HALB’s Board of Directors Misled Parents About Their Investigation of  Yoseph Ungar (Updated 8/31/22- 8:20pm) (see update at end of post)

Guest post by Ariella Kay of Zaakah

The Allegation

Parents expect schools to protect their children from molesters. So, imagine the shock and horror for parents of Hebrew Academy of Long Beach (HALB) when they learned that Rabbi Yoseph Ungar, HALB’s first grade boys teacher, was named in a lawsuit for allegedly molesting a six-year-old student. 

The former student, Daniel Weiss (who has chosen to disclose his real name rather than using a John Doe pseudonym), is suing HALB (and those who were board members at the time) for alleged negligence which resulted in Weiss being molested by Rabbi Ungar. 

The complaint reads:

In or around the Fall of 2002, plaintiff went into the closet in Ungar’s
classroom to get a book while the other students were outside for recess. While he was in the closet, plaintiff saw that there was candy and took some for himself. 

Ungar approached plaintiff from behind, questioned him about taking the candy, and then said something to the effect of “You have to do something to get the candy.” Ungar then closed the closet door behind him and cajoled and otherwise required plaintiff to orally copulate him until Ungar ejaculated into Plaintiff’s mouth. Plaintiff spit the semen on the floor and began to cry.

Ungar proceeded to comfort Plaintiff and apologize, and promised to not do it again, as he wiped the semen off the floor. 

But according to the lawsuit it did happen again. In fact, it happened some twenty times. 

HALB’s Initial Communication to Parents

Within a week of being served in July 2021, HALB sent parents an email informing them:

  • Of the allegation, 
  • That they had placed Rabbi Ungar on administrative leave, and 
  • That HALB was retaining the Morgan Lewis Firm as an “outside, independent counsel” to investigate the allegations.

HALB’s Unjustified Exoneration of Rabbi Ungar

Four months later, in November of 2021, the school sent another email letting people know the investigation found the allegations were “not substantiated” and Ungar would be returning to the classroom after Chanukah, and he did.

But there had never been an independent investigation. The investigation (whose flaws will be detailed shortly) was conducted by the very same law firm employed by HALB to defend itself against Daniel Weiss’ lawsuit. That was a blatant conflict of interest. Defense attorneys have a vested interest in refuting allegations and limiting a client’s financial exposure and reputational risk. It is not surprising that they also had a vested interest in whitewashing the allegations against Ungar.

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How the Non-Frum World Was Better than Satmar in Responding to a Menuval Like Krishevsky

Earlier today (7/17/22) I posted about the arrest of Izchak Krishevsky, a zealot against the internet, a prominent Satmar magid shiur and mashpiah. He also had a reputation for cruelty to his students.

But now I want to focus on how he came to be arrested. According to the Mid Hudson News:

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Ohel Endangers Children by Employing Alleged Child Molesters to Work With Children (see update at bottom)

The latest such scandal involves one Rabbi Yoseph “Yossi” Ungar, Learning Rebbe at @CampKaylie, is alleged to have sexually abused multiple boys in his 1st grade class at a New York school. He is still employed at the camp, which begins Monday, 6/27. Netanel Zellis-Paley has done research and brought this matter to light on his Twitter account, @WordPaley

Camp Kaylie is operated by Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services (@OhelFamily) an agency with a long sordid history of protecting abusers. They are now the subject of multiple lawsuits for this conduct.

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Lanner’s Victims Are Hurt by the Posthumous Praise of Pinchos Stolper

Rabbi Pinchos Stolper, the founder and first director of the Orthodox Union’s (OU) youth division, NCSY, died earlier this week. There has been all sorts of praise of his deeds with nary a hint that he enabled the molesting of hundreds of teen girls who trusted NCSY. Stolper, was repeatedly told about Rabbi Boruch Lanner’s molesting by victims, parents, and other NCSY staff. He made believe that these allegations were not true. After Stolper retired, the lid was finally blown by Gary Rosenblatt’s articles in the New York Jewish Week. A few years later Lanner was finally tried and convicted of child molesting and sent to jail. Eventually the OU conducted an extensive investigation confirming the allegations. Yet Stolper continued to be treated respectfully in his retirement and they even have an annual award in his name.

It sticks in the craw of every survivor, especially anyone whose complaints were invalidated by Stolper, to see him being praised. I am tired of the arguments about the good outweighing the “lapses.” There is a special evil in these sorts of lapses. It is a moral calculation that imagines one’s work is so important that it should not be inconvenienced by the problems affecting individual kids. They are discarded as roadkill on the way to the kiruv mission. This is moral bankruptcy.

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