Sunday, December 24, 2006

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.

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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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Horowitz, I will give u the benefit of the doubt here that yours was a judgement error. My issue is with your maintaining that abuse victims number in the hundreds while u claim that 1 therapist alone sees 5 new cases a week. Do the math dear rabbi and it wont take an actuary to realize the blatant contradiction. As a victim of Avraham Leizerowitz of the Gerrer Mesifta in Boro Park (feel free to edit out the details if u wish to protect the molester and rabbi David Olewski who is a mandated reporter by NYS law and failed to notify authorities for years) I did a little bit of digging around and can identify a dozen victims by name. I believe that the stats quoted at is far more accurate than yours and those of your therapist advisors.

Secondly, if what these therapists say is true why have they not stopped the bleeding by going to the police? Client confidentiality is not violated by alerting authorities to a crime about to be perpetrated yet keeping your client's details anonymous. Are we to assume your 3 friends are concerned about parnossa and would rather the case load keep on a healthy tempo chalila?

Third, I, like others posting elsewhere see no reason for fundraising. Your voicing opposition to the policies of the other rabbis/lemmings who sweep under carpets costs u ziltch and lawyers like Green, Passik, Lasher and Herman are willing to take up these cases. Do u think a majority of Aguda affiliated schools will allow your flyers anywhere near these holy cesspools? If u can imagine your flyer being accepted then u better raise a heck of alot of funds for have I a bridge to sell you!

If not for the fact that we victims have been terrorized to go underground I would give u my contact info so u can respond to me directly.

Let me end with congratulations in being the third rabbi affiliated with modern orthodox or less than chareidi schools to take on your original community. Rabbi Blau (black hatter charedei but mashgiach at YU) and Rabbi Dratch of JSafe have preceded u. May u be zoiche to end this immoral mess we r in. Though I believe u are sincere my caustic tone is a result of my anguish. Sorry.

December 25, 2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of funding another organization, I say send the funds to The Awareness Center. They seem to be the only organization that supports survivors like me.

December 25, 2006 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Silence Is Golden At Agudath Israel said...

I'm posting my comments here since it appears that Horowitz will most likely remove them.

WARNING: Silence is Golden on this site 12/26/06 - 12:36 AM

Don't you realize it is not ok to mention cases on this site in which Agudath Israel failed in protecting children. Shame on you for trying to let the truth be told.
How dare you to state that you will remain skeptical as long as the charedi community continues using the "lashon hara" rhetoric as an excuse to silence survivors.

Survivors of abuse are not allowed to have a voice in the agudath world. Silence appears to be golden here.

December 25, 2006 11:38 PM  

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