In 2000, an event was organized for Haredi leaders to talk to laity about child sex abuse. It was held in Rabbi Yisroel Reisman’s Flatbush synagogue, Agudath Israel of Madison. Speakers included Rabbi Avrohom Pam, ZTz”L, Rabbi Dovid Cohen and Rabbi Reisman. Rabbi Cohen declared molesters were rodfim (life threatening pursuers) and could and should be reported to the police. R. Reisman talked about the terrible crime and described cases of molesters who were non-orthodox. He ignored the fact that most abusers come from within the community.
Meanwhile, then and thereafter, he’s regularly protected Jewish molesters. For example, during the trial of Yona Weinberg, he rallied support for Weinberg including mobilizing the writing of letters to the sentencing judge to ask for a mild sentence after he was convicted of nine separate crimes — seven counts of sexual abuse in the second degree and two of endangering the welfare of a child.
Judge Gustin Reichbach was distressed by the attitudes he saw among Weinberg’s supporters. According to the NY Jewish Week:
He found it “troubling” that the community “seeks to blame, indeed punish victims who seek justice from the … civil society…” He went on to add that the Orthodox community’s religious courts are “inappropriate” and “incapable” of dealing with criminal matters……
The judge spoke of receiving more than 90 letters attesting to Weinberg’s character and innocence. None of the letters, the judge noted, “displays any concern or any sympathy or even any acknowledgement for these young victims which, frankly, I find shameful.”
Reichbach referred to one letter in particular, written by a Mrs. Mandel and expressing sadness “that Weinberg’s love of humankind has turned against him,” as being “the height of chutzpah.”
Reisman offered false safety. It was the secular “dayan” Reichbach who did his best to protect frum children.
Fake Safety Reporting
Hamodia ran a headline this week, Lost U.K. Bachurim Rescued by Coast Guard It began:LONDON – A group of 36 bachurim and adult volunteers from the Ahavas Yisroel Community Centre in the London neighborhood of Stamford Hill were rescued Monday evening when a coastal hike went badly wrong. The group was enjoying a walk near the town of Dover, when they realized they were lost and at risk of being stranded on a beach, with the tide rapidly coming in.
According to the Telegraph (UK):
By the end of the rescue mission, 31 of the walkers were rescued by lifeboat and taken ashore. The remaining five were lifted to safety by helicopter and flown to the Dover Coastguard station.
Hamodiah thanked the rescue workers but spent more time on the ingenuity of the boys in using their cell phones as beacons to their rescuers. They also spent a lot of time mentioning the orthodox pseudo-police, the Shomrim, who showed up and didn’t really do anything besides “liaise.”
Missing, was this from the Guardian:
“It is very inhospitable. We are not talking about little rocks. There are some pretty hefty boulders down there. They weren’t dressed for it at all, didn’t have the correct footwear.”
“Less than two hours later, they would have been swimming, because the tide is rising all the time. They were cut off by the tide. There is no footpath in this particular stretch of shoreline. It is purely a rocky walk.”
He said the group were in high spirits and had not seemed to appreciate the danger they were in, which was spelled out to them when they got back to Dover. The RNLI said the group had walked past nine signs warning them not to continue.
How in the world could a group of boys with 2 adult leaders ignore nine danger signs? Were they illiterate in English? Where they foolishly unaware of the meaning of the signs? Were they thinking these are outside rules so we don’t have to listen to them? Those are the most common reasons I can think of. Whichever one it was, it speaks to qualities in the community that regularly put children and adults at risk.
Which ever one it was, that should have been the focus of the Hamodiah article instead of a celebration of the use of phones as beacons or the swarming of Shomrim.
[update 6/16/16- This was not the only such episode. Miriam Shaviv documents several more instances of Haredi school field trips in the UK that were dangerous and required difficult rescues. No doubt, Haredi media did not draw any cautionary lessons from them. nor did their schools.]
The Predators inside the Community
If Hamodiah really cares about the safety of children inside the community it would talk about the greatest single health and safety risk, sexual abuse. Based on available data, roughly 20% of all frum children will be molested before they turn eighteen. This will cause untold suffering, mental illness, substance abuse, suicides, failed marriages, loss of connection to the community and other problems. Yet Hamodiah never warns the community about the molesters roaming inside.
It falls to us bloggers to warn the community about the likes of Mendy Israel, board member of the Boro Park Y, who was arrested and charged with multiple rapes of a child under 13. Yet he is allowed to roam free. It falls to exceptional Rabbonim, such as a few in Passaic, NJ to warn their members of the likes of Stefan Colmer.
It falls to me to inform people that Mendy Israel owns a bungalow in Whispering Woods (Woodbridge, NY) a large colony full of children. What is whispered in those woods is Mendy’s history. But shouldn’t Hamodiah be serving the community by shouting about the danger of an alleged child rapist? More Jewish lives could be saved by such warnings than all the other safety alerts from Shomrim.
Shame on Hamodiah, Yated, the Yid, the Blatt, Algemeiner and other publications which abandon our sheep to wolves while wasting their warnings on goyim. Shame on Shomrim for doing hardly anything to warn the community about the molesters on their lists. Shame on all those in the community who know the truth of some of the stories in the blogs and nevertheless attack them. It is chutzpah for all of them to celebrate various safety programs while surrendering to the shah shtil (be quiet) mandates of askanim (movers and shakers) and rabbanim (rabbis) who are not faithful to the d’oraisa (Vaykra/Leviticus 19:16) of לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ (Biblical injunction: “Do not stand by idly on the blood of another” ).