Ariella Kay’s professional credentials and work history are in genomics and clinical research. However, she is passionate about the public health crises affecting her community. Ariella has been quietly observing sex abuse cases in the Jewish world since the Weberman Trial 2012. It wasn’t until 2016 she became a vocal activist, speaking out against institutions and askanim for covering up predators. In her free time she works for Zaakah and helps survivors seeking legal justice against their perpetrators. When she isn’t doing this she is spending time with her family and loved ones. You may reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @Ariella_Kay.
I met Miss Yocheved (Chevi) Garfinkel during my senior year at Bruriah High School. Part of my 12th grade curriculum included a hashkafa class taught by her. Aside from teaching, she was a featured speaker on school shabbatons. She was a celebrity. People would flock to hear her speak whether it was in person or live broadcast. I remember her being loud, passionate, emotional, and long. I wasn’t a fan of her fire and brimstone Ted-style talks. In 2014, I heard her speak at Brooklyn College’s Hillel Center and was still unimpressed with her intense mannerisms. I always felt something was the matter with ME for not being infatuated by her.
In August 2021 Chevi was sued for the harm she caused to a then 11-year-old girl for allegedly molesting her, starting in 1994. The lawsuit was filed in Kings County Court against Yocheved (Chevi) Garfinkel, her father Abraham Garfinkel, Yeshiva R’Tzahd, Camp Sternberg, the camp’s parent organization, SHMA, LLC. (Sternberg, Heller and Magen Avraham), and others. Filing as “Jane Doe” she accuses Chevi of molesting her from 1994 until 2001.
According to the complaint, Jane, a baalat teshuvah, was a child of immigrants and a student of Chevi’s in Yeshiva R’Tzahd, a kiruv day school in Brooklyn. The grooming allegedly began when Jane was 11 years old. Chevi successfully convinced Jane’s parents it would be beneficial for their daughter’s spiritual growth and development to have her sleep over for Shabbat at Chevi’s childhood home where Chevi lived at the time. Chevi would crawl into Jane’s bed at night, take off the girl’s clothes and fondle her. There were dozens of these sleepovers. According to the complaint, Chevi’s parents repeatedly caught Chevi in the Jane’s bed and told her to “stop whatever is going on.” According to the lawsuit (line 29) “At one point, Defendant Abraham Garfinkel informed Ms. Garfinkel she could no longer sleep in the same bed as Plaintiff and ordered that whatever was going on between Plaintiff and Garfinkel to stop” The alleged abuse took place in Chevi’s bedroom and Camp Sternberg’s campus many times. It did not stop until the victim was 18 years old and left for seminary in Israel.
That victim could have been me. I was in the same room as Chevi many times. I was a baalat teshuvah. We were vulnerable because predators like Chevi knew we relied on the frum community for support, and were so eager to be accepted. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, any of us baalei teshuvah could have become victims.
When I read the lawsuit, I was shocked that the alleged abuser was someone I knew. I thought of my friends from high school and how devastated they will be. And sure enough they were. I felt empathy for the survivor, knowing she would face backlash in the frum world for speaking up.
Chevi wasn’t like other frum speakers. She was single and used her marital status. She told students she had a “holy” reason for delaying marriage. She was like many cult personalities who tell their followers that their leader is too holy or different for others to handle and that they have a special mission. This cultish, charismatic shtick should have been a red flag to the schools and camps. But they viewed this trait as an asset for growth and development. They believed she could get students to aspire spiritually by convincing them that they were valued for more than just getting married.
Bruriah and Lev Bais Yaakov Responds
Zaakah advocates for survivors of sex abuse in the frum world. Unlike most frum organizations it fully supports survivors who choose to press criminal charges or file civil lawsuits against sex abusers. Zaakah posted the lawsuit on Facebook on Sept 4, 2021. The next day, Bruriah High School’s Executive VP, Rabbi Pinchos Shapiro, emailed:
Earlier today I was made aware of a lawsuit filed under New York’s Child Victims Act involving a part-time member of our faculty alleging past misconduct entirely unrelated to our school or students (past or present) that was said to have occurred between 20 and 27 years ago. The lawsuit does not name our institution, or anyone associated with us aside from this one individual who teaches one-half day a week.
While we are unaware of the veracity of the allegations, we take these matters very seriously. We are working with our legal counsel, outside experts, and have sought guidance from law enforcement regarding this matter. We are proceeding with their guidance. In the interim, the individual who was named in the lawsuit has been placed on administrative leave and will not be in school, pending further review of this matter.
Our dedicated teachers and staff are here to support our students, help them process this, and address any of their questions or concerns. Our Director of Guidance, Shira Sommerstein, is working with her team at Bruriah and experts in the field to provide additional support.
Be assured of our absolute responsibility to ensure a safe and welcoming learning environment for our students, as well as a supportive and fair workspace for our employees. We will continue to act in accordance with those obligations, the law, the dictates of halacha, and the values that we hold most dear as a Torah institution.
As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Rabbi Pinchas Shapiro
Executive Vice President
Jewish Educational Center
Lower School – High School – Bruriah
They managed to never use Chevi Garfinkel’s name. So parents, students, and others who had pertinent info or suspicions about Chevi were not alerted to consider the connection. Very often additional victims only surface once they know there was another who came first. This sort of secretiveness short circuits that possibility.
Their statement makes it look like they suspended Chavi as soon as they heard about the allegations. But according to parents, Bruriah first learned about the allegations in 2016. Jewish Community Watch contacted them about Jane’s allegations. Back then Bruriah did not suspend Chevi. They instead emailed parents, assuring them that they checked with Chevi Garfinkel, Jewish Community Watch, halachic authorities, law enforcement, legal counsel, lay leadership, and faculty. But notice, they did not check with professionals specialized in child protection policy and practices.
In their first response to the allegations they dismissed the possible risks writing “We have also reviewed an evaluation which testifies to the subject faculty member’s fitness to continue serving as an educator… Based on the above and in the absence of any contravening evidence or additional information we are comfortable with the faculty member continuing in their role at Bruriah.”
Thus there was five years between their first awareness of the allegation and their finally taking the action of suspending Chevi. One has to wonder whether they only acted because the facts of the case were out in public. Given the internet savvy of their parents there was no longer any possibility of concealing the allegations.
Either way, Bruriah had the knowledge for five years while giving Chevi access to teenage girls. This is gross negligence. If students in Bruriah were molested by Garfinkel during that period, the school could be liable for knowing she posed a risk and ignoring the warning.
Lev Bais Yaakov waited until after Sukkos to release this statement to parents:
Dear Parents and staff,
A few days before Succos, we were notified of a pending lawsuit filed under the New York Child Victims Act against a long time teacher in our school for alleged misconduct which occurred over 25 years ago at a different institution. The named teacher is currently employed at Lev Bais Yaakov on a part time basis. The lawsuit does not name our school or any other individual associated with Lev Bais Yaakov.
The named teacher is renowned as an educator par excellence and her sterling character is well known to us. We truly believe these allegations to be totally out of character for this teacher, and completely inconsistent with who she is. However, we are a Bais Yaakov committed to Halacha directives in all matters. We, thus, consulted with Rabbonim and legal counsel.
In accordance with their guidance, Lev Bais Yaakov has taken the difficult step of placing our teacher on administrative leave at this time.
As always, Lev Bais Yaakov is cognizant of its responsibility to provide a comfortable and worry-free learning environment for its staff and students. Just as we have taken the necessary steps to achieve this goal in the past, we will certainly continue to do so, IY”H, in the future.
Please feel free to reach out with questions. We will do our utmost to address your concerns while respecting the privacy of the involved parties.
Lev Bais Yaakov Administration
Months after the lawsuit was filed in August 2021, Chevi hosted a Chanukah party at her home for Lev Bais Yaakov alumni and students.
Years ago, “Jane” spoke to Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein, the founder and director of the Ohr Naava school, alleging that Chevi abused her. Wallerstein said he would investigate the matter and get back to her. But he never followed up. This is especially concerning because his school serves a population of girls, several of whom were sexually abused. Ohr Naava’s Executive Director, Yanky Elefant is Wallerstein’s brother-in-law and Chevi’s brother-in-law. So, one can wonder if there was some family protektsia involved.
Social Media Reactions
On Facebook and Twitter, people expressed three different reactions. Some parents were horrified by the allegations and expressed their frustration with Bruriah for knowing since 2016 without acting on them. Other parents cast doubt on the allegations and said they will wait until the lawsuit is over before drawing their own conclusions. This position allows a risk to persist for the years it can take until a lawsuit is resolved.
You also had a group in the middle. Some acknowledged allegations are not to be taken lightly however they couldn’t wrap their head around this case. It’s possible this is because of assumption tha only men are abusers. The only other highly publicized case of a frum female perpetrator is Malka Leifer, who was extradited to Australia in 2020.
From the date the lawsuit was filed until February of 2022, the only actions to come out of this is Bruriah and Lev Bais Yaakov putting Chevi on administrative leave and writing vague statements to parents explaining their decisions. Other venues, like Ohr Naava or Camp Sternberg, have done nothing to address the allegations. In fact, Ohr Naava had two events with her speaking. One was in December 2021 and the other in February 2022. Camp Sternberg hasn’t put out a statement on whether she will return for the summer of 2021. This is not considered best practice. This is not how institutions properly handle abuse allegations.
Grading the Institutions
- Bruriah shouldn’t have waited for the complaint to go viral on social media before putting her on leave. While I’m proud of Zaakah’s work in getting the message out, schools need to act on their own. They should act because abuse matters that much to them, not just because it is bad PR.
- Bruriah and Lev Bais Yaakov’s emails shouldn’t have omitted Chevi’s name from the body of the email. There’s no reason to make parents guess who they’re talking about.
- Neither school should write about how long ago the alleged abuse happened since it’s irrelevant to the threat it poses to students. The omission of Garfinkel’s name and their doubts about “the veracity” of the allegation were a feeble attempt to downplay the scope of the problem. Casting doubt on the implication of the allegation feeds the mindset of doubting abuse allegations when almost all of them are true.
- They should have reminded parents to call police if their daughter reports having had similar interactions with Chevi Garfinkel. This is especially important in frum communities to overcome underreporting and stigmatizing of anyone who approaches law enforcement.
- Schools should have up to date policies on their training procedures and reporting protocols. It should be easily accessible for parents, having it available on the school website for example. This is to show parents what responsibilities the school has to the kids. The same way you have school handbooks dictating rules about proof of vaccinations and dress code, there should be guidelines on what the school’s procedure is when a student discloses abuse.
- Given their poor handling of this case, these schools and camps should hire third-party firms to conduct thorough investigations of their history of addressing assault. This would show parents they are proactive in finding the gaps which lead to these situations. We know gaps exist.
If Chevi Is Guilty Why Hasn’t Jane Gone to the Police?
Because Jane wasn’t ready to go to the police before she was 23 years old. She is now close to 40. Before the NYS Child Victims Act bill passed in 2019, the Statute Of Limitations (SOL) for reporting child sex abuse was the age of 23. Once an SOL expires, regardless of the level of proof, one cannot bring criminal charges That also applies to filing civil lawsuits. After the bill passed in 2019 (thanks to lobbying by Zaakah and others), the age for criminal filing was changed to twenty seven years and to age fifty five for civil filing. A significant feature of this bill is the two year “lookback” window that allowed victims of child sex abuse to sue in civil court, even if the abuse happened before the SOL was changed.
But there are reasons to file a civil suit even when an abuser is charged and sentenced. Criminal prosecution helps protect the community but they don’t fix the damage done to the victim. According to the lawsuit, Jane suffered “ severe emotional, psychological, and psychiatric injuries, distress, and harm to Plaintiff, which also manifested in physical and emotional injuries to Plaintiff.” Dealing with the harm can entail disruptions in schooling, careers, and family life. Trying to manage the harm can include all sorts of medical/psychotherapeutic expenses and lost income.
Simply put, being raped is expensive and someone must pay for it. Let this be a lesson to Chevi, Chevy’s enablers and negligent institutions. Your conduct caused damage and now the bill is due.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Jillian Roth is the attorney representing the survivor, Jane Doe. Their legal team is interested in speaking to others who experienced, observed, or heard about abuse or grooming behavior by Chevi Garfinkel. That could have happened through experiences with Chevi in any of these institutions, or others not on this list. It could be someone presently with these institutions or former students, campers, and staff of these institutions:
- Camp Frontier
- Yeshiva R’Tzahd
- Camp Sternberg
- Ohr Naava
- Lev Bais Yaakov
- Shulamith High School
The attorney is also interested in getting more information about the nature of Chevi’s relationship with Camp Sternberg, Ohr Naava, and special courses or camp programs run by Chevi.
You can reach out to Janes attorney, Jill Roth, by phone (215-399-9255) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can contact Zaakah’s Ariella Kay at Ariella@zaakah.org or on Twitter @Ariella_Kay.
Disgusting beyond belief. This is not religion, it’s abuse that messes up peoples lives forever.
the breadth of abuse is bad enough but the homosexuality component is a frequently ignored component: men on boys and women on girls. Homosexuality as an abomination gets wild attention among the Orthodox but is ignored pr suppressed when child abuse comes to the fore.
Dr. Harold Goldmeier
Now you’re making me wonder if Chevi attended the now defunct, corrupt conversion center JONAH.
Did Jonah also do conversion therapy with females?
Great work Ariella. Who cares about the same sex component. This teacher committed evil acts that destroyed a young girl’s life. These hypocrites who hide behind halacha. Shame on them. If these schools and camps enable predator teachers, any parent who still sends their children to these institutions should share a jail cell with Chevi as they are committing child endangerment.
” any parent who still sends their children to these institutions should share a jail cell with Chevi as they are committing child endangerment.”
Ira, I would say the same thing about parents who send their students to drag queen story hour or any of the other perversions the left is forcing on America now.
At this point–parents can’t even allow their children to watch Disney shows anymore.
How could you possibly equate parents bringing their children to drag queen story hour with parents sending their children to schools and camps that are supposed to be teaching frum Torah values to their children but refuse to denounce or fire child abusers and/or support their victims?
Also, the left isn’t forcing anything on anyone. Unless, did someone tell you that you must attend drag queen story hour Jason?
well LE Hunter,
If a jail cell is the punishment for child endangerment then yes, the punishment for a parent sending an innocent child to be endangered by a drag queen circus freak should also be a jail cell.
Well the left is forcing their liberal agenda on us — be it LGBT+ freak nonsense, or their nonsensical green climate agenda on us.
So if the parents want to poison their kids by sending them to freak hour, they are also free to endanger them by sending them to a camp.
Isn’t bringing a child for a ride in a car a form of child endangerment?
I am pretty sure there are thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of frum Jews in the US deeply harmed by the sex abuse of the types described on this blog. So far I do not know of a single frum child harmed by being taken to a drag queen show. Stop with the injection of electioneering and party slogans and confusing it with the core issues endangering frum children.
Who said Chevi is guilty? There are plenty of questions to be asked about the whole situation. None of u are in the capacity to judge her. Stop the Lashon Harah!!!!
Kol Hakavod Arielle! You wrote a terrific article. Sara Brickman-Lipson RN BSN MSN mental health nurse educator. I pray that the victim(s) get good therapy sessions and support and if needed, medication as well.
This post is mindboggling. There is only one accusation by one victim. It would be safe to assume that if Ms. Garfinkel worked with hundreds of girls over these years, there should be more than one victim. Arielle, I am surprised. You wrote that you fit all the criteria to be the victim; however, you were not! Might that be a reason to think that maybe the abuse never really did happen? Obviously, precautions should be taken to ensure that abuse doesn’t continue, but until more than one person speaks out, does it give you the right to say as a fact that the abuse for sure happened? There are so many holes in the victim’s story “Jane Doe,” and until there are some more facts, I would think that we shouldn’t say anything as a fact. Rabbi Elyashiv, in his famous teshuva regarding reporting abuse, said that there has to be circumstantial evidence. The approach by most people familiar with the catastrophes associated with molestation understands it to mean that there need to be accusations by two victims. Until another victim speaks out, how can we say this abuse is certain?
Really? I don’t see holes. Did you read the entire complaint to which there is a link in the posting. Instead of holes I just see someone isn’t inclined to believe claims except with incredible proof. You may be like those rabbonim who manage to find a doubt with anything short of a video that would qualify as child porn. Guess what. Halachah and the legal system has long been convicting people for such acts before there was electronic recording.
I said it “could have been me”. I never said I fit “all of the criteria”. How you confused those two is a mystery to me.
Yep, there likely is more than one victim. Problem is with people like you who gaslight survivors testimony, many don’t come forward. You can’t have it both ways; you can’t make BS rules about when to take abuse allegations seriously only to then wag your finger at victims for not coming to report it sooner.
“There’s only one victim”, I’m sorry, do you need a body count above 1 before you start protecting people? One person isn’t enough to protect people? You need more people potentially hurt? That is how you sound, Chaim.
Well first off, I never said it 100% happened. Did you selectively skip over the words “allegedly”? You can promote best practices and also not make definitive judgments on what is true or false. It’s not YOUR job, or my job, to determine truth or fiction in order to help people. If you require arbitrary rules to help people, you’re not a safe person to disclose abuse to.
I’m sorry, but nobody cares if you think the “plot” of the complaint makes sense or not. Abuse doesn’t have to fit into a neat Law and Order SVU plot line for you to have empathy. The ruling judge in this certainly doesn’t agree with you. You mean to tell me you’re more right than them?
Nobody said anything was a fact except you. We said “allegedly” for a reason. And again, public safety doesn’t require your arbitrary definition of “facts” to take action.
“The approach most people take-“ stop right there. Your attitude is why children cannot be safe in religious circles. Nobody who specializes in best practices for child safety subscribes to the “two people are needed” rule. As soon as an allegation is made, protecting kids comes first. PERIOD. You warn parents, you remove the risk, and you run an independent, transparent investigation. I don’t know what community you come from, but your attitude is exactly why children are not safe. Don’t like that answer? Then ditch whatever attitude you have about it now and follow best practices according to child safety advocates, child psychologists, and law enforcement.
genuinely asking a question here.
You say that you were careful not to outright say that the perpetrator is guilty- yet you bash the institutions for being vague in naming the perpetrator – can it be, they are telling their student/parent body at large vague warnings- while welcoming parents to come forward and have a discussion in private- because the institution wants to wait for a final verdict before directly slamming the perpetrator? is that so wrong? they did remove her. I’m confused why that is so awful, that to quote previous comment- parents who send their kids to these schools should have their children taken away
Hi and thanks for your question.
A school’s job is to protect its student body. According to best practices recommended by child safety advocates and law enforcement, schools need to be clear as day when a staff member is removed for such a reason. Because again, you don’t WAIT for a verdict to protect children. You don’t leave things vague. Do you know how long these lawsuits usually last? Anywhere from 5-10 years. You can’t wait 5-10 years to protect a child. As a parent or educator, you owe them that.
So yes, the school failed to adequately inform the parent body of who was being put on leave. Naming a person isn’t determining a verdict. It’s exhibiting clear communication.
With regard to having these conversations in private, you can’t have such conversations if you’re omitting key details like who it is. Remember, these aren’t 8 year olds. They’re high schoolers. They deserve to be safe and have clear communication with adults around them. You want your kids to be honest and faithful with the adults who care for them, including teachers and mentors, right? So you as a parent or teacher owe them the same courtesy
yes, yes, agree
Thank you. Thank you! Thank you for your comment, I could not have said it better myself.
You realize you just told the world “I love supporting child abusers!” right? Do you have anything of substance to add here or are you just here to support those like you?
Oh, and if you’re going to bring up “facts” and accuracy, maybe start by spelling my name correctly. It’s Ariella**
Red Herring logical fallacy, baby. Him spelling your name correctly has nothing to do with what his point was. You know that…
Word of advice: if you want anyone to take anything you say seriously, don’t call them baby. I’m not your friend, especially since you sound like an enabler of child abuse. “I like the person, therefore everyone else is wrong!” Is not a solid argument. Sad.
This is an excellent analysis — particularly appreciate the grading the institution piece. There’s nowhere to hide anymore. And if institutions can’t figure out the right thing to do, they can always ask.
So disturbing. It’s scary how abusers can hide in plain sight. Its heartening to see that abuse is not swept under rugs anymore. Yet it’s also scary to think that one person with a grievance or an agenda can come out and possibly ruin someone’s life. Us, simple readers aren’t privy to the details and the evidence provided. So we are left to wonder and guess, and form opinions based on our own preconceived notions and past experiences. It’s a scary world.
In is true that false accusations do happen, rarely, but not zero. Those are almost always quickly disproven. But false charges are so rare, that while awaiting the results of an impartial investigation, the prudent policy is to eliminate risk to children during the investigation.
I just hope you know the survivor who filed this lawsuit is reading your comment and your insinuation that she is a liar. I hope you realize your implication and inaccurate comparison of prioritizing safety vs false accusation occurrences is what lead Jane Doe to stay quiet all these years. Because when people like yourself speak the way you do, it is, as you put it, “swept under the rug.
I wasn’t insinuating that at all. I was just lamenting the fact that proof and evidence is withheld from the public… so it makes it sound like a case based entirely on “he said/she said” or on this case “she said/she said”. Yes, investigations should obviously be conducted based on that and precautions taken. But public announcements should only come once there is concrete proof or multiple accusers with matching stories. And I’m assuming there’s evidence in this case… but the article fails to mention any. It does lead the reader to believe that the case is built entirely on he said/she said.
I actually was a student who was “won over” by Chevi’s speaking style. I say this so that, on the off chance the “alleged” victim is reading these comments, she knows there is support in her corner even among Chevi’s large former fanbase.
You don’t have to be someone who always “got creepy vibes” in order to believe an accusation now. You also don’t have to hear it from multiple people to validate its occuring to one.
Not to mention, even if you think Chevi’s innocent, you should STILL agree that schools should have policies to remove POTENTIAL abusers to protect students from the RISK.
You are incorrect in your analysis regarding her not wishing to get married . I have listened to numerous classes and she’s trying to come to terms with the very difficult situation of bring single and talks about wanting to get married all the time. She tries to give encouragement to those girls who are still looking for their mate .
At this point, I think you need to be comfortable with the fact that this was used as a tool to groom her audience
Ariella, (this time I spelled your name correctly).
You mention before that these allegations are alleged as nothing has been proven yet. However, you are certain that these techniques were used to groom her audience?!?
I understand the need to remove a perpetrator and warn the public to ensure that no further damage is done. How do you justify unequivocally saying that she abused someone and that her techniques and speeches were just a way to further abuse students?
Chaim, I witnessed her techniques because she was my teacher. I don’t have to say it’s “alleged” because I’m reporting what I experienced and saw. I didn’t experience her abuse, and it’s not my story, so therefore I have to say it’s alleged.
With regard to your closing question, I just explained point by point why I find her mannerisms and PR campaign were used to groom her audience. I specifically laid it out for you, the reader. I do not understand what it is you’re asking for.
Ariella, you wrote a very well written article but reading your comments shows YOU have some issues with people questioning/disagreeing/challenging your outlook on the entire case.
It comes through in your responses. perhaps it’s just emotions but please work on it.
my only connection to all this is that I actually dated Chevi once so the case intrigues me (I also learned a little under Meir Pogrow at one time!) . She wasn’t pretty or ugly and engaged in pleasant conversation. Although I was way out of her league and she declined to date any further, she did tell the schadchan that it was refreshing to go out with a BT who was “normal” and i think she even recommended me for a friend of hers.
She did have a tomboy vibe that i picked up, but it wasn’t so overt.
Hi from London
I happened on this conversation accidentally . We have orthodox communities here too and there is a horrendous history of lying, enabling and protecting the abusers here too.
One case is one too many
It takes huge courage to come forward in the first place . And then to have supposedly educated people ( actually they don’t provide any evidence regarding their levels of education so let’s not assume they are educated without specific proof) … to have opinionated people declare that one case proves nothing or that if nothing has as yet been proved , you can’t take protective measures , is mind boggling . People like that make me want to dissociate from Judaism on any level … but I try to remind myself that it’s people who are imperfect, not the Almighty . Shame on all of you who attempt to cast doubt on probable victims . This attitude ensures that abuse within our community will continue to be denied, enabled and will continue. Hope it’s not your kid next
I heard Miss Garfinkel speak at numerous occasions. She did have an interesting style of getting loud and dramatic but that helped her get her message across the the students who tend to doze off. I never, ever heard her say anything like what you accuse her of saying. “She told students she had a “holy” reason for delaying marriage. She was like many cult personalities who tell their followers that their leader is too holy or different for others to handle and that they have a special mission.” On the contrary, she spoke of her difficult life journey in not having found her sole mate as yet, and how she deals with it. One way was by coming up with an interesting goal to visit every State park in the USA. She said that to reach her goal, she visits a different national state park each year during her vacation, taking advantage of the fact that she is free to do so instead of becoming depressed and feeling sorry for herself. I found her to be truly inspiring and a special inspiration to the many older singles around! She has taught and in been in contact with thousands of girls of the years. One young woman has made horrible accusations against her. No other young woman from all the thousands she has had contact with has stepped forward. She is now also smearing the name of Rabbi Wallerstien who is no longer here to defend himself. (Reminds me of Tawana Brawley who also claimed she was molested by a recently deceased person). Not that there isn’t a possibility that the young woman is speaking the truth, but there is also a possibility that she is telling an unforgivable lie! Why does everyone automatically believe the young woman who said she was victimized and attack Miss Garfinkel. Take a second to think about what a risk you are taking if it turns out – and you may never find out until you are in the World of Truth – that it was a total fabrication! Right now it is one woman’s word against another, against a woman who has been an amazing educator and inspiration to countless young ladies. Of course, precautions have to be taken so that if it’s true if can not happen again. But, it is not in anyone’s best interest to discuss it, to weigh in on their beliefs of what may or may not have happened, to belittle or bash either side. Both sides have to treated with compassion and dignity until the story is proven beyond a doubt (and even then, nothing is gained by gossiping about it)
I agree with Miriam a 1000 percent.
It is difficult to conceive that all these years Ms Garfinkel, who had contact with thousands of girls no one, other than Jane Doe, came forward alleging abuse.
Jane Doe did not live at Ms Garfinkel’s home. Why would a 17 or 18 old girl would sleep over Shabbosim if she feels she is being abused. No one forced to be a guest at the Garfinkels’ home.
It might be difficult for you to conceive such things, but that doesn’t mean you or Miriam are right. If anything, it displays a myopic understanding of how abuse works. And instead of learning about how to better protect children, you both put your own needs ahead of others.
Victims do not come out in droves, particularly because of attitudes like yours and Miriam’s. Maybe if you both were more supportive, you’d hear about more of the women Chevi harmed.
To your last point, if you read the lawsuit, which is hyperlinked in the article for your convenience you would know she had lived in the Garfinkel home since she was 11 years old. Leaving an abusive situation is not easy. Didn’t you learn that from Shalom Task Force ?
I am puzzled by your obtuseness about the nature of charismatic leadership or student vulnerability. That combination sets up many victims.