Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thoughts For Today

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  1. Give grief time to melt away.
  2. By speaking about your problems, some of them go away.
  3. Be honest with your self.
  4. Dig up questions by the roots.
  5. Knowledge arrives from failed experiements.
  6. Implement your ideas.
  7. Follow your own ideals and you can never be called a coward.
  8. Good friendships go beyond worlds.
  9. Notice and celebrate daily miracles.
  10. You must empty the box before you can fill it again.
  11. Surround yourself with your own reality.
  12. To conquer fear is to summon wisdom.
  13. A leader is judged by their followers.
  14. Things happen to people when they are ready to let them happen.
  15. People tend to hate in others what they hate about themselves.
  16. Success is almost always met with envy.
  17. If you need an honest answer ask an old friend.
  18. Character is revealed in moments.
  19. You become what is in your heart.
  20. Welcome the possiblities.

People Come Into Your Life For A Reason - Author Unknown

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People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a Godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant .

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Please Just Stop - A Mother Speaks Out!

by an anonymous mother

I can't take it anymore. I can't handle hearing one more story about another rabbi abusing another child or another story of our rabbonim covering up cases. I have walked away from my synagogue. I am no longer at the same observance level.

What's wrong with our rabbis? What's wrong with our communities? Why do we care more about the rights of the molester then we do about the rights of our children and their families? I saw what was happening my community. The one I loved so dearly. Things changed and I had to move away.

I have pulled my children out of their Jewish Day school. I feel safer with them in our new communities local public school system. I can't believe I am doing these things. I don't believe in the system that I once loved.

Warning to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky & Others Who Lives in Philadelphia, PA

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This should be a warning to all those with authority that other states will follow the lead of Pennsylvania. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected you must make a hotline report. Let law enforcement conduct the investigations. Our rabbis, cantors and or other community leaders do not have the education, training or experience to do so. -- Vicki Polin
PA Senate Bill 1054 closes loopholes for reporting abuse, and criminalizes the concealing of abuse by an abuser's supervisors. The House version passed last week, 191-1.

The bill also extends, from 30 to 50, the age by which future victims can bring criminal charges against an abuser; expands the state's "Megan's Law" reporting requirement; and requires criminal-background checks of workers at residential foster, adoptive, and family day-care facilities.
New law expands sex-abuse sanctions
By David O'Reilly and Julie Shaw
Philadelphia Inquirer - Wed, Nov. 22, 2006

Gov. Rendell is expected to sign the measure, a response to the grand jury report on abuse of children by clergy.

Heeding the call of the Philadelphia grand jury that investigated clergy sex crimes, the Pennsylvania Senate yesterday approved broad expansions of laws protecting victims of childhood sex abuse.

The bill passed unanimously, and a spokesman for Gov. Rendell said he expects to sign it into law.

Senate Bill 1054 closes loopholes for reporting abuse, and criminalizes the concealing of abuse by an abuser's supervisors. The House version passed last week, 191-1.

The bill also extends, from 30 to 50, the age by which future victims can bring criminal charges against an abuser; expands the state's "Megan's Law" reporting requirement; and requires criminal-background checks of workers at residential foster, adoptive, and family day-care facilities.

Many provisions in the bill were recommended more than a year ago in the grand-jury report on past sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The 418-page report offered heartbreaking detail of abuses of children by priests, and cover-ups by church higher-ups. But its authors said state laws prevented them from bringing charges against all but one of 63 priests, living and dead, who were named in the report.

The legislation had a rocky ride, however, and seemed doomed three weeks ago when the General Assembly broke for elections without a House vote.

Rendell's spokesman, Chuck Ardot, said yesterday that the governor "supports the legislation in concept" and will sign it "assuming it contains no surprises."

District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham said the legislature "has given every child a huge Thanksgiving gift." She called it "a sea change" in how sex-abuse cases will be handled.

Abraham, who held a joint news conference with John Salveson, a leading advocate of tougher state laws to protect children from sex abuse, said the new legislation was extremely important because of the loopholes it closes. "No longer does the child need to be the one to report the crime," Abraham said. "Also, no longer does the crime need to occur in a child's home for it to be punished. It can happen anywhere."

The legislation also casts a "wider net of responsibility," she said. "It affects people of other religious faiths, not just the Roman Catholic Church, as well as teacher aides, janitors, and prospective foster parents, among other people who come in contact with children."

Salveson, who has started a group called the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, called the bill's passage "a major victory for Pennsylvania's children" and thanked all the victims of childhood sex abuse who - like Salveson himself - came forward and told their stories.

But he said "there's more work to do," in the area of civil law, to expand the number of years in which the state allows a sex-abuse victim to bring a lawsuit for long-ago abuse.

"It's a nice way to begin a holiday that's all about thanks," said Cathleen Palm, executive director of the Protect Our Children Committee, an advocacy group for child-welfare laws.

The bills have had a stormy history. Lawmakers, legislative aides and other advocates for the bill had expressed frustration that the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which represents the states's 10 Catholic dioceses, refused to endorse changes in the law.

In August, two former prosecutors who led Abraham's grand-jury investigation wrote an open letter to Cardinal Justin Rigali saying it appeared the Catholic leadership was subverting legislation it claimed to endorse. Rigali's spokesperson disputed this.

Then, on Oct. 24 - two days before the legislature's election break - an unsigned memo circulated among lawmakers complaining that parts of Senate Bill 1054 were too "expansive" and that they targeted the Catholic Church. It warned against a "rush" to adopt the bill.

Paper-clipped to the memo were the business cards of Robert J. O'Hara Jr., executive director of the Catholic Conference, and of Frank "Chick" Tulli Jr., a conference lobbyist. The House leadership pulled the bill from an expected vote the next day, provoking protests from advocates who predicted that it was dead this session.

Tulli later said he had "no knowledge" of the memo. O'Hara deflected questions about it, saying that anyone could have clipped his and Tulli's cards to the memo.

Yesterday, however, Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, said the archdiocese "applauds" the legislature's action.

Passage of S.B. 1054 "will increase the responsibilities of individuals and institutions in the reporting of child-sexual abuse and the protection of all of God's children," Farrell said in a prepared statement.

State Rep. Dennis M. O'Brien (R., Phila.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, yesterday compared the bill to the "Megan's Laws" and similar measures enacted in many states, calling it "the Victims' Law."

"This is the public's way of way of saying to [abuse] victims that it's OK to come forward, that we'll understand," said O'Brien, who pushed hard to get the bill enacted.

In recent weeks the General Assembly has also adopted bills that made Pennsylvania compliant with the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, approved a standardized rape kit for use in sexual-assault investigations, and doubled the minimum sentences for serious sexual offenses against minors.

If Rendell signs S.B. 1054, it will bring Pennsylvania's reporting laws closer to New Jersey's, which require that any person who has "reasonable cause" to believe a child has been abused must report it to state child-welfare officials or face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. New Jersey has no statute of limitations for filing criminal charges in sex crimes.

If Senate Bill 1054 Is Signed Into Law...

If signed into law by Gov. Rendell, the bill will:
Close a loophole in the mandatory-reporting law. Until now, anyone designated a "mandatory reporter" of child sex abuse was obliged to report abuse to civil authorities only if a victim reported abuse directly to him or her.

Make it a criminal offense for a person to knowingly conceal or facilitate sex abuse by a person whom they employ or supervise.

Extend to age 50 the time by which a sex-abuse victim may bring criminal charges against his or her abuser. The existing limit is age 30. The extension applies only to abuse after the bill becomes law, and does not extend the time a victim can sue an abuser.

Require criminal-background checks for workers in foster, adoptive and family day-care homes.

Require much more detail about sex offenders to be listed in the "Megan's Law" database, including a physical description of the offender and the make and license-plate number of his car. - David O'Reilly

Contact staff writer David O'Reilly at or 215-854-5723. Inquirer staff writer Nancy Phillips contributed to this article.

Agudath Israel's Take On Sex Offenders

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Vicki Polin, The Awareness Center, Inc. / Rabbi Avi Shafran, Agudath Israel

Note From Vicki Polin, executive director - The Awareness Center, Inc. Daily Newsletter

A rabbi wrote to The Awareness Center recently answering some the question we put out regarding what does Jewish law say we should do with a sex offender.

We are currently working on an article with the answers, yet I thought it was important to mention that
the Talmud in Masechet Sanhedrin 73a discusses the law of "rodef" (the pursuer). It rules that a person is obligated to prevent a murder, or a rape of a betrothed (or married) woman, even if the only possibility of preventing the murder or the rape is by killing the would-be murderer or rapist.

The law regarding the would-be rapist only applies to a married woman because these women are forbidden by Torah law to the would-be rapist. We are still looking into what should be done with those who unmarried men and women. Also those who rape or molest our children (both related and non-related offenders). If you have information you would like to share on these topics please forward them to Vicki Polin

Contemporary scoffers, the Mashgiach pointed out, like to accuse the chareidi community of "sweeping things under the carpet." They are right, he explained, but not in the way they mean. "Do they know how many perpetrators" of sins against others "have been dealt with?" No, he explained, because when actions are taken against individuals who have proven themselves untrustworthy, we do not trumpet our actions. Even as we take what steps are necessary to help protect others, we also seek to protect human dignity. And when crimes are asserted but not proven, we are guided not by a mob mentality but by the Torah. That, the Mashgiach declared, is not cowardice but courage.

Thursday Night Plenary Session at Agudath Israel of America's 84th National Convention
by Yated Ne'eman Staff
Dei'ah Ve Dibur, Information and Insight
November 29, 2006

Thursday night's plenary session began with a moving audio- visual presentation dedicated to the devastating fire that Camp Agudah suffered this past summer, and the impressive efforts that, with Hashem's help, helped the camp recover in time to provide campers a truly memorable summer. Rabbi Meir Frischman, the camp director, provided a moving and inspiring chronicle of the events.

The session then turned to an issue both timely and timeless: the imperative to show honor and deference to Torah authority. Against a background of relentless assault on talmidei chachomim and even gedolim, in the street and in the media — and, as noted by the evening's chairman and convention co-chairman Rabbi Dovid Schnell, president of Agudath Israel of Illinois, through the new phenomenon of internet-based weblogs, or "blogs" — the evening symposia's three speakers presented much food for thought.

The session's title was "Torah Wisdom/Torah Authority: Are We Losing the Connection?" and its first speaker was Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman, rosh hayeshiva of Yeshiva Maor Yitzchok and rav of Congregation Ahavas Torah (Monsey).

Generations and Their Leaders

Rabbi Wachsman began by noting that attacks on daas Torah have been with us since the time of Moshe Rabbenu, and that present-day scoffers are but actors in the tradition of Korach, the Tziddukim and the Maskilim. He then offered a perceptive insight into the gemora's account of the experience of Choni Hame'agel, whom Chazal described as having slept for 70 years. Returning to a society that revered his memory and teachings but refused to believe he was who he was, he prayed for death, a request that was granted.

Could Choni, Rabbi Wachsman asked, not simply have proven himself with his Torah wisdom, or begun anew as a teacher of Torah? Here, Rabbi Wachsman contended, we have a most important lesson: Each generation needs to receive its mesorah from its own gedolim. Choni had much to teach to his own generation, and what he taught was passed on to future ones as well, to be sure. But it had to be passed on only through the leaders of each subsequent generation. Dor dor vedorshov.

Thus, Rabbi Wachsman explained, we cannot establish a mode of behavior based on the words of an early authority alone. We cannot look, for example, to the Rambam's words to guide us in how our society should ensure Torah-study, but at the words of Rav Aharon and other gedolim of recent generations and our own generation. That is how mesorah works, he said, and the gedolim of our time must be recognized as those most qualified to interpret, distill and apply Torah truths to the challenges we face today.

Whether the issue was the Bais Yaakov movement in the time of the Chofetz Chaim or Israel's drafting of women in the Chazon Ish's, "proofs" from the gemora and Rishonim proffered by lesser people were not germane; what mattered were the deep understandings, honed by tzidkus and years of intense Torah-study, of the true manhigei hador of each generation.

Those who seek to undermine the deference to Daas Torah demanded of us, said Rabbi Wachsman, are oblivious to the import of that ideal, and can only seek to attribute what they don't understand to "parallels" in larger society — inaccurately comparing, for example, the principle of daas Torah to the Catholic conception of papal infallibility (lehavdil), or chareidi rabbinic leaders to Islamic fundamentalists (lehavdil again).

These misguided individuals do not realize how unique the Jew's relationship to the manhigei hador truly is. To the scoffers, what is latest is by definition what is best; to a Godol, what is new must be scrutinized carefully.

Bringing It All Home

To be sure, Rabbi Wachsman continued, there are certainly issues and situations that need to be addressed by our gedolim. But to blame gedolim, who work so tirelessly and with such great personal sacrifice on behalf of Klal Yisroel and individual Jews, for even real and present communal problems, is something cruel and evil.

In the end, though, the Rosh Hayeshiva exhorted, what is important is not to speak about "them" but about "us." The world without, he explained, is a mirror of who we are. Do we ourselves listen to what the gedolim of our time say only when it is comfortable for us? Pointing to the example of the "simcha guidelines" issued by gedolei Yisroel four years ago, designed to tone down chasunos and related celebrations, the Rosh Hayeshiva asked: "Do we just talk about daas Torah, or live it?"

Rabbi Wachsman's message was clear: When our own deference to gedolim is real and strong, we will be spared the scoffing and worse of those who hate Torah and its exemplars.

Balderdash, Blogs and Bashing

The evening's second speaker was Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice-president for government and public affairs for Agudath Israel of America. He began by calling attention to the crassly negative tone of political advertisements evident during the period leading up to the recent elections, and presented it as a reflection of larger society's tolerance for what, to a Torah-hashkofoh-tuned mind, is nothing short of forbidden speech.

In American libel law, he explained, "truth is an absolute defense," whereas the prohibition against loshon hora concerns accurate information. And when it comes to public figures, even outright untruths are protected by American law, as long as "actual malice" cannot be proven. How "diametrically opposed," observed Rabbi Zwiebel, is the halachic attitude toward the slander of Torah leaders, which is considered an especially grievous sin. Indeed, he noted, halochoh requires that talmidei chachomim be judged favorably even in situations where other people may not be entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

The Agudath Israel leader went on to note how the societal acceptance of mockery and slander has infiltrated the Jewish world and how Torah scholars and leaders have become the targets of some whose anger and frustrations blind them from both seeing reality and recognizing what is acceptable and what is not.

Rabbi Zwiebel focused on two contemporary manifestations of the problem. One was an ostensibly Orthodox newspaper that demonstrates contempt for rabbonim and gedolim who dare to take a different approach to some political issues from the paper's own, and publishes letters to the editor that openly mock talmidei chachomim. The second was "blogs," and the Agudath Israel leader quoted from one comment left on one such virtual soapbox, which contended that "the best thing about blogging is the anonymity. You could be shaking a rosh yeshiva, rav or rebbe's hand by day and then bash him in the evening."

That, Rabbi Zwiebel contended, well captured the mindset and the evil to which the medium can be, and too often is, put to use.

Our Messages to Our Young

Like Rabbi Wachsman before him though, Rabbi Zwiebel exhorted his listeners to turn inward, and to think about how destructive a thoughtlessly denigrating comment to a child about his rebbe can be. "What message," he asked, "does that send to a child?"

Not only is such denigration indefensible, it is particularly outrageous regarding the dedicated mechanchim of our children, he continued, illustrating his characterization of rabbeim by reading a note his son received from his sixth grade rebbe in which the rebbe took great pains to correct a small error in something he had taught, and apologized to his talmidim for the mistake. "We are so fortunate," the Agudath Israel leader said, "that such people are being mechanech our children."

He went on to show how central the concept of daas Torah has always been to Agudath Israel, and recounted how happy Rabbi Moshe Sherer was when a Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah decision went against the expert advice of a lay panel of experts. "This," he quoted the late president of Agudath Israel of America as having explained at the time, "is why I came to Agudas Yisroel."

"Who would you rather have making such decisions?" Rabbi Sherer had explained. "You and I, or the gedolei Yisroel?"

Subservience to Authority

Citing Chazal's dictum, "Asei lecho rav — Establish a rabbinic authority for yourself," Rabbi Zwiebel declared that even those who do not look specifically to the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah as the ultimate arbiter of daas Torah must nonetheless defer to their own rabbonim. Whatever latitude may be inherent in the "asei lecho" part of the equation, he averred, in no way undermines the ultimate subservience to rabbinic authority inherent in the "rav" part of the equation.

Such subservience requires one to accept the judgment of the rabbinic authority even if it is at variance with his own judgment, Rabbi Zwiebel said. As the Sifsei Chachomim explains on the Rashi in Parshas Shofetim quoting Chazal that one may not deviate from the ruling of the rabbinic judge, "even if he tells you that right is left and left is right," in such situations a Jew is obliged to assume that the mistake in judgment is his own.

Furthermore, even if the rabbinic authority should be mistaken, the Agudath Israel leader stated, it is incumbent upon the community to defer to his judgment — "and not that each person should do as he personally understands, because that will lead to `churban hadas', communal division and total national loss," in the words of the Sefer Hachinuch.

Two Very Different Visions

And so, the speaker concluded, we have two visions before us, "a vision of the people, by the people, for the people, a vision of free speech, freedom of the press, a vision of skepticism and cynicism, a vision designed to find flaws": and a second vision, that of recognizing that there is a hierarchy in Klal Yisroel, that we need the misnas'im al kehal Hashem, and that any attempt to knock them down is ma'aseh Korach."

Today, "more starkly and clearly than ever before," declared Rabbi Zwiebel, "which path we ultimately take will decide whether we will continue to thrive as a Torah community or, chas vesholom, face churban hadas. May it be Hashem's will," he concluded, in the words of the weekday post-krias haTorah tefilloh, "that He preserve among us the sages of Israel, they and their wives, their sons and their daughters, their disciples and the disciples of their disciples, in all their dwelling places, and let us say omein."

Demonstrating Deference

The evening's feature address was then delivered by the Mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood, Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, who began by noting how the Haggodoh introduces the "four sons" with a reference to Hakodosh Boruch Hu's giving of the Torah to Klal Yisroel. The implicit lesson, the Mashgiach explained, is that only the Torah can provide the tools for knowing how precisely we are to interact with individuals, each of whom must be dealt with according to his own personality.

Rabbi Salomon then proceeded to note that the response the Haggodoh provides for the rosho's challenge is not the one the posuk assigns to the words of the rosho's question in the Torah. What is more, the Mashgiach pointed out, the Haggodoh's response to that son is not couched as an answer, or "amira," at all.

Many answer, Rabbi Salomon said, that the Baal Haggodoh is teaching us not what to answer the rosho, but rather how to react to the derision he voices, not to be impressed with his challenge, to respond by stating a fact that will set his teeth on edge. Thus, the Mashgiach explained, the scoffer, seeing our firmness and determination, may just be shaken, and perhaps brought to do teshuvoh. For we must remember that Klal Yisroel bowed in gratitude at the "besuras habonim" heralded by the rosho's question; bringing reshoim back into the fold, which we can do if we choose our responses correctly, is our ultimate hope.

That our answer to the tam is the same as to the rosho, Rabbi Salomon continued, may imply that we must provide him the answer to use should the rosho scoff to him. For we must strengthen all of our children, and give them the ammunition with which to fight back when their beliefs are attacked.

But, the Mashgiach stressed, echoing the other speakers of the evening, "we did not come here to criticize or attack others, but to strengthen ourselves," to ensure that the "insidious poison" not seep into our homes, to "immunize ourselves" against the plague of anger toward and mockery of talmidei chachomim and gedolei Yisroel.

One suggestion he offered for accomplishing that immunization was to be extremely careful that our Shabbos tables be filled with simcha shel mitzvah and words that bespeak ahavas talmidei chachomim, not, cholila, anything that might be construed as the opposite. "Let our children see whom we respect. Let us be more demonstrative of our deference to authority." Our children, he averred, have to feel that respect and deference, and they can only feel it if we do ourselves.

Rabbi Salomon took pains to declare that we have no complaint against anyone asking questions about our convictions, or even disagreeing — agreeably — with stances we have seen fit to take. But, he explained, when it is done with cynicism and derision, when vulgar language and sentiments are used to denigrate rabbonim, manhigim and talmidei chachomim, "we must rise to their defense."

Even, sadly, when wrong things are done, we cannot stand by when a "broad brush" is used to smear those to whom we look for guidance and daas Torah.

Contemporary scoffers, the Mashgiach pointed out, like to accuse the chareidi community of "sweeping things under the carpet." They are right, he explained, but not in the way they mean. "Do they know how many perpetrators" of sins against others "have been dealt with?" No, he explained, because when actions are taken against individuals who have proven themselves untrustworthy, we do not trumpet our actions. Even as we take what steps are necessary to help protect others, we also seek to protect human dignity. And when crimes are asserted but not proven, we are guided not by a mob mentality but by the Torah. That, the Mashgiach declared, is not cowardice but courage.

As the night's topic is so painful, Rabbi Salomon concluded, and as we cannot even know how many people are influenced by the unwarranted criticism and mockery of Torah-scholars so prevalent today, "it would be fitting to show our response" to the words spoken over the course of the evening "not by clapping" but rather "by standing up, and being mechabeid the gedolei Torah" of our times. That, he declared, is how we have to be mesakein the bizoyon. "We are soldiers. We are mekadshei Sheim Shomayim."

And with that, all in the large assemblage rose from their seats and joined the Lakewood Mashgiach in declaring their allegiance to Torah and its transmitters, loudly and clearly, "Atoh hor'eiso loda'as, ki Hashem Hu ho'Elokim, ein od milevado!"

End of the Report of the Thursday Session

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Rabbi Mordecai Tendler Case Update: Decision and Order Esformes v. Kehillat New Hempstead

Case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
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Supreme Court Of The State Of New York
County of Rockland

Morris Esformes, Harry Grossman, Eileen Grossman, Jeffery Friedman, Netzana Friedman, Gabriel M.O Nacca, Osnat Mizrachy Nacca, Joyce Simon, Jack Schranz, Sheila Schranz, Simon Zarour,
Lori Zarour, All Suing Derivatively on Behalf of Bais Knesses of New Hempstead, Inc., AKA Kehillat New Hempstead, The Rav Aron Aron Jofen Community Synagogue,

Fred Brinn, Seymour Ratner, Bruce Minsky, Schlomo Pomeranz, Jerrold Wolfset, and David Resnick, Individually, and the Board of Directors and Trustees of Bais Knesses of New Hempstead, Inc., AKA Kehillat New Hempstead, The Rav Arron Aron Jofen Community Synagogue,


Bais Knesses of New Hempstead, Inc., AKA Kehillat New Hempstead, The Rav Aron Jofen Community Synagogue,
Nominal Defendant.

Liebowitz, J.

The following documents numbered 1 to 35 were read in connection with the motion of plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction (1) enjoining the defendant Board of Directors and Trustees from taking any action, except in the ordinary course of business; (2) enjoining the defendants from removing, directing or requiring removal of Rabbi Tendler's belongings from the Rabbi's study; (3) enjoining the defendants from taking any action in furtherance of identifying and hiring a new Rabbi, including the formation and activities of a search committee; (4) enjoining the defendants from taking any action in furtherance of changing the name of the Congregation and/or Synagogue; and (5) reinstating Rabbi Tendler as Rabbi pursuant to the contract

Order to show Cause, Affidavits and Supporting Pagers 1-12
Opposing Affidavits and Supporting Papers 13-28
Reply Affidavits and Supporting Papers 29-35

Upon a review of the voluminous papers submitted in support and in opposition to the motion, and after hearing extensive oral argument from both sides, the Court denies plaintiffs' application for a preliminary injunctions in all respects. Plaintiffs' application cannot be decided by applying neutral principles of law, and therefore would require impermissible inquiries into the operation of the Congregation and religious doctrine. Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar, Inc. v Kahana. 820 N.Y.S. 2d 62, 31 A.D.3d 541 (2nd Dept., 2006).

On the basis of the foregoing, it is hereby
ORDERED that plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction is denied in all respects.

This constitutes the Decision and Order of this Court

Dated: New City, New York
November 22, 2006

Richard B. Liebowitz
Supreme Court Justice

Paul Savad & Associates
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
55 Old Turnpike Rd - Suite 209
Nanuet, New York 10954

Catalano Gallardo & Petropoulos, LLP
Attorney for Defendants
Fred Brinn, Seymour Ratner, Bruce Minsky, Schlomo Pomerantz, Jerrold Wolfset and David Resnik, Individually, and as Directors and Trustees of Bais Knesses of New Hempstead, Inc.
100 Jericho Quadrangle
Stuite 214
Jericho, New York 11753

A Challenge To All Rabbis Connected To Agudath Israel

"You can bring a horse to water, yet you can't make them drink."

How do we encourage the rabbis connected with Agudath Israel to change their ways when it comes to dealing with allegations of sex crimes? How can we make them see that they have been adding to the problems? Considering the number of cases being uncovered that were mishandled (on an almost daily basis), one would think they would jump at the chance to sincerely ask for help?

I'll admit that there are small groups out there that are very gently and slowly trying to educate our rabbis. The problem is that this method is not appropriate due to the immediate dangers involved to unsuspecting individuals who are about to become the next victim of a sex crime. Each day that goes by at least one more child or adult is becoming the newest victim.

Next time you see one of the rabbis or individuals listed below, ask them:
  1. How many more victims do we need to create?
  2. How many more individual lives need will be altered in a way that could result with them battling symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, severe depression, eating disorders, addictions or even suicide?"
I don't want to say we are at war with our rabbis, yet we are at war with their ignorance and their refusal to change.

If our rabbis really care and really want to protect innocent people they need to make the necessary changes today!

Please look at the list below. If you know any of the individuals listed, encourage them to see the documentary called "Deliver us from evil." It's about a case of clergy abuse with in the Catholic Church. I personally feel it is mandatory for all rabbis of all movements in Judaism to see.

The most serious problem of cover-ups and shaming and blaming survivors seem to be in the charedi world. They definately lack the education needed and we all need to help them open their eyes. We all need to demand that the following rabbis and other individuals watch the documentary
"Deliver us from evil." These individuals need to report back to us explaining how the ways they have been handling allegations of sexually abusive rabbis is any different then the way the Catholic Church has been handling cases of sexually abusive priests?

I understand that this may seem controversial to demand our rabbis to go to a movie theater, for this reason I will personally arrange for private viewing of the documentary (Deliver us from evil) .

  1. Rabbi Labish Becker
  2. Rabbi Aharon Feldman
  3. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann
  4. Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer
  5. Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky
  6. Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger
  7. Rabbi Yaakov Perlow
  8. Rabbi Mattisyahu Salomon
  9. Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg
  10. Marvin Schick
  11. Rabbi Avi Shafran
  12. Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman
  13. Rabbi Beryl Weisbord
  14. Chana Weinberg
  15. Rabbi Noah Weinberg
  16. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel

Rabbi Zwiebel says:
"In recent years, though," the Agudah leader observes, "due to a variety of factors, the authority of daas Torah has been significantly undermined, even within our own chareidi circles. Most troubling has been the proliferation of Internet 'blogs' where misguided individuals feel free to spread every bit of rechilus and loshon hora about rabbonim and roshei yeshiva, all with the intended effect of undermining any semblance of Torah authority in our community. It is most appropriate for an organization like Agudath Israel, whose very essence was built on the recognition of the authority of Torah leaders, to address this issue head on, and formulate concrete plans to reinvigorate public awareness of this essential element of the Torah way of life."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rabbi Philip Jacobs is Absolutely Correct about Benny Sela

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Benny Sela - Escaped Prisoner

'All the sexual offenders have a very quick mind'
Jerusalem Post
November 27, 2006

Even Prisons Service Chaplain Rabbi Philip Jacobs got a sense he was being conned by serial rapist Benny Sela.

Jacobs, one of the few regular visitors Sela had during his confinement at Nitzan Prison, recounted to The Jerusalem Post Sunday how Sela frequently contacted him, asking him for help. "He would regularly ask me for prayer books, candles for Friday afternoons, and once asked me to bring him a Bible," Jacobs recalled.

"My gut feeling was that he was trying to be manipulative when calling me, and just seeking attention from professionals," Jacobs explained. "Criminals like him would try to entice staff into conversations, but my communications with him was mostly professional, which was intentional on my part."

Jacobs said he had conflicting thoughts about Sela's ability to rehabilitate himself. "My hope as a rabbi and as a believing Jew was that Sela and others like him had some spark of humanity left in them. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that most of my serial rapists expressed any true remorse. They felt that what they did was justified, or that it was they who were the victims."

Jacobs, who authored the book True Stories of Hope and Redemption: Memoirs of an American Karate Champ Turned Israel Prison Chaplain - Israel Behind Bars, said based on his unsuccessful 1999 prison escape, police were aware that Sela might try it again. "My feeling was that those criminals serving long sentences like Sela never gave up hope of escaping and were not resigned to a life in jail. The Prisons Service is aware of that."

Sela's exploitation of his chance to escape did not surprise Jacobs. Prisoners like Sela, he said, had a very high IQ, Jacobs said, but had "a warped intelligence." He added: "All the sexual offenders have a very quick mind, are very manipulative, and are quick-tongued."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kabalove - Is This Judaism? A cult?

A friend of mine made me aware of this group some time ago. I've been watching it on and off ever since. There have never been any complaints of sexual misconduct, yet their web page concerns me. I've heard rumors that it's founder "rabbi" Ohad Ezrahi is a disciple of "rabbi" Mordechai Gafni.

Below you will find the bio of the founder and the most recent e-mail. Let me know if you think this group represents Judaism?

Bio on the Founder of "Kabalove"
Ohad Ezrahi: was born in 1965, a father of three kids. Entered into the Hasidic world when he was 18 years old, after spending most of his youth in the Negev desert of Israel, studying ecology and dedicating his time for Buddhism and meditation. In the Yeshiva world he had learned Talmud, Halacha, Midrash, Hasidism and Kabalah. He was sent by one of the most important hasidic leaders of today to learn Lurianic Kabala in the traditional Kabalist-Yeshiva "SHa'ar Hashamayim" (= "The Gate of Heaven"). Ohad thought Torah for several years within the yeshiva world. He was a Rabbi and a teacher of Kabalah and Hasidism in the most progressive and advanced institutes of the modern orthodox movement in Israel. Ohad was a close student of the Kabalist Rabbi Yitshak Ginzburg, and together with his fellow students he was part of the pioneer group that had established the community of Bat-Ayin in 89, where he had lived with his family for 12 years, making his living mainly from computer graphics and animation, while taking courses in the Hebrew University in Jewish Philosophy, Kabalah, literature, comparative religions and general philosophy.

At the end of the 90's he graduated from orthodoxy. He spent a semester as a fellow scholar in the Rockefeller fellowship "Science, Gender and the Sacred" in the University of Oregon in Eugene. In 2000 he opened HAMAKOM as a new spiritual community, that is dedicated to the renewal of spirit in Judaism. Hamakom had its first Yeshiva-Ashram in the Judean desert, where thousands of people from Israel and from all over the world came to study, spend time in a spiritual community and take workshops.

Here's the latest e-mail from the group that was forward to me:

Shalom dear friends
Two short and exiting things:
1. in Hanukah we will host our Shaman friend Itzhak Beery from NYC, in a workshop (Hebrew-English) dedicated to the work of NINA - the Sacred Inner Fire. See details below.
2. in March and a bit of April we (dawn and I) plan on being in America. Our teaching tour will take us to NYC, New Mexico, and California. (maybe even more west than that - to Hawaii : we have a feeling we need to go there and will be happy for contacts for visiting and teaching KabaLove there...).
We will send more details soon, and update our website with the new info.
please visit us at
hope to see you all soon, here, there and everywhere

Nina- The Sacred Fire

A special Hanukah Shamanic gathering

with Itzhak Beery and Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi

Rosh Pina - December 22-23

In Quechua, the Inca language, the Sacred Fire is called Nina. It resides in the lower part of our body and is associated with the giving of life, internal power, passion, and sexual energy. There is no word for sex in Quechua. Instead, two people who are engaged in the act of sharing the Nina are merging the two most powerful universal energy sources of Father Sun, and that of Mother Earth’s magma core.

As winter days grow shorter and nights grow longer and darker, so do our thoughts, energy and moods. We start to look deeper into our own shadows and fears. In this workshop we will get in touch with our dark side by igniting Nina, the spark that reside in our own body and soul. We will uncover and remember the light within us. We will celebrate the joy and happiness with a release from darkness into the magic of light.

Throughout Friday and Saturday we will celebrate the power of Nina. Using ancient shamanic techniques we will journey to connect to Nina’s soul and power. We will engage in rituals, give her offerings and sacrifices in a fire ceremony. We will move and dance in order to free ourselves from obstacles and integrate her power into our lives.

Early Saturday morning we will invoke and welcome the power of the Sun with a special Inti Raymi (sunrise) ceremony and ancient body exercises.

Come join us at Rosh-Pina to meet your Nina and live with passion.

For registration contact Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi

077-427-7773 cel. O52-610-9713


Or contact Itzhak:

Public Statement by JWB on the Recent Agudath Israel of America Conference for Public Distribution

By Jewish Whistleblower (JWB)
November 25, 2006

JWB: Agudath Israel of America must clarify statements being attributed to it on the issue of the abuse of children, particularly comments about sweeping incidents of child abuse "under the carpet".

As discussed by Rabbi Gil Student and in comments on his blog, Hirhurim, statements concerning child molestation were attributed to the leadership of Agudath Israel of America last week at their convention. I call on the leadership of Agudath Israel to publicly clarify and address those comments in detail as well as a putting forth a concrete National and International policy with a formal mechanism to protect our children, brothers and sisters from sexual predators.

Per Gil Student (except for the editor's note):
  • Rabbi Ephraim Wachsman made a number of statements that imply he knows very well what topics are discussed on blogs. I think he might have dinged me twice, but I'm not sure. [Once, if it was a reference to my recent post on the Rambam, is an understandable misunderstanding because I have not yet said, but will be"H soon be saying, "Eis la'asos la-Shem" on the subject.]
  • Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon was surprisingly restrained.
  • Both Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel and Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon offered explicit statements of general tolerance, Rabbi Zwiebel in saying "Aseh lekha rav" and Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon in saying that questions and critiques that are respectful are acceptable [I think that's what R. Salomon said. I have to listen to a recording -- which I have -- to verify.]
  • Clearly, a certain blogger was the villain of the evening. I won't name him, but let's just say that he goes by a three-letter acronym containing two vowels. I looked around but did not see that blogger there. [editor and not Gil: UnorthodoxJew (UOJ)]

Selected Comments (those signed Gil are from Rabbi Gil Student, the others are anonymous):
I apologize, first of all, for writing anonymously, but I too was there, Gil, and I too have to collect my thoughts before I write under my name.

I didn't hear Rabbi Solomon say respectful questions and critiques are acceptable, but maybe you're right, Gil, and maybe I'm wrong. I heard him say blogs are a "plague" and an "insidious...poison" that has entered our homes. At one point, he did obliquely refer to the UOJ/child abuse problem, and I give him credit for that. Criticize some rabbis, he said, not all of us, so perhaps that is what you're referring to.

He said we don't know how many hours rabbis have dedicated for dealing with perpetrators, but acknowledged some cases have slipped through our fingers, and demonstratively held up his hand. He said some cases should be swept under the rug, when the Torah tells us to sweep it under the rug.

I heard Rabbi Wachsman come out unconditionally against blogs - he said, "No excuses". He told the story of a kehilla where some of the baal habattim appointed a dayan without first asking the town Rav, and the Rav then said those baal habattim should die within a year. I'm not 100 per cent if R' Wachsman told this story, or R Solomon. This is the meaning of daas Torah, and rabbinic authority. Rabbi Wachsman uttered only one word about "grievances", and that was the word. On the other hand, he uttered the words "mesorah" and "laytsim" many times.

I'm still giving this thought, and maybe I'll write under my name, and maybe not, but the point they all missed was not that the Jews are losing respect for their rabbis, and blogging is a cause and/or symptom. F'kert. It is because the Jews have such great respect for rabbis, and Torah learning, that many of us have taken to the blogs to vent our protest. It is always peaceful, often intelligent, and even mostly respectful, albeit with major exceptions, but this is what is agitating people.

As far as the mood of the crowd there, I don't think the three speakers captured their emotions at any point. There was no spontaneous crowd response at any point. Maybe others will differ, I don't know.

I would love to see a transcripts.
Ploni ben Avrohom | 11.24.06 - 11:01 am | #

"He said some cases should be swept under the rug, when the Torah tells us to sweep it under the rug."
This is a troubling statement, if indeed Rabbi Solomon did say this and is not being misquoted. I don't know how you can "sweep under a rug", even a single claim of molestation. Every Jewish soul is precious and by not acting swiftly and definitively, you are potentially causing others to be harmed.

The passuk states regarding a man or woman who is accused of idolatry:
"Vedarashta heiteiv vehineh emet nachon hadavar neestah hatoevah hazot beyisrael. Vehotzeta et haish, etc."

Now we know that a homosexual act between two consenting adults is also called a "toevah", an abomination. How much more so is child molestation a "toevah". And we see that when there are accusations of a "toevah" being committed, it is the responsibility of our leadership to thoroughly investigate. If the allegations are indeed true, then the perpetrator must be dealt with accordingly. There is no "sweeping under the rug" in such cases.
steve | 11.24.06 - 1:02 pm | #

>This is a troubling statement, if indeed Rabbi Solomon did say this and is not being misquoted. I don't know how you can "sweep under a rug", even a single claim of molestation.

Steve, I'll requote it with the proper emphasis.

"He said some cases should be swept under the rug, when the Torah tells us to sweep it under the rug."

Still troubled?
ed | 11.24.06 - 1:21 pm | #
"He said some cases should be swept under the rug, when the Torah tells us to sweep it under the rug."
This is a troubling statement, if indeed Rabbi Solomon did say this and is not being misquoted. I don't know how you can "sweep under a rug", even a single claim of molestation. Every Jewish soul is precious and by not acting swiftly and definitively, you are potentially causing others to be harmed.

The passuk states regarding a man or woman who is accused of idolatry:
"Vedarashta heiteiv vehineh emet nachon hadavar neestah hatoevah hazot beyisrael. Vehotzeta et haish, etc.

Now we know that a homosexual act between two consenting adults is also called a "toevah", an abomination. How much more so is child molestation a "toevah". And we see that when there are accusations of a "toevah" being committed, it is the responsibility of our leadership to thoroughly investigate. If the allegations are indeed true, then the perpetrator must be dealt with accordingly. There is no "sweeping under the rug" in such cases.

R. Salomon meant that was is swept under the carpet (not rug) is when they take steps against an offender but keep it quiet to protect the innocent individuals involved. He did not mean that an offender should be left alone and his acts swept under the carpet.
Gil | Homepage | 11.24.06 - 1:24 pm | #


Yes, I am still troubled. Where does it say in the Torah to sweep such cases under the rug?
I asked a friend who was there last night if he indeed said this. According to his recollection, Rabbi Salomon said that the rabbis are being accused of sweeping these cases under the rug. In the meantime, nobody knows the tens of cases that they dealt with definitively, because those cases were also swept under the rug.
steve | 11.24.06 - 1:29 pm | #

"Rabbi Salomon meant that was is swept under the carpet (not rug) is when they take steps against an offender but keep it quiet to protect the innocent individuals involved. He did not mean that an offender should be left alone and his acts swept under the carpet."

Thank you, Rabbi Gil. Now I am less troubled.
steve | 11.24.06 - 1:31 pm | #

Gil is correct. This was the clear intent of Rabbi Solomon.
In another forum, Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levine, Telshe Chicago R"Y, and Moetses member, said, We can't sweep these cases under the rug anymore, there's no more room.

So what did Rabbi Levine mean? That in the past, we weren't sufficiently focused on addressing abuse, we thought each case was an aberration, and we would even turn our eyes away; now, because of the rising caseload, we understand we were mistaken, and we must address it.
Ploni ben Avrohom | 11.24.06 - 1:46 pm | #

Friday, November 24, 2006

Is there any connection between Achi Ben Shalom and Rabbi Mordechai Gafni?

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Achi Ben Shalom / Marc Gafni

I was reading the articles out there about the new allegations made against Achi Ben Shalom. I started wondering if there is any sort of connection between him and Rabbi Marc Gafni. I have absolutely nothing to base this on with the exception that Gafni's ex-wife has been based in San Francisco for several years and at one time Gafni took a stab at becoming a "rock star".

Below is a list of other alleged and convicted sex offenders that had been trusted performers in Jewish communities:
  1. Shlomo Carlebach
  2. Philip Friedman
  3. Stuart Friedman
  4. Sidney Goldenberg
  5. Joel Gordon
  6. Mark Horowitz
  7. Howard Nevison
  8. Stanley Rosenfeld
  9. Robert Shapiro
  10. Michael Segelstein
  11. Yeedle Werdyger
  12. Adam Wexler
  13. Hershy Worch
  14. Phillip Wittlin
  15. Peter Yarrow

Child abuse case still pending trial four years after initial complaint

By Ruth Sinai
November 24, 2006

Almost four years have passed since the sister of a 10-year-old boy filed an abuse complaint on her brother's behalf against the uncle who regularly beat and emotionally abused him. Legal proceedings in the case have been continually delayed, and the uncle has not yet been tried. The alleged victim's sister also claimed she suffered abuse at the hands of the uncle.

The uncle was charged three years ago, but a series of delays, some initiated by the defendant and some due to court foot-dragging, have put the now 14-year-old boy through a long and rigorous ordeal.

The uncle was charged with assault in November 2003, some 10 months after the complaint was originally filed. The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court scheduled a hearing for March 27, 2005, one year and four months after the indictment.

In February 2005, the defendant asked to postpone the hearing until after the Jewish holiday of Purim, so that he could properly celebrate the holiday. The court rescheduled the hearing for April 10. The hearing took place as scheduled, but the defendant did not have proper representation, so the proceedings were again postponed.

The following hearing was scheduled for November 20, 2005, exactly two years after the indictment. On the day of the hearing, the prosecution and the defense requested another delay in an attempt to reach a settlement. The hearing was again postponed, this time for December 6, 2005.

This hearing was then postponed, because it was scheduled for the same day that the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's office was slated to participate in an education program. The next hearing was scheduled for April 24, 2006. Shortly after the date was set, the defense attorney recused himself and the hearing was postponed until May 22.

At this hearing, the defendant denied the allegations against him and a hearing for the presentation of the evidence was scheduled for October 24, 2006. After the victim underwent preparation for his testimony, he was barred from testifying at the hearing due to another postponement, this time because the defense attorney had fallen ill and lost her voice. The next hearing is set to take place on December 25.

Dr. Yitzhak Kadman of the National Council for the Child in Israel wrote the director of the Courts Administration, Justice Moshe Gal, a letter in which he condemned the repeated delays.

"One can only imagine what this boy must be going through," Kadman wrote. "He is a victim of a crime and his interests have been postponed and pushed aside regularly by the judicial system, and his childhood is passing him by in tense anticipation of the trial."

Kadman also mentioned that children are naturally hesitant to report abuse, and the "inconceivable torture" suffered by the victim is detrimental to efforts to encourage other children to come forward and report abuse.

He asked Gal to find a way to expedite proceedings where minors are involved, especially in cases of sexual and physical abuse within the family.

‘Jewish Interpol’ Should Include Sex Offenders!

If they can create a Jewish Interpol on the topic of Domestic Violence they can also expand it to include sexual predators. Below is just ten examples:
  1. Rabbi Lipa Brenner
  2. Rabbi Ephraim Bryks
  3. Rabbi Benyamin Fleischman
  4. Rabbi Marc Gafni
  5. Former Oregon Governer - Neil Goldschmidt
  6. Rabbi Alan Horowitz, MD
  7. Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz
  8. Rabbi BenZion Sobel
  9. Rabbi Matis Weinberg
  10. Rabbi Hershy Worch

‘Jewish Interpol’ to be launched in Europe
European Jewish Press, Belgium
November 21, 2006

Photo: Rabbi Yisrael Yaacov Lichtenstein, Dayan (religious Jewish judge) who heads the Rabbinical Court of the Federation of Synagogues in London

BRUSSELS (EJP)--- A “Jewish Interpol” is set to be launched in Europe, with the aim of ensuring that information about Jewish men who refuse to grant their wives a religious divorce is transferred immediately to the continent’s rabbinical courts.

The proposal is expected to approved at a judicial conference of Jewish religious judges organised by the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, to be held at the start of December in Brussels.

This new revolutionary enterprise is likely to cause dramatic changes throughout Jewish communities.

Many judges are encountering situations where men, who refuse to grant their wives a religious divorce despite being ordered to do so by rabbinical courts, are deciding to flee elsewhere in order to avoid enactment of a verdict and continue living a Jewish life in a place where their past is unknown.

Unavoidable decrees

The “Jewish Interpol” will become the long arm of the Jewish law. It will create a situation whereby the person will be forced to fulfill the verdict and will award the decree a valid stature.

The Brussels-based Rabbinical Center of Europe have confirmed reports that a rabbinical conference, to be attended by Jewish religious judges from around the world, will take place in two weeks.

A spokesman said that the Interpol will collect information from all rabbinical courts and will be based at the Rabbinical Center of Europe. This information will then be passed on to the leaders and Rabbis of Jewish communities.

This recommendation, said the spokesman, will probably be placed at the centre of the discussion panel, "in light of the many requests regarding divorce refusers not paying heed to court verdicts and enjoying the services of another community”.

“The new initiative is bound to put an end to the anarchy," the spokesman added.

The source also revealed that the European Parliament invited the judicial conference to hold part of their discussions in the judicial hall of the parliament.

It is yet unclear which of the topics to be brought up for discussion will be held in the European parliament in Brussels and with the participation of which persons from the European government.

It is also known that the convention has aroused interest amongst the judge’s community and will deal with subjects including the status of the private investigators and written refusal.

Rabbinical anticipation

Rabbi Yisrael Yaacov Lichtenstein, a "dayan" (religious Jewish judge) who heads the Rabbinical Court of The Federation of Synagogues in London , England , was excited to hear about this major project.

“This is an effective method to help the problem of Agunot (chained wives) that has proven to be effective in the past,” Dayan Lichtenstein said. “We call upon all parties worldwide to assist us in this project”.