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Saturday, November 20, 2004
More wit and wisdom from rabbi J. Hershy Worch: "I know where all the dismembered bodies went. I pulled out the veggie and crisper drawers from the bottom of my refrigerator. Eeeeewww!"
Funny guy. He makes the best jokes about dismembering people I've ever read. Comic geniuses have always been misunderstood and persecuted. Lenny Bruce. George Carlin. Hershy Worch.
This shabbos, I had a rare free 30 minutes of quiet. I sat down with my 2 copies of volume 7 of Igurot Moshe, which is a volume of tshuvot by Rav Moshe Feinstein, undoubtably one of the greatest Poskim of the last century.
These volumes are widely read and used by Poskim of our generation.
I've posted before how the original version of volume 7 (large over-sized)
differs from the newer Rabbi Mordechai Tendler re-edited version (smaller-sized book). I took 30 minutes to see how bad it was (I already knew from several Rabbonim).
As, the typesetting is similar, I was able to quickly find over a dozen alterations. None of which added anything to the tshuvot. If I was to extrapolate from the few pages I quickly inspected, I would have to estimate there are a lot of changes and alterations.
In some cases it is a mere unnecessary letter (in one case, gramatically wrong), a title change or an added quote of the source referred to. But most disturbingly I found a substantial alteration to an actual tshuva (page 180 bottom right column). I also found a paragraph added into the body of a tshuva praising Rabbi Mordechai Tendler (page 181 top right column).
I fully understand why the Feinsteins have nothing to do with Rabbi Tendler.
What he has done to their grandfathers legacy is despicable. He has taken one of the great works of the last century and distorted it. It is a monument to the ego of Rabbi Mordechai Tendler and the impotence of this generations scholars.
It is not a subtle distortion. Take the 2 versions, sit down and compare. It's so obvious and plain to see. Does Rabbi Mordechai Tendler really expect us to believe his grandfather wanted to insert his praise of (Tendler) in an already published tshuva (that had no such praise)? It's clear what has been done.
It's also increadibly painful. How could this have been done and in such a
I understand that the Feinstein don't want to take family to a beis din. But
where are the Rabbonim of this generation? How could they allow this to be done to a gadol ha'dor's work? How could they associate with someone like Rabbi Mordechai Tendler who did this?
Vicki Polin of The Awareness Center (TAC)writes: Rabbi Shlomo Porter has stepped down from the advisory board due to the fact he cannot take personal responsibility for the veracity and halachic conformity of all data listed on the website. He supports and wishes the Awareness Center great success.
Luke says: I think there might be more Orthodox rabbis resigning from TAC. They are concerned that it is not always run according to halacah (Jewish Law). Vicki Polin is an atheist and has more of a therapeutic and activist approach. She's an advocate for those she says are "survivors" of sexual abuse. Rabbis have to be concerned with not only advocating on behalf of "victims," but being fair to those accused, so their good name is not besmirched unfairly, and, above all, to operating according to halacah at all times. From Orthodox rabbis who've spoken to me of late, there's growing concern that TAC has gone too far, that it is operating a witch hunt against rabbis who are being accused on the flimsiest of evidence. They are concerned about "victims activists" (and they, to varying degrees place Polin in this category) who push women to come forward with accusations of sexual abuse that are based on hazy memories and tricky regressions (stuff that would not hold up in either a Beit Din or a secular court).
The Awareness Center is having a board meeting in early December. I expect that the Orthodox Jews on the board will demand that TAW be run according to halacah in every way or they will leave.
The granddaughters of rabbi Moshe Feinstein (the girls were first cousins with rabbis Mordecai and Aron Tendler) appeared in Penthouse circa 1983. It was a big scandal that was hushed up in the Orthodox world.
Their mother is sister to Mrs Tendler – mother of Mordechai and Aron.
They posed after their father died.
The common factor, I've found, in girls who decide to do this sort of thing is the lack of good father in their life. Girls who have that are rarely promiscuous, in my opinion.
The RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) and the RCC (Rabbinical Council of California) are investigating allegations that Aron Tendler (rabbi of Sharay Tsedek in North Holywood, California, and a teacher at the Yeshiva of Los Angeles High School) sexually molested teenage girls. Some of the women coming forward to press these allegations are now in their 30s. This Aron Tendler is the brother of rabbi Mordecai Tendler. He is not the rabbi Aaron Tendler of Baltimore.
The parents of a Los Angeles child born with a sole, malfunctioning kidney are in a desperate race against time to find a compatible donor who can save their FIVE YEAR-OLD child's life. The girl has reached a critical stage in her treatment, as dialysis could [G-d forbid!] fail at any moment.
Suitable donors must be between eighteen and forty-five years old, have type O blood, and be in good health. There is no cost to be screened and the donor's medical expenses will be fully covered.
For more information on how to help Chana or be tested for compatibility as a kidney donor for the child, call 800 SAVE A LIFE (800-728-3254) or visit www.savechana.org.
The Awareness Center is facing a horrible situation. This is an extremely difficult letter to write. It saddens me deeply to let you know that The Awareness Center has been inundated with phone calls and emails from survivors, parents and others concerned individuals with cases where someone has been sexually victimized. We have had so many people contacting us we are having an extremely difficult time keeping up with the demand.
As you know at this time we are purely a volunteer based organization. We do NOT have the funding to hire staff. Due to this human power crunch we have been forced to create a waiting list to help individuals who call us for help. At this time we will NOT be able to take on any new cases, answer most emails and phone calls until some time in January or February, 2005. We are attempting to reorganize and restructure, but this will take time.
Thanks to our volunteers, all of our networking groups for survivors and professionals, and newsletters will continue to function as they have been. Our web page will remain up and available to you. If the resource you need is NOT available to you on our web page, and you need assistance in finding a resource near you, please contact your local rape crisis center or call:
National Coalition Against Sexual Assault 717-728-9764
Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE
If you would like to make a donation to help us function please send checks to:
The Awareness Center
P.O. Box 65273
Baltimore, MD 21209
Vicki Polin, Executive Director
The Awareness Center
This letter is for all those other women who've been sexually manipulated/abused by J. Hershy Worch---to help you cast off any lingering fear and shame you may
have. I too was once crippled by fear and shame.
These are some of his dirty little insurance policies he's relied on to keep us in silence and shame:
1. Fear of others asking 'what kind of woman gets romantically/sexually involved with a rabbi?'
-------Don't worry about this one. Our stories/experiences may vary, but his manipulations and techniques have a theme and are similar. More on this later.
2. Fear of being laughed at: 'Torah of Desire'? Hypnoeroticism? BDSM Kabballah?? As 'a woman' left in a comment, 'what kind of group psychosis are you all in?' This one is comical---we know we escaped *his* psychosis when we broke off from him. If his own writings aren't making anyone scratch their heads in bewilderment yet---his sexual-dismemberment fantasy in a Kentucky meat plant should have done it by now---then we should be wondering about the defective mental states of his supporters!
3. Fear of scorn over our 'mental states': Every woman who's had romantic/sexual involvement with him in REAL TIME has had to undergo therapy of one form or another after breaking with him, including his exes, including myself. No shame in that. Ignore those online women who have never had real-time/real-life involvements with him like we have. They're just phone/internet sex fantasies who haven't been
'blessed' with the real-time 'experience' of the rabbi. Not to mention they are probably in a panic at the possibility of his being too stressed to attend to
their 'timed orgasms'.
I'm actually honored to be included among so many smart women who were strong enough to seek therapy in order to help break free from his cruelty and abuse.
No more shame here.
4. Fear of the world saying 'what kind of woman gets involved in kinky sex with a rabbi?': Know this: I came across three letters from previous women/'slaves'
of his who all stated the same thing in various forms:
"Gee I never realized I was into BDSM until I met Hershy," (including myself.) When I thought I was losing my mind and had nowhere to turn, it was people from online communities and locally involved in BDSM who startled me awake that what he was doing was abusive and manipulative, was NOT SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual). If it was clear as day to so many people in the BDSM world that his behaviors were abusive and manipulative, then what does that say about everyone else supporting him? Talk about 'Group psychosis!' Shame on them----no shame on us.
5. Shame over things he had us write to him, about our desires and fantasies: Well, did you know that he uses intimate/erotic things we have written to him -- to use to send to other women to seduce them with? Our own writings as tools to seduce others
with! (Talk about lazy...) There's no shame in having once believed we were in love with him, once believing he could 'teach' us things about our own 'sexual
powers' via his Kabbalah and 'meditations', 'opening' us up to his 'Torah of Desire'. Did he make you feel 'special' too, stating he'd been waiting for ages for
"a gifted student who really understands" his Torah? He probably tells all women this. Well, we were naive then, we know better now. No shame.
6. Fear of accusations of lashon hara----
Oh please. We're talking about a spiritual and ethical necessity to warn others about a sick and dangerous man abusing women and using G-d, Judaism, and his Rabbi title to do so. I may not know Torah yet, but I'm fairly certain Hashem is ticked off over someone using His name and Judaism to abuse and manipulate women.
My conscience will not allow me to remain silent.
And I never would have been able to speak up in the first place if I hadn't been made aware of the sheer numbers of you who have survived his abuse prior to
mine. For the record I did attempt in writing -- on and off for nearly three months after I broke up with him, to get him to own up to, recognize and apologize
for how he'd hurt me. Never happened. All my fault, all 'fears' in my own 'head', all my 'inability to handle' his great 'powers'. (*rolls eyes*)
Lashon hara? No, a 'major mitzvah'. And I was told that due to the limited abilities of any overseeing rabbinical authorities---that media exposure is indeed
a good thing. The Rabbis who told me this apparently don't consider it lashon hara....Don't take my word for it, either. Call them up and ask them for yourselves.
In case any of you have been following the other rabbi abuse cases and are fearful about instances of being shunned and disbelieved, let me state this: None of
the three Rabbis I have spoken with over the phone scoffed at me or made me feel ashamed at all. And I was NOT the first to have filed complaints on him. Rabbi Mark Dratch of the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Josef Blau, Director of Religious
Guidance, at Yeshiva University, New York and on the Board of Directors for the Awareness Center, Rabbi Josef Ozarowski of the Chicago Rabbinical Council -- all have been nothing but empathetic, kind, supportive. I encourage you to speak with them--they are *real* Rabbis, after all--- as well as with Vicki Polin, and Lynn Johnson of the Chicago YWCA Women's Crisis Center, in contact with the Cook County
Also, there is an attorney long experienced in these type of cases who has been aware of Worch cases for quite some time. He is very interested in hearing
from you---and it does not matter that you are outside the Chicago Illinois jurisdiction, either. Write Luke and get his number and have a chat with him
yourself. Quite illuminating.
J. Hershy Worch stated long ago that he longed to be "revealed". He thinks if all the truth about him comes out into the open, it makes it honest, makes it okay.
Unfortunately, because he's hurt so many women, it does not make it "okay".
Here's his opportunity, his wish has come true. He may be crying out of one side of his mouth to his friends, I'm sure it helps him feed off their sympathies and
Here's his opportunity to finally face himself and get whatever psychiatric help it is he needs, make amends, and stop living this destructive chaotic mess of a
life he lives and hurting so many women.
You and I know we are doing J. Hershy Worch the biggest favor of his life. And somewhere deep down, he knows it as well.
You own your story/experience of him. Cast off lingering fears and shame about his manipulations -- take back your power you once heaped on him. My knowing of your existence/similar experiences has done wonders to reduce my lingering shame, and helped give me courage. I couldn't be at this point, writing this, if I didn't know of your existence/similar experiences.
As another woman wrote more eloquently than I could regarding his kind of predatory and abusive behavior:
"Don't think for one moment that I can't see you for what you are. Even in your most clever and convincing moments, it's impossible for me to ignore the carnage
that you've left behind -- its stench is all over you. I have fallen for some of your tricks, but I will not feel shame. Furthermore, I've gathered up some of the
victims that came before and after me, and I will not let them feel it either."
Now this, my friends---not allowing each other to feel any further fear and shame --is a *genuine* 'power exchange'.
I'm fielding way too many questions from people about my motives for investing/writing about Orthodox rabbis who are sexual predators.
I label these questions a waste of time because you can not know your own motives let alone someone else's. Also, you can not trust what people tell you about themselves or anything.
If I gave noble moral motives for my book, or crass ones, it should not matter to any intelligent person. Either way, it would be meaningless.
I don't have patience for people who want me to give divrei Torah justifying what I am doing. Beautiful words in this context mean nothing.
I'm particularly disgusted by people who claim I'm trading on rabbinic sex abuse to make a quick buck. Nobody makes money writing books unless they are blockbusters or they have sweetheart deals. I'd make far more money working at McDonalds than investigating sexual predators in the Orthodox rabbinate.
So stop being a moron and questioning motives (unless you are a cute young (but above 18) chick, then I'll talk about almost anything with you).
: can you be sincere for just a moment
: do u have any moral convictions behind the sex-scandal stuff or do you just like it for sensationalist reasons
Luzdedos1: I do it for journalistic reasons
: are there any moral convictions behind those reasons
Luzdedos1: sure, but I dont like to get into that. I prefer to stay within the bounds of my profession.
: but there must always be a moral boundary past which even ones more progressive and upwardly mobile professional drives cannot force one to cross.
Luzdedos1: of course
Luzdedos1: it is a big story and i want to tell it
Luzdedos1: I'll leave the divrei torot to others
: do you have any doubt, even the smallest doubt, of the veracity of your story?
Luzdedos1: No. Everything is carefully worded and substantiated. I'm sure about everything I've published
You should have thought about that before engaging in a meditative state, describing melting my body, carrying around my decapitated head to kiss and f**k,
sticking your penis up my cut-off neck.
Who needs to control their tongue/sexuality?
Get help. Your own behaviors have 'broken the covenants of intimacy'. Your own rule of 'no physical, spiritual, or mental harm' you just could not resist breaking.
Get help. All the pretty-written words are not going to save you or hide you forever.
"Love and Pain, Schnookele"
If you ever want to meet a creepy rabbi, or a missionary, go into a Jewish chatroom, say, on AOL, and pose as a young vulnerable woman, about 20, who's having a life crisis. You could meet the Eco rabbi and his friends. You could meet Hershy Worch. Please try this and report back with your experiences.
In shul on Shabbos, a woman [she and her hubby are liberal Democrats] came up to me and said, "I don't know if you realize how much my husband supports you. Anyone who is your friend is his friend. And anyone who is your enemy is his enemy. I wanted him to read an article on Jewsweek.com, just one article, and he refused. He said he didn't like what the editor had done to you. He read every word of your exchange."
Now, I've never asked anyone not to read Jewsweek.com (I read it at times), and I've rarely spoken about my Benyamin Cohen exchange unless someone else has brought it up, but I was flattered by that level of support from my friend. I know it sounds petty but that's what I am.
The Yarrow case is ridiculous, and it throws Viki Polin's ativities into question. In **1970** Peter Yarrow (probably stoned out of his mind) answered his hotel room door naked and made "improper advances" to two young female autograph seekers, one 17, one 14. The 14-year-old resisted his advances but did not call for help. Yarrow
served three months of a one- to three-year prison sentence and was pardoned by President Carter in 1981.
In other words, **34 YEARS AGO** a very popular musician acted very badly once. He was tried, convicted and served his time. He was later pardoned by the president.
**For more than 34 years he has not been accused of committing any similar crimes.**
Why is the Awareness Center publicizing this? There is certainly no Halakhic or other reason to do so. This type of behavior by Vicki Polin is why Rabbi Mark Dratch broke with The Awareness Center.
This type of witch hunting throws into question the good work of The Awareness Center. If Vicki Polin wants to keep a webpage posted about Peter Yarrow that also notes the 34 year lack of allegations or convictions, fine. But to send out e-mails trumpeting Yarrow as a "convicted sex-offender" is a hideous miscarriage of justice and should be condemned by all.
You should address the question to Vicki.
In my personal opinion, a convicted child molester has no business around
children. This was an attempted rape of a 14 year-old girl in his hotel
room. The attack was witnessed by the 17-year old sister and admitted to by
Peter as part of a guilty plea.
I don't accept silly excuses like drugs/alcohol/pressure at work. He made a
choice, there are consequences.
Paul and Mary broke up the group over this. Democratic politicians have
returned fund-raising monies and cancelled events with him when they learned
of his history.
That is the appropriate course of action.
I am unconcerned with the age of the conviction. Child molesters are very
difficult to convict and very difficult to monitor or rehabillitate. I side
with making more rather than less information public.
If he has turned his life around, fine. I still believe he should find work
in some other field that does not involve contact with children. It's not
appropriate for him to work in any capacity with children due to his
After its two million dollar renovation, Bnai David Judea offers the worst acoustics of any synagogue in Los Angeles, along with the cutest security guards (Christians who vote Republican, while the shul leans 80-20 Democrat). For those who could hear him, Yossi Klein Halevi was mesmerizing Saturday night. He delivered a 54-minute talk on the situation in Israel and then answered questions for 30-minutes (towards the end, near 10pm, the crowd was streaming out and at only half-strength). I'm ready to heap even more plaudits on his head tonight than I was several months ago on this site when I nominated him for a Pulitzer prize in literature for his two memoirs. I wouldn't even have gotten in the door tonight (due to the $18 price) except my buddy Harry X spotted me a free ticket (and bought a copy of my book to accompany him on his business travels). Yossi spoke Friday night about Israel's turn to the East among those under 35. Those over 50 tend to look to Europe for vacations and culture. Those under 35 tend to fly to India after their service in the IDF (Israel Defense Force) to rejuvenate and explore their latent spirituality. This has had many effects on young Israelis, including: * They are more spiritually attuned and hungry than their secular elders. * They are more open to ritual. * They are less willing to buy into traditional schimatic mindsets (which have wracked Ashkenazim for almost 200 years). * Though they are open to religion and to study of Jewish text, they are unlikely to automatically follow the dictates of Israeli's Orthodox rabbinate.
Yossi was equally eloquent Saturday morning, but that is a time in my life when I nap, and I couldn't fully break that habit today. This was the first time I had seen Halevi in person. I wanted to spot some flaw in his character so I could bust his chops on my blog for not giving me an interview for my Jewish journalism book, but he was understated and charming (effective qualities for a journalist). There's no more sensitive observer of the Jewish soul. His public speaking is not flashy or false. Just one thoughtful sentence follows another. He got a crowd of over 300 people. One old man wandered in late. His earing aid wasn't turned on. The security guard inquired if he had a ticket. The old man started yelling that he was the president of this and that. There's this amazing sense of entitlement among many Jews. They expect you to know who they are and their level of their accomplishment. Yossi said:
Yassir Arafat has been indispensable for not only the Palestinians but for us...in telling us our place in the world. He's been a shadow prime minister of Israel for 40 years. Arafat made clear to us that our great victory in 1967 would not lead to lasting peace. Following the Yom Kippur war, Arafat started the deligitimization of Israel that is culminating now, two decades later. In some sense, Arafat's greatest offense against Israel happened in the 1990s when he toyed with our deepest longings and seemed to offer us legitimacy, which we so desperately craved. If Arafat is hated universally [in Israel] from left to right, Yossi Beilin said he would not go to his funeral... Arafat represented the post-Holocaust legitimization of the murder of Jews and the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
Yossi supports Ariel Sharon. He says Sharon's approach to Israel's security is supported by at least 70% of the Israel public (support levels that no other Israeli politician could match). Yossi supports Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and the construction of a fence to keep terrorists. The fence would mean that Israel is going to retain sovereignty over greater Jerusalem. It means that every time Israel has offered the Palestinians an opportunity for a negotiated settlement (since 1947) and the Palestinians have spurned these overtures, the Palestinians are steadily being offered less and less. Yossi says that only Israel's hawks can fulfill the vision of its doves. The left was right that Israel can't continue to occupy. The left was wrong in thinking that Israel could negotiate peace with the Palestinian leadership. During question time, Yossi was asked about his last book (a journey seeking peace among Christians and Muslims near Jerusalem) and about his views on the threats posed by Iraq and Iran. He replied:
I don't believe that journey among Muslims has any relevance [to the current situation in Israel]. The book came out 9/11. I was in Manhattan waiting for my book party that night that never happened. ....... I think back to two years ago and all the apocalyptic scenarios by critics of the coming war [against Iraq]. None of those came true. It is positive that Jihadists are concentrating in Iraq. It is proven in Fallujah that that war can be won. All that it requires is a deep breath and commitment. I have no doubt that [Islamic terrorists] were disappointed that Bush was re-elected. The re-election of Bush sends the signal to the Jihadist world [about America's determination to fight terrorism].
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