How an Entire Community Of Sheep Were Deceived By Weberman
Guest Post by Pearl Engelman
As I write, I hold a list of 8 other victims. Can it really be that our community is so gullible as to believe the PR campaign for Weberman? Can it really be that our community is so willfully ignorant? That we WANT to believe that which makes us more comfortable despite the damage to innocent victims?
Many of my friends and acquaintances assumed my presence and media outspokenness at the protest against the fundraiser for accused sexual abuser Nechemia Weberman was due to my bitter experience with my son Yoiely’s molestation case. Not exactly wrong but not the whole story either.
This past Monday, May 14th, I received a call from an unknown woman asking if she could speak with me confidentially. When I assented she said “my daughter was sexually abused by Nechemia Weberman!” I listened in shock as she told me “when my daughter was 15 years old she began to dress differently than our family’s dress code and my husband and I were very worried about what this signified. We were advised to take her to Nechemia Weberman, the chassidishe (Hasidic) therapist for “troublesome” girls. We trusted Weberman fully, as he was also my husband’s good friend. During the 2 something years my daughter was in “therapy” with him she did not tell us what went on during almost every session.” I glanced at the caller ID and realized she was calling from upstate NY. My caller continued – “After my daughter’s wedding, one day she told me,
Mommy if you would know what Necehmia Weberman did to me you would kill yourself! He showed me sex videos, he made me do ——- to him, he did —— to me, and he told me that I should never, ever tell anyone because no one would ever believe me as I was known as a “troublemaker” and he was known as a very chosheve (prominent) person; I would have no credibility and would only damage my reputation further! He tried to convince me that no one understood me, cared for me or loved me as he did. For sure my parents did not understand me or love me!
To say the caller took my breath away is an understatement. Listening to the sorrowful tone of her voice was awful. Then she said “in hindsight I now remember that whenever I called him for a progress report or an update on my daughter a strange thing happened. He would actually instigate me against my daughter! I used to wonder why doesn’t he say something like – Don’t worry – we are working with her – there is hope for improvement – instead he would say what an ‘azas ponim (brazen girl) she was, how she would burn in gehenim (hell) for her behavior!’ I would be so very angry at her and she at me; we were going at each other all the time.”
And then my caller told me her name! This family is not “nobody”, this is a well known, beautifully functional family! Very frum (observant) family! She explained to me that because her husband’s livelihood was dependant on the Heimishe (ultra orthodox) public they could not openly expose Weberman. Being from the community they knew the backlash would be directed against their daughter and themselves. And because their daughter was happily married they did not want to rock that boat either.
Her story continued: “When the campaign in support of Weberman was started this winter and I saw the signatures of the Rabbonim (rabbis) I couldn’t bear it anymore. I myself went to Rabbi Teitelbaum (son of the Satmar Rebbe, Zalmen Leib) and to Rabbi Pollack and told them my story. They were shocked, Oiy, oiy vey, we didn’t know, we were told he was the victim of a bilbul (libel). However, you should know – we are still yiddishe kinder (Jewish children) and for this Weberman doesn’t have to sit in jail. We will take care of him and he will never do this again, and do not hinder us from protecting him!”
How do we say it? REVICTIMIZING THE VICTIM! In essence they are telling this poor mother – go home, choke your feelings and do not stop us from supporting and helping the man who violated your child! Has there ever been anything as cruel, as pitiless, as UNJEWISH? Is this really us? Don’t we stand for the emes (truth), for yoisher (rectitude)? A thought just occurred to me: Al pi torah (according to the torah) what was their responsibility after hearing from the mother?
I gently asked her what could I do to help? Her sorrowful answer was: “I don’t know”. Why did she call me now? Because she feels so terribly sick when she sees the fundraising campaign for Weberman. [...]