Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sefer Daas Torah on Abuse is nearing completion


My sefer on abuse is heading to completion. It is not a complete work or a polished work or even easy reading. But it is very thought provoking. I think that I have assembled enough relevant material that it might make a major change in the way this issue is understood in our community.

If anyone has any suggestions for essays to be included - please let me know soon.


42 comments :

  1. You mentioned something about the book not being polished. I highly suggest that you wait on publishing the book until it is polished.

    Why do I say this? I have read your other books. They are tremendous resources, whose value is immeasurable.

    However, to put it frankly, the editing and layout are horrible, to the point where someone might be put off.

    The topic of abuse is extremely important. It has to be dealt with by the community. I think that it is worth the time to make the book as readable as possible.

    Please take my criticisms and suggestions in a positive light. I think that your blog has done wonders for the Jewish community and I believe that the book will be revolutionary. But it should still be done in the right way.

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  2. thank you for your feedback. I live in a world where I am severely constrained by time and financial consideration.

    All my books have been produced and financed entirely by me. I have neither the time or money to do a better job.

    So yes, there are people who only will read about the truth if it is proof read and packaged nicely. There are people who kvetch that my books are too expensive or have proofing errors.I am sorry I don't have the resources - and it is clear that no one is willing to help.

    A simple example - I have been producing this blog which entails hours of work a day for three years. I have a donation button. Sum total of donations in three years and over 300,000 hits = $0.00.

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  3. i have just completed a donation and would urge all readers of this blog to do the same.
    it took exactly 3 minutes of my time.

    even a small sum - just to show support.

    additionally i suggest you move the donation button to the top of the page and make it more visible.

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  4. One reason for abuse, from what I heard, is that some people get married and they are on medical pills to control their mental sickness.
    I have heard from Poskim, that one is allowed to hide that from the other side, since so many people are on pills, it's considered normal.
    Other Poskim say ,one must tell but are allowed to keep it secret the first few times.
    I now ask friends and shadchanim, is there anything you know that you do not have to say unless specifically asked.
    What is your Das Torah on that subject?

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  5. The sefer consists of three major divisions - An introduction which lays out the problems and concerns together with a synopsis of halachic issues which was reviewed and corrected by Rav Sternbuch.

    Is Rav Sternbuch providing his haskama on the Sefer?

    And has Rav Sternbuch reviewed and corrected just the "synopsis of halachic issues" part of the introduction, or the sefer in its entirety?

    Yasher Koach

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  6. Joseph said...

    Is Rav Sternbuch providing his haskama on the Sefer?

    DT; He is not sure. He said the majority of the sefer which is translations of mainstream sources does not need a haskoma. In terms of the rest he said he wants to see the final product.

    And has Rav Sternbuch reviewed and corrected just the "synopsis of halachic issues" part of the introduction, or the sefer in its entirety?

    DT: Only the synopsis

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  7. Talmid of Rabbi T.January 12, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    Kol HaKavod, Rabbi E.

    I echo the sentiments of those who encourage a more careful proofing. Hatzlacha.

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  8. "I have been producing this blog which entails hours of work a day for three years."

    Why not put ads (i.e. Google Adwords) on the site?

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  9. Aaron S. said...

    "I have been producing this blog which entails hours of work a day for three years."

    Why not put ads (i.e. Google Adwords) on the site?
    ===============
    The reason is simply that the value of this blog is dependent upon me being perceived as an honest reporter who is not motivated by the joys of lashon harah or number of hits that I can generate by having scandalous posts - that are there primarily to increase income.

    As you might have noticed my credibility has been severely attacked by some - and I delete the more severe or obscene one. This despite my relationship with Rav Sternbuch and having authored seforim that are widely accepted.

    In short I don't want to provide additional excuses for someone to dismiss what I say or to assume the worst about my motivation

    The point of my previous comments was simply to point out the inherent unfairness of requests that I produce typo free work etc. when I am operating out of my own limited funds and time.

    this attitude of what I need to do regardless of what it costs - one book store told me recently "you should know that many people curse you because of the price you sell your books for." There seems to be the assumption that the customer is entitled to the product at a price he wants to pay etc - independent of what it cost for me to produce it. Apparently because we are talking about a sefer rather than a pound of meat or computer.

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  10. I actually offered to proof read a while back.

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  11. "There seems to be the assumption that the customer is entitled to the product at a price he wants to pay etc - independent of what it cost for me to produce it."

    Well, the costumer is free to choose whether he makes the purchase for the set price or not.

    The problem of production costs is inherent in publications of small editions: the fewer the readers, the higher the cost per reader. The more readers, the lower the cost.

    I think everyone is aware of this. But not everyone is ready to pay an astronomic price for a book just because it is a small edition. And of course: the higher the price, the higher the expectations towards quality...

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  12. Yes, include R' David Cohen's pesak that abused children are not obligated in kivud av v'eim. I can mail it to you.

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  13. You might want to consider an article by Dr. Oppenheimer in RJJ Journal about 7 years ago, maybe more. He wrote on Rabbis / parents hitting (patching) children.

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  14. Perhaps if the price would be lower, you would sell more copies and therefore make a nice profit in total even though on a per book basis that profit will be small.

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  15. It seems quite likely that there are some people who would proof read it for free and offer constructive criticisms and suggestions for free?

    Ask Elliot Pasik, Gil Student, Dr. Klafter, Dr. Lipner etc.

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  16. chevrah just made a donation, belive me its a real zcuit to support this blog and related activities- chazak vematz

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  17. I would like to see a discussion on how a known abuser should be treated by the community. Not a simple matter.

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  18. Anonymous said...

    Yes, include R' David Cohen's pesak that abused children are not obligated in kivud av v'eim. I can mail it to you.
    ================
    Please I would like to see it. Also was this intended as a public psak that applies in all cases or just for an individual?

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  19. Rabbi Eidensohn,
    Please publicize on your blog that you would like donations to put out this sefer in a bakovidik way for the klal. I am donating $50. Its not much but its what I can afford. I hope others are motivated to donate as well. Its paramount that the book be at an affordable price otherwise you really lose out on the readership.

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  20. I would like to thank those who have volunteered - either to submit articles or to help with the proof reading.

    I would also like to thank the 3 people who donated. It is greatly appreciated.

    I am not interested in making anyone guilty. We all have been subjected to fundraising speeches and the various pressures that are exerted.

    Rav Sternbuch tells of the time that Rabbi Schneider's yeshiva was in financial difficulty and he spent many hours knocking on doors in London to try to help out. In the end he returned empty handed and depressed. Rav Schneider told him that there was no reason to be depressed. If a project is worthwhile it will happen. The only question is who will be counted as a partner in the endeavor. He told Rav Sternbuch - we have an obligation of hishtadlus. Whether a particular person donates is his option but doesn't determine the fate of the yeshiva.

    I am simply offering all of you an opportunity. If you would rather invest elsewhere - that is your decision and perhaps it is a better choice. There are no lack of investment opportunities today.

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  21. I would like to support your book; I feel it is a worthwhile, necessary and important project.

    Right now, 100% of my maaser money is going to feeding and paying utilities for needy Jewish families in my neighborhood. I would take even a dollar away from the money that I am giving to these families.

    What I can offer you is to present your project to several Jewish philanthropists I know personally who have underwritten projects like this. One of these gentlemen is personally devoted to fighting abuse in the Jewish community.

    Please email me privately if this is something you would like me to pursue. I have in the past secured generous grants for Rabbis with similar projects and would be happy to attempt to market your project which I believe is very worthwhile.

    Kol Tov.

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  22. One problem, as you can perhaps imagine, is that many of us are deeply in debt -- especially due to the tuitions we must pay for our children!

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  23. >I would like to thank those who have volunteered - either to submit articles or to help with the proof reading.<

    As I mentioned in my provate 'email', I can actually design the book (if it's all English; otherwise I'd have to bone up on what's involved!).

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  24. Poster at 7:33 pm. I don't know you but I doubt "most people" are "deeply" in debt due to tuition. You don't have to send your kids to schools that charge $15,000 or more tuition when there are very good ones that charge half. Additionally if you are truly deeply in debt the yeshivah will "deeply" discount your tuition. Rav Eidonsohn said he doesn't want anyone to feel guilty. If you have then give. If you don't have don't give. No excuses necessary. Very simple.

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  25. Best of luck with your sefer.

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  26. Dear Anonymous 7:47-

    Please list the yeshivas you believe will charge 7,500 per child.I will confirm this and then I know a number of families who will move there.

    Please list the yeshivas that you believe will "deeply discount" tuition even beyond that. I know a number of families who will move there ASAP.

    I am homeschooling my children. I could not get my children into school for less than 56k per year. Obviously we do not have that and do not have any place to get it legally.

    My sister in Lakewood had to put her children in public school after begging all of the yeshivas.She could not pay 8k per child on her 45k per year salary. She is widowed.

    My brother lives near Cherry Hill. He is willing to drive an hour but he also had to put his children in public school this year because he could not get tuition for less than 15k and his business went bankrupt this year. He is trying not to lose his house.

    My friend lives in Monsey. She pays 12k per child and had to fight and beg for that. She and her husband earn 60k per year. She is in debt on her credit cards that she will never be able to pay off. She will not be able to pay the yeshiva next year and she has not been offered any break even though she has begged for it.

    The tragedy is that while Tom Kaplan's (and other's) millions are going to proselytizing Gentiles, frum Jewish families are using birth control because they cannot afford tuition.

    Call it replacement theory. The public schools can educate a child for $5500. The yeshivas need three times that despite the fact that they receive tzedakah money. From what I have seen, there are a lot of "leaks" in the yeshiva finances.

    The graft and corruption among our Rabbis is causing attrition and assimilation among Jews while the "kosher nostra" is hard at work replacing Jews with Christian "soldiers" they have "converted" .

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  27. Rabbi David Cohen's pesak exempting the abused child from honoring his parents.

    http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/honoringparents.html

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  28. I donated $50
    Rabbi Eidenson--keep up your important work!
    I encourage everyone who reads this blog to donate something to this most worthy cause!

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  29. Hi Jersey girl. I know that there are yeshivos in Brooklyn that charge in the $7500 range. I believe Chaim Berlin, Mirrer Yeshivah and Yeshivah Torah Vodaath charge in that range.

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  30. My sister in Lakewood had to put her children in public school after begging all of the yeshivas.She could not pay 8k per child on her 45k per year salary. She is widowed.

    There has to be more to this claim. Undiscounted tuition in almost every school in Lakewood is at least 2.5K to 3K below that number. (And thats for boys, girls are about half that number.)

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  31. I spoke to a gadol in the Moetzes in israel who told me that when the rambam says that a person is obligated to honor a parent who is a rasha the rambam is NOT talking about an abusive parent but rather a sinner, like someone who doesn't observe shabbos. The bach says the rambam means this as a d'rabban. Rav David Cohen says most poskim disagree with the Rambam. The remo poskins that one does not have to honor such a person.

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  32. Let me rephrase, Rav David Cohen says most poskim disagree with the Rambam that any parent who is a rasha needs to be honored. So it's like this:

    Most poskim including the rema say a parent who is a rasha need not be honored
    the rambam says that one should but according to the Bach the rambam means this as a d'rabbanin so according to R David Cohen you can find heterim for cholim (ie abused children) even taking into account the rambam
    According to a gadol in the moetzes, the rambam is not talking about an abusive parent but a sinner such as a shabbos violator. An abusive parent need not be honored.

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  33. There's Someone Always Lurking in RBSJanuary 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Kol HaKavod on your work for the klal.

    I would like to know what your nephew in RBS (the Ir Miklat for molestors) who is known as a "renowned mechanech" thinks about your positions on child abuse.

    I would venture to say that he wouldn't (at least publicly) agree with you.

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  34. Kol HaKavod on your work for the klal.

    I would like to know what your nephew in RBS (the Ir Miklat for molestors) who is known as a "renowned mechanech" thinks about your positions on child abuse.

    I would venture to say that he wouldn't (at least publicly) agree with you.
    ===============
    don't know what your issue is. I have had many talks with him about the subject and I really can't recall having any disagreements.

    Please feel free to email me privately

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  35. My sister begged and cried all around Lakewood and the number was 8k.

    Another relative begged and cried all over Monsey and could not get any school to take her kids for any price.

    Maybe YOU can get your kids into Mirrer, Torah Vodaath and Chaim Berlin for $5500. No one in my Sephardic family has been able to.

    But I don't believe it is racism. I know plenty of very frum Ashkenazim all over the country who are homeschooling too.

    Anyway, it's theoretical because $5500 per child would be $44k per year for my family which is just as impossible as 56k.

    We earn enough to pay the mortgage, utilities, groceries, and keep everyone clothed
    (not designer, just modest and decent). I am not complaining, but that is just the reality of any middle class American family today.

    There are no meals out, no vacations, we do our own home repairs except for very major plumbing etc. we have never had any cleaning help, landscaping help or babysitters (not that these are entitlements).

    I have always cut everyone's hair and done my own sheitals. We do not give birthday or anniversary gifts and cater our own simchas in the house. There is nothing to "cut" in order to pay tuition because we do not spend our money on anything that is not essential.

    When I complain about the cost of tuition, I am often told that I should not have had so many children (C"V), usually by the same people who promote spending millions and millions of tzedakkah dollars on "kiruv" and proselytizing anusim, "lost tribes" and intermarrieds.

    I have had LOTS of opportunities to do illegal business over the past 20 years and had I done some of these things, I probably could have been a big macher in the yeshivas and the shul too.

    But to earn 120k per year, honestly, in a terrible economy is an outright miracle, B"H; I know many doctors and lawyers who have not earned that this year.

    However, according to US gov't statistics for 2009, we are still at about twice the poverty level for a family of our size which means that we are able to afford the basics and no more. For a family who keeps kosher and has to pay for medical care (10k in health insurance premiums with 10k per person deductible), it is even more of a struggle.

    Right now, for example, we have had to prioritize fixing a major plumbing problem (shower pan draining into the kitchen) over my husband's uninsured jaw reconstruction(due to adverse effect from MS medication).

    As far as I know, that is all there is to the "story".

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  36. BTW, one more thought.

    A family could live in Brooklyn and save 10k per year on tuition but the cost of living index in Brooklyn vs any "out of town" community averages 50% higher.

    So, anything saved on tuition would be MUCH more than made up in higher rent, utilities, taxes, and grocery costs.

    I live in one of the lowest cost of living Jewish communities in the US, in a State that also has no income tax (Florida). One of the reasons we left NY was because even though my husband earned 83k (1992) and we only had 3 children at the time, we could not afford to pay our bills. The year we moved to FL, we earned $45k per year and felt rich!

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  37. I am somewhat of an azas panim on the subject of rabbonim and child abuse.

    Unless a rav has a great deal of experience with abuse of any kind and has consulted with and worked with a mental health professional in the past, he has no business being osek in the matter.

    Being a rav, mechanech or ben torah offers no expertise whatsoever on abuse or the psychology/psycho dynamics of the abuser or victim.

    We live in an environment where even the most fundamental understanding and awareness of sexuality is denied.

    Young adults in our community are expected to put on a great show on how well they deny derech ahtevah, human nature- primarily because our mechanchim insist on that denial as a proof of their effectiveness as a mechanech. That in no small measure fuels much of the sexual dysfunctions that we are having a most difficult time concealing.

    Sexual awareness and interest does NOT connote sexual availability. Acknowledging who we are does not mean that tznius is thrown out the window. In fact, just the opposite is true, because when a young person knows there is no chiluk between his identity as a ben torah and as a human being, he or she is a lot less conflicted. There are conversations at home that can be had, in private between children and parents, where they belong.

    That simple lesson is simply lost and never taught to the young people of our kehillah

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  38. By the way Rav Eisensohn, your approach to the matter of abuse within our community and how to handle it is most refreshing and necessary. Consulting with rabbonim and experts in the field opens a window and allows for some necessary fresh air to enter the room.

    I suspect your work will become an reference volume on the desks of rabbonim and mental health professionals.

    I suggest you consider putting together a lecture/course syllabus for yourself and like minded individuals to offer to the community- different versions for the layman, rabbonim and mental health care professionals.

    Having a community on th esame page can only be a plus.

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  39. The tuition stories you quote are incredibly disturbing. I don't see how life as a frum Jew in America is a tenable option.

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  40. Rabbi Eidensohn. I would be happy to proofread your book. Please email me at nwlondoneruv@hotmail.co.uk.

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  41. DT,

    I second "concerned fan"'s concern regarding polish.

    While it is true that your book tackles an important and pressing subject, the populace is in no rush to receive it yet will always rush to judge it (and, as is the way with such things, judge unfavorably wherever it can, ch"v).

    Given the publication struggles you cite, it is all the more true that a future re-edition is unlikely. Those on this blog already mention their hopes of its use as a future reference work for professionals and by those bent on seeing change. To such end it is important that the finished product take its final form as appropriate the qiddush H' you (and all of us) wish it to be.

    ReplyDelete

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