Identify and Report this Sex Offender

The New York City Police Department is asking the public’s assistance with identifying and locating an individual depicted in the attached photo wanted for questioning in connection to a forcible touching incident which occurred within the confines of the 66th Precinct. The details are as follows: Continue reading


Vote to Protect Kids in NYS

New York State law does a lousy job of protecting children. NYS’s Statute of Limitations prevents lawsuits or criminal prosecution of child sex abuse if the victim does not file complaints before their 23rd birthday.

The state legislature and governor passed on a chance to fix these laws yet again as they have for almost a decade, all because of an unholy alliance with the Catholic Church and Agudath Israel of America. Governor Cuomo is in on the deal.

The short term solution is replacing obstructionist legislators. Protect New York Kids is an organization focused on this problem. They have identified candidates committed to reforming child sex abuse legislation, donated to their campaigns and organized on their behalf. Check out their recommendations when you go to the polls on Tuesday.



Using and Abusing Forgiveness: Dina Friedman’s Survivor Reflections

Teshuva, mechila, repentence and forgiveness are things in which Jews believe. But when it comes to sex abuse, their meaning and measure has been mutilated and disfigured into meaningless parodies. A superficial claim of repentance is proferred and the victim is pressured to graciously accept it and go on as if all has been remedied.

I want to thank Dina Friedman for her fine essay chronicling her reactions over the years to the fake apology farce. She recounts her enlightenment  with snapshots of her mindset over successive High Holy Days.

Check out her posting: I don’t forgive the man who raped me. scales of justice and child

Sauna Rabbi Rosenblatt Is Hung Out to Dry

Jonathan Rosenblatt

Jonathan Rosenblatt

Following his forced retirement from the Riverdale Jewish Center, sauna-boy-gawker Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt started advertising himself doing “spiritual and psychological counseling” at Scarsdale Integrative Medicine (SIM).

His reputation caught up with him and SIM dropped him unceremoniously, even claiming he was never part of their operation, but merely someone renting space from them according to the Forward.

But, as my readers know, he was listed on their website as one of their staff back in May, whatever the financial arrangements.

It would not be fair to criticize SIM too much for this lapse in vetting and judgment. They did manage to dump the chump in about two months. Continue reading

Frum Watch as a Replacement for Failed Messiah

Frum WatchThe February buyout of Failed Messiah by Diversified Holdings left a gap. For almost 12 years, its previous proprietor, Shmarya (Scott) Rosenberg, kept tabs on all the misdeeds of the orthodox world mostly by locating and aggregating news from other sources, and sometimes with original investigation and reporting. His sources included public professional media, blogs, kol korehs (rabbinical proclamations), pashkavilim (flyers, often anonymous), and other leaked documents.

The orthodox world, especially its Haredi segment, does not distribute information that can embarrass it, except in the rarest and most unavoidable circumstances. So those wanting to understand its happenings benefited from Shmarya’s work. It now seems clear that the new owners of Failed Messiah bought it to shut down its criticism. In spite of early promises to continue to cover sex abuse problems, they have done zilch. However, at least the old posts are still up. Should they delete them, they are mostly copied over on the Internet Archive. Just plug in the no-longer working link from FM or any other source, and it will show up if it is on the Archive.

Frum Watch, a FaceBook page attempts to fill that gap and they do a pretty good job at the aggregating function. In fact, I would say they do a better job than Failed Messiah. There is less needless inflammatory language. They have a commenting policy prohibiting bigotry towards any group and they enforce it. They are a collective, including some Hebrew and Yiddish fluent members who occasionally translate and in any event annotate or synopsize material from non-English sources. They seem to post a good half a dozen or more stories a day. There is no muss and fuss. Sometimes they let the story title speak for itself. Sometimes they briefly introduce it. Sometimes, when needed, or when they have more to say, they add to it.  Continue reading

How Rabbis Discourage Reports of Sexual Assaults

Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich

R. Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich

Yehuda Shohat and Ariela Sternbuch reported in Yediot Aharonot a year ago about the advice that Israeli rabbis give about whether to report sexual assaults to the police. Sternbuch called up 27 individuals describing obviously criminal sexual assaults.

Until now, only the interaction with Rabbi Ratzon Arussi was translated into English along with his rationalizations (See Haanah Katsman, “Rabbi Defends Not Reporting Sex Abuse”).

What is notable for most of these responses is they did not invoke any prohibitions of mesira (snitching).
Instead they engaged in victim blaming, worried about the impact on the offender and his family, warned about impact of reporting in the marriage prospects of the victim, and insisted the police were ineffective. They often assumed the offense was a one-time event and assumed teshuva (repentence). Their practical solutions for preventing repetitions of this offense involved giving the offender a tongue lashing.

These rabbis abdicated their responsibility to protect the public from presumed sexual assailants.

This is why I always advise against contacting rabbis for advice about reporting abuse, except for the small number of rabbis with reliable reputations for supporting the use of the police to protect the community. Even some of those are inconsistent, supporting it in theory or in special cases but not in others.

Below are the translated excerpts from the article. Read, turn your stomach, and keep this in mind if you or someone you know is the victim of a sex assault. (For the 6/22/15 Hebrew Yediot Achronot version and tape recordings go to שקט, מטייחים. מקריבים את הנפגעים החרדים.

Translations below by Danny Wool a writer, editor, and translator, who specializes in Jewish and Israeli themes. He is deeply involved in the Israeli film industry, having worked on such films and projects as The Gatek.

Rabbi David Zvi Ordentleich

The chief rabbis of Beitar Illit (pop. 65,000), Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Ordentleich, and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yaakov Tufik, are also members of the local religious court. The author, posing as a 17-year-old girl, told them over the phone that she was molested by the father of a friend, and that her mother told her not to complain to the police.

“Did he just touch you and remove his clothes, or was it more than that,” Rabbi Ordentleich asked, knowing that the person she accused was an older yeshiva student.

Girl: He also put his hands inside.

Rabbi: Did he try to do anything else? Did you resist? Continue reading