Pelcovitz and Leading Orthodox Rabbis Line Up Behind Sex Offender Evan Zauder (From the archives- 3/31/14)

Update (9/20/19) Dr. David Pelcovitz spoke to SAR parents in the aftermath of the arrest of their teacher, Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick, for child porn production involving a student. He is scheduled to speak at other schools. That is a terrible choice. Parents, after you read this post, please contact your school’s administrators and urge them not to invite Pelcovitz as a speaker. Follow the pattern of a number of other schools who disinvited him.  — Yerachmiel Lopin

Guest Post by David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz is a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey. He is also the founder of a new non-profit organization, Mi Li – Who Is For Me, designed to educate the Jewish community about sexual abuse of children and provide support to victims and their families.

About a year ago I came forward in the pages of The Jewish Week and shared my experience as a victim of sexual abuse by a senior member of the staff at Camp Dora Golding in 1979. I also had the opportunity to address the annual conference of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) on the topic. In both instances and in other articles and venues, I spoke about the challenge that we face in the Orthodox community regarding a pervasive tolerance of sexual abuse of children.

This is not limited to any corner of the Orthodox community – It exists in the Modern Orthodox world just as it exists in the Ultra-Orthodox world. And while there is a growing recognition of this scourge, there has been little progress in addressing the underlying culture that tolerates abuse and excuses Orthodox pedophiles. Indeed, when someone is accused of abuse, and even found guilty of committing heinous acts of sexual abuse against minors, many communal leaders continue to bend over backwards to show Rachmunus (mercy and empathy) to the perpetrators, and little regard to the victims.

Evan Zauder

Evan Zauder

The terrible phenomenon has been highlighted once again this past week, coinciding with the scheduled sentencing of Evan Zauder. Evan Zauder, was a teacher at the Modern Orthodox day school Yeshivat Noam located in Paramus, New Jersey. Zauder also had a long history of working with Jewish youth, including as a synagogue youth director and participant in numerous youth related programs. In 2012, Zauder was arrested for possessing child pornography, and was subsequently found by the US Government to have distributed child pornography as well. He was also found to have engaged in illicit sexual relationships with underage males that involved graphic discussion, mutual masturbation Continue reading

Pelcovitz and Leading Orthodox Rabbis Line Up Behind Sex Offender Evan Zauder (from the Archives of 3/31/14)

Dr. David Pelcovitz remains YU’s resident expert on child sex abuse. Just this evening (5/7/19) he was part of an event for students at YU’s Washington Heights campus. 

Guest Post by David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz

David Cheifetz is a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey. He is also the founder of a new non-profit organization, Mi Li – Who Is For Me, designed to educate the Jewish community about sexual abuse of children and provide support to victims and their families.

About a year ago I came forward in the pages of The Jewish Week and shared my experience as a victim of sexual abuse by a senior member of the staff at Camp Dora Golding in 1979. I also had the opportunity to address the annual conference of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) on the topic. In both instances and in other articles and venues, I spoke about the challenge that we face in the Orthodox community regarding a pervasive tolerance of sexual abuse of children.

This is not limited to any corner of the Orthodox community – It exists in the Modern Orthodox world just as it exists in the Ultra-Orthodox world. And while there is a growing recognition of this scourge, there has been little progress in addressing the underlying culture that tolerates abuse and excuses Orthodox pedophiles. Indeed, when someone is accused of abuse, and even found guilty of committing heinous acts of sexual abuse against minors, many communal leaders continue to bend over backwards to show Rachmunus (mercy and empathy) to the perpetrators, and little regard to the victims.

Evan Zauder

Evan Zauder

The terrible phenomenon has been highlighted once again this past week, coinciding with the scheduled sentencing of Evan Zauder. Evan Zauder, was a teacher at the Modern Orthodox Day School Yeshivat Noam located in Paramus New Jersey. Zauder also had a long history of working with Jewish youth, including as a synagogue youth director and participant in numerous youth related programs. In 2012, Zauder was arrested for possessing child pornography, and was subsequently found by the US Government to have distributed child pornography as well. He was also found to have engaged in illicit sexual relationships with underage males that involved graphic discussion, mutual masturbation Continue reading

“Protecting Our Children from Sexual Abuse” Panel: Sunday Sept. 14 in Teaneck

  • Rabbi Yosef Blau

    Rabbi Yosef Blau

    Topic: Protecting Our Children From Sexual Abuse

  • Where: Congregation Rinat Yisrael , 389 West Englewood Avenue, Teaneck, NJ
  • When: Sunday, September 14, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
  • Co-Sponsors: Congregation Keter Torah, Congregation Netivot Shalom and Lubavitch of Bergen County
  • Cost: Free and open to entire community

Continue reading

The Height of Chutzpah

Judge Gustin Reichbach

Judge Gustin Reichbach, ZTz”l

In October 2009, right after Yom Kippur, molester, Yona Weinberg, was up for sentencing. This is  Hella Winston‘s account of the sentencing in the Jewish Week.

Judge Gustin Reichbach said he found it “troubling” that the community “seeks to blame, indeed punish victims.”…Making his comments before a courtroom packed with supporters of the 31-year-old Weinberg – among them, school principals, two rabbis and civic leaders – 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 acknowledgment for these young victims which, frankly, I find shameful.” Judge Reichbach referred to a letter expressing sadness “that Weinberg’s love of humankind has turned against him,” as “the height of chutzpah.”

Dr. David Pelcovitz  (Prof of Education & Psychology, YU)

Dr. David Pelcovitz
(Prof of Education & Psychology, YU)

This is the same disturbing pattern that showed up in the case of Evan Zauder as discussed by David Cheifetz in his post, Pelcovitz and Leading Orthodox Rabbis Line Up Behind Sex Offender Evan Zauder. I have to wonder, how often did David Pelcovitz and these rabbis ever take the effort to write letters advocating for victims and in the interest of protecting children in the community.

Dr. Pelcovitz and these rabbis owe the community a cheshbon (reckoning) of exactly how they balance their rachmonis (mercy/pity) for molesters and their rachmonis on behalf of victims.

As the single most prominent orthodox mental health professional addressing child sex abuse, Dr. David Pelcovitz ought to tell us how many letters he has written to mitigate sentences versus the number he has written from the victim’s point of view.