New Satmar Purim Rules – Satire

Ayatollah Khameini and Obama costumes are OK. Zionist costumes are still forbidden unless embroidered in 10″ or larger letters with the word “Haman.”

This year a hashgachah is required on all Israeli flags to assure they are completely flammable. The flags must be labelled “only for burning which be completed before the Purim seudah. If charred elements escape into space you own, recite kul chamirah.”

Have a Freilich Pirim!

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Lessons Learned at the Australian Royal Commission

by David L. Morris
Executive of the Magen Child Protection Agency in Bet Shemesh.
First appeared on his personal blog, Tzedek-Tzedek

David Morris 2The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was mandated in 2013 to investigate and draw up recommendations about child abuse cases and the handling of child abuse allegations, mainly in religious institutions and communities.

The Commission was initially specifically in response to reports of abuses in the Catholic Church, and the various child abuse scandals which came to light in Australia, and the systemic cover-up of offenders by the Church’s institutions.

David Cyprys

David Cyprys

In the past two weeks, the Commissions has turned its attention to child abuse cases and the response to these allegations in Jewish institutions, primarily the Yeshiva Centers in Melbourne and in Sydney, both run by the Chabad movement.

The picture which has emerged has shocked not just the Jewish world, but has been widely reported in scandalous terms in the non-Jewish world also. Continue reading

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Coleen Balbert Resigns as Brooklyn DA Chief of Sex Crimes

Coleen Balbert

Coleen Balbert

Coleen Balbert, the Chief of the Sex Crimes Bureau at the Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney, informed her staff in the last few days that she tendered her resignation to the DA and is returning to the Manhattan DA office where she headed a similar unit according to DA sources. A  search is underway for a replacement. It seems that other promising candidates are leery about working for DA Kenneth Thompson who is turning off many of his executives with his misdirected temper tantrums. That was a factor in ADA Balbert’s decision to decamp.
Continue reading

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Moses Braunstein, Boro Park Hasid, Charged for Promising Penis Enlargement to Minors

Moses BraunsteinThe Brooklyn DA has charged Moses Braustein with trying to lure underage Boro Park boys with a promise of penis enlargement.  His pending charges include, attempted luring of a child, acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17, and disseminating indecent material to a minor. He was arrested on February 25, 2015 for acts alleged to have been committed on February 12, 2015. Continue reading

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Baltimore Jewish Life “Defrocks” Chaim Halpern in Father’s Death Notice

Chaim HalpernChaim Halpern is the Hasidic rabbi of a synagogue in London’s Haredi neighborhood, Golders Green. However, most other rabbis in the neighborhood have condemned him for sexual misconduct with women he counseled. His father, Rabbi Elchonon (Chuna) Halpern just passed away. The Haredi websites, Matzav and Yeshiva World News just published death notices listing him and his brothers as rabbis. In contrast, the Baltimore Jewish Life did not call this miscreant a rabbi, even though he has ordination and a congregation. Instead, their notice includes this text: Continue reading

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An Open Letter to Batsheva Hersko

Guest post by Michael Lesher an orthodox Jew, a practicing attorney, and the author of numerous articles dealing with child sexual abuse and other topics including Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., 2014)

Rabbi Mendel Epstein

Rabbi Mendel Epstein

Dear Ms. Hersko:

Last week, as Rabbi Mendel Epstein and several Orthodox Jewish co-defendants went on trial to face kidnapping and extortion charges, a letter percolated throughout the Orthodox community, purportedly written by you – Rabbi Epstein’s daughter – that urged all Orthodox Jews to pray fervently for the defendants. The letter did not mention the guilty pleas already entered by some of those charged, leaving the reader to assume that you seek acquittals for the accused regardless of whether they actually abducted and tortured men, as alleged by federal prosecutors, in order to force them to grant religious divorces to their wives.

I do not know you, and I do not know for certain that you actually wrote this letter. For my present purpose that is unimportant. In responding to the letter, I am not writing to you personally; instead, as an Orthodox Jew myself (and therefore one of the intended recipients of the appeal), I want to address some very troubling claims the letter makes.

I will not waste time on the charge that the federal prosecutors are crypto-Nazis, motivated by “pure evil,” whose true “end game is to arrest and imprison as many Orthodox Jews as they can.” That sort of thing is too childish to require a response; I mention it only because it was purportedly written by a practicing lawyer who boasts of being “very familiar with secular courts, witnesses, litigation, etc.” in criminal as well as civil matters. One can only marvel that you, a devoutly Orthodox Jew, have been able to work in that system for so many years without noticing (until now) that it houses a vast anti-Semitic conspiracy. For that matter, it’s pretty astonishing that someone who can write “we must not be quick to judge others” and “we must watch every word we say” can also insist, in the same letter, that Rabbi Epstein is being prosecuted by a gang of vicious bigots – without presenting the slightest evidence to support the charge. Continue reading

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Australia’s Royal Commission Blew Open the Story of Sex Abuse in Chabad

Zephaniah Waks and his son, Manny Waks

Zephaniah Waks and his son, Manny Waks

Child sex abuse is covered up by intimidating victims everywhere in the ultra-orthodox world from Israel to the US, from the northern reaches of Canada and Europe to the southern tips of South Africa, Argentina and Australasia. Periodically some unusual victims break the code of silence and the civil judiciary tries, convicts, and sentences the offenders. But most of the predators continue to offend protected by the community which covers up the crimes and intimidates the witnesses. The rabbis who orchestrate the cover ups escape unscathed.

But an unusual set of individuals and circumstances changed the game in Australia. Many of those complicit were exposed on national and international media, top rabbis were forced to resign their positions. “Peak” Jewish bodies in Australia have denounced this sordid pattern. Chabad, the dominant group in the Australian rabbinate, is reeling. Even its international organization was forced to implicitly apologize and promise to behave better in the future. All this got sensational coverage in Australian media and the Guardian (UK). Continue reading

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