New Jersey Is Our Friend

If it's to Jersey, It's Federal!

If it’s to Jersey, It’s Federal!(

(Repost of 9/12/12 which I updated today to incorporate NCSY, Baruch Lanner, Richard (Rick or Ricky) Andron and the George Washington Bridge.)

I have said many insulting things about New Jersey over the years. I take them all back. When a menuval from Brooklyn takes a child to or through New Jersey to sexually abuse him or her it becomes an interstate federal crime. Now the victim can approach the FBI and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) will prosecute the case. All of us in the advocacy community are impressed by the Feds’ honesty and competence in investigating and prosecuting cases. Thanks to the Feds, Yisroel Moshe Weingarten will probably be taken away from jail by the chevrah kadishah (burial society).

The feds also came to the rescue after a lenient sentence for former Ohel Children’s Home employee Andrew Goodman. According to the New York Post

A Brooklyn child molester who was recently given a two-year prison sentence by a judge in a shocking sweetheart deal was smacked today with federal charges that could lock him up for life.

Unrepentant perv Andrew Goodman — who creepily told his trembling teen-age victim “I love you” at his July 12 sentencing before state Supreme Court Justice Martin Murphy — was charged by the feds with having sex with the same boy in a New Jersey hotel room in 2010, then taking him to a Kid Rock concert in Atlantic City.

If convicted of transporting a minor in interstate commerce to engage in sexual activity, Goodman will serve a mandatory minimum of 10 years in federal prison and could face up to a life sentence.

“It is an incredibly serious charge,” said Assistant US Attorney Tyler Smith. “The case against the defendant is also incredibly strong.”

So I say, “Thank you New Jersey, and thank you Hudson River.” When a molester takes a child from Brooklyn to upstate New York he usually crosses the Hudson into New Jersey through one of the bridges or tunnels out of NYC instead of taking the slow route through the Bronx and the Tappan Zee Bridge.

If anyone abused in NCSY by Baruch Lanner, or as recently alleged, by Richard Andron, was taken over the George Washington Bridge between Washinton Heights (or any other part of NYS) to New Jersey or back, or on any other interstate route, the same applies. Lanner’s Etz Chayim region (where Andron seems to have roamed till 1983 or later) extended across the boundaries of NYS, NJ, and Pennsylvania. (I would love definitive information on its boundaries. For all I know it may have covered other states as well).

Even if the abuser did not do the transporting, if they can be connected to the planning or scheduling they may also be criminally responsible.

If you or anyone you know was taken across state or international lines for sex abuse please contact the FBI.

Phone: (212) 384-1000
Fax: (212) 384-4073 / 4074

14 thoughts on “New Jersey Is Our Friend

  1. I don’t think Etz Chaim NCSY boundaries went beyond NJ, NY and PA. There were national NCSY conventions in other states that a few members and administrators may have attended (though Baruch was never enthusiastic about National NCSY). I mentioned in an earlier thread that Baruch “took” a young lady to Florida to recuperate from illness, though I don’t know the specifics, and as far as I know that person has never made any accusations against him.

  2. Rabbi Aaron Reichel, great grandson of Harry Fischel, is usually an ambulance chasing attorney who sides with plaintiffs, so why is he promoting the YU cover up in this case?

    Sacrificial Lamm
    Wed, 07/10/2013
    Rabbi Aaron I. Reichel

    The news headline of “Norman Lamm Cites Mistakes As He Retires from YU” (July 5) misleadingly implies that he retired because of mistakes he made, even though the text of the article makes it clear that the “mistakes” occurred more than three decades ago.

    Rabbi Lamm’s decision to relinquish his remaining titles of chancellor and rosh yeshiva was made three years ago, two and a half years prior to the article by the Forward referring to allegations of activities that occurred when Rabbi Lamm was president of YU.

    In fairness, it should also be noted that action was taken in response to the allegations: the high school principal was told he would be fired if he wouldn’t resign promptly at the time; he did resign promptly; the high school teacher was accused of a single incident which was denied and never shown to have been substantiated or repeated.

    In context, Rabbi Lamm was then focusing on combating existential threats to YU, facing and successfully fighting off potential bankruptcy. He was not informed of the extent of the allegations and he delegated a vice president to deal with the allegations that had been brought to his attention.

    In addition, the climate involving such allegations and procedures to deal with them were quite different three decades ago, and the expectations of how such allegations should be treated were quite different three decades ago. Timing is important; context is even more important.

    Kew Gardens, Queens

    • Uncovering the point that a headline appears to have been misleading, perhaps inadvertently, and appears to have covered up the main observations made in an eloquent letter of retirement, perhaps inadvertently, and that policies in force and actions taken — and inactions not taken — decades ago should be seen in context by fair minded people are not covering up anything but rather shedding light on a very sensitive topic. It should also be noted that not all plaintiffs are equal or should be lumped together, and every case should be judged on its merits, or demerits.

      • The question of why he retired and when is besides the point of the more important question- why were these known dangers to children left around with children? It was bor bireshus harabim! Too busy for minimal achrayis. Really? Unable to notice George Finkelstein at the Great Synagogue- really? Honoring him at YU events, really?

        This isn’t a question of hashgachah protiyis. This is a matter of gross negligence. Re times being different. Really? By the late 1980s, anyone reading the NYT knew that molesters were a problem, they were supposed to be reported, they had high recidivism rates, and they seriously harmed kids.

        The only thing not yet known to any educated literate person following the news was the liklihood of lawsuits. If so, Mordechai Twersky and his fellow survivors in the lawsuit should also be paid tuition fees for enlightening and educating YU about the costs of covering up and not being responsive to survivors. Mitoch shelo lishmah, bah lishmah.

      • So, Mr. Aaron Reichel, just how many children’s lives are required to be ruined, scarrred, for you to conclude that YU was guilty of all charges, Just how many,? 20% of whoever has the ometz to step forward? give it more time, there will be more, I am certain, those who have never told a soul, not a soul, not their wives not any therapist, with the psychological fortification, if you will, of others, who were in the same horrific situation, finally coming forth, you can be certain that there will be more. But let us go back to the worst case, 20% of the plaintiffs, of the currrent plaintiffs. And let us say, that you, as the genius of your DOR have the knowledge and insight to decide which of the plaintiffs is legitimate, or has suffered more than the others psychologically, and which “enjoyed it” to use a phrase from the infamous Manis Friedman???? What do you think YU’s moral guilt, and ethical guilt is/was? Different times, heh? yeah, back then, teachers and educators believed, that sexually abusing kids was ok? they did? or they thought that no one would ever complain, Is your contribution that 30 years ago, our G’dolim and K’tanim thought it was AOK to screw kids? but they closed their eyes and ears because they were doing it , they knew their brother in law was doing it, please explain more precisely exactly why you think the decade is important. Murder 100 years ago, was considered less serious than murder today, Help me out here, I want to understand your logic, i am a simple Am Ha’aretz, please explain your reasoning more precisely.

        • I do not condone wrongdoing; I simply uncovered wrong reporting, especially in terms of a single headline, and advocate viewing actions, inactions, and delayed actions in context. Distorting what other people write is also wrong. AR


    The public affairs office of Yeshiva University declined to comment on the propriety of Taubes hosting Lanner.

    The Standard has spoken to three Teaneck residents who saw Lanner at Taubes’ Purim meal, which was open to the public, seated in a position of respect, or at Zichron Mordechai.

    Two of those witnesses, who prefer not to be identified, are Orthodox rabbis who work at YU’s Washington Heights campus. The third, Jordan Hirsch, is a member of a nearby Orthodox congregation that met in Zichron Mordechai while its own building was under renovation.

    Cheifetz said that after he posted a copy of his RCA talk on Facebook, and then later on a blog, the Jewish Community Watch, Taubes called him. Although Taubes downplayed the significance of Lanner’s visits, Cheifetz said, “He did not deny that Baruch Lanner was at his shul.

    “He said it was only two times in three years,” Cheiftz said. “He mentioned that those Shabbosim when Lanner was there, he was a guest at Rabbi Taubes’ home. He did not deny that Baruch Lanner was in his house on Purim. He said that Baruch Lanner, he claimed, came to deliver shaloch manos and he couldn’t ask him to leave so he stayed for a little bit.”

    Cheifetz said he told Taubes, “You as the head of a synagogue and as a principal of MTA are not just yourself. You are a symbol. You are a role model. What about all the victims of Baruch Lanner? What do you think this is doing for them?”

    “It was quite an animated conversation,” Cheifetz said.

    In his address to the rabbis, Cheifetz said that Orthodox culture long has placed the concerns of abusers ahead of their victims. Welcoming Lanner is just one example he gave of that culture.

    In March, Cheifetz went public with his experience as a victim, and he began to work as an advocate for victims.

    Among the triggers of that decision: A blog post by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky of Congregaton Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck “that said, more or less, that if a person is violated, they should go to the police. But if it is past the statute of limitations, it is their moral responsibility not to go to the police.”

    ‘What of my rights?’

    “And here I was, less than a mile away, dealing with the psychological trauma of something horrendous that had been done to me over 30 years ago. Of course George Finkelstein and the like have the right to defend themselves in court. But do I, a victim, not have the right to tell my story? Do I not have the right to seek justice? Do I not have the right to try to protect others?” he asked the rabbis.

    (Read the whole article for the nonsense of the OU forcing Belsky to sign a statement against molesters even as he still maintains Kolko is innocent)

  4. The OU phonies know Belsky is only signing the statement to save his high paying job. Shmuel Goldin is pathetic for saying that Belsky’s continued defense of Kolko is not in contradiction to the signed statement and boy is Goldin ever a hypocrite oozing with chutzpah for ending off with a swipe against the Agudah. Goldin also covered up this week for the YU molesters.

    And did the OU also force Rabbi Luban to sign the same statement as Belsky? Luban’s son was arrested for witness tampering after he started a campaign to harass a Kolko victim.

    He told the rabbis that while they are qualified to answer questions about the repetition of prayers or the slaughter of chickens, they are no more qualified to answer questions of molestation than they are to diagnose chest pains or build a rocket ship to the moon.

    It is a view endorsed by the Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union, which issued a joint statement this year saying that allegations of child abuse should be taken to the police for investigation.

    This represents a shift from 1989, when the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County sent allegations of abuse by Lanner to be judged by a beit din, or rabbinic court, made up of three Yeshiva University faculty members. The beit din acquited Lanner and ruled that the accuser must issue an apology.

    But this year one senior OU official took a line against calling the police, adhering to the Agudah position rather than that of the RCA.

    Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Belsky of Brooklyn, one of the OU’s two halachic authorities on matters of kashrut, wrote in defense of Rabbi Yosef Kolko of Lakewood, who had been charged with sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy, that “after conducting a thorough investigation” he was absolutely sure of Kolko’s innocence.

    Writing to the Lakewood Jewish community, Belsky wrote in Hebrew that “My ears should have been spared hearing the horrific news that one of your fellow residents in town informed upon a fellow Jew to the hands of the secular authorities, may God spare us, for which the Jewish law is clear that one who commits such an act has no share in the world to come.”

    His remarks came as nine leading Lakewood rabbis condemned the victim’s father for going to the police, rather than to the rabbis, with the accusation. The victim’s family was forced to leave town.

    In May, after three days of trial, Kolko pleaded guilty, after learning that two more alleged victims were prepared to testify against him.

    Belsky continues to maintain Kolko’s innocence, notwithstanding the guilty plea and the emergence of more alleged victims.

    “Rabbi Belsky is a consultant for the Orthodox Union on matters of kashrus, an area where he is brilliant and accomplished, but at the end of the day he does not speak for the OU on matters of child abuse or on anything other than kashrus,” Mayer Fertig, the OU’s chief communications officer, said. “I recognize that for some this is an unsatisfactory answer, but it happens to be a fact.”

    For its part, the RCA issued a statement praising “the process that led to the guilty plea of Yosef Kolko, an Orthodox Jew who pleaded guilty for the sexual molestation of a young boy. For many years the RCA has condemned the efforts of many parts of the Jewish community to cover up or ignore allegations of abuse, viewing these efforts as against Jewish law, illegal, and irresponsible to the welfare of victims and the greater community. The RCA strongly advocates, as a matter of Jewish law, the reporting of reasonable suspicions of all forms of child abuse to the civil authorities and full cooperation with the criminal justice system. The RCA decries any invocation of Jewish law or communal interests as tools in silencing victims or witnesses from reporting abuse or from receiving therapeutic and communal support.”

    RCA leaders met with Belsky to discuss the matter. Belsky restated his belief in Kolko’s innocence, but he signed a letter affirming the RCA and OU position that child abuse must be reported to the authorities.

    “We were pleased that his overall position is compatible with that of the RCA,” said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, who completed a two-year term as president of the RCA last week.

    Goldin said Belsky “has a right” to maintain Kolko’s innocence though he disagrees with him.

    That doesn’t satisfy Chaifetz.

    “The Orthodox Union has to make a decision,” he said. “Do they stand by abusers and those who chase the families of accusers? Either they’re going to tolerate it or they’re going to say this is unacceptable.”

    (The OU’s other halachic authority on kashrut, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, also has diverged from the RCA’s position. In a speech in London in February, he said the Orthodox community should set up boards of psychologically trained rabbis who would determine whether allegations of abuse are legitimate before they are sent to the police. He said he was worried that American prisons are dangerous because someone could be locked up “with a shvartze, in a cell with a Muslim, a black Muslim who wants to kill all the Jews.”)

    Goldin said that he was among the Bergen County rabbis who sent the allegations against Lanner to the 1989 beit din.

    “In retrospect, if it happened today, we would handle it differently,” he said.

    He is proud that under his leadership the RCA took the position “that anyone with credible suspicion of abuse should go directly to the authorities. You do not have to receive rabbinic permission to do so. It’s not a two-step procedure.

    “The community at large — not just the Jewish community — has become much more aware of this problem, much more sensitive to it. We’re responding differently based on that sensitivity.

    “The Jewish community has matured in its willingness to confront its own blemishes and flaws. That maturation is very welcome and important. For a long period of time there was a sense of wanting to deal with things in house, to not make a public chillul Hashem” — not to desecrate God’s name by airing dirty Jewish laundry. “Now we are very aware that that approach has created great pain for people who has had situations swept under the carpet. That is why the RCA has taken a strong position, in contradistinction to the position of Agudah,” Goldin said.

    • Rabbi Goldin reportedly attacked from the pulpit his own member Susan Rosenbluth who publishes JVAO newspaper when she wanted to out Lanner. Rosenbluth told the Bergen Record in the edition of July 19th, 2000, that she was actually threatened by 3 RCBC rabbis that if she exposed Lanner they would direct RCBC restaurants to stop advertising in her newspaper.

      Don’t believe Goldin for a second any of his hogwash that the OU and YU are more progressive than the Agudah on abuse issues. They are arguably even more corrupt than Agudah.


    Is Prof. Samuel Heilman that out to lunch? He says that Norman Lamm is still “vigorous & clear minded”. Lamm can’t even walk around the corner without an attendant guiding him and because Lamm started spilling the beans on the Finkelstein cover up in his state of senility, YU wrote the resignation letter for him.

    I couldn’t even finish reading this absurd article. I was afraid of what Heilman might say next, like maybe Bernie Madoff & Ezra Merkin were assets to the YU board while they were still there.


    “We want to raise awareness in the local community and increase the pressure so that he can’t hide…[w]e hope the Jewish community will state that he’s persona non grata in its shuls.”

    As with get refusers, THIS, esteemed Rabbis of certain New Jersey counties, is how you deal with sexual predators. No mealy-mouthed excuses that they’re “chayav in shlach manos”. “Persona non grata.”

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