Background information on Rabbi Yaakov Menken From The Awareness Center's Web page
CALL TO ACTION: Boycott Events Associated with Alleged Sex Offender, Rabbi Yaakov Menken
© (2007) The Awareness Center, Inc.
(You can download a pdf file of this call to action at: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/MenkenCallToAction.pdf)
Over the last few years The Awareness Center has shared information with you regarding the case of Rabbi Yaakov Menken (AKA: Ken Menken). Due to the issue of confidentiality we have been limited in what we have made public. The allegations against Menken include sexual harassment and clergy sexual abuse.
Yaakov Menken's alleged modus operandi is to become a father figure to vulnerable young women and eventually manipulating them into having sexual contact with him. Menken is married with children and in his forties. The alleged women he targets are usually in their late teens or early twenties. In 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Menken had a discussion with Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky and confessed to having sexual contact with a very young woman he counseled. He basically blamed the survivor, stating "she came on to me".
Since The Awareness Center became aware of the allegations made against Yaakov Menken we were able to gathered information which included conversations with various rabbonim in Baltimore. It appears that a national Jewish outreach organization which includes a relative of the Menken survivors were in a bet din dispute right before and during the time that Rabbi Yaakov Menken was sexually manipulating a young woman from an extremely insulated community.
The survivor was barely out of her teens at the time that Yaakov Menken started his grooming process on her.
When Menken got started the young woman had recently moved away from her family for the first time. Menken allegedly marked her as an easy target and began to provide rabbinical counseling to her. It's important to keep in mind that Rabbi Menken was very angry with the survivors relative during this time period and the woman was unaware of the bet din dispute. It is believed that this is part of the reason why Menken picked her as a target and began to lure her in.
Usually when someone goes searching for spirituality they are in a vulnerable state because of some sort of personal crisis in their lives. These are exactly the type of people that Menken allegedly preys upon.
Several Kiruv organizations are partnering up with alleged sexual predator, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, for a Jewish Outreach event that will be featuring Dr. Gerald Schroeder. The problem is that by doing so they are basically saying that Yaakov Menken is safe and someone both affiliated and unaffiliated Jews can trust.
The Awareness Center is asking that you boycott all events associated with Yaakov Menken, Project Genesis, Torah.org, Project Genisis, Cross-Currents, and TorahMedia.org. We are also asking that you to call and or write the following people and demand that they stop working with Rabbi Yaakov Menken.
The Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore
The Center for Jewish Education
Larry Ziffer, Executive Vice President
Phone: 410-735-5000, ext. 5005
Gerald Schroeder, Ph.D.
HaHish 5, Jerusalem 93223, Israel
Kenneth Lloyd Menken was born in 1965. While attending Princeton University, Menken became observant and started using his Hebrew name, "Yaakov Menken". He received his undergraduate degree in 1986. Upon graduating, started a seven year sabatical studying in various yeshivas (seminaries), such as Yeshivas Ohr Somayach, Bais Medrash Gavoha in Lakewood and Jerusalem, and the Mirrer Yeshiva Jerusalem.
Yaakov Menken has always been a computer maven. One of his goals was to educate unaffiliated college students who didn't have access to shiurim (Torah teachings). At the age of twenty-eight he founded his first organization, Project Genesis. It has been reported that Yaakov Menken received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Moshe Silberberg, while attending Ohr Somayach. Silberberg also brought Menken his biggest client -- Compuplus.
Rabbi Menken is also the founder of TorahMedia.com, and a new journal of thought and opinion called Cross-Currents. Smaller Torah.org projects include Aveidah.org and more.
There have been many alleged and convicted sex offenders in Rabbi Menken's life. One of these individuals is Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau, who is the prinicipal of Baltimore's Torah Institute. Both members of Shearith Yisrael also know as Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer's "Glen Avenue shul.
In the past Rabbi Menken stated that he felt the incest and molestation accusations against Eisgrau are ludicrous, as well as the sex abuse allegations against Rabbis Matis Weinberg and Mordecai Tendler. He also stated that the New York Jewish Week's editor, Gary Rosenblatt was wrong to expose rabbi Baruch Lanner, who was convicted and sent to prison for sexually abusing underage girls.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken has several computer businesses -- Project Genesis (which opperates several non-profit organizations and Team Genesis, which does commercial web development.
It's important to note that for several years Menken's organizations Team Genesis/Project Genesis had connection to convicted sex offender Rabbi Benyamin Fleischman, who was protected by the rabbonim of Baltimore until his conviction.
Project Genesis (Rabbi Yaakov Menken)