Monday, October 31, 2011
One of the most high-profile convictions of an ultra-Orthodox rabbi for sexual abuse in recent times may be in danger of reversal, according to new disclosures in court records obtained by the Forward.
When Baruch Lebovits was sentenced last year to up to 32 years in jail, victims’ rights advocates hailed it as a turning point in the battle against sexual abuse in the insular Orthodox community. [...]
Sunday, October 30, 2011
So was Mr. Jobs smart? Not conventionally. Instead, he was a genius. That may seem like a silly word game, but in fact his success dramatizes an interesting distinction between intelligence and genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. They were sparked by intuition, not analytic rigor. Trained in Zen Buddhism, Mr. Jobs came to value experiential wisdom over empirical analysis. He didn’t study data or crunch numbers but like a pathfinder, he could sniff the winds and sense what lay ahead.
He told me he began to appreciate the power of intuition, in contrast to what he called “Western rational thought,” when he wandered around India after dropping out of college. “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do,” he said. “They use their intuition instead ... Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”
Mr. Jobs’s intuition was based not on conventional learning but on experiential wisdom. He also had a lot of imagination and knew how to apply it. As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Rick Turley was 18 when he learned that Scouting offered a unique opportunity to meet boys.
He would show up in a uniform with a sash full of merit badges, charm parents with claims of being a "top" leader and offer to take their preteen boys out for a swim or drive. Then, often after plying them with alcohol, he would fondle or rape them — once going so far as to kidnap a boy in a stolen plane.
Over nearly two decades, Turley molested at least 15 children in Southern California and British Columbia, most of whom he met through American and Canadian Scouting, a Los Angeles Times and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. investigation has found.
Scouting officials on both sides of the border not only failed to stop him, but sometimes helped cover his tracks, according to confidential Scouting records, court files and interviews with victims, families and Scout leaders.
At one point in 1979, Boy Scouts of America officials decided not to call police after Turley admitted molesting three Orange County boys, the organization's records show.
Friday, October 28, 2011
The Batei Warsaw quarter in Mea She'arim was built in the Ottoman period as a hostel for yeshiva students from Poland. Their families receive tiny apartments for key money or low rent. The Polish Gerrer dynasty, which always had people in the neighborhood committee, has gained almost complete control of it in recent years and is now planning to expand the quarter.
Although they do not recognize the state or its institutions, the Batei Warsaw tenants, most of whom belong to other ultra-Orthodox factions, have filed a court suit to stop the Gerrer Hasids' expansion. This move is believed to have sparked the recent hostilities.
Nobody was surprised by the attack this week. A week and a half ago vandals spread glue on Gerrer Rabbi David Alter's door, preventing him from going out to Hoshana Rabbah prayers. Everyone knew the Gerrer Hasids were out for revenge.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
His name was Gary Ridgway. His other name was the Green River Killer. His work was killing at least 49 women in Washington state throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He did it all while maintaining marriages, parenting and church-going, and he seemed very much the word neighbors often use to describe men who turn out to have headless torsos in their freezers. Which is to say, he seemed very, very nice
The niceness paradox. O’Toole worked as a profiler for the FBI for 30 years, headquartered in Quantico. She interviewed the Unabomber. She worked on the Polly Klaas abduction, the Red Lake school shooting and the investigation of David Parker Ray — the Toy-Box Killer who tortured women in a high-tech homemade dungeon. What she found was that the most dangerous criminals were often the ones who came across as the most harmless. That’s how they were able to continue harming people..
Many of the Rabbis who have discussed the issue thus far have come out that the exchange is a violation of halacha. Among them were Rabbi Dov Lior of Kiryat Arba and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the son of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l the former Sefardic Chief Rabbi of Israel (see http://yourjewishnews.com/12143.aspx). It seems that at least initially, Rabbi Amar the current Sefardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, was also in agreement with them. Respectfully, however, this may not necessarily be the last word on the subject.
Let us not forget that often, halacha is not so clear cut. Every case in halacha must be examined upon its own merits and the specifics of each case. We must do the same here.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
What is learned from all this is that a prophet can never disagree with a prophet who is on a higher level. Instead he must interpret his own words in such a way that there is no conflict between them. Since the Torah has stated that the prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu was on the highest level of all the prophets, it is impossible for any prophet to disagree with him or nullify his words. However if it is possible to reconcile the apparent disagreement by saying that there were additional factors not mentioned explicitly that is also acceptable.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Fifty-nine months ago, I was wearing my seat belt and my car was stopped when another vehicle hit me, causing my head to fracture the windshield. That damaged my right temporal lobe, one of my neurologists explained when he told me I had a traumatic brain injury. I lost my long-term memory, and have been a brain injury patient within Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals ever since.
At 45, I was jolted into an entirely new existence. Memories that connected different parts of my life fragmented and vanished. It took 26 months before I was able to thread my way back unattended to the house I had lived in for 17 years.
I am often amazed to find that people recognize me when I have no recollection of them. People who love me grieve what they claim to experience as the loss of elements of my personality that I cannot recall having been part of me. Others tell me that I seem to have become an altogether different person. I am told that I used to be a real “people person.” Today, however, I can barely stand being around people. And I can get irritable in a nanosecond. I am told that my work before the accident pertained to the AIDS pandemic; I was a treatment activist, founder of several early AIDS organizations and a photojournalist, as well as an artist. But I have no more memory of a photo on the cover of The New York Times of an exhibition I curated 10 years ago than I do of a watercolor I painted when I was 3 years old. When I see my pre-accident work, I am introduced to it as if for the first time. As if it was created by anonymous. Did I make that? So I’m told. [...]
Friday, October 7, 2011
Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,I just wrote this up, if you want, feel free to post it as you wish. No accreditation please.Wishing you and yours a Shana Tova and a Gemar Chasima Tova!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I called the rav this morning ( Oct 4). He is truly an ish emes. He said he had heard directly from Rav Bluth that Reb Moshe hadn't looked in sefer for 20 years, I told him Rav Bluth denied it. He immediately called Rav Bluth and was told he had misunderstood him. Rav Bluth told him that Reb Moshe was not constantly looking in a sefer but was constantly writing but he did use seforim to look up issues. The rav called me back to explain his error and said he would publicly announce his error today in shul after mincha. I was astounded that the rav was so focused on emes and the effort to correct what seemed a relatively minor issue (though important to understand the derech of psak of Rav Moshe Feinstein) , he said the Chazon Ish and others said to be careful to tell the precise truth about gedolim. He thanked me for informing him of the error.
This passion for the truth that this rav demonstrated is the foundation of emunas chachomim. We presume that our sages have such a concern for truth. However if we see in otherwise - there is no mitzva to be stupid. Emunas chachomim is not a synonym for intellectual laziness and lack of concern for reality.
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office announced on Sunday that an indictment has been filed charging a Jerusalem man with sexually abusing minors in the capital.
Zalman Cohen was one of five men arrested in September for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of minors in Jerusalem.
The indictment, filed by attorney Shulamit Ben-Yitzhak last Wednesday, describes how Cohen and another man allegedly abused several minors in a house in the Nahlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem in 2009 and 2010.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
According to that request, the defendant was arrested after a member of staff at the mikva noticed he had come to the mikva just before one of the minors. The witness informed a volunteer in a local Haredi organization, who held the defendant at the mikva until the police arrived.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Novominsker Rebbe:Most difficult thing in abuse cases is how to address these crimes publicly while preserving kedusha in homes
When scandals lo aleinu do strike, they are addressed. The Novominsker Rebbe shlita told me that when the terribly painful abuse claims arose, the most difficult thing that the Moetzes Gedolei Torah had to deal with was how to address these horrific crimes in public and yet preserve the kedushah in our homes and in our lives. As difficult as that was, the claim that Mrs. Tsibushkin makes - that the scandals are ignored - is just not in line with the facts on the ground.Given what we know about the history of the gedolim dealing with abuse - this simply boggles the mind.
For example 2009 in an editorial in the Yated (reprinted in my book on abuse) Rabbi Pinchus Lipshutz acknowledged the ignorance of the gedolim about how to deal with abuse cases and that they were typically ignored in the past:
Let us be clear: For too long, we weren’t tuned in to these innocent victims’ stories and their pain. For too long, we weren’t sufficiently aware that this problem existed and thus were able to ignore the quiet pleas, the sad eyes, the pained lives, and the personalities withdrawn. We didn’t recognize the warning signs and thus largely ignored the phenomenon. Equally clear, this inattention was not a function of some high level conspiracy to harm people or cover up for criminals or abet nefarious activities. It was simply a function of a lack of education about a complex and highly sophisticated problem. It was a result of our leadership simply being unaware of the depths that such sordid people could sink to, and the extreme skill perpetrators exhibit in covering their tracks. And yes, it was undeniably a gezera, which, as so often is the case, claims innocent holy souls - bikroyvai Ekodeish.
I am all too aware that it is fashionable in certain circles to blame this all on our rabbinic leadership. These people have yet to explain why our rabbanim, who devote their lives to serving people, would want to hurt anyone. The days when being a rav or rosh yeshiva meant strictly poskening shailos or teaching Torah are long gone. Rabbanim routinely spend an overwhelming portion of their time dealing with every type of personal problem imaginable. I don’t have to elaborate on this now, but suffice it to say that it defies logic to accuse our most choshuve leaders, who exhibit much mesiras nefesh, of coldhearted indifference. As I said, the problem was a lack of understanding.