Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black Congressman: Tea Party would like Black Americans hanging on a tree

N.J. mandated reporting of bullying: Every conflict is bullying

 Under a new state law in New Jersey, lunch-line bullies in the East Hanover schools can be reported to the police by their classmates this fall through anonymous tips to the Crimestoppers hot line.

   In Elizabeth, children, including kindergartners, will spend six class periods learning, among other things, the difference between telling and tattling.

And at North Hunterdon High School, students will be told that there is no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to bullying: if they see it, they have a responsibility to try to stop it.

But while many parents and educators welcome the efforts to curb bullying both on campus and online, some superintendents and school board members across New Jersey say the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, reaches much too far, and complain that they have been given no additional resources to meet its mandates.

The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes.     

Rav Zilberstein: Only rabbis can decide about child abuse

Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein (click link for recording) spoke at the Jerusalem Conference on child abuse and pikuach nefesh - primarily about issues of doctors and pikuach nefesh. There is a brief segment of several minutes - starting at about 34 minutes into the recording - in which he responds to a question about reporting child abuse to the police. He responds very harshly regarding psychologists (despite the fact that he was speaking to an audience of frum mental health workers. He said only rabbis can decide these issues. He mentions the case of a frum yid who is serving 15 years in jail because what he claims are false charges brought against him by a child which a psychologist validated with drawings. He claims that the rabbonim know 100% that the man is innocent while the police were totally dependent on the fantasies of the psychologist. Bottom line he insists only rabbis know what to do with charges of child abuse.

Yitzchok Zilberstein (Hebrew: יצחק זילברשטיין‎, also spelled Silberstein) (born 1934) is a prominent Orthodox rabbi, posek (Jewish legal authority)[1] and expert in medical ethics.[2] He is the av beis din of the Ramat Elchanan neighborhood of Bnei Brak, the Rosh Kollel of Kollel Bais David in Holon,[3] and the Rav of Mayanei Hayeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak.[4] His opinion is frequently sought and quoted on all matters of halakha for the Israeli Lithuanian yeshiva community.

He married Aliza Shoshana Eliashiv (1936–1999),[5] a daughter of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv and granddaughter of Rabbi Aryeh Levin. She assumed the financial burden for running their household and encouraged him to continue studying Torah.[5] They began their married life in Bnei Brak, where Rabbi Zilberstein studied in the kollel attached to his alma mater and received another rabbinic ordination by the leading posek of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Shmuel Wosner. Subsequently, Zilberstein moved his family to Switzerland, where he served as a rosh mesivta and maggid shiur in the Yeshiva of Lucerne[5] for several years (From Wikipedia)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rav Weiner: Calling Police for abuse cases Jerusalem Conference 2011

Rav Yaakov Weiner  is Dean of the Jerusalem Center for Research: Medicine and Halacha.
(Click on link to hear streaming audio player)

He received his rabbinical training at three distinguished educational institutions: Yeshivat Harav Chaim Berlin in New York, the Chevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Mosad Harav Kook in Jerusalem, where he was granted rabbinical authority to judge all halachic matters from HaGaon, Harav Bezalel Zolty (z"l), former Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

Rav Weiner served as a pulpit rabbi at a Young Israel congregation in Jerusalem and was a Rosh Yeshiva in Dvar Yerushalayim. He was also Rosh Kollel in Beit Shemesh and Rosh Kollel of the Institute of Science and Halacha. 

 He divides his time between actively pursuing the Center's goals in Israel, and lecturing around the world on a wide variety of topics in science, technology and Jewish bioethics.

He also serves as a scholar in residence in Jewish communities in North and South America and in Europe, and has delivered papers at professional medical conferences both in Israel and abroad.

 Rav Weiner is the author of two books: Ben Yechabed Av (1975) and Ye Shall Surely Heal (1995). He is currently writing the second volume of Ye Shall Surely Heal.

As a tribute to one of the patriarchs of the Weiner family, we have dedicated an obituary page to Mr. Harry Weiner, of blessed memory.

Rav Weiner can be e-mailed directly at

Teacher strongly criticized for criticizing gay marriage

Jerry Buell is back in the classroom, as he should be. Or, perhaps, shouldn't be. Buell, 54, a devout Baptist, family man and veteran teacher of American history at public Mount Dora High School in central Florida, might as well be the faculty heavy in an episode of Glee: this summer, he set off a national First Amendment fracas by announcing on Facebook that gay marriage is a "cesspool" that makes him vomit and mocks God. Buell's employer, the Lake County School District, removed him from the classroom last week for the first three days of the new school year, pending an investigation of the Facebook comments, then reinstated him on Aug. 25 presumably because it realized his speech in this case was protected. But though he prevailed, his rant may backfire socially by helping to plant homophobia more firmly alongside racism and sexism on the nation's roster of hate speech.

By most accounts, Buell is a good teacher — Mount Dora's 2010–11 teacher of the year, in fact. But while watching a report last month on New York State's recent legalization of gay marriage, he posted a diatribe on his personal Facebook page: "I almost threw up ... Now they showed two guys kissing. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don't insult a man and woman's marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool... God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?"

Lake County Schools found Buell's remarks unacceptable. It launched an investigation into whether he violated the district's ethics code and compromised students' safe and unprejudiced learning environment — and whether as a public schoolteacher he breached separation of church and state by, among other things, writing on his class syllabi, "I teach God's truth. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, 'cause I ain't changing!" (Buell's lawyer, Harry Mihet of the Orlando-based Liberty Counsel, denies any church-state violation: "It's teaching God's truth," he says, "that the earth is round or that 2 + 2 = 4.")

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mandated reporting:In 18 states everyone is a mandated reporter

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Professionals Required to Report

Approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment.1 Individuals designated as mandatory reporters typically have frequent contact with children. Such individuals may include:
  • Social workers
  • Teachers and other school personnel
  • Physicians and other health-care workers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Child care providers
  • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Law enforcement officers
Some other professions frequently mandated across the States include commercial film or photograph processors (in 11 States, Guam, and Puerto Rico), substance abuse counselors (in 14 States), and probation or parole officers (in 17 States).2 Seven States and the District of Columbia include domestic violence workers on the list of mandated reporters, while seven States and the District of Columbia include animal control or humane officers.3 Court-appointed special advocates are mandatory reporters in nine States.4 Members of the clergy now are required to report in 26 States.5

Reporting by Other Persons

In approximately 18 States and Puerto Rico, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report. Of these 18 States, 16 States and Puerto Rico specify certain professionals who must report but also require all persons to report suspected abuse or neglect, regardless of profession.6 New Jersey and Wyoming require all persons to report without specifying any professions. In all other States, territories, and the District of Columbia, any person is permitted to report. These voluntary reporters of abuse are often referred to as "permissive reporters."

Shut HaRid: Truth is more important than authority

Shut HaRid(#62): "Whatever does not make sense to me – then even if Yehoshua ben Nun said I would not agree [Chullin 124a]. And I don’t stop myself from expressing what appears correct to me according to my limited intellect. Thus I do what it says in Tehilim (119:46), I speak regarding Your words even against kings and I am not ashamed…. Because even when it appears to me that I have successfully refuted the words of the early authorities – G‑d forbid for me to be so arrogant to say that it is because of my superior wisdom (Koheles 2:9). Rather the reason that I can argue with the early authorities is because of the rationale provided by philosophers. I heard that a group of philosophers asked the greatest amongst them, “We acknowledge that the early scholars were wiser and more intelligent than us. But at the same time we acknowledge that we argue with their ideas and refute them in many issues and in fact our criticisms of them are correct. How could that be?” He replied to them, “Who can see farther – a midget or a giant? It is obviously a giant because his eyes are much higher than a midget. However if a midget stands on the shoulder of a giant – who can see farther? Obviously it is the midget because his eyes are now higher than the eyes of the giant. So it is with us. We are midgets riding on the shoulders of giants because we know that it is their wisdom that elevates us. Therefore our wisdom is based on their wisdom.” Thus what we say is not because we are greater than them. We can comment regarding the early scholars in a situation where we see that they disagree with each other – one permitting and the other prohibiting. So which authority should we rely on? … We cannot simply say that one is greater and therefore the words of the others are refuted. Rather we must analyze all their words because they are the words of the living G‑d. We need to debate and investigate their words to see which way the law seems to be going. That in fact is what the sages of the Mishna and Talmud did. We see the later Talmudic scholars did not refrain from disagreeing with the early scholars and to decide amongst what the early sages disagreed with each other as well as to contradict their words. We find that the Amoraim would refute a Mishna and say that it was not the halacha. The fact is the wisdom transcends the individual sage and there is no sage who is free from error. Only G‑d is free of error.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane 2011 - Close call in Lawrence NY

Paving the Way for Condoning Child Rape

Fox News by Dr. Keith Ablow

There were those who scoffed at my contention that Abercrombie and Fitch, the edgy retailer, was paving the way for mainstream pedophilia when it began marketing breast enhancing bikinis to girls as young as eight. 

There were those who railed against my contention that the French edition of Vogue was kindling pedophilia and embracing it with its racy depictions of 10-year-old Thylane Lena-Rose Loubry-Blondeau in heavy makeup, a plunging neckline and stiletto heels. 

There were others who suggested that I had a problem with breastfeeding, in general, when I took issue with The Breast Milk Baby, which encourages little girls to wear a vest that has flowers in place of larger nipples and nurse the doll.

But, now, there should be no doubt that our culture is poised to begin embracing pedophilia as a lifestyle choice, just like homosexuality. A group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals called B4U-Act, which has representatives from Harvard and Johns Hopkins, gathered recently in Baltimore to organize their push to change the negative perception of pedophiles and encourage them to get help in a nonjudgmental environment. [....]

Delaware pediatrician jailed for life for abusing patients

A Delaware pediatrician who decorated his office with Disney characters and miniature amusement park rides, is convicted of abusing scores of young patients over more than a decade will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Earl Bradley, 58, showed no emotion as a judge sentenced him Friday to 14 life sentences for 14 counts of first-degree rape

Bradley was also sentenced to 165 years for multiple counts of assault and continuous sexual exploitation of a child. Bradley was arrested in Dec. 2009 after a 2-year-old girl complained to her mother after an office visit that the doctor had hurt her.

Recently published manuscript - falsely attributed to Malbim - written by maskil


בשנת תשס"ט התבשר עולם התורה על הדפסת עותק ראשוני של פירוש המלבי"ם לספר קהלת שעד אז לא היה בנמצא. 'עוז והדר', שהדפיסו את הפירוש, טענו כי מדובר בכתב-יד שמעולם לא נדפס.

אלא שכבר עם הדפסת הספר טענו תלמידי חכמים רבים כי לא יתכן שהמלבי"ם כתב את הפירוש המכיל דברי כפירה רבים ואשר בתוכו אף מצוטט משה מנדלסון - אבי ההשכלה.

אחד מאותם תלמידי חכמים - אברך ב'מיר' - נזעק לספריה הלאומית שם נעזר ברב דוד קמינצקי (נכדו של הגר"י קמינצקי זצ"ל) והרב משה אייזיק בלוי - מעורכי המוסף התורני 'קולמוס', כאשר אף הם לא פיללו לתוצאה שכזו.

לאחר מחקר מעמיק נתגלה כי הפירוש שייך לאחד מראשי המשכילים בשם יונה ברד"ח - מידידיו של משה מנדלסון. יתר על כן - ברד"ח כבר הדפיס את הפירוש המדובר בשנת תר"י בלבוב.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Agudas Israel is a modern innovation needed to combat individualism

 from my sefer Daas Torah - translation copyrighted

Pardes Yosef(Bereishis 49:1): Many times I have talked about and publicly addressed the issue of joining Agudas Israel. Many people have asked, “If such an organization is so necessary why wasn’t it created in previous generations?” After all the foundation of our tradition is not to consider ourselves as wiser than previous generations - as we say that if the earlier generation were compared to angels…[then we are like donkeys…] Furthermore they assert that all innovation is prohibited by the Torah and that we should follow in the path of our ancestors who had no such  organization and nevertheless they were G‑d fearing people and succeeded in educating their children in the path of Torah? I have a good answer to these objections. In previous generation the masses listened to the great rabbis who were scholars and the righteous men of their generation. However now we live in a time that exalts individuality and rejects obedience to the leaders of the generation. While it is true that this is not universal, but they are only exceptions to the rule. There are in fact places that retain an organized community apparatus and I don’t disagree that these places have great people who are able to influence the community. We thus have a mixed picture of both proper community organizations with leadership and lack of community organizations and a lack of leadership. However in all cases it is dependent on the consent of the masses. In particular since World War I, the power began to be taken from the leadership of these various community organizations. Therefore now even the pious need an organization, even though there was no need for it in previous generations

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Alleged major pedophile ring in Jerusalem


מגיעה לשלב האישומים. כתבי אישום חמורים הוגשו היום (ה') כנגד שניים מן החשודים בפרשה, בני העדה החרדית. השניים נאשמים בביצוע מעשי אונס ומעשי סדום ביותר מ-50 ילדים ברחבי השכונות החרדיות. במשטרה ציינו כי החקירה נמשכת וכי 
צפויים כתבי אישום נוספים בפרשה המסועפת.  

על פי כתב האישום שהוגש נגד השניים לבית משפט המחוזי בירושלים, הם נהגו לפתות ילדים בממתקים, שיכנעו אותם לצפות עמם בסרטים פורנוגרפיים. לאחר מכן, נטען, ביצעו בהם מעשי סדום חמורים, התעללו בהם והכו אותם.

במשטרה חושדים כי השניים נהגו לבצע את המעשים בצוותא, תוך שהם מבצעים אורגיות קבוצתיות, כאשר אספו מספיק ילדים להשתתף עימם במעשים. 

בכתב האישום שהוגש נגד אחד מהשניים, תושב מאה שערים בן ה-44, נטען כי הוא פיתה ילד בן 13 ואת חבריו לבוא עימו לביתו במשך תקופה של שנה. השניים גרים בסמיכות באותה השכונה. באותם הביקורים, אף הורה הנאשם לו ולחבריו לחלל שבת ולהדליק אורות בבית. במהלך הביקורים, נטען בכתב האישום, הוא הציג לילד סרטים פורנוגרפיים, הפשיט אותו מבגדיו והכה אותו במקל פעמים רבות. 

Australian Jewish News apologizes for attack on Rabbi Feldman

In a stunning about-face, the Australian Jewish News publicly apologised today regarding a recent controversial story that called for Rabbi Yosef Feldman's resignation from a senior rabbinic position.

On 29 July 2011, the AJN ran a front page story about Rabbi Yosef Feldman entitled "Top Rabbi Must Quit." In a related Article and Editorial, reference was made to a leaked internal email discussion amongst Rabbis in which Rabbi Yosef Feldman put forward certain views in relation to the reporting of child abuse allegations to the Authorities.

The AJN interpreted those views in a negative light, berating Rabbi Feldman for suggesting them and calling for his resignation as President of the Rabbinical Council of NSW.

In today's edition, the AJN admits that since the publication of their first article many Rabbis "have since contacted us to confirm they regarded the comments as Halachic conjecture in the context of an academic debate" and in a statement from the Executive of the Rabbinical Council of NSW.

"Warning Regarding Ganei Geula Pedophile" - Is False Report!

Dear Reb Daniel,
As a parent of children, who lives near Ganei Geula, and frequently davens there, I was extremely concerned when I read your posting regarding a possible pedophile who may be lurking in the neighborhood.
As a frum Yid, I was also concerned by the apparently idiotic response allegedly attributed to the new rav, Rabbi Berger, which serves as fresh cannon fodder for all the "rabbi bashers" out there in cyberspace.
Being the sensible person I am, I approached Rabbi Berger this morning, asking him if he was aware of the story going around. He said that he actually had not been aware of the story until an aquaintance of his from Benei Brak faxed him a copy of the original article, a copy of which he pulled from his pocket to show me. He was also preplexed as to how such a story appeared in print and who was behind it, as there was not even a crumb of truth to it!
I gently asked him, if he meant that there actually had been an incident,  but his response was different then reported, or did he mean to say that the entire story is fabricated?
He emphatically answered, that as far he's concerned, the entire story is FABRICATED!
He is not aware of any specific allegations of any possible pedophile lurking in the neighborhood. He was NEVER approached by any reporter, and he surely never said what was FALSELY attributed to him. In addition, as the rav of the neighborhood, he is also not aware of any other rabbis in the neighborhood who have taken the position he allegedly quoted from them!
To use his words: כל הסיפור מצוץ מהאצבע
Rabbi Berger told me that he's still trying to find out who's behind this false story, and is seriously contemplating legal action against the original publishers of the story.
I humbly learnt an important lesson today. Don't believe everything you read! Do your due diligence before spreading some juicy lashon hara about someone else!
I would appreciate if you could post this e-mail as a seperate posting. While I'm a very busy person, I've taken the time and effort to write this to you, as I feel that a great Chilul Hashem has been perpetrated by the publication of this story, and it would be an appropriate attempt at Tikkun to publish this rebuttal.
I would appreciate of you you withhold my name from public. Should the need arise in the future to make my name public, we can revisit the subject again.
kol tuv,
xxx xxxx

PS I posted the following comment to the NRG-Maariv site. They have of yet to publish it:
דיברתי הבוקר עם הר' ברגר כדי לברר אמיתת הכתבה. הוא ענה לי בבטיחות, שכל הסיפור מצוץ מהאצבע, ולא היה ולא נברא. הוא אף פעם לא ראויין עך ידי שום כתב, וגם רבני השכונה שכביכול מצוטטים על ידו, לא ידועים לו כאלו.
הר' ברגר הוסיף, שאינו יודע מי עומד מאחורי הכתבה השקרית, אבל הוא שוקל ברצינות להגיש תביעה משפטית נגד הגורמים בדבר.
ראו הזהרתם!
ולכל אלו המאמינים לכל סיפור עסיסי על החרדים, תנסו פעם לברר אמיתות הסיפור לפני שאתם מפרסמים את זה הלאה!

show details 7:36 AM (1 hour ago)

Update: The NRG-Maariv site has published my comment

Rabbi Fabricated Tales of Saving Holocaust Torahs, Prosecutors Say

He described himself as a risk-taking rabbi who had been “beaten up, thrown in jail and gone $175,000 into debt” on “expeditions” to Eastern Europe. He said his mission was to rescue and restore Torahs that had been “wrenched from their communities during the Holocaust” and place them with congregations that would look after them. 

“I guess you could call me the Jewish Indiana Jones,” he wrote in 2004.
But on Wednesday, the rabbi, Menachem Youlus, was arrested in Manhattan on fraud charges. Court papers said he had never gone to the far-flung places he talked about and had made up the stories he told about discovering Torahs at the sites of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps — or in Iraq in 2007. 

Instead, prosecutors accused him of selling fake Torahs and pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars through Save a Torah, the nonprofit organization he co-founded in 2004. A postal inspector who investigated Rabbi Youlus’s dealings also challenged his tale of financial troubles, saying in court papers that the rabbi had never been deeply in debt.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Terrorist campaign against stores in Mea Shearim/Geula by Sikrikim

המלחמה של נוער השוליים בשכונת מאה שערים המכנה את עצמה – 'הסיקריקםי' כנגד חנויות באזור שכונת גאולה ומאה שערים – נמשכת במלא העוצמה.

לאחר ששברו את חלונות חנות הספרים 'אור החיים' וגרמו לנזק כספי רב לבעל החנות, ממשיכים הסיקריקים במלחמה כשהם מרחיבים את הפעילות לחנויות נוספות שלא מוצאות חן בעיניהם.

הבוקר (ג') ספגה חנות הגלידות הממוקמת בטבורו של רחוב מלכי ישראל בשכונת גאולה מתקפה חריפה. מספר סיקריקים הניחו רוטב דגים מקולקל וטיטולים מלאים בצואה בסמוך לחנות ואף ערכו הפגנה במקום.

Bracha Goetz & Project Y.E.S. & Artscroll publish child safety book

Mazel Tov!
Received the following notice from the author Bracha Goetz regarding her important new book 
Groundbreaking New Children’s Book Released: LET'S STAY SAFE!

Let’s Stay Safe, published by Mesorah Publications, is the newest breakthrough from Project YES, a division of Agudath Israel of America Community Services.  According to Artscroll, “It may well be the most important picture book that a parent will share with his or her young child.” We all want to keep our children safe, secure, confident, and happy. With this book’s delightful pictures and child-friendly rhyming text, Let’s Stay Safe helps us give our children essential life lessons in safe and unsafe behavior:
• Personal safety • Staying away from strangers • Crossing the street safely • Bicycle safety • Fire safety • Safety in the home
 In language that can educate and empower, this groundbreaking book gives children the tools to stay safe and secure in our increasingly difficult world.

A Personal Message from the Author:

Over four years ago, our youngest daughter, Shira Goetz, gave me the encouragement needed to write a book designed for frum children about personal safety.  I “knocked on the door” of every frum publishing house I could think of with my safety manuscript, but no company was willing to publish it back then.

 It would still be just a file on my computer, if not for Rabbi Yakov Horowitz.  Over two years ago, I sent my manuscript to Rabbi Horowitz, the Director of Project YES, and he devoted himself to getting the safety book published.  Along the way, the personal safety book evolved into a more comprehensive safety book that includes personal safety as another normative safety measure. That’s what makes it a major breakthrough for the frum world – abuse prevention being acknowledged as an essential topic to be included for parents and children to learn in order to guard their safety, right alongside fire safety.

I believe that without Rabbi Horowitz’s tremendous efforts - and my daughter’s heartfelt prayers through these years - we would not be able to witness the miracle of this book being published now by Mesorah Publications, with the endorsement of Torah U’Mesorah as well, thank G-d.  Although  I really only became aware of the underground world of abuse in our midst just four years ago, B’H, there has been great progress during this time in beginning the process of weeding it from our beautiful garden.  It should only continue - and prevention education is key.

From this whole endeavor, I learned that we don’t have to be great scholars or have lots of money or prestige to make our communities better places.  We can be baalei teshuva, gerim or FFB’s, and if we see what needs fixing, we don’t have to be afraid, we can work on repairing things.  I also learned during these four years, over and over again, that we really can never accomplish anything on our own.  We need Hashem to smile upon every single effort we try to make.  And we need support from other individuals committed to striving for improvement.

I wrote this book to help keep our little ones safe.  In the merit of reading this book to young children, may all of our precious ones be blessed to remain pure and in good health, with shining neshamas.

Here’s a link to the book:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Warning concerning pedophile in Jerusalem - unreported because of chillul HaShem


תושבי גני גאולה בירושלים חוששים שפדופיל מסתובב בשכונה, אבל נמנעים מתלונה במשטרה "מחשש לחילול השם"

משה הלר|21/8/2011 14:47    

תושבי מתחם גני גאולה ברחוב ירמיהו בירושלים בפאניקה: כמה ילדים סיפרו בשבועות האחרונים להוריהם על אדם בעל חזות חרדית ששהה בשעות הצהריים המוקדמות באזור בית הכנסת השכונתי, וניסה לפתות את הילדים להצטרף אליו. בשכונה אומרים כי החשוד נראה בעיקר באזור המקווה הצמוד לבית הכנסת

A true story of how gedolim dealt improperly with a pedophile

I recently met with some rabbis who have had extensive experience dealing with abuse issues in the frum community. The following is one of the stories that they told me regarding rabbinic incompetence dealing with abuse. The incompetent rabbis that were described are not community or shul rabbis but are genuine gedolim They had sufficient funds and access to experts who would have informed them that they should have called the police. However they relied on their own judgment and a disaster resulted. This is the story - with identifying details removed.

 There was a promising bochur. He was intelligent and diligent in his studies and handsome. He also had good midos and came from a distinguished family. He had only one problem - he was a pedophile. He had abused over a hundred children by the time he was 24 years old. When this was brought to the attention of seniors rabbis at the major yeshiva where he studied, they came up with what they thought was a brilliant solution to his problem. They arranged and encouraged a match with an orphan girl. It was the perfect match they thought. She got a real catch and he would now be able to manage his sexual appetite with his wife - rather than with little children. They picked an orphan because she would not be able to do serious back ground checking and would have to rely on the advice of these gedolim.  Of course she wasn't told about his problem - after all that would be lashon harah. Since they "knew" that the problem would be solved by marriage there obviously wasn't any reason to mention to her that this young man had destroyed the life of 100 children. They also didn't bother checking with a psychologist with expertise with pedophiles - after all what does a psychologist know?

Of course the young lady was ecstatic that gedolim had taken such a personal interest in her and she was overwhelmed with gratitude that the great men had devoted time and energy for her - a nobody but with a lot of emunas chachomim. It was just like the Artscroll stories that she read every Shabbos about great tzadikim. The marriage seemed to be in fact the solution to the problem. The young couple was very happy They eventually had several children. Unfortunately  however the young man still had his perverted lusts which did not go away with marriage. This was something that anybody with even a minimum knowledge of pedophiles would have predicted.

Periodically there were rumors of his activity but his wife didn't understand why she was treated coldly by the neighbors. The senior rabbis suggested that they move to Brooklyn where they would be able to start life fresh. The wife still didn't know her husband's problem - but the new neighbors did not know either because the rabbis knew that if they informed anybody the young couple would not get a chance for a new life.  Unfortunately, the change of neighborhood did not help his condition.  This time however she found out the hard way - by a visit from the police who were investigating charges against him for abusing children. As you may imagine she was traumatized. Not only was her husband a destroyer of children, but she had been betrayed by gedolim. In addition she feared for the safety of her own children. But what could she do - she had no family or friends and she had no money to pay for advice or a divorce.

Fortunately the rabbi who told me about this tragedy found out about this horror story and successfully raised money for the divorce. He even got one of the gedolim to write a letter to aid in fund raising because that gadol humbly acknowledged that he had made a serious mistake!

An abuse survivor's change of heart regarding the Rabbis

I reached a point that I cannot sit idly by and watch how the Jewish people are being stepped on, day in and day out, by none other than people who call themselves Orthodox Jews. The chillul Hashem (Desecration of G-d’s Name) that is being created is beyond words. The kind of garbage that is being thrown on our gedolim (leading Rabbis) and holy organizations has not happened since the days of the pogroms and it’s all coming from within. It hurts me to write this to the very same people I once believed were protectors of abuse victims in the Jewish community. It hurts me even more to write to the very same people I once called very dear friends and believed were helping my brothers and sisters in pain.

What is important is the truth coming from my broken heart.

I am Pinny Taub, who is a survivor of one of the most horrific crimes that has happened to a Jew by a Jew. My story is known and is not important to repeat at this time. Despite all that, I decided that I would not be a victim anymore and I would survive. Ever since I made this decision I have taken on a new role, by helping other victims and by educating those who don’t understand. I have spoken publicly, have done interviews, and have met with rabbonim (Rabbis), gedolim, leaders, policy-makers, law enforcement officials, and private citizens. While it was very painful for me to see how people have a hard time understanding this subject, I learned that I have a lot to understand about other people, as well. I have realized that change does not come overnight, but change will come when you present the truth and nothing but the truth. When I began reaching out to the leaders and our rabbonim, it was done with a great deal of anger and resentment. What I’ve learned by reaching out to them with respect is that they really do understand and do share the pain of those who were victimized, and show anger towards the criminals who destroyed so many precious lives. All of them want change in how we treat victims, deal with perpetrators, and implement prevention. Yes, there are major differences of opinion on certain subjects. There is no subject on the face of the earth on which all participating parties are of the same opinion, especially something as complicated as abuse, which involves understanding the long-term effects on a victim, legal issues, and halacha.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Self defense against one who is only a possible rodef

Ran(Sanhedrin 73a): Since it is a mitzva to kill the rodef in order to save his victim, why is there a need for the verse of “don’t stand idly by the blood of your fellow” It is clearly a mitzva to exert yourself to save him – such as if he is drowning in the river or being attacked by bandits? The answer is the verse that tells you that you can kill the rodef is only relevant when it is absolutely clear to you that he is intent on killing. Similarly if it is absolutely certain that he will drown in the river if you don’t save him. However in a case of where it is uncertain, we would not know that there is an obligation. Therefore the verse of “don’t stand idly by the blood of your fellow” teaches us that it is also a mitzva to try and save him even though it is uncertain [while the case of certain need is learned from rodef].

Rav Yehuda Silman(Yeschurun 15): Question: Is it permitted to kill someone that there are doubts whether he is in fact a rodef (threat to life)? I was asked concerning a security guard in a public place e.g., the entrance of a restaurant or a mall who notices a man approach and he appears suspicious. The person is acting strangely and appears to be an Arab. When the security guard approaches him, he begins to run. The security guards suspects that he is a terrorist. This is only a suspicion since it is possible that he is in fact a Jew and there are people in the world who act strangely. In addition it is possible that the suspicious stranger is running away simply out of panic. However it is possible that in a short time the stranger will in fact cause a serious terror attack. Is it permitted to kill the stranger when the facts are not clear? This is a common question and a similar question can be asked regarding a bank teller who is suddenly confronted with a bandit with a pistol in his hand. There are many times when it is later determined that the gun was only a toy and even if it were real the bandit didn’t intend to kill but only to scare the bank teller. Nevetheless there is a doubt whether the person is in danger. In such circumstances is it permitted to kill him? Answer:… Conclusions: 1) It appears that we hold in practice that it is permitted to killed a suspected rodef. In other words someone who is doing activities that endanger others even if there are doubts. … 4) Therefore in the two versions of the question that were asked concerning a suspicious person it is permitted to kill him. That is only in a case there are valid bases to suspect that he is trying to kill. 5) In contrast in the case of someone running in the forest or is shooting and there are doubts as to his intent[ - he is not to be viewed as a rodef because we assume he has a legitimate reason for doing these things (chezkas kashrus)

Rav Yehuda Silman(Yeschurun volume 15 page 662):. …
The commentaries explain that the obvious reason for not needing witnesses but they could rely even on circumstantial evidence is because this was not a court procedure to punish wrongdoers. Rather it was either done to obey the law of the kingdom or it was to stop someone from sinning. The Rashba is cited in the Beis Yosef that witnesses are not needed in such a case…”. That is because we are concerned only with the knowledge of truth in order to stop the harm and to make protective measures against iniquity. Furthermore according to what I said that even a doubtful rodef is permitted to be killed, it is obvious that it is permitted for us to take protective action even if we have unresolved doubts.

Rav Yehuda Silman;(Yeschurun 22): The view expressed in Bava Metzia (83b) ;concerning R’ Eliezar bar Rav Shimon who was involved in capturing thieves because the king had commanded him to do so... In the original article I was inclined to the view that in the case of sexual abuse since the perpetrator is not executed but is imprisoned to protect society then perhaps all would agree that it is permitted to report him to the authorities... In addition according to the reason that even in the case of a possible rodef it is permitted to inform the authorities – it is obvious that is permitted without proper witnesses since all that is required is that there be the possibility that he is an abuser... it is clear that there is no need to convene a beis din in the presence of both sides since the basis of the permission to report the perpetrator to the secular authorities is either because he is a possible rodef (pursuer) or to separate him from sinning or because of the government mandates reporting. In fact these cases do not require a beis din and we need to merely consider the possible loss versus the possible gain. If the accusations are in fact true then we are dealing with a case of saving a person from being harmed. While if the accusations are in fact not true then in general then the government will free him. On the other hand it is certain that it is impossible that everyone can take responsibility for deciding whether to inform the secular authorities… 

8 Charged in Alleged $40M Fla Spiritual Advice Scam


Prosecutors say a South Florida family of gypsies amassed $40 million in a fortune-telling scam, warning victims that if they didn't follow their advice, terrible things would happen to them or their loved ones. Details spilled out in federal court Friday after eight people were arrested earlier this week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence Bardfeld said victims who were going through vulnerable phases forked over cash, gold coins and jewelry. The defendants promised victims they wouldn't spend the money, but then refused to return it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Babies for sale: Producing babies for sale with surrogate mothers


It's a money-making scheme that's been described in court as a “baby-selling ring,” which had brokered deals for at least 12 unwitting couples before being dismantled by the FBI. According to the Los Angeles Times, Theresa Erickson, a noted San Diego fertility attorney, and Maryland attorney Hilary Neiman, who is well-known in surrogacy circles, were charged with wire fraud; the coordinator, Carla Chambers, was charged with "monetary transactions in property derived from illegal activity." All three pleaded guilty over the last few weeks in federal court. They have yet to be sentenced. [...]

Rav Wosner: Mandated reporting of crime is permitted - even if results in death

Rav Wosner(Shevet HaLevi 2:58): … Concerning the issue of reporting the tax cheat to the government see Bava Metzia (83b) concerning R’ Eliezer the son of Rav Shimon bar Yochai. The gemora reports that he reported thieves to the government. This is proof that where the government has authorized a Jew to report thieves that it is permitted. Even though he was criticized “how long are you handing the people of our G‑d to be killed” – because the punishment for thieves in those days was death. This is relevant also for a similar criticism from Eliyahu Hanavi to R’ Yishmael which is reported in that gemora. However the actual halacha seems that even when it results in the death penalty it is considered “the law of the land is the law.”  See the Ritva on that gemora which is found in the Shita Mekubetzes. …Also look at the Responsa of the Alshech who states that a person is not considered an informant for those things required by the law of the land….It is also obvious that this is not comparable to the case of R’ Eleazar ben R’ Shimon (Bava Metzia 83a) which involved danger to the person arrested. In contrast in our case here when they will just punish the person arrested and there is never a threat to life.

Rashba:Destroy even a sofek rodef - for self protection

Rashba(1:181): Question: Regarding an incident described in Bava Kama (117a). A certain man wanted to reveal the straw of another to the authorities - knowing that it would be confiscated. He appeared before Rav who ordered him not to reveal it. The man responded that he wasn’t going to listen to Rav and that he would reveal it. R’ Kahana who was sitting before Rav killed the man by ripping out his windpipe… This raises a serious question. Just because a person insisted that he was going to inform the authorities about another person’s straw he deserved to be killed? Furthermore at that point it wasn’t certain that he was actually going to do that which he threatened. So how can he be killed on a doubt - perhaps he was simply making an empty threat? A moser (informer) is like a snake and whoever wants to kill him has the right. This that you ask how it is possible to kill him when it is not certain that he will carry out his threats. If he regularly informs then his threat is considered as if he will certainly do it. Thus the case of one who repeatedly informs is governed by the rule of self-defense, “you should kill someone who comes to kill.” Thus we see that Rav Shila (Berachos 58a) did not delay killing someone who threatens to inform on him. Furthermore all those who inform – even if it just involves money – is considered a murderer. We don’t say that we should wait till he murders and only then take him to beis din to be tried and executed. However even regarding a person who doesn’t habitually inform on others, if it is obvious that he wants to inform - as was the case of Rav Kahana where the person was told not to inform and he arrogantly said that he was going to inform – it is considered that we clearly know that he will do it. Even with this degree of uncertainty - the informer is killed. Even a third party can save the intended victim by killing the moser since it is equivalent to saving a pursued person by killing the pursuer (rodef). We don’t entertain the possibility that even though he is actively pursuing the victim that perhaps he will have second thoughts and not carrying out his threats.