A group of Jews endeavors towards total domination of the blogosphere.

Saturday, November 27, 2004  

David Klinghoffer fluffs the most overrated Jewish scholar -- Jacob Neusner. Neusner is a nasty man who harvests the work of his grad students (almost all professor-authors do this, but few as much as Neusner) to list himself as an author on 909 books. Elite students in his areas who decide to go to other academic graduate programs than Neusner's have often found Neusner trying to destroy their careers.
I've tackled a dozen of Neusner's books. The reward divided by effort ratio was low.

Shmarya writes: "Neusner taught at Minnesota as a visiting scholar for a quarter or two. He was so hated by many of his students that they started a petition drive to have him removed early. He's done some important work, but he's a very difficult person."

Reb Yudel writes:

Note that Klinghoffer essentially omits the last 30 years -- and 950 books -- of Neusner's career.

The nastiness is such that at a recent academic conference on Talmud at NYU, Daniel Boyarin had to apologize for acknowledging Neusner's work.

If you want a good, solid translation of Neusner into English, check out the latter third of "Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bibles and the Talmuds."

posted by LukeFord | 10:31 PM |

My latest book reviews:

The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature: B
Autum of the Moguls by Michael Wolff: B
ESPN Sports Century: B
The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine: A
Lonesome Dove: A

posted by LukeFord | 10:28 PM |

In shul Friday night, I rubbed my siddur and made three wishes:
* A franchise quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
* That Steven Weiss would just give me Protocols so I could do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God.
* That I could marry a woman who had the:
- Looks of Susannah Heschel
- The long black hair of Jerusalem Post Washington correspondent Janine Zacharia
- The midot of Chayyei Sarah
- The literary sensitivity of Alana Newhouse
- The razor wit and no-nonsense approach of Cathy Seipp
- The cuteness of J.J. Goldberg (Forward editor)
- The fertility of rebbetzin Tziporah Heller (15 kids)
- The age and spunk of Chanandler Bong
- The sporting attitude of Ari Goes Down
- The gourmet skills of Rob Eshman (Jewish Journal editor)
- The voice of Leslie Katz (former SF Jewish paper reporter)
- The bouyant personality of Lisa On The Face
- The submissiveness of Forward reporter Eve Kessler
- The running ability of Julius Jones (150 yards Thursday against Chicago, yeah!)
- The sexual drive of Malcolm Hoenlein (who told reporter Walter Ruby, "If you publish this story, I will f--- you for the rest of your life")
I also wished for some other characteristics of my future wife but modesty prevents me from listing them here.
Anyway, if you are such a woman as this, or pretty close to it (I'm willing to compromise in some things, hit me up now because I'm going fast, I'm getting worn down to a frazzle by these Hittite priestesses).

posted by LukeFord | 9:58 PM |

Pinkas: US Jewry must focus on local Jewish education

posted by LukeFord | 9:56 PM |

Jenni Frazer's article on blogs and Protocols and the Shavivs in the latest issue of the Jewish Chronicle (London).

posted by LukeFord | 9:54 PM |

Friday, November 26, 2004  

Battle royal to succeed R. Schach at Ponoviezh almost divides the place in two.

posted by LukeFord | 6:17 PM |

Different people celebrate Thanksgiving in different ways. As a Torah Jew, I have nothing to be thankful for. Therefore, I refused to walk in the ways of the goyim. I stayed home and cheered on the Cowboys to a smashing 21-7 victory over the Bears. Then I worked hard to make the world a better place through blogging about rabbinic sex scandals.

posted by LukeFord | 3:25 PM |

Melchior launches new social action movement

The Coalition for Justice in the Hawaiin Gardens and Jerusalem

Rav Mordecai Elon, head of Yeshivat HaKotel

The name of the Lubavitcher rebbetzin

Knesset panel okays penal code change giving minors who were sexually abused until age of 28 to press charges.

posted by LukeFord | 1:33 AM |

Thursday, November 25, 2004  

A portrait of a tzaddik worthy of Artscroll publication: Ner Israel's president, Rabbi Herman Naftali Neuberger. Not a single negative word about the man in the whole long article. Is the rabbi human or is he divine? Must be divine according to the Baltimore Jewish Times.

posted by LukeFord | 10:08 PM |

A couple of letters from rabbi Mordecai Tendler's lawyer during 2003:

August 4, 2003

From the law offices of Bradley J. Rephen, P.C.
17 Squadron Blvd., Suite 320
New City NY 10956

Dear Ms. [name deleted in my copy]

At the outset, please be advised that this office has been recently retained by Rav Mordecai Tendler and Kehillat New Hempstead.

It has come to our attention, by reliable third-party source(s), that you were among a small group of individuals that composed and/or promoted a certain letter detailing maliciously fictionalized allegations against Rav Mordecai Tendler and/or Kehillat New Hempstead.

Aware now of the vicious nature of your plenary defamatory campaign and your cowardly attempt to assume the veil of anonymity, please be advised that we are firmly insisting that you:

(i) Cease and desist from any further libelous and slanderous conduct referencing Rabbi Tendler;
(ii) Prepare a list of recipients of the aforementioned letter;
(iii) Coordinate with the undersigned a letter rescinding and retracting the defamatory allegations; and,
(iv) Cease and desist from the fraudulent and unauthorized use of the Kehillat New Hempstead name.

Note that if we do not get confirmation of the above within seven (7) days from the date of this correspondence, both Rabbi Tendler and Kehillat New Hempstead will pursue all the proper avenues to achieve the requisite recovery/restitution.

As a side note, in response to the willful and harmful nature of your labors, Rabbi Tendler and/or Kehillat New Hempstead are in the process of coordinating with the county's District Attorney's office the filing of a criminal harassment complaint to prevent further felonious assaults.


October 20, 2003

To: Ezra Glaser, Esq.
From: Bradley J. Rephen

Please be advised that this Law Firm no longer represents Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and Kehillat New Hempstead. All communications should be directed to Rabbi Tendler and/or the Board of Directors of Kehillat New Hempstead.

posted by LukeFord | 5:32 PM |

"The greater the awareness, the greater the healing," says Rabbi Tendler (the spiritual leader of Shaarey Zadek Congregation in North Hollywood, Calif, and teacher at Yeshiva of Los Angeles high school) about domestic abuse. But will his good work win him any get-out-of-jail free cards now that the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America) and RCC (Rabbinical Council of California) are investigating him for sexually molesting underage teenage girls?

posted by LukeFord | 3:09 PM |

Wednesday, November 24, 2004  

Shmarya writes:

Simcha has this post on the rape of Dinah. Note that he focuses on SOCIETAL CONFORMITY, and the need to follow rules.

I posted this in response:

The story seems to be teaching that the shame associated with abuse makes it difficult for the abused to do things – like leave Shechem – that acknowledge the abuse. Many if not the vast majority of abuse victims feel responsible for the abuse and blame themselves, not the abuser. Dina seems to have been paralyzed by shame. A proof of this is a midrash that notes that, after Shechem had been killed and the town routed, Dina refused to leave with Levi and Shimon. She only left after Shimon promised to marry her. What amazes me is the way rabbis seem to miss the major point of the incident, and concentrate instead on the midrashim that focus on what Dina did to 'cause' the rape. Worse yet, this clear lesson on the psychology of abuse is lost on these rabbis, rabbis who, at least in theory, may be called upon to poskin for and counsel the abused. Think of the rabbinic response to Lanner's victims, for example.
Shmarya | Homepage | 11.24.04 - 12:25 pm | #

And then, this:

Shmarya: "What amazes me is the way rabbis seem to miss the major point of the incident..."

Simcha: "1. You mean like the rabbis who wrote the midrash you just quoted?"

No. I "mean like" many of the rabbis who teach at YU, with one particular rabbi first in my thoughts, along with most of the rabbis of the haredi world.
Shmarya | Homepage | 11.24.04 - 1:53 pm | #

Simcha then responds:

No. I "mean like" many of the rabbis who teach at YU, with one particular rabbi first in my thoughts, along with most of the rabbis of the haredi world.

It's easy to condemn people you've never met and know almost nothing about. Do it elsewhere because from where I'm standing, he's miles above you in every possible way.
Simcha | Email | Homepage | 11.24.04 - 2:03 pm | #

I then wrote, "Tell that to Lanner's victims" and also noted that my criticism extended to "the former leaders of NCSY and the OU, except for Dr. Granchrow." I did not name any rabbis.

Simcha deleted the comment.

Keep in mind that Simcha is very close to Rabbi Mordechai Willig, who, if you recall, covered up for Lanner and verbally attacked at least one of Lanner's victims. Much later and under tremendous pressure, Rabbi Willig apologized. Lately, as you have heard, R. Willig has been critical of R. Blau's involvement with the Awareness Center. While I too have serious questions about how the Awareness Center is functioning, for R. Willig – with his record of covering for Lanner and his apparent inaction on the issues related to abuse in the Orthodox community – to criticize R. Blau without offering any solution to the problem is a tremendous chutzpah.

What's wrong with YU? Just that.

Polin goes too far. But with leaders like R. Willig, Orthodoxy provides no alternative to her. And, as always, it's the victims and those falsely accused who suffer for it.

posted by LukeFord | 8:38 PM |

The return of Yori Yanover's USA Jewish. He used to write the best daily compendium of Jewish news.

Jeanette Friedman writes:

I am trying to collect as many emails of survivors and their descendants as humanly possible, and they need to be sent to the

An important survivor, who was impoverished by nasty circumstances, died last week because he didn't have proper health care. We want to start a campaign to channel survivor funds to the survivors, and we need to do it via email, because we can't afford any other way of doing it.

Could you please post a notice that all computer literate survivors and their descendants are to please send their email addresses to the above email address? Here's what I sent out to my friends and colleagues:

After we learned how terribly Fred Diament, z"l, died last week, there were discussions with Holocaust survivor leaders in the U.S. and Israel, the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors in NY and the Association of Holocaust Survivors' Organizations in Israel (Roman Kent, Noah Flug and others). These leaders are starting a campaign to mobilize the grassroots on health care issues for survivors.

All computer literate survivors, 2Gs, 3Gs and even 4Gs are asked to send their email addresses and those of any descendants and survivors that they know to so these organizations can save thousands upon thousands of dollars in snail mail costs, money the American Gathering and the Israeli survivor organizations do not have.

Fred's call for better health care for dying survivors will not be ignored, so that we will try to prevent any other survivors from dying as ignominiously as he did. May his untimely and unecessary death not be in vain.

posted by LukeFord | 11:06 AM |

Tuesday, November 23, 2004  

I understand the RCA wants to re-interview many of the survivors and interview new survivors. I hear that the RCA believes that the Praesidium private investigators (Joan Hickerson) report on Tendler won't be sufficient to boot him from the RCA. Tendler has assembled a formidable legal team that is adept at describing the women who accuse Tendler as crazies, drug addicts, etc.
I notice the similarities between the way the cases in Baltimore and Monsey are being handled. Does Mordecai Tendler have ties to Ner Israel?
A legal letter relating to this case Part Two Another letter

Larry Yudelson aka Reb Yudel writes:

There you go, Luke, burying the lede.... and coming close to slandering a law firm, to boot.

You mean to say that Tendler has assembled a second legal team, after his first counsel lasted only two months.

Followup questions: Did the women in question do as demanded when they received the nastygram?

Were charges filed by the DA's office, as promised?

Is the answer to that question connected to the change in legal representation?

And who is the new legal team?

What are the limits to the use of discretionary funds? I would imagine there are ample court precedents to answer that question.

posted by LukeFord | 10:38 PM |

Here's a letter that was sent out in the summer of 2003 about rabbi Mordecai Tendler:

To Whom It May Concern:

We are a group of rabbis, mental health professionals, and physicians coming from a wide range of religious observance within the Orthodox world, who are very concerned about a serious situation in your community.

This is a letter to warn you to protect your daughters, wives, and other vulnerable women in the community from a very dangerous rabbi. This rabbi wears the clothes and publicly acts out the role of a very devout Orthodox Jew, presiding at levayas and simchos, answering halachic shailos, counseling individuals and families, abut in private has had numerous sexual affairs with many women - vulnerable, distraught, battered or emotionally disturbed women who had unknowingly come to him for counseling and guidance, for kiruv, or to learn more about Yiddishkeit. These women do not know each other, but doctors, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, as well a many rabbis in our community and even gedolim in Eretz Yisrael know who they are - for these women each sought their counsel as they were severely traumatized by having a sexual involvement with a rabbi of this stature - often in his study while his wife and children sleep or were not at home, and often while other women waited outside his office. Both married and single women, and even teenage girls have been stalked or propositioned, then were threatened and intimidated if they came forward.

There is a growing concerted effort by community rabbis, gedolim, professionals and lay people in the community who know or who have become involved with helping these women to prevent future occurrences. Many shul members have left or are moving away. There are many who know but are afraid to act, because others who did were threatened. This rabbi even paid a large sum of money to one of the women to be quiet, because she had a lot taped and written pieces of evidence and was "talking to much," but there is mounting evidence that cannot be discounted, and many more reliable and credible witnesses to these incidences are surfacing.

Because of this rabbi's heinous actions, there are people who have gone off the derech, marriages have been destroyed, weddings canceled. Some victims were so traumatized that they needed to be hospitalized. Many of the rabbonim in the area meet periodically to discuss this terrible problem within our midst. And are doing extensive research and compiling the evidence into a large written report, and are in consultation with gedolim in Eretz Yisroel. They have stated that it is a matter of pikuach nefesh to inform you of this problem, and is therefore not in the category of Lashon Hora.

We must protect the women in the community from the sick and evil behavior of this man who is himself a rabbi. His name is Mordecai Tendler. He continues to deny the allegations despite the mounting evidence that confronts him. But not only is he denying it, but he has gone to great lengths to cover up his tracks with lies, threats and pay-offs. Your shul must find a way to force this man to step down from his position as a community rabbi, and he must be pressured into seeking treatment. This should be done expeditiously ass we are trying to prevent certain outraged individuals from taking these stories to the Jewish Week, or even worst, more secular media, which would be a terrible Chilul Hashem, and would be even more hurtful to his poor family-although would be a worse Chilul Hashem to allow him to continue to harm more women and their families.

Do your own research! Speak to some of the other rabbis in the area, as well as some of the people who have left the shul - and therapists and doctors in the Monsey area, as well as in Brooklyn, Manhattan and even Israel. Not everyone in the Monsey area knows about this yet, but many do so don't stop your investigation with just one person who might have limited or no knowledge of this horrific situation.

The following was sent out to threaten those who were agitating against rabbi Mordecai Tendler:

To whom it may concern:

There is a great danger in our community that has no bounds to the potential harm that has been caused and may be caused in the future.

There are two women who present themselves as "mid-wives". They encourage those that are economically struggling that there is an alternative to the traditional safe and sterile environment of a hospital to deliver a baby they have solicited business among those that are desperate and believe they have no choices. They have lied, mislead, deceived and endangered those that were unfortunate enough to believe them. The results have been devastating.

On many occasions the environment where they delivered a child was not correctly sanitized or sterilized. Such carelessness has lead to infections and complications for both the mother and newborn child. On other occasions the instruments used by these "mid-wives" were not properly sterilized from the previous births. These unclean instruments caused additional infections and complications.

Further harm has been caused by their questionable skill level and failure to continue their training beyond the minimum level required for certification. Their "delivery room" has failed inspection by the State of New York on two occasions in the last six months. Despite all of this, these women continue to practice their witchcraft totally unsupervised and accountable to no one.

These women are _________ and __________. They must be stopped.

Please spread the word to all that there is a great danger to those that rely on _______ and _______. the lives of both the mothers and newborn children are at risk. Help us save lives. Stop _____________ and _____________.

posted by LukeFord | 9:38 PM |

Judah writes:

There is no such thing as "just a little" abuse. Hopfer seems to be insinuating that therapists or friends of a survivor of child abuse would somehow convince them that they are broken beyond repair. He is telling us that people convincing someone that they are damaged is what causes the damage, and not the abuse itself. This is a warped idea that Hopfer and others in the frum community latch onto to
try to deny allegations that they don't want to believe. The feeling of being damaged is common to survivors. Therapists and other helping proffesionals generally try to help survivors get beyond this awful feeling. Minimizing abuse by calling it "inappropriate behavior" also does not help.
In his little damage control shul talk on Sunday R' Hopfer did not address the important issue of how to help survivors who are abused withing the community to heal. He did not tell people to cooperate with an investigation even if the investigator is not from within the community. He did not say exactly who receives and investigates allegations of abuse and how they are dealt with. He was simpley doing damage control for Eisgrau. He was trying to give the message to his community that they should not worry. That he has everything under control. Hopfer also said that there have been false accusations. How does he know this? What credentials and training does he have to be dealing with these issues and recognizing which allegations are true or false? False allegations of abuse are actually very rare, much more so then true allegations of abuse. As far as the "professionals" that "help" with these investigations. They are all members of the Baltimore community and have conflict of interests. For example Aviva Weisbord, clinical psychologist, sister of Matis Weinberg. Friend of Eliezer Eisgrau. How much should her tainted opinion that Eisgrau is count? Wake up Baltimore! You have a problem.

A rabbinical friend of Ner Israel responds:

RH's point is that there is a difference between literal incest [father having sex with daughter] and inappropriate touching of a thigh, for example. (He is careful not to speak in vulgar terms. These are my words, not R Hopfer's. But he did say that general idea.)
He did tell a story of a young married woman who has difficulties in intimacy and is in some therapy because her father rubbed against her chest (everyone clothed) when she was younger. [He was very uncomfortable even saying this out loud. He has experience counseling people who were abused in different ways]. He knows the harm that it does. But he said it's not the same.
Please remind your readers on occasion that your report is a paraphrase, and not to be 'medayeik' (intense Talmudic parsing) in the paraphrase, let alone imply something not said. He said that ABUSE is damaging enought without practitioners convincing patients that it's even worse than it is.
"R' Hopfer did not address the important issue of how to help survivors who are abused within the community to heal." He wasn't addressing that issue at all. He also didn't speak about how to deal with car insurance claims. (to choose an absurd example)
"He did not tell people to cooperate with an investigation even if the investigator is not from within the community." True. He didn't say not to, but again, he didn't say anything on that point.
"He did not say exactly who receives and investigates allegations of abuse and how they are dealt with." Yes! he made a point of being discreet on that point. He clearly did NOT want to divulge that info. An audience member asked and he refused to answer, implying that any rabbi who was informed of such allegations would know where to go.
"He was simply doing damage control for Eisgrau." Clearly not. He didn't even hint at that case at all, not even peripherally. I don't like the phrase "damage control" at all, but if it was done, it was for him and the other rabbis, not EE. As a matter of fact, he was successful in that regard. Sane people are now talking about how he isn't qualified to investigate with the pros etc., not the previous malicious spin that says he didn't care and wanted to protect a criminal.
Judah is falling into the trap I told you about earlier Luke. i.e. that the crime is so heinous that allegations are presumed true by so many. This is dangerous too. Perhaps false allegations of murder are also rare. But that does not justify condemning someone because of the allegation. (This is my POV, not RH's.)
All members of the Baltimore Jewish community in these fields have a HIGHER desire to eliminate perversity.
For example Aviva Weisbord, clinical psychologist, sister of Matis Weinberg. Friend of Eliezer Eisgrau. I can't comment on the friendship with EE, but the sibling relationship is such that it puts Aviva on a HIGHER state of alert when it comes to such accusations. She and her mother would do anything to send a real abuser away.

posted by LukeFord | 8:23 PM |

Monday, November 22, 2004  

Spirituality, Sexuality, and How Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse Experience God
© (2004) By Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., and Na'ama Yehuda, MSC, SLP, TSHH

Spirituality and Sexuality are very often confusing issues for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and for several valid reasons. In families where the concept of God is present, a child's first representation of God is either of their parents or through their parents. If you have loving, kind parents you may develop a view of God that is loving and kind. If, however, you grew up in a family of violence your perception of a higher power would be of a being that is controlling, explosive and violent. For children who have been sexually violated by their parents, their role model for God is that of a sex offender. Survivors' internalize a view of a punishing, abusive God, who only allows bad things to happen to them because "God loves them." They live in a place where nothing is safe, not even their thoughts, because God can read those and therefore punished for even feeling angry, upset or disrespectful. Given the way children develop a perception of the world, a survivor of the heinous crime of incest would naturally question the veracity of a kind, loving God.

The Talmud (Moad Katan, 17a) relates that a respected Rabbinical educator was rumored to have been involved in behavior that was "hateful." The commentators suggest that he was either an adulterer or seduced young women. The Rabbis ostracized this individual. Unfortunately, despite this tradition to ostracize such offenders, Jewish communities have not taken such a strong, responsible position toward molesters. Too often when allegations of child molestation are brought to the attention of community leaders, parents or relatives of victim's are reminded that discussing issues of molestation within the community or bringing these types of allegations to the public would result in any number of negative outcomes for the survivor. These consequences include difficulty finding a marital partner of substance for not only the survivor, but also other family members, or could result in the survivor or family members of survivors not getting into good yeshivas (schools). There are tales of families of abuse victims of having to relocate to another town as a result of the political pressures following disclosures. Not only does the survivor have to struggle with their trust and belief in God so does the survivor's family.

We have begun to discuss the possibility of a correlation between assimilation and childhood sexual abuse. According to the most recently available data one in every three to five women, and one out of every five to seven men, have been sexually abused by their 18th birthday. As part of the healing journey, the majority of survivors of abuse reach the point where they try to integrate what happened to them on a spiritual level. Many are in twelve-step programs, surrounded by individuals of other faiths, yet the Jewish survivors often feel different. Jews have very different customs then that of their Christian friends. When a survivor is from an unaffiliated background, they may feel at a loss -- unsure of what to do, or how to do it while survivors from backgrounds that were more traditional and included a Jewish education may feel betrayed by that background. The confusion of the healing process adds to the inability to find a healthy spiritual place within their own religion. So what is a Jewish survivor of childhood abuse to do?

Up until now there have been very few individuals who are "survivor friendly" in the Jewish community. We need to start opening our minds and our hearts to begin listening to survivors of childhood sexual abuse bearing witness. Just like holocaust survivors, who were initially shunned, survivors of childhood abuse need to be allowed to speak in order to heal, to be able to learn to connect with God, to see God as something other then neglectful, abusive and cruel. Those listening to these disclosures have a responsibility to themselves, their families and to the survivors. It is vitally important to make sure they have access to a support group conducted by a trained facilitator who is experienced with compassion fatigue (secondary post-traumatic stress disorder), so they are allowed to debrief and maintain balance, after hearing the voices of survivors.

Karen is a thirty-year-old survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She indicated that she spent her life trying to connect to something that was spiritual, yet felt she was failing. Over the years she approached many rabbis asking them questions. Unfortunately, the Rabbis, due to a lack of training, were unable to help her understand either her questions or the concepts with which she need the most help. Most had difficulty listening to her disclose her abuse history. When Karen was a child, while her father was molesting her, he would say "this is how you know God loves you . . . you know anything that feels this good has to have come from God . . . this is how you know God is inside you." Knowing this information would be critical in understanding Karen's difficulties with the concept of God. Yet most Rabbis doing outreach were unable to help her reframe her experience and make it possible for Karen to learn to connect.

Rivka was in her teens when she first disclosed to a friend that her father, a rabbi was molesting her. Her father was also a principal of a school for young boys. Her friend told her mother, who in turn, went to a local community leader to ask for advice. Because of the stature of her father, the community leader suggested they keep quiet about the abuse. As time went on, Rivka was unable to cope. As a teen she ran into some difficulties and ended up moving into the home of one of her classmates. Due to political pressure within the community, the family that Rivka resided with was asked not to daven (pray) in the synagogue they had been members of for years. The family was dedicated to helping Rivka heal, and were not about to put her out on the streets. Rivka eventually went to college, was able to support herself financially, got married and is the mother of three. Rivka came from a Torah observant upbringing, but from her experiences with the denial of the community, she no longer practices. She feels betrayed by her family, the Jewish community, and most importantly by God. When speaking to community leaders of the town she was from, and when her name is mentioned, they make comments such as she's happy, she is married and has children. But they are not completely correct. Rivka's is in mourning. She misses her biological family, she misses her connection to her community and she feels that has no one to talk to about her feelings about God.

Mitch grew up in family filled with physical and sexual violence. The family belonged to a synagogue and his parents made sure to enroll all their children in programs so that they could learn about Judaism. There was a problem -- Mitch was deaf. None of the Jewish educational programs had interpreters. Mitch was not proficient at lip reading and disclosed that he was bored and felt left out. Growing up Mitch never felt that he was a part of his family since the majority of his family members were not proficient in sign language. He was alone isolated in his deaf world.

School was Mitch's only respite. He was enrolled in a school for the deaf, and could communicate freely with people who could understand and relate to him. Growing up in the South and being deaf meant that he didn't have any Jewish friends. As he reached high school, he wanted to be like his friends. Most of them went to church. Mitch had no concept of God, and was like a sponge to learn, to connect to something spiritual. Mitch's concept of God was that of a father who was filled with anger and rage. No one in the Jewish community ever took the time to meet Mitch's needs. He never was given the opportunity to express his thoughts and feelings about his concepts of God to anyone Jewish. But then the missionaries reached him. Like so many survivors, the desire to feel loved was strong. His new friends knew this and showed him unconditional love. He would do anything to feel loved and cared for, and if it meant learning about another religion, then he did it. When his family realized what was happening they tried to rectify the situation, but again it was done in a way that appeared to be an attempt to control and abuse him. Their attempt was unsuccessful. To this day Mitch's views Judaism as something that is abusive and wrong.

The more our communities, and our leaders are educated on the issues relating to childhood sexual abuse the easier it will be to help heal the oozing wounds of childhood sexual abuse. Band-Aids can only cover up an infection. Our communities need to do major wound care, some individuals may require "spiritual surgery," while others my just need a topical ointment. But together as a community, as a people we can come together and heal the world.

posted by LukeFord | 11:18 PM |

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, one of Baltimore's two most important Orthodox rabbis, spoke about the whole issue (no names of course) of rabbinic sex abuse on Sunday morning in shul (it was taped and widely distributed).
It was a Q&A session with the rov. Rabbi Hopfer knows his name has popped up repeatedly on the Internet [Protocols] in connection with Orthodoxy's handling of the string of sex abuse cases in town.
Rabbi Hopfer brought up the issue of sex abuse. How it's a real problem, taking place too prevalently. (Someone asked him how prevalent it was. He answered "too prevalent".) How every claim has to be investigated and that nobody should be turned away and not believed. How he has dealt with a number of cases. How victims have come to him. etc. He also added that an accusation is not a conviction. he knows of false accusations made by people.
Rabbi Hopfer said the community rabbis are aware of the problem and that investigations are being done behind the scenes.
Someone in the audience spoke up: said he's a teacher in one of the local prestigious public school boards, and that in the public school system there is a system that investigates things quietly too.
Rabbi Hopfer recognizes that they don't want to ruin innocent lives by exposing someone who is only accused.
Someone in the audience asked if three people make accusations about one teacher to three different rabbis or principals, does it ever centralize? He said that it does. He said that he didn't want to name names in public (and on tape), but the accusations do usually reach the same people in the community who take them seriously and investigate.
Rabbi Hopfer is not a smooth political operator. He is a soft-spoken, mildly stuttering giant of a talmid chochom. The other big rabbi in town -- rabbi Heineman -- seems to be more of an operator.
Rabbi Hopfer did add that not all "abuse" is worth all the destruction. He seemd to recognize a category of inappropriate behavior that did not warrant destroying a child's life by convincing the child that s/he's damaged and broken/irreparable.
He said that every yeshiva and day school in Baltimore has precautions in place and a system of dealing with accusations.
He said that some communities have taken extreme measures. e.g. In LA he said that the yeshiva/day school educators have come to a consensus never to touch any students, in any way. He (and an audience member) aknowledged that that may be too harsh, since often children need physical affection (eg a hug). R. Hopfer says that he knows that he takes a chance every time he hugs a kid, but that he feels the risk is worth it because the child needs it.
He mentioned how much more dangerous accusations are nowadays, because as soon as someone is accused, it can be on the Internet within minutes.
I think it's clear that the Eliezer Eisgrau case was brought to his attention, investigated under his auspices, and he concluded that it was false.
A rabbi writes me:

Bringing R. Hopfer into this damages your crediblity immensely. There are rabbis and there are rabbis. Some rabbis are known for their "POWER", so when an investigator starts sniffing and hinting at accusations, people think "OK. Power corrupts. So I'm willing to entertain the notion". But R Hopfer is not about power at all. It's the Jewish equivalent of accusing Jimmy Stewart (as in Mr Smith goes to Washington) of vile acts. You can accuse Michael Jackson or Jack Nicholson. But Jimmy Stewart? Your name becomes mud.
The rabbis are not investigating each accusation on their own, like Columbo! Every rabbi I know has contacts he USES among social workers, psychiatrists etc. It's not like Rabbi Hopfer walks into an accused's home and says "Um, do you mind if I look around?"
Re: "Rabbi's Hopfer and Heinemann are in no position to be objective about the case of R' Eisgrau since they both have entrusted their own children to him, as well as referred other troubled children to him in the past." Only someone paranoid could write that. If it was me, and I sent my kid to the school, I would make sure to investigate even MORE thouroughly.

posted by LukeFord | 9:45 PM |

Jeff Jacoby on God and hatred

posted by LukeFord | 6:04 PM |

Chakira writes: Best known for his unapologetic biographies of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shaul Shimon Deutsch is larger than life in his own right. Deutsch is the Lionza Rebbe, having broken off from Habad Hassidus, because of its messianist tendencies. He is also a museum curator...

posted by LukeFord | 1:21 PM |

Homosexual marriage can, therefore, be used as a stalking horse for getting us what we really need, which is polygamy.
True, this will weaken the goyishe civilization around us, but what do we care? If the goyim want to make war on God and nature, it is not our place to stop them, and in any event, by the time they wake up to what is going on, our numbers will be so great that we will finally be able to formally take over the United States and make of it the New Israel we really need.

posted by LukeFord | 10:50 AM |

Things must be going poorly for Rabbi Worch in his custody dispute with his
ex-wife. I believe he has lost custody rights to his three young children.

A source writes:

Worch has problems making his child support but somehow managed to fly off to Istanbul, Turkey August 11-23 (2004) to have sex with one of his online "slaves". He
wrote to his OBDSM (Orthodox-Jewish Bondage-Discipline-Sado-Masochism) Yahoo group from an internet cafe in Istanbul, asking if anyone knew where he could purchase a particular kind of bondage device, and bragging about being "all shagged out."

posted by LukeFord | 10:29 AM |

He was also a Bukharan Jew. He came to the U.S. almost 30 years ago from the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. The Bukharans trace their history in Central Asia back almost 2,000 years. Most came here following the breakup of the Soviet Union, and almost all of them have settled in Rego Park and Forest Hills, where the Bukharan community, which consisted of fewer than twenty families during the seventies, now numbers nearly 60,000 people.

Book Review: Rescued from the Reich: How One of Hitler's Soldiers Saved the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Rabbi Baruch Lanner seeks new trial.

After 60 years 'Hitler's Children' still suffer

posted by LukeFord | 2:54 AM |

Sunday, November 21, 2004  

As Protocols heads into its final days, there is one thing of which I will forever be proud -- the way I've elevated the discussion in the comments (even though I have no control over them, can't delete them, can't ban posters, nothing, that is all the purview of the Protocols' owner, Steven I. Weiss, and I have yet to ask him to delete anything or report to me an IP number of a poster).
I feel warm and fuzzy about the commitment to civility and love of klal yisrael demonstrated by many Protocols posters. As I believe that like attracts like, and that we generally bring in to our lives the people we deserve, I can only conclude that I am a paragon of virtue.

posted by LukeFord | 1:18 PM |
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