Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dr. Joy Silberg - what is her role in the Sanhedria Murchevet Satanic abuse hysteria?

updated below with review of 22 Faces - about Satanic abuse which was endorsed by Dr. Silberg

After exchanging a number of emails with Dr. Silberg, I think it is important to try and clarify her role in this hysteria.

She has written to me that she has seen zero evidence that there is any ideological abuse. That means no Christian or Satanic ring.

However, she has up until now refused to issue a public statement saying that point. She did respond to my request for a public statement with a statement for publication. However it did not include this critical observation of hers (despite my request to say so) but it also omitted saying that one should go to the police if you suspect your child has been abused. This omission is very problematic. Aside from the fact that only the police have the resources for a proper investigation and only the police have the legal ability to arrest and give a suspect over to be tried - it implies that she does not trust the police? Why?

 Is this related to the bizarre rumor by those claiming that there is Satanic abuse - that the police are complicit and are actively concealing the evidence for abuse? In fact there is no evidence for a cover up - but this rumor seems to have persuaded parents not to go the police - but instead to go to certain therapists who believe and promote the theory that there is a Satanic abuse ring.

It is important to note that she has trained and endorsed the two therapists who have been major figures promoting the claims that there is a Satanic ring operating in Sanhedria Murchevet and also benefiting from having the alleged victims referred to them.. Neither of them is a psychologist and one of them is a speech therapist! Why?

In short, she has not disavowed the Satanic ring theory. She trained and apparently still endorses the main therapists who have been getting referrals based on the Satanic abuse theory. She is not advising parents to go to the police  or to involve them in the investigation of these abuse cases - according to her public statement.  

Her public statement was an embarrassing collection of statements which basically called for collection of data and withholding judgment until the data has been analyzed. But who is collecting this data? And who is analyzing it? We are talking about allegations of satanic abuse for over two years. Rabbi Berkowitz has already publicly stated it is Satanic abuse. Where did he get his conclusion from? It apparently was not from his own investigation - since he has no training in either police work or abuse. Which professionals did he rely on and trust that told him it was a Satanic cult? Was it from the two that Dr. Silberg trained and still endorses?

The fact that Dr. Silberg after several years is still calling for withholding judgment obviously means that she is in fact open to the fact that there could be a Satanic cult! This despite that she has stated she has seen no evidence of it after two years and the police after extensive investigation say they have found no evidence?!

What is she waiting for? How many years is this hysteria going to continue until conclusions are drawn to either support or reject the existence of a Satanic abuse ring? Why is she claiming scientific neutrality on the one hand when she is apparently deeply involved in the  support of those who are the main proponents and beneficiaries of the claims that there is a Satanic abuse ring?

I am calling on her to categorically state three things without any qualifiers

  • 1) She does not support the claims of Satanic abuse and has not seen any evidence for it.
  • 2) She supports the Jerusalem police in their investigation of the matter and tells people to report all cases and suspicions to them
  • 3) She is not endorsing and referring people to the two therapists she trained and are the major proponents of the Satanic abuse ring
Update: It is helpful to be aware of a book - 22 Faces - which Dr. Silberg has endorsed. This book has received searing reviews - SEE   Where the witch hunters are and
 When therapists are lunatics
The book also contains an endorsement from one Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., Past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) which, if anything, says something negative about the ISSTD more than it tells us anything substantive about Byington’s book. Silberg claims that she and her peers “are all too familiar with the kinds of crimes and disorders described in 22 Faces.” Indeed, this year the ISSTD is hosting a conference which will feature a lecture on the topic of Ritual Abuse given by one Ellen Lacter, whose website offers helpful (if hardly coherent) tips such as “Pray a perimeter of protection against everything of witchcraft”, and discredited British therapist Valerie Sinason.
Twenty-Two Faces by Judy Byington falls within an outdated genre of prurient Satanic Panic supernatural-erotica-sold-as-a-true-story pulp novels which enjoyed a certain popularity throughout the 80s and 90s. It tells the story of one Jenny Hill, a former prostitute and drug abuser who, upon submitting herself to psychiatric attention, learned that she had Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) (now known as Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID]). Surely, this diagnosis must have come as quite a relief, as it promised that Hill herself need not bear any of the responsibility for her own actions, which the book describes as, at times, being outright psychopathic. The book makes quite clear that every foul thing Hill ever did — from slashing her sister with a razor blade out of mere curiosity of the consequences, to allowing herself to be pimped by a husband she met whilst working with sex offenders (he was one) — was actually the mischievous doings of personalities that resided within her, and without her own conscious awareness. Unfortunately, this ultimate absolution came at a predictable cost: in accepting the MPD/DID diagnosis, Hill would also have to necessarily accept that she was harboring “repressed memories” of traumas which she would need to recall in the course of reintegrating her fractured mind. Fortunately for Hill, however, nobody required of her that the heartbreaking story of traumatic abuse that she would “recall” need make any sense, and the fact that it doesn’t seems to have completely escaped her biographer, Judy Byington. 

Invoking the specter of sinister, underground secret societies dedicated anti-human Evil (as well a the comparatively petty-minded abuse of Ms. Hill) Twenty-Two Faces pays homage to debunked Satanic Panic literature of years past, even placing the book Satan’s Underground by Lauren Stratford in the bibliography, despite the fact that this book was so thoroughly discredited as to be withdrawn from publication, with the author changing her name and running off, abandoning her claim to Satanic cult abuse to instead pose as a childhood victim of the Holocaust. [...]
And here we have a real problem: therapists hiding their most unhinged paranoid fantasies under a veneer of scientific credibility derived from case studies and surveys applied to those whom they’ve previously infected with their conspiracist ideas. Never mind that Past Life Regression and Alien Abduction narratives, too, are derived from “recovered memories”; to question the bizarre claims put forward by Byington or the perpetually panicked ISSTD faithful is to invite criticisms that you, in fact, have an “agenda”. To doubt the truth of recovered memory narratives is to support child abuse.
This tactic of argumentation is truly offensive, as it hijacks children’s rights and attempts to create human shields of real victims as protection against criticisms directed at patently absurd claims. In the proper context, Twenty-Two Faces is a helpful book, as it illustrates this problem clearly for those who may doubt the magnitude to which conspiracists have over-run the study of Dissociative Disorders. Byington does not simply misappropriate the condition of multiple personalities as a plot device for her ridiculous book, she shows the condition for what it largely (if not entirely) is: a collaborative therapeutically-created delusion. In trying to expose a Satanic conspiracy, Byington unwittingly exposes a foul movement that exploits vulnerable mental health consumers. Let’s hope the licensing boards and professional associations eventually move to erase such embarrassments from practice.
[to be continued]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Water covers the "ervah" of the sea as Torah covers the "ervah" of Israel. What does the word "ervah" mean?

The voice of a woman is ervah.  Uncovering a tefach is called ervah. Ervah can also indicate a prohibited sexual relationship. The commonality is that it is something sexually arousing. 

I am having trouble understanding the use of ervah in this quote from Shir HaShirim Rabbah. Does it simply mean that which is normally covered without any connotation of sexuality? A similar use is found in divorce. A man can divorce his wife if he finds ervas davar? That means he finds something about her which is irritating or problematic. Not necessarily related to sexuality.

What is this medrash saying?
Shir HaShirim  Rabba[1](1:19): Just as water covers the nakedness (ervah) of the sea as it says, As the waters cover the sea (Yeshaya 11:9), so the Torah covers the nakedness (ervah) of Israel, as it says, Love covers all transgressions (Mishlei 10:12).

[1] שיר השירים רבה (א:ג):  ומה מים מכסים ערותו של ים שנא' (ישעיה יא:ט) כמים לים מכסה כך תורה מכסים ערותן של ישראל שנאמר (משלי י:יב) ועל כל פשעים תכסה אהבה,

Mendel Epstein:Jay Goldstein's appeal August 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dr. Joy Silberg (a recognized expert on abuse): Public statement in regards to the issue of child abuse in Jerusalem

I would never condemn people who are trying to protect children.

“Before the truth is known about any unusual phenomenon, there are many theories offered, some closer to the actual truth than others. Denying the existence of the unusual phenomenon is one approach.(Some people argue about the origin of the universe, but no one asserts, therefore there is no universe!) Giving the phenomenon formally discredited names is one approach —often called a “straw man” argument.This is usually not the best approach The best approach is a methodical collection of relevant information, careful attention to detail, weighing the various explanations with an attention to the data and generating the hypothesis that most closely approximates what is being seen. What is being seen is the abuse of children with concerning symptoms. The public should proceed with caution with the awareness that there is more severe abuse in Jerusalem than one would generally expect, listen to the children, get guidance from professionals, trust credentialed authorities, cooperate with professional investigators, listen to the wisdom of Rabbinic leaders that you trust, keep an open mind, while protecting children. I have met no one with bad intentions, but a community problem like this often creates divisiveness. I am against divisiveness in the Jewish community. I believe that Klal Yisrael should work together during crises.” Joyanna Silberg, PH. D.

This is my statement. I don’t intend to answer further questions. I hope the above summarizes my overall view. I wish success to the Israeli public in solving these difficult issues. Please don’t edit it.
“Joyanna Silberg, Ph. D."

Pew Poll: Voters choose candidates out of hatred for the other

A new poll put out by the Pew Research Center this morning shows Trump and Clinton neck and neck in the race to determine the next US president.

According to the poll, Clinton leads among respondents at 41%, with Trump trailing close behind at 37%.

The poll also shows that neither candidate is wildly popular among respondents. According to the poll, 53% of Trump supporters say their vote is more against Clinton than for Trump, while 46% of Clinton supporters say their vote is more against Trump than for Clinton.[...]

No bail for fugitive rabbi Eliezar Berland caught admitting to rape, plotting murder

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Thursday ordered that a recently repatriated fugitive rabbi, who was caught on video apparently admitting to raping a woman and plotting murder, will remain in police custody until the legal proceedings against him are over.

After spending three years on the run, Rabbi Eliezer Berland was extradited from South Africa to Israel where he was arrested last month and charged with several counts of sexual assault.

At the Thursday hearing, the court said Berland posed a flight risk, and expressed concern the 79-year-old rabbi might attempt to evade or obstruct justice.[...]

Days after his July 19 return and subsequent arrest in Israel, Channel 2 aired footage of Berland from 2012 in which he admitted to raping one of his female followers.

“She was raped from start to finish,” Berland can be heard saying in the footage. “Afterwards she thought it was permissible… the first time I raped her.”

According to the TV channel, the incriminating recordings were made four years ago by two of Berland’s followers. They were told to burn all the tapes and other potentially incriminating material “in case the police do not cooperate.”

But some of the tapes survived, and were handed over to police last month. In another tape, Berland can be heard instructing one of his followers to place a bomb under the bed of an unnamed person — to send them to heaven.

Earlier this week, Channel 2 aired more incriminating footage of the rabbi, in which he admits to ordering a string of arson attacks almost two decades ago. In the video believed to be recorded five years ago, Berland proudly says he sent his son to torch bus stops all over Israel to protest the “immodestly” dressed women featured in ads.

Berland has denied all of the allegations against him, and in interviews, his attorneys have claimed the voice on the recordings is not Berland’s. [...]

Va'eschanan; Hashem Does Not Use Words Randomly by Rabbi Shlomo Pollak

Guest post by Rabbi Shlomo Pollak

When Hakadosh Baruch Hu tells Moshe Rabbeinu to go up and look out over to Eretz Yisroel, the order of the directions he is instructed to look at seems very random...

First west, then up north...then south, and finally east??

Where do we find such an order? And why was this used here??

For questions and comments please email us 

Ben Ish Chai: Does a wife have to listen to her husband if he orders her to bray like a donkey?

Ben Ish Chai (Torah Lishma 319): Question: Is a wife obligated to listen to her husband when he orders her to do ridiculous things? For example, does she have to listen when her husband demands with threats that she should ride on a broomstick in the courtyard like little children do or to bray like a donkey or bark like dog? She refused because of embarrassment. Does she in fact have an obligation to listen to her husband even for foolish things because a woman is obligated to honor her husband and to do what he wants because that is his happiness? Or do we say that she has no obligation to listen to foolish demands? Answer: She is not required to listen to him when he says foolish things. It says in Kesubos (71b) that if a man takes an oath that his wife must fill up a bucket 10 times with water and empty it in the garbage dump – he is required to divorce her and give her the kesuba because doing so makes her look like she is crazy. So also in our case. Doing these foolish things makes her look like she is crazy and she is not obligated to listen to him in these things.