Yesterday, October 14, 2012, the Satmar Rebbe, Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, was all set to get his usual adulatory welcome at a fundraiser in Flatbush. A banner was stretched out in front of the home of Mr and Mrs. Shimie Lax that read “boruch habah bashem hashem/hod kovod kedushas/ admor misatmar, shlita” and a dozen or so Hasidic men were there cheer him in.
However, he was faced with about 25-35 demonstrators with signs protesting his continued support of molesters. Slogans on the signs included: “Satmar Yeshiva: Fire Avrohom Reichman,” Rabbi Teitelbaum, Apologize,” “Satmar Rebbe, Stop Protecting Molesters,” and a few others. Flyers were handed out along the lines of my posting of Friday protesting Satmar’s protection of molesters. Among those attending were Nuchem Rosenberg, Mark Appel and Pearl Engelman.
So the Satmar Rebbe passed on the kovod and scurried in through a side entrance. The demonstration continued until 7 pm.
This demonstration was called on the last minute on Friday and the publicity should have been better. With better advance work there probably would have been a larger crowd and more media coverage. Still, all in all, I consider it a success. Perhaps the best indicator is that Satmar is very upset about this. They are busy trying to menace R. Nuchem Rosenberg as if he was the prime organizer. He certainly helped along with many others, and he was there till the end of the demonstration. But as usual Satmar is trying to blame its accusers instead of acknowledging that they have a lousy reputation because they are bums who harbor and protect molesters and harass victims.
I went into the planning focusing on hurting their ability to reach into the modern orthodox world and raise money. I now realize that regardless of this outcome they are very sensitive to their reputation. This is good news. If they learn that they can be hit every time they venture out they may start reconsidering their disgusting tolerance for molesters and molesting. I am awaiting word from insiders on whether they also lost some money.
In closing, I want to get readers to realize that these kinds of events draw on the volunteer efforts of many in the advocacy community including some whose names you will never hear, either because of their modesty or because they are also afraid of those who protect molesters. I thank all of them for their contributions. By name I want to thank Rabbi Rosenberg, Mark Appel, Pearl Engelman, Rabbi Yosef Blau, Joel Engelman, Shmarya Rosenberg of Failed Messiah, Chaim Deutsch of Flatbush Shomrim, Ben Hirsch, and Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center.
Photos of the event will follow in the next day or two.