QOTD: David Gordon A”H

David Gordon, Survivor & Victim buried August 2014

David Gordon, Survivor & Victim buried August 2014

QOTD = Quote of the Day

If we keep sweeping our problems under the rug we will eventually trip over them. The time has come for us to stand up for ourselves, our children and our communities. It’s time to sacrifice the comfort of not tackling serious issues that are awkward and embarrassing and focus on the dignity of human life. If I can have a voice you can too.
Take a stand and be a real leader. Blush for a few moments so others don’t have to bleed.
One reason why victims of abuse are also called survivors is because so many don’t make it. So many are too ashamed to reach out and frequently fall into depression, violence, addiction and ultimately into death’s arms. But we can be brave and stand up for what we know is right. Together our voices can be louder than ever. I know that I alone cannot change the world, but together we can make a difference.
by David Gordon, 21-year-old survivor-advocate writing in June 2013 about Detroit rabbinical leadership he accused of covering up his abuse and about his own difficult path.
Read this loving tribute and acknowledgement of his abuse.

He was buried on Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem last week. I prefaced my FaceBook announcement of his levaya with this message:
David Gordon was wronged in his life and never could get full justice. I urge those who can to attend to honor him and signal his justified claims on others.

A few weeks ago when a lone soldier was buried, over 10k Israelis showed up.

David is a different kind of lone soldier. Let him at least finally depart with a message of support for him and many like him. It is too late to embrace him in life. But not too late to carry his message.

Several hundred people did show up including many of his fellow soldiers from the Givati Brigade  with their distinctive plum berets who left insignia and patches on his grave mound.
See also Rabbi Eliyahu Fink’s “The Lesson We Can Learn From Dave Gordon Of Blessed Memory.”
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19 thoughts on “QOTD: David Gordon A”H

  1. I wrote a letter to Rabbi Avraham Union of the Rabbinical Council of California over a month ago regarding a similar issue of possible abuse, and asked him to investigate it and confirm the letter. (I had even told him I have evidence and witnesses). I have sent him a follow-up letter, still to no avail. However, should Rabbi Avraham Union choose to still not reply at all, I wil take it to his boss, the Rabbinical Council of America. It seems the only job these Rabbi’s are doing is collecting a paycheck, ie money.

    If the Rabbinical Council of California (reminds me of their dutiful non-response to Doheny Kosher Meat), won’t even acknowledge letters of request to investigate such matters, then the issue of abuse is almost a non-issue to the Rabbinical authorities, they are as “mute” in action as in their own responses.

    Diane Polonsky

    • Diane,
      I know that different people have different motivations (aversions, actually) to going to the police, the secular authorities. You tried the BD. They did not respond. I myself become livid when ignored about something important. Ignored by the rabbanim, how could that be, the g’dolei hador, talmidim chochomim, impossible (sarcasm).
      If this is an ongoing situation, please do not tarry, turn to the criminal court system. If it is beyond the SOL, you need to get good advice from one of the advocates, like Yerachmiel. In either case consult your local CSA advocate.
      you’ve got a live one right here….

    • I as a father of a victim of abuse have been talking, writing and pleading with Rabbonim in London from all sectors, Kedassia, LBD & federation to no avail,
      Publicly they (the LBD & Federation) say that victims should report to police but when u do the community distroys the victim or even the family and Rabbonim are no where to be found, they all turn there back on the victims and worse yet they DO protect and defend the abusers.

  2. This tribute to David Gordon A”H, including that by R. Eliyahu Fink is so intensely moving. Brings tears to my eyes, something I very rarely do, for once you start, how do you stop?
    David Gordon’s death is a real tragedy. This is a beautiful tribute. We must find a way to stop the abuse, but short of that, to somehow get abused children to speak up. There is no magic formula. Alert adults, alert to changes in a child’s affect?? but who are these adults with contact, possibly the abusers or enablers..
    And are they trained to pick up on nuances. And does the abused child trust any adult anymore? perhaps they will tell him that it was his fault? So many issues, are we better off now, than we were when David was growing up, living his hell?
    Z”L”

  3. David Gordon, a”h. What an INCREDIBLE person! Can we even IMAGINE the courage and inner strength it took for him to live with such agonizing pain for 14 years, day after day?! His emotional suffering was so great, yet he was far from self-absorbed. Instead, he worked tirelessly to support other victims and spread awareness about sexual abuse in order to protect people. He was a selfless, brave, and eloquent advocate for the most vulnerable people in our society. So young and yet a true leader. He feared not stigma nor criticism — he let nothing interfere with his vital mission. Dave, you were a precious, innocent child and did nothing to deserve the living Gehenom which was cruelly imposed on you. Even amid the intense pain, you worked so hard to make sure others wouldn’t go through the same thing. How heartbreaking that you were so misunderstood and hurt by the people who should have been your closest supporters. You deserved such a different life than the one you braved until the last day. Thank you, Dave, for so valiantly fighting for the wellbeing of our children and young adults. You are one in a million. You are my hero.

    • Beautiful tribute. Thank you for expressing this so beautifully. I hope it’s okay if I say “Ditto” all of what you wrote.

  4. We owe it to David Gordon a”h to continue his important work of creating awareness, preventing abuse, supporting victims, and bringing justice.

    Lessons to be learned from David Gordon’s tragic death:

    1) Sexual abuse causes agonizing emotional pain that can lead to self-harm, drug overdose, suicide ideation, suicide attempts, or actual suicide. No more minimizing and trivializing this devastating act of cruelty — the tragic effects are right in front of our eyes! The emotional pain lasts long after the abuse ends, and the effects can be lifelong in many cases. If not for 4 evil abusers, David would soon be getting married and starting a family. He had his whole life ahead of him, a beautiful life which his molesters STOLE from him. We must view molesters no differently than we would view a serial killer. In fact, molesting is crueler than murder, as countless victims have attested. Murder victims die once and then it’s over, whereas abuse victims are left to face agonizing minute-by-minute pain for the rest of their lives.

    2) The reaction of others is CRITICAL for the wellbeing of the sexual abuse victim. When someone confides in you that they were abused, NEVER say you don’t believe them. NEVER ask for proof. NEVER ask if they tried to run away, scream, or say no to the abuser. NEVER say it was their fault. NEVER say “it will be okay” (this sounds dismissive and extremely insensitive). Instead, tell the victim they did the right thing to tell someone, and you admire their bravery. Tell them something along these lines: “You did nothing wrong — someone did something very wrong to you that shouldn’t ever be done to anyone. I will do all I can to make sure he never does it again (you must follow through). I care about you, and I will make sure you always have someone to listen to you when you want to talk. I will do my best to help you with whatever you need.” (Then follow through by reporting the abuser, stopping his access to victims, and providing appropriate counseling and other support to the victim). ***Counseling and supportive family/friends/mentors can minimize the terrible impact of sexual abuse on victims to the extent possible. This is absolutely CRUCIAL to recovery. Keeping the nightmare a secret can destroy the victim.

    3) Recognizing and addressing signs of abuse early on may help avoid the tragic effects of ongoing, long-term abuse. The longer the perpetrator has access to the victim, the more time they have to crush their self-worth, sense of dignity, and future wellbeing. When perpetrator’s access to the victim is cut off soon after the abuse starts, and the victim receives appropriate support and counseling, the chances of a good recovery outcome are much greater than if the victim is continually abused for 3 years, r”l, like David Gordon was.

  5. Anyone else notice that YWN did not cover this story?

    I guess this story is not on the Lakewood approved reading list.

    • Mah nistanah haminunval hazeh mikol hamenuvalim. They NEVER cover sex abuse. sexual abuse by haredim does not exist in the virtual world of Yeshiva World News. In fact but for those who are not frum they would not have any crime news unless it was for pidyon shvuyim.

      • Yerachmiel Lopin said, “Sexual abuse by haredim does not exist in the virtual world of Yeshiva World News.”

        SARCASM: Maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt about why they act like abuse doesn’t exist. They are waiting until one of their precious children are abused so that they can see the devastation it causes with their own eyes. That way, they can fight with true understanding of the evil that we are up against. When you look at it from this perspective, it makes sense that they intimidate victims, enable abuse, trivialize its effects, and cover up crime. If there would be no more molesters, they would — GASP — never be able to see the pain and suffering sexual abuses causes, and thus be unable to fight against it with the proper level of passion. SARCASM

    • I know nothing, but per the David’s (Z”L”) article in Huffington Post, there were four different people in the Detroit Orthodox community. Perhaps there are those who know more, he evidently was involved with others, in the activist community, but that is FOUR perps per his article, written not so very long ago. look for the link from Fink on YL’s post. . Per the article he wrote, evidently from age 7-10. I presume that eventually, after the shivah, and sorrow and grief, more may be written about this. I am just reporting here, since it seems that the link to Huffington Post was sort of low profile in Fink’s blog, which was superb, agav. Heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking, I cannot remember ever reading a survivors account which was more heart wrenching than his, the pain, expressed was extraordinary. Me’al u’me’ever anything I have read until now. Shocking in it’s intensity.

      • Ok…. so who are the 4? Did I miss it somewhere? Some of us live right there, not 2 minutes from where the abuse took place.

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