Saturday, October 26, 2013

Project Innocent Heart - Dov Hikind has provided them with $950 K to fight abuse - who are they?

NY Daily News    Assemblyman Dov Hikind has quietly steered nearly $1 million in state cash to a little known orthodox Jewish group aiming to combat child abuse throughout Brooklyn’s black hat enclaves.

The controversial pol tapped Project Innocent Heart [Innocent heart website] — a Far Rockaway based organization headed by Rabbi Moshe Bak — to teach Hasidim about keeping kids safe from pedophiles, kidnappers and other criminals, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

It's been four years since Hikind scored the $950,000 payout from the state’s Office of Family and Children's Services.

The money was first requested to fund Shomrei Yeldainu — Hebrew for “Guardians of our Children” — which nonprofit Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty was going to run.

Hikind wouldn’t return calls explaining what happened to Shomrei or why Project Innocent Heart ended up with the dough.

Met Council — whose revered executive director William Rapfogel was arrested last month in an elaborate kickback scheme — said plans were being finalized. [...]

Child safety advocates argued Project Innocent Heart is too small and too new to tackle the multigenerational, deep-rooted fear within Jewish communities involving reporting crimes to police.

“There are reputable established organizations out there,” said Ben Hirsch, a co-founder of Survivors for Justice.


  1. Assemblyman Dov Hikind has quietly steered nearly $1 million in state cash to a little known orthodox Jewish group aiming to combat child abuse throughout Brooklyn’s black hat enclaves.

    this seems to be loshon horah about hikind and innocent heart. hinting at corruption or incompetence. what are the laws of loshon horah about public organisations or figures. do they have the same protection as individuals. do you have to verify all your facts first to see if they are true. do you have to speak to them first to hear their side of the story. if the facts are true do you have to try other means before publicising as a last resort. just curious

    1. Benny your curiousity is curious. why don't you ask your rabbi

    2. I should ask my rabbi did you speak loshon horah ? more straight forward for you to explain why there is no chashash loshon horoh

    3. Benny are you asking me or accusing me? Furthermore if you feel the material on this blog is lashon harah - what are you reading it for?

    4. I am asking you. I read it as I rely on your reputation as a talmid chochom who would not publish lashon harah. I would just like to know why it is not lashon harah.

    5. Asher pihem diber shavOctober 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Public figures have to give account for money placed in their care. I don't believe that the article consists of Lashon hara, I think it is asking what this organization does and how it spends it's money. If anyone feels that there is an insinuation of any sort, let them answer the question and I am sure the good rabbi will post their response.

    6. Benny - unless you are simply trolling - you should be aware that

      1) the information posted is already public knowledge
      2) there is a toeles in evaluating an organization that while having the apparent support of gedolim has no track record and what they have published on their website is not impressive
      3) there is a toeles in the concern to make sure that public money that was designated for a significant problem is well spent
      4) see also Nida 61 that one can be concerned for possible issues while holding off judgment until more information is available

      If you can't comprehend these points any further discussion is simply a waste of time

    7. I was trying to understand the laws of loshon horah. true it has been publicised but you are publicing it further, because of toeles.

      but surely saying loshon horah letoeles is only a last resort, when there are no other options. not a first resort. are you convinced that if you would have spoken to the organisation concerned they would have had had no valid explanations for the legitimate questions you raise.

  2. Asher pihem diber shavOctober 27, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Problems in our community are many. Batei Din are just one area where corruption is rampant.

    Another hair-raising problem is the abuse of public funds. You almost have to assume that anyone collecting money for any cause is pocketing half the money.
    Government money is thought of as "free money" and expected to be squandered.

    For example:
    Lets call "x" the guy in control of the public money.
    Let us suppose the city or state gave 950k to help our community from sexual abuse.
    50k to the cousin of x who puts on a front of heading the organization to protect blah blah blah.
    35k for no show secretary who "helps manage" the operation.
    500k for rent for office which houses the organization. (Happens to be owned by x or a family member of x)
    365k bogus travel expenses, meetings, etc for the benefit of the organization.
    These numbers may be too generous, as some organizations don't even make a concerted effort to hide their pilfering.

    We have Yeshivos and Organizations, regardless of whether they have a filter on the internet, with or without beards, who sit on millions of dollars of public money. They have no accountability to anyone. They have no website detailing the spending of funds. They do creative writing on their accounting. Their main or only objective is to raise more money, and to support them, and their families. They take for themselves huge salaries. Their kids huge salaries. They give a minuscule amount to the klal, and pat themselves on the back when they do. It is all one big game of corruption. Unfortunately, most of us don't even have knowledge of the corruption, and they are very controlling, and careful to avoid opening the information to the public.

    I am not bad mouthing any one organization in particular. I would just suggest to anyone who is thinking of donating to any organization to
    A. Get to know the intimate details about the finances of the organization. The salaries. The budgets. The real needs. Follow the money, and check it twice.
    B. Forget the big organizations altogether. Most of them are incredibly corrupt. Donate to individuals. Control where your money goes. If an organization is claiming to support 100 Kolel guys, and you are donating 100,000 dollars. Ask for a list and mail 100 checks for 1000 each. If a yeshiva needs money to pay the Rabbeim a bonus, get a list and mail individual checks. Never rely on people to do the right thing. The temptation to steal by the heads of organizations is too strong. You may be giving a 100,000 dollar bonus to the rosh Kolel, or fundraiser.

    It is no wonder that the people who have so much available free money to take out full page ads in newspapers, like the Yated, Hamodia, Jewish Press, spending thousands of dollars weekly, sometimes to just give a public shiva calls are organizations. No thought of abuse of public money. No limit to the amount spent. We should demand transparency from all our organizations. All money spent should be on their webpage detailing amounts, and on what they spend our money. My guess is if they were kept honest, at least half of them would shut down. Perhaps a "kinnus" in MetLife stadium against this abuse is necessary.

  3. Asher pihem diber shavOctober 27, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    My interest is that we clean up the unnecessary and corrupt organizations, and have transparency become standard. This will help the organizations that truly help the public recieve much more money as people will realize that they are doing good with the money. Also, the poor will finally recieve the money, as opposed to the rich collecting and amassing fortunes for themselves, while neglecting the needs of the poor "lshem Shamayim".

  4. The other shocking thing is that this money was unspent for almost four years, and the recipient has no established track record doing this sort of thing.

    It also wouldnt shock me if the service was over priced, just like the other met council contracts.

    Finally, while they have the legal boilerplate about calling the authorities, they are really throwing the burden of fighting abuse on the kids and their parents, knowing fully knowing that when an abuser is detected the community will not support the victims's family in taking any action.

  5. anybody know how I can start a not for profit organization that helps cattle prodded ex-husbands?

    Anybody have a better idea for a not-for-profit we can start? I'm looking for some cash flow. P.S, lets keep this quiet.

  6. Gov. Patterson. Dov has been tireless in looking for a way in which to fund some effort that would help diminish or eradicate abuse. The option of channeling funding to the identification and prosecution of perpetrators, while sorely needed, is wrought with complication. The best investment, and one that is compatible with governmental goals, is prevention. There are only a few efforts that have been launched within the frum community, and Dov has been busy studying and evaluating each of them.

    The decisions here are hardly political. Transparency is in place. Recall that this is a NYS grant, and that Cuomo is big on assuring that state money is not squandered.

  7. The leading Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva, including the signatories shown in this piece, should jointly guarantee in public that they and their associates will not punish families who take abuse cases to secular courts.


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