Thursday, March 24, 2005

Letter to me from rabbi Dratch

I wrote to Rabbi Dratch asking him which cases he thought should be removed from the AC website. I told him that some survivors are concerned about his new organization. Here is his response to me, (with his permission to post it).

Dear Naomi:
> Thank you for your email and your concern.
> I empathize with you and appreciate the hard
> struggle that you must be going
> through as a survivor. I do not know you or your
> story, but I do know that
> the path is not easy, neither while suffering the
> abuse nor after it. I admire
> your strength and stamina.
> Vicki is doing many wonderful things with her
> project and has been a source
> of help and inspiration to many through her website
> and its related services.
> I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity
> to speak out and write on
> these issues, help some survivors along the way, and
> work for systemic change
> in the Jewish community to help prevent and
> appropriately respond to and help
> those who need it. JSafe was an outgrowth of that
> commitment. My only agenda
> is to help.
> I know that there are many different perspectives on
> just about every issue
> that we face. I know that sometimes what is
> important to one segment is
> alienating to another, and vice versa. Advocates
> at times, to some, seem to be too
> "advocatey" (pardon the unsuccessful coining of a
> new word) and establishment
> types at times, to some, too "establishmenty."
> As far as the postings are concerned, I understand
> Vicki's point. The
> allegations are usually true, the information needs
> to be out there to help protect
> others and to inspire others to come forward, etc.
> At the same time, others
> are totally alienated from her work because they
> feel that there are no checks
> and balances and that anyone could possibly find
> their names and pictures
> posted (inappropriately) with no recourse, suffering
> untold damages, etc. I don't
> know of an appropriate medium. Neither extreme
> works for me. I know of the
> difficulties and sometimes long lengths of time it
> takes to adjudicate and the
> system often fails. I don't know the answer,
> really. But I think that there
> needs to be some kind of review process that takes
> many factors into account.
> That will ensure greater credibility in the larger
> community for the project
> and will be more ethically sound.
> One of my goals for JSafe is to convene a Think Tank
> to explore questions
> like this, and others, with the participation of
> survivors, halachic experts,
> legal experts, ethicists, advocates, etc. and to try
> to articulate policies that
> are appropriate and sound. Then, with this backing,
> advocate those policies
> on a large scale.
> I appreciate your comment, "We want to believe in
> you and what you are
> doing." That's why I am doing what I am doing.
> Leaving the pulpit and going into
> this work full time is a risk for me, professionally
> and personally. But I
> believe in it.
> Unfortunately, there are misunderstandings and
> misrepresentations out there
> that I will not or cannot respond to. (That's a
> much different conversation.)
> I hope that my track record has proven my
> commitment, sensitivity and
> responsiblity. And I hope that I can use my
> position as a male, as a rabbi and as a
> community leader to help further the cause. Some
> may not like every thing I
> say or do, or the way I say it or do it... I
> understand that and I hope that
> they will understand and appreciate that they have a
> friend and ally and
> supporter in me-- and that together we can make a
> difference for survivors as
> individuals-- and for the community at large.
> Anonymous blogs are both wonderfully safe havens for
> peoplemto find help and
> support and, at the same time, spaces for people to
> make uninformed
> conjectures and critiques about things that they
> know little or nothing about. The
> former is great, the latter can be destructive and
> ultimately unhelpful.
> Thakns so much for writing. I hope I have answered
> your questions. Please
> feel free to be in touch at any time. I appreciate
> your perspectives and will
> certainly consider them very carefully. It helps me
> to learn, understand and
> see things in ways I need to learn, understand and
> see them.
> Mark Dratch


Anonymous Anonymous said...

He sounds like a used car salesman to me. What do you think?

March 24, 2005 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and that anyone could possibly find
> their names and pictures
> posted (inappropriately) with no recourse, suffering
> untold damages, etc."

This still doesn't answer the question of whether he's actually encountered this happening (?)
If not, he is then responding to what people's FEARS are, about what could 'possibly' happen, which is unfair, and seems still a subtle swipe at Vicki, in order to appease the complainers (all of whom, by the way, have been shown to be enablers/supporters of some certain rabbis who've had many complaints about them.)

Rabbi Dratch, will your JSafe organization be working closely and side by side with Vicki?

Or are you planning on trying to completely re-invent the wheel, so to speak?


March 25, 2005 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Dratch, would you kindly glance over here and comment on whether you ever received a call or not? Thank you.

March 25, 2005 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to figure out if he's a used care salesman, or an insurance salesman?

Did you notice he never listed the cases that he had problems with being on The Awareness Center's site?

Rabbi Dratch, if you read this, go to: and let us know which cases you have an objection too.

You want us to trust you, then give us a direct answer. Stop playing the game like like you running for president.

March 25, 2005 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know notice he's still calling The Awareness Center "a project" and Vicki Polin's website.

When I hear the term "project", it sounds like something you do in school. Something temporary. When I've talked to both Rabbi Blau and Vicki on the phone, they are doing way more then having a website. They are offering an ear, offering resources. Hey I needed a dentist and a OB/GYNE that wouldn't freak out if they knew I was a survivor.

Can you believe it that Vicki helped me find both? I have difficulties having people put things in my mouth. I also have severe flashbacks when I go to get my yearly pap smear.

I'm so sick and tired of Rabbis belittling victim advocacy groups. Where did Rabbi Dratch get his expertise in working with survivors? Why is he so hooked into helping? What's his motivation?

Is he a survivor? or is someone in his family?

March 25, 2005 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make sure to read this:
Who can victims/survivors go to for help? Rabbi Mordechai Tendler case exposes the sad simple fact that in the post-Lanner era little has changed.

March 25, 2005 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Where did Rabbi Dratch get his expertise in working with survivors? Why is he so hooked into helping? What's his motivation?

Is he a survivor? or is someone in his family?"

I do know that he wrote and worked on trying to push through the Sexual Abuse Resolutions for the RCA (it took something like ten years to be pushed through?). I have not read them. But that should count for something that he cared about doing that.

Still, I too would like to see further answers to other commenters questions to him.

March 25, 2005 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just went to Luke Ford's site and read his interview with Rabbi Dratch. I thought this was interesting.

"What's your role with The Awareness Center?

"I am not officially connected to them."

What do you think of what they're doing?

"The website and its discussion groups are an invaluable resource for many people. I had been involved at supporting them at one point in time. Vicki Polin has done tremendous work. We had a disagreement about a year ago] over some of the articles published on there with regard to accusations made against individuals. Her feeling is that as long as there is an article out there it should always be public. I disagree with that. If there is no substantiation of the allegations after a period of time and the person may be innocent, those articles should not be there. As a result of that, we have parted ways. She remains an important resource for me and I imagine I am an important resource for her."

Steven I. Weiss writes: "Luke - Dratch's argument against Polin, that she should remove old stories that have not been substantiated, comes in pretty neatly with the Michael Ozair story. Remember that in that case, only allegations against him had been printed, and the fact that he pleaded no contest in 2001 would have made the allegations three years old with no follow-up. It was precisely because his file was maintained on The Awareness Center's Website that we matched him up as Michael Ezra of, and that we did further inquiry into the matter, reporting his plea for the first time."

March 25, 2005 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first post on this site. Given Rabbi Dratch's track record and level of expertise, he has no business making recommendations to Vicki. His letter makes it sounds like if he just thinks hard enough about this issue, he can find a graceful and consistant way to deal with these issues. That's NOT going to happen. This movement is in its infancy. Rosa Parks hadn't really thought things through for the next 30 years when she refused to take a different seat. If Rabbi Dratch smooth sailing, he had better get out now and 'don't quit your day job' as they say.


March 27, 2005 7:52 AM  
Blogger Naomi said...

I am glad that people like Rabbi Dratch are trying to make a difference. I wonder what books and training he has read and experienced. I don't think he realizes that this is a WAR and sometimes in a war there are civilian casualties. We try as hard as possible to make sure that thier are as few casualties as possible, but it does happen. The webpage with all of the alleged offenders is the only power that survivors have. It is what causes people to take notice and deal with the issue. Nothing else works in today's day and age. Period.

March 27, 2005 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" The webpage with all of the alleged offenders is the only power that survivors have. It is what causes people to take notice and deal with the issue. Nothing else works in today's day and age. Period."

Brava---couldn't have said it better.
I had the fascinating experience, of having had a few people who initially 100% supported me, turn around and disappear when I finally went forward about the rabbi who abused me. One was just not interested any longer I suppose but another felt the exposure on the Awareness center site was "wrong"----even though the exposures Luke Ford contributed to ended up helping more survivors come forward and speak out.

Perhaps some only want to see things dealt with *after* the fact of the various crimes. Survivors don't want to see these manipulative bastards harm one more single person. The Awareness Center pages also validate our experiences, when everyone else in the world is trying to shut us up!

March 27, 2005 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is a protocol for coming forward about sexual advances made by prominent rabbis? I need help.

August 28, 2011 2:46 AM  

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