Monday, May 15, 2006

Thread #4 Case of Shmuel Juravel (AKA: Samuel Zev Juravel)

Because of the number of postings discussing the case of Samuel Zev Juravel (AKA: Shmuel Juravel) on thread #3, this new thread #4 has been created here.

If you have information regarding the case contact:
FBI Agent
Scott Sledd
(205) 279-1284

U. S. Postal Inspector
Jeff Arney
(205) 326-2909

Agents from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI arrested Shmuel Juravel (Feb. 21, 2005) at a Birmingham hotel after he arranged to have sex with a minor. Shmuel is the son of Rabbi Moshe and Shulamis Juravel of Baltimore, MD. Rabbi Moshe Juravel is employed by the Torah Institute of Baltimore.


Anonymous Not a friend of Chana Weinberg said...

the reason why I've address my comments to both you and miriam is very simple. Your names were there, and I wanted to address things you stated. If you used anonymous I would have addressed my comments that way.

There are postings here that are addressed to "mom teacher," to Jewish Survivor, etc.

I was reading your last comments regarding Phil Jacobs. I don't think anyone was asking you to break anyone's anonymity. I think the question was a rhetorical one. I didn't ask the question, yet I feel bad for you that it appears you felt defensive.

As for Phil publishing a story . . . I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. From what I've been reading here the survivors of Eisgrau has been waiting for years.

I personally believe that prior to trusting people like chana weinberg, she will need to make both private and a public apology to the survivors of her son Matis Weinberg, and also the survivors of the other cases her and her late husband covered up. I would love to hear Aviva Weisbord apologize to the Eisgrau survivor for breaching confidentiality.

I don't believe in forgive and forget. Especially in these sorts of situations.

May 15, 2006 6:05 PM  
Anonymous yacov said...

actually i wasnt trying to be defensive. i was attempting to see if this was someone who directly asked me to break persons anonymity. my response was intended for that person and its clear that it isnt you. which is a good thing.
anyway, i would agree with you about a public apology. truth is that i am not familiar with the case of matis wienberg. have you or anyone on this blog directly confronted aviva wiesbord or mrs. weinberg? i ould be curious to know what they said. you can be sure that i will ask them about it face to face. just for my own peace of mind i wantto truly know where they stand.
i do believe in forgive, not forget.

May 15, 2006 7:16 PM  
Anonymous not a friend of chana weinberg said...

I did approach them some time ago. It's always interesting when someone very politely changes the topic.

I'll be honest, I'm sick and tired of the bs that goes on. There's a lot up on the internet about Matis Weinberg. It's time that you start reading up. You want to make changes in baltimore, educate yourself. All the articles are up on The Awareness Center's site. Available for everyone to read.

yacov, once your done reading why not report here what you think. I am more then curious to hear what you have to say. I'm sure your friend rabbi dinowitz could also fill you in on his old friend Matis Weinberg.

May 15, 2006 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am not sure if you were trying to take a jab at me in your last response, but it seems that you were. I am the person that e-mailed you to ask you to confirm that a person I was confiding to was not lying to me. I respect your decision not to clarify whether that person really is a survivor.

I am a man of my word and I have not mentioned the subject of our e-mails story on this blog or anywhere else (other than to you in my e-mail). I am not responsible for any of the posts over the last few days asking about the same person in my e-mail. But, you can see from the fact that other people are asking the same questions I asked that this is a big deal to many people.

May 15, 2006 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a friend of Chana Weinberg:

I am very intrigued by the names you posted in your last post. What is it about those people that concerns you?

May 15, 2006 8:35 PM  
Anonymous not a friend of chana weinberg said...

The list contains the name of the faculty of a yeshiva that was shut down in the 1980's. The rosh yeshiva was rabbi matis weinberg. All of these gentlemen were fully aware of the abuse at that yeshiva, most did nothing.

How many of them spoke up when the new allegations against Chana Weinberg's son came up again?

How many of them continue to be silent when new allegations are made against people they know? How many of them currently have ties to Baltimore's Rabbis Hopfer and Heinemann?

May 15, 2006 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I think that yacov has some good intentions I think that his ego is also in play here. He seems to have decided that he is qualified to handle the problem.
Says who? Many people on here are survivors, so yacov, why do you think that you are qualified to manage the response to the problem? I do think that yacov is making somewhat of a difference, but I do not think that he is doing as much as he can with the network that he has established. I think that there is a better way to employ the methods that yacov is using and to maximize the fruits of those efforts. An all out attack on those responsible for this problem is necessary. Survivors must get help, but we must also wage war against the perpetrators. If not, we will continue to have survivors that need help, but we will have done nothing to minimize the amount of perpetrators.

May 15, 2006 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should also add:

How many of them have ties to Ner Israel.

How many of them have ties to Rabbi Yaakov Menken?

May 15, 2006 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to make a comment on the list of rabbis.

Besides some of them having a connection to Ner Israel, Rabbis Hopfer and Heinemann, many also have a close friendship with Eliezer Eisgrau.

How many of them were aware of the allegations made several years ago against Shmuel Juravel?

May 15, 2006 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Why Should I Trust You? said...

Many of us writing on this blog are survivors. It's not uncommon for survivors to have control issues. While we were being abused control over our lives was taken away. We all struggle.

I think yacov's hearts in the right place. I think he only wants to be doing good. I do have my questions though about the way he is going about doing things.

yacov, it might help us all if you tell us a little bit about yourself

How long have you been in therapy dealing with your abuse?

Do you have a degree in criminal justice, social work, psychology or a related field?

Have you had any training working with abuse survivors or dealing with the legal system?

How many books have you read on the topic?

I'm not asking to attack. I'm asking so I can better understand where you are coming from. We have all been hurt and most of us have problems with trust. I don't know sidran and I don't know The Awareness Center. I can look both of them up on the web and skim through their web pages to find out what I want to know. I can't do that with you, so I'm asking you here and now. I want to know why you are the right one to communicate with.

May 15, 2006 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the orthdx rabbi's continue to protect each other..As another poster stated, "I've lost all faith in the orthdx rabbi's"..Their own secret sick society. Who can you trust..not your rabbi's.
There is no defense for SZJ..none at all. He will become someone's lady while in more little boys,SZJ..just big men..and that's your life for the next 30 years, if you live through it.

May 16, 2006 12:19 AM  
Blogger miriam said...

Here we are on thread four so allow me to reference back to thread #3

My questions regarding the awareness center were definitely pointed and meant to be thought provoking not attacking. Before there was any one out there for Jewish Survivors the awareness center was there. The resources they provide are real as well as many informative articles. Just as others question Yacov's methods because he is unknown to them, I had my own opinions with some of the awareness center tactics myself - before Yacov ever said anything to me about his idea. But I have said my piece in thread #3 so no need to repeat.

Whether Phil J is or isn't a survivor should not be debated in public forum I wouldn't want myself discussed in such a way. So what if he is or isn't! I still am pissed that the BJT won't publish about Unravel!!!! Is it money? Or community pressure? Write and ask him. Just because I am a survivor does not mean that I use those experiences to dictate what I do at my job. They blasted Abromoff at the expense of his kids and remain silent on Unravel . . . Outrageous! How about approaching the Baltimore Sun?
Jewish SSV,
Thanks for continuing the discussion; I really don't mean to be attacking I apologize for upsetting anyone. Though you did not answer my questions and one was “why not support other efforts in addition? I still get the impression that Yacov's effort is being regarding as an affront to the awareness center.

Comrades/fellow survivors:
There are two very different pursuits out there and I think to protect survivors they should be separate

""""An all out attack on those responsible for this problem is necessary. Survivors must get help, but we must also wage war against the perpetrators. If not, we will continue to have survivors that need help, but we will have done nothing to minimize the amount of perpetrators. """""

1 help and support for survivors is one pursuit

2 persecuting perpetrators is another.

I believe in my heart that NO ONE will ever minimize the amount of perpetrators. In Jail or out their number WILL stay the same. How about minimizing the amount of victims?!!!? Educate parents how to protect their children. Get that nasty statistic down - the one that says the average pedophile abuses 117 children.

You can't get rid of roaches no matter how many traps you set if you leave all kinds of food laying around exposed. Clean the kitchen and the numbers decline.

Personally, I ONLY publicly discuss abusers of victims I have spoken to or have heard of clear evidence supporting the accusation. I WILL NEVER discredit a victim or their pain. But sometimes for dramatic effect, stories or accusations are sensationalized. Look at our TV or newspapers on Israeli news coverage. When I lived there I was amazed at was being said in the media as was my sister when she was fighting in Iraq. She advised me never believe all of everything you read.

May 16, 2006 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Volunteer at The Awareness Center said...

Please feel free to contact people at the Baltimore Sun. Perhaps you will have better luck then I have or anyone else I know who has attempted to get them to do a story. You may also want to contact SNAP of Maryland to see what their experience has been.

SNAP is an national organization that deals with survivors of priests.

May 16, 2006 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of a sudden, it seems that everyone knows a rabbi that is off a bit..that molests children, boy, girls,baby sitters, All of a sudden ! And that these rabbi's are still teaching, involved in schools, WHY ? HOW can this be ?Why haven't the authorities been notified and why haven't these people been arrested ?
What's the story ?

May 16, 2006 4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Baltimore people seem to be very concerned about local newspaper coverage about all the perversion going on. Why haven't the people gone to the police, in person or through phone calls to complain. Why haven't the people gone to the FBI (child molestation is a federal offense). Why ?
Are all the people in Baltimore, that know what has been and is going on, afraid of the frum community ? Seems so !
Reading all the blogs reference to juravel and other alleged pervets,I'm truly amazed that no formal complaint has been filed with authorities.

May 16, 2006 4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget about this person Phil Jacobs writing a story. It's obvious he isn't going to. Take your complaints to the FBI and the police, now. Not tomorrow, today.
Weed out these people that are entrusted with the children.

May 16, 2006 4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Baltimore people seem to be very concerned about local newspaper coverage about all the perversion going on."

The problem is that a lot of people in the community are afraid to go to police. They don't want to go against the ravs of the community. If they don't comply their children will no longer be able to go to schools of their choice, as their children get older they won't be able to get a good shudduch (match for marriage). Don't you understand how important these things are?

Going to goyisha law enforcement would take power away from those in leadership roles. You would be considered a rasha!

May 16, 2006 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All of a sudden, it seems that everyone knows a rabbi that is off a bit..that molests children, boy, girls,baby sitters, All of a sudden ! And that these rabbi's are still teaching, involved in schools, WHY ? HOW can this be ?Why haven't the authorities been notified and why haven't these people been arrested ?
What's the story ?"

It's obvious you are not living in the frum world. There's a fear that by going to the secular authorities the world would see that the perfect world we are attempting to project isn't real. We have been taught from a very early age that going to the secular authorities would start another progrom (holocaust).

For centuries we have lived separate from the rest of society. It's the only thing that keeps us safe. It's what HaShem commanded of us.

May 16, 2006 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know it's not just sexual abuse that the rabbis in Baltimore are hushing up. What about the case a few years ago when one teen ran over another teen with his car over drugs?

There's also the issue with the arson fires at Machzikei Torah and Etz Chaim. First the Jewish Times wrote about a frum teen setting the fires. Then a year later they said it was an accidental fire.

I don't think the teen who was convicted of arson feels it was an accident

Why are the rabbis and community in Baltimore trying to rewrite history?

May 16, 2006 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe people are suggesting that going to the local authorities will cause another holocaust. If anything, the fact that people are not going to the authorities will lead to a holocaust. Because noone is going to the authorities nothing is being done. In turn, molestors are getting more bold and the problem is spreading as they create more and more victims. Imagine how "perfect" goyim will think frum Jews are when they see we are not taking care of the problem, but dismissing it. Even more, Juravel molested jewish children in Baltimore and Savannah, but he went to Alabama to purchase NON-JEWISH children for sex. Just think about what would have happened if he had been succesful. You are worried about PROGROMS? When molestors are more bold and molest non-jewish children you will see the wrath of the world. If we continue not to involve outside authorities your fear may actually be well founded. But, the Rabbis are a joke on this subject and we must not involve them. The big Rabbis are compounding the problem. Just look at the Kolko story in
torah vodas. Look at the rabbis at torah vodas' reaction. Now the whole story is published in the New York Magazine. Rabbis do nothing. We must turn to our neighbors for help this time. The rabbis are corrupt and all about money.

May 16, 2006 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Some of what you said is true, but I have to disagree with you on minimizing the amount of molestors. They are like cockaroaches, but the number can be lowered. We have to break the barrier of silence. Once the Baltimore molestors see that the community lashes back when they molest instead of protecting them some potential molestors might be discouraged from acting on their sick urges. It will not completely eliminate the problem, but it will minimize the number of molestors. But first the molestors must see what happens to a molestor. We must pursue the perpetrators ruthlessly. Helping survivors is important, but only part of the solution. Victims should contact this Herman attorney in Miami Florida. He is a frum jew and was on the O'Reilly Factor because he has succesfully sued a bunch of Priest abusers. He is now taking on Rabbis who are corrupting Jewish children. He just filed a suit against Torah Vodas and Kolko. This is the only way to do this. Full speed ahead.

May 16, 2006 11:16 AM  
Anonymous yacov said...

my name is yacov, i am a survivor of sexual and spirtual abuse. i am not "wonderful". nor do i have THE SOLUTION to all of the issues revoloving around sexual abuse. i am not a liscenced anything. i have no credentials and i am not trying to espouse my way. this isnt about me and it will happen with or without me. i am merely carring a message, a small part that i believe is a crucial component to break the shame and devastaion we so proudly carry. i have been facing the issues for 10 years in therapy and in groups of up to 50 survivors. i am NOT a guru. i CANNOT take away anyones pain or possibly do enough to make it all right. but WE can do our part. and WE can make a difference. and WE allready are!

i do believe that it is imperative to go after and stop perpetrators. that is not what i'm doing. but it sounds like you might want to volunteer to lead that cause! go for it! the more people we have working the different aspects of these issues the better off this town and this world will be. please, if you have questions of me, want to introduce yourself, feel like spitting at me, whatever...

if i come acroos with an ego, i am open to hearing suggestions on how to adjust my wording. i am just another survivor. not the messiah.

May 16, 2006 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The suggestion to go to the FBI and provide information for charges is EXCELLENT.

The FBI is expert in keeping identities private. The U.S. Attorney's office will do likewise.

This is a matter for professionals.

If someone is guilty, the F.B.I. will do what it takes to lock this person up for a long time. The F.B.I. will also make sure that this person can't just move and do it again.

If someone is not guilty, the F.B.I. and/or U.S. Attorney will find that out.

If we merely state names and charges, this does not get any one off of the street and protect our children. The perpretrators can simply move and change names.

If the person is guilty, this person needs to be put where no one will be hurt.

If people had gone to the F.B.I. years ago, S.J. would have never been out to move to Savannah.

Each person who could go to the F.B.I. and does not is enabling a perpretrator to do it to someone else.

Each person who goes to the F.B.I. and helps to get someone else off of the street prevents the abuse of countless individuals.

May 16, 2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous yacov said...

why r u not posting my full comments?

May 16, 2006 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can be done to help SJ's other vicitms--his unsuspecting children and wife? As the trial date nears, I fear for the repercussions that will undoubtedly negatively affect the children. What can the community do to make sure that they are not unduly harmed for something that is no fault of their own.

Oh, and yes, I do understand that what SJ did was reprehensible. For him, I am hoping that the judicial system works the way it should.

May 16, 2006 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juravel's wife and children are being well taken care of. Everyone here is aware that they are also victims of his.

I know for a fact that our community in Savannah is more then willing to take care of them.

May 16, 2006 6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the "frum" community, no matter where they live are like a bunch of sheep being led by a bunch of corrupt rabbi's, who's interest is their own preservation, there own welfare and their own living.
Two rtabbi's just bought all the first class tickets from Israel to the US so they wouldn't have to see any woman on board. NUTS. Who's money..not there's.
Anyway, I've become very disillusioned with the rabbi's, the "blackmail" used by them,,"turn me in and your kids can't go to school"..The whole thing is sick. I'm on my own from now and Hasham..that's all I need.

May 16, 2006 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear All,
In the beginning of my family's current small holocaust I did read this blog. I needed to know who it was that I had been married to for the last 8 1/2 years. There were so many questions and I just wanted answers. I can't thank the Jewish Survivors Website enough for helping me get the answers that I needed. There was a time that I decided I had learned enough and so I stopped reading the blog. I felt there was nothing left to be said that would make things worse - it was as bad as it could get.
But, I was wrong. I have had a few people confront me about certain issues that I'd like to clarify.

#1 I have NO idea what happened in Wyoming and when he was there. It is among the many unanswered questions that still remain.

#2 This is the reason why I am posting: There is only one person that can stop a rumor from continuing and that is the source of the rumor. Since I am the source of this rumor, I have decided to post on this blog. I want to clarify something about YK. People THINK that he set us up. But, he did not. Yes, we were friends and we have many friends but Shmuel and I "MET" each other and were NOT introduced or set up by YK. Shmuel and I were hanging out with a bunch of friends and we struck up a conversation on our own and our dating life began from there. Now, why did we say that YK "set us up". It is because of the way Baltimore works. Look who his parents are and their friends. In their world there is no "meeting" your b'sheret. There is only being "set up". So, that was the answer we gave when the FRUM community would ask,"Who set you up".

I also want you to understand how brilliant a mind Shmuel has. He had his family and an entire community fooled. Why would you blame other people or try to mess up someone elses life, like YK, for something that only Shmuel did wrong? You can only blame SHMUEL! If people knew anything about Shmuel's past and didn't tell me it was because they didn't have the heart. They knew I would immediately side with Shmuel. Nothing would make me believe that such a thing was true. Not to mention they would loose my friendship. I don't blame people who may have known and didn't tell me. And, if I feel that way than surely you should, too.

I think this blog has a lot of good it can do but I also think it is getting out of hand. I think people are trying to blame others for what Shmuel did wrong.

I can't thank my family, friends and wonderful community for all their love and support. Savannah has been a true blessing. I now realize how much harm could have been done in so many different ways to my children had we have lived anywhere else (especially in Baltimore). Savannah has done everything right to protect and support us and other victims, by recognizing the problem and trying to offer the community all it can to protect this from ever happening again.
My family and I are doing very well, considering the circumstances. This is only because of the love and care that surrounds us on a regular basis. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

p.s. I don't plan to read the blog or responses in the future. I just want people to be informed.

May 17, 2006 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is there any way of verifying that the last post was actually from Janie, and not written by YK or someone trying to take the spotlight off of him?

May 17, 2006 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be honest I believe the letter was written, dictated orchestrated by YK. He's extremely manipulative and a master of convincing people of all sorts of things.

May 17, 2006 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting to read the letter just posted. I had a heated discussion with YK. He told the story of how Shmuel and his wife met. He went on and on about how guilty he felt with the introduction. One time he stated he felt bad he didn't warn her about the rumors he heard. Another conversation he said he never heard any allegations.

I am still wondering what the truth is.

May 17, 2006 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that letter is real, and I also believe there is truth to it. The focus of this thread is Shmuel, not YK. I think that even if she was warned, it wouldn't have helped since Shmuel is clearly a very manipulative person who had lots of people fooled for a very long time.

May 17, 2006 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that YK set them up! He boasted how they flew him into Jacksonville and then drove in to pick him up and take him to the Vort in Savvannah!! Because he was the famuous shadchan! This is so YK... I heard he is freaking out with all this stuff coming out about him... Why would Janie write a whole letter focused on YK. We care about her and the kids not the manipulative shadchan!

May 17, 2006 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This letter was NOT written by Janie! I am not Janie but I know as a fact that YK made the shidduch. This "beutiful" well written letter was probably written by YK's mother (a writer for many publications)to protect YK. Whoever did write this letter is a terrible person in my opinion. I can never imagine what Janie and her family are going through and for a person to write such a letter pretending that they are Janie is not just wrong but is cruel. My prayers are with Janie and her family.

May 17, 2006 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YK's most famous line:
"I can sell ice to an eskimo!"
Yeah well he sure can... the question is, YK, how many times will the "eskimo" fall for it? We all are getting to know who you are and what you are all about... I must say Your charisma definately got me for a while!

May 17, 2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading that letter I am not very sure whether Janie is the author. Is there someone who can credibly verify if this was Janie?

May 17, 2006 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Very Speculative said...

I am not convinced that this letter was posted by Janie. It just seems too, well, fake. Janie has spoken with her in-laws and her in-laws do know why and when Shmuel went to Wyoming. I think it is pretty safe to assume that the real Janie does know when and why Shmuel was in Wyoming by now. Whoever thinks they are playing these unbelievable games by posting as Janie---this is not a joke. What is wrong with you?

May 17, 2006 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you want verification that the phone call was from janie, look up the number. you'll see it's listed under juravel.

i know cuz i was the one who gave her your number. i spoke with her. she felt terrible that nobody was believing her letter and asked for your number so she can call you. i gave it to her. it was absolutely her who called.

check it out if you don't believe me. look up the number and see who's it is. if you want, i can also verify her voice.

in fact, you also know her voice, remember you met her and her kids??

May 17, 2006 6:58 PM  
Blogger Joey Rosen said...

OH MY GOD! First of all you are all crazy for letting this continue like this for so long. If you dont have the guts to post on here with your name then DONT POST!

I am very close to Janie and it was her that wrote the letter. I spoke to her about it when the responses started getting out of hand.

It was not posted by YK or his family!


She just wants all of the gossip to stop and focus on the real issues!

I dont even bother reading your crap anymore because none of you have the facts and are just speculating.

Come on everyone, lets focus on the important issues and try to prevent this from happening again and treat the victims that were affected.

Janie and her family have gone through enough! Shmuel is getting and will continue getting his punishment.


May 17, 2006 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of "cult" do all the frum people live in. You all seem to be so afraid of "the rabbi's) and they can do to you and your family. What kind of way is this to live. To be afraid of your rabbi ?NUT's !.
If you go against them,, they will get you ? ! NUT's.
No wonder everyone is "sick" one can think for themselves..just follow the beards, blindly and do what they say..but don't for get to give to their living. It's all a racket, a big con game at the expense of people who think that their doing right for fear of fear.
NUT's. !

May 17, 2006 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To YK and his supporters:
We all know that Janie did NOT post that message so please stop wasting your time. It's time to try another game. But just be warned, we are not easly fooled so you will have to think of something better.

May 17, 2006 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous poster; Janie spent two or three weeks with juravel's parents and they must have known why he went to Wyoming. The FBI will find out !
It's interesting that no one knows "nothing" when it comes to this juravel person and yet everyone knows everythingh about this person. Alot of people are surely scared that they might be implicated in a cover up. Hope they all get caught as their as guilty as he is by aiding in the cover of this person juravel. Seems there all scared of what the rabbi's will say ! Must be awful to live in such fear. Only fear Hasham, all other are only mortals,although the rabbi's would like you to believe that their Hashem's "direct" agents.

May 17, 2006 11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How Does Jewish Law Define Sexual Abuse?
© (2006) Rabbi Mark Dratch

There are things that should go without saying that nevertheless need to be said, and said loudly!

There are recent and widespread reports that a certain prominent Jewish religious authority dismissed allegations of sexual abuse against a rabbi and teacher because according to Jewish law there was no abuse. The report claims that this prominent posek ruled that since there was no genital penetration by the alleged perpetrator there was no abuse.

I do not know if this report is factual. I do know that the ruling is NOT consistent with Jewish law. One does not need a Code of Law to forbid such acts; they are inherently repulsive and repugnant (Rambam, Shemoneh Perakim, ch. 6). But one does not have to search far and wide in Jewish legal literature itself in order to find the forbidden nature of these activities that seem to have been dismissed so cavalierly. Failure to speak out against the misrepresentation of Jewish law would be a violation of the biblical injunction to “Keep far from a false matter (Ex. 23:7)” (Shevu’ot 30b-31a) and would render one guilty of being megaleh panim ba-Torah she-lo ke-Halakhah—rendering an interpretation of the Torah not according to Halakhah (Avot 3:11, Sanhedrin 99a).

1. Although penetration may be required to render an intimate act occurring between a man and woman to be adultery, with all of its pursuant consequences (Rambam, Issurei Bi’ah 1:10; Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer 20:1), or to render an intimate act occurring between two men to be considered an act of homosexuality, with all of its pursuant consequences (Rambam, Issurei Bi’ah 1:14), nevertheless sexualized contact of any kind between ineligible partners (and that certainly includes a teacher and his students!), including kissing and fondling, is forbidden and is subject to punishment according to Jewish law (Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer 20:1), either biblically or rabbinically (See Bet Shmuel and Helkat Mehokek).

1. Jewish law forbids intentional self arousal and illicit thoughts. It even forbids a number of benign activities that may bring about sexual stimulation. (Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer 23:3,4,6,7) Certainly Halakhah forbids explicit activities that are inherently sexualized and whose very intent is to offer the perpetrator sexual arousal and pleasure!

1. The Talmud, Sanhedrin 75a, records and Rambam, Hil. Yesodei ha-Torah 5:9, codifies the following story that supports the contention that any sexualized behavior or interaction between those that fall into the category of arayot (forbidden sexual partners) is prohibited: “Rav Yehudah said in Rav's name: A man once conceived a passion for a certain woman and his heart was consumed by his burning desire (even to the point of his life being endangered.) When the doctors were consulted, they said, “His only cure is that she shall submit (to him sexually).” Thereupon the Sages said: “Let him die rather than that she should yield.” Then [the doctors said]; “let her stand nude before him.” [The Sages answered,] “Sooner let him die.” Said the doctors, “Let her (at least) converse with him from behind a fence.” The Sages replied, “Let him die rather than she should converse with him from behind a fence.”

1. Jewish law prohibits emotional assault and abuse. Victims of abusers—even those that do not penetrate them—live with the memories of the abuse for a lifetime and often suffer PTSD and suffer from psychological and emotional distress. The verse, “You shall not wrong one another; but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 25:17) prohibits emotional distress (Baba Metzi’a 58a). This is referred to as ona’at devarim (verbal wronging) and includes any speech or activity which maliciously attacks another’s sense of self (Rashi to Lev. 25:17) or causes emotional or psychological pain. (Rashi, Baba Metzi’a 59b, s.v. hutz; Rambam, Sefer ha-Mitzvot, no. 251).

1. Abusers also violate “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18) and “What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbor.” (Shabbat 31a ).

1. Such behavior is clearly a hillul Hashem, a desecration of God’s Name. No civilized society would accept such treatment of their children! Suggesting that the Torah permits such abuse causes people to say: “Woe unto him who studied the Torah; woe unto his father who taught him Torah; woe unto his teacher who taught him Torah! This man studied the Torah: Look, how corrupt are his deeds, how ugly his ways; of him Scripture says: ‘In that men said of them, “These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of His land”.’” (Yoma 86a) Can it be that the very children that the Jewish people brought as our guarantors at the time of the receiving of the Torah (Shir Ha-Shirim Rabba 1:3) should be sacrificed, abandoned and abused by that very Torah?

1. These acts are a clear violation of the Torah’s warning to refrain from sexual impropriety and other forms of immorality that define decadent and depraved societies: “After the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, shall you not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, where I bring you, shall you not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. You shall do My judgments, and keep my ordinances, to walk with them; I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 18:3-4)

May 17, 2006 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Satisfied that it's Janie said...

The fact that Joey posted is confirmation enough for me that Janie wrote that letter. So, please stop accusing others of posting. It obviously was Janie. Still, one question is left unanswered. Janie spent Pesach with her in-laws, or at least near them. By now she must know why Shmuel was in Wyoming because his parents know. Janie, would you mind clarifying the Wyoming stuff for us? Thank you.

May 18, 2006 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joey is right. Forget about this YK dude unless someone has some hard proof that he is guilty of all that everyone has been accusing him of. Lets focus on helpng victims and bringing down those responsible, especially the Rabbis!

May 18, 2006 12:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Joey Rosen? Is he a friend of YK or Juravel's wife?

May 18, 2006 12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joey Rosen is originally from Savanah and became very good friends with the shadchan YK.
And for the guy that needs "hard proof" on YK... Gosh!! Just look at the young babysitter he married and wont let out of the house alone... he started "dating/grooming" her when she was 14! She even continued "babysitting" for months after YK's ex-wife moved out of Baltimore with the kids.

May 18, 2006 1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"focus on the issues..."
what issues do you exactly want to "focus"? this blog is for surviviors to speak out. period. what are you going to "focus" on with shmuel now that the fbi is "focusing" on him? you should have "focused" on shmuel 10 years ago! I think its important to talk about anything that refers to abuse and molestation so we can all start "focusing" on those still out there. If people would know we have ZERO tolerance to abuse and anything remotely close, there will be NO abuse. period. I am not reading this blog anymore, just put this up for clarification.

May 18, 2006 1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"forget about yk and bring down the rabbis..."
you are an utter fool. the rabbis have not done any crime. this is a democratic country and you chose the rabbis to lead your community and you chose not to go to the police with these crimes for the past decade! blame yourself and your abusive friends and not the rabbis. take responsibility for once and stop the constant babbling.

May 18, 2006 1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spoke to Janie the day after she wrote the posting. I cannot believe that this forum is descending into such speculation.

Janie spent 3 weeks away from Savannah...with HER relatives. She spent a little time with her in-laws to work out some issues and to keep the door open for the grandparents of her children. It was not a 3 week intensive debriefing on the problems with SJ.

Joey Rosen is one of Janie's best friends...someone who cares about her well-being.

Can we focus on the real issues now? Everyone get the mishugas out of their systems?

This thread is supposed to be about helping the survivors of Shmuel's misdeeds. Let's get back to that.

May 18, 2006 7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is Joey Rosen? I don't know. Is it possible that Janie wrote the letter? Small chance and if she did than she probably did so because shes afraid of YK who is starting to feel the hot water. Either way there are people here like myself who are afraid of YK and that is why we are not posting our names. I have one thing to say and that is: I know as a fact that YK made the shidduch.

May 18, 2006 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I understand better why the Rabbis may not always act as quickly as some want.

People make unsubstantiated charges and then smeer until it is believed true.

Then someone says "get the rabbis first".

When there is a report, how do the rabbis know if it is true or not?

I have been told that only individuals qualified to make that analysis can know.

If we want to address this, we need to all work together.

Rabbis are human. Some are bad and should be dealt with. Most are not and sacrifice to be able to serve communities.

Many times, victims have not reported the crimes to authorities for proper investigation. They don't do so because of fear for embarressment, how it affects shidduchs for the family etc.

When there may be an incident with a Rabbi, it appears that the Rabbis take the same path as the victims who don't report. Their reasons are similar.

I understand that after an abuse or series of abuses, the pain may be so great that someone would want to just get it behind them.

If we don't create an environment where these crimes are reported and the rest of us openly support that person, we are part of the problem.

All who are aware of abuse and do not report it are part of the problem. All who smeer without proof are also part of the problem. Every unsubstantiated report makes the next victims's report less likely to be believed.

P.S. Joey, look at the way you have been treated for your courageous post. The rest of us fear the same treatment. We fear it because of the smeer and accuse approach some are taking.

Imagine how scared a victim would be to report in this environment.

May 18, 2006 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been very silently reading these threads from the beginning. What should be a place for victims and survivors to find answers has turned into a thinly veiled gossip column. I am so aggravated that Janie took the time to try to answer questions, and because there were those who did not like her answers, her post has been denounced as a fraud. Our Rabbi's name has been sullied with half truths and innuendos. Even Joey has been a target. Our community has responded to this horrible incident swiftly, with programs and education for parents and children. Janie and her family have been a source of inspiration, if she can move forward, then so can we. I would hope that the families of any local victims contact the FBI, as requested, and take their children for counseling. Who cares what happened in Wyoming, does it change what happened in Savannah? or what he was intending to do in Alabama? No. Janie tried to set HER record straight, yet those who want to see things differently will. If you have questions, and you feel that you need the answers for your own healing and recovery, then find the stregnth in yourself and contact the family directly. If you think that in Savannah, there is a conspiracy involving our Rabbi, then call him directly. I think it has been much easier hiding behind half truths and lies than taking the responsibility of finding out what is the truth.

May 18, 2006 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Sandon W. Siegel said...

This is the first time I have written on any Blog, ever. When the news of Shmuel was publish in the Savannah Morning News, I wrote separate letters to the editor and the reporter expressing my shock that the family home address was printed in the newspaper. I did hear back from the editor but I won’t go into that. It is not important now.

I rarely read the Blog because it is mostly damaging and ongoing rhetoric. I only read it when someone suggests that I look at a specific entry. I’ve watched with amazement and much disgust as my friends and neighbor go on a witch-hunt, giving opinions and making accusations of such serious and damaging nature to others when most of you know nothing of what happened. I see postings of hearsay, speculation, accusation and mostly nonsense out of ignorance. I rarely discuss the matter with people because I have little knowledge of the facts. Note the word “facts”…it’s key.

Now I read that many of you are making assumptions toward a letter that a mother of three wrote pouring her heart out to satisfy your lynch-mob thirst. You have also attacked a prominent family who has done more to help this community than any other family. The mother, her children and the family deserve better. Petty jealousies and love of sensationalism have lowered the community into a state of Loshon Hora that is hurting so many others and much of the hurt will be permanent and will change many long-time relationships. I know the mother and her children and they will forever be victims as will the rest of the family. What do you people do when you are not writing on Blogs? Are you hooked on Soap Operas?

Trust me, I am not a Shmuel sympathizer in any sense of the word; I sympathize with the growing list of victims this Blog is creating.

My heart also goes out to the children whom Shmuel "knew" and their families. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. The rest of us who are guessing should just bow out and let these people heal as much as is humanly possible. The law will do what is necessary. Hashem will do the rest.

Sandon W. Siegel

May 18, 2006 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Not Just Babble said...

There have been several postings over the past few days that beg for a response.

First, Joey Rosen is one of Janie's best friends. If he says he knows for a fact that Janie posted the letter, then she did.

Next, Mr. Siegel, you are correct that this blog has ventured towards speculation on occasion. However, this blog is not only read by and intended for Savannah. Many of these posts are written by Baltimorians and have to do with that community, not Savannah. You do not know what goes on in Baltimore and you are not privy to what is or is not true about Baltimore and its sexual abuse problems. Some of Baltimore's questions will involve Savannah since this particular case with Juravel overlaps between the cities.

Also, I do not see how anyone has attacked Joey as you stated in your post. It seems that people who do not know him are merely asking who he is. Now, one person claims that Joey is Yk's good buddy. That might be true or it may not be, I do not know. But that would not detract from the fact that Joey definitely is very good friends with Janie and that his posting is true. (I cannot believe I am actually wasting my time writing this).

As a sidenote, whether someone is or is not friends with YK does not verify that he is or is not a bad guy. Many of us thought Shmuel was a good guy and we were wrong. I do not know whather the YK posts are fact or fiction. Just because I do not know or because Joey or Mr. Siegel say that it is hearsay does not make it hearsay. On the other hand, do not throw out random accusations without some sort of proof. From what I can see, nobody has thrown out any hard proof that YK molests or abuses. Not one person has come forward and claimed to be YK's victim. Rather, people have decided on his wife' behalf that she was groomed and abused. Without more, that is hearsay when one claims that he abuses and molests. Without hard proof please do not publish more garbage about YK. If you have hard facts then maybe people should listen.. But not "blah blah I see his 14 year old wife". Do not venture into other people's bedrooms unless you are 100% sure that there is a public interest reason for you to be there.

Next, closed minded Baltimore people: why would you publish stupid comments about how you "know for a fact that YK made the shidduch." Janie explicitly told you that he did not, but that they told people that he did when people asked who made the shidduch. In Baltimore and in your closed minded heads people only get togethor through shidduchs. In reality, that is not how it always happens. Still, some people choose to tell frummies that some person was the shadchan because some people just don't understand that some people meet, go out, and get married without another intermediary. It is very common and apparently that is how Janie and Shmuel got togethor.

As for the Savannah Rabbi, he is a very good guy and has done a lot for the community. I have not heard anyone make horrible comments about him. I have seen some posts about how some people warned him about Shmuel in advance. I do not know whether that is true but I have heard that it is. It is quite possible that the Rabbi was only warned that there was something wrong with Shmuel, not that he was a molestor. Even if he was warned that he was a molestor from an anonymous caller, how much credibility could he give that caller? I would have thought that it was just Shmuel's enemy trying to ruin him by making up rumors. Shmuel was moving into the community regardless of whether anyone wanted him to. He was not asking the Rabbi for permission and he was not applying for a Rabbinical position. Savannah had not dealt with this type of problem before now and I am sure that the Rabbi probably would not have paid much attention to an anonymous call. I am sure he will check out warnings in the future in light of what has happened.

Finally, Rabbi defeender/ "you are an utter fool for bringing down Rabbis person." Who says people have not gone to the police. There is a big problem with many Rabbis, not all of them. I do not elect them into their posts. Some of them are good, but many only put up a facade in order to make money and hook up with the big-shots who line their pockets. These days people are expected to pay respect and stand for a person just because he is called a Rabbi. I think that too many people are called "Rabbi" and without merit. Do not bring down the good Rabbis, but we can certainly do without some of them. And the Rabbis running the Baltimore community and covering up for abusers should go. Big names like Hopfer and Heinemann should not be a right of passage. The way that Rabbis handle this problem is a big part of the reason why we are dealing with the Juravel mess. It should stop. And someone whould finally bring down Eisgrau, a person who without more, has numerous molestation alegations against him, was responsible for Shmuel and enjoys the protection of prominent Rabbis. Eisgrau is the principal of a school filled with kids and they must be protected and he must be removed.

May 18, 2006 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If molesters where molested as kids, who was the first molester? Did he do it by accident?

May 19, 2006 2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why, if this rabbi eisgvau and other rabbi's are still in their places in the community, if the charges are true. Why are they all still there ? Why ?
Doesn't the community care ? Doesn't the parents of the children care ? Are they all to afraid of these rabbi's ? What's going on. Please explain this mind set in the Baltimore community.
Did people know about this juravel person years ago ? If so, why was he allowed to continue to go on ?
The Jewish Baltimore community seems like a B grade horror movie, with a bunch of frum zombies walking around, heads down, not hearing,seeing, speaking about anything except how much they all study..and for what ? To allow monsters like juravel the freedom to molest kids.

May 19, 2006 3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Baltimore Zombie", I think you nailed it on the head. That is exactly what the Baltimore people are like. Everyone loves to talk about how frum they are and how much hey learn. For the most part, they are ignorant about what goes on around them. But, all of that learning and preaching is for naught when they sanction the actions of people like Juravel and Eisgrau, or at least ignore it and pretend that it does not happen.

May 19, 2006 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Worch Victim said...

I'm reading what's posted here about YK. The Awareness Center didn't help with Reb Hershy Worch so I called Luke Ford. You might want to do the same.


Here's what he has up on my abuser

May 19, 2006 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These blogs have really opened my eyes to the perversity that is taking place right under our combined noses. I truly find it hard to believe but it's real.
There is no way that I will entrust my children to any rabbi or educator from now on out. My trust has been destroyed, my faith in the rabbi's has been destroyed.
Who can you trust ? No one !
The "nice" rabbi that you speak to with utmost respect, may be the molester of your child hiding behind his tallis of rightness.
No way will I drop my son off to learn, on a one on one basis with any rabbi, I don't care whit he is.
And sending him away to a Yeshiva, Please, you got to be kidding !

May 21, 2006 1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Not Just Babble:
Read your comments. Agree with most. Disagree with your response about the savannah rabbi who was warned about this juravel person. Even if he didn't take action , even if he wrote it all off , he still promoted this juravel person within the shul. He had him on the bema every Saturday..even though this juravel person never dovened on his own. This pjuravel person would come to shul, walk around during services, be in the hall with the kids, take to the big shots but never would he doven. Would come to shul every evening to speak to people but never doven. When something was said about it, the reply was "well he prayed at home,already".. Nonsence..Everyone could see it, most chose not to say a word because this person juiravel raised money for the shul..the rabbi contributed to the "importance" of this person, the elevation and approval of this person. the rabbi turned his head the other way,chose not to say anything, even though he was warned several years ago about juravel. even rabbi's can learn lessons..hope the savannah rabbi learned one.

May 21, 2006 2:45 AM  
Blogger -army-of-one- said...

I don't know about all that. I just know that Yaakov Hopfer likes to harass people in general about a variety of issues.

May 21, 2006 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it sure would be helpful if each blog entry were numbered

May 21, 2006 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The claim that the rabbis are in some sort of cabal is spurious.

The fact is that there was a police investigation of potential problems at TI. Evidence counts more than hearsay.

May 21, 2006 1:40 PM  
Anonymous yacov said...

Please note: This message has been edited.

tueday may 30 at 5 pm is the next meeting organized by yacov. The meeting is for survivor/rabbi.

yacov has been getting a tremendous amount of feed back since the last meeting and a few suggestions have come forward.

firstly, he wants to make clear to everyone that this is your meeting. every suggestion that comes forward i will bring to you and we will structure it the way you guys want it. this is a team effort. ok. a few suggestions...

1) in order to limit or minimalize the potentail for revictimization that we keep the focus of our stories not on the specifics of the sexual abuse, but rather on how it has affected our lives. i.e. how has my abuse effected me physically, emotionally, spirituall, financially, in my relationships with others, my self esteem, etc.what is it like to walk around with a burning sense of shame, etc. what has my recovery process been like, what do i have to do to keep breathing and function within my society?

2)have a clinician in the room with us as a safegaurd. to remind us not to take on each others pain,to help keep us present and respectful of each others boundries, etc.

3) have a debriefing session afterwards, maybe the following night or so.

4)limit the sharing time so that we are not in there for three hours and keep the sharing focused on our subject.

remember these are all suggestions. please voice your opinions and concerns as to how you would like to see this unfold.

i just got off the Phone with R doniel Lerner who very much wants to participate. so as of right now we have 3 rabbis coming.

we are making major strides! our educating the rabbis is an action step that has not sucessfully occured to this date! recognize the tremendous courage that it took for each of you to even agree to come to the meeting. amazing!

lets keep moving forward!

again, please forward this to ANY survivor that you know. i trust your discretion. and you are all welcome

May 21, 2006 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if this is everyone's meeting, how come there isn't a meeting for all of the survivors prior to the meeting? I think it would be a good idea so that we can all vote on what it is we want to do, and how to do it.

May 21, 2006 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yacov is the meeting only for survivors who are orthodox? or is it for all survivors? I also was wondering if it's only for survivors who are survivors of rabbis? incest survivors? rape survivors or what? Your message is sort of confusing.

i like the idea of having a meeting before the meeting. i want to know who else is speaking at the meeting before I decide to show my face. how do we know that things will stay confidential at the meetings? how do we know that the rabbis present won't use our stories to hurt us in the future?

i have all sorts of questions and concerns about doing this

also who is the therapist who's going to be there. will they keep everything confidential? who's paying for the therapists time? who picked the therapist?

May 21, 2006 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Brucie said...

Is R"Aron Feldman attending the meeting?Or Beryl Weisboard he is brilliant

May 21, 2006 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mentioned that you now have Rabbi Doniel Lerner coming to the meeting.
Who is he?? What rabbinic position does he have in Baltimore?

May 21, 2006 10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from teacher mom...
i havnt posted in a while bec. i B"H have a life. i lived in Balto for 20 years and had heard from parents re suspicions reg. r' Eisgrau, i know they started w/his daughter but i know that at least 4 boys were mentioned during her accusatory era and oneof them was szj. szj is ill, he comitted crime(s) he must be punished and he as well as his vicitims must get help; however... R' Eisgrau and others must be investigated and held accountable. the baltimore head honch rabbis are guilty; i suggest a complete boycott of star k products that are under the auspices of rabbi heinemen,. how can you trust kashrus of pple who are not protecting the guardians of the torah ie the children,. let's all start a boycot of star k products.

May 21, 2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like the idea of a therapist being there. If there has to be someone, I don't think it's a good idea it be someone from the community. I think it would be better if the therapist wasit not Jewish, or someone who isn't affiliated with Jewish Family Services, The Associated or the orthodox community.

I also think that everyone who attends (especially the rabbis, educators or the therapist) should sign a confidentiality agreement. If they violate confidentiality at least those of us who are present have some sort of legal recourse.

May 21, 2006 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also like the idea of there being a meeting for survivors only prior to the meeting with the rabbis. I think there are things us survivors need to plan out together.

I think the suggestion of the rabbis signing a confidentiality agreement first is a good idea too.

May 21, 2006 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following was posted on another blog. I thought you all would be interested in it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006
Protecting Our Children, Protecting Our Teachers

[IMPORTANT: This post is not an invitation for lashon ha-ra in the comments. As always, da lifnei mi atah omed.]

The big scandal over the past few weeks -- really months -- has been a local yeshiva elementary school that has a rebbe who is accused of molesting students for years and a principal who allegedly covered it up. I have no way of knowing whether or not the accusations are true and therefore prefer to let those most capable of evaluating such charges do so. Yes, the accusations are extremely troubling. Yes, the victims deserve our support, encouragement and profound sympathy. However, I know that false accusations of this nature occur and therefore cannot reach a conclusion on this matter. Let me state this, though: If these charges are proven to be true, the perpetrator and any accomplices who may have neglected their primary responsibilities as educators and human beings by allowing this behavior to continue (again, if it happened), should rot in jail for years.

Re-reading the above paragraph, I realize that it does not reflect my true horror and outrage about this matter. I recommend that everyone with the stomach for it read the Angry Soul blog, in which an adult graphically details the sexual abuse he suffered in an Orthodox sleepaway camp (I have a cousin who was horrified to recognize the information and realize that he was there at the time! He knows the abuser but not the blogger, and had not even an inkling of suspicion at the time). If this doesn't make you cry in sympathy and scream in outrage then you should check to make sure you have a pulse. Nevertheless, I believe it is necessary to reserve judgment on unproven matters, especially when one's only source of information is anonymous blogs and the general media.

Let me make a few points that I think are important:

Click here to read more1. There are rabbis who spend a good deal of time investigating and preventing such matters. Are they entirely successful? Probably not. Could they be better trained? Probably. But they are putting forth superhuman efforts (without being paid or appreciated for it). Perhaps greater acknowledgment of their contributions to our community will serve to enhance their efforts.

2. There are schools and camps that are extremely vigilant on these issues. There are camp administrators who make sure that there is a twenty-four hour watch for such deviant behavior. Just because you see a rabbi and his wife taking a stroll around the camp grounds does not mean that they are just out for a shpatzir (stroll). It is more likely that they are out on patrol. Call your children's camps and find out their policies. If they cannot immediately tell you how seriously they take this and how much they are doing to prevent incidents, consider sending your kids elsewhere. But, again, are these well-meaning and hard-working people always successful? Probably not, for the following reason.

3. Training is important. The best of intentions do not always lead to the best results if people are not properly trained to investigate and react in the optimal way. Schools, camps, organizations, etc. should be encouraged to seek professional advice on how to handle these matters from people who have thought about this extensively and consulted with experts. Experience in these matters counts. Schools etc. should to talk to R. Mark Dratch at JSafe and experts like him so they can learn how to handle these matters properly.

4. This is your opportunity as a parent to make a difference. Earlier today I had a long talk with a fellow parent and the principal of my sons' yeshiva (if you know which yeshiva it is, please do not publicize it). He told us what he does to avoid such problems and listened to our suggestions on what else can be done. His basic approach is to follow common sense and if a teacher violates that, fire him (or her). As his posek told him, his responsibility is the safety of his students. The teacher's livelihood is God's responsibility. (I don't want to go into any more detail about what he told me, but I'll write what I told him.)

I gave him some concrete examples of problems occuring today in other schools: for example, a friend told me that when his son was in seventh grade (two or three years ago), the rebbe would have "favorite" students who would sit on his lap and scratch his back. This is clearly unacceptable behavior and there would be a benefit in having definitions of what is acceptable in writing.

As I emphasized, this is as much about protecting the teachers from false accusations as it is about protecting the students from harm. Having policies in writing allows the teachers to know what lines not to cross and how to avoid many, maybe most, misunderstandings of this nature. But there are gray areas. Can a rebbe invite students over for Shabbos? Perhaps only in groups, but even that doesn't guarantee appropriate behavior. Can a rebbe give a single student a ride somewhere? I don't know the answer, but I do know that it is helpful to everyone to have guidelines in place.

It is also important to have guidelines for the administration. Many charges are false but some are true. When an accusation is made, it is helpful for the administration to have set procedures to protect themselves from charges of covering things up. For example: immediately contacting a representative of the parent body; having a child psychologist evaluate the student; if the truth of the charges are unclear, submitting a teacher to mandatory counseling.

"Chacham einav be-rosho". Everyone recognizes that there are troubled people in the world who can destroy other people's lives. We need to be vigilant in preventing that from happening while not making educators, who sacrifice a great deal to teach our children, feel like criminals.

Contact your children's principals and ask what they are doing and what else they can do. Contact your children's camp administrators and ask likewise. Speak respectfully and emphasize that this is not just about protecting children but also about protecting the staff and administration.

And if anyone has access to existing guidelines for schools or camps, please e-mail them to me (e-mail). I've already spoken with a principal about what Torah Umesorah has to offer and it isn't nearly detailed enough for what I have in mind. I'm sure that Catholic schools must have gone through this already and have excellent resources that we can adapt for our needs.

5. Finally, when a great Torah scholar is quoted on a blog or in a secular magazine as saying something that seems outrageous, assume that he is being misquoted. I believe you are halakhically obligated to do so.

May 21, 2006 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the link to AngrySoul Blog

May 21, 2006 11:13 PM  
Anonymous yacov said...

This post has been edited

this meeting is for all survivors of sexual abuse and/assault in or out of the frum/jewish community. we are educating our rabbis about sexual abuse. that it has no predjudices. you are more than welcome to share opinions about this meeting. if you want to participate you must contact me. this is a very structured meeting with a specific goal in mind.

if you are looking to network with other survivors the awarness center sponsors a monthly meeting. also the sidran foundation has started a peer support group every sunday evening.
the participants of the meeting will remain anonymous except for the rabbis and the clinician if we have one. however, that information will only be given to those attending the meeting.this is to ensure as safe a meeting as possible.

if we do have a clinician, he/she will not be from the community. there will not be any signing of a confidentiality agreement. it was made clear at our last meeting and it hasnt been an issue and therefore we will not fix what aint broke.

May 22, 2006 12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does it mean that this cantor is a non-compliant sex offender?

May 22, 2006 1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought i was only one of a few unfortunate individuals...
i just read up on some of the links posted and am completely horrified. everywhere i go, everyone i see my first thought - is he an abuser? can he be? does he smile too much at the kids? i have been obsessed for years, trying to keep my kids safe because of my own silent experiences. now, i am completely HORRIFIED i had no idea it was SO common!

May 22, 2006 1:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say this, but it sounds like you are being used by Ner Israel and the Weinbergs.

It seems like it's time for them to re-invent their image, and it seems like you are being manipulated into being their "savior".

May 22, 2006 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted before and I'll repeat: No way will I have my children on a one on one learning session with any rabbi..I don't care who they are ! No way will I send my children away to a Yeshiva..No way !
It seems that the creed of the rabbi, even though most (I hope) do not participate in any molestation of children is Hear no eveil, see no eveil speak no evil and hope that I don't get caught.

And the "frum" community who just don't want to get involved, looking the other way, walking like zombies, learning all day, for what..for what ! There own little sheltered world , sick and dishonest about themselves and life. All must respect is lost for the rabbi's..who can you trust ?

May 22, 2006 2:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the parent full of anger towards the rabbis... I myself have ZERO respect to the authoritative figures I used to look up to. Just a small reminder - unfortunately this is not just about rabbis or the frum community. child molestation is RAMPANT! we are just known to hide it. learn how to educate your precious children without taking away their naivity or innocence and without instilling fear. they will grow up to be healthy adults with a joyfilled childhood. Sex predators seek out those who are vulnerable. ALWAYS trust your kids! and they will know to come to you ASAP before anything ever happens. May G-D protect our young that look up innocently to us to teach them the right path of life and may those who take that control and use it to harm our happy ones, ROT in LIVING HELL!!! LIVING HELL!!!!

May 22, 2006 2:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one more thing...
who can you trust?
your own instints. learn to trust yourself and your children. if something does look or feel right, its not right. G-D gave us mothers a sixth sense. use it.
also, i repeat ALWAYS trust your kids. Learn to communicate openly. Learn to listen. If they give you the slightest hint that something does not feel right TRUST them. Children are brought to this world with happiness and glee. innocence is bliss. if they are not happy there is a reason and parents who care will realize it IMMEDIATELY. be aware. protect your kids. and if you know or see something that is not right. don't go to the rabbis. they only know how to hide stuff. go to a professional/ police. the biggest chilul hashem is the way the frum community shields these "reshaim" its unfortunate that we come to the point where we have to go to the outside resources but you are right - you can not trust "your local orthodox rabbi" as we were brought up to believe...

May 22, 2006 2:37 AM  
Anonymous It Hurts Leaving a Cult said...

"It Hurts"

By Jan Groenveld

IT HURTS to discover you were deceived - that what you thought was the "one true religion," the "path to total fredom," or "truth" was in reality a cult.

IT HURTS when you learn that people you trusted implicitly - whom you were taught not to question - were "pulling the wool over your eyes" albeit unwittingly.

IT HURTS when you learn that those you were taught were your "enemies" were telling the truth after all -- but you had been told they were liars, deceivers, repressive, satanic etc and not to listen to them.

IT HURTS when you know your faith in God hasn't changed - only your trust in an organization - yet you are accused of apostasy, being a trouble maker. It hurts even more when it is your family and friends making these accusations.

IT HURTS to realize their love and acceptance was conditional on you remaining a member of good standing. This cuts so deeply you try and suppress it. All you want to do is forget - but how can you forget your family and friends?

IT HURTS to see the looks of hatred coming from the faces of those you love - to hear the deafening silence when you try and talk to them. It cuts deeply when you try and give your child a hug and they stand like a statue, pretending you aren't there. It stabs like a knife when you know your spouse looks upon you as demonised and teaches your children to hate you.

IT HURTS to know you must start all over again. You feel you have wasted so much time. You feel betrayed, disillusioned, suspicious of everyone including family, friends and other former members.

IT HURTS when you find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed of what you were - even about leaving them. You feel depressed, confused, lonely. You find it difficult to make decisions. You don't know what to do with yourself because you have so much time on your hands now - yet you still feel guilty for spending time on recreation.

IT HURTS when you feel as though you have lost touch with reality. You feel as though you are "floating" and wonder if you really are better off and long for the security you had in the organization and yet you know you cannot go back.

IT HURTS when you feel you are all alone - that no one seems to understand what you are feeling. It hurts when you realize your self confidence and self worth are almost non-existent.

IT HURTS when you have to front up to friends and family to hear their "I told you so" whether that statement is verbal or not. It makes you feel even more stupid than you already do - your confidence and self worth plummet even further.

IT HURTS when you realize you gave up everything for the cult - your education, career, finances, time and energy - and now have to seek employment or restart your education. How do you explain all those missing years?

IT HURTS because you know that even though you were deceived, you are responsible for being taken in. All that wasted time........ at least that is what it seems to you - wasted time.


Leaving a cult is like experiencing the death of a close relative or a broken relationship. The feeling is often described as like having been betrayed by someone with whom you were in love. You feel you were simply used.

There is a grieving process to pass through. Whereas most people understand that a person must grieve after a death etc, they find it difficult to understand the same applies in this situation. There is no instant cure for the grief, confusion and pain. Like all grieving periods, time is the healer. Some feel guilty, or wrong about this grief. They shouldn't -- It IS normal. It is NOT wrong to feel confused, uncertain, disillusioned, guilty, angry, untrusting - these are all part of the process. In time the negative feelings will be replaced with clear thinking, joy, peace, and trust.


There is life after the cult

May 22, 2006 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Come on Already! said...

Aviva Weisbord said in the BJT's article:

"Allegations would be addressed to a group of distinguished rabbis, she said, who then would appoint trained professionals to investigate and make recommendations, which the rabbinic body would then act on.

As a form of checks and balances, Weisbord said, it would be understood that if people were not satisfied with the results, they could go to the civil courts or the press."

Excuse me! Are we still living in the dark ages? Weisbord is still suggesting that the rabbonim of Baltimore handle allegations of sexual abuse? Have they not learned from the past. They should be advocating that people immediately contact either child protection
services and or law enforcement.

If our rabbinic leaders had a forensic background in conducting criminal investigations, the know how to collect evidence and trained to conduct victim sensitive interviews -- maybe I would think differently.

What a scam!

May 22, 2006 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Come On Already! said...

I also want to ask -- who would be on this team of professionals? Most likely people like Aviva Weisbord who I see as being a part of the problem.

From what's been posted here, and what I keep hearing in the community I want to warn survivors and parents to be weary of the frum therapists who work under the authority of the rabbonim of Baltimore. There is NO SUCH THING AS CONFIDENTIALITY there. Forget about them telling you not to speak lashon hara. They are the masters of it.

May 22, 2006 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting that Phil Jacobs attached himself to Aviva Weisbord. I wonder how long that has been going on. Is the Weinberg/Ner Israel influence what kept Phil from writing stories about sexual abuse in the past? Especially when the abuse had ties to the Ner Israel / yeshivish crowd?

Who influenced Phil not to write about the TI (Torah Institute) Principal? Who influenced him not to write about Binyamin Fleichman (the famous photographer)? The list can go on and on.

May 22, 2006 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't Phil going to be the editor of the Orthodox version of the Baltimore Times? I wonder if the funding to launch this is coming from the folks at Ner Israel? Would make sense to me.

May 22, 2006 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read what you wrote about yacov being used by the Ner Israel crowd. Do you think Phil Jacobs is too?

Look at them, their personalities are very similar.

May 22, 2006 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Not a friend of chana weinberg said...

Did you notice that over two months have gone by and there has not been a single article in the Baltimore Jewish Times regarding Shmuel Juravel?

How many months or years will go by before Phil Jacobs will let his readership know the truth?

May 22, 2006 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've sure have noticed the lack of press about this person juravel. That's what we all can expect..this person juravel comes from a frum rabbinic family,what ever that means today.
This person juravel goes before a hearing this Thursday to plea guilty or not guilty. This will take place in Birmingham,Ala.We will keep you all posted as to the
outcome as your local Baltimore Jewish press won't.
It's a disgrace to see the cover up but it won't work.
This person juravel goes to trial sometime in early June. He faces 70 years in Federal prison without parole plus a $750,000.00 fine.
Perhaps he will get off easy and only get 30 years. We will see.

May 22, 2006 10:40 AM  

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