Miss Chevi Garfinkel, Charismatic Teacher and Alleged Child Molester – Guest Post by Ariella Kay

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 ariella@zaakah.org 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.

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Magen is the Best Way to Give Money to Fight Child Sex Abuse in Israel

I only solicit donations for three organizations fighting sex abuse, Zaakah in the US, Migdal Emunah in the UK, and Magen in Israel. No other organization in Israel works on all fronts to fight sex abuse from providing services, facilitating action by police, protective services and others, and exposing the problem.

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Agudah, Can You at Least Be as Good as Reform Jews on Sex Abuse

The Union of Reform Judaism commissioned an independent investigation into all sex abuse within its programs including its youth groups and camps. They released the entire report, admitted they fell short and committed to further steps including adopting the recommendations of the independent report.

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Ukraine’s Yaakov Bleich Resigns from Conference of European Rabbis after Investigation (from the 2019 Archives)

Bleich is on the cover of this week’s Ami Magazine. They have a penchant for publicizing lowlifes like Weberman and the child molesting and kidnapping cult, Lev Tahor. Bleich is timely as a rabbi in the Ukraine. But he is not the only rabbi there and he does have the problem of multiple allegations of sexual assault against boys, girls and women as revealed here in 2019. Since this post in 2019, Bleich lost all his positions with the World Jewish Congress where he used to be a VP. Yerachmiel Lopin

Chaim Shaulson‘s Hebrew language blog, In the World of Haredim (בעולמם של חרידים) posted (6/1/19)

Rabbi [Yaakov] Bleich [Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine] resigned from the Conference of European Rabbis after Dayan [Menachem] Gelley [Av Beth Din of the London Beth Din of the United Synagogue] went to  America and examined the suspicions against him[Bleich].

This report is consistent with the facts I know. The recent resignation follows his earlier removal from the Conference’s website which I reported on March 31, 2019. Before his removal he held a number of important positions at the CER including membership on their Executive Council and their Presidium.

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F-I-L of Malka Leifer, Rabbi Baruch Leifer, Is Charged w/ multiple Sexual Assaults on a Girl of 12.

The charge is a few weeks old but his name was embargoed till now by Israeli courts. This is the usual Israeli practice either when an investigation is in earlier stages and or when the victims are relatives since naming the offender often implicitly identifies the victim. In this case the victim consented to disclosure of the charges to encourage other victims to come forward.

According to Israeli news outlet Kan there are additional charges which are out of statute.

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