Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye Barred from Two NJ Synagogues Over Sexual Exploitation

Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye

Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye

Update 10/9/13: Jewish Week reports Kaye’s history of rape and other abuse known on 4 continents for decades, and yet no official action till this month. Kudos to Rabbis Yosef Blau and Mark Dratch for acting now.

In July, the website, AdKan, put Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye (also using the LinkedIn name, David Isaiah Kaye) on its Wall of Shame as an alleged sexual offender who posed a risk to the community. At the time he was rabbi of Congregation Ahavath Israel in Liberty, New York. He was forced out following the public exposure and moved in with his parents in W. Orange, New Jersey, longtime members of that community. Leaders in that community were approached about the allegations and finally acted to publicly inform their members and ban him from their facilities.

Rabbi Kaye had a long history known to leaders in many communities of exploiting young women who trusted him as a rabbi. It seems to have involved adults and in most cases was not prosecutable because the laws about exploiting professional trust do not apply to clergy. It is disappointing that it took decades for rabbis to finally publicly expose him.  I commend rabbis Zwickler and Spivak for stepping up to the plate and for the ways in which balanced the safety of their community with sensitivity to Rabbi Kaye’s parents, who are long time members of the community.

Note: This Rabbi Dovid Yeshaya Kaye is not to be confused with Rabbi David Kaye who was banned from a liberal synagogue following his child sex offense conviction. I do not know if they are related.

Last week Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler (Ahawas Achim B’nai Jacob and David (AABJ&D)) and Rabbi Marc Spivak (Congregation Ohr Torah) sent out emails to their members with the message below.

The full text is below, with email addresses redacted.

Subject: IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO THE WEST ORANGE COMMUNITY
To: xxx [email address of Rabbi Zwickler]
From Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler and Rabbi Marc Spivak

Date: September 18, 2013

At the outset, we wish to make it clear that the decision to disseminate to the members of our congregations the information contained in this message was made in consultation with, and with the concurrence of, several well-recognized rabbinic authorities.We were also advised that, against the factual background of this matter, it is our responsibility to inform members of our community of the presence of a potential perpetrator in order that they may protect themselves and their families.

Serious allegations have recently come to our attention concerning a member of our extended community, Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye, who has recently taken up residence in our community.  The allegations relate to Rabbi Kaye having allegedly exploited his title as a Rabbi to enable him to take or to attempt to take liberties with various females in past years.

The activities are reported to have occurred in locations in Israel, Germany, South Africa and the United States.  A number of women involved have submitted to very reputable and prominent rabbis written statements recording the occurrences.  If found to be true, the facts recounted have potential serious implications.

We must emphasize that no formal legal proceeding has been instituted with regard to any of the matters and, therefore, no determination or finding has been made by any court or other official agency.  A series of recent incidents with one woman has been reported to law enforcement in the United States.

We have met with members of the Kaye family with whom we have discussed the matter.  We have also consulted with behavioral professionals and we have advised the Kayes of professional services that they may wish to consider.

Due to the seriousness of these matters, we have concluded that it would not be appropriate for Rabbi Kaye, at this time and for the foreseeable future, to attend or be present in our respective shuls for any purpose and have so advised him.  We suggest that each family take appropriate measures to caution its members concerning the potential risks.

Lastly, everyone should remember that Rabbi Kaye’s parents, xxx and xxx Kaye, have been respected and beloved members of this community for decades.  This is a very trying time for them, and we all should do our best to assure them of our love and regard for them and to rally around them and support them during this very difficult period of their lives.

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14 thoughts on “Rabbi Yeshaya Dovid Kaye Barred from Two NJ Synagogues Over Sexual Exploitation

  1. Yes. Hashed Koyach to the rabbis for being “mavericks” in actually warning people about sexual predators in their backyard.

    However, as Rabbanim, they should be ashamed of themselves (as should all those rabbis who knew and did nothing). Even now it is far too little far too late.

    While these two rabbis acted to protect their own kehillas, they apparently do not care if vulnersble women get harmed elsewhere. Predators like Kaye, and Yagen and Azriel Tauber have been known to Rabbanim for years. Having gotten away with it, they are emboldened and they are smart. Kaye will most likely move elsewhere and continue his ways. Or reach out to people with a website or social media.

    I would like them to explain what could possibly prevent them from going to the media? Jewish or non-Jewish? Or getting the OU, RCA, National young Israel, Aguda, etc. to send a notice to all the rabbis who are members? Or informing people of the details of the monster’s crimes with evidence so that people will be more likely to believe them?

    Furthered, it is a nice thing to ask for public support and love for the Rasha’s innocent parents. But what about the victims?? Once again neglected and forgotten by the rabbis, even those who seem to “get it”.

    Indeed, it is a disgrace and a travesty that none of these community leaders and organizations have a public registry to warn people all over who they need to beware of.

    Baruch HaShem for the few ontelligent, ehrlich, compassionate people like Yerachmiel, Debbie Teller, and Meyer Seewald who expose these “rodfim” on the Internet.

    These peolple are moser nefesh and volunteer hours and hours for no pay to warn people. They certainly don’t have the resources available to the leaders and “askanim” to do direct mailings, mass phone calls, develop large list serves, get immediate access to the media, etc.

    This will go down as one of the most aggregious betrayal of the Jewish people by their leaders in all of our history.

    I call on all Rabbanim and leaders to at the very least, publicly acknowledge the incredibly important heroic work of these websites, to raise funds for them (at least on the scale of what was collected for Shalom Rubashkin), and to hand over to them all information they have on sexual predators in the community, even those who cannot for any reason be prosecuted as criminals.

    If they can put Lipa Shmeltzer, Nosson Slifkon, and Avi Weiss in Cherem, why not individuals who truly damage Yoddishe neshamas.

    All of us must stand up and demand these actions.

    A Guttnen Kvittel and Good Yomtov to all.

    Asher

    • Sadly, Asher Lipner’s criticism of the rabbis who actually warned people about sexual predators in their backyard. is obtuse, and displays a profound lack of understanding.

      The 2 West Orange, NJ rabbis exhibited great courage. Having been notified that an ALLEGED sexual abuser had moved into their community, they assembled a team, which included prominent attorneys, to investigate the allegations against Dovid Kaye. With the data they collected, they consulted prominent Rabbanim and they went PUBLIC with a warning, recognizing they could be subject to a libel lawsuit and have suffered criticism within West Orange for having gone public.

      Asher Lipner, Ph.D., please post a list of courageous rabbis who acted in a similar fashion. Perhaps, Rabbis Zwickler and Spivak will serve as an example for other rabbis faced with similar challenges to act in comparable fashion.

      When I read of the SHLITA rabbis in the Haredi and Modern Orthodox worlds who are shielding sexual predators and read pronouncements and statements attributed to them, I feel I am encountering the Hachmei Chelm. I am positive they can learn a blot of Gemarah, but where is their common sense?

      The Catholic church, (lehavdil eleph havdalim) lost the confidence of their flock. Imagine telling your child who is going to confess to the priest, don’t stay alone with him lest he molest you.

      Well, when I read of Ravs shielding sexual predators citing Moser and Lashon Harah, I see the Jewish version of the Catholic Priest. Such alleged gedolim think they have command of their flocks. But person by person, they are losing the confidence of their communities. After all, if you cannot trust your Rebbe to protect your children from sexual attackers, then you begin to lose confidence in Rebbes as an institution.

      Tragically, such behavior will result in incalculable damage to the Torah world.
      Rebbes, stop and think of the harm you are causing today and the undermining of the Torah world in the near future.

  2. whats about rabbi ____ W____who was fired from his job as rabbi from cong _____ in L____ for the same reason?

    NOTE BY Blog Owner, YL- Comment edited pending direct communication from “Shiksah” to confirm her identity and information. Please contact me by one of the methods listed on the upper right of this web page?

  3. Dear Shaaray Member,

    As we’ve all witnessed, the job of a Rabbi has evolved over time and has expanded beyond the basic sheilus asked of the Rabbinate in years past.
    As we all know, besides the workload of being a Rov and teaching, Rabbi Weinberger has been involved in helping people within and outside our community deal with many major issues that have affected them. All this has taken a huge toll on the Rov. A few months ago he suffered from some health issues that required a medical procedure which once again cropped up over the past few days. Under advice from professionals, it has been suggested that he take time off from his exhaustive position in order to recuperate fully. The Rov approached the executive board and requested, and we approved, a Medical leave, effective immediately in order to facilitate his road back to full health.

    As a personal request from the Rov PLEASE REFRAIN FROM CONTACTING HIM AT THE PRESENT TIME.

    I’m sure everyone joins me in wishing the Rov a refuah shelaimah.

    Wishing all a kesiva v’chasima tova,
    David Malek
    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

      • it was send out the week of rosh hashna it was forward to me how ever if you could dig up what realy happened its a cover up for his action in which he was caught fooling around I think he was fired from all his other position as well.
        if you bring this to the for front it will be a big toeles for the rabim!!

  4. Asher Lipner
    What in heaven do you want from these rabbis? If they speak up, you claim “they don’t care about what happens outside of their communities” and if they keep quiet they should be ashamed of themselves.Basically they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t in your book.Not very reasonable, and from a psychological viewpoint (your forte)not exactly conducive for people speaking up, don’t you think?

    In general, there will always be “vulnerable” women (and men) and I don’t know what can be done with consenting adults

    • Yes, there will always be ‘vulnerable’ people, that’s why we can’t allow ‘rabbis’ to take advantage of them. A married rabbi who is ostensibly providing ‘spiritual advice’ to a ‘vulnerable’ person is hardly someone who can be considered a ‘consenting adult’ in the true meaning of the phrase. Sounds like the good rabbi is just trying to get over.

      • It is a scandal that he exploited his rabbinic aura for personal sexual gratification to the detriment of the vulnerable young women who trusted him. Alas, his crimes are not prosecutable. But at least potential victims can be warned away.

  5. Asher,
    Could you elaborate on the other Rabbis you mentioned please?
    Did this Kaye learn in BMG once?
    Is he born abroad? If so where?

  6. Rabbi Weinberger’s Shiur
    for Women
    will be given by our esteemed
    member
    Rabbi Yitzchak Sladowsky
    Topic:
    The Origin & Background
    of Tefila
    10:15 AM

  7. It has just been brought to my attention that the response I had written to the questions asked of me was never posted, so I will try again.

    Yankel: Chas V’shalom did I mean that the Rabbis in New Jersey were wrong to have publicly condemned the abuser.

    Nor, to reply to Yosef, do I know of rabbis who have gonemuch further than these New Jersey rabbis we are discussing. That is why I began my original post by saying Yasher Koach. I put “mavericks” in quotations because it should not be a new concept for Rabbis to behave differently than Catholic Priests, and should not require courage or heroism to do so. It should be no different than calling 911 if an armed robber breaks into the shul. Torah Observant Rabbis fulfilling the basic requirements of the Mitzva in the Torah of Lo Saamod Al Dam Reyecha should be quite the norm and not especially newsworthy.
    Secondly, I meant to say that what they did was far short of what the halacha actually requires. In this day and age of rapid communication and viral warnings, failing to utilize the media or the internet to warn the public at large is negligent and inexcusable dereliction of duty.

    Over decades, rabbis have silently removed Kaye from positions without warning the public, and Kaye was able to go to new communities and obtain positions in which he was able to hurt more innocent people. This time, to their credit, they did so with a local letter.

    However, not only does stopping there put the Jewish community at risk, but not speaking to the newspapers, was an abandonment of the victims who DID care enough to protect the community.

    The motivation for this appears to be indicated in their letter in which they call for support for the family of the perpetrator (who are undoubtedly suffering victims as well), but make no mention of the suffering of the victims of sexual abuse.

    I expressed my point with the frustration of one who knows of too many cases of communal abandonment of victims and failure to warn the public to protect children. But the point I was making is simple. Much more needs to be done.

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