Bina’s Netiv Aryeh Tries to Minimize Its Connection to Alleged Child Pornographer Rabbi Jonathan Skolnick

UPDATE- 11/13/19- Jewish Week published a story confirming some of my suspicions that he was also doing his thing while at Netiv Aryeh. https://jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/alleged-predators-former-students-saw-a-pattern/

As the saying goes, “Success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan.” That goes doubly when the institutional failure involves hiring a child pornographer as a religious educator. SAR and the Yeshiva of Flatbush have issued the usual statements about not having a clue about his years of using fake online identities as a teen girl to try and engage their students, and in at least one case, succeeding in getting a boy to send a nude pic.

The latest entrant is “tough love” Rabbi Aharon Bina’s gap year yeshiva, Netiv Aryeh. For starters, readers should know that tough love in his case is a misnomer for brutal control employed against students considered incorregible by their parents. In the interests of space I refer readers to “Has The ‘Tough Love’ Rebbe Gone Too Far?” published in the NY Jewish Week (2012) by Yedidya Gorsetman and Gary Rosenblatt. There is also a website devoted to reports of his abuse. Bina has his defenders, including some of his “reformed” students who swear by him with all the passion of cult inductees.

Back in 2009, around this time of the year, the Netiv Aryeh newsletter (YNA Newsletter – Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech, p2) proudly reported, Continue reading

Ramaz Yeshiva Fires History Teacher Dr. Ari Sclar and Conducts Investigation

Last week (1-22-18) the Ramaz Upper School Head, Rabbi Shlomo Stochel, notified the community that Dr. Ari Sclar was no longer employed as a history teacher “due to a serious violation of Ramaz’s standards of conduct.” (see letter below)

This Manhattan Upper East Side modern orthodox school is employing the law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP to conduct an investigation. This is the same firm the Orthodox Union (OU) hired to investigate physical and sexual abuse by Rabbi Baruch Lanner in their youth program, the National Council of Synagogue Youth (NCSY).

The letter does not state Sclar’s particular infraction of “standards of conduct.” But schools fire people all the time without notifications stating reasons or hiring outside investigators. So I would surmise this is probably about abuse of some sort.

Dr. Sclar is adjunct faculty at Hunter College and completed a dissertation on the success of “Jews in Basketball.”

The school’s letter asks people to contact Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. However, if you are aware of criminal conduct I would strongly urge you to instead contact the police and child protective services.

If you were harmed by Sclar and think you may have grounds for a lawsuit against Sclar or an institution that employed him, get your own private lawyer to talk to the the investigators or RAMAZ. The firm hired by RAMAZ is obliged to protect the legal and financial interests of RAMAZ, not potential victims.  Continue reading

Correction About Wolf Sender: My Reports About His Termination Were Simply Wrong

Wolf Sender

Wolf Sender

I erroneously posted a report that Wolf Sender was among those forced out of the Brooklyn DA on Friday. I have since corrected all the posts where I made that statement.

It is now clear to me based on information from several sources including the press office of the Brooklyn District Attorney that  Wolf Sender is not in any immediate danger of being terminated or being forced to resign. I apologize to Mr. Sender for my error and for any difficulties it caused him. It is my job as a blogger journalist to sometimes be critical of public figures. But even when I disagree with someone I owe them accurate reporting.
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Weinberger Conceded His Guilt and Promised to Quit the Rabbinate in December

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger

In September of 2013, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger announced a one year sabbatical leave from his position as Rabbi of Shaaray Tefila in Lawrence, New York. He attributed it to health problems:

My physicians have strongly advised that I take a one year sabbatical in keeping with the torah mandate of “ushmartem es nafshoseichem” (“you should guard your health”). I am confident that this much-needed break will be beneficial in being able to give me the capacity, with Hashem’s help, to serve the klal (public) for many more years in good health.

The letter is ambiguous about which public he would serve. In fact, his understanding with the board was that he was going to get a paid year of sabbatical and that he would not be coming back to Shaaray Tefila. But they did allow him to face save face and they expected him to relocate.

Some would praise them for ridding the shul of a predator while others, myself included are critical because they were allowing him to relocate and prey on girls and women in other communities.

As word of his misdeeds spread, he began to minimize his misconduct and blame his accusers. This led to a confrontation between him and group of local rabbis on December 18, 2013 where they threatened to expose his misconduct unless he agreed to permanently give up any role as a rabbi or educator. He was confronted with the evidence, including an incriminating recording of very serious sexual misconduct. Rather than face more evidence, he stopped protesting and signed the following statement:

To whom it may concern, I Rabbi Dovid Weinberger, formerly the Rabbi of Cong. Shaarei Tefilla of Lawrence, NY, do hereby acknowledge that I will retire from the Rabbinate effective immediately, and will never again serve in the capacity of Rov Continue reading

Jewish Publishers Drop Some of Rabbi Dovid Weinberger Books Because of Scandal

ArtScroll/Mesorah, the most important ultra-orthodox Jewish publisher, has stopped selling a number of titles by Rabbi Dovid Weinberger in the aftermath of a scandal involving alleged misconduct with women. They continue to sell his Women’s Siddur and Rabbi Nissan Alpert on the Sidrah. However they no longer list for sale these other titles which are still available elsewhere (and thus, probably still in-print):

  • Step By Step: A Weekly Program for Self-improvement (ArtScroll, November 2012, ISBN: 978-1422613207)
  • Dovid Weinberger The Traveler's Halachic Handbook coverThe Traveler’s Halachic Handbook (ArtScroll, May 2013, ISBN: 978-1422613801)
  • ArtScroll continues to list his Guide For Jewish Hospital Patient (1996, ISBN: 9781879016231) which is published by OU/NCSY though the listing on ArtScroll excludes his name as the author and the OU/NCSY no longer lists the book on their site. Amazon also lists it.

Feldheim publishers does not seem to have been affected by the scandal.

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