Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Case of Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum and the Toronto Boys School Choir

(AKA: Rabbi Heshi Nussbaum)

This is an old case that goes back several decades.

By the mid 1980’s Heshy Nussbaum had been exposed as a pedophile in Toronto, Canada. At that time his wife divorced him. It was around the same time that Rabbi Ephraim Bryks brought him into Winnipeg (Canada) to help run a NCSY shabbaton. Several women in the community found out that Heshy was divorced and approached Bryks’ wife Yochevad offering to set up dates for Heshy while he was in Winnipeg. Yochevad told these women that “she was aware of the reasons for Heshy’s divorce and it would not be appropriate to set him up on dates with women.”

It is believed that Heshy was raised in Toronto. He worked around the late 1980’s or early 1970’s in several camps in New York. One of which was Camp Mogen Avrahom in New York. This was the first location where allegations of child sexual abuse were made.

After that he returned to Toronto (early to mid 1970’s) and became choirmaster of the Toronto Boys choir (a Jewish boys choir). Heshy might have also worked as a teacher at the Eitz Chaim boys school and Camp Agudah summer camp (both were founded by his family), yet this has not been confirmed.

A source has told me that a rabbi in the US had warned the rabbis in Toronto that Heshy should not be working with kids, yet the warnings were ignored.

Apparently, when Heshy was caught in Toronto, major rabbonim in North America (don’t know names) were approached for assistance and he was removed. His reputation became common knowledge in Toronto.

My source told me that Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum was from a very prominent family who quieted things up and that he had been sent to an institution where they send priests caught doing the same thing, and that afterwards his family declared him cured.

It is unknown to what extent or whether the police/child family services were involved. There are rumors that he may have made a deal to avoid jail, yet this has not been confirmed.

There are also rumors that a number of young boys who had contact with Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum committed suicide. Unfortunately, suicide and attempted suicides are not uncommon for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

As of 2003, Heshy worked as a Mashgiach and spends three to for days a week at a farm outside the city supervising Halav Yisroel milk production (not sure if this is for COR, MK or another). He also delivers flowers for weddings although there are at times specific requests that someone else delivers them.

A source told me that Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum also continues to tutor students, and also travels to Israel on a regular basis.

At this time there it is believed there are no newspaper articles that covered this case. Heshy's father Rabbi Moshe Nussbaum, was one of the founders of the Agudah movement in Toronto, and of Agudath Israel Congregation. He was also an active member on the Vaad Hapoel Agudath Israel, the governing body of the International Agudah organization. He was also active in Eitz Chaim schools, and was a found of Bais Yaakov High School. In addition, he helped found Camp Agudah in Port Carling, and Perspectives, the newspaper of Toronto Agudah.

If you are a survivor of Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum please contact me.

There is also a case made against a man by the name of Harvey Ehrlich, who was a product of the original Toronto Boys Choir. If you have information about him, please contact me.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heshy comes from a long line of prominent rabbis and has a huge extended family. His grandfather Rabbi Chaim Nussbaum was the chaplain in the book "Chaplain on the River Kwai: The Story of a Prisoner of War".

His uncle was Rabbi Aaron Nussbaum. Both Aaron and Moshe Nussbaum were both major forces in Toronto and the Agudath Israel movement.

September 06, 2006 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a google group posting from Abe dated July 31, 2001 4:03 pm EDT

35-40 years ago the UO yeshiva I attended had a Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum, who was also a summer counselor at Camp Mogen Avraham. Problem was Rabbi Nussbaum was a homosexual pedophile. We the kids, who were not his prey, knew about it, but we did not have the language needed to describe it to our parents. I cannot begin to fathom what his prey must have experienced.

Around the same time, Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, in Williamsburg, had the Mickey Mouse Club, where Rebbes and students would engage in homosexual activities. What consenting adults do in private is their own business. But pedophiles should not be pedagogues.

September 06, 2006 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the google group. I forgot to add it before
http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.jewish.moderated/browse_thread/thread/373539a46acd77c8/b763231ce993deef?lnk=st&q=rabbi+heshy+nussbaum&rnum=1&hl=en#b763231ce993deef

September 06, 2006 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why bring up a case that is 30 years old about someone who is living his life today in a manner that does not put him in contact with children? he obviously did tshuva and is living his life in peace, why bring it up?

why do i care? because I knew him and I liked him. He was the head counselor in Agudah Toronto when I was there, he was always good to me and never did anything innapropriate to me.

Do I beleive the allegations? absolutely, but if the guy chose to live with cows and flowers instead of people then he is obviously staying away from kids and why not focus our energy on the pedophiles who are still hanging out with kids instead of the ones who are not.

September 07, 2006 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why bring it up? Unfortunately, the reality is that the odds of him reoffending are pretty high. Could he be one of the few who never will again? Yes, that's possible. the problem is that the risks out weight the odds he won't.

Same as with Ben Zion Sobel

September 07, 2006 11:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heshy has never done teshuvah.

The community gave Heshy a job for life.

The community has never assisted Heshy's many victims. Some who have died through suicide, drugs and suicides reported as "accidents".

Even after he was removed from the choir he continued to access children, as the main post here clearly states:

By the mid 1980’s Heshy Nussbaum had been exposed as a pedophile in Toronto, Canada. At that time his wife divorced him. It was around the same time that Rabbi Ephraim Bryks brought him into Winnipeg (Canada) to help run a NCSY shabbaton.

and

A source told me that Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum also continues to tutor students

September 07, 2006 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we should be naming those who are supportive of Nussbaum. Who are teh people who back him? Where do they get off doing this?

September 07, 2006 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you !00%. This is an outrage. He's tutoring students? Are these students minors? My hope is they are 60 yrs old or older.

September 07, 2006 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very sensitive issue.
The man's actions are NOT forgivable; however I believe he has done Teshuva and is no longer a risk to the community. As far as the second person mentioned H.E.; he is a respected and generous person who may have made mistakes in his life but don’t we all. H.E. should have never been mentioned in this blog it is only lashon hara and destructive to bring up his name.
I must stress that I do not intend to undermine the pain of the victims.

November 06, 2006 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can say with authority that mr.
moshe nussbaum was not his father ,
nor was rabbi chaim nussbaum his grandfather. Both have passed away.
It's important to expose these crimes; at the same time not dirty
the names of innocent people. It would also give your warnings more
credibility. A responsible thing
to do is verify my facts and remove
the false statements. signed
a grandchild of the above

April 05, 2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous La' Chaim said...

Rabbi Heshy Nussbaum, if you want to call him that is a pedeophile. I was a victim of his. I wonder if Dear Rebbe Nussbaum remembers Toras Emes in Boro Park Brooklyn, circa 1960's ? I know he did a lot in our classromm.
I wonder how many boys he seduced in his lifetime?

August 01, 2007 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a student at Toras Emes in BP. H. N. used to practice hids sexual abuse in front of the entire class. It took the Yeshiva's leadership about a year until they made an announcement in a very oblique way regarding the abuse and finally firing him. Morris Mandel, Elias Schwartz, and Arnold Wolf created an environment where fear pervaded, so sickos like Nussbaum wewre able to practice their disease. In my mind they are as responsible as Nussbaum.

October 16, 2007 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heshi Nussbaum actually was involved in the original New York Pirchei choirs in the 1960's. Upon returning to Toronto, there was no talk of his illicit activities in NY. His family was well respected in the community (for all the right reasons) but obviously he had pull. He taught at Eitz Chaim and was head counselor of Camp Eitan day camp and then Camp Agudah of Toronto.

I was in the Toronto Pirchei choir and had him as a Rebbe in Eitz Chaim. At Camp Agudah, he tried to mess with me but I rebuffed him. In retrospect, I was too young and naive to really understand what he was up to so I never reported it to anyone.

I was in camp the year the whistle got blown on him by a kid who was obviously more street savvy. All hell broke loose and he immediately lost his job, both at camp and at school. His wife and kids quickly left town.

Though he lost his job and status to some extent, he never was ostrasized in the Agudah community. For years he used to get up at kiddushes and speak. He was very clever and had a great sense of humor. But there was always an elephant in the room when he got up. I think no one wanted to make a scene for the sake of his parents.

He is a regular now at one of the early morning kollels, for whatever that's worth. If he has any contact with children it is not with the sanction of any school or community group.

The really sad thing is that he was an outstanding teacher. What a waste he was and is.

March 18, 2008 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly I choose at this time to remain anonymous.

I was a victim of this monster from 1972 - 1975. I will confirm for you some facts that according to your web site are not confirmed.

1. He was a teacher at Eitz Chaim in Toronto the school I attended 1970's
2. He was a counselor / Director of Camp Eitan a day camp associated with Eitz Chaim. 1970's
3. The Toronto Boys or also known as Toronto Pirchei Choir. 1970's
4. He was raised in Toronto. His father was in the brick business, if I remember correctly.
5. When he divorced his wife she moved to Brooklyn with all their children and he moved into his parents apartment after his house was sold. 1980's
6. I don't believe his family were founders of Eitz Chaim or Camp Agudah.
7. I do believe that his case was covered up by the religious community in order to protect the institutions he was apart of when he committed his crimes. He was removed from any positions he ever held.
8. I also cannot confirm if any deals were made or if the police were involved.
9. He has been working at the milk farm since the 80's when he was removed from his positions at the school.

He victimized me at the school the camp and the choir. Finally in 1975 the last week of the Israel tour of the choir I rolled myself into a ball and I didn't let him get near me, that's when it all ended. I was a little sheltered religious child at that time afraid of him afraid of the shame and afraid that I would be further victimized if I told anyone, especially authority figures at the school who I am sure would accuse me of lying, even though I didn't totally understand what happened to me back then. Until this day only 2 or 3 people know what happened to me. My parents and siblings have no idea. They would have killed him.

I live in Israel now and I have coped with this memory buried deep inside of me remarkably well, I believe.

I saw an article in Ynet English where a Rabbi said that there should be a death penalty for rape and it brought back memories for me. I googled Heshy Nussbaum and found this site. I said its time to come out and talk about what happened, but anonymously for now.
I was not aware that his history goes way back before my time and I also was not aware that there may have been suicides involved even though I am aware that it is somewhat common among victims. I was aware that his story came out in the 80's in Toronto and that there were other Toronto victims.

Survivor

March 19, 2008 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heshy Nussbaum was head counselor of Camp Eitan in the late 60's when I attended as a child. I am female and all I know was that he was very popular. Hashem Yishmor.

June 16, 2008 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To June 16 2008
yes he was very popular and thats what gave him the power to do what he did.He was trusted because of his personality and it was easy for him to prey on any boy that he wished to. I was a victim of his and he can not be forgiven for what he did. He will one day face G-D and then justice will be done. His soul will be punished for the damage he has done to so many souls that walk this earth. Survivor of H.N

June 29, 2008 6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there no way that victims can organize and lay charges against him and still have anonynimity protected? If people are worried about the problem of "turning him over" to the secular courts, a Beis Din can overrule that or can still censure him by having him pay compensation to his victims, making him ask for Mechilah, keeping him out of Kollels etc. Have him admit to his crimes and beg for forgiveness! Make him look each victim in the eyes and confess to the pain and indignity he inflicted! You can do this if you organize - there is strength in numbers. This is so sick. Whatever happened to Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof? Unfotunately, I think this is part of a much larger problem among the Frum of living in denial and perpetuating the false facade of an ideal life. Shouldn't we be seeking to live honesty and righting the wrongs in life? There are all sorts of damages being inflicted on innocent individuals who have been victimized in one way or another - the poor are made to feel like low-lifes; women who need to get away from their husbands for example are shunned by members of the community or treated badly by rabbis who should be the ones to help them, all for seeking a divorce. I think it's time for the fresh air of honesty to come and right some of the wrongs of this much larger illness.

March 02, 2009 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I am reading is despicable. There is currently another person who taught at Eitz Chaim schools recently, who abused children.The so called "rabbis" protected him, although eventually terminating him, did nothing to help renounce or prosecute him, and he is still roaming free in the community, and was working at another school. What kind of pathetic hypocrital rabbis and community is this? It is this atmosphere where victims are punished instead of the perpetrators that enables this to go on. It is time that victims and parents of victims become proactive and charge and prosecute these people, instead of allowing themselves or their children to become the victims. Remove the atmosphere of shame and fear- you did nothing wrong- it is the pedophiles and the rabbis who protect them who do wrong and should be ashamed. Believe in yourselves, stand up for those who have been victimized, and prevent it from happening to others. Teshuva does not make pedophiles stop. They will always do it to someone else. It must stop, and the first ones to start the process are the rabbis in the community. Now.

January 26, 2010 7:57 AM  
Anonymous A Concerned Reader said...

I was surfing the web for info on Agudas Yisroel, when this blog popped up. I was shocked and appalled by its content; I decided to research the accusation.

The first thing I discovered is that although Reb Moshe Nussbaum was indeed a distinguished individual, responsible for all the wonderful acts mentioned in the article, (and then some), he was not the father of the alleged abuser; nor was Rabbi Chaim Nussbaum, (who was a renowned pioneer kiruv activist, mechanech and yid par excellence), his grandfather. These contradictions to this article gave me an inkling as to its accuracy--I pressed on...

My extensive investigation did not unearth any suicides, or attempts at suicide, as a result of HN's alleged actions.

I then decided to research HN's current state of being, here's what I've learned: He is father to, and loved by, five brilliant, warm and toradik persons, KA"H. All are happily married, learning full time, and living lives of Torah and Gemilus Chasodim. HN is grandfather to 24 grandchildren, KA"H, all of whom adore him. Two of his children moved their families to the city where HN lives to be in close proximity to him. The three others, along with their spouses and children, visit regularly.

HN is now 69 years of age. He begins his day in the early hours, attending a successful and well-recognized 'Kollel Boker', which was founded and is run and supported by a prominent and greatly respected member of HN's community and the world at large--HN is the official coordinator of this kollel. His current occupation is, (and has been for a number of years), that of a property manager.

His community, who I understand suffered terribly, (both as individuals and as a whole), from HN's past deeds, has accepted him. It seems to me, that if they, above all, can recognize the change in him and welcome his presence and involvement in their community, perhaps it is time for others to do the same; or at the very least, to withdraw this and any other articles of the same premise. If you will not do it for the sake of clemency for a clearly remorseful individual, do it for the sake of his blameless grandchildren who are liable to suffer terribly should this information reach their innocent ears. Do not misunderstand me--I feel great sympathy to all who were victim to HN's accused deeds, and realize that you still suffer the dreadful psychological affects of the crime. Regrettably, as we are all aware, the suffering of the past cannot be undone, but future suffering can be avoided. I beseech you, writer and commentators of this article, to acknowledge its frightening potential; don't allow these wonderfully naive children to suffer for an ugly past to which they are not culpable, yet holds the power to destroy their future.

Respecfully posted:
July 20, 2010
Tish'a B'Av, 5770

July 20, 2010 8:47 PM  
Anonymous A Concerned Reader said...

I was surfing the web for info on Agudas Yisroel, when this blog popped up. I was shocked and appalled by its content; I decided to research the accusation.

The first thing I discovered is that although Reb Moshe Nussbaum was indeed a distinguished individual, responsible for all the wonderful acts mentioned in the article, (and then some), he was not the father of the alleged abuser; nor was Rabbi Chaim Nussbaum, (who was a renowned pioneer kiruv activist, mechanech and yid par excellence), his grandfather. These contradictions to this article gave me an inkling as to its accuracy--I pressed on...

My extensive investigation did not unearth any suicides, or attempts at suicide, as a result of HN's alleged actions.

I then decided to research HN's current state of being, here's what I've learned: He is father to, and loved by, five brilliant, warm and toradik persons, KA"H. All are happily married, learning full time, and living lives of Torah and Gemilus Chasodim. HN is grandfather to 24 grandchildren, KA"H, all of whom adore him. Two of his children moved their families to the city where HN lives to be in close proximity to him. The three others, along with their spouses and children, visit regularly. Continued in following comment...

July 20, 2010 8:50 PM  
Anonymous A Concerned Reader, Continued... said...

HN is now 69 years of age. He begins his day in the early hours, attending a successful and well-recognized 'Kollel Boker', which was founded and is run and supported by a prominent and greatly respected member of HN's community and the world at large--HN is the official coordinator of this kollel. His current occupation is, (and has been for a number of years), that of a property manager.

His community, who I understand suffered terribly, (both as individuals and as a whole), from HN's past deeds, has accepted him. It seems to me, that if they, above all, can recognize the change in him and welcome his presence and involvement in their community, perhaps it is time for others to do the same; or at the very least, to withdraw this and any other articles of the same premise. If you will not do it for the sake of clemency for a clearly remorseful individual, do it for the sake of his blameless grandchildren who are liable to suffer terribly should this information reach their innocent ears. Do not misunderstand me--I feel great sympathy to all who were victim to HN's accused deeds, and realize that you still suffer the dreadful psychological affects of the crime. Regrettably, as we are all aware, the suffering of the past cannot be undone, but future suffering can be avoided. I beseech you, writer and commentators of this article, to acknowledge its frightening potential; don't allow these wonderfully naive children to suffer for an ugly past to which they are not culpable, yet holds the power to destroy their future.

Respecfully posted:
July 20, 2010
Tish'a B'Av, 5770

July 20, 2010 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is incredible to me. After all tese years I finally had the nerve to goolge Heshy Nussbaum and I find that he had a history before he got to Toronto and messed me up at Camp Eitan. Shame on those that let him come in contact with children knowning what he did in New York. I remember those days like they were yesterday. He was so friendly and charismatic. He should have gotten help not put in charge of an entire camp of children. I have contemplated suicide for years but have fought it. One of my best friends in school killed himself. My live has been a mess.

November 16, 2011 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a victim of both Heshy and Harvey. After all these years, the pain doesn't go away.

December 28, 2011 2:46 PM  
Anonymous G.M.L. said...

I lived for almost 40 years in Toronto and worked in the Jewish Education system. I am aware of much that has been said -- and generally accepted -- regarding Heshy Nussbaum, his activities and the clear insufficiency or unwillingness of the Orthodox Jewish establishment to act sufficiently to protect children. Regarding this, I have nothing to add to what has been posted here.
I am, however, deeply disturbed regarding the last aside of the blog which casts aspersions against another person in the community, Harvey Ehrlich, without proof, substantiation or even details of accusations against him.
While I was not a close friend of Dr. Ehrlich's, I did know him over many years in Toronto. I, for one, never heard the slightest iota of concern levelled against him. He was active in support of many Jewish causes and organizations. I knew many, many people who worked with Dr. Ehrlich on many programs and committees and never heard him described as anything but honourable, dedicated and decent.
While I realize that a lack of substantiation of charges is not the same as a refutation, I note here that there have been no charges listed in the blog -- there is only the mention of a man's name and a general innuendo.
I DO respect the need to warn the community against proven and even highly-substantiated accusations, but I believe it is wrong to throw a name out as this blog does with no charge and no proof.
The fact that I write this response in May of 2012, some six years after the original blog posting and that there has been in none of the responses over six years any mention whatever of Dr. Ehrlich, suggests to me that the bloggers original information was not correct and has not been substantiated.
I believe that, based on this, an honurable person should now remove the offensive, unsubstantiated accusation of the original blog.
Thank you for your attention.

G.M.L.
Jerusalem

May 01, 2012 5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please if there any other victims of Heshy Nussbaum, lets organize and put him away once and for all. It doesn't matter if you are from Canada or the U.S lets set up some anonymous email accounts in order to verify a few facts to show we are credible and then find a way to move forward. The recent arrest in Toronto of another molester has brought this subject again to the forefront, now is the time. I don't live in Toronto anymore, but I will be visiting this summer and I plan to get advice from the Toronto Police Services Sexual Assault Unit on what is the best way to approach this, I believe we need to have more than myself because then it's my word against his, there are strength in numbers and that will be the only way to finally put this to rest.

Survivor of Heshy Nussbaum

July 29, 2012 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please if there any other victims of Heshy Nussbaum, lets organize and put him away once and for all. It doesn't matter if you are from Canada or the U.S lets set up some anonymous email accounts in order to verify a few facts to show we are credible and then find a way to move forward. The recent arrest in Toronto of another molester has brought this subject again to the forefront, now is the time. I don't live in Toronto anymore, but I will be visiting this summer and I plan to get advice from the Toronto Police Services Sexual Assault Unit on what is the best way to approach this, I believe we need to have more than myself because then it's my word against his, there are strength in numbers and that will be the only way to finally put this to rest.

Survivor of Heshy Nussbaum

July 29, 2012 2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was one of Heshy's victims. If there are any other victims on this blog, lets set up some anonymous emails and get together and put this guy away. There was just an arrest in Toronto of another sexual offender and Heshy's name was mentioned in the comments, meaning this has not been forgotten. This is fresh in everyone's minds and now is the time to act. Whether you are from the States or Canada, let's try and take some action here so we can all have some justice.

Survivor of HN

July 30, 2012 1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very, very important that the orthodox community recognize the seriousness of child sexual assault. It is profoundly damaging to the individual for the rest of their lives - even with therapy.
Pedophiles cannot "do teshuvah" and "get better".
It is a serious, lifelong mental disorder. Rarely do pedophiles seek treatment - let alone heal.

Victims- do not punish yourself. And do not hurt yourself. Get help. There is very good help available for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
You cannot rely on religion for healing. This is psychological damage and it must be treated in that fashion.
You can heal. Don't hurt yourself. Don't give them that satisfaction.
I am a female incest survivor. My perpetrator has gotten away with it. I have healed, survived and live a good and happy life. I speak about this issue whenever possible - especially in the community and have been able to help a lot of people.

September 01, 2012 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This case is way too serious for a bais din. If you want honesty..here it is...the religious community swept this under the rug. This was a matter for the police, not the bais din or any other religious institution. The religious institutions were biased in that they feared their own demise upon this story getting out. They truly must also be blamed for these horrible crimes becuase they did not turn him over to the police who have the power to keep this heshi locked up.

September 01, 2012 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

As a footnote to this six year old post, Harvey Erlich was arrested this week in Toronto on two counts of Gross Indecency.

November 15, 2012 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

As a footnote to this six year old post, Harvey Erlich was arrested this week in Toronto on two counts of Gross Indecency.

November 15, 2012 8:16 PM  

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