Friday, April 30, 2010

Sefer HaNer

Seforim Blog

Not every important work written by a Rishon is blessed with popularity.[1] While many texts were available throughout the generations and utilized to their utmost; others were relegated to obscurity, being published as recently as this century, or even this year. Nearly a month doesn't pass without a "new" Rishon being made available to the public, and often enough in a critical edition. While each work must be evaluated on its own merit, as a whole, every commentary, every volume of Halachic rulings adds to our knowledge and Torah study.[2] [...]

Abuse - Mayo Clinic: Profile of Pedophilia

Mayo Clinic

A Profile of Pedophilia:
Definition, Characteristics of Offenders, Recidivism,
Treatment Outcomes, and Forensic Issues

Pedophilia has become a topic of increased interest, awareness, and concern for both the medical community and the public at large. Increased media exposure, new sexual offender disclosure laws, Web sites that list the names and addresses of convicted sexual offenders, politicians taking a “get tough” stance on sexual offenders, and increased investigations of sexual acts with children have increased public awareness about pedophilia. Because of this increased awareness, it is important for physicians to understand pedophilia, its rate of occurrence, and the characteristics of pedophiles and sexually abused children. In this article, we address research that defines the various types and categories of pedophilia, review available federal data on child molestation and pornography, and briefly discuss the theories on what makes an individual develop a sexual orientation toward children. This article also examines how researchers determine if someone is a pedophile, potential treatments for pedophiles and  sexually abused children, the risk of additional sexual offenses, the effect of mandatory reporting laws on both physicians and

Rav Sternbuch: Natural disasters

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Discrimination in dismissal of Druze officer?


Druze officers on Wednesday protested a military appeals court's decision not to demote former Gaza Division Commander Brigadier-General Moshe Tamir, who allowed his 14-year-old son to drive an army ATV and attempted to cover up the incident after the boy collided with a civilian vehicle.

The officers demanded that Brigadier-General Imad Fares, who retired from the Israel Defense Forces following a similar incident, would also be allowed to return to the army's top brass. They said the court's decision to accept Tamir's appeal was a case of harsh discrimination and racism.[...]

Bedatz bans public digital ad displays

Abuse - failure to screen workers


A 70-year-old man with past convictions for murder and rape was arrested on Thursday for allegedly molesting a suicidal 14-year-old girl at the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.

Yoseph Nino, a Herzliya resident, had been hired by the hospital through a manpower agency to supervise the teen during nighttime hours to prevent her from hurting herself. The teen had been hospitalized in the hospital's children's wing after attempting to kill herself [...]

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Haaretz spy scandal - Caroline Glick


Over the past two weeks Israel has been rocked by a major espionage scandal in which the Haaretz newspaper plays a central role. To understand the significance of the scandal, it is worthwhile to preface a discussion of it with a look at a smaller story Haaretz developed this week.

On Sunday, Haaretz’s Amira Hass reported that in January, the IDF published a new military order that paves the way for the mass expulsion of illegal aliens from Judea and Samaria. The story sported the disturbing headline, “IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank.”

In a follow-up on Monday, Hass reported that 10 self-described human rights organizations (all funded by the New Israel Fund) sent a joint letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak asking him to rescind the order. She noted, too, that, “the international media also has taken great interest in the story.”[...]

RCA resolution on child abuse


Apr 27, 2010 -- Whereas we have become increasingly aware of incidents of the sexual and physical abuse of children in our community; and

Whereas, there have been a number of high profile cases in which Orthodox rabbis have been indicted or convicted for child abuse or child endangerment; and

Whereas the lives and futures of many of these victims and their families are harmed in significant ways: suicide, post traumatic stress syndrome, inability to form healthy relationships, inability to develop healthy intimate relationships, etc.; and

Whereas many victims of abuse in our community still remain silent and do not come forward to accuse perpetrators or seek help for fear of stigma, personal and familial consequences, or perceived halakhic concerns; and

Whereas the Rabbinical Council of America has resolved through past resolutions its condemnation of abuse and its censure of abusers, and has affirmed, under the guidance and direction of its poskim (Rabbinic decisors,) that the prohibitions of mesirah (reporting crimes to the civil authorities) and arka’ot (adjudication in civil courts) do not apply in cases of abuse and in fact, it is halakhically obligatory to make such reports; and

Whereas reiterating this long held position can serve to provide pastoral and halakhic leadership, support, direction and affirmation to abuse survivors and their families and advocates.

Therefore, the Rabbinical Council of America resolves that

• It reaffirms its unqualified condemnation of all forms of child abuse.

• It reaffirms its halakhic position that the prohibitions of mesirah and arka’ot do not apply in cases of abuse.

• It will regularly issue on its website and to the media appropriate statements of condemnation when public attention is drawn to a case in which Jews are either victims or perpetrators of abuse.

• It will regularly evaluate the competence of its members in understanding and responding to issues of child abuse and initiate training and continuing educational opportunities for all of its members in this area every year.

• The members of the RCA address the issues of child abuse in their communities in at least one sermon, lecture or article within the next twelve months, and that contact information for local abuse services be displayed in a public place in all synagogues, schools, and Jewish community institutions serviced by its members.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodists - those who view themselves as Moral Beings


Psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong of Toronto University recently reported a startling discovery in the journal Psychological Science: those who purchased a “morally virtuous” product, like organic baby food, were less likely to be charitable and more likely to lie and steal than those who purchased conventional products.

The Guardian summarized the findings: “[T]hose . . . who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not.”  Those findings confirmed previous observations of patterns of “moral balancing,” whereby people who have proven their credentials as moral people in one area allow themselves to stray in other areas. Apparently, relatively minor acts that confer some sort of “moral halo” have the effect of licensing subsequent asocial and unethical behavior.[...]

Ramat Beit Shemesh mikve - Chareidim v. Modern Orthodox


Friction between two religious communities in Ramat Beit Shemesh has surfaced once again, this time over who should take responsibility for the mikve (ritual bath) in a neighborhood that is equally inhabited by both haredi and  national religious communities, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The tension is focusing on a mikve that opened roughly two years ago on Nahal Dolev and was divided in two last summer by the city’s Religious Council so each community could follow its own interpretation of Jewish law.[...]

Concern about abuse - only from 1970's

Dr. Christine A. Courtois and Dr. Steven N. Gold (Psychological Trauma 2009 1:1 page 3).For several decades now, the knowledge base about psychological trauma has been continually expanding in the professional literature (Friedman, Keane, & Resick, 2007). In the earliest days of the practice of psychotherapy in Europe in the late 19th century, trauma was recognized as playing an important role in the genesis and exacerbation of many psychological difficulties; however, for various reasons, appreciation of the relevance of the experience of trauma to many psychological problems waned through much of the 20th century (Friedman, Resick, & Keane, 2007; Herman, 1992b; van der Kolk, 2007; Monson, Friedman, & LaBash, 2007). It was only in the 1970s that the focused attention on psychological trauma resumed. This trend was catalyzed largely by the difficulties exhibited by Vietnam War veterans and emerging awareness, via the feminist movement, of the alarming prevalence of rape, domestic violence, and all forms of childhood abuse. Renewed awareness of trauma in the 1970s culminated in the inclusion of the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the dissociative disorders (DDs) in the in 1980 (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 1980). Since that time empirical and clinical exploration of psychological trauma has sustained and flourished. The extensive literature that has accumulated since the 1970s has simultaneously been accompanied by burgeoning awareness on a societal level of the broad reach, financial costs, and lasting adverse impact of traumatic events. In the final two decades of the 20th century, increasing sensitivity arose about the widespread and emotionally damaging nature of domestic violence, childhood abuse, and sexual assault. More recently, acts of terrorism such as the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, and much more recently those in Mumbai, India, the return of thousands of veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and widespread natural disasters such as the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina have been increasingly framed through the lens of trauma by both professionals and the news media.

Abuse lawsuit: Boy Scouts ordered to pay $18.5 M

Fox News

An Oregon jury's decision to award a man $18.5 million in punitive damages in his case against the Boy Scouts of America will likely be the first of many financial hits the Scouts will take as it prepares to defend itself against a series of sex abuse lawsuits.
The jury on Friday ordered the Scouts to make the payment to Kerry Lewis, the victim of sex abuse by a former assistant Scoutmaster in Portland in the early 1980s.
The case was the first of six filed against the Boy Scouts in the same court in Oregon, with at least one other separate case pending. If mediation fails to settle the other cases, they also could go to trial.[...]