Yair Hoffman’s Absurd Defense of Lipa Margulies

I call the recently deceased Rabbi Lipa Margulies a Rasha because he knowingly kept on child molesting Rabbi Yehuda Kolko as a teacher at his Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Flatbush (see here and here)

Rabbi Yair Hoffman wrote an obituary for Margulies in Vos Iz Neias, the NY based Haredi news website: “HaGaon HaRav Chananya Yom Tov Lipa Margulies ob”m Passes Away.”

It includes this gem: “Not everything, however, was perfect or ideal.  The Avos themselves had, at times, made what appear to be miscalculations that could have chas v’shalom jeopardized the future continuity of Klal Yisroel.  Avrohom Avinu had to be told to listen to the wise advice of Sara Imeinu in ensuring that Yishmael not be kept around Yitzchok Avinu… Sometimes, other Gedolim perceive the true depth of such dangers – whereas others do not.  Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l had argued with Rabbi Margulis on such a matter.” 

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A Chronology of Kolko’s Molesting & Lipa Margulies’ Protection

Some of you have asked me for the details that justified my calling Lipa Margulies a Rasha

on the day he was buried. So here is the chronology of just some of the events:

· 1967 – While working as Dormitory Counselor at Yeshivas Mir, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko calls a student (name withheld) out of his dormitory room and begins discussing matters of a sexual nature with him while rubbing up against him in an aroused state. This abuse continues for the remainder of the school year and into the summer season at Camp Agudah. This student is now a distinguished Manhattan attorney living happily with his partner in New York City and insists that his lifestyle choice has absolutely nothing to do with his abuse by Kolko.

· 1969 thru 1971 – Rabbi Yehuda Kolko begins abusing Dovid Framowitz in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas of Flatbush (now known as Yeshiva Torah Temimah) and Camp Agudah, the details of which abuse are now public knowledge. Mr. Framowitz, a grandfather living in Eretz Yisroel, has not gone a day since being abused without reliving the unspeakable agony he suffered at Kolko’s hands.

· 1972 – Rabbi Yehuda Kolko sexually abuses two young campers (names withheld at the request of the victims) in Camp Agudah who complain to their counselor. Their counselor reports the complaint to Rabbi Simcha Kaufman. The abuse of these two boys cease for the remainder of that summer. Rabbi Simcha Kaufman is a co-worker of Kolko in Yeshiva Torah Temimah (more on Kaufman below) and was a co-worker of Kolko in Camp Agudah until 1976 when Kolko voluntarily left Camp Agudah after he co-founded Camp Ma-Na-Vu with Rabbi Lipa Geldwirth, another co-worker of his at Yeshiva Torah Temimah.

· 1977 – Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, employed as a rebbe in Yeshiva Torah Temimah in the morning, is employed in the afternoons by Yeshiva Karlin Stolin as Secular Studies Principal. During the course of his short tenure in Yeshiva Karlin Stolin numerous complaints are lodged by both students and parents (names withheld at the request of the victims) accusing Kolko of sexually abusing boys in the yeshiva. Rabbi Shmuel Dishon asks Kolko to leave the employ of the yeshiva.

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A Rasha Was Buried Today in the Satmar Cemetery

Rabbi Lipa (Leopold) Margulies died and Yeshiva World News ran the headline: “Petira of HaRav Chanaya Yom Tov Lipa Margulies ZT”L” 

Normally, like any decent Jew I don’t believe in saying bad things about a niftar on the day of his levaya and kevurah. After all, even a man hanged by beis din is not left out unburied. But nowhere does it say that we call that man a tzadik. If we start calling criminals tzadikim, the kovod of real tzadikim is cheapened. 

Some will say, but wasn’t he a marbitz torah? Didn’t his Yeshiva Torah Temimah provide a fine chinuch for many children from Flatbush and beyond. And yes, for some it did. But for others it was a torture chamber. The torturer was Rabbi Yehuda Kolko and the chamber master who allowed it was Lipa Margulies.

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Why I Dislike the False Accusations Meme

The endless invocation of false accusations in many of the Haredi responses to the Walder serial rape scandal is being used as an excuse for rabbinical vetting before going to the police. I don’t deny that individuals can be falsely accused. It can happen. But they are rare while most abuse complaints are true. What is common is falsely accusing victims of lying or of some other shortcoming to justify ignoring their report. In practice writing or talking about false accusations becomes an obstacle to reporting many valid allegations of sex abuse and instead diverting the complainant to skeptical rabbonim for permission to proceed with a criminal complaint. This is because:

1. Most rabbonim are incompetent to evaluate the truthfulness of a complaint,

2. Most rabbonim are biased towards not believing allegations because they tend to be more concerned about reputations and community image than about facing the difficult implications of an abuse scandal

3. Many rabbonim are nogeiah b’davar, have a conflict of interests because they have some personal, organizational or familial connection to the alleged abuser or to others with such a connection to the abuser.

4. Rabbonim and other respected frum Jews are so averse to seeing a fellow frum Jew be convicted that a number of them have lied on the witness stand, contradicting things they knew and said in private about the guilt of the defendant.

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Schools Should Stop Laying Responsibility on Kids for Preventing and Reporting Abuse. And They should Tell the Truth about It

This is how to message parents in the aftermath of Walder’s exposure. Notice how they don’t place the burden on kids to prevent abuse. It was written by a UK school in consultation with drawing on posted advisories by Migdal Emunah, the UK advocacy group and service group for victims of abuse and their families.