Haaretz reports there is a new Israeli Facebook based, all-volunteer Haredi group supporting victims of sex abuse.
The scene captured by the surveillance camera shows an ultra-Orthodox man trying to force himself on a young boy in the narrow entrance of an apartment building.
It happened last month, on Purim, in the Israeli town of Bnei Brak. Within a few hours, the footage was posted on Facebook. Almost immediately, the assailant was identified, and two days later, he was under arrest.
That would not have been the normal course of events 10 years ago, five years ago or even six months ago. But reporting sexual abuse is no longer as taboo as it once was in the ultra-Orthodox community, and among those who deserve credit for this change is a group of young Israeli crusaders fed up with the long-standing silence about such crimes in their midst.
Their newfound organization is aptly named Lo Tishtok (Thou Shalt Not Be Silent).
I would point out that this group has no official sponsorship, At this point in the Haredi world, official sponsorship usually dampens or eliminates an aggressive stance on reporting abuse to the police. Therapy for victims is now OK, but not getting Haredim thrown in jail.
Evan served as our Youth Director with great distinction. He was beloved by our children and parents alike……
I cannot help believe that the charges herein reflect aberrational conduct on Evan’s part…..
Having worked together with Evan for two years, seeing his sensitivity, thoughtfulness and acts of kindness first hand, and knowing of his good character that render the charges herein atypical of his true nature, I would respectfully urge the Court to… sentence Evan to [the] statutory minimum.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
Above are some excerpts from a letter written by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky to help a convicted child molester, Evan Zauder. But first some context.
Steven Pruzansky is the rabbi of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, an 800-member, modern orthodox synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey. In two successive postings on his blog (here and here) he derided the claim that there is a serious problem of rape on college campuses. Instead, he insists it is a byproduct of a promiscuous culture where women who are disappointed with their relationships proceed to contrive rape charges.
In a long essay decrying the claim that there is a “rape culture” which rationalizes rape, he has very few words for decrying rape. But just to seem like he is on side of angels he does write, “Certainly, one is too many, but few of these claims involve the old-fashioned and execrable assault by a stranger in some dark alley.” Continue reading
Purim is fun. Purim is drinking. Purim has people coming and going in all sorts of places. Purim means too many kids who are not sufficiently supervised.
Purim is paradise [pardes and the English paradise are Persian words] for sex abusers. They themselves may be less inhibited while under the influence. Giving alcohol to younger boys can make them less resistant to influence and to abuse. Afterwards, the offender can claim it was silliness, not as claimed, abuse. I have heard too many stories of abuse that happened on Purim, typically involving older boys or young men with teens. Similar stories also happen other times of the year in Chabad with its ubiquitous vodka. That elixir of kiruv (outreach) knocks down boundaries and restraints. Continue reading
Repost. First posted 3/29/15
Back in May 2014 I announced my Kosher Madness Contest on FaceBook
We now have kosher certifications on toilet paper, toilet bowl cleaner, and injectible life-saving medicines.
CHALLENGE: come up with the most absurd new terrain for a kosher certifying agency.
I never got around to announcing winners and forgot about the contest. But, now with Passover around the corner, I was reminded of this again when I saw a pesticide certified as kosher for Passover. Then there were the baby wipes because you can never start too soon or fail to cover every angle.
Kosher for Passover Pesticide
I returned to the submissions and picked out my favorites, lightly editing the submissions and occasionally taking the liberty of adding in a detail of my own.
Here are some of my favorites in the order in which they were submitted. I came up with 18, an auspicious lifeblood number for all the vampire hucksters hoping to suck some money and life-blood out of the naive. Continue reading
A few weeks ago (2/23/16), Shoresh, a Baltimore/DC area day camp, sent parents an email about an alleged abuser on their staff (see full text below). At first glance it is very reassuring. It seems to tell the story we want to hear. They got an abuse allegation, they promptly suspended the alleged abuser, notified the authorities who investigated, and the suspect was cleared. And they notified parents.
“Unsubstantiated” is not the same as “ruled out.”
But the letter is deceptive. It states the allegations were eventually deemed “unsubstantiated.” That is not a clean bill of health under Maryland’s system for classifying allegations reported to protective services. This is what I found perusing the website of Maryland’s Child Protective Services.
At the completion of every CPS investigative response, a determination is made as to whether the reported abuse or neglect is indicated or unsubstantiated or ruled out. Anyone believed responsible for an indicated or unsubstantiated finding of child abuse or neglect is entered into a central confidential state database. (Maryland Child Protective Services).
This database is available to be checked by those considering hiring someone to work with children or for checking prospective foster parents or adoptive parents.
So usbsubstantiated is not the same as ruled out. It just means the evidence is not strong to take actions such as removing a child from custody of a parent or guardian, but it is sufficient to justify caution about allowing someone access to work with children or otherwise care for them.
Will this employee’s suspension be lifted?