Saturday, August 05, 2006

WARNING TO PARENTS IN ISRAEL - Case of Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel

By Vicki Polin
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter
August 5, 2006

RE: Camp offers northerners respite from shelters

I've been told by an extremely reliable source that many years ago Rabbi Shach made a rabbinical decree stating "Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel should NEVER teach children". This decree was made after it was discovered that Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel had been molesting children.

According to my source Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel has a long history of pedophilia that goes back to the days he lived in the US. It is believed that he has molested hundreds of boys.

Considering these facts, and how well known the offenses are in the rabbinic world I find it shocking that Rabbi Sobel to find the following article in the Jerusalem Post. The article promotes a camp for children in Israel in which Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel is involved.

I have been told that Rabbi Yitzhak Dovid Grossman is totally aware of Ben Zion's past history, yet believes he has done "teshuva for his past transgressions". With all the choices of careers that Ben Zion could have, why does he choose to have one that is connected to children?

According to a source who wish to remain anonymous:
Rabbi Grossman believes that Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel has done teshuva and makes sure that he is far away from any contact with children. He is NOT involved in the camp. He sits in an office hundreds of miles away from any child.

Unfortunately, I have not heard from any of those victimized by Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel. If you are one of his survivors please contact me immediately. I can be reached at 443-857-5560 or e-mail me. Your voices are needed!

Vicki Polin, Executive Director
The Awareness Center


Throughout history one of the common traditions in dealing with allegations of sex crimes against children has been to chase the alleged offender out of town. This is exactly what happened in the case of Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel. He left New York only to recreate himself in Israel.

There have always been questions regarding the counseling provided to Rabbi Sobel.

  • Was it conducted by a licensed mental health professional who has the education, training and experience to work with sexual predators?
  • Would this psychotherapist sign an affidavit stating that Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel was NO LONGER a danger to children?
  • Has Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel ever paid restitution to his victims for all the pain and suffering they have endured?
  • Would Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel agree to come back to the United States to face criminal charges for the sex crimes he committed there?


Anonymous From Another Blog said...

Yosef Blau said...

I will try to answer both questions asked me. The professionals that I have consulted all say that treatment of repeated sexual offenders has not been successful. The risk in allowing such an individual to return to teaching is too great. We have a responsibility to protect the students. Only Hashem can measure sincerity of teshuva and the individual has every right to make a living in another area of work.
My knowledge of what occurred at Neve Tzion in 1985 comes from my work at Yeshiva University. I have been visiting yeshivos in Israel for YU since 1979. Among the yeshivos that I spoke at, was Neve Yehoshua which became Neve Tzion. During the crisis I was in contact with a number of people who were involved, including the rabbi who brought the accusations to Rabbi Svei's attention. A number of former students in Neve were in YU and I tried to work with them. Then and later I maintained an ongoing relationship with both rabbeim who taught there and alumni.
Unfortunately, some of the key figures have passed away or are no longer well, and there was no documentation. The story of the scandal was kept out of the media.
Yosef Blau

September 08, 2006 12:02 AM  

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