The post is referring to the recent article Congregants Stand By Rabbi Tendler - At packed synagogue meeting, he denies all RCA charges. by Debra Nussbaum Cohen.
Please contact to JOFA and let them know how you feel.
This Blog is for and about Jewish Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, survivors of sexual assault, rabbinical sexual misconduct and those who care about them.
Bogged Down By Bloggers
Gary Rosenblatt - Editor and Publisher
Though I am getting used to it, I still find it disconcerting to read about myself –– and my journalistic motivations — on Internet blogs, especially because more often than not the information isn’t accurate. Various writers, often anonymous, claim to know what investigative stories I am working on, or not working on, and why, or why not, though none of them have ever asked me.
That’s not the way journalism is supposed to work, but there’s not much I can do about it. Over the years in this profession I’ve gotten thicker skin, but there are people whose lives are more private than mine whose reputations and character are maligned in these reports. They have no one to turn to in order to set the record straight, and that’s just not right. But it’s too late to turn back the clock on so-called progress as some hail the new age of “participatory journalism” represented by blogs.
Blogs, or more formally Web logs, are diaries or journals on the Internet to which others can reply, creating an instant and interactive environment. They are everywhere these days, covering politics to porn, and they have had a strong impact on journalism and journalistic ethics, or the lack thereof, as the rules of the game keep changing.
There is something very appealing about having one’s own blog. It’s easy to do, costs nothing, and before you know it, you can be sitting at home and pontificating on any and all topics for all the world to read, if people click on your site. Conservative estimates say there are at least a million Americans now with their own blogs. To be sure, there are some very thoughtful and worthwhile bloggers out there, and they tend to be the ones who identify themselves and have an expertise in and passion for the subjects they write about.
What bothers me, though, is that in this still emerging field, there is no accountability and there are no professional standards to be met. In the rush to get a story out first, the emphasis is on timeliness rather than accuracy, with seemingly little regard –– or responsibility –– for printing rumors or theories that are untrue. So people who are mentioned and maligned by an anonymous blogger have no recourse.
I wouldn’t seek legal or medical advice from an amateur attorney or physician who insisted on remaining nameless, yet there are countless people reading blogs on the Web by would-be journalists whose reports go unsubstantiated and unedited, and the results are often hurtful, damaging people’s characters and reputations.
Still, like it or not, bloggers have become an acceptable part of the media. For the first time, a number of them were given press credentials to cover the national political conventions last year, and some have written items that have led to major news stories. Most notable were the blog reports that resulted in Trent Lott’s resignation as Senate majority leader (for saying the United States would have been better off if segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948), and Dan Rather’s fall at CBS regarding documents, which turned out to be dubious, used to report on President Bush’s National Guard Service. In those and other cases, bloggers picked up on information the mainstream media downplayed or ignored, and kept the story alive.
There are a number of bloggers writing on Jewish news topics, with a special interest in which scandals are being reported, which aren’t, and why. The blogs written by people who identify themselves, some of whom are journalists, tend to be more responsible and informed, though even here the standards for reporting are based solely on the conscience and professionalism of the individual.
More upsetting are the bloggers who criticize individuals by name, make accusations against rabbis and communal leaders, but don’t have the guts to identify themselves, or bother to interview the people they write about.
One of the better known Jewish reporting blogs calls for “accountability and transparency within our institutions and leadership,” a noble goal, indeed. But the “About me” area on the home page where the blogger usually posts some details about him or her self is empty. To demand full disclosure of others without identifying one’s self seems the height of chutzpah and hypocrisy to me.
There can be a productive relationship between responsible blogging and journalism. Amateur reporting and personal publishing has its place, emphasizing the grassroots qualities of accessibility and interactivity, and prodding journalists to do better and more enterprising work. But the heart of journalism is still in original reporting based on fairness and accuracy, where one is judged by one’s output.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still think you do your best work if your reputation is on the line every time you write.
I guess they don't know the way that victim advocacy organizations like The Awareness Center works.
The harder those who protect offenders attack, the stronger the organization will get. Survivors of abuse are learning they are NOT alone anymore. They are learning they can NO LONGER be silenced. When you think about how many survivors there are of sexual violence, verses the number of offenders, who do you think will win this fight?
"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.To the best of my knowledge The Awareness Center is much more then a website. It is a full grown organization. What a great way to disrespect an organization that you are trying to mimic. Belittle it and refer to it as just a website.
"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 KabbalahCoach.com, and that we did further inquiry into the matter, reporting his plea for the first time."I don't want anyone to forget that Rabbi Mark Dratch mislead the survivors of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler into believing what they said to him would be kept confidential. He also encouraged them to talk to the investigator who was hired by the RCA to conduct an investigation of the Tendler case.
Lost in the Shuffle: Jewish Survivors of Sexual Victimization
4:30 - 6:00 pm
Until recently the topic of sexual violence in Jewish communities has been too taboo to discuss. This workshop will provide a basic overview of how communities handled allegations in the past, what changes need to be made, and how we can make them. The workshop will encourage a dialogue between workshop participants.
Vicki Polin, Executive Director, The Awareness Center--the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Assault/Abuse, Baltimore, MD
Rabbi Yosef Blau, Yeshiva University, NY
Dr. Michael J. Salamon, founder/director, Adult Developmental Center, Hewlett, NY
Years ago I was sexually assaulted by a trusted friend. He was engaged to a friend. He had always been "a good guy", like a brother to me. I had no reason to think that he would rape me.
After the assault I did something that was very confusing to me for a few years. I found myself being promiscuous with men I didn't know.
I remember talking about this in therapy, and my rape counselor explained to me that my actions and reactions were not uncommon for a rape victim.
I didn't feel safe. I felt like anyone could rape me and get away with it. I felt like all the control was taken away from me. I wanted to be back in charge of my life.
I found myself finding men, and just having sex with them because I could. It was "wham, bam, thank you man." I wasn't really sexually attracted to any of the men, and I felt no attachment to them. I just want to prove to myself I could have sex with anyone I wanted to. I wanted to say who could put themselves inside me, and who couldn't.
I'll admit it may not be the healthiest way for me to feel in control of my life again, but it's what I did.
Prior to being sexually assaulted, I was very trusting of others, after the assault I had difficulties trusting people. I felt safer with strangers, then with people I knew.
From a legalistic Jewish perspective we can understand Mordechai's instructions: Jewish law recognizes that a rape victim is not expected to give up her life, as she is considered a passive victim who unwillingly transgresses one of the three cardinal laws. On the other hand, any desecration, even of a more minor offense, if publicly known, becomes a "desecration of God's name" and therefore would also require martyrdom. This would explain Mordechai's insistence that Esther conceal her heritage, not just from the king, but from the Jewish community as well.
But the argument in favor of martyrdom is compelling on a psychological level. The martyr is assured respect by co-religionists in this world and an exalted status in the next. This, coupled with an act of defiance against the enemy, seems like a combination too good to turn down. Yet Mordechai does not allow Esther to take this course of action.
It's time for the RCA to end this charade of an investigation. How much more out of control can this process become? Rabbi Mordechai Tendler has proven he does not belong in the rabbanut.
Accept the Praesidium report and remove Rabbi Mordechai Tendler from the RCA publicly.
I'm also making a public call for the removal of all the rabbonim from the RCA who were part of this fake RCA scam. They need to be named publicly. This is outrageous.