The New Age of Pornography
This is shocking : http://www.cnn.com/video/player/player.html?url=/video/tech/2006/03/29/chernoff.drunk.internet.cnn
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.
A family's nightmare touches 3 continents
by Jay Apperson, Staff Writer
The Baltimore Sun
October 15, 1992
Allegations of child-snatching and molestation are not unheard of in custody fights. So why have Orthodox Jewish leaders in three states and on three continents become so deeply involved in the case of Goldberger vs. Goldberger, a husband-wife battle being played out in Baltimore courtrooms?
The answer, in one sense, is simple: Both husband and wife have roots in a New Jersey town that is home to the world's largest rabbinical college. And they lived in Israel and England before moving into Baltimore's close-knit Orthodox Jewish community.
But the reasons go deeper than that. Goldberger vs. Goldberger has aroused passions in Jewish communities from Northwest Baltimore to Jerusalem because it apparently violates two fundamental principles of Orthodox Jewish law. The law forbids one Jew from participating in the jailing of another and discourages Jews from airing disputes in public courts. That's what a Beth Din, or rabbinical court, is for.
In this bitter family conflict, Mr. Goldberger has been indicted on charges of kidnapping and molesting his children. He has countered with charges that his wife, who has pressed the case against him, is mentally ill.
``It's hard for anyone to know what was going on behind closed doors,'' said Eliyohu Krohn, speaking about the case before a recent prayer service at Congregation Machzekai Torah off Park Heights Avenue. Still, he said, ``There was no reason for anyone to take it out on the street. That's the pain here.''
Before Aron and (wife) Goldberger began trading public accusations their arranged marriage was as traditional as any within the Orthodox Jewish community.
Mrs. Goldberger is the daughter of Rabbi Moses Eisemann, who is well known in American Orthodox Jewish circles. Under the terms of the 1980 marriage, Mr. Goldberger was to be a religious scholar and, following custom, the Eisemann family and the Orthodox community would support the couple and their family, according to court records.
``She was and is a beautiful woman and I fell in love with her immediately,'' Mr. Goldberger wrote in 1990, when he still held out hope for a reconciliation.
The couple had two girls while living in New Jersey and three boys after moving to Jerusalem in 1983, court records show. With the couple expecting a sixth child in 1989, pediatricians examining the boys, ages 5, 4 and 2, discovered evidence of physical abuse and reported it to social service workers, said Mrs. Goldberger's lawyer, Susan Carol Elgin.
Mr. Goldberger, however, maintains that he is innocent and that it was members of the Eisemann family who called Social Services in October 1989, making public an allegation that he and others believe should have been kept within the Jewish community.
A month later, Mr. Goldberger and four of the children, including the boys, moved back to Israel. Although he says he left with his wife's blessing, he was later indicted on kidnapping charges.
Mrs. Goldberger paid private investigators to track her husband and children, who passed through Belgium and eventually landed in London. Word of case spreads
After Mrs. Goldberger moved to England, a Beth Din there gave her custody of the children in July 1990 and directed Mr. Goldberger to give his wife a divorce under Jewish law, an order he ignored. By then, the wife had filed for a civil divorce in Baltimore courts. The husband responded by seeking visitation rights and saying his wife was mentally ill.
Word of the case traveled in Orthodox circles, with the wife producing affidavits from rabbis and former classmates of Mr. Goldberger in New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Israel and Baltimore to back her claim that he used his religion as an excuse to avoid work.
``He strikes me as a stubborn and obstinate fanatic,'' Rabbi Yisroel Reznitsky, executive director of the Torah Institute of Baltimore, wrote in one affidavit. ``I have never known him to do an 'honest day's labor' and am not sure about his true religiosity which he purports.''
Claims that Mr. Goldberger is a religious fraud are ``ill-founded,'' said William T. Kerr, who represents him in the civil proceedings. ``I don't mean to say he's not capable of being manipulative, but I think in his mind his pursuit of religiosity is genuine.''
As word of the dispute spread, leaders in Baltimore's Orthodox community began taking sides. Last year, more than 20 rabbis signed a petition, hung in Baltimore synagogues, questioning the sincerity of Mr. Goldberger's religious beliefs.
The petition, printed in Hebrew, reads in part: ``It is also a commandment for each and everybody to distance him, and it is forbidden to befriend him, and nobody should have any business with him at all, except of those relatives after whom he has to mourn.''
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb of Congregation Shomrei Emunah said he signed the petition because Mr. Goldberger reflected poorly on the Jewish community. ``My own personal feeling is when the man was ordered to do something by a rabbinical court and the Circuit Court, he should do so or he'll have to face the consequences,'' the rabbi said.
Interest in the case extends half a world away. An Oct. 2 article in the weekly newspaper In Jerusalem notes that Mrs. Goldberger's father, Rabbi Eisemann, has incurred the wrath of some followers for taking a family squabble to the secular courts -- and for allegedly reporting his son-in-law to Baltimore Social Services workers.
``Wanted posters denouncing his action have been plastered throughout'' religious neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the article states.
Menachem Friedman, professor of sociology at Bar Ilan University in Jerusalem and an expert on the ultra-Orthodox, said the strong feelings surrounding the issue can be traced to ancient times. In those days, Jews kept their conflicts internal because going before a gentile court and swearing before a non-Jewish god was to recognize a gentile sovereignty.
The most amazing reflection of the widespread interest in the case, say the Baltimore lawyers in the custody fight, is the ability of two people who do not hold jobs to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to continue their legal battles.
(wife) Goldberger, 31, finds raising six children to be a full-time pursuit and apparently gets money for legal fees from her family, said Ms. Elgin.
Mr. Kerr said Mr. Goldberger, also 31, cannot easily find work because he has been ostracized in the Jewish community and because his customs and appearance would make it difficult for him to find work elsewhere. ``Aron has his black robes that he wears and they're all he owns. He's not your average member of the community,'' Mr. Kerr said.
Mr. Kerr and other lawyers for Mr. Goldberger are paid by his backers in England and New Jersey. It's money that could be better spent, argue Mrs. Goldberger's attorney and a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the six children.
``This man has raised over $150,000 in a year's time -- for what?'' said Ms. Elgin. ``His children need therapy for what they've gone through. He hasn't paid a dime for that. Yet he fights on. What's his cause?''
Fund-raising efforts for Mr. Goldberger's legal efforts are coordinated by Michael Rottenberg, a board member of Beth Medrash Govoha, the Lakewood, N.J., rabbinical college. ``Unjustifiably humiliated''
``I really felt he was unjustifiably humiliated to the lowest level a human being can be,'' said Mr. Rottenberg, who said he did not know Mr. Goldberger before he was asked by both sides to mediate the dispute. He added, ``The children are not deprived. Whatever they had before, they have now, even more.''
He said the Orthodox Jewish community was largely on the wife's side when the matter first became known, but since then ``even the people who think he may have done something wrong feel he should not be in jail.''
Last month, Baltimore Circuit Judge Edward J. Angeletti sentenced Mr. Goldberger to three years for contempt of court for ignoring an order to pay more than $4,000 a month in child support. That sentence was stayed after Mr. Goldberger's lawyers filed an appeal, but he was locked up again when the child-abduction charges, which had been placed on the inactive docket in 1991, were reactivated by a prosecutor. Mr. Goldberger spent three weeks in jail before he was released on $50,000 bail -- just in time to observe Rosh Hashana. His kidnapping trial is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Mr. Goldberger was indicted Oct. 1 on sexual abuse charges, even as supporters in Baltimore and London negotiated with a rabbi in New York to try to find a way to settle the matter. He surrendered at the Baltimore police Central District last Thursday morning -- a day after he observed Yom Kippur by praying at Congregation Machzekai Torah.
After spending most of three days behind bars, Mr. Goldberger was released Saturday on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 22 on the sexual child abuse charges.
Doug Struck of the Jerusalem Bureau contributed to this article.
In the meantime, out in LA the other shoe has fallen in the Tendler saga.Cases that have a Ner Israel connection:
Sholom Tendler has resigned from both Yeshiva of Los Angeles as Rosh Yeshiva as well as Rabbi of the Young Israel of Beverly Hills, but will be staying in LA ostensibly to open a new yeshiva. Perhaps (Rabbi) Aron Tendler can teach for him, any they can send the boys for their year in Israel to cousin Matis Weinberg.
In order to escape accountability for his/her crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his/her power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he/she cannot silence him/her absolutely, he/she tries to make sure no one listens.I think everyone should read Judith Herman's book Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
First of all, I want to tell you that I share your pain and see that you are still suffering from abuse inflicted upon you at some earlier time. For that, I pray for your release from mental anguish and hope that we will one day be free from this scourge.However, it is painful to me to see that your only (public) association with Judaism and its holidays and times of joy are all linked to sexual abuse; and that the only times you write about Jewish leaders (rabbis) is when you feel they have done something wrong.Please understand that the pain you cause me by constantly writing about these issues in a public way leads me to sincerely question your methods. Since I am committed to kiruv (bringing Jews closer to Judaism) and since I feel that your methods bring (more) Jews away from Judaism (since they constantly create bad feelings by linkage), I must ask you to remove my name from your mailing list.May Hashem send his Healing to you and to all Jews who suffer and may we be zocheh to see the coming of His true prophet soon in our days.Best wishes for a wonderful stress-free yom tov. If you need anything for the upcoming Passover holiday, please let me know and I'll try to help.
There is value in having the legislation in my opinion for the purpose to help those survivors that are living alone with this to step forward. While the numbers are small compared to the majority, they do exist and this will help them in healing. We can’t overlook that.
The problem with the bill of course is that it doesn’t benefit the majority of survivors that have been abused. The church gets to position themselves as being pro child and at the same time escape liability. As much as I hate to say it, it was a brilliant PR move by their lobbyist.
We have to take a direction Monday. That is why I am writing you. During a conference call tonight, we discussed several options. We need to hear from you. This is your legislation. I didn’t think it was right for several of us to make unilateral decisions that would affect everyone. So please give us your feedback.
It was proposed that we explore getting the bill amended to it’s original form. This would be done with the expectation that the amendment would be defeated and the bill will pass. What this does is lets the powers in Annapolis know that this is not acceptable to us as survivors and we will be back again next year. This allows us to send that message without publicly condemning it.Condemning it and seeking to kill it is the second option. The benefit in my opinion is that this legislation ,and one that is a huge victory for the church, gets to be brought up again next year but in the correct format. We are getting stronger and better at this the more we go. We never expected to get this far this year. The risk, and it is a substantial one, is that the church could effectively use this as a PR piece to show that we are all the bad things they say we are. i.e, money grubbers, out to destroy the church, we don’t care about the safety of kids, only ourselves, etc.
We really need to hear from you. Please respond by tomorrow night at the latest and let us know your thoughts. Be sure to respond to Dave Lorenz (Cc’d) and myself also.
Again, I want to thank everyone for all that you do. The letters, the calls, the support, your ideas, it’s a combined effort.
As promised, here is what happened in court on Friday, March 24, 2006 on the case of Rabbi David Lipman.
They court kind of rolled the charged of the sexual abuse of two teenage girls in with the charge of pornography.
First of all, the defense called Lipman's ex-wife to the stand. She came here from out east somewhere. She is an attorney. She testified about how great Lipman is and what wonderful works he did. They were married in 1975, separated in 1992 and divorced in 1995 or 1996 (she couldn't remember the exact year).
The ex-wife testified about how he took 10th graders to Israel for 6 weeks every summer and she went on some of those trips. When the prosecutor asked if Lipman had abused any other family members, she seemed to hesitate before she answered. She said she never heard any allegations of sexual abuse to the children he taught or counseled. The defense attorney brought up the psycho-sexual evaluation and it showed that Lipman had a sexual preference for 14-17 year old children.
Next, the executive director of the People Who Care program spoke. The program helps people in need, such as providing rides to the doctor, for groceries, other social type services, etc. It also runs the Interfaith program. She said he showed up at meetings when a lot of other clergy did not and he spoke to legislators to get various laws changed. She said he is wonderful, but has a mental health problem that needs to be dealt with.
Next, a congragant spoke (a male). He said he is an atheist or an agnostic, but he liked Lipman and said that he is an incredible man. Someone, and it may have been this man, said Lipman is like a walking encyclopedia. (He has a photographic memory.)
A female congregant then spoke and she, too, said how wonderful Lipman is. She said that since the first allegations arose, he lost weight and his voice has changed. (Remember he was missing for 5 weeks. That is when he lost the weight. He was also clean shaven in court.) The woman said he is more rational since his treatment and alluded to the fact he was suicidal before the treatment. She thinks mental illness is involved and he is trying to deal with it.
The judge asked if there was anyone else to speak and they asked that Lipman's present wife speak on behalf of the two teenage girls. This caught everyone by surprise, so there was a 5 minute recess so the attorney could talk with her.
During the recess, the male congregant that spoke was speaking to someone and he couldn't understand why there was a problem with Lipman viewing child pornography....after all....it wasn't hurting anyone. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!
His present wife spoke on behalf of the teenage girls and said the older teen feels guilty that she ever said anything and all of this came about.
At one point, the prosecutor said that Lipman should be punished and jailed and his present wife shook her head with a vehement no.
The defense attorney then spoke and said the sentence for this type of crime is 10-24 years and Lipman was willing to serve 12 years so that the teenage girls did not have to testify. He said his profile shows a low recidivism rate and that the Able assessment that the prosecutor talked about always shows a reaction from men when shown the prepubescent pictures. He said Lipman had avulsion therapy. He said he is not a pedophile and Lipman wants probation. The defense attorney said that Lipman suffered trauma for a substantial period of time as a child.
Lipman went through the River Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in January and just got out last week.
Lipman read a statement saying he had remorse. He said the abuse had been festering in him and he acted out on it and has also had multiple partners. He said he is in a 12 step program. He plans to write another couple of books, is in a 12 step program, and hopes to resume a loving relationship with his wife when he gets out of jail.
The judge spoke and said that this man had a lot to offer, is intelligent, has done good works, etc, but that he does have to pay for his crime. He said it showed how well he was liked by the people that turned out today. (The judge will get a letter from me saying he made a big presumption!)
He was sentenced to 13 1/2 years in jail, starting today. He has no credit for time served. When he has served his term, he will be on lifetime probation, which will cost him $75 per month. The probation came with stipulations, such as no drinking or drugs, etc. He will also be listed as a lifetime sexual predator.
Although we would have liked to see a stiffer penalty, we are happy he did not just get probation.
On April 3, they will have another hearing which it sounds like will roll the child sexual abuse charges into this and there will be no further sentencing.
I think the prosecutor felt they did not have a solid enough case on the child abuse charges because the two teenage girls did not want to testify.