Sunday, July 31, 2005

Does The World Stop As We Wait To Hear More About Mordecai Tendler?

I am totally confused by the fact that so many individuals and organizations are closing their eyes to the fact that that there are so many cases of sexual violence besides the case against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler in the Orthodox world.

Does the RCA and or Agudath Israel of America have no back bone? Are they going to sit back and do nothing? Do they care that we have sexual preditors amongst us?

They may talk about doing something about "abuse", but when they do, they only discuss domestic violence (husbands beating their wives). Can they even say the words "Childhood Sexual Abuse" or "Rape"?

What about the case of the of the psychologist/yogo instructor? Did anyone hear anything more about that case? Has he ever entered into treatment with someone who is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers?

What about Rabbi Ephraim Bryks? As we all know he would have been the first rabbi expelled from the RCA if he didn't resign. Does anyone care about what he's up to? Just because he's no longer a member of the RCA doesn't really mean a thing. He's still up to his old tricks, and allegedly putting women and children at risk of harm. He's still considered a "rabbi." Has he ever entered into treatment with someone who is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers?

What about the case of Rabbi Marc Gafni? Has he ever entered into treatment with someone who is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers?

What about the case of Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum? He was sentenced to five years probation and counseling. Has the community in which he lives do what they can to help his wife and child? Is he supervised when attending shul or other public places? This includes when he uses the bathroom? Or in hallways? Has he ever entered into treatment with someone who is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers?

What about the case of Rabbi Mordecai Magencey? Is he still teaching psychology courses? This was a case of Rabbinical Sexual Misconduct, and also one in which an individual lost his license to practice as a psychologist. Has he ever entered into treatment with someone who is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers?

What about the case of Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair? He's a convicted sex offender, who is parading around as a Kabbalah Couch. Rumors have it his case load is packed with other sex offenders. He is considered to be an orthodox rabbi. Has he ever entered into treatment with someone who is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers?
Where is the outrage in this case? He's not a member of any rabbinical organization, yet there's nothing anyone can do to remove the title of "rabbi" from his name. There are rumors saying he actually doesn't even have smicha (ordination). If that's true, then he's impersonating a rabbi. Is that crime?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Combat sex offenders - By Vicki Polin

Editorial/Opinion - Readers respond
Combat sex offenders
USA Today - July 27, 2005

After 20 years of advocating for those who are survivors of sexual violence, it's hard to believe there is finally a national registry of sex offenders (
National online registry of sex offenders launched, News, July 21).

Now, I think it's time for federal laws on the books that would stimulate a uniform approach to sexual offenses. The reality is that too many states are considered to be "sex-offender friendly."

I also believe it's imperative that we have not only a national sex offender registry, but also an international one. We know that both alleged and convicted sex offenders move from one state to the next to avoid prosecution, but they also move from one country to another. We need to protect potential victims not only in the United States, but also in the world.

There also needs to be a federal law that abolishes the idea of statutes of limitations on civil and criminal charges when the crime is related to sexual violence. Canada, for example, has no such statutes on these sorts of crimes. We need to make our country safe for everyone.

Vicki Polin, executive director
The Awareness Center: Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thoughts for Today

Adults usually forget how children think and feel.

Share your inmagination.

Real healing ocurs in the soul.

Love your children unconditionally.

Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once.

You cannotknow what is best for anyone but yourself.

Smiling is cheaper than plastic surgery.

The greatest gift to give is the a gift of your time.

A question can have more meaning than an answer.

Extreme good looks can be a curse.

The test of commitment is action.

The truth can be very unpopular.

If you hesitate, you can still go forward.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Woodsman (Movie about a sex offender)

I know the movie came out last year, but I just rented the DVD and watched it. If you haven't seen it yet and can stomach it, I really highly suggest it. It's not too often you can look inside the mind of a sexual preditor.

I'm really curious to hear what those of you who saw the movie thought?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Survivors of Clergy Abuse and Civil Disobedience

Man Who Protested at Mass Is Charged
By Caitlin Liu
Los Angeles Times
July 23, 2005

Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges Friday against a man who handcuffed himself to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony's chair during a recent Sunday Mass to protest the archdiocese's handling of the priest sex abuse scandal.

Victim advocates said they were outraged by the charges against James C. Robertson, who contends he was abused.

Robertson, 58, of Mount Washington, has sued the church, alleging he was molested by two Catholic brothers at a Gardena high school during the 1960s. He faces up to 1
years in jail and $2,000 in fines on charges of trespassing and disrupting a religious service.

"It's unbelievable," said Steven Sanchez, the Los Angeles director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. "For the last five or six decades, priests have gone and confessed to Cardinal Mahony or his predecessors that they were molesting kids, and all this time, Cardinal Mahony and his predecessors could not find the LAPD's phone number … until [Robertson] makes a silent protest."

A spokeswoman for Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo declined to comment, but church officials defended the prosecution.

"It's really about making sure that the rights of the people who want to worship are respected," said Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Robertson was taken into custody based on a citizen's arrest filed by someone from the church. The Los Angeles Police Department and the city attorney's office would not identify who made the report. The protest occurred June 26 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.

The church was packed with more than 2,000 congregants, many of whom seemed oblivious to the incident. "But for people in the first few pews, they knew something was terribly wrong," Tamberg said.

Robertson's lawyer, Robert Brodney, said his client's actions caused "minimal impact."

"It's going to be a big issue whether there was any disruption," Brodney said.

Sanchez said Robertson and other victims are frustrated by what they see as efforts by the church to keep a lid on the scandal. Mahony and his attorneys have been battling the district attorney's office over the release of confidential priest personnel files advocates say would expose a coverup of clergy abuse.

"This is supposed to be a church of Christianity. Whatever happened to forgiveness? Whatever happened to turning the other cheek?" Sanchez said.

"Disrupting a religious service," Tamberg said, "only scares people and does not promote healing."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Here's a reason why there should be an international sex offender registry

News Releases

International Child Exploitation Investigation Results in Charges against Toronto Resident
(Man wanted in Israel)

Sex Crimes Unit - January 25, 2005 - 10:45 am

Map of additional suspects and victims:

In October of 2004, Interpol - Jerusalem notified the Toronto Police Service Fugitive Squad that they held a warrant for the arrest of a man now believed to be living in Toronto. The man, identified as Vitaly Levshin, a 46-year-old Israeli Citizen of Ukrainian descent, was wanted in Israel for numerous serious sexual assaults on children, as well as making and distributing child pornography on the Internet dating back to 2000.

It was determined that Levshin came to Canada in 2000 and had been granted Landed Immigrant status (in other words: permanent residency) in Canada. All of the officers’ efforts for extradition proceedings, to be initiated by the Israeli authorities, were rejected and denied.
Levshin was tracked down to a North Toronto address, and because of the potential danger to Toronto children, the Child Exploitation Section of the Sex Crimes Unit and 32 Division started a criminal investigation.

Since the authorities in Israel were reluctant to extradite Levshin, the matter was referred to an officer of the Canada Border Services Agency assigned to the TPS Fugitive Squad.
On Monday, November 29, 2004, the CBSA officer attached to the Fugitive team advised that he had obtained an Immigration arrest warrant for Levshin.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 30, 2004, Levshin was arrested without incident and a Criminal Code search warrant was executed at his residence in the Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue West area of Toronto. The accused had approximately 3,000 pictures in his possession. About 2,000 of these pictures appear to have been taken by the accused or associates of his from around the world. The pictures involve approximately 25 young boys either posing in various stages of undress, or involved in sex acts with other boys or men, thus constituting child pornography. Several of the victims are believed to be living in Canada, Israel, Ukraine and Russia, but remain unidentified.

Chat logs, emails and documents recovered from the accused’s computer reveal that he was exchanging child pornography with men all over the world. The accused and these men had discussions about having sex with children in Canada and elsewhere in the world, and discussed how to bring children into Canada from other parts of the world.

Child pornography pictures of one victim, known only as Pasha, show this child being sexually abused beginning at the age of about 7, and continuing until he was about 16. Some of these pictures were taken in Toronto by the accused when Pasha was in Toronto during the summer months of 2001 and 2002. Investigators also have pictures of other unknown boys, obviously taken in Toronto. (Local landmarks in backgrounds).

Criminal Code charges have now been laid against Levshin in relation to a 10-year-old Toronto victim he knew. Five different assaults took place in 2003 and 2004 in Toronto and Ukraine.

Vitaly Levshin, 46, years, of Toronto, has been charged with:
(1) Sexual Assault
(2) Sexual Interference
(3) Making Child Pornography
(4) Possession of Child Pornography.

Levshin has been living in the Toronto area since 2000.

He is originally from Ukraine and is believed to have also lived in or travelled to Russia, Moldova, Israel and the United States.

Levshin was active in the Russian and Ukrainian communities in Toronto. He was employed as a pianist and played various venues in the Toronto area. He placed advertisements in Russian-language newspapers seeking to employ young boys to assist with his piano performances.

He has been detained in custody and his next court appearance is a video remand on Thursday, January 27, 2005, 301 Court, North York.

This investigation was a culmination of good police work, excellent teamwork and communication between the TPS Fugitive Squad, the CBSA, the TPS Sex Crimes Unit, Child Exploitation Section and 32 Division YB.

There is no doubt that without this team effort, and the tenacious pursuit of this fugitive, Vitaly Levshin would have continued to perpetrate his horrific crimes on children, not only in Toronto, but around the world through the distribution of child pornography.

Anyone with information regarding Levshin and his activities is asked to contact Detective Constable John Menard of the Child Exploitation Section at 416-808-7985.

Constable Kristine Bacharach, Corporate Communications, for Detective Sergeant Paul Gillespie, Sex Crimes Unit

Jewish Whistleblower
The Case of Vitaly Levshin

Letter to the Editor (Haaretz) : Cycle of abuse - By Vicki Polin

Letter to the Editor
Cycle of abuse

Haaretz - July 22, 2005

Regarding "5 youths from W. Bank settlement suspected of raping 9-year-old girl," July 14

It is both sad and painful each and every time I read about another case where preteens or teenagers are suspected of sexually assaulting another child. Most people are not aware of the fact that at least 90 percent of sex offenders were sexually abused as children. Reading this article, one has to stop and wonder if all five of the alleged offenders were sexually abused, and if so, who were the offenders. I also wonder if there were signs that these boys needed help. If there were, why wasn't anything done?

We as a community need to do whatever it takes to protect our children from being sexually abused and assaulted. We need to do whatever it takes to make sure that those who commit these offenses are in treatment, and are monitored to protect others from becoming the next victims.

Vicki Polin, Exec. director,
The Awareness Center: the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault
Baltimore, MD

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Where Is Convicted Sex Offender Adam Rubin, of Arnold, MD?

The following comes from The Awareness Center's Newsletter

Where is Convicted Sex Offender Adam Rubin?

He's supposed to be living in Arnold, MD

According to the National sex offender registry his status is:

Under Investigation - An investigation has been initiated to determine if the registrant continues to reside at the last reported address.

From the United States Department of Justice - National Sex Offender Registry Launched!

United States Department of Justice
National Sex Offender Registry Is Finally Launched

Now there just needs to be an International Sex Offender's Registry to protect potential innocent individuals from being the target of both alleged and convicted sex offenders who flee the country.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Thoughts for Today

Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self.

Don't let anyone intimidate you.

Don't compromise yourself; you're all you've got.

Happiness does not have to feel foreign to you.

Assert yourself.

Don't be unwilling to learn.

Do not interfere with your ability to see answers.

When trying something new, it is better to do it badly than not do it at all.

Never give up on what you really want to do.

Become a better person from your trials and tribulations.

Decide what is important in your life and disregard the rest.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Informing on Others for Violating American Law: A Jewish Law View

News Media Code of Ethics

United States Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs - Parnership for Safer Communities

Chapter 18: The News Media's Coverage of Crime and Victimization - December 28, 2004


Victim service providers should encourage media professionals, both print and broadcast, to adopt a code of ethics specific to their coverage of crime and victimization. Such a code can serve as a basic ethical foundation from which difficult decisions can be made, frequently within very short time periods.

The most comprehensive written policy on ethical considerations affecting journalists, including those affecting crime victims, was developed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1992. In the sensitive introduction to its "Guidelines on Privacy Issues," the following guiding statement was made:

As we consider the policies that will best serve the Post-Dispatch, we should bear in mind some broad principles:

The perceptions and perspectives of reporters and editors on the one hand, and readers and other members of the public on the other, are different. The news professionals are motivated chiefly by a desire to get the news and publish it. The others are more likely to react personally, imagining how they would feel as the subject of a story. In weighing matters of privacy, perhaps some effort should be made to bring that personal perspective into the equation.

Major changes should be approached with caution. The wind may seem to be blowing very strongly in one direction today, but could shift direction tomorrow.

No policy will cover every eventuality. The policy here enunciated (in the Guidelines on Privacy Issues) includes many exceptions, and must be augmented by the constant application of fairness, common sense, reasoned judgment, and a degree of compassion by reporters and editors all along the line.

When victim advocates consider proposing a code of ethics to media professionals, the following issues should be seriously considered.

The news media should--

  • Present details about a crime in a fair, objective, and balanced manner.

  • Recognize the importance of publishing or broadcasting information that can contribute to public safety and, at the same time, balance this need with the victim's need for privacy.

  • Respect the privacy of individuals who choose to refrain from dealing with the media or who choose to address the media through a spokesperson of their choice.

  • Provide a balanced perspective relevant to a criminal act that reflects the concerns of the victim and offender.

  • Never report rumors or innuendoes about the victim, the offender, or the crime unless such information has been verified by reliable sources.

  • In crimes other than homicide, identify the victim by age and area where the crime occurs, omitting street addresses and block numbers.

  • Refrain from using information gained from private conversations of victims or their relatives who are in shock or distraught.

  • Identify witnesses only when they volunteer to be named, and when there is clearly no danger that can be predicted through their identification by the media.

  • Never publish the identity of a sexual assault victim without his or her prior consent, regardless of whether the case is in the criminal or civil courts.

  • Never publish the identity of a child victim (or alleged child victims).

  • Never identify alleged or convicted incest offenders when such actions could lead to the identification of the victim.

  • In cases of kidnapping where it is determined that the victim has been sexually assaulted, stop identifying the victim by name once a sexual assault has been alleged.

  • Never identify the names of victims of scams or other crimes that tend to humiliate or degrade the victim without the victim's prior consent.

  • Refrain from photographing or broadcasting images that portray personal grief and/or shock resulting from a criminal act.

  • Never publish photographs or broadcast images that could place the subject in danger.

  • Refrain from showing photographs or broadcast images of deceased victims, body bags, or seriously wounded victims.

  • Never publish photographs or broadcast images of funerals without the surviving family members' prior consent.

  • Refer to drunk driving incidents as "crashes" or "crimes," not accidents, regardless of whether or not the use of alcohol has been determined as a factor.

  • Approach the coverage of all stories related to crime and victimization in a manner that is not lurid, sensational, or intrusive to the victim and his or her family

Friday, July 15, 2005

Newspaper publisher becomes the story before debate - Yori Yanover, publisher of the Grand Street News

Newspaper publisher becomes the story before debate

Yori Yanover, publisher of the Grand Street News

By Ronda Kaysen

Volume 75, Number 8 | June 13- 20, 2005

Much thought isn't usually given to moderators. By definition, they are thought to be moderate, but Yori Yanover, who was tapped to facilitate Tuesday night's City Council District 2 debate, has some strong opinions about the feminist, gay rights and psychoanalytic movements and isn't afraid to blog them.

On Tuesday morning, hours before 12 of the candidates vying to fill Margarita Lopez's City Council seat gathered at the Henry Street Settlement for their first public debate, an anonymous e-mail circulated among the candidates, urging them to boycott the event, which was to include three panelists asking questions in addition to Yanover, who was to moderate. The writer, identifying himself only as Constitution Man of the Committee to Boycott LoHo Realty and their Grand Street News, pointed to a private Web blog penned by the debate's moderator as cause for a candidate-wide boycott.

The blog,, was written by Yanover, the publisher of Grand Street News, a booklet-size community newspaper sponsored by LoHo Realty. The entries in question address an ongoing dispute within the Jewish community about a handful of rabbis accused of sexual impropriety.

In one entry, Yanover responds to sexual allegations against the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach lodged by several women after Carlebach's death. The allegations were never brought to court. In response to the unsubstantiated allegations, Yanover, in his blog, blamed the "homosexual movement, the feminist movement and the psychoanalytical movement. All three movements have politicized the sexual, and with that, robbed us of the carefree availability of our sexual expression," he wrote.

"The gay rights, feminist and psychological movements have changed how society approached sex in worrisome ways," Yanover told The Villager. "Making a sexual mistake in this society is the most dangerous thing that can happen to you. The boss who 10 years ago may have said something cheeky to a secretary or a female underling, now he's going in the other direction. This is part of the anxiety of our culture."

One candidate, Brian Kavanagh, withdrew his name from the debate after learning about Yanover's statements. "The moderator of a debate is not merely a bystander, but controls the forum and has a public presence and I think that choosing this particular person under the present circumstances shows some insensitivity both to the gay and lesbian community and also to victims of rape," said Kavanagh, describing the blog entries as "reprehensible."

"Is she concerned? I'm sure she would be concerned with anything that's homophobic or anti-women," said Roberto Caballero, who is gay and is the campaign manager for Reverend Joan Brightharp, the only member of the clergy in the race. Brightharp, however, planned to attend the debate, which occurred as The Villager went to press.

Yanover is a strong presence in the Lower East Side community. In fact, Grand Street News approached Henry Street Settlement several months ago to co-sponsor the debate along with LoHo Realty. Some local figures have jumped to his defense in the wake of the Tuesday morning e-mail. "I believe in supporting good people," said Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3. "He is not homophobic, he is not anti-feminist. He and his wife are feminists and they're raising their daughter to be a feminist." Stetzer and David McWater, C.B. 3 chairperson, were profiled by Grand Street News within the past year and their photo appeared on its cover.

Henry Street Settlement, which hosted the event, had no intentions of canceling or changing moderators on Tuesday afternoon. "At this point, we're not making any changes," said Kathleen Gupta, a chief administrator for the Henry Street Settlement, two hours before the event. "We're just moving forward and hoping it'll be a productive evening."

Rosie Mendez, the only openly gay candidate in the race, had not read the e-mail when she spoke to The Villager on Tuesday afternoon and was reluctant to take a position. "I have to ask myself, `Why today, a couple of hours before the debate, is this coming to light?' " she said. "This has been planned a long time ago. It's interesting that this has come out now." Mendez planned to attend the event.

The author of the e-mail that pointed candidates and The Villager to the blog did not return requests for comment, nor did he respond to requests to identify himself.

Bias is often subjective and, according to Yanover, the comments on his blog — all of which were removed on Tuesday afternoon — were part of a larger dialogue within the Jewish community. The blog entries in question were written last winter, he said, in response to comments made last October by an organization, the Awareness Center, about his close friend Rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch.

The Awareness Center, a Maryland-based organization, is "dedicated to addressing sexual violence in Jewish communities around the world," according to its Web site. Among the alleged perpetrators of sexual violence accused on the Web site is Yanover's friend Worch.

"Every time you Google the guy's name, every time he applies for a job," the link to the Awareness Center Web site appears at the top of the search engine, said Yanover. "His name is destroyed. What can you do about this? All you can do is cower away or you can fight this."

And so Yanover printed the full name, address and telephone number of the woman who made the accusations against Worch, removing the "the shelter of anonymity" that protected her.

"This woman destroyed the life of a man, she accused him of despicable things and hid behind a veil of anonymity and she did not deserve it [anonymity]," said Yanover in a telephone interview, pointing out that no charges were ever brought against Worch.

Ironically, the Internet and the infinite memory of Google may now have turned on Yanover, thrusting his online ramblings into the political arena. "A friend of mine last October was destroyed by sinister people and it's been my business to defend his good name," he said. "And if I get skewered by that then that's the way it has to be."

Rabbi Hershy Worch

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Grooming" or Setting Up Your Victim - By Ken Singer, LCSW

From: The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter

The following article can apply to survivors who are both adults and children
For more information also go to:
Articles About Sex Offenders and Pedophilia

"Grooming" or Setting Up Your Victim
By Ken Singer, LCSW

Most offenders do not like to think or admit that they planned their offenses. The idea that you set up a situation to sexually assault a child or vulnerable adult may make you feel worse than you may already feel about yourself. However, it is vital that you recognize that the assault started in your mind before it became a reality.

The bad news about accepting that you planned or set up the assault before you carried it out may be that you have to drop the belief that "it just happened". The good news is that if you spend time thinking about assaulting before you actually do so, you have more time to stop yourself.

(A word or two here about the use of "assault", "abuse" and other terms that you may feel uncomfortable about. You may feel that what you did to your victim(s) was not "rape", "abuse", "assault" or some of the other words used in these articles. While you may believe that you were not forceful, physically hurt or threatened your victim, it is important that you not allow yourself to justify, minimize, rationalize or make excuses for what you did to someone else.

You really do not know what the impact of your behavior is on another person, especially in the long run. Offenders have described their behaviors as "loving", "gentle", "for his/her benefit", and other terms which may appear to be true on the surface, but will have detrimental consequences for the victim.

So, even if you don't believe that you "abused", "assaulted", "offended" or other terms, hold off on your need to deny the label for now.)

Setting Up or "Grooming" These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are similar. What they mean is that you had a conscious or underlying thought to become sexual with another person. If you were doing this with someone your own age, it might be called flirting. When you develop a friendship with a child, or engage him/her in physical contact that seems innocent at first, you are setting up that child for later sexual contact, abuse or assault.

Some of the ways that offenders set up their victims include:

  • Paying attention to a child who appears emotionally needy

  • Talking about sexual issues, showing adult magazines or films, letting the child know s/he can come to you for sexual information or concerns

  • "Accidentally" or purposefully exposing yourself (coming out of the bath, wearing shorts that allow a view of the genitals, openly praising nudity as "normal", etc.)

  • Giving gifts, money, taking the child places, providing alcohol or drugs

  • Telling the child that you need to examine his/her body for some reason

  • Physical contact such as wrestling, tickling, pats on the butt, etc.

  • Intrusive questions about the child's sexual development, fantasies, masturbation habits, or giving the child more information about sex than is appropriate for the child's age or developmental level

  • Bringing yourself down to the child's level of play (becoming the child's "buddy")

  • Sharing inappropriate information about yourself or relationship problems, such as marital difficulties

  • Not respecting the child's boundaries or privacy. This may be "rules" that bedroom or bathroom doors must be open, reading child's mail or diaries, going through their possessions, etc. It may also be verbal, such as intrusive questions about the child's activities or friends beyond what is appropriate for a parent to do. It may also be done by staring at the child or looking at his/her body in a way that makes him/her uncomfortable

There are other ways offenders "groom" a potential victim. While on the surface, these activities may seem innocent enough, they are often the prelude to a sexual contact with the child.

Since you have either crossed over the line from being a parent or friend of the child to assaulting him/her, (or are struggling to keep this from happening), it is important for you to become honest with yourself and with your therapist. Your honestly can reduce the likelihood of re-offending (or offending in the first place.) But remember, even when being honest, prevention of sexual offending requires a lot of soul-searching and hard work.

Monday, July 11, 2005

SNAP Supporter - By Vicki Polin

Letter to the Editor

SNAP Supporter

I wanted to let you know that The Awareness Center supports the efforts of SNAP, requesting that Webster University let Rabbi Magencey go.

The Awareness Center is The Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault. Please take time out to visit our web page where we have listed the old articles regarding Rabbi Magencey. You may be interested in reviewing the documents for yourself:

The Awareness Center contacted the licensing board at the state of Missouri, and asked if Rabbi Magencey was in violation of the agreement made years ago. On July 2, 2003 a response was sent to us from Pamela Groose, Executive Director - Missouri State Committee of Psychologists.

The response is : "To teach Intro to Psychology would not require a license to practice psychology and the same would go for religious studies. Whether or not his prior problem with his Missouri Psychology license is a problem for him teaching at the universities would be a decision of the universities."

Magencey is teaching at Webster University and Washington University. He is a part-time rabbi at Covenant House, working with senior citizens.

The state and Magencey, a psychotherapist in Chesterfield, signed a stipulation that strips Magencey of his license in Missouri and bans him from practicing in any state or foreign country.

Magencey is the son a prominent rabbi in St. Louis. His Father, Rabbi Avraham Magencey a beloved, respected man was the 'mohel' of St. Louis for years.

Vicki Polin
Executive Director
The Awareness Center

Fleeing the scene - by Vicki Polin

Fleeing the scene

Sir, – Re "Missing Arizona rabbi faces child abuse charges" (June 9): I wanted to thank Sam Ser and The Jerusalem Post for writing this article. As I'm sure you are aware, it's not uncommon for individuals accused of sexual crimes to flee the community where the accusations have been made. Unfortunately, many from Jewish communities tend to flee to Israel to avoid prosecution. We have also seen a trend in which those who end up in Israel change their names to avoid detection.

My hope is that Rabbi David E. Lipman will soon be found alive and well and able to face the charges being brought against him.

Executive Director
The Awareness Center
Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault


Let survivors speak - By Vicki Polin

Letters to the Editor

Let survivors speak

I wanted to thank you for writing such an important article as you did with the story of sexual abuse survivor Bobby Drish, ("Abuse allegations go online," June 16). The Awareness Center is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault. We also have many stories similar to that of Bobby Drish. It saddens me a great deal every time I hear of another case where the survivor was blamed and not believed. I was so happy that you gave Bobby the opportunity to empower himself enough to bear witness and tell his story.

It is vitally important for newspapers like yours to allow survivors to have a voice. Not only does it help survivors heal, it also offers an opportunity for others to know they are not alone and gives our communities the chance to understand the ramification sexual violence has on our lives.
Vicki Polin, executive director
The Awareness Center
Baltimore, Md.

Sex offender registries - by Vicki Polin

Letter to the Editor
Sex offender registries

It amazes me, knowing what we know about sex offenders, that anyone would question the constitutionality of a state sex offender registry in Missouri (6/30, Metro, “Court to consider sex offender law”).

According to a 1997 study (Prentky, Lee, Knight and Cerce), 52 percent of sex offenders re-offend over a 25-year period. Not only is it critical that there be a sex offender registry in Missouri, but there should be a national sex offender registry as well.

Offenders tend to move around, as in the case of William Webb. He was on the registry in the state of Washington because of a child molestation conviction in 1992. Recently, he was able to get a license to teach driver’s education to high school students in Wisconsin because officials were unaware of his criminal background.

We need to start demanding criminal background checks of anyone to be licensed or employed to work with children. We also need to start lobbying our lawmakers to subsidize the cost of these expensive background checks.

It’s true this is not foolproof, as not all sex offenders have been convicted or placed on a registry. But it is a step in the right direction.

Vicki Polin
The Awareness Center: The Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

Baltimore, Md.

Rape victims must be honored - By Vicki Polin

Letters to the Editor
Rape victims must be honored

In response to the June 27 article, "A rape victim defies traditional code": Thank you for writing such an important article. I'm sure rape victims from many different cultures and religions could relate to it.

It's sad to say that even today in many cultures, it is believed that if it became known that a woman was sexually assaulted,her reputation would be tarnished, as would that of her family. We need to start sending messages to our children and our neighbors that the offender is the criminal, and that the rape victim should be honored and respected.
Vicki Polin
Executive Director, The Awareness Center: The Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

More Quotes

When you listen to people, know how to distinguish between the smart ones and the fools.

It is never too late in life to make a new start.

Keep looking ahead.

One of the good thing about anger is it proves you have feelings.

We are always learning, always growing.

Be aware of the snowball effect of your thinking.

The best antique is an old friend.

The situation may not always be what it appears.

Don't let someone else tell you your dreams cannot be achieved.

Everyone gets the same twenty-four hours in a day -- the difference is how you use it.

Do good deeds to benefit another generation.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Thoughts for Today

You can tell a lot about a person by how they handle a rainy holiday, lost luggage, and a flat tire.

Life continues to have value as long as you value life.

Few wishes come true by themselves.

Welcome the possibilities.

To conqure fear is to summon wisdom.

Most things that you worry about never happen.

Give something back to society.

Knowledge arrives from failed experiments.

Implement your ideas.

Follow your own ideals and you can never be called a coward.

Work should not be done for money alone.

Don't stand in the way of your own success.

It takes thirteen muscles to frown and only to to smile.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Do you know where Rabbi Matis Weinberg is? (AKA: Reb Matisse, Rabbi Matisse Weinberg)

It's been a long time since Rabbi Matis Weinberg was in the news. Does anyone know what he's up to?

When he was sixteen he was accused of sexually assaulting a minor. In the 1980's there was the case at Kerem Yeshiva (Santa Clara, CA) and then in 2003 at Derech Etz Chaim in Har Nof (Jerusalem, Israel).

Here's some questions regarding Weinberg:
  1. Has he entered into treatment for "alleged" sex offenders yet? If not, why?
  2. Has his friends, community or family tried to encourage him to get help?
  3. Is he being monitored when teenage boys or men in their early 20's are around?
  4. How are his victims doing? Have they gotten the help they need? Is he paying for their treatment?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rejection and Dating (it's silly)

As we all know that sometimes survivors of abuse have a difficult time telling people how they really feel. Often when a survivor is a woman, and trying to find her beshert, she may stumble upon some men that want her phone number. At times it can be hard to tell someone "NO". For that reason I'm sharing the following phone number with you.

Next time someone asks for your phone number and you don't want to give it, provide them with this one:

Rejection Hotline

Prior to giving the number out, call it. It will make you smile.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Clergy as Mandated Reporters - by Vicki Polin

This is from The Awareness Center's mailing list. I thought it was interesting.

Clergy as Mandated Reporters

Testimony presented to the Maryland Senate Committe on SB412 (Feb. 25, 2003)
(© 2003) By Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC
Executive Director - The Awareness Center

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day from Chava

The following was sent from Chava

Today is Independence day. I am so grateful that I am independent. I am no longer in the clutches of my parents who physically and sexually abused me as a child. Today is a day I celebrate because it has so much meaning to me.

I'm going to watch the fireworks and with each explosion I'm going to remember the battle that went on inside my mind as I worked through my memories, and learned to be the person I am today.

I am as beautiful and colorful as the collage in the sky I'll see tonight.


It happened again last night. I had a nightmare that I was running away from a rapist and he was coming closer and closer. People were around trying to help me get away but he was overpowering them. I was getting trapped. I woke up in a cold sweat. It felt like the nightmare lasted forever.

How do you deal with nightmares?

I get out of my bed and go to the couch where I lie down with my feet up on the arm. Somehow that calms my mind and body enough to fall back asleep. This is the yoga pose called the "vacation pose". Other things I can do are to drink peppermint tea, turn on the radio to soothing music, put on a music cd or write in my journal.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Throw Away Children of God? By Vicki Polin

Throw Away Children of God?

© (2003) By Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC

Can you imagine being six years old and being deserted on the streets by your parents? What would you do? How could you fend for yourself? What happens when you get hungry, tired or when darkness comes? Can you imagine the terror?

The term "Throw Away Children" originally referred to kids abandoned by their parents. More recently I've been hearing Jewish survivors (both adults and children) referring to themselves as "throw away children" when it comes to trying to connect with our religious leaders, Jewish communities and God. It's important to remember that even though a person may be physiologically an adult, on an emotional and spiritual level they may still be in their infancy when discussing abuse issues and understanding and connecting with God.

Why you may ask? This happens when an individual isn't given the opportunity to work through various issues, or given the opportunities to learn and develop the needed skills to grow. It's NOT their fault; it's just what happens when a person doesn't have mentally healthy role models or a stable home during their childhood. This can change, with the right interventions. But those wanting to help, have to be able to be "really there" for someone who had been victimized.

When a survivor trusts someone enough to disclose their childhood, and they are ignored and or shunned, it may feel to the survivor as if you are deserting them. If you desert them, they may also feel as if God is doing the same thing.

All too often survivors of childhood sexual abuse feel as if they are wearing a scarlet letter. They often feel as if their very essence is no good. Too many feel as if they have no purpose in life and that they were born evil. It's not uncommon for survivors of all ages (Jewish and non-Jewish) to feel suicidal, and unfortunately too many act out on these feelings. These are just a few of the issues as a community we need to start addressing.

"Maureen", a professor at a major university in the United States said she felt as if she was "a bad, dumb, dirty, little girl" after an encounter with her rabbi. Maureen was having a spiritual crisis, and needed guidance. She went to someone she trusted. She did the right thing, yet the rabbi had no training or experience dealing with abuse issues. He told her that he didn't believe her. The rabbi not only knew Maureen's parents; he also considered them to be his friends. The rabbi couldn't imagine that there could be a connection between Maureen's eating disorder and her childhood abuse. During the encounter, Maureen was crushed. "Her child within" her was emotionally devastated. After several attempts of connecting with other forms of spirituality, Maureen decided that "organized religion wasn't for her". She decided that there was no such thing as a God. "If there was, why would God allow these things to happen to her?" Maureen also figured if none of the rabbi's or other religious leaders (of various religions) could answer her questions, then the concept of a God was just a myth.

Times are changing; Maureen is trying once again to connect with her Jewish identity, along with hundreds (perhaps thousands) of other adult survivors. Our rabbis and communities around the world are being given an opportunity to help heal some deep wounds.

Many adult survivors are filled with a lot of anger, mistrust, and sadness. My hope is that everyone will open their hearts and be able to embrace our victims of the past, so that they can heal and grow. I know it's not going to be an easy task. Imagine thousands of survivors who feel as if they were "throw away children". We will have to learn to listen and allow them to bear-witness. We will also be forced to deal with our own feelings. Many of us will have symptoms of secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, compassion fatigue, and or vicarious victimization. But as a people and as a nation, we MUST help them heal. We need to do this together.

Remember, just as we need to make sure our survivors have support groups, those of us who are working with them also need to be prepared to debrief with each other. The "truths" of survivors can be painful to hear. It is not uncommon for those who are around survivors (rabbis, teachers, parents, spouses, etc.) to have similar symptoms as the survivors. One way to combat this is by networking with others, sharing what you hear with those you trust (as long as you don't violate the identity of the survivors). We may be afraid to hear the deep dark ugly secrets, but as a community we must. As a nation WE CAN do this.

The Season of Lilacs

The following comes from an article written by Rebbetzin Feige Twerski. Her comments touched me in such a way that I wanted to share my thoughts with you. Below Rebbetzin Twerski is talking about her childhood and experiences. It saddens me to say I felt a sense of jealousy. Even though I grew up in a house filled with all the material possessions one could dream of, I was missing the most important thing. I didn't have what she did "A home which was an environment of love, caring and affirmation. My parents, always, even under the most difficult of circumstances, provided us with a home. And my mother was the stalwart spirit that kept everything together."

I am an survivor of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I never knew unconditional love. I was never provided with caring and affirmation. I grew up in a home filled with violence. I feel horrible feeling jealous of someone who grew up in Europe during the time of the holocaust.

Why aren't rabbis or rebbitzens writing articles that I can relate to and understand? It's very painful for me to feel so different. I hate feeling jealous of those who grew up in loving families.

"An apocryphal anecdote is told of a five-year-old child, part of a refugee family, (it could have easily been me) who was approached by an observer and with great pity in their voice, remarked, "You poor darling, wandering from place to place with no space to call home." The child looked up and with great pride countered, "You are mistaken. I do have a home and I have always had a home. I just don't have a house to put it in.

In the formative years of my childhood, fraught with challenges as they were --wanderings, new countries, new languages, poverty, losses -- we always had a home. A home is not defined by mortar and bricks, draperies or furniture. A home is an environment of love, caring and affirmation. My parents, always, even under the most difficult of circumstances, provided us with a home. And my mother was the stalwart spirit that kept everything together."

What is this song about?

What the video and tell me if you think this song about attempted date rape?
Avril Lavigne : Under My Skin : 'Don't Tell Me'

If that link didn't work try this one. Warning you get a lot of pop ups with this one.

Avril Lavigne / Under My Skin / Don't Tell Me

You held my hand and walked me home, alone
While you gave me that kiss
it was something like this
it made me go oh oh
You wiped my tears,
got rid of all my fears
why did you have to go
Guess it wasn't enough to take up some of my love
Guys are so hard to trust.

Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl
the one who gives it all away...yeah

Did you think that I was gonna give it up to you
this time
Did you think that it was something I was gonna do
and cry
Don't try to tell me what to do
Don't try to tell me what to say
Your better off that way

Don't think that your charmed in the fact that your arm
is now around my neck
Will get you in my pants
I'll have to kick your ass and make you never forget.
I'm gonna ask you to stop,
though I like you a lot but I'm really upset (really upset)
Get out of my head, get off of my bed, yeah thats what I said...

Did I not tell you that I'm not like that girl
the one who throws it all away...yeah


This guilt trip that you put me on
won't mess me up
I've done no wrong
Any thoughts of you and me
Have gone...


Better off that way
I'm better off alone anyway

Quotes For Today

A genious is a crackpot whose crazy idea actually works.

A person never knows where his or her influcence ends.

Do NOT let part of you die while you are still alive.

Stand by your friends in their hours of need.

Bad things can and do happen to good people.

Ask advise, but use your own common sense.

Nothing very bad or very good ever lasts too long.

Respect children.

Remember you past achievements.

Every person is the guardian of his or her own honor.

The soul lives longer than the body.

The smallest deed is better than the grandest intention.

Belong to yourself.

Nobody can take your dreams away.

You cannot tell how deep a puddle is until you step in it.

Don't let someone else tell you your dreams cannot be achieved.