“Sex Abuse Is a Plague in the Ultra Orthodox Community” According to Author Judy Brown

Judy Brown 1Judy Brown (aka Eishes Chayil) had this to say about sex abuse when interviewed by Sara Scribner about her new book, This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir.

Sexual abuse was a plague in the [ultra orthodox Jewish] community… because they denied its existence, allowing pedophiles full freedom to sexually molest children.

Before I ever wrote a word of “Hush,” I had written for years in the ultra-Orthodox world. My writings were taught in their schools. Being a writer brought me readers, and they would tell me their stories. And more and more of them were about sexual abuse…

You begin to hear a pattern. Something happened… but you can’t think about it in a world where it is denied. You deny it to yourself… You just think about it as an isolated event. You think this isn’t the community. It’s just me or her or him…

This isn’t some theoretical concept. It’s young adults committing suicide one after another. It’s people who go through hellish agony trying to untangle themselves and deal with the trauma. It’s knowing that as long as you are silent there’s another person you are literally killing. For me that book [Hush] was survival. So the ugliness that it unleashed was a nightmare to deal with. It’s something that still hurts me to think about. I guess it always will.

I never thought of it in terms of an artist. It was just something that was in existence in the most brutal way and the only thing I feared more than publishing it was not publishing it.

Bodenheimer Agreed to Sex Offender Probation

Rabbi Gavriel Bodenheimer

Rabbi Gabriel (Gavriel) Bodenheimer, convicted sex offender

Richard Wiesenthal commented on Rabbi Gabriel (Gavriel) Bodenheimer pleading guilty to child endangerment:

This bum stood in court and pled guilty to endangering the emotional, and physical welfare of a young child. He agreed to *”SEX OFFENDER PROBATION” for three years and is unable to enter his own sub standard school as well as any other school.

Granted the plea doesn’t include jail time, but to have a once respected Rabbi in the community stand in a court room and admit that he willfully hurt a child that resulted in sex offender probation says it all .What kind of a person does that: a predator, a pervert, and a person with no moral compass. I am afraid that this low life has a spinning top rather than a moral compass.

Any parent who has willingly sent their child to his school after he was indicted by a grand jury on the original charges is guilty of endangering their own children. I would have loved to see the bum go to jail. I support the death penalty for the likes of this predator. But I am more than pleased that the ordeal for the child and the family is over. Continue reading

Breaking- Bodenheimer Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges: Gets Probation and Is Barred from Schools

According to Lohud Rabbi Gabriel (Gavriel) Bodenheimer pled guilty to child endangerment instead of facing trial on charges of  three counts of first-degree criminal sexual act and one count of first-degree sex abuse including oral and anal sex with a seven-year-old boy. Bodenheimer, was principal for decades of the Bais Mikroh school in Monsey.

[UPDATE- See Bodenheimer Agreed to Sex Offender Probation]

for other Frum Follies posts on Bodenheimer, click here.

Taubenfeld Trial Closing Statements Scheduled for this Afternoon at 2

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld’s defense completed its presentation of evidence yesterday afternoon.

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld

Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld

Closing statements are scheduled to start in the Rockland court-house this Friday afternoon (7/24/15) at 2:00 p.m. The Judge, Rolf M Thorsen, said yesterday, that he will announce a date for verdict at the end of today’s session. [update- the verdict will be announced on Thursday, July 30 @ 3:00 p.m.] Taubenfeld waived his right to a jury so the judge alone will determine the verdict.

His reasons for waiving a jury are the subject of much speculation. His defenders claim that a Rockland jury would be biased against a Hasid in the current climate of county tensions between orthodox residents and others over the practices of the Hasidic dominated East Ramapo School Board.

Skeptics, and there are many, suspect undue influence on the judge by some parties in Taubenfeld’s New Square village, the home of the Skver community. The community has a disciplined block vote almost completely swayed by the decisions of Grand Rabbi (Rebbe) Dovid Twersky. During the 2000 US Senate race, the Rebbe endorsed Hillary Clinton and she carried New Square by 1,400 to 12! In most other orthodox communities, the vote favored her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio. President Clinton then shocked folks by pardoning four Skver fraudsters on his last day in office.

While Judge Thorsen’s term runs to 2024, some professionals in court-house circles say he is hoping to run for a higher judicial position. If so, Skver’s campaign contributions and votes could be influential. Yet others just take it for granted that Skver will yet work its magic through an outright bribe. Continue reading

Justice for the Children- Some thoughts from the Taubenfeld abuse trial

by Pesach Sommer on his blog, Pesach Sheini

Leiby, Accuser of Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld

Laiby Stern, Accuser of Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld

I know that I can’t have held my breath for 1 ½ hours this past Friday. Still, as i sat in the courtroom listening to Laiby Stern testify about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his former neighbor Moshe Menachem Taubenfeld, a powerful and influential member of the Hasidic community in New Square, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.

As I listened to Laiby as he was cross-examined by the defense lawyer I felt so many different emotions rise up inside of me. Perhaps the strongest emotion that I felt was anger. Anger at the dozens of men who were there to support Taubenfeld. Men who smiled, smirked, and even laughed each time Stern, who has a learning disability, was tripped up by the high-paid defense attorney. Anger at a community that instinctively circles the wagons around its most powerful members, rather than protecting those who are most vulnerable. Anger at a community that refuses to recognize the dangers posed by abusers in their community, where the abuser might receive, at most, a beating and a warning to not do it again, or, if they are influential enough, no consequence at all.

I also felt anger at the fact that the community fears the outside world more than it fears its children being hurt, and anger that it blames the victim for any subsequent problems  he or she might face, rather than holding the abuser responsible. Continue reading

Gateshead’s Rabbi Zimmerman Challenges Community to Stop Covering Up Child Abuse

Shraga Feivel Zimmerman

Shraga Feivel Zimmerman

Rabbi Shraga Feivel Zimmerman, the community-wide rabbi of Gateshead, UK, an important ultra orthodox Jewish community, recently delivered a stinging rebuke to the community for its past handling of child sex abuse. Rabbi Zimmerman, broke with past community patterns in testifying for the prosecution in the recent trial in Manchester of Rabbi Todros Grynhaus on child sex abuse charges. Grynhaus, who was a student in Gateshead, was convicted and sentenced to thirteen years. Notes of Zimmerman’s weekly (7-11-15) Sabbath sermon were posted on the FaceBook page of Migdal Emunah, a British anti-abuse organization. (See image of full sermon below.) Rabbi Zimmerman’s rebuke included these words (emphasis added):

This week a judge passed sentence over a frum looking individual and sent him to jail for over 13 years for molesting children. … How did our society allow such a person to be in contact with children for so many years? How was such an individual allowed to coast from institution to institution despite his known background? His behaviour wasn’t a secret?!

Was he allowed to continue in his job because he came from a respected family? … Continue reading