whose identity has not been confirmed through web searches — is engaging in the age old practice of questioning claims of the victim, questioning the integrity of the victim, or even blaming the victim. All of this in an effort to impugn my integrity after my having shared confirmed facts about Baruch Lanner’s public presence at Rabbi Michael Taubes’ Shul and home (as well as the wedding of his son).

    For you information, I was a camper at Camp Dora Golding in 1979. There are numerous campers from that time who can confirm my presence and my abuse. In my speech — had you actually read it — I do name the camp administrator at the time: David Himber. Ironically, David Himber had a senior administrator role at Yeshiva University for many years. I invite you to call him. In fact, I would love if he would call me and personally apologize for his failure of leadership and judgment in 1979.

    That I do not name my abuser is at the advise of my attorney. What legal or other actions I am taking vis a vis my abuser are private and will not be shared here.

    I find it hard to believe that you are an “attorney in a sex offense unit in NJ” given your callousness and complete lack of awareness of the psychological and legal implications of discussing such issues. Rather, I find it quite telling that you have consistently referred to Baruch Lanner as “Rabbi” and have even dismissed the severity of his depravity. Clearly YOU have an agenda, and that agenda is not related to addressing the facts around Baruch Lanner’s presence at public settings in the Shul and home of Rabbi Michael Taubes, the Principal of MTA, Yeshiva University’s high school, at a time when it was undergoing an internal investigations for sexual abuse and related cover-ups, in anticipation of the class action lawsuit filed this week.

    David Cheifetz

  75. I suggest you forward the comments of Joanne Berger to the NJ Bar Association and the NJ DA and file the relevant complaints. If this person is falsely claiming to be a lawyer or an employee of the NJ District Attorney’s office he/she may be committing a crime. If this person is a lawyer with the NJ Sex Crimes Division as claimed then his/her comments or participation here may be considered to be entirely inappropriate and unprofessional and may be subject to sanction.

  76. tesyaa says:

    Harry Maryles has a new post out relevant to this one, and it’s not pretty.

  77. Rabbi Maryles is the new chicken little.

    There is no evidence of Yeshiva University being bankrupted by this or any other of its litigation.

    There is no evidence that insurance will not cover any judgment/settlement.

    YU’s audited financial statements would have to disclose if there was any danger of this litigation causing its demise.

    If Rabbi Maryles is really worried about YU’s ability to continue, he should call on its corrupt and callous leadership to resign and ask that the keys be turned over to the survivors and he should call on the survivors to run YU as it should have been with the safety of the children first and foremost.

  78. J.L. says:

    Maryles’ reasoning is non-sensical hysteria that is almost immoral. He is basically resorting to guilt as an excuse for not addressing a terrible problem plaguing the community. His fear is that YU will fall apart if we are too vigorous in fighting abuse of children. Well, YU is not going to fall apart. The lawsuit is not about the abusers and the abuse they inflicted. It’s about YU’s alleged fraud in attempting to cover up the absuse. Fraud is hard to prove when it occurs relatively recently. It is all the more difficult when the fraudulent conduct happened decades ago. Those involved may be dead or infirm, memories fade and tangible evidence is not available. And even if the fraud lawsuit moves forward, it’s very unlikely that the plaintiffs will get anything near $380 million. But whether the fraud claims makes sense or not has nothing to do with the need for there to be absolutely no more toleration of abusers and their enablers. The proverbial Sh-t may have hit this week. Those who were part of letting it happen — actively or just doing nothting about it — should own up to the need to do something about it. That’s what YU and all the rabbis who looked the other way should do: say you are sorry (really sorry) and now is the time to stand with David Cheifitz and those fighting for the victims.

  79. YU student says:

    I think to call the current leadership corrupt and callous is a massive generalization. I also don’t think that most people would agree that the “keys” to YU need to be given to sex abuse victims. Being a victim, as terrible as it is, doesn’t magically enable one to become an educator/administrator.

  80. Yeshiva University lost approximately $110 Million with imprudent investment of its monies with Madoff. Did it lead to YU’s demise?

    I can tell you from reading Rabbi Mayles’ blog that:
    1) he has defended on his blog a notorious old age home operator where people have died and the government found fault.
    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2007/12/morrie.html
    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2007/12/the-accidental.html
    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2011/06/chicago-center-for-torah-and-chesed-honors-alleged-sex-offender-345.html

    2) attacked an advocate over naming an abuser that still lives on a Yeshiva campus. Even though he later backed down on that (when an Orthodox Rabbi later confirmed the claim) but never apologized for smearing that advocate’s name.

    3) allowed his daughters to keep working for a local kosher butcher despite knowing about allegations/rumors of child molestation. He now acknowledges the allegations were true. The abuser remains free but is monitored by the Orthodox community in Chicago.

    4) has a relative who got permission from a beis din to take the alleged abusers of his son to the regular courts in regard to allegations of child molestation. Rabbis in Chicago convened ther own beis din for the alleged abusers who were friends and put the father in cherem where he remains.Rabbi Maryles characterizes it as a “seduction” and has not taken any steps to have the cherem removed against the father or to condemn the injustice of putting him in cherem.

    In fact, he props up and defends this corrupt system that protects pedophiles and related rabbonim who only have to say “oops, I’m sorry my protection of pedophiles and sacrifice of children became public”.

    I am tired of Rabbi Maryles attacks on survivor advocates and survivors’ motives.

    Anyone who posts about the motives of survivors as is seen in his post titled “Is It About the Pain or the Money?” from a few days ago has no place in any dialogue about fixing what is clearly broken in our community. Rabbi Maryles is no advocate for justice or truth. He is a fraud for pretending to be. And an example of why the system remains broke.

  81. And let’s not forget that Rabbi Maryles has some arrangement with Yori Yanover of the Jewishpress that allows Yanover to use Rabbi Maryles’ blog as part of the online Jewish Press. Mr. Yanover is no friend of justice for the survivors of abuse.
    http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2013/05/the-appalling-jewish-press-smears-6-year-old-alleged-child-sex-abuse-victims-234.html

  82. >I think to call the current leadership corrupt and callous is a massive generalization.

    Joel’s the guy on top currently and the allegations in the press and in the court filings do not paint a pleasant picture. What did they do about advising the community in Florida about Andron again? Zero.

    >I also don’t think that most people would agree that the “keys” to YU need to be given to sex
    >abuse victims. Being a victim, as terrible as it is, doesn’t magically enable one to become an
    >educator/administrator.

    I never said they would be educators or administrators. YU doesn’t have a lay board? So let the survivors own the institution and hire and name an educator/administrator. Can they hire worse than those currently/recently in the positions Rabbi Lamm and Joel? Clearly, the survivors of abuse have more compassion for the potential next generation of survivors of abuse then the entire leadership of YU combined. The former named Andron in court filings. The latter were content to let him continue to exist in secrecy.

    As to corruption, I would note the following which smells like corruption and raises the specter that no survivor will get a fair shake before any beis din in the modern Orthodox world that appears to demand that survivors step aside and allow another Lanner-esque coverup:

    Tablet magazine appears to allege that Rabbi Broyde may have commented on the YU child abuse scandal (that also has implicated Rabbi Broyde) using the fake identity of David Weissman in a Jewish Week article (Needed: Independent Investigation On YU High School Scandal, Mon, 12/24/2012, by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld who wrote “The investigation should not only be limited to Yeshiva University. One former student claims in the Forward that he shared his accusations with Rabbi Michael Broyde of the Beth Din of America who dismissed his charges without giving him a proper hearing. We need to know whether or not this accusation is accurate.”:

    http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/129385/top-rabbi-admits-fake-identity

    A cursory look at the Jewish Week comments raises suspicions regarding several of the other comments:

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/needed-independent-investigation-yu-high-school-scandal

    Harry Weissberger

    Hillel Gold

    Miriam Goldstein

    It is a very serious matter if a leading dayan in the modern Orthodox world is “sockpuppeting” on a major abuse scandal in an effort to sway public opinion by attacking a critic who wants a fully independent investigation (I do not want another Richard Joel report that whitewashes the scandal by protecting the names of people at YU who protected the child abusers at the expense of children as was done at the OU/NCSY with the Lanner report). Why would a powerful dayan with ties to his powerful friend Rabbi Lamm be allegedly commenting that Richard Joel should be conducting the investigation? This smells. Particularly in light of the allegations against Rabbi Broyde in the recent Forward article:

    http://forward.com/articles/168012/yeshiva-officials-rabbis-knew-of-alleged-abuse/?p=all

    In 2000, former student Twersky said he approached Michael Broyde, a Modern Orthodox rabbi who had just left a position at Beth Din of America, the official religious court of the RCA. Twersky asked if he should bring charges against Finkelstein in the beit din, and said that Broyde advised him that the allegations were “not flagrant enough.”

    Broyde said he does not recall the exchange with Twersky “in any way, shape or form.”

    “I don’t even know who Mordechai Twersky is,” Broyde said. “If he said he was sexually assaulted, I would have said to call the police.”

    Twersky said Broyde ought to remember him; they were in the same constitutional law class at Yeshiva College in 1983. During the late 1990s, Beth Din of America retained Twersky for public relations work that involved “working closely with Broyde on the marketing materials for their newly established rabbinic court,” Twersky said.

    Although he denied knowing about Twersky’s allegations, Broyde, a member of the RCA’s executive committee, said he had heard rumors about Finkelstein. “There had always been a rumor out there that there were kids who said this going back I don’t know how long,” Broyde said.

  83. Arur hagever asher yivtach ba’adam, vesam bassar zero’o.

    I’m not trying to be nice. I think this aptly characterizes Rabbi Maryles and his ongoing perversion of Judaism.

    Rabbi Maryles needs to stop telling us the motives of the powerful protectors and enablers of pedophiles are good and stop questioning the motives of the survivors of abuse and their advocates. We don’t sacrifice children, we don’t sacrifice the survivors of abuse and we don’t sacrifice justice to protect an edifice, an institution, corruption, callousness,the powerful and their pockets. That is idolatry, the antithesis, the opposite of everything the Jewish people stand for.

    • Emanuel Newgant says:

      JWB, you completely sum it up with “the opposite of everything the Jewish people stand for”; the rest is commentary…

  84. Moshe says:

    Harry Maryles: “Yeshiva University… is the only home of Torah U’Mada – that remains true to not only Halacha, but Mesorah too.”

    Apparently, according Maryles, grown men forcing themselves sexually upon boys constitutes “remain[ing] true to not only Halacha, but Mesorah too”.

    • neal says:

      Moshe… listen… some men like little boys… my wife, on the other hand.. happens to wear pants.. we all have our issues….

      • GAON says:

        NEAL, I PRAY YOU ARE IN SOME PERVERTED WAY SARCASTIC, AND THAT I, IN MY NAIVETY HAVE MISSED IT. YOU I PRAY ARE COMEDIAN OTHERWISE, I WISH YOU THE FATE OF SOME OF THE ACCUSED, SPECIFICAALY THOSE IN ARAB COUNTRIES, CUT THE TRIPLEX OFF AND MAKE AN ORAL CONTRIBUTION.
        SORRY I M NOT GOING TO CHECK YOUR PRECIOUS PREVIOUS POSTS ON THIS SITE, PERHAPS THIS IS YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR, AND IF SO, YOU SHOULD BE A BIT MORE CAUTIOUS ON BLOGS SUCH AS yl’S THE HIGHEST QUALITY BLOG AROUND AND I BARELY MEET THE CRITERION BUT DO, SOMETIMES. RE YOUR WIFFE SHE LIKES PANTS, I DO TOO, 365 DAYS A YEAR, ALMOST, SHOULD I BE CASTRATED? BUT THE SURGICAL CORRECION IS INCUMBENT O N THE MALE OF THE SPECIES. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. GOOD CHANCE, I HOPE, THAT YOU ARE A COMEDIAN, . AND THEN I WILL DO TESHUVAH ON MY RESPONSE, Not My RESPONSIBILITY TO RESEARCH YOUR PAST POSTS AND ARRIVE AT A CONCLUSION, EACH COMMENT STANDS ON ITS OWN, SO CAVEAT IF YOU ARE JOKING, AND AND THINK THAT EVERYONE KNOWS YOU, LACHEN YOU CAN WRITE WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WISH.. i WILL LEAVE THAT UP TO YL. SHAVUAH TOV.

        • neal says:

          take a deep breath buddy.. it was sarcasm…. i was making fun of everyone who is wears 2 pairof tefillin but touches little boys.. just because you believe in acause doesnt meen you cant have a sense of humor

          • GAON says:

            SLICHA. IT WAS A LOGICAL POSSIBLITY, AND YES ONE NEEDS TO READ PREVIOUS POSTS OR REMEMBER, THAT IS WHY SOMETIMES, WHEN SOMETHING IS SO BLATANTLY REAL, yl APPENDS “SATIRE OR PARODY” AND I HAVE KIDDED HIM ABOUT THAT. BECAUSE TRUTH IN MANY CASES IS TOO CLOSE TO REALITY, SORRY, IF I HAD THE ENERGY, I WOULD HAVE SEARCHED OUT YOUR PREVIOUS STUFF AND UNDERSTOOD, BEG SLICHA OK? AND NOT BUDDY, BUDDESS. .

  85. With regards to Camp Dora Golding, there is a more recent case of molestation involving the alleged molestation of a camper under 13 years of age by a 19 year old camp counselor, Chisdai Ben-porat of Ottawa, Canada. News reports indicate that Chisdai was arrested and charged on Friday. Although, the case has now been reported in the press and blogs, all fail to report that the alleged abuser comes from a prominent family and that his father, Rabbi Eliezer Ben-Porat is the longtime dean of both Ottawa Torah Institute Yeshiva High School and of Machon Sarah High School for girls. Also troubling is that Chisdai claims on his online profile to have worked for Jewish Family Services.

    • Pierre Trudeau says:

      Rabbi Ben-Porat is a very fine person. What a shame he has this tzorus with his son. I don’t think they will have any trouble mounting a legal defense as the Ottawa rabbis are very wealthy from stock options gifted to them by JDS Uniphase.

  86. Helping victims does not call for McCarthyism says:

    It’s sad that the commentators on this site consistently attack those that disagree with them, viewing everything in black and white and disparaging all who are not totally in line. I also don’t see the benefit of reporting – as jewishwhistleblower does – the family members of the alleged Dora Golding abuser. The criminal should be tried, but not his family.

    I do think Joanne Berger does raise some valuable issues. I am not at all claiming that David Chaifetz is making up his story and I’m sorry that he underwent abuse, but practically speaking what prevents any lonely person that is looking for attention from claiming to have been abused and thus gaining legitimacy? Senator McCarthy was a no-name Senator until he suddenly became this expert on communism and able to declare guilt on anyone he pleased.

    In regards to Chaifetz, I am concerned why this great crusader has no problem going after Rabbi Taubes, deeming him guilty by association (and he named him at the RCA convention before the phone call took place; he also demonstrated his agenda by titling his post “…HS Principal REGULARY hosts a sex offender…” when I think all rational minds would agree that twice in 5 years is far from “regular”), while he has not come forward with the alleged abuser – whom he has all right to hate and whom he has said has been teaching for 30 years. If Chaifetz goes around speaking about how abusers should come forward – which I totally agree with – why has he himself not been willing to come forward, allowing the abuser to continue to be on the prowl?

    • Jordan Hirsch says:

      First of all, I was sitting in the room when Cheifetz spoke. Taibes was not mentioned by name. Second, it wasn’t two times in five years, it was more than that. The situation of Taubes is jot one of guilt by association. No one is accusing him of abuse. The critique of Taubes is merely a questioning of his judgement in an atmosphere when we are asking institutions to distance themselves from any taint of associating or protecting abusers.
      I mean, this sticking up for Taubes is actually ridiculous. Since when are we not allowed to criticize people we have hired to assume leadership positions in our community? No one is accusing him of a crime, no one is claiming any evil intent, no one is saying he thinks Lanner is innocent, although in the past he has made some disturbing comments on that point. All anyone is saying is that a guy that draws a salary from the flagship institution of Modern Orthodoxy needs to avoid the appearance of allowing abusers back into the community! Our Rabbis are not above reproach, and as Rabbi Willig pointed out in YU, even Dovid Hamelech had a Nassan HaNavi. And by the way, Nassan didn’t quietly phone Dovid. He stood up at the court and pointed his finger. Enough already with the mealy mouthed defense.

      • Helping victims does not call for McCarthyism says:

        Mr. Hirsch, are you claiming to be a navi? That would explain some things. Also, perhaps we are reading different texts, but according to my understanding Nassan HaNavi approached Dovid HaMelech in private. If Chaifetz believed that Rabbi Taubes showed poor judgment that would have been the appropriate approach here as well.

        Additionally, calling out the “current principal of MTA” at the conference is essentially saying the name; most in the room already knew Rabbi Taubes was the principal and those that did not could easily find that information. Further, why did it suddenly become ok to name him after the phone call?

        You write that “Since when are we not allowed to criticize people we have hired to assume leadership positions in our community?” Did you hire Rabbi Taubes? Are you a member of his congregation?

        Finally, I had heard it was twice in five years. Regardless, even Chaifetz wrote it was twice in three years, which is still far from the sensational “regular” visits that Chaifetz placed in the headline.

        • Mr or Ms “Helping victims does not call for McCarthyism” have you ever considered being straightforward? You could start by changing your name to “j’accuse Cheifetz et al of McCarthyism but insist I am REALLY on the side of victims”

          Then you go on to “J’accuse Mr Hirsch of pretensions of prophecy.” You continue in this vein through a string of distractions and occasional valid if contestable points.

          Simply, Taubes has been known to support Lanner and oppose his critics going back to at least 2003 (per Jewish Standard article). When you do something for ten years in spite of the anguish it provokes you are either terminally dense or intransigent. Taubes’ acts were public and had public consequences, especially since he is the principal of the YU HS, and especially after the public revelations about his predecessor, George Finkelstein.

          It is legalistic nitpicking to ask Cheifetz or Hirsch hire Taubes? The entire modern orthodox community is a stakeholder in YU through its financial contributions, publicity on its behalf and its involvement in the most profound way when it sends its children to its high schools and undergraduate colleges. Do you really think it is wrong for a member of the modern orthodox community to expect some accountability? Do you think YU’s administrators and Board Members should feel free to ignore the views of the modern orthodox community?

          Do you really think prophets only chastised in private? Do you really want to argue with the tanach literate readers of this blog about this point? Or do you want to quibble with Mr. Hirsch about the specific case of Natan and David? Are you really confused or just intent on confusing and disparaging others?

          Mr …McCarthyism…, Please read the comments policy of this blog and confine yourself to substantive meaningful comments that are not mere repetitions or insinuations.

          Be my guest at forming your own ….McCarthyism… blog. Perhaps you will even be gracious enough to allow others to comment on your blog to the extent you have been allowed the privilege on this blog.

          Have a good fast.

        • Moshe says:

          @McCarthyism: “Also, perhaps we are reading different texts, but according to my understanding Nassan HaNavi approached Dovid HaMelech in private.”

          Apparently you ARE reading a different text. There is nothing there (II Shmuel 12:1-25) to indicate or suggest that Natan’s castigation of David was in private.

          But if your point is the exposure (or non-exposure) to the public of the castigation, then the question of whether other people witnessed Natan’s actual discussion with David is a rather minor one. Obviously, Natan’s condemnation was exposed to the public: The stingingly harsh rebuke — together with an agonizingly shameful, blow-by-blow account of David’s terrible actions — are recorded in excruciating detail in the book of Shmuel, thus perpetuating this sordid, painful tale in the collective memory of Am Yisrael and the whole of humanity for all eternity! According to rabbinic tradition, the narrative was authored by Natan himself. Clearly, Natan believed it proper to publicize the truth, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact that it placed a permanent moral stain upon the House of David for all time (since every member of the Davidic dynasty after David himself was directly descended from BatSheva).

          There IS one point on which I agree with you, however: That the story of Natan and David is NOT an apt analogy to the case under discussion: In the story of Natan and David, the positive aspect of David’s behavior is not that he was innocent (obviously, since he wasn’t) — but rather that when confronted with the truth, he immediately and without hesitation perceived the severity of his crime and confessed. But sadly, the same cannot be said in the case that we are addressing.

    • 1. Joanne Berger is a fraud. She claims to be an attorney in NJ but nobody by that name can be found in any directory of the NJ bar.

      2. When a staff member has the proteksia of an influential family it often leads camps to cover-ups. So the fact is important. If JewishWhistleBlower had not provided the names you would have complained that he was fabricating a claim of family stature.

      3. In the third paragraph we get to your main agenda, defending R. Taubes. You are quibbling. He is the principal of YU’s HS and hosting the most notorious MO molester sends the wrong message.

      4. What makes you so sure David Cheifetz has not taken steps to stop his molester. No doubt, if he does name him in public, you will kvetch again about McCarthyism.

      6. If you are not Baruch Lanner, go back to him and get some advice on how to sharpen your argument. Baruch is good at that sort of thing. He invented Joanne Berger to produce a cockamamie account of how he got off the registry. He fabricated a Sam Vogel impersonator to imply his old colleague still supports him. He contrived a story about davening in the Shul of Rabbi Teitz in Elizabeth to insinuate that R. Teitz disagrees with his brother-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Blau, about Lanner.

      • GAON says:

        Helping Victims, Moshe, (and YL),

        “joanne berger” has proven herself to be a fraud in multiple ways. You may have missed the long comment in which she claims to have questioned various people at “camp Dora Golding” whom she stated that she has “known for many years”.. This was of course PRIOR to recent scandal, as part of her attempt to discredit David Cheifetz. My response to that might have gotten buried. Fascinating (pikanti m’od), that a NJ attorney involved in sex abuse cases, just happens, as it were, to know multiple people at Dora Golding.. I apologize for repeating this, but I think that the comment and it’s ramifications (and my retort) may have been missed by many on both sides. We know she is not a lawyer, Do we know that she is involved with Dora Golding? Or is she just an all-purpose liar? Were there sex abuse cases there “many years” ago? Does she have some other personal connections to the camp?. joanne re-emerges as multiple entities, with multiple lies, with the same moniker, Wonder which other monikers are hers? Ths cat has far more than NINE lives.

  87. David Cheifetz says:

    Helping Victims Does Not Call For McCarthyism

    I will largely repeat what I posted above:

    My integrity is being impugned by a series of seemingly fictional characters:
    — Joanne Berger (who does not appear to exist)
    — The fake Sal Vogel (note the above disvowal of the real Rabbi Sam Voger)
    — An now the No-Name “Helping Victims Does Not Call For McCarthyism”

    It seems that the defenders of Baruch Lanner are like rats, hiding in the shadows, afraid of the sunlight as well they should be. They are attacking me since the notorious crimes of Baruch Lanner are well documented.

    Again I will state: This crew of Lanner acolytes is engaging in the age old practice of questioning claims of the victim, questioning the integrity of the victim, or even blaming the victim. All of this in an effort to impugn my integrity after my having shared confirmed facts about Baruch Lanner’s public presence at Rabbi Michael Taubes’ Shul and home (as well as the wedding of his son).

    For you information, I was a camper at Camp Dora Golding in 1979. There are numerous campers from that time who can confirm my presence and my abuse. In my speech — had you actually read it — I do name the camp administrator at the time: David Himber. Ironically, David Himber had a senior administrator role at Yeshiva University for many years. I invite you to call him. In fact, I would love if he would call me and personally apologize for his failure of leadership and judgment in 1979.

    That I do not name my abuser is at the advise of my attorney. What legal or other actions I am taking vis a vis my abuser are private and will not be shared here.

    Clearly, whoever you are, you have an agenda.

    I have an agenda as well: To change the culture that tolerates and covers up sexual abuse of children in Jewish Institutions. By publicly hosting and welcoming Baruch Lanner in his Shul and at his home, Rabbi Taubes exhibited extreme insensitivity towards Lanner victims, and terrible judgment. What message was sent by the principal of MTA, Yeshiva University’s high school, in hosting the most notorious abuser in recorded Modern Orthodox history, at a time when YU was undergoing an internal investigations for sexual abuse and related cover-ups, in anticipation of the class action lawsuit filed last week?

    David Cheifetz

    • Helping victims does not call for McCarthyism says:

      Mr. Chaifetz,

      You’re attack demonstrates my point. Not everyone who is not on the same page as you is a “rat.” Let’s not get vicious. I – as well as all other posters on this blog – are not arguing about the Lanner. I think we can all agree that his actions were despicable. Further, while not everyone whose posts question your judgment uses their real name, not everyone who is in agreement with you uses their real name either (see “jewishwhistleblower, neal, gaon, etc.).

      Please do not take my questioning as a personal affront. I simply asked what would stop a lonely person seeking attention from claiming to have been abused to gain legitimacy? I’m not saying this is you.

      Since it sounds like you are currently filing some sort of law suit, when do you think this will be made public? I, as I’m sure you as well, am eager to get your abuser away from children.

      • I long ago learned the hard way, that when someone says, “I hope you won’t think me rude,” it is a ploy to be rude. When you say, “Please do not take my questioning as a personal affront” any sensitive person smells an affront.

        Nevertheless let me try and explain to you what you prefer not to acknowledge: very few victims of abuse want to share that painful, shaming experience in public. Very few victims of rape relish the necessary work of testifying at trials. Are there nuts out there? Of course! However, attention-seeking claims of abuse are so rare that raising them is a distraction from the real problem; most abuse is GROSSLY UNDER-REPORTED. People like you exacerbate the problem by your seemingly reasonably-motivated hyper-skepticism. By the way, there are a few spectacular cases of people who falsely claimed to be holocaust victims. But only holocaust deniers obsess about those cases.

        Similarly, I smell a rat in your closing paragraph. Most survivors want to protect other children from abuse particularly by their own abusers. But the path is not straightforward because of restrictive statutes of limitations, liability laws, legal intricacies, and personal issues. If you are as sophisticated as you sound, you know perfectly well that these complexities exist and that no prudent person shows his hand in public. Thus your last question is a disingenuous attempt to question Mr. Cheifetz’s integrity and credibility while shedding crocodile tears. Do us a favor, and come back with future comments that show you have absorbed the rejoinder.

        Surely, given your claimed wish to help victims, you would not want to repeatedly harass them with arguments addressed sincerely, successfully, and at length, in previous rounds. However, if you do, I will exercise my responsibility to maintain the quality of the discussion by excluding repetitious hocking (per my stated commenting policy)

      • GAON says:

        My dear mr “Helping Victims”
        Your comment above, 7/15 5:08PM is undoubtedly the dumbest, most ridiculous comment I have ever read on the internet. Whoever is paying you to post, is simply defeating their own agenda, and throwing out good money. I am certain that there are far more intelligent “free lance commentors for hire”.than “Helping Victims”.
        “I simply asked what would stop a lonely person seeking attention from claiming to have been abused to gain legitimacy?” Dear Lord, is it possible that you are that stupid?, Insane cretin-like remarks like that do not gain you followers, or believers. The opposite. Your employer should demand a refund and go back to the freelance writers, “sell your soul for money list”. And since you have so much time on your hands, if they are not doing something else illegal at this moment,, why not attempt to vindicate your IQ, by telling us how you were gang raped at age three. That might get you the attention you need, and postpone your inevitable replacement from that “freelance sell you soul” list.
        People with high level jobs, professions and large loving families do not fit your ridiculous hypothesis. But you do. Please change your moniker prior to your next post and get some psychiatric help as well. We all thank you.
        Awaiting with bated breath for the next installment of how to employ a cretin.

  88. Moshe says:

    @Uri: “…the facts and conclusions expressed by Sam Vogel and Joanne Berger have convinced me that attacking either Rabbi is inappropriate…”

    @McCarthyism: “I do think Joanne Berger does raise some valuable issues.”

    Well, now, a pattern certainly seems to be emerging here.

    Isn’t it interesting that the people whom “Uri” and “McCarthyism” find most “convincing” and “valuable” are:

    (1) a self-described “attorney in NJ” whose name doesn’t appear in the directory of the NJ Bar Association, and

    (2) a fraudulent impersonator who stole the identity of a real person and posted comments under that person’s name.

    Apparently we have a sock puppet mutual admiration society on this thread.

    There can be little doubt that “Joanne Berger”, “Sam Vogel” (not the real one, of course), “Uri”, and “McCarthyism” are all the same person. And that person may quite possibly be Baruch Lanner, or someone who drinks his Kool-Aid.

    • I don’t know if they are one person. The scariest thing about Lanner is his talent for manipulation which is definitely still in full bloom even if he has stopped assaulting boys and girls (perhaps because he has no access). He is very good at getting others to do things on his behalf and he knows how to twist things around. It is scary to realize that there may be several different folks all functioning in sync and yet independently, all throughly deceptive and yet able for a while to fool others, all able to sow confusion and divisiveness. This even more than the risk he will molest more kids is why he must be prevented from having influence or respectability.

      • michael says:

        Those who knew Lanner ( and I did) know that he is a manipulator 100% of the time. If he really wanted to live in peace he would not live in NJ and he certainly would never show up at Rabbi Taubes house and he would not have had the Chutzpah to ask Rabbi Teitz to be Mesader kIddusihin. But this is his sickness which he will never be cured of. He right now is relishing the problems he has caused for Rabbi Taubes. Knowing Lanner like I did I would not be surprised if he did not manipulate Taubes into inviting him and making sure everyone saw him so Taubes could be harmed.( I don’t put it past Lanner to have called Taubes an hour before Shabbos and say you owe it to my new wife to invite us or she will leave me etc.) Rabbi Taubes is a good man and he should use this coverage to say my son comes first look at all the pain you caused him NEVER CALL ME AGAIN! and Rabbi Taubes should not listen to Lanner’s response.

    • GAON says:

      Moshe,
      You are almost 100% correct. However, the writer of “joanne berger” and that of “MyCarthyism” aka “Helping Victims”, could not possibly be the same person. “joanne berger” while being a liar and total fraud writes with a fair bit of intelligence, albeit fraudulently.. Contrast that with our “McCarthyism” poster, and it will be abundantly evident that they are not the same author. Splitting hairs here, but hey…..depends on who is the chosen redactor of the day….

  89. Freddy says:

    great article

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