Sunday, May 20, 2012

Importance of Internet Asifa - Judy Brown, Hush

This is why the Internet Asifa is important for K’lal Yisroel: because a wholesome lie is better than any broken truth; because denial must be protected at all costs; because ignorance is sacred in a world whose existence depends on it.

And this is why it is important that we be there on Sunday: because we hold the broken truth, the one we experienced firsthand when our rebbis, teachers, and leaders ripped their own lie piece by piece, life by life, in front of our eyes, and then intimidated, threatened, brutalized and suppressed any victim or witness who dared speak out, warning that they would destroy us and our broken truth if we did not accept their lie.

The Internet is an enormous threat to the ultra-orthodox world for the same reason it is a threat in Syria , Iran and Russia; a population that is aware is a population difficult to control. They say that they must fight the Internet for it brings moral decay. What they do not say, even to themselves, is that they must fight the Internet so they can conceal moral decay. That the only thing they fear more than the outside corruption the Internet brought inside, is the inside corruption the Internet has revealed to the outside.

The Internet is terrifying to the rabbanim perhaps because of porn, perhaps because it exposes youth to foreign ideas, but even more importantly, because it enables open dialogue and an honesty they cannot afford if they are to survive as a community, the community they insist they are; pure, innocent, and above their own frailties. And if a few children must be sacrificed for this wholesome lie, then so be it. It is better than any broken truth.

In the last few years, the Internet has served as a crucial tool for victims of sexual abuse. It is through blogs and online discussions that many victims first realized they are not alone, that this is a communal problem. The silence that has kept victims in such utter isolation, unable to connect with others, has been broken by the anonymity and connectivity of the Internet. It was there victims could finally speak honestly without fear. It was there they could hear of so many similar experiences, and reach out to other victims. The Internet played a large role in tapping at the wall of denial, and for the communal authorities this was a dangerous thing.

Denial is a terrible thing to lose. We know. For many victims it takes years to face their own traumas, to break away from the security and warmth of a well taught lie. But no one knows like we do that it is never technology that corrupts man, but man that corrupts technology. Because decades beforethere was Internet or computers, there was sexual molestation and the worst forms of moral decay. We were there when it happened, when men who did not have access to the Internet turned into beasts, groping, fondling, and raping boys and girls half their size and strength, then terrorizing them into silence.

Tomorrow we will stand outside Citifield with our cardboard signs. There will be thousands of orthodox men walking past us. Some will look quickly away, some will laugh in pity, some will wish they were standing with us. We’ll stand for the first time as a united voice, in public, telling them that we are no longer afraid; that we, who have seen the darkest parts of their world, will never be silenced again; that we will make as big a ‘Chillul Hashem’ as we need to, and for as long as we need to, because there are basic morals and there are cultural traditions and for too long the ultra-orthodox world has confused one for the other.

The Citifield rally is so important to the community because it is another form of denial, another excuse they can point to. It allows them to avoid confronting the most dangerous enemy of all: themselves. The Internet does not molest, only people do; they always have. But if they can just persist on blaming internal problems on evil outside forces they can continue to remain blind to what they refuse to see: themselves. And that is why we will be there tomorrow, because this is the broken truth.
-Judy Brown, Hush


  1. Yasher Koach. Couldn't have said it better myself. The fake Gedolim in the US refuse to stand up against anything that doesn't effect them personally.

    Hence their refusal to stand up against molestation with the Novimisnsker saying he doesn't get involved in Flatbush issues because he lives in Boro Park when asked to do something about a Flatbush molester.

    Likewise his refusal to condemn corrupt Botei Din or his employees being machzik in arko'oys.

    1. Hey, stan.. I didn't know you had it in you.. There might still be some hope for you afterall! :)

  2. Why was this piece of intellectual pornography and anti Torah and Gedolim slander posted without offering an opposing viewpoint? Are you a Torah blog or a resource for all the malcontents, screwballs and boorim that have some complaint about the Torah lifestyle. I think you would be more effective in this regard if you quoted articles from the Nazi Shturmer or some other evil and warped source. Do those that aim to " make as big a ‘Chillul Hashem’ as we need to, and for as long as we need to" need support from a kosher source?

    There is no question that there are some rabbonim that are misguided in dealing with these issues and there are even some that are reshaim in this regard but to tar the entire Orthodox and Torah world that is seeking to purify themselves from znus and other evil influences with this ugly brush is an atzas reshaim and is indeed a huge chillul Hashem.

    The Citifield effort, even though I believe there are better ways to accomplish their goals, is a sincere effort to elevate the community and protect them from harmful influences. Its focus is in no way related to the issue of predation except tangentially in that those aroused by the wrong things on the Internet may be led to become predators. It in no way denies the existence of predators or the need to deal with them correctly.

    Judy Brown, hush, before you totally besmirch the term Aishes Chayil and turn it into Machshayfa central or the New Txiddukim.

    1. Why was this piece of intellectual pornography and anti Torah and Gedolim slander posted without offering an opposing viewpoint?
      I appreciate your offer to explain the importance of the Asifa - will be happy to post your synopsis of the issues raised the solutions offered and the general atmosphere.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Chaim do you have any source for you assertion?

  4. I guess we will all know by tonight what's it about. But the question remains, what is being done about all the other problems of killal Yisrael . The aguna,shidduch ,batei dinim,molestation ,jobs, forcing your father in law to work for you,mental health issues, I could go on, but will there be any type of asifa for them?

  5. "the only thing they fear more than the outside corruption the Internet brought inside, is the inside corruption the Internet has revealed to the outside"

    - powerful. The entire thing. Pashut so many pearls of emes.

    Like: "ignorance is sacred in a world whose existence depends on it"

    and: "we hold the broken truth, the one we experienced firsthand when our rebbis, teachers, and leaders ripped their own lie piece by piece, life by life, in front of our eyes, and then intimidated, threatened, brutalized and suppressed any victim or witness who dared speak out?"

    and, and, and

  6. Well said Ms Brown. Just one more thing to point out. There is too much money here being thrown around for it to be leshem shamayim. 1.5 million dollars does not get raised that easily, unless someone has a real personal agenda. Follow the money trail, and we'll find the person gaining from it.

  7. Some very important points are raised by J Brown's post. Her anger and resentment are both understandable and to be expected.
    Similar to the tone of the post: "that we will make as big a ‘Chillul Hashem’ as we need to, and for as long as we need to", the "Hush" book seems to reflect an agenda besmirching the Ultra-Orthodox and chassidic community.
    Her laudable goal of raising internal awareness of the problem and thus helping to remove it from our midst seems to be confused with her insistence on sensationalist mud-slinging and half-truths and distortions as discussed at:
    One reply in that discussion says it particularly well:
    "I know the author, I grew up in these circles, I am a “survivor”….Do I have license to speak as a fair representative?
    Thank you Naomi. I was deeply upset for a long while after reading some of the book.
    We will not argue that there are all sorts of people and all sorts of interesting, and sometimes over-dramatized minorities among us. But THIS is how you describe Orthodox Judaism? What a cynical and deliberately damaging book. And what an inaccurate and ridiculous portrayal of our life.
    If you are so intent on “standing with the victims”, why don’t you market a book, free of sensationalism and twisted portrayals, to our community? How exactly are you helping us, aside from creating a huge chillul Hashem, by marketing a book like this to the general public? I don’t feel helped by you at all, thank you.
    It only made me angrier to read all the comments about how important this book is, how we silence everything, how we have this issue and that issue. I don’t see how this book validates or helps anyone. I feel misrepresented, not validated.
    Yes, we have a long way to go to helping abuse…as does EVERY community. Incest is not something that any child anywhere is easily reporting. The Jewish community has come a long way and several beneficial books have recently been published. Is our job done? Certainly not. But I don’t see how any responsible and intelligent person can praise this book as a step in the right direction"

    1. The "step in the right direction" is that passionate lucidity through which she points out the warped priority of the gatekeepers of Orthodoxy.

      yes, its a huge problem that she slips into sensationalism. It's not justified, but does seem par for the course of those who have the gift to lazer in on corruption.

      I don't think she's throwing the baby out with the bathwater; just making a big issue about the infectious NECESSITY of getting that bathwater out, even if it might mean neglecting to cuddle the baby for awhile.

  8. A voice of reasonMay 21, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    We have just read a well written piece of blasphemous filth. This shameful article is a specimen of the movement of radicals who proclaim to represent the voices of victims of abuse, and the claim that they are doing something to improve their lives and the reduction of risk for others. Hogwash. Believe those lies, and I will offer you two bridges for the price of one. Aside from media coverage about the subject matter, none of these hateful people have accomplished diddly-squat to make our children safer. The detraction from the focus of the Asifah was Boruch Hashem negligible. None of these self-proclaimed moshi'ei Yisroel included him/herself with the 40,000 plus who engaged in Kabolas Ohl Malchus Shomayim. What a disgrace they are to Klal Yisroel and to the children they tell us they are saving with their clowning around in front of reporters and TV cameras.

    Klal Yisroel faces many issues, and the child abuse one is certainly an important one. We have progressed significantly in the past several years, and we have much distance to cover before one can say the problem has been brought under control. Many claim the Asifah should have discussed this issue. Wrong, Foolish, and Irresponsible. Another Asifah to address that subject might be a good idea, though I would expect to see the prospects of raising funds to subsidize it quite a challenge. Detractions constitute nothing other than Chilul Hashem, without even a justification that something is being accomplished. This demonstration stated only one thing - denigration of Gedolei Yisroel. With that position, nothing other than disgrace is deserved. This group, with all its "professionals" does not represent advocacy - it stands for "opposition". What a shame.

    1. You call the campaign on behalf of Webberman in Willi last week "significant progress"? And besides, who has made significant progress on this issue other than Nuchem Rosenberg, Elliot Passik, Meyer Appel & the author of this blog?

    2. I happen to be among those who believe that Weberman is guilty. However, there are many who do not believe as I do, and they can rally and do whatever they want to defend him. That is their right, as much as yours is to believe he is guilty.

      With exception of the blog author, the others are hot air, anti-chareidi, and anti-establishment. They have done NOTHING to protect a single Jewish child. Their only accomplishments are the degradation of Torah, and their "progress" is nothing short of shameful. If they realy cared, they would work with the system, as others do, to bring about change.

    3. Oh, Oh, Oh, I happen to be a survivor of incest myself, and what should I say, it just seems like no matter how well something is said, the general population just doesn't get it.
      I read Hush from cover to cover, and believe me, I could of written the exact same book. This is simply a portrait of how a survivor in the Orthodox world sees the community. There is no denying that. People are uncomfortable with it, because it is uncomfortable, but it is the truth! And screaming that Judy is some type of an anti-semite for saying all these horrible things, isn't going to change the facts that to us, children who grew up in the ultra orthodox world, and were molested by adults in the ultra orthodox world, and keep wittnessing how the ultra orthodox world is more concerned about keeping it's image, rather than with cleaning up it's act, Hush is simply an accurate protrayal of what we see.
      And thank you Judy for again expressing my own sentiments so ellequently regarding the assifa. You don't know me, I don't think we ever met, but somehow you say it exactly the way I would of said it. so thanks. While the general population might call us names, I feel less alone knowing that at least you understand. And beleive it or not, I still am a Shomer Torah Mitzvos, Baruch Hashem, who cares deeeply about not making a Chilul Hashem, yet my experiences have taught me that the true chilul Hashem is being made by all those who choose to bury their heads in the sand, rather then face the uncomfortable truth.

  9. >If they realy cared, they would work with the system, as others do, to bring about change.<

    That is very disingeuous, since 'the system' won't work with or listen to anyone outside the system. And I sure as heck ain't going to go undercover into the system as I love breathing too much.

    1. If you think that there has been no progress in this area, you're simply delusional or dumb. There have been great strides. I am not satisfied with the status quo, and I think most frum Jews today would agree with that. So we are left with more work to do, and it will utlimately be done by working with the "system" to bring about more change. None of this is rocket science. The recent history has demonstrated that the system can be worked with, and change can happen. How about additional meetings and trainings for those who occupy positions of authority? There is willingness and receptivity on the part of the major organizations and the gedolim. No, they won't meet with the "activists" who have so far done nothing other than to throw schmutz at them. Others who are approching this constructively have accomplished much more. Those people have a line of communication which has paid off and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, you know, but perhaps won't admit, that the activists do not protect children; they just lok to degrade the figures of Torah authority. And that is disgraceful.

    2. Better observer "but perhaps won't admit, that the activists do not protect children; they just lok to degrade the figures of Torah authority."
      The activists are publicizing the problems to frum parents and the gedolim . Unfortunately only this seems to have been the catalyst for the "progress " that has been made. So please keep your anger focused on all who have failed the children and continue to resist the "progress".

    3. AVF:

      The activists are not speaking in schools, to parents, or to rabbonim about anything. They are either speaking to the media, or just plain throwing dirt, excluding themselves from Klal Yisroel. Plenty of professionals, as well as other victims/survivors are readily discussing things with the rabbonim, and doing this often. They are invited to schools all the time, and they reach out to victims who have recently been abused or recently became aware of their abuse. And the "activists" blast them all the time since they are not denouncing or degrading the gedolim or rabbonim. Which of these "activists" may I ask authored a single publication or program to be used with schools and children to teach them about safe touch? Not one. The media is not the stadium to wage the needed war. When will these "activists" realize that the work still needed can be done without the disgrace? There is very little "progress" that can be attributed to the noise of the "activists". Most have used up the little attention they deserved. If they would put down their weapon mouths, abandon the Forward, JW, NYT, and Channel 7, someone might just believe they care about child safety and listen to them. As things stand now, paying attention to them is silly. All they want is to bash rabbonim, and we, the public are frankly bored of their message.

    4. From Survivor to Better Observer
      Better Observer, I hear your pain about all this degrading of Rabbonim that has resulted from this issue of molestation that our community is now trying, (at least on some scale) do deal with, and I hear you saying that this has all been caused by the activists.
      I challenge you to have a look at the recent greatest Chillul Hashem regarding this issue, that has taken place in Williamsburg, when an entire community chose to support the alledged perpetrator, publicly, this time giving no regard to how they will explain what is going on here to their children, (whom they usually put so much effort into insulating from stuff like this.)
      The huge posters, the masses of people who attended the fundraising, were bound to get the media's attention, and unfortunately create this huge Chilul Hashem.
      Yes, there were some activists outside protesting, but if anything, they were lessining the effect of the Chilul Hashem, by changing the story in the media to "a community deeply divided regarding how to deal with their perpetrators," rather then the headline being "a community wholly dedicated to protect their perpetrators and ignore their victims."
      I can understand it is upsetting to see the rabbonim painted so ugly, and one would love to lash out on the ones they hear saying all these ugly things, however, I beleive the sad truth is that all the activists are trying to do is bring awareness to the ugliness that is going on in our communities that the rabbonim have failed to deal with.
      Please, don't kill the messenger becasue you hate the message.
      and I agree with avf; if not for the activists screaming out, if not for the shame that all this caused, there would have been no progress.
      One more point, please realize that many of the activists are survivors, or people that are deeply disallusioned with the Rabbonim who have failed to protect victims. It is sometimes really difficult for such individuals to keep their languge in check. But don't let that distract you from what is really happening over here. I think that putting energy into bashing activists that aren't imploying the full amount of kavod for our gedolim in their quest to get our attention and to cause change, is really side-stepping the issue.


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