Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Topic: Attending Hearings

Calendar for Hearings and Trials
This calendar was posted on Yasher Koach's website - a site dedicated to "Giving chizuk to Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse."

What I especially like about this site is that they provide many ways to help victims, including a mentoring program. I will look into that program soon, maybe even become a mentor (if the supervision is done by people I can trust). I will keep everyone posted on that. But back to the current topic:
Attending Hearings
Who attends the hearings? Why do they do so? Should I attend, too?

I don't know what your answers are to these questions, but if you are a typical guy in our community, I think I know the answers. In order to give you an understanding of how the typical guy in our community thinks about child molestation, I will give you some history about me.

As a yeshiva bachur in Boro Park, I had never even heard any details about sexual abuse until the past 5 years. I first heard some details when the Kolko story was being discussed. Here is what I heard about THAT story, when it came out: "He's probably innocent." "We have to be dan lekaf zechus." "He has a family." "He has been a rebbi for so long!"

But eventually, the whispers convinced me that this man is really a molester. While attending a certain summer camp, my baseball team took a trip to play against a different camp in the Catskills (I believe it was Silver Lake). While we were there, a friend pointed out, in a whisper, that "Kolko the child abuser" was riding around on a golf car.

To my mind at the time, it was evil to suspect this man. After all, it was only the goyishe, anti-Semitic police who were accusing him of molestation. Moreover, here was Kolko, riding around in camp with boys accompanying him on his golf car! With a huge warm smile on his face, too. He would not be allowed here in camp if he was guilty. Ergo, he is innocent, and all those who whisper about him are guilty of believing and spreading loshon hora, evil speech. I was definitely not going to join the ranks of these careless gossipers.

How wrong I was... I was so naive, thinking that no camp would allow a known child molester to roam freely. What was I thinking? I actually believed that camp administrations felt any moral obligation to protect their campers. Boy, was I wrong.

What had I heard about Nuchem Rosenberg? Until recently, all I had heard about him was that he is a crazy man with a crazy hotline, and he is probably a child molester. I had no interest in going to hear what a child molester has to say.

Again, how wrong I was...

What had I heard about: Blogs? Websites? I had heard about all of these loshon hora blogs which are obsessed with ruining the lives of people in our community, even going as far as posting pictures of them while accusing them of the basest crimes. Again, loshon hora! What do I need this for? Why would I even go to these sites?

How wrong I was...

Three weeks ago, all of this changed. RabbiHorowitz.com, one of the few sites that I considered permissible and free of Loshon Hora, had recently begun discussing child abuse! Of course, no molesters' names were mentioned (because of Loshon Hora, I assumed), but Rabbi Horowitz discussed how to prevent your child from becoming a victim. "Education, education, education."

I had always admired Rabbi Horowitz for the work he does with teens at risk; in fact, I have been volunteering for his teen mentoring program for over a year.

Become a mentor on Rabbi Horowitz's website (affiliated with Project YES).

So when Rabbi Horowitz said that THE VAST MAJORITY OF OFF-THE-DERECH TEENS WERE MOLESTED AS CHILDREN, I listened. I thought hard about what I was doing with my life: Here I was, volunteering to help make a dent in the at-risk crisis by being a teen mentor, yet I had not even realized the ROOT OF THE PROBLEM! It was not, as I had always thought, that boys were simply not exposed to the beauty of Yiddishkeit. It was not even family problems! Many people I know have family problems, even seriously traumatizing ones, but they still don't consider going off the derech. So why do some other boys decide that their problems are big enough for them to go off the derech?

The answer is: They. Were. Molested.
Molestation destroys your trust in everything. And when it's done by a so-called Rabbi, you learn that nothing is sacred. And when the community covers up for this person, when nobody tries to bring this person to justice, you learn that nobody has a conscience, and that nobody is trustworthy. Of course you need to disassociate yourself from this community!

I suddenly became obsessed with the issue of child molestation, and began to learn incredible things: Known molesters were being allowed to teach in yeshivas for decades! 
Victims and their supporters were being threatened! 
The police were in cahoots with the molesters and their rich cronies! 
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg is actually one of the most courageous, selfless people in the history of the world, and people have tried to murder him! 
Rabbi Benzion Twerski had to resign from helping abuse victims because of the threats to his family!

I was afraid to do anything, though, until Rabbi Horowitz posted that he would be attending the hearings of Dascalowitz and Weberman on March 25th. I made sure to be there. If it was good enough for Rabbi Horowitz, it was good enough for me. 

I was still worried about mesira, but I soon obtained, from Dr. Asher Lipner, a PDF with responsa from many Rabbanim explaining how mesira is not an issue when it comes to child molestation.

Check out my post with the PDF. Click the link there - it's posted on Google Docs.

To make a long story short, I was at the hearing of Weberman that Friday, March 25. The size of the crowd there was inspiring. Looking around, I knew that we were not afraid of harassment! We were leading the revolution to bring molesters to justice!  

I hope to write soon about why it is so important for people to attend hearings. Until then, you can check out all of the other places where this is discussed.




Let's speak up now, when it's the other guy's kids, so that it never comes to the point where we CAN'T NOT speak up, because our own children were abused by this pedophile whom we allowed, by our silence, to have access to our own children.


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Yoeli!

  2. Thanks for all you do, Yasher Koach.

  3. A Gutt Voch,

    I wish you hatzlacha that you should be able to make a positive in pact on the community. The community needs people like you today's youth are tomorrows leaders!

    Wishing you all the best,