Sunday, December 31, 2006

Breaking Silence (Translated from Hebrew to English)

Note From The Awareness Center:
The Awareness Center wants to thank Na'ama Yehuda for the translation of the following article.

Breaking Silence
(Translated from Hebrew to English)
December, 28 2006

As a Charedi (ultra-orthodox) child he had been through a series of molestations and attempted rapes. Even after he left the religious life, he suffered from nightmares and sleepless nights. Now Menachem Lang decided to gather his courage, confront his attackers, and force the Charedi world to deal with its demons. Dressed as a Charedi, he infiltrated Bnei-Brak and followed them--until he managed to squeeze an detailed admission and request for forgiveness; all in front of the cameras.

Menachem Lang was born as a Charedi in Bnei-Brak. Already at a young age he was discovered as someone who possessed a unique voice for Chazanut (leading the community in religious song)and became the wonder child of the Charedi world. However, alongside the success, Lang was hiding a relentless dark secret.

"The first time was when I was 7 years old," tells Lang. "The attacker took me to the bathroom and spent five hours with me there. He rubbed against me and touched me, breathed like a drunkard. I just lowered my eyes and waited for it to be over." This week, almost 20 years later, Lang went back to the streets of Bnei-Brak--and this time as a non-religious Jew dressed as a Charedi--in order to confront the people who sexually assaulted him.

Menachem, 25 years old, is an actor in the Ensemble of Herzelia Theater, went on the shuddering trip into his past accompanied by Channel 10 reporter Guy Lerer. "I always wanted to do this," he says, "it hurt me that these people are walking free. It haunted me nights, but I didn't have the courage to do this because I didn't have anyone to do it with. I made the decision when Lerer came to me to prepare a report on the show I participate in. I told him about my dream and he immediately told me 'we're doing this!'. During the shooting we walked into the Satmar borough dressed as Charedis, the same Chassidic group that sent its people to meet with Ahmad Nigahd. It is a hard, violent place."

"I am regretful!"
About two weeks agog, Landg and Lerer, outfitted with a hidden camera, arrived in a neighborhood in Bnei-Brak. He waited under one of the houses, dressed as a Charedi. A few minutes later, a familiar figure approaches up the street. Menachem identifys "A", the man who attacked him violently and molested him when he was 13. He goes to him and calls him to stop. "A" turns and flees, Menachem runs after him. Several tens of meters later, he catches him, and the two begin to fight. When "A" understands that he has no place to run to, he stops, and after he calms down a bit an exchange develops between Menachem and him.

A: "I admit that I used to mess (with children) but three years already I hadn't messed with any one."
Menachem: "How old are you today?"
A: "I'm 37."
Menachem: "Until the time you were 34 you touched children?"
A: "I did to you what I did to you in the Synagogue. Since I did to you I hadn't touched anyone."
Menachem: "Why did you do (this)?"
A: "Folly. Everyone has a Yetzer-Ha'ra (an urge to do bad).
Menachem: "With how many children have you done this?"
A: "I didn't do a lot (of times/of kids), I did with two-three, not more than that. I repented and I don't do it and don't touch anyone."

Menachem: "You know why I don't believe you? Because I can see in your face that you are not sorry."

This is the moment when "A" loses his cool and yells in the middle of the street: "I am regretful! You want to murder my life?" At this point a large crowd gathers in the street. Menachem and the filming crew, afraid of being Lynched, leave the place. Later on, Menachem confronts another attacker, who offers to compensate for the molestation with payment, as is customary in the Charedi world. Menachem, surprisingly enough, accepts the offer.

That very day Menachem receives a threatening phone call from the Bnei-Brak Modesty Patrols. "I head people talking about it and they decided to go to the end," whispers the voice on the other end of the line, "if this stops, it'll stop. If this happens again, there will be a battle against battle here. You want this? Be our guest."

"Entering Satmar was when I felt that we might be crossing a line," tell Lerer, "there were factors in the Charedi world who told us that even they would be afraid to go in there. We were dressed as Charedis, but you can say that the costume wasn't all that credible. If they were to expose us, we wouldn't have left there alive."

"It is common in the Charedi world"
Five years ago Menachem left religious life. Now it is much easier for him to talk of the atrocities that he underwent in Bnei-Brak, this that repeated themselves over years, by the hands of a number of people.

"The second time it happened to me, at age 10, a man I didn't know tempted me and got me into a stairwell," he reconstructs the event, "there he undid my pants, touched me, and tried to enter me with his penis. I will not forget that in the midst of all this he was talking Gemara with me, probably to distract me while he was doing what he was doing. It was terrible. I told about it to an older and qualified man. He caught the attacker and took him to a very known rabbi, who takes care of such matters. Unfortunately, I saw him (the attacker) walking free the very next day. I found out that he was the son of a very known 'Admor' (congregation leader rabbi), which meant that nothing could be done to him."

According to Menachem, sexual assault of children isn't a rare thing in the Charedi world, and many cases are silenced within the community. It was the reason why he didn't tell anyone about other events that took place over the years. "I'm not alone," He says, "assaulting children is a common thing in the Charedi world, almost accepted. Everyone knows, but they try to take care of it internally. To go to the police? It is out of the question."

Since the brave journey back to the world that abused him, Menachem has been exposed to tens of additional phone threats. "Bnei-Brak is on fire," he says, "They feel that this is one of the hardest things that ever hit them. I'd already heard about organized plans to come and exact revenge upon me, but I'd also heard about those who support me. They say that no one ever stopped it from within. It is about time that someone brings an end to this from outside."

Even though he has filmed admissions from his attackers, Menachem decided not to place a complaint with the police. He doesn't deny that one of those reasons is the many threats he receives. "If a complaint is made with the police, I will need to leave the country (Israel) the next day," Menachem explains. "It is not something I want to do. Anyway, I think that the report will do far better service and maybe will result in tens of poor children not having to go through the same hell as I did."

The full story, Friday 12-29-06, on "Shee-Shee" with Raviv Droker and Ofer Shelach on Channel 10.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Rabbi Jerry Brauner Arrested Again - Boro Park

Rabbi Jerry Brauner
B'KLYN House 'Theft'
New York Post
December 28, 2006

A devious cabal that included a pedophile rabbi stole a half-million-dollar home from a cancer-stricken woman, using a forged power of attorney to sell it and pocket the profits, Brooklyn prosecutors charged yesterday.

According to investigators, Margaret Franklin's Crown Heights home was stolen in August 2004 after Nathen Farkas, 31, forged a power of attorney, signing Franklin's name, that effectively handed control of her assets to co-defendant Russell Pitt.

The power of attorney was notarized by a third defendant, Jerry Brauner, 53, a rabbi who had been on probation since 2002 for the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old boy.

Pitt then "sold" the property to the fourth defendant, Winston Roche, 59, and a $476,000 mortgage was split among Roche, Pitt and Farkas.

"Margaret Franklin never got a nickel," said Assistant DA Michael Vaccaro. "Then she died."

Farkas was ordered held in lieu of $85,000 bail and Roche on $45,000. Pitt is still at large.

Brauner was held in lieu of $85,000 bail for lying about prior sex-abuse convictions when he applied for his notary's license.

Lawyers for the three men arraigned yesterday denied that their clients knew anything sinister was going on, suggesting Pitt was the mastermind.

A Note To Saul Berman, Avi Weiss, Joseph Telushkin and the rest of the Gafni Gang

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Wouldn't it be great to start 2007 with a clean slate?

If you know any of the individuals listed below please encourage them to apologize directly to those they attacked for exposing Rabbi Mordechai Gafni.

Marc Gafni came out publicly back in May that he assaulted more women in Israel. To this day Saul Berman, Joseph Telushkin, Dr. Steven Marmer, Naomi Marks, those at ALEPH and others who supported Mordechai have not make an apology to those they harmed.

Saul and Joseph, pick up and write an apology letter to all of the survivors of Gafni, Vicki Polin, Rabbi Yosef Blau, Luke Ford and the rest of the people you harmed. It's been suggested as part of your teshuva process you all should start fundraising for The Awareness Center for at least the amount of revenue they must have lost because of your denial and attacks.

I think you should contact all the rabbis and other individuals you contacted in the past and let them know of your horrible mistake and request they put their names back up. I know this may be a difficult task to attain, so an easier way would be to take an add out in all Jewish papers in the US and Israel with your apology, naming the survivors of Mordechai Gafni, Rabbi Blau, Vicki Polin and Luke Ford.

Here's the list of Characters that need to apologise directly to those they attacked for exposing Marc Gafni as a sexual predator. If you know any of these people please call them and encourage them to do the right thing.

  1. Metuka Benjamin (Director of Education, Stephen S. Wise Temple)
  2. Rabbi Phyllis Berman (Former Director Elat Chayyim summer program)
  3. Rabbi Saul Berman (Director, Edah)
  4. Davidovich (Executive Producer, Israel Channel 2 Television)
  5. Rabbi Tirzah Firestone (Congregation Nevei Kodesh)
  6. Rabbi Shefa Gold (Director C-Deep, composer and teacher)
  7. Rabbi Arthur Green (Dean, Hebrew College Rabbinical School)
  8. Rabbi Eli Herscher (Stephen S. Wise Synagogue)
  9. Arthur Kurzweil (former Director, Elat Chayyim, Jewish Book Club)
  10. Avraham Leader (Leader Minyan, Bayit Chadash)
  11. Stephen Marmer, M.D. (Psychiatrist, UCLA Medical School)
  12. Jacob Ner-David (Board Chair, Bayit Chadash)
  13. Peter Pitzele (Ph.D., Bibliodrama Institute)
  14. Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Rabbinic Chair, Aleph Don Seeman, Ph.D. Emory University)
  15. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (author, Jewish Literacy and Jewish Wisdom)
  16. Rabbi David Zaslow (Havurah Shir Hadash)
  17. Noam Zion (Hartman Institute)

This is one of the many letters the above individuals signed and sent out in attempts to destroy The Awareness Center.

To The Jewish Community worldwide:

In this letter we the undersigned ask the Jewish community worldwide to reaffirm its commitment to the Torah, and to the ethical principles of Judaism. Although the specific focus of our discussion is Rabbi Mordechai Gafni, whom have known collectively for many years, the issues we address are universal and timeless.

A group of several people� None of whom know Rabbi Gafni personally in any real way, and none who has had any contact in the past twenty years � have undertaken a systematic campaign to besmirch his name. Their primary method has been to keep alive and distort two very old and long discredited stories. Their attacks have recently increased in volume and intensity. He has consistently and generously offered to meet with them, but they have refused.

Many people who know Rabbi Gafni well, as all the undersigned do, have individually and collectively examined the accusations about him that this group has been spreading. We have found their rumors and accusations to be either wholly without substance or radically distorted to the point of falsification. We conclude that the false and malicious rumors against Gafni constitute lashon hara � and that the dissemination of such lies is prohibited by the Torah and Jewish ethical principles.

Thus we must address and to make right the wrong that has been attempted in regard to Rabbi Gafni, and affirm our support of him as an important teacher and leader in the Jewish community.

We have worked with Rabbi Gafni in many contexts, ranging from colleague to employer. We have published his works in our collections, co-taught with him, and known him in a host of other close relationships. Over the years, we have also extensively discussed with him the different stages of his life and the decisions he has made in relationships, professional choices and more.

We affirm without reservation that in addition to being a person of enormous gifts, depth, and vision, Rabbi Gafni is also a person of real integrity. He possesses a unique combination of courage and audacity coupled with a genuine humility that comes only from having lived life fully � with all of its complexity, beauty and sometimes pain.

Leaders of his caliber and depth who are committed to ongoing personal development are few and far between. From our dual commitment to him as an individual, as well as to the most profound ethical teachings of the Torah, we urge you as the reader of this letter to reject the false reports about Rabbi Gafni, and to give him your full support, as we all have done and continue to do.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact any one of us directly.


The following letter was written by Rabbi Saul Berman and distributed widely by Rabbi Gafni and his supporters over the past 18 months:

To Whom It May Concern,

I have had occasion during the spring, summer and fall of 2004 to conduct an extensive personal inquiry in response to accusations which have been made against Rabbi Mordechai Gafni and publicized on the Internet. A more balanced version of these same issues than that on the Internet was raised in an editor's column by Gary Rosenblatt published in the Jewish Week newspaper, in which Rosenblatt asserted that he was unable to draw either a negative or positive conclusion about these issues, calling his extensive research into the issue an "investigation without a conclusion".

I have invested literally hundreds of hours in talking to parties directly and indirectly related, reading public statements posted on the Internet, and following the unfolding of this issue. I have come to a number of clear and unequivocal conclusions.

First, as I have written in a public letter together with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, we have found the decades-old accusations against Rabbi Gafni to be unconvincing now, as they were dismissed in responsible contemporaneous investigations. We believe that these accusations have been intentionally distorted, kept alive and circulated by a small group of people who have waged a vendetta-like campaign against Rabbi Gafni, creating a false and unfair impression of his character.

Second, the material posted on the Awareness Center website and related Internet blogs is not credible. Both in regard to Rabbi Gafni as well as to other cases posted there, the Awareness Center has grossly distorted facts and blatantly lied. Indeed, working together with a small team I have collected a host of examples of such behavior on the part of the Awareness Center. While the Awareness Center does address an issue critical to the Jewish community, that of sexual harassment and abuse, the center itself has unfortunately become an abuser itself of the first order.

The major other Internet poster of accusations against Rabbi Gafni is a certain Luke Ford. Luke Ford, who poses as a journalist, also runs a pornography site. He is a discredited Internet gossip columnist for the pornography industry, who, by his own written admission, regularly publishes libelous material as truth without even the slightest attempt at verification.

Third, I have urged Rabbi Gafni to continue actively writing and teaching his communities of students around the world. I have done so based on my firm conclusion that he poses absolutely no danger or threat to anyone. Indeed, I firmly believe that the notion suggested by Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center that he poses any danger whatsoever is patently absurd. While in some areas I would take issue with Rabbi Gafni's thought, particularly in areas where he departs from classical Orthodoxy, the work he is doing is serious and is of great benefit to the Jewish community worldwide.

I urge the readers of this letter to continue to support Rabbi Gafni's work, including his public teachings, writings, television projects and social activism. We are in need today of hearing the emerging voices of the next generation of Jewish leadership, and Rabbi Gafni's voice is one of them. I look forward to learning what he has to teach in the decades to come.

Rabbi Saul J. Berman

(Director, Edah)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Case Update: Dr. Kenneth Frank (AKA: Yonatan Efrat)

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Runaway convicted US rapist found in Ra'anana
Jerusalem Post

December 28, 2006

After almost 17 years on the lam, Dr. Kenneth Frank (alias Yonatan Efrat) will be returned shortly to the California penal system following a Jerusalem District Court justice's ruling on Wednesday.

Frank, 56, a former resident of Bakersfield, California, was convicted in 1989 of drugging and raping a woman in 1985 and anothe one in 1986.

He was declared a fugitive after failing to appear for his sentencing hearing. In his absence, probation officers recommended a 12-year sentence for the two attacks.

According to testimony at the trial, Frank raped the two women in his apartment after drugging them with the anti-anxiety medication Ativan. Both women said that they had woken up naked and discovered that someone had sexual intercourse with them, after which, they said, Frank told them not to worry because they enjoyed having sex with him. Frank testified in his defense that both relationships were consensual.

After his disappearance, police found that Frank's car had been seen at Los Angeles International Airport, adding to suspicions that he had fled the country. Months later, the popular US television show Unsolved Mysteries aired a segment about Frank.

Following his flight, Frank apparently entered Israel on his official passport, but then applied for citizenship under the Law of Return four years later.

On his application for citizenship, Frank claimed to have no criminal record in his country of origin.

But by 2001, the FBI had begun to suspect that Frank had fled to Israel. Israel Police worked to locate Frank and discovered in December 2004 that he was living in Ra'anana under the assumed name of Yonatan Efrat, and that he had since married, fathered a child, and was employed as a family doctor under his assumed name at a Ra'anana health clinic.

Police did not, however, move on the fugitive until puzzling out whether the statute of limitations applied after an international manhunt. After legal understandings were reached between Israeli and US authorities, Frank was arrested by Israel Police in August 2006.

On Wednesday the Deputy Head of the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Zvi Segel, ruled that Frank could be extradited to the US to serve his sentence for the two rapes.

Monday, December 25, 2006

AJOP Conference Coming Up Soon - Look At Who's Speaking

I was just informed that the AJOP conference is coming up on January 14 - 16, 2007 in Baltimore, MD.

Once again it appears they are not taking the issue of sexual abuse seriously. Perhaps everyone should contact Rabbi Yitzchok Lowenbraun and ask him why?

Association For Jewish Outreach Programs
1705 Reisterstown Road Baltimore MD 21208
Telephone 410-653-2567
FAX 410-653-6315
Electronic mail & Information:

The line up of speakers includes several individuals who it seems have done everything in their power to cover up cases of sexual abuse/assault. The cast of characters include:

  1. Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky - Multiple cases
  2. Rabbi Ahron Feldman - Multiple cases at Ner Israel
  3. Rabbi Dovid Cohen - Multiple cases
  4. Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb - still debating if Weinreb should be listed here?
  5. Rabbi Menachem Goldberger - supporter of Eliezer Eisgrau
  6. Rebbetzin Bracha Goldberger - supporter of Eliezer Eisgrau
  7. Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald - supporter of Mordecai Tendler
  8. Rabbi Doron Kornbluth - speaker for Menken's program in Baltimore.
  9. Rebbetzin Chana Weinberg - mother of alleged sex offender Matis Weinberg, supporter of Eisgrau
  10. Dr. Aviva Weisbord - sister of alleged sex offender Matis Weinberg, friend of Eisgrau

At least Rabbi Yaakov Menken isn't in the line up.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Even with a confession to Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky -- Rabbi Yaakov Menken continues on

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
After reading the call for action put out by The Awarness Center, I've lost all faith in Agudath Israel of America and the Jewish Community of Baltimore, MD.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken is a part of the Agudath Israel movement and has the support of Aviva Weinberg-Weisbord of Ner Israel and Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

I can't help but wonder what Rabbi Yakov Horowitz has to say about the way his movement has dealt with the Menken case? What more evidence do they need then a confession to
Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky?

Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16).

Call To Action:
Stop Funding Programs Organized By Alleged Sex Offender Rabbi Yaakov Menken

In honor of the survivors of Rabbi Yaakov Menken (AKA: Ken Menken), The Awareness Center is bringing the following information to your attention. The goal is to prevent any more individual from becoming the next victim of a sexual offense.

Yaakov Menken is the founder and director of Project Genesis, a Kiruv organization (Jewish outreach). He has put together an educational program that is funded by the Jewish Education Enhancement Projects (JEEP), which obtains its funds through the Jewish Federation of Baltimore (The Associated).

The Awareness Center, Inc. is asking that you contact both organizations and demand they stop funding programs connected to
Rabbi Yaakov Menken. We are also asking that you contact those who are advertising Menken's programs. Explain to them that they are putting unsuspecting women at risk of harm.

Yaakov Menken confessed to Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky that he had sexual contact with a young religious woman. At the time of the abuse this particular survivor was undergoing "spiritual counseling" by Rabbi Menken. The survivor was bearly out of her teens at the time she was sexually manipulated. Kenneth Menken was nearly in his forties. He was also a married, haredi (orthodox) rabbi.

The young woman describes her experience with
Menken as clergy sexual abuse (professional sexual misconduct) During a conversation with Rabbi Kaminetsky, Kenneth Menken stated the young woman "manipulated him into having sexual contact."

Project Genesis has put together the following lecture series, which is funded by
The Associated of Baltimore. Each time this program is advertised puts another unsuspecting woman at risk of harm -- by being "counseled" by Rabbi Menken. Please demand that all organizations stop funding activities organized by Yaakov Menken. Also demand that newspapers and magazines refuse to advertise events connected to him. The goal is to prevent one more unsuspecting individual from becoming the next victim of a sex crime.

The Awareness Center is also asking everyone to contact the following speakers. Please help inform them of
Rabbi Menken's past history of alleged clergy sexual abuse (professional sexual misconduct). All inquires of his confession should be directed to Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky. (215) 477-1000.

Please ask Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky make a public statement regarding
Rabbi Menken's confession and require Yaakov to be in therapy with a highly qualified psychotherapist whom specializes in working with sex offenders. The Awareness Center is also asking that Ken Menken financially compensate the survivor for the pain and suffering he has caused her.

Contact The Following Organizations"

1. The Jewish Education Enhancement Project (JEEP)
2. The Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore
Adam Rosenberg

3. The Center for Jewish Education
1) Larry Ziffer, Executive Vice President

2) Rivka Lampert Adler, Director Adult Education

4) The Baltimore Jewish Times
Andrew Buerger, Publisher
5) The Advertiser
6) Ner Israel Rabbinical College
Rabbi Aharon Feldman
Rabbi Beryl Weisbord

List Project Genesis Speakers:
  • Rabbi Dr. Ephraim Becker
  • Rabbi Motti Berger
  • Rabbetzin Tzipporah Heller
  • Rabbi Doron Kornbluth
  • Rabbi Zev Leff
  • Rabbi Noach Orlowek
  • Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum
  • Rabbi Ken Spiro
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

New Haredi Organization Addressing Sexual Abuse

I have to admit that I'm skeptical about this new organization being formed by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz. All one has to do is "google" his name to find out that he has very close ties with Agudath Israel of America.

From what I've seen those connected Agudath Israel have worked very hard to protect their assets and protect offenders at the risk of our children. Just look at the cases of Rabbi Avrahom Leizerowitz, Rabbi Yehuda Kolko and Rabbi Avrohom Mondrowitz to name a few.

I know that times are changing and perhaps so is Agudath Israel is now trying to do the right thing. I'll remain skeptical as long as the charedi community continues using the "lashon hara" rhetoric as an excuse to silence survivors.

<>The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz writes:

Since my “Keeping Our Children Safe From Sexual Abuse” column was posted, I received many emails from compassionate people looking to become part of the solution and help fund the abuse-prevention booklet that I wrote about at the end of my column. In fact, an editor who works in graphic design even offered his services to this project pro bono.

Quite a number of people requested that I create a venue for those who wish to make donations to this particular project (the abuse-prevention booklet) and/or for those who wish to fund some of the projects that I have been writing about in my columns over the past months and years.

To honor these requests and to help actualize many of my dreams for the enhancement of educational and social opportunities for Jewish children around the world, I am pleased to inform my readers that I am initiating the "Bright Beginnings Program." (Within 30 days, I hope to post a mission statement for Bright Beginnings on my website and list details regarding some of the programs that I would like to move from concept to reality.)

In order to provide prudent financial management and oversight, I asked two highly respected askanim (lay leaders), Mr. Barry Ray (Chicago) and Mr. Mendel Zilberberg, (Brooklyn), to serve as trustees and Co-Chairman of the Bright Beginnings Program. Michael Stein, CPA, a partner at the accounting firm of Brand Sonnenschine LLP, (New York, New York) has graciously volunteered his services pro bono and will be serving as Treasurer of Bright Beginnings.

In order to provide financial reporting and transparency to current and prospective donors, Mr. Stein will be posting interim quarterly financial statements of Bright Beginnings on my website, and will be engaging the services of an outside accounting firm to conduct an annual, year-end audit, which will also be posted on my website.

Bright Beginnings will be a division of The Center for Jewish Family Life, a 501-c3 that I founded several years ago to support Jewish families in the quest to raise self-confident, well-adjusted children. Bright Beginnings will operate as a separate entity and 100% of your donation will go to funding its programs.

We welcome those who wish to contribute to the publication and (free) dissemination of the sexual abuse prevention booklet to send their contributions to:

Bright Beginnings
c/o Mr. Michael Stein
377 Broadway, 9th floor
N.Y., N.Y. 10013

Please make checks payable to Bright Beginnings and indicate on the stub that the funds are dedicated for the abuse prevention booklet, should you wish them to be designated for that purpose.

Thank you for your interest and may Hashem grant us our most fervent wish - that all His children realize their fullest potential.

Yakov Horowitz

Message From Vicki Polin on the Case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Update: Case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
The Awareness Center, Inc.
December 24, 2006

Judge Leibowitz dismissed Rabbi Mordecai Tendler's Breach of Contract Lawsuit against Kehillat New Hempstead. The question still remains, what about the Tendler Survivors? Is everyone forgetting about them and their pain and suffering? The women who came forward to say they were sexually manipulated by this married, orthodox rabbi need to be honored and respected!

The case is not over until the Tendler Survivors have been compensated and public apologies have been made by everyone who attacked them. The case of Mordecai Tendler has always been about those who have been sexually abused and not about a synagogue.

Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC - Executive Director
The Awareness Center, Inc.
(Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209

Labels: , ,

What does Moshe Katsav, Haim Ramon, Hanan Goldblatt, Marc Gafni and Yitzchak Mordechai have in common?
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Israeli women battle a culture of harassment
It's easier to file charges, even against the powerful, but abuse is still rampant in schools, offices and the military.
By Richard Boudreaux, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times
December 24, 2006

TEL AVIV — When women began coming forward a few months ago to accuse
Israel's president of sexually abusing them, a young mother in this city heard one lurid account on the radio while driving her daughter to kindergarten.

She had a nightmarish flashback: The groping in the finance manager's office. Her shock as she recoiled. The spurned man's revenge. Her ostracism at work and eventual dismissal.

"Oh my God," she said to herself, switching off the radio. "That's
my story too."

The case against President
Moshe Katsav and recent sex scandals involving other prominent men have stirred up memories of thousands of humiliating ordeals and illuminated one awkward truth: Eight years after it was criminalized by one of the toughest such laws in the world, sexual harassment is still rampant in Israeli offices, schools and military installations.

Trying to hold itself to a Western legal standard of behavior and gender equality, Israel has collided with its own mores as a militaristic, religiously conservative society.

Although the law has empowered women and helped expose misconduct, the scandals have caused a vigorous backlash by critics who say efforts to punish offenders have gone too far.

The debate over the proper boundaries between men and women has invaded living rooms, workplaces and television talk shows in a country where one in four women says she has been sexually assaulted.

Allegations that
Katsav raped two female employees and harassed at least six others began surfacing days before Israel went to war in Lebanon in July. So did a criminal complaint that Justice Minister Haim Ramon had forced a kiss on a 21-year-old female soldier when the two were alone in a government office.

The scandals faded in wartime. But they burst back into the headlines soon after the 34-day conflict ended.
Katsav is under investigation by the attorney general's office and is expected to lose his job. Ramon has resigned and is on trial.

"Israelis are starting to understand that nobody, no matter how powerful, is immune from punishment for sexual harassment," said Orit Kamir, a Hebrew University law professor who helped draft the 1998 legislation. "But this is a learning process that will require repetitive lessons."

There are plenty of other case studies in the news these days.

Renowned actor
Hanan Goldblatt has been indicted on charges of raping or molesting women who sought his counseling for acting auditions. An Orthodox rabbi in Haifa, Mordechai Gafni, is accused of assaulting women during Torah lessons.

Such behavior rarely came to light before the late 1990s. Government leaders, army commanders, business executives, teachers and other men in authority often considered sexual favors by female subordinates as a seigniorial right.

The 1998 law, inspired in part by American legislation, made "intimidating or humiliating" sexual remarks and unwanted advances anywhere, in the workplace or in the street, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and grounds for civil suit. It outlawed sexual advances and remarks by employers even when the subordinate to which they are directed does not resist.

A group of feminist lawmakers pushed the little-noticed measure through parliament before critics could mobilize effectively against it.

Since then, Kamir said, several thousand criminal complaints have gone to the police and the courts, or have been settled privately between the parties — a lot for a small country but still a tiny fraction of the incidents of harassment reported in confidential surveys.

Many Israelis thought the new law was a turning point when retired Maj. Gen.
Yitzhak Mordechai, a prime ministerial hopeful, resigned as defense minister after his indictment in 2000 for sexual assault and harassment. He was convicted the following year and given an 18-month suspended sentence.

But women's advocates, lawyers and researchers say that although harassment is discussed more openly, they find no evidence that it has diminished significantly.

The number of new calls to the hotlines run by Israel's network of nine rape crisis centers has been increasing steadily in recent years, to 6,270 in the first nine months of 2006. One in eight of these callers reported being distraught over unwanted sexual advances and demeaning sexual remarks by employers and other superiors, said Naomi Schneiderman, a spokeswoman for the network.

"The law has changed and the rhetoric has changed, but this has not translated into real changes in attitudes and behavior," said Avigail Moor, a clinical psychologist and head of the women's studies program at Tel-Hai College in northern Israel.

A survey Moor has conducted over the last two years indicates that 90% of Israeli women have been verbally harassed in a sexual way, at least 40% have been physically harassed, and 25% have been sexually assaulted.

A separate study of women in one army unit in 2004 showed that 55% had experienced some form of sexual harassment during their two-year service, despite efforts by the military, perhaps more than any other major institution in the last decade, to curb the practice.

Israelis tracking these numbers are not surprised that sexual harassment is so deeply ingrained here.

The militarization of Israeli society in the wake of wars with Arab neighbors has shaped the country's male-dominated character. It is reinforced by belittling messages about women by Orthodox Jewish leaders, who have a powerful sway over civil affairs, and a strong dose of denial about the prevalence of abuse, activists say.

Miri Schler, head of Tel Aviv's rape crisis center, said: "There's a myth that we have a higher ethical standard — you know, Jews don't rape Jews."

Adding to the impunity with which men in authority commit abuses has been a collective reluctance by the Israeli media to probe the private lives of the powerful.

"Hundreds of people, including the most prominent journalists, knew of this 'hobby' of
Katsav's" before he was elected president, Ehud Asheri, an editor of the Haaretz newspaper, wrote recently of his decision in 2000 not to publish accounts of alleged sexual abuse by the candidate. "Why did they all keep silent? Because this knowledge was based on rumor and gossip."

In the end,
Katsav brought the scandal on himself. Apparently confident that the legal system would back him, he complained to the attorney general that a former secretary was trying to blackmail him. The woman countered with a criminal complaint that the 60-year-old president, a married father of five, had forced her to have sex under threat of dismissal.

After other women came forward with similar stories, police said in October they had evidence that the president, a figurehead leader whose role is to serve as a unifying force and set a moral tone, committed rape, aggravated sexual assault, indecent acts and sexual harassment.

The attorney general is expected to decide soon whether to indict
Katsav, who denies the allegations.

To women's advocates, the public drama is a double-edged sword. While highlighting the alleged misdeeds of powerful men, the Israeli media have echoed a chorus of complaints that the fight against harassment has overreached.

Yair Lapid, a popular TV talk show host, wrote in a widely quoted column that he no longer paid compliments to women because they can "tear my life into shreds." Sassy Gez, a lawyer who defends men in harassment cases, said: "You cannot turn every crummy suitor into a criminal offender."

More seriously, attorneys for
Katsav and Ramon have waged a media campaign to portray their clients' chief accusers as manipulative women with unsavory private lives or political motives.

The young Tel Aviv woman who was harassed by her company's finance manager knows what Israeli women can face when they use the law in their defense, an ordeal that discourages most victims from coming forward. The woman, Miri, remains so fearful of her tormentor that she agreed to talk about her experience only on condition that her full name be withheld.

Miri was the 27-year-old human resources manager for a Tel Aviv company with 300 employees six years ago when she caught the eye of the finance manager, a married man then in his early 60s who far outranked her.

In court papers, she said he repeatedly made suggestive remarks, including descriptions of his sexual fantasies about her, groped her several times and once tried to force himself on her in his office, in each case over her objections.

The harassment went on for six months, until her rejection of the finance manager finally sank in.

What followed, she said, was worse: For the next six months, she said, he maneuvered to have her shunned by colleagues as a troublemaker, and eventually she was fired in what was officially called a company downsizing.

"Everyone was afraid to take my side or even talk to me," she said.

"It was emotionally exhausting. I threw up each day I had to come to work."

After her dismissal, she went to the police. It took nearly three years for the case to work its way through the justice system. "Every time I retold the story, it was like experiencing it again," she said.

The defendant was convicted of sexual harassment and indecent acts, but the latter charge was overturned on appeal and he ended up with a fine of less than $400.

"I left the courtroom and cried," Miri said. "I felt I had lost. But it was worth it. I had to close the circle, do everything I could."

She does not believe her case made things better for anyone else.

"Too many women in Israel have stories like mine," she said. "Some day, I'm sure, this will happen to my daughter."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, December 22, 2006

Correct Terminology Relating To Sex Crimes

by Vicki Polin

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Part of educating our communties about sex crimes, is making sure everyone uses the correct terminology.

Over the last several years I have heard individuals use incorrect terms when talking about sexual violence. Please share the following information with all rabbis, cantors and other community leaders you know.

1) Many keep using the term "abuser" to describe someone who commits sexual offenses. The term "abuser" is a term often referring to a man who batters his wife. There are several correct terms used to describes an individual who commits a sex crime. The terms include "sex offender," "child molester," "sexual predator" and "pedophile." There are both male and female sex offenders. This includes children. Often when a child molests they are "sexually reactive", which is not exactly in the same catagory as a sex offender. For more information on Sexually Reactive youth, go to:

2) I keep hearing many rabbis in the United States, Canada and Israel use the term "
sexual harassment" to describe both "sexual abuse" and "sexual assault," These criminal behaviors on some levels are similar, yet are completely different.

3) The legal term for the word "rape" is "
sexual assault" or at times can refer to the term "sexual abuse"

4) Often individuals have been using the word "victim" to describe a man, woman or child who survived a sex crime. Using the word "survivor" to describe such a person can be extremely empowering and healing. Using the word "victim" often keeps a survivor feeling that they can never move beyond "victimhood." Remember the words one chooses to use can make a huge difference in the recovery of survivors of violent crimes.

For more in-depth definitions of terms relating to sex crimes, go to:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz on Child Sexual Abuse in Haredi Communities

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
"The very real threat posed by external influences, such as TV, Internet, ‘bad friends’ are all firecrackers compared to the “atom bomb” of sexual abuse."
- Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

From - Vicki Polin, The Awareness Center, Inc.
I thought everyone would find this interesting. I need to point out that some of the statistics are incorrect, yet it is a major step in the right direction. A big Mazel Tov goes to Rabbi Yakov Horowitz for taking a major step outside the box.

The statistics of child sexual abuse are the same in all communities no matter of how observant they are. One out of every three women and one out of every five men have been sexually abused by the time they reach the age of 18. Basically when you go to a shir with 10 women present the odds are 3 will be survivors of childhood sexual abuse. When you are in a minyan with 10 men, the odds are at least 2 will be survivors

I also want to point out the correct legal term to describe someone who commits sex crimes against children is "sex offender." An abuser usually refers to a man who batters.
Keeping Our Children Safe
By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
December 14, 2006

Dear Rabbi Horowitz,

I am the proud mother of some very lovely young children who are growing up much too quickly. In general, I’d like to think of myself as a confident parent that tries to approach important issues with a healthy balance. But, there are some issues out there for which the proper balance remains a mystery to me. And that is why I am seeking your advice sooner, rather than later.

Recently I have heard a number of stories about abuse in the frum community and would like to know just how prevalent abuse is in the frum community? In general, I’d like to preserve my children’s innocence while dealing with realities that need to be dealt with.

What responsibility do schools have when it comes to addressing children about this issue? And, what responsibility do parents have? At what age should parents begin to address the issue with their children, and in how much detail? And, what is the proper way to even begin the conversation?

Also, while my children are not teenagers yet, what should parents of teenage children say to their children, who are bound to either see headlines in the newspaper or hear about such terrible news through friends?

A mother looking for balance and perspective

Rabbi Horowitz Responds

Note to readers: Over the years that I have been dealing with at-risk youth, I’ve had extensive and ongoing consultations with the leading gedolim of our generation on a wide-ranging array of issues where I was fortunate to receive their Torah perspective and their wisdom. This column and the one that will appear in this space next week reflect many of the collective lessons that I learned from our gedolim as to the propriety of dealing with these sensitive matters.

While preparing to respond to these questions, I discussed this matter with three (frum) mental health professionals who are outstanding clinicians and widely respected as experts in the field of sexual abuse and prevention – Doctors David Pelcovitz, Barry Horowitz, and Benzion Twerski. My response reflects their input and they graciously reviewed these lines before publication. I would like to express my gratitude to them for their time and their devotion to the children of our community. Y.H.

Over the past decade or so, we have come to the painful realization that we are not immune from challenges that face the broader community – depression, compulsive gambling, drug and alcohol abuse. Now, we are being squarely faced with the painful reality that sexual abuse is also rearing its ugly head in our Torah community.

This does not represent a failure of our chinuch system or a breakdown of our mesorah (tradition). Not by any means. By virtue of the moral compass of our Torah and the nature of our sheltered society, we have a lower percentage of these issues than the general population. Less, but not none. Unfortunately, the nature of this challenge is that less turns to more – exponentially – the longer that we ignore these issues. This is true all the more so in the case of abuse since untreated victims are far more likely to abuse others.

To address your first question of, “How prevalent is abuse in our community?” my response is that it is far more prevalent than we care to accept or believe. I assure you that things will not improve until we gather the energy and courage to change the culture of denial and stop the destructive habit of hoping that problems will self-correct and go away. I am equally certain that if we do not act to eradicate abuse from our community, others will continue to do it for us in very public and embarrassing ways.

It is extremely important to note that
school faculty members commit only a tiny fraction of the abuse perpetrated on victims. Abusers are far more likely to be older kids in the neighborhood, family friends, neighbors, peers, extended or even close family members.

How many children are we talking about? How many abuse victims are there? I posed this question to the three experts mentioned above. Each of them responded by saying that there is no research that they know of in the frum community and they have no hard numbers. But when I asked if they would say that there are a) tens, b) hundreds or c) thousands [of abused children], each responded that there are surely hundreds. In fact, Dr. Pelcovitz mentioned that he gets about 5 calls per week from parents seeking help for their abused children – or from adults seeking counseling from scars left from childhood abuse. These numbers concur with my understanding of the magnitude of the problem.

I have worked with the at-risk teen population for more than a decade now, and I think that I have a pretty good feel for the
facts on the ground. I also fully understand the power of the written word and the ramifications of columns that are published. So, I am choosing my words very carefully. Here goes:

In my opinion, the number one risk factor – by far – for children abandoning Yiddishkeit is abuse and neglect. This is not to say that the majority of kids who are off the derech were abused. But of all the complex and varied educational, social and familial factors that present risk to our children, the most damaging by far, in my opinion, is abuse. The very real threat posed by external influences, such as TV, Internet, ‘bad friends’ are all firecrackers compared to the “atom bomb” of sexual abuse. Left untreated, abuse undermines a child’s security and comfort, erodes his or her faith in adult society – and in our Torah community, their belief in the Torah and in Hashem Himself. It leaves the victims confused and filled with rage. It shatters their self-esteem and destroys their ability to pursue their hopes and dreams. Sadly, the effects of abuse, especially when left untreated, usually follows children into adulthood – complicating their marriages and their relationships with their children.

There are some very practical steps that we can take to improve things and protect our children. But we need to develop the fortitude and righteous indignation to do what it takes to get it done. In my opinion, we are nowhere near that stage yet. I hope and pray that we get there very soon.

As for the question of who should take responsibility for the safety of children, I suggest that it is the parents who need to take the lead on this. Why? Because, sad to say, until there is a groundswell of support for the protection of our children, schools will find it difficult to create and implement the type of programs to teach children how to establish personal boundaries and to ensure their own safety. And, because ultimately they are our children and we are responsible for them.

Next week, in the second and final column on this subject (in this forum), I plan on offering practical steps to parents on speaking to your children and more importantly, engaging in the types of behaviors over the years that will help your children protect themselves from abuse.

Is the Modesty Patrol in Jerusalem Really Just Practicing Misogyny?

Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16).

It's interesting to note that some of the same people who are advocates of the "modesty patrol" are also advocates of a few sex offenders on The Awareness Center's web page. It sickens me that a society would allow something like this to happen. I personally believe that everyone on the bus that stood by and allowed a woman to be beaten is just as guilty as those who committed the crime.

One has to wonder if the modus operandi behind the modest patrol is really a form of Misogyny .

Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center, Inc. writes:
Due to the numerous complaints regarding "The modesty patrol's" attack against women (adults and children) this story will soon be up at:

I personally know of a case where the "modesty patrol" in Jerusalem was threatening to throw acid in the face of a religious teenage girl who was "off the derech." The girl's family was in crisis, she was seen wearing pants and hanging out with teenage boys. The "modesty patrol" basically told her that if she didn't change her ways, they would throw acid in her face. This would ensure the boys would stop looking at her and tempting them. A police report was made, yet nothing was ever done to catch the assailants.

The teenager was forced to leave the community she resided and live elsewhere.
Woman beaten on Jerusalem bus for refusing to move to rear seat
By Daphna Berman
December 17, 2006

A woman who reported a vicious attack by an ad-hoc "modesty patrol" on a Jerusalem bus last month is now lining up support for her case and may be included in a petition to the High Court of Justice over the legality of sex-segregated buses.

Miriam Shear says she was traveling to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City early on November 24 when a group of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) men attacked her for refusing to move to the back of the Egged No. 2 bus. She is now in touch with several legal advocacy and women's organizations, and at the same time, waiting for the police to apprehend her attackers.

In her first interview since the incident, Shear says that on the bus three weeks ago, she was slapped, kicked, punched and pushed by a group of men who demanded that she sit in the back of the bus with the other women. The bus driver, in response to a media inquiry, denied that violence was used against her, but Shear's account has been substantiated by an unrelated eyewitness on the bus who confirmed that she sustained an unprovoked "severe beating."

Shear, an American-Israeli woman who currently lives in Canada, says that on a recent five-week vacation to Israel, she rode the bus daily to the Old City to pray at sunrise. Though not defined by Egged as a sex-segregated "mehadrin" bus, women usually sit in the back, while men sit in the front, as a matter of custom.

"Every two or three days, someone would tell me to sit in the back, sometimes politely and sometimes not," she recalled this week in a telephone interview. "I was always polite and said 'No. This is not a synagogue. I am not going to sit in the back.'"

But Shear, a 50-year-old religious woman, says that on the morning of the 24th, a man got onto the bus and demanded her seat - even though there were a number of other seats available in the front of the bus.

"I said, I'm not moving and he said, 'I'm not asking you, I'm telling you.' Then he spat in my face and at that point, I was in high adrenaline mode and called him a son-of-a-bitch, which I am not proud of. Then I spat back. At that point, he pushed me down and people on the bus were screaming that I was crazy. Four men surrounded me and slapped my face, punched me in the chest, pulled at my clothes, beat me, kicked me. My snood [hair covering] came off. I was fighting back and kicked one of the men in his privates. I will never forget the look on his face."

Shear says that when she bent down in the aisle to retrieve her hair covering, "one of the men kicked me in the face. Thank God he missed my eye. I got up and punched him. I said, 'I want my hair covering back' but he wouldn't give it to me, so I took his black hat and threw it in the aisle."

'Stupid American'

Throughout the encounter, Shear says the bus driver "did nothing." The other passengers, she says, blamed her for not moving to the back of the bus and called her a "stupid American with no sechel [common sense.] People blamed me for not knowing my place and not going to the back of the bus where I belong."

According to Yehoshua Meyer, the eyewitness to the incident, Shear's account is entirely accurate. "I saw everything," he said. "Someone got on the bus and demanded that she go to the back, but she didn't agree. She was badly beaten and her whole body sustained hits and kicks. She tried to fight back and no one would help her. I tried to help, but someone was stopping me from getting up. My phone's battery was dead, so I couldn't call the police. I yelled for the bus driver to stop. He stopped once, but he didn't do anything. When we finally got to the Kotel [Western Wall], she was beaten badly and I helped her go to the police."

Shear says that when she first started riding the No. 2 line, she did not even know that it was sometimes sex-segregated. She also says that sitting in the front is simply more comfortable. "I'm a 50-year-old woman and I don't like to sit in the back. I'm dressed appropriately and I was on a public bus."

"It is very dangerous for a group of people to take control over a public entity and enforce their will without going through due process," she said. "Even if they [Haredim who want a segregated bus] are a majority - and I don't think they are - they have options available. They can petition Egged or hire their own private line. But as long as it's a public bus, I don't care if there are 500 people telling me where to sit. I can sit wherever I want and so can anyone else."

Meyer says that throughout the incident, the other passengers blamed Shear for not sitting in the back. "They'll probably claim that she attacked them first, but that's totally untrue. She was abused terribly, and I've never seen anything like it."

Word of Shear's story traveled quickly after she forwarded an e-mail detailing her experience. She has been contacted by a number of groups, including Shatil, the New Israel Fund's Empowerment and Training Center for Social Change; Kolech, a religious women's forum; the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the legal advocacy arm of the local Reform movement; and the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA).

In the coming month, IRAC will be submitting a petition to the High Court of Justice against the Transportation Ministry over the issue of segregated Egged buses. IRAC attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski is in touch with Shear and is considering including her in the petition.

Although the No. 2 Jerusalem bus where the incident occurred is not actually defined as a mehadrin line, Erez-Likhovski says that Shear's story is further proof that the issue requires legal clarification. About 30 Egged buses are designated as mehadrin, mostly on inter-city lines, but they are not marked to indicate this. "There's no way to identify a mehadrin bus, which in itself is a problem," she said.

"Theoretically, a person can sit wherever they want, even on a mehadrin line, but we're seeing that people are enforcing [the gender segregation] even on non-mehadrin lines and that's the part of the danger," she said.

On a mehadrin bus, women enter and exit through the rear door, and the seats from the rear door back are generally considered the "women's section." A child is usually sent forward to pay the driver.

The official responses

In a response from Egged, the bus driver denied that Shear was physically attacked in any way.

"In a thorough inquiry that we conducted, we found that the bus driver does not confirm that any violence was used against the complainant," Egged spokesman Ron Ratner wrote.

"According to the driver, once he saw that there was a crowd gathering around her, he stopped the bus and went to check what was going on. He clarified to the passengers that the bus was not a mehadrin line and that all passengers on the line are permitted to sit wherever they want on the bus. After making sure that the passengers returned to their seats, he continued driving."

The Egged response also noted that their drivers "are not able and are not authorized to supervise the behavior of the passengers in all situations."

Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Avner Ovadia said in response that the mehadrin lines are "the result of agreements reached between Egged and Haredi bodies" and are therefore unconnected to the ministry.

A spokesperson for the Jerusalem police said the case is still under investigation.

Woman accuses Orthodox men of bus attack
December 20, 2006

A woman who said she was attacked on a Jerusalem bus by an ad-hoc “modesty patrol” is gathering support for a reaction.

Miriam Shear said she was on her way to the Western Wall on a gender-segregated bus in late November when a group of fervently Orthodox men slapped, kicked, punched and pushed her after she refused to sit in the back of the bus with other women.

The bus driver, who Shear said did nothing throughout the attack, denied that it took place.
Shear, 50, an Orthodox American Israeli, is in contact with several legal advocacy and women’s organizations, and may be included in a lawsuit against the Egged bus company over the legality of gender-segregated buses.

<>"Modesty Patrol"
Fox News
December 20, 2006

A 50-year-old American-Israeli woman says she was viciously attacked by an ad-hoc "modesty patrol" because she refused to go to the back of a bus in Jerusalem. Miriam Shear tells the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that she was in Israel on vacation and riding a bus to the old city to pray at sunrise. Jerusalem does have some sex-segregated buses, but she was not on one. Yet a man demanded she give up her seat — and when she refused — a group of four attacked her.

Shear says she got in a few good licks of her own, however, including a punch to the face of one and a kick to the privates of another, saying, "I will never forget the look on his face." She also lost her hair covering in the attack — so she grabbed one of the men's hats and threw it down the aisle. She says the bus driver did nothing and the passengers actually said the whole thing was her fault.