Thursday, March 30, 2006

WARNING: Everyone NEEDS to watch this report!

The interview with the videographer. When confronted with the fact that a girl who was recorded having sex, drunk, and then the video was posted on the internet, how she was so ashamed she attemted suicide, the videographer says "frankly, it appears that she's mentally unstable."

The interviewer asks "In a way do you see yourself just making a documentary?" videographer answers "yes".

History of The Awareness Center, Inc.

I just got this from the Awareness Center's daily newsletter. I thought it was interesting.

FYI: The Awareness Center is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse and Assault.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. How The Awareness Center, Inc. Got Started
© (2003, revised 2006) The Awareness Center, Inc.

One of the most common question asked is “How did The Awareness Center get started?"

The original concept came to Vicki Polin back in the 1980's when she was working for one of the first organizations developed to address incest and other forms of childhood sexual abuse.

The organization would get calls from Survivors of childhood sexual abuse from all over the world. Vicki’s job was to help them find a therapist, therapy or self-help group, dentist or medical doctor, attorneys, etc., who had experience working with sexual victimization issues.

This was no easy task back then. The organization didn't have a computer, let alone a typewriter. The office was the size of six bathtubs lined up together.

Advocacy for sexual violence survivors was still in its infancy, definitely back in the dark ages. Its hard to believe that Vicki could accomplish the goal of finding resources for survivors using a good atlas, a card file, pen and paper.

There was a serious problem though. Vicki had an extremely difficult time finding resources for survivors who were Jewish. All too often when survivors called, they would disclose that when they went to their rabbis for help, they would be met with disbelief. Needless to say Jewish Survivors often felt shamed for their disclosures.

During the 1980’s most of the original self-help groups had a Christian tint to them. Vicki wasn't religious, had no affiliation, yet she felt extremely uncomfortable referring Jews to these groups.

She recollects speaking to one of the board members of the organization, and was allowed to create a "Special Interest Group" (SIG) for Survivors who were Jewish. It was basically a pen-pal group via snail mail (this was the days before the Internet). The SIG helped, but it definitely wasn't the solution.

Over the years Vicki kept suggesting to various mental health professionals and rabbis that there needed to be an organization that addressed sexual violence in Jewish communities, but nothing developed. Vicki really expected someone else to create an organization like The Awareness Center.

Late in 1997, due to injuries to both her feet and hands (which were in braces and casts), Vicki found herself using the Internet to communicate with the outside world. This went on for a three-year period. During much of this time period Vicki was unable to hold anything, including a telephone. She was fortunate enough to have enough movement in her fingers, that allowed her to type. Needless to say, she found herself online a lot.

Vicki ended up finding long lost friends and relatives, including a cousin with whom a friendship developed. Her cousin saw her going into a new age chat room and got upset. Vicki’s cousin dealt with her feelings by sending Vicki a link to a Jewish chat room on AOL. Vicki always jokes “I guess you can say that's when my Jewish learning began, and why I often refer to myself as a Cyberian Jew.”

Starting in 1998, Vicki was volunteering time hosting chat discussions on AOL in the Jewish Community on line. One of those chats included a sort of self-help group for Jewish Adult Survivors of childhood sexual abuse and those who work with them. During that time she also started an E-group at Yahoo to keep individuals updated on what was happening in the sexual trauma field that targeted the Jewish Community.

Vicki's Jewish education slowly moved off the Internet and on into reality. In 1999 she spent some time at a women's yeshiva in Israel, coming back to Chicago, then a little over a year later moving back to Jerusalem, and then on to Baltimore, MD.

Upon returning from Vicki's first trip to Jerusalem, she started updating and changing her old web page that focused on her private practice to an organization that addressed sexual violence in Jewish Communities around the world.

After moving to Jerusalem, Vicki started sending out networking e-mail's, telling people about the new organization that was developing and also a call for help. Her efforts paid off, and that was how contact was originally made with several members of original board.

The original plan was to develop an international conference on sexual abuse/assault in Israel. Due to health issues Vicki was forced to return to the States. The idea of the conference and organization would have to be put on hold.

As things gradually progressed, The Awareness Center began to develop various e-mail networking and self-help groups for professionals, rabbis, adult survivors and family members (both of survivors and offenders).

Within months of Vicki's move to Baltimore, a journalist from the Baltimore Jewish Times contacted The Awareness Center, and featured us in a story. A few months later we were mentioned in the Washington Post and the New York Jewish Times. Once that happened, we really began to help survivors of sexual violence have a voice.

Today The Awareness Center, Inc. is a nonprofit, tax exempt organization. Our focus is on education and referral. We offer several different on line networking groups for professionals and rabbis, a daily newsletter, and various self-help networking groups for survivors, family members of sex offenders, and parents of sexually abused children. We also offer a speakers bureau, and about to launch our first in person self-help group for Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault in the Baltimore area.

Our web page provides everything you can think of that relates to healing, treating offenders, helping family members (of both survivors and offenders), networking; and most importantly, educating our communities on the ramifications of sexual violence, and ways of making changes.

Once we obtain the needed funding, The Awareness Center will be starting our educational, certification program for rabbis as a way of providing the information they need to better serve their communities. We will be also hosting an international summit/conference to bring rabbinic leaders, medical and mental health professionals, legal and law enforcement officials, parents, and survivors, together so that we can begin discussing the issues and start the healing process our communities desperately need.

The power of the Internet really amazes me. With just the click of a button, a small group of people CAN very easily change the world.

Learning to make a web page, and getting that web page into a search engine can lead to helping individuals, families and a community heal. If it not for the Internet, The Awareness Center would not be what it is today. We would never have met so many truly inspiring individuals.

Click here: If you would like to make a donation to the organization

Bracha Needed for the Survivor of Cantor Michael Segelstein

From: The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter

Please say a Bracha (prayer) that things go well for the survivor of Cantor Michael Segelstein who is in court today (Thursday, March 30, 2006) on issues relating to her civil suit.

Understanding Sex Offenders

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Several people have sent e-mails lately trying to understand why someone would commit a sex crime against another individual. I thought the articles on these web page would be helpful to to those of you who want to know more:
  1. Articles About Sex Offenders and Pedophillia
  2. Sexually Reactive Children and Juvenile Sex Offenders
  3. Sex Offenders: Problems Our Parents Wouldn't Speak Of
  4. Clergy Abuse: Rabbis, Cantors and Other Trusted Officials

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Case of Aron Goldberger - New (old) Articles up on The Awareness Center's Site

There's an old case from Baltimore that up on The Awareness Center's site. It's regarding the case of Aron Goldberger, who is a relative of Rabbi Eleizer Eisgrau.

I think the case is very interesting. Several people claim that Aron Goldberger was set up by the rabbis in Baltimore, other's say he's a sex offender. Aron Goldberger currently resides in Israel.

This is really the only case of alleged childhood sexual abuse that I could find, where the rabbis in Baltimore got actively involved. Here's one of the new (old) articles:
A family's nightmare touches 3 continents
by Jay Apperson, Staff Writer
The Baltimore Sun
October 15, 1992

Allegations of child-snatching and molestation are not unheard of in custody fights. So why have Orthodox Jewish leaders in three states and on three continents become so deeply involved in the case of Goldberger vs. Goldberger, a husband-wife battle being played out in Baltimore courtrooms?

The answer, in one sense, is simple: Both husband and wife have roots in a New Jersey town that is home to the world's largest rabbinical college. And they lived in Israel and England before moving into Baltimore's close-knit Orthodox Jewish community.

But the reasons go deeper than that. Goldberger vs. Goldberger has aroused passions in Jewish communities from Northwest Baltimore to Jerusalem because it apparently violates two fundamental principles of Orthodox Jewish law. The law forbids one Jew from participating in the jailing of another and discourages Jews from airing disputes in public courts. That's what a Beth Din, or rabbinical court, is for.

In this bitter family conflict, Mr. Goldberger has been indicted on charges of kidnapping and molesting his children. He has countered with charges that his wife, who has pressed the case against him, is mentally ill.

``It's hard for anyone to know what was going on behind closed doors,'' said Eliyohu Krohn, speaking about the case before a recent prayer service at Congregation Machzekai Torah off Park Heights Avenue. Still, he said, ``There was no reason for anyone to take it out on the street. That's the pain here.''

Before Aron and (wife) Goldberger began trading public accusations their arranged marriage was as traditional as any within the Orthodox Jewish community.

Mrs. Goldberger is the daughter of Rabbi Moses Eisemann, who is well known in American Orthodox Jewish circles. Under the terms of the 1980 marriage, Mr. Goldberger was to be a religious scholar and, following custom, the Eisemann family and the Orthodox community would support the couple and their family, according to court records.

``She was and is a beautiful woman and I fell in love with her immediately,'' Mr. Goldberger wrote in 1990, when he still held out hope for a reconciliation.

The couple had two girls while living in New Jersey and three boys after moving to Jerusalem in 1983, court records show. With the couple expecting a sixth child in 1989, pediatricians examining the boys, ages 5, 4 and 2, discovered evidence of physical abuse and reported it to social service workers, said Mrs. Goldberger's lawyer, Susan Carol Elgin.

Mr. Goldberger, however, maintains that he is innocent and that it was members of the Eisemann family who called Social Services in October 1989, making public an allegation that he and others believe should have been kept within the Jewish community.

A month later, Mr. Goldberger and four of the children, including the boys, moved back to Israel. Although he says he left with his wife's blessing, he was later indicted on kidnapping charges.

Mrs. Goldberger paid private investigators to track her husband and children, who passed through Belgium and eventually landed in London. Word of case spreads

After Mrs. Goldberger moved to England, a Beth Din there gave her custody of the children in July 1990 and directed Mr. Goldberger to give his wife a divorce under Jewish law, an order he ignored. By then, the wife had filed for a civil divorce in Baltimore courts. The husband responded by seeking visitation rights and saying his wife was mentally ill.

Word of the case traveled in Orthodox circles, with the wife producing affidavits from rabbis and former classmates of Mr. Goldberger in New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Israel and Baltimore to back her claim that he used his religion as an excuse to avoid work.

``He strikes me as a stubborn and obstinate fanatic,'' Rabbi Yisroel Reznitsky, executive director of the Torah Institute of Baltimore, wrote in one affidavit. ``I have never known him to do an 'honest day's labor' and am not sure about his true religiosity which he purports.''

Claims that Mr. Goldberger is a religious fraud are ``ill-founded,'' said William T. Kerr, who represents him in the civil proceedings. ``I don't mean to say he's not capable of being manipulative, but I think in his mind his pursuit of religiosity is genuine.''

As word of the dispute spread, leaders in Baltimore's Orthodox community began taking sides. Last year, more than 20 rabbis signed a petition, hung in Baltimore synagogues, questioning the sincerity of Mr. Goldberger's religious beliefs.

The petition, printed in Hebrew, reads in part: ``It is also a commandment for each and everybody to distance him, and it is forbidden to befriend him, and nobody should have any business with him at all, except of those relatives after whom he has to mourn.''

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb of Congregation Shomrei Emunah said he signed the petition because Mr. Goldberger reflected poorly on the Jewish community. ``My own personal feeling is when the man was ordered to do something by a rabbinical court and the Circuit Court, he should do so or he'll have to face the consequences,'' the rabbi said.

Interest in the case extends half a world away. An Oct. 2 article in the weekly newspaper In Jerusalem notes that Mrs. Goldberger's father, Rabbi Eisemann, has incurred the wrath of some followers for taking a family squabble to the secular courts -- and for allegedly reporting his son-in-law to Baltimore Social Services workers.

``Wanted posters denouncing his action have been plastered throughout'' religious neighborhoods in Jerusalem, the article states.

Menachem Friedman, professor of sociology at Bar Ilan University in Jerusalem and an expert on the ultra-Orthodox, said the strong feelings surrounding the issue can be traced to ancient times. In those days, Jews kept their conflicts internal because going before a gentile court and swearing before a non-Jewish god was to recognize a gentile sovereignty.

The most amazing reflection of the widespread interest in the case, say the Baltimore lawyers in the custody fight, is the ability of two people who do not hold jobs to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to continue their legal battles.

(wife) Goldberger, 31, finds raising six children to be a full-time pursuit and apparently gets money for legal fees from her family, said Ms. Elgin.

Mr. Kerr said Mr. Goldberger, also 31, cannot easily find work because he has been ostracized in the Jewish community and because his customs and appearance would make it difficult for him to find work elsewhere. ``Aron has his black robes that he wears and they're all he owns. He's not your average member of the community,'' Mr. Kerr said.

Mr. Kerr and other lawyers for Mr. Goldberger are paid by his backers in England and New Jersey. It's money that could be better spent, argue Mrs. Goldberger's attorney and a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the six children.

``This man has raised over $150,000 in a year's time -- for what?'' said Ms. Elgin. ``His children need therapy for what they've gone through. He hasn't paid a dime for that. Yet he fights on. What's his cause?''

Fund-raising efforts for Mr. Goldberger's legal efforts are coordinated by Michael Rottenberg, a board member of Beth Medrash Govoha, the Lakewood, N.J., rabbinical college. ``Unjustifiably humiliated''

``I really felt he was unjustifiably humiliated to the lowest level a human being can be,'' said Mr. Rottenberg, who said he did not know Mr. Goldberger before he was asked by both sides to mediate the dispute. He added, ``The children are not deprived. Whatever they had before, they have now, even more.''

He said the Orthodox Jewish community was largely on the wife's side when the matter first became known, but since then ``even the people who think he may have done something wrong feel he should not be in jail.''

Last month, Baltimore Circuit Judge Edward J. Angeletti sentenced Mr. Goldberger to three years for contempt of court for ignoring an order to pay more than $4,000 a month in child support. That sentence was stayed after Mr. Goldberger's lawyers filed an appeal, but he was locked up again when the child-abduction charges, which had been placed on the inactive docket in 1991, were reactivated by a prosecutor. Mr. Goldberger spent three weeks in jail before he was released on $50,000 bail -- just in time to observe Rosh Hashana. His kidnapping trial is scheduled for Oct. 26.

Mr. Goldberger was indicted Oct. 1 on sexual abuse charges, even as supporters in Baltimore and London negotiated with a rabbi in New York to try to find a way to settle the matter. He surrendered at the Baltimore police Central District last Thursday morning -- a day after he observed Yom Kippur by praying at Congregation Machzekai Torah.

After spending most of three days behind bars, Mr. Goldberger was released Saturday on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 22 on the sexual child abuse charges.

Doug Struck of the Jerusalem Bureau contributed to this article.

FYI: Aron Goldberger is NOT related to Rabbi Menachem Goldberger of Baltimore.

Rabbi Shalom Tendler resigned from both Yeshiva of Los Angeles as Rosh Yeshiva as well as Rabbi of the Young Israel of Beverly Hills

The following information was posted on the Canonist Blog that is discussing the case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler. I had the information verified by a reliable source:

TendlerTruths Says:
March 28th, 2006 at 7:07 am

In the meantime, out in LA the other shoe has fallen in the Tendler saga.

Sholom Tendler has resigned from both Yeshiva of Los Angeles as Rosh Yeshiva as well as Rabbi of the Young Israel of Beverly Hills, but will be staying in LA ostensibly to open a new yeshiva. Perhaps (Rabbi) Aron Tendler can teach for him, any they can send the boys for their year in Israel to cousin Matis Weinberg.
Cases that have a Ner Israel connection:
  1. The Case of the Students of Ner Israel Yeshiva in the 1950's

  2. Case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks

  3. Case of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau

  4. Case of Rabbi Benyamin Fleischman

  5. Case of Shmuel Juravel (AKA: Samuel Juravel)
  6. Case of Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum

  7. Case of Rabbi Aron Boruch Tendler

  8. Case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler

  9. Case of Rabbi Matis Weinberg (AKA Mattis Weinberg)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

FBI wanting to talk to Survivors of Shmuel Juravel

If you or anyone you know have been victimized by Shmuel Juravel please contact the FBI immediately. They are looking for survivors in Savannah, GA.

If you or someone you know was victimized by Shmuel Juravel while he was living in Baltimore, contact Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center. She has been given information by the FBI agent regarding what you can do to help. Her phone number is 443-857-5560.

FBI Agents
Scott Sledd

US Postal Inspector:
(Call if you have information on this case regarding child pornography, or Juravel traveling across state lines to commit a crime)
Jeff Arney

The prosecuting attorneys are:
John H England, III or
Alice H Martin, US Attorney

Survivors Speaking Out - By Vicki Polin

"Pedophila has no religion". Another words this is not a Jewish, Catholic or Muslim problem. It's a human problem!

Survivors of sexual violence should not feel ashamed or blamed for what happened to them -- they were victimized by a criminal.

If you were walking down the street and happened to be mugged -- most people would immediately contact the local police department. You would then most likely file a complain.

Afterwards most survivors of violent crimes automatically start telling everyone they know they were mugged. There's no shame in it. The individual was victimized.

In cases of any form of sexual violence (childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, etc.), it's imperative for those who have been victimized to talk about what happened over and over again. It helps in the healing process. It should be seen in the same light as someone who was robbed at knife point.

I really honor and respect every survivor who speaks out about what happened to them. Telling your stories of being abused and/or assaulted publicly is essential to helping to end sexual crimes in every community.

I do want to urge caution though. Please talk to your therapist, friends, and trusted family members prior to do so. Make sure you are in an emotionally stable place prior to going public. Only share what you feel comfortable sharing. If people ask you questions you DO NOT feel comfortable answering, you don't have to. You have a right to keep what you want confidential.

If you want more information about speaking out, please feel free to call Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center (443) 857-5560.

Is this for real? -- Rabbi - Maim your dolls!!

Broken Bear PIcture
I found the following posting on a blog called Yeshiva World. I am not from the observant word, and was shocked to read this. I understand the fear that a child's toy could be seen as "idol worshipping", yet I am also concerned that destroying a toy that is loved could have a traumatic effect on a youngster. Please let's not teach our children violence by breaking their toys.

In a tough break for the children of Orthodox Jewish families, a former grand rabbi of Israel has urged parents to amputate their dolls to avoid the perils of idolatry.Basing the move on a Biblical ban on the possession of idols, Mordechai Eliyahu, a Sephardic rabbi, broadcast his edict on a religious radio station calling for an arm or a leg to be dismembered.In the case of a teddy bear or other stuffed animals, the children will see their beloved toys lose an ear or an eye instead."It is very important that these toys do not remain intact so as to remove the element of idolatry," said Eliyahu.His son, Shmuel Eliyahu, himself a rabbi in the northern town of Safed, said that it was inappropriate to own statues or dolls, even to play with or for artistic purposes."They need to be amputated or at least altered," he said.Shmuel revealed that his father had forced one of his followers to snap off the ear of a replica of a statue of Moses by Michelangelo that he had bought at an exorbitant price......

Monday, March 27, 2006

Date-rape film examines realities of sexual assault

Teen girl with hands over face
Special to The Miami Herald
Miami Herald, FL
March 26, 2006

A woman, wearing a hidden camera, confronts a man she has accused of raping her. When questioned, the man, whose face is partially concealed by a digitally inserted black bar, denies the act took place.

The videotaped confrontation isn't part of a fiction movie and the people aren't actors, however. The harsh reality of the footage was shot by Nancy Schwartzman, a filmmaker from New York who is making a documentary about her experience with date rape while she was living in Jerusalem.

Schwartzman is touring the country showing a 13-minute excerpt of her film. One of her most recent stops was on March 16 at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. Her visit was sponsored by Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach.

The regional center, part of an international Jewish outreach organization for college students, also joined with several on-campus groups to co-sponsor an appearance by Schwartzman earlier that week at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
Jennifer Kryshka, Broward County program director for Hillel, said she felt it was important that people got to hear Schwartzman's story after reading an article written by the filmmaker for Heeb magazine.

''I was moved by it,'' Kryshka said.

Schwartzman, a founding editor and former creative director for the magazine, said she was assaulted by an acquaintance in 2000. The excerpt shows her returning to Jerusalem to confront the man, seek guidance from a rabbi and reunite with friends. Her narration is compelling and frank.

''I'm always uncomfortable watching it,'' she told the small audience at NSU.
Schwartzman uses graphic descriptions of the act and her own feelings.

''I want to show what victims go through,'' she said. ``I'm trying to tell my story with as much detail as possible.''

The documentary is still a work in progress. Once it is completed, one of the things she wants to do is change the public's perceptions about sexual assaults.

''I think a lot of people still think that rape is something that happens when you walk alone on a dark street and somebody grabs you,'' she said.

In addition to her film, Schwartzman is taking other measures to create more awareness. She founded a website, www.NYC-Safe, that creates maps to alert pedestrians about safe travel routes.

Schwartzman said she is taping more interviews and raising money to finish the documentary. Listening to responses from audiences during her speaking engagements is also part of the filmmaking process, she said. The comments made by people attending her talk at NSU were helpful.

''They were very open,'' Schwartzman said. ``I thought they were great.''
Schwartzman's appearance was free and open to the community. Kryshka said she would like to do more programs promoting women's safety awareness.

''I've been working with women's issues for a long time and I think it's important these issues are addressed,'' said Kryshka, who also does volunteer outreach work for Planned Parenthood of South Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

Natalie Kline, a grant writer for Planned Parenthood, learned about Schwartzman through Kryshka.

''I wanted to be here because this topic is very important to my organization,'' Kline said. ``I think [Schwartzman] is so brave to talk about something so personal.''
Emily Taffel, an international business major at Nova, listened to Schwartzman with her husband, Frederick Schaper, an insurance underwriter. The couple, from Pompano Beach, said Schwartzman was powerful and honest. The documentary's subject should be discussed more often, Schaper said.

''A lot more men need to hear this,'' he said.

For information on Schwartzman, visit For information on Hillel, visit

(MD) Sex Abuse Bill Called 'Victory' For Church

Vicki Polin writes:
I personally see this is a 'Victory' for sex offenders. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse come from all faiths. This is NOT only about survivors of Catholic priests or their church.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post
Monday, March 27, 2006; B04

In a legislative victory for the Roman Catholic church, Maryland delegates rejected a bill that would have allowed older victims of child sexual abuse to sue the church and the priests who abused them.
Instead, the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, and the House on Saturday, approved a bill that would allow victims 25 and younger when the law takes effect to file lawsuits until they reach age 42.

Maryland law currently allows victims to bring lawsuits until their 25th birthday. There is no time limit for criminal prosecutions of those who sexually abuse a child in Maryland.

Under intense lobbying from the church, the bill was amended so the time extension does not apply to victims who are now 25 and older.

"Anybody who is under the age of 25 when this bill goes into effect will have the right to go to court extended to the age of 42," said Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery). "But if you're over the age of 25, that's the key, you're gone."

The measure will now go to the Senate.

Simmons said the bill, which is much more limited than the original version, "is a victory for the church," whose representatives lobbied hard to kill the earlier proposals.

"We're glad that the retroactive portion did not pass," said Washington Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs.

But, she said, the church believes that extending the time to bring civil suits "discourages early reporting" of abuse by children.

"Currently, we have a culture that is very focused on having children come forward earlier," Gibbs said. "We need to encourage that, not extend statutes of limitations that actually are counter to a culture of early reporting."

Advocates for victims of clerical childhood sexual abuse said they were unhappy about the outcome. "I just can't tell you how disappointed we are," said Frank Dingle of the Baltimore chapter of Voice of the Faithful, an organization of lay Catholics seeking reform in the church.

Del. Pauline H. Menes (D-Prince George's), a sponsor of the earlier bill, said church representatives "lobbied vociferously" against it. As a result, "it was clear to me" that compromise was necessary, she said. "The compromise was to drop the retroactivity."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Famous Quote By Judith Herman

Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
In order to escape accountability for his/her crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his/her power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator’s first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he/she cannot silence him/her absolutely, he/she tries to make sure no one listens.
I think everyone should read Judith Herman's book Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

Letter from a Kiruv worker to a survivor of childhood sexual abuse

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The following e-mail comes is from a kiruv worker (an individual who does Jewish outreach). It was sent to a survivor who was e-mailing information to the kiruv worker in an attempt to educate the individual on childhood sexual abuse.

I wish the kiruv worker realized that the statistics on childhood sexual abuse, so that he/she could realize that at least a third of the women and a fifth of the men he does out reach to have been sexually abused as children. Can you imagine the difference the kiruv worker could make in the survivors lives if he only understood some of the basics? I personally wish I knew who the "kiruv worker" was, so that we could all help the individual deal with his/her secondary PTSD issues. It's obvious that the individual is overwhelmed by the material.

The survivor stated that the kiruv worker was responding to something I posted on this blog: "Four Questions for Passover"

First of all, I want to tell you that I share your pain and see that you are still suffering from abuse inflicted upon you at some earlier time. For that, I pray for your release from mental anguish and hope that we will one day be free from this scourge.

However, it is painful to me to see that your only (public) association with Judaism and its holidays and times of joy are all linked to sexual abuse; and that the only times you write about Jewish leaders (rabbis) is when you feel they have done something wrong.
Please understand that the pain you cause me by constantly writing about these issues in a public way leads me to sincerely question your methods. Since I am committed to kiruv (bringing Jews closer to Judaism) and since I feel that your methods bring (more) Jews away from Judaism (since they constantly create bad feelings by linkage), I must ask you to remove my name from your mailing list.
May Hashem send his Healing to you and to all Jews who suffer and may we be zocheh to see the coming of His true prophet soon in our days.
Best wishes for a wonderful stress-free yom tov. If you need anything for the upcoming Passover holiday, please let me know and I'll try to help.

Also see:

Yori Yanover speaks about his friend - Rabbi David Lipman

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Yori Yanover is an individual who has been accused of harassing this blog, an organization called The Awareness Center, Rabbi Yosef Blau, Rabbi Mark Dratch, Vicki Polin, Jewish Whistleblower, the survivor of "rabbi Hershy Worch", and everyone else who is trying to make a difference to protect the rights of those who have been sexually abuse and or assaulted.

FYI: JWB stands for
Jewish Whistleblower (an individuals who speaks out for those who have been sexually victimized)

My suggestion is that Yori Yanover start learning about sex offenders. He should read "
When A Family Member Molests: Reality, Conflict, and The Need For Support and Offenders: Problems our parents wouldn't speak of.

  1. Yori Yanover Says:

    JWB, or whatever your real personality is (I’ve lost count),

    Shame is a big issue for you. I’m sure the discovery of the impact your unerring sense of right and wrong has had on your loved ones has encumbered you with a layer of shame so deep and thick, it’s made shame and shaming the centerpiece of your online life.

    You continue to archive my best work, occasionally misrepresenting it, other times pulling lines out of context. But shame me you cannot, because I do not publish articles I’m ashamed of. Bear with me.

    In the item “Former rabbi sentenced for viewing sexually explicit images” (I’m not sure, by the way, that a state court can remove a rabbi’s smicha, so I assume they mean he no longer officiates in a congregation) ... there are two parts to poor David Lipman’s incredibly severe sentence:

    PRESCOTT, Ariz. A former rabbi was sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison for viewing sexually explicit images of young children on his computer.

    Fifty-six-year-old former Rabbi David Lipman received a 3-and-a-half-year sentence for one charge of sexual exploitation of a minor and lifetime probation for three counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. He also has to register as a sex offender.

    The charges stem from images that the police downloaded from Lipman’s computer while he worked at a temple in Prescott.

    In other words, the bulk of Lipman’s punishment was for downloading and viewing sexual images of children. This has NOTHING to do with his other charges. Unless the local press maligned the story, which is possible, a US citizen, a Jew, is sent to 13.5 years in jail for viewing pornographic images — and you rejoice!

    Which one of us should be ashamed? Are you really applauding sending a man to jail for downloading and viewing verboten pictures?

    So, for the record, I still have nothing to say regarding Rabbi Lipman’s relationship with his daughter. My brief acquaintance with him does not make me an expert on his personal life. I do, however, like the man a lot, I recall being grateful to him for taking over an online Torah class when our original rabbi needed a break. JWB lumps him together with me and Larry as old-time buddies — which he likes doing — but we haven’t heard from him since 1997, I think, when they moved to New England. But everybody knows JWB’s tactics.

    To the point, though, does anyone on this message board, excluding Dingo and the media gou from Toronto, endorse sentencing a man to 13.5 years in jail for having child pornography on his workplace computer?

    Sorry, just because it’s the law in some south-western state don’t make it right. I recall those same states used to have separate bathrooms for whites and colored — I wonder if JWB’s would have rejoiced back then if a Jew he hated was caught letting a black man pee in a white bathroom…

    The Arizona law is a sham, it is a blight on our First Amendment. At a time when our government can arrest us and give no reason, after wiretapping us without court approval, JWB is joining the burgeoning forces of fascism, which is where he belongs.

    Child pornography is an evil thing, but if you think I’m going to endorse unlimited police powers to stop it you’re out of your grief-maddened mind.

The Evils of Blogging - Blogging Banned in the Yeshiva World?

I've heard word that those who are from the "more" observant world have been told to stay off of blogs. They have been warned that they are evil. I wonder if they were talking about blogs that talk about sexual abuse and assault? I was playing around and found the following blogs. Are these blogs banned too? Many are from Lakewood, NJ
  1. Mirrer Yeshiva News
  2. Divrei Chaim
  3. Emes Ve-Emunah
  4. Orthodox Apprentice
  5. Orthonomics
  6. Yeshiva World
  7. Yeshiva Orthodoxy
  8. Yudel's Stake
  9. Yeshiva Parents
  10. The World of the Yeshiva

Four Questions About Passover 2006

(© 2006) The Awareness Center, Inc.

1. How many Jewish survivors of childhood sexual abuse do you know? Remember one out of every three to five women and one out of every five to seven men have been sexually abused by the time they turn eighteen.

2. How many Jewish survivors of childhood sexual abuse do you know that will end up going home to be with family, which could mean braking matzo with their sex offender?

3. How many Jewish survivors of childhood sexual abuse do you know that will spend Passover alone this year, because they choose not to spend the holiday with their offender?

4. How can you make a difference? Be sure to invite survivors of childhood sexual abuse to your home this year for a seder! Even if they say no to the invitation, let them know they can always change their mind at the last minute.

Also read:
Surviving Passover: Jewish Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Too pretty for prison

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Guardian (UK)
Friday March 24, 2006

... or so says the lawyer for Debra Lafave, the US teacher who this week escaped punishment for sleeping with her 14-year-old pupil. Suzanne Goldenberg reports

She is, for the moment, America's most famous sex offender: young, blond, and in the words of her lawyer, too pretty for prison. When the prosecution in Florida this week dropped charges against Debra Lafave, a former teacher who admitted having sex with a boy who was then 14 years old, they reignited a debate about whether society is willing to tolerate sexual misconduct if the aggressor is female and, as in Lafave's case, attractive.

Lafave is the most recent in a series of high-octane cases of sexual abuse involving female teachers and their pupils, and the leniency of her treatment in America's legal system has provoked accusations of a double standard - not least from her ex-husband, Owen Lafave, who is producing a documentary film on such relationships.

A similar debate on the dangers of predatory females is underway in Britain where a film adaptation of Zoë Heller's novel, Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett as a pottery teacher who has an affair with a pupil, is due to open later this year.

In Lafave's case, charges were dismissed because the victim's mother did not want to put her son through a trial that, given America's current fascination with sexual abuse, was bound to become a staple of tabloid television.

"I'm his mom and I couldn't protect him when it came time to what she did to him. I can protect him now," she told a Tampa television station. She said she was relieved her son would be spared from testifying. "Every word that came out of his mouth, every detail that was presented, would have been terrible for him."

Lafave, a former reading teacher, had already been sentenced by another Florida court to three years' house arrest followed by seven years' probation after she admitted having sex with the boy in a school classroom, her home, and the back of a car - with the boy's teenage cousin in the driving seat. But this week's decision means she will be spared jail - an outrage for some, who say the courts fail to acknowledge the gravity of child abuse when a woman is to blame.

"Any adult who sexually abuses a child deserves a punishment that fits the crime. It should make no difference whether the offender is a scraggly, bearded bogeyman or a leggy blonde in flawless makeup," said a leader in the local paper, the Orlando Sentinel.

But in Lafave's case, it inevitably did make a difference. Soon after her arrest in 2004, pictures emerged from her modelling days showing her straddling a motorcyle in a blue bikini, an iconic image of seduction. "To place Debbie into a Florida state women's penitentiary, to place an attractive young woman in that kind of hellhole, is like putting a piece of raw meat in with the lions," her lawyer, John Fitzgibbons, told a Florida court last year.

Many Americans evidently agreed. Her victim was turned into a running joke on late-night television. Didn't every teenage boy fantasise about having sex with his hot blond teacher? It left his mother determined to avoid a trial - even if that meant a lesser punishment for Lafave.

The past five years has seen an intense focus in America on the sexual abuse of children, from the Catholic church, which has been trying to atone for the damage inflicted by paedophile priests, to local governments, which face increasing pressure to keep track of known paedophiles.

In particular, America seems transfixed by the notion of sex between teachers and their pupils. A day after charges were dropped against Lafave, a former elementary school teacher in West Virginia was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting students. "I was the monster these families think I am," said Toni Lyn Woods, 37, who shared neither Lafave's good looks nor youth.

Other high-profile cases include Sandra Beth Geisel, 42, a former Catholic school teacher, who was sentenced late last year to six months prison in New York for her affair with a 16-year-old student. Then, in one of America's most notorious cases, Mary Kay Letourneau was sentenced to seven years in prison for her affair with pupil Vili Fualaau, which began when he was 12 and she was 34. The couple married last year after Letourneau served a truncated sentence. The union produced two children. "She's not a paedophile; she's a 'Vili-phile'," a family friend told a Seattle newspaper.
But such attitudes infuriate those who say that society is failing to protect its male children from predators. "Society just doesn't view a boy having sex with an adult female as rape although legally it is. Our society just doesn't see it as a child being harmed," says Robert Shoop, a law professor at Kansas State University and author of Sexual Exploitation in Schools. "The idea that society has historically said that women are to be protected from sex, but boys are supposed to enjoy it and look for the opportunity, I think is wrongheaded and is a vestige of our past inequalities."

His research shows that male teachers convicted of abusing female children receive far harsher punishment - an average of 11 years jail - than female teachers who are more likely to get probation. However, Shoop acknowledges that abuses are far more likely to be male than female, and that there are differences of pattern of abuse. Women tend to select a victim, and cultivate the relationship over time.

"There are almost no females predators who say: 'I went into teaching or coaching because that is where I am going to find the victims.' There are only a couple of cases I know about of female teachers who had more than one victim."

In Lafave's case, it appears that she tried to persuade her victim that she was as much a teenager as he was. Tape-recordings of conversations released by police reveal Lafave asking her victim to make a "pinky promise". When he raises concerns that he might have made her pregnant, she chides him for being "weird". Lafave's lawyer says that she was suffering from bipolar disorder. In court proceedings, he said that he hoped that the story of the platinum-blond teacher and her student would gradually fade away.

Lafave - like her former husband, who with his documentary film has become a newly minted expert on sexual abuse - apparently has other ideas. Calm and composed in an elegant black outfit, she read a statement on the difficulties of life with mood disorders. She talked about the pains of having her private life dragged through the press. Then she told reporters that though her real "passion" - teaching - was closed to her now, she had found a new outlet. She plans to become a television journalist.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

(MD) URGENT- To Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

From: Bob Russell
SNAP of Maryland

Dear Friends:

I was made aware of a recent development today on the legislation passed out of the House Judiciary.
While this appeared to be a watered down victory, it was brought to my attention today that the bill is NOT retroactive. The bill would only benefit those persons who were abused and will be no older than 25 as of October 1, 2006. This presents several options.

There is value in having the legislation in my opinion for the purpose to help those survivors that are living alone with this to step forward. While the numbers are small compared to the majority, they do exist and this will help them in healing. We can’t overlook that.

The problem with the bill of course is that it doesn’t benefit the majority of survivors that have been abused. The church gets to position themselves as being pro child and at the same time escape liability. As much as I hate to say it, it was a brilliant PR move by their lobbyist.

We have to take a direction Monday. That is why I am writing you. During a conference call tonight, we discussed several options. We need to hear from you. This is your legislation. I didn’t think it was right for several of us to make unilateral decisions that would affect everyone. So please give us your feedback.

It was proposed that we explore getting the bill amended to it’s original form. This would be done with the expectation that the amendment would be defeated and the bill will pass. What this does is lets the powers in Annapolis know that this is not acceptable to us as survivors and we will be back again next year. This allows us to send that message without publicly condemning it.

Condemning it and seeking to kill it is the second option. The benefit in my opinion is that this legislation ,and one that is a huge victory for the church, gets to be brought up again next year but in the correct format. We are getting stronger and better at this the more we go. We never expected to get this far this year. The risk, and it is a substantial one, is that the church could effectively use this as a PR piece to show that we are all the bad things they say we are. i.e, money grubbers, out to destroy the church, we don’t care about the safety of kids, only ourselves, etc.

We really need to hear from you. Please respond by tomorrow night at the latest and let us know your thoughts. Be sure to respond to Dave Lorenz (Cc’d) and myself also.

Again, I want to thank everyone for all that you do. The letters, the calls, the support, your ideas, it’s a combined effort.

We have said for sometime that this was going to be a process.
We didn’t expect to get anywhere near this far this year. We need to keep doing the next right thing. We need to hear from you so as to decide what that is.

I’d also like to please ask you not to say “whatever you decide”.
We need to hear from thoughts. Thanks, I appreciate it.


Update: Convicted - Case of Andrew Josephs , Bar Mitzvah teacher, Edgware, England

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1)Barmitzvah teacher jailed for sex assaults
Jewish Chronicle, UK
March 23, 2006
(if anyone has a copy of this article please forward it to me)

Two-Year Sentence For Teacher
By TJ Reporter
Totally Jewish, UK
March 23, 2006

A Jewish teacher who sexually abused two barmitzvah students during tutoring sessions at his home was this week jailed for more than two years.

Andrew Josephs, 28, of Edgware, was last month found guilty at Wood Green Crown Court of four counts of indecent assault on one boy and two counts of sexual activity on a second child. Both boys were 12-years-old at the time of the incidents.

Joesphs was also disqualified from working with children, having any unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16 or using the internet to access pornography. He will also remain on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

Detective Superintendent Diane Lesley said: “This result is a testament to the courage of the boys involved. Andrew Josephs was a respected member of the community entrusted with the care of children, these offences were a grave abuse of that position of trust.”

Parents have been advised to exercise caution when choosing to leave an unaccompanied child at the home of any private tutor.

Private teacher jailed for sex attacks on boys
By Marcus Dysch
Edgware Times, UK
March 23, 2006

A teacher from Edgware who gave private tuition to children at his home was this week jailed for two years and nine months for sexually abusing two boys.

Andrew Josephs, 28, of Parklands Court, Edgware Way, Edgware, was found guilty at Wood Green Crown Court on February 27 of four charges of indecent assault and two counts of sexual activity with boys.

He was sentenced on Tuesday for the assaults on the boys, who were both aged 12 at the time of the incidents in 2004, and was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register indefinitely.

Josephs was jailed for two years for four indecent assaults on one boy, and a further nine months for two incidents of sexual activity on a second child.

The conviction followed a detailed investigation by Barnet police's child abuse investigation team.

Detective Sergeant Diane Lesley, speaking for the team, said: "This result is a testament to the courage of the boys involved.

"Andrew Josephs was a respected member of the community entrusted with the care of children these offences were a grave abuse of that position of trust.

"Other victims of child abuse should be encouraged not to suffer in silence but to speak out and help us put a stop to this."

Josephs was also disqualified from working with children and a Sex Offences Prevention Order was made to stop him from having any unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16. He was also banned from using the internet to access pornography.

Court Update: Case of Rabbi David Lipman

The following is from an individual who attended the sentencing hearing of Rabbi David Lipman

As promised, here is what happened in court on Friday, March 24, 2006 on the case of Rabbi David Lipman.

They court kind of rolled the charged of the sexual abuse of two teenage girls in with the charge of pornography.

First of all, the defense called Lipman's ex-wife to the stand. She came here from out east somewhere. She is an attorney. She testified about how great Lipman is and what wonderful works he did. They were married in 1975, separated in 1992 and divorced in 1995 or 1996 (she couldn't remember the exact year).

The ex-wife testified about how he took 10th graders to Israel for 6 weeks every summer and she went on some of those trips. When the prosecutor asked if Lipman had abused any other family members, she seemed to hesitate before she answered. She said she never heard any allegations of sexual abuse to the children he taught or counseled. The defense attorney brought up the psycho-sexual evaluation and it showed that Lipman had a sexual preference for 14-17 year old children.

Next, the executive director of the People Who Care program spoke. The program helps people in need, such as providing rides to the doctor, for groceries, other social type services, etc. It also runs the Interfaith program. She said he showed up at meetings when a lot of other clergy did not and he spoke to legislators to get various laws changed. She said he is wonderful, but has a mental health problem that needs to be dealt with.

Next, a congragant spoke (a male). He said he is an atheist or an agnostic, but he liked Lipman and said that he is an incredible man. Someone, and it may have been this man, said Lipman is like a walking encyclopedia. (He has a photographic memory.)

A female congregant then spoke and she, too, said how wonderful Lipman is. She said that since the first allegations arose, he lost weight and his voice has changed. (Remember he was missing for 5 weeks. That is when he lost the weight. He was also clean shaven in court.) The woman said he is more rational since his treatment and alluded to the fact he was suicidal before the treatment. She thinks mental illness is involved and he is trying to deal with it.

The judge asked if there was anyone else to speak and they asked that Lipman's present wife speak on behalf of the two teenage girls. This caught everyone by surprise, so there was a 5 minute recess so the attorney could talk with her.

During the recess, the male congregant that spoke was speaking to someone and he couldn't understand why there was a problem with Lipman viewing child pornography....after wasn't hurting anyone. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

His present wife spoke on behalf of the teenage girls and said the older teen feels guilty that she ever said anything and all of this came about.

At one point, the prosecutor said that Lipman should be punished and jailed and his present wife shook her head with a vehement no.

The defense attorney then spoke and said the sentence for this type of crime is 10-24 years and Lipman was willing to serve 12 years so that the teenage girls did not have to testify. He said his profile shows a low recidivism rate and that the Able assessment that the prosecutor talked about always shows a reaction from men when shown the prepubescent pictures. He said Lipman had avulsion therapy. He said he is not a pedophile and Lipman wants probation. The defense attorney said that Lipman suffered trauma for a substantial period of time as a child.

Lipman went through the River Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in January and just got out last week.

Lipman read a statement saying he had remorse. He said the abuse had been festering in him and he acted out on it and has also had multiple partners. He said he is in a 12 step program. He plans to write another couple of books, is in a 12 step program, and hopes to resume a loving relationship with his wife when he gets out of jail.

The judge spoke and said that this man had a lot to offer, is intelligent, has done good works, etc, but that he does have to pay for his crime. He said it showed how well he was liked by the people that turned out today. (The judge will get a letter from me saying he made a big presumption!)

He was sentenced to 13 1/2 years in jail, starting today. He has no credit for time served. When he has served his term, he will be on lifetime probation, which will cost him $75 per month. The probation came with stipulations, such as no drinking or drugs, etc. He will also be listed as a lifetime sexual predator.

Although we would have liked to see a stiffer penalty, we are happy he did not just get probation.

On April 3, they will have another hearing which it sounds like will roll the child sexual abuse charges into this and there will be no further sentencing.

I think the prosecutor felt they did not have a solid enough case on the child abuse charges because the two teenage girls did not want to testify.

Former rabbi sentenced for viewing sexually explicit images

Associated Press
March 24, 2006

PRESCOTT, Ariz. A former rabbi was sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison for viewing sexually explicit images of young children on his computer.Fifty-six-year-old former Rabbi David Lipman received a 13-and-a-half-year sentence for one charge of sexual exploitation of a minor and lifetime probation for three counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. He also has to register as a sex offender.

The charges stem from images that the police downloaded from Lipman's computer while he worked at a temple in Prescott.

He also faces 16 counts of child molestation and sexual abuse charges in an investigation that involves two teenage girls.

At Lipman's sentencing on Friday, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge William Kiger said Lipman violated his position of trust.

Lipman says he takes responsibility for his actions and he hopes he'll be able to overcome his sexual distortions.

Update: Case of Rabbi David Lipman - Former rabbi gets more than 13 years

Prescott Daily Courier
March 25, 2006

PRESCOTT Sentencing him to a mitigating prison term of 13-and-a-half years on Friday for viewing sexually explicit images of young children on his computer, a judge agreed with the state that former Rabbi David Lipman violated his position of trust.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge William Kiger said that the victims include not only children portrayed in the computer images, but his family and members of his congregation.

"That is a very deep violation of trust," Kiger said.

Lipman, 56, received 13-and-a-half years in prison for one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class 2 felony, and lifetime probation for three counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, Class 3 felonies, which he'll start to serve upon his release from custody. He also has to register as a sex offender.

The charges stem from images that the police downloaded from Lipman's computer while he worked at Temple B'rith Shalom in Prescott.

He also faces 16 counts of child molestation and sexual abuse charges in connection with an investigation that involves two teen-age girls, 16 and 14, which could resolve soon with a probation-eligible plea.

During Friday's hearing, the defense called four witnesses to testify on behalf of the defendant.

Lipman's ex-wife, Linda Cahn, who practices law in New Jersey, said that she felt compelled to testify because the state left out many facts about his life when it offered him a plea.

Cahn described Lipman's work at three synagogues in New York as very dynamic.

"He was an extraordinary rabbi who was very involved with his congregation," she said, adding that Lipman is extremely smart and knows an enormous amount of information. "He has an encyclopedic amount of data in his brain."

Cahn said Lipman had an extraordinary impact on children of all ages.

"He was very, very involved with kids," Cahn said, and through a hands-on experience he taught them about Israel, its history and traditions as well as about Judaism.

"He was well liked and well regarded by members of his congregation," she said.

She said Lipman interacted with thousands of children during their marriage and she never heard a complaint or saw him acting inappropriately around them.

Of the charges involving computer images, she said, "Rabbi's computer is a private matter. It didn't impact anybody at that synagogue."

Lipman said that he is guilty of the charges and takes full responsibility for his actions. He said that for the first time in his life he is receiving treatment for a mental illness that the abuse in his early life has caused.

He said that he hopes he'll be able to overcome his sexual distortions and reconcile with his family.

Asking for a sentence of no more than 12 years, Lipman's attorney, John Trebon, said that his client is not a pedophile and that he suffers from anxiety and attachment disorders, which are treatable.

"If you are going to judge the man, you cannot forget his life," he said. "He dedicated his life to community service."

However, Prosecutor Bill Hughes asked Kiger to impose a presumptive term of 17 years because "I believe he is a danger to the community," he said.

Contact the reporter at

Update: Maryland House Bill 1148

Welcome to the Maryland State Archives

I wanted to thank everyone who made phone calls and wrote letters!

has passed and is out of committee.

-- No window bill but unanimous approval of the statute of limitations bill with only slight tweaking. The upper age remains at 42 years.