Blogmaster’s Note: Pearl Engelman wrote an earlier version of this open letter on May 17, 2012 after the fundraiser to defend alleged child molester Nechemyah Weberman. Pearl and some other advocates held a counter demonstration on the street. She first became an advocate of sex abuse victims in Williamsburg when she discovered that her son Joel (Yoily) was molested by his teacher, Rabbi Reichman.
How an Entire Community Of Sheep Were Deceived By Weberman
Guest Post by Pearl Engelman
As I write, I hold a list of 8 other victims. Can it really be that our community is so gullible as to believe the PR campaign for Weberman? Can it really be that our community is so willfully ignorant? That we WANT to believe that which makes us more comfortable despite the damage to innocent victims?
Many of my friends and acquaintances assumed my presence and media outspokenness at the protest against the fundraiser for accused sexual abuser Nechemia Weberman was due to my bitter experience with my son Yoiely’s molestation case. Not exactly wrong but not the whole story either.
This past Monday, May 14th, I received a call from an unknown woman asking if she could speak with me confidentially. When I assented she said “my daughter was sexually abused by Nechemia Weberman!” I listened in shock as she told me “when my daughter was 15 years old she began to dress differently than our family’s dress code and my husband and I were very worried about what this signified. We were advised to take her to Nechemia Weberman, the chassidishe (Hasidic) therapist for “troublesome” girls. We trusted Weberman fully, as he was also my husband’s good friend. During the 2 something years my daughter was in “therapy” with him she did not tell us what went on during almost every session.” I glanced at the caller ID and realized she was calling from upstate NY. My caller continued – “After my daughter’s wedding, one day she told me,
Mommy if you would know what Necehmia Weberman did to me you would kill yourself! He showed me sex videos, he made me do ——- to him, he did —— to me, and he told me that I should never, ever tell anyone because no one would ever believe me as I was known as a “troublemaker” and he was known as a very chosheve (prominent) person; I would have no credibility and would only damage my reputation further! He tried to convince me that no one understood me, cared for me or loved me as he did. For sure my parents did not understand me or love me!
To say the caller took my breath away is an understatement. Listening to the sorrowful tone of her voice was awful. Then she said “in hindsight I now remember that whenever I called him for a progress report or an update on my daughter a strange thing happened. He would actually instigate me against my daughter! I used to wonder why doesn’t he say something like – Don’t worry – we are working with her – there is hope for improvement – instead he would say what an ‘azas ponim (brazen girl) she was, how she would burn in gehenim (hell) for her behavior!’ I would be so very angry at her and she at me; we were going at each other all the time.”
And then my caller told me her name! This family is not “nobody”, this is a well known, beautifully functional family! Very frum (observant) family! She explained to me that because her husband’s livelihood was dependant on the Heimishe (ultra orthodox) public they could not openly expose Weberman. Being from the community they knew the backlash would be directed against their daughter and themselves. And because their daughter was happily married they did not want to rock that boat either.
Her story continued: “When the campaign in support of Weberman was started this winter and I saw the signatures of the Rabbonim (rabbis) I couldn’t bear it anymore. I myself went to Rabbi Teitelbaum (son of the Satmar Rebbe, Zalmen Leib) and to Rabbi Pollack and told them my story. They were shocked, Oiy, oiy vey, we didn’t know, we were told he was the victim of a bilbul (libel). However, you should know – we are still yiddishe kinder (Jewish children) and for this Weberman doesn’t have to sit in jail. We will take care of him and he will never do this again, and do not hinder us from protecting him!”
How do we say it? REVICTIMIZING THE VICTIM! In essence they are telling this poor mother – go home, choke your feelings and do not stop us from supporting and helping the man who violated your child! Has there ever been anything as cruel, as pitiless, as UNJEWISH? Is this really us? Don’t we stand for the emes (truth), for yoisher (rectitude)? A thought just occurred to me: Al pi torah (according to the torah) what was their responsibility after hearing from the mother?
I gently asked her what could I do to help? Her sorrowful answer was: “I don’t know”. Why did she call me now? Because she feels so terribly sick when she sees the fundraising campaign for Weberman.
And so now we come to the protest or rather to the massive PR campaign for Weberman. We yidden (Jews) pride ourselves on being uber chachomim (very clever people). No one can pull a fast one on us; no one can sell us the BrooklynBridge. So now I have several questions for us.
But before we tackle the questions, I’d like to share some of my experiences at the protest. Several men who recognized me asked me angrily “Why are you here?” “Weberman did something to your son?!”
Two ladies walking by angrily told me “It’s all lies, lies”! Sharon Otterman, the NY Times reporter standing nearby asked them “Can you please tell me why you think Weberman is innocent?” Here’s their answer, which is the sum total of what almost everyone asked says: “I know Weberman. He is a wonderful person, very smart, he has a wonderful family, he’s helped so many people. Look at the person who is accusing him – she’s garbage”.
This statement of “I know Weberman” flies in the face of the Talmud’s aiyn apitropes l’aroiyes’ (a man cannot function as his own guardian when he is alone with an unrelated female). Viciously besmirching the girl is in the same vein as people brainlessly saying “Look at Avrum Reichman (Yoely’s molester) and look at Yoely Engelman and whom are you going to believe?”
Several minutes later, I was introduced to a beautiful young woman from Williamsburg. I did not know who she was then (I do now). She said to me shaking her head sadly, “I know Weberman very, very well. I cannot talk, I’m married. I cried all day today – I wish I were standing with you, but I am not able to.” And with eyes brimming with tears she looked across the street at the outpouring of support for Nechemia Weberman!
Now to the questions:
1- Shouldn’t it seem strange to us that UTA, who goes so far as to censor with black magic marker a boy’s face in a first grade girl’s reader, that they employed a yungerman (younger man) as a therapist for wayward teenaged girls in his own office on Classon Ave? Not in the school office, no. A man with absolutely no training, no background in psychology. Who supervised him? Who oversaw his cases? Aren’t we very strict with yichud (rules about seclusion with unrelated females)? Aren’t we scrupulously gender separated at all times?
2- Does anyone bother to inquire into the facts of Weberman’s arrest? Oh we know that shiksa (gentile), that chatzifa (impudent one), that oisvurf (outcast), that terrible girl, who made a revenge bilbul (libel) on an innocent mechanech (educator) who was only trying to help her.
3- Who is really behind the huge campaign to fund Weberman’s legal fees? We know it must be his family, but can they alone really pull this off without outside help? Who are the outsiders and why are they interested in helping?
Leah (a pseudonym for the current victim), a student at United Talmudical Academy’s (UTA) Bais Rochel School for Girls, was sent by the school to Weberman for “therapy”. Oddly, after several years of his therapy the school needed to expel her! Of course no chassidishe (hasidic) school wanted to accept her. She landed at a girl’s school in Flatbush; the name of the school is not relevant. The school provided a guidance counselor for some of its students. Leah* was deemed in need of this service. She spoke about her experiences at Weberman’s hands and the guidance counselor, being a mandated reporter, called the authorities. Weberman was arrested. Hello, I’ll say it again – Weberman was arrested because the guidance counselor correctly reported him!
Do the wall posters or the articles in the newspapers tell us that? Of course not! We the sheeple (sheep) are led to believe the girl was a moser (informer) who acted out of revenge to get even with Weberman! Now know this: When an accused molester is arrested the case is owned by the legal system. In other words, Leah is not the complainant – the government is! The government in this case is the DA. Yes our friend Charles Hynes, whom the media has shown to be the best ally of the community cover-up of molesting! The DA and his crew will be on Leah’s side! (Oiy Vey!) On Weberman’s side will be the best attorneys money can buy thanks to our misguided generous donations for his defense! Besides the family, guess who else is so invested in defending Weberman? UTA of course! Imagine their headaches right now! UTA sent countless girls to Weberman. They must now make sure none of them ever, ever comes out to point fingers at him. Many of the girls are still below the statute of limitations – they are all potential missiles against UTA! Ha! And here we the sheeple were led to believe the missiles were directed by Leah against our community!
Yet, in one brilliant fell stroke, the organizers of the fundraiser “Alilas 75” have manipulated our gullible community with a threefold successful campaign:
- Getting us to believe Weberman is the victim of a vicious ‘Bilbel’!
- Terrorizing any and all other victims into shame and silence!
- Parting us from our hard earned money for Weberman’s defense!
Are you starting to feel as if we are living in Sodom? Can’t you just see them laughing all the way to the bank? Can the PR people really make us believe that black is white and white is black? We’ve been called many things – stupid should not be one of them!