Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Message to the Eisemann Survivors - Annoymous E-mail

Below is an e-mail that was sent to me anonymously. I thought it was important so I'm posting it below.

Dear Survivors of Rav Moshe Eisemann,

I want to encourage all of the survivors of rav Eisemann to do the right thing. There is no statute of limitations on sex crimes against children in the state of Maryland. This means that you are some of the few adult survivors who might actually have the opportunity to see your offender tried in a criminal court.

Prior to going to the news media it is critical for you to make a police report. We do not want any of your evidence to be tampered with.

If you need help making a police report call TurnAround or the Awareness Center. I believe either organization will either walk you through the process or go with you to make sure your rights are protected.

If you really want to do something to protect other children from being harmed by this alleged sexual predator do the right thing and report his crimes to the police. Once you make a police report the vaad will have to make serious changes in the way things are handled.

Remember you are NOT alone. You do not have to file a police report alone.

I know you guys are out there and trying to figure out what to do. I know you are afraid of the repercussions of stating you were molested by this very powerful and highly protected rav. We need you to do the right thing and file a police report. Believe it or not it will help you with your childhood depression and fears. You no longer have to keep your secret. You no longer have to feel shame. Please, I beg of you make a police report today!!!!

Book Signing Event: Book: "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures" (Long Island, NY)

Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures (Hardcover)
Book Signing: "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures"
By Michael J. Salamon, PhD

When: Sunday February 10, 2008
1:00 pm -3:00 pm

Where: Five Towns Judaica (next to Amazing Savings)
311 Central Ave Lawrence, NY.

The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures takes a hard, honest look at the real difficulties faced by the dating public in today’s Orthodox world. With the rates of divorce and eating disorders rising, complaints regarding the shortage of men and the move away from socializing activities to the extensive use of third-party matchmakers, a true crisis exists and may be worsening. In this book, the author explores these issues, particularly those related to how matches are made. He finds that most are made based on availability, not compatibility, and on superficial criteria that have no relevance to what truly makes a marriage successful. Citing relevant data from the fields of psychology, sociology, and neurology, along with a host of anecdotes from a wide range of people, Dr. Salamon, a well-known psychologist, author, and lecturer, provides guidelines to help alleviate this crisis.

Dr. Salamon looks at the lists of criteria, the questions that people ask and the expectations for a mate that have developed over the last several years within the shidduch (matchmaking for marriage) process, and shows how they are counter-intuitive for forming healthy marriages. He also shows how much of what passes for background checking, in fact, may be lashon ha-ra (tale bearing). But most importantly, Dr. Salamon provides real suggestions for going beyond the physical, superficial standards that have contributed to a developing shidduch crisis. He advocates an approach where a measure of personal maturity is returned to those who are dating and makes the case for alleviating the external pressures on the dating couple.

About the Author:
Michael J. Salamon, PH.D., FPPR, has worked with the Jewish communities of the Greater New York area for more than two decades. He has been at the forefront of influencing the Jewish community to acknowledge and deal with the challenges it faces, including dating and relationship issues, substance and alcohol abuse, eating and other disorders relating to body image issues, and physical abuse. Dr. Salamon is a sought after speaker by synagogues, yeshivas, and Jewish communal institutions throughout the United States. He is the author of many assessment tools including the Life Satisfaction Scale and the Addiction Dependency Scale, as well as the book Home or Nursing Home: Making the Right Choice. He has presented more than 100 papers at national and international conferences.
Dr. Salamon is the founder and director of the Adult Developmental Center, Inc., a comprehensive psychological consulting practice in Hewlett, NY. He empowers individuals and families to cope with the various psychological challenges that arise throughout the life span. Among his areas of specialization are substance abuse and alcoholism counseling, crisis management, child, family, and marital counseling, therapeutic interventions, and gerontology.

Dr. Michael Salamon received his doctorate in psychology from Hofstra University. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section and a board certified Diplomate- Fellow Prescribing Psychologist Register.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Looking For Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse Blogs

I've been wanting to help support Jewish survivors who have blogs. If you have a Survivor of child sexual and are Jewish, please post the URL in the comment section. It's time we all start networking with each other.

I'm also interested in finding blogs by those who support Jewish Survivors of sexual abuse.

Monday, January 28, 2008

British Mounted Police Press For Ban on SS Camp/Holocaust Videos

MPs press for ban on SS camp ‘video nasty’

By Marie Woolk, Whitehall Editor
(UK) The Sunday Times
January 27, 2007

FILMS with graphic violence, including one simulating the rape, torture and incineration of concentration camp victims, are being freely sold on the high street, prompting demands by MPs for a reform of the censorship laws.

SS Experiment Camp is one of a clutch of violent films banned 20 years ago by the director of public prosecutions that have been approved for general release by Britain’s film censors and are on sale in shops.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) said there was no evidence that the film causes harm to viewers, adding that “there is nothing in this film that anybody should have any concerns about”. The board claims that sensibilities toward on-screen violence have changed since the film was banned.

However, MPs have questioned the censors’ judgment and their greater tolerance of films and video games containing graphic violence. They want Gordon Brown to give the public more power to appeal against the board’s decisions. The prime minister is set to meet a cross-party coalition of MPs to discuss toughening the laws on “video nasties”.

MPs are concerned that films previously considered so shocking that they were banned have been approved for general sale and are desensitising the public to extreme violence.

They are particularly worried by the decision of censors to grant a general release certificate to SS Experiment Camp, a 1970s low-budget movie that is sold alongside family films at high-street shops and online.

Jewish groups fear such films trivialise the suffering of Holocaust victims, who in the film are forced to have sex with Nazi commandants and are boiled alive if they refuse to “collaborate”. The blonde camp commandant forces a Jewish doctor to perform sadistic experiments on women prisoners, including live ovary transplants.

Women dressed in striped prison uniforms are forced to become prostitutes, tortured, hung upside down and electrocuted. They are injected and incinerated after refusing to declare allegiance “to the supreme Führer”.

The film’s cover prominently displays the Nazi SS emblem and the words “Previously banned! Legally available for the first time”. Because it has an 18 certificate, it can be sold on the same shelves as U and PG certificate films.

SS Experiment Camp was approved for release by David Cooke, director of the BBFC, Sir Quentin Thomas, the president, and two vice-presidents, Janet Lewis-Jones and Lord Taylor of Warwick. Thomas is a former senior civil servant; Lewis-Jones and Taylor are lawyers. Though it went on sale in October 2006, it has only just come to the attention of MPs, who are shocked by its contents.

A spokeswoman for the BBFC said SS Experiment Camp had been given a certificate with no cuts because “we have no concerns about it”. Although she accepted it contained sexual violence, she said the board did not believe it was harmful to viewers. “It is tasteless – but then I find most Mel Gibson films tasteless,” she said. “We do not believe that anyone watching this title is going to become antisemitic as a result. It is not going to create an attitude towards Jewish women that is harmful.”

A private member’s bill to be introduced by Julian Brazier, the Conservative MP for Canterbury, with support from senior MPs of all parties, would make it easier to challenge the release of “video nasties”.

Brazier strongly disputed the board’s claims and said the release of SS Experiment Camp was a clear case of the BBFC failing to protect the public.

“We live in a country where half of all males think forced sex is justified under some circumstances and it’s this kind of film that glamorises the torture of women,” Brazier said. “This film may have an 18 certificate but in practice, whatever its classification, it will rapidly find its way into the hands of under18s.”

A motion by 50 MPs asking for a film’s release to be reconsidered would trigger an instant appeal, under the plans to be debated by parliament next month. Other video nasties previously banned but recently released include Snuff, based on the Manson murders, and The Driller Killer, which was the Hollywood director Abel Ferrara’s first movie.

The move is backed by Keith Vaz, the former Labour minister, who heads the powerful Commons home affairs committee.

Commemorations around the country today will mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Yesterday the Holocaust Educational Trust called on the film censors to think again about their decision to release SS Experiment Camp, which was made in Italy by Sergio Garrone in 1976.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

(1986) A Jewish Survivor of Incest Breaks the Silence

From The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter:

Has much changed in since 1986?

The Bond Abused: A Jewish Survivor of Incest Breaks the Silence
© (1986) by Sharon R. Lowenstein, Phd
(The following article was originally published in Moment Magazine, January/February 1986, Volume II, Number 2.)

Click here to download:

You may also be interested in learning about the history of child abuse and negect laws, about child sexual abuse in Jewish communities, and also resources for counseling.

Does Phil Jacobs Support Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer'?

I'm guessing the Vaad of Baltimore decided to put together an education program in their community as a reaction to The Awareness Center's screening of the film 'Narrow Bridge' and the panel discussion afterwards. The event was extremely successful. As a result The Awareness Center is putting on another program in a few weeks. I haven't heard all the details yet I've been told the same speakers will be coming back with a push on the importance of making police reports, speaking out and networking.

Back on January 15, 2008 The Awareness Center put out a CALL TO ACTION: Education The Baltimore Jewish Community On Sexual abuse, when they learned the vaad of Baltimore was putting a program together in conjunction with Ohel (a mental health center in Brooklyn, NY).

Phil JacobsI was shocked to learn that Phil Jacobs, executive editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, attended the Baltimore screening of the film 'Narrow Bridge', yet didn't feel it was important enough to write about in his paper, yet the Owings Mills Times did. I was also shocked to see that Phil Jacobs is promoting the Baltimore Vaad's program on his web page. This is shocking because Phil Jacobs keeps saying he's an advocate for those who have been sexually violated. If he was truly an advocate for survivors of sexual violence wouldn't he be working with The Awareness Center instead of the vaad?

On Phil's blog he states:
If anything, if this is an area of concern for you and your family, please make plans to attend.

A great deal of behind-the-scenes work went into putting this effort together.

It is a sincere step forward.
Phil keeps saying he's writing stories about sexual abuse in Baltimore, yet had not mentioned the number of alleged and convicted sex offenders who daven in Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer's shul or the number of cases in which rabbis Heinemann and Hopfer continue to cover up.
It's shocking to learn that Phil Jacobs would be promoting an event on sexual abuse in which one of the keynote speakers is sex offender enabler -Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer.

If anyone has a photograph of rabbi Yaakov Hopfer or Moshe Heinemann please e-mail them to me at: jewishsurvivors

The Ohel - Baltimore program includes:
  • Rabbi David Gottlieb - promised a survivor to do something when the survivors alleged child molester moved to the community. A year has passed and nothing was done. The alleged sex offender is roaming freely attending classes in which minors are present.
  • David Mandel - has a degree in Business, has no clinical experience yet continues to speak out as an expert in the child abuse field. Mandel and Rabbi Dovid Cohen have been named by many as helping to cover up sex crimes in Boro Park and other Jewish communities around the globe.
  • Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - who has been advocating for the rights of alleged sex offenders and has a long history of shaming and blaming survivors of sexual abuse.
  • David Pelcovitz - a psychologist who jumped on the sex abuse bandwagon when he thought it was a trendy thing to do, yet really does not have the background to be working with survivors.
CALL TO ACTION: Demand the Rabbonim of Baltimore Stop Playing Games! Demanding that when programs are presented about sexual abuse they bring in professionals who actually have the education and experience to be presenting such a program. Contact:
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
Shomrei Emunah
Shul Office: 410-358-8604 (Option #1)
Home Office: 410-653-2423

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer
(Note: when you call Rabbi Hopfer be aware that his secretary is the daughter of alleged sex offender, Rabbi Moshe Eisemann. Demand she not screen the message and actually gives it to him).
Shearith Yisrael (Glen Ave. Shul)
Phone: 410-466-3060
Fax: 410-367-9183

Rabbi Moshe Hauer
Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation
Fax: 410-358-2631

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Batdina "Ask's the Rabbi"

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"Ask the Rabbi"

© (2008) By Batdina

I have some questions for the kiruv (outreach) rabbi who sexually abused me:

  1. How many Jews do you have to bring closer to God to make up for distancing one from God?
  2. The Talmud talks a lot about damages and how to repay someone. How can you repay me for the damage you've caused me?
  3. How can one human being do to another human being what you did to me?
  4. I wish he'd answer me and acknowledge my existence and the pain he inflicted on me. I wish there were even answers to my questions.
  5. I joke that he was an outreach rabbi who reached too far. It is a shame that people like him are corrupting our religion.
If there are any rabbis out there who can attempt to answer my questions, I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

Vicki Polin: She founded resource for sex abuse victims Vicki Polin
She founded resource for sex abuse victims
By Bryna Zumer
Owings Mills Times
January 24, 2008

Vicki Polin, a counselor specializing in sexual violence, noticed years ago that there seemed to be no Jewish resources for sex abuse victims, and she was uncomfortable referring them to Christian organizations, which she felt might proselytize them or be unable to speak to Jewish issues.

Before relocating to Israel in 2001, she attended Neve Yerushalayim, a women's college in Jerusalem, and saw that people who had been sexually abused had no place to turn.

"All these young women started telling me what happened to them," Polin said. "I started seeing what a problem it was."

A Chicago native, she moved to Baltimore in 2002 and, in 2003, launched the nonprofit International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault, now known as The Awareness Center.
The organization's goal is to provide resources to victims and educate the general community, but Polin, an incest survivor herself, has also drawn controversy for posting information on alleged offenders, including many prominent rabbis, on the center's Web site.

"Our goal is education. It's not just about, 'Get this guy, get that guy,'" she said, explaining that many in the Orthodox world do not watch TV or read secular news, but have gained information from the center's Web site.

After she, together with a volunteer board of directors, began posting information on offenders, "survivors started saying, 'Why don't you have my story?' The same (victims) were talking about the same (offenders), and we started putting the pieces together."

Although more than 250 rabbis worldwide support The Awareness Center, critics have accused Polin of "lashon ha'ra," derogatory or damaging speech against another person, which Jewish tradition condemns.
"In some places, we're seen as heroes and in some we're seen as crazy or vindictive," she said.
After Polin received allegations against rabbis by a group that turned out to be linked to al-Qaida and was anti-Semitic, she posted resources on abuse for Christians and Muslims as well.

She also works with groups like The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and, in addition to running the non-profit almost single-handedly, regularly testifies in court on behalf of victims of sexual violence.

The goal is not just to educate and reach out to victims, Polin said, but also to help abusers.
"There's no proven treatment for offenders. We don't know what to do, how to stop them," she said.

Important Message To ALL Jewish Outreach Workers!

I was watching the following youtube film and kept asking myself why the solution to keeping Jewish Jewish isn't just about learning about Judaism or Torah. What chases away about 1/4 of the Jewish population is the way our communities have been shaming and and blaming those who have been sexually victimized, while enabling sex offenders to continue to molest our children and unsuspecting adults.

Please share the above message with every kiruv worker (Jewish outreach) you know.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cases of Clergy Sexual Abuse Involving Adult Victims in the Jewish Community

From The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter:

Cases of Clergy Sexual Abuse Involving Adult Victims in the Jewish Community

© (2008) The Awareness Center

If you know of other cases of clergy sexual abuse involving adult survivors, please forward the information to Vicki Polin, Executive Director - The Awareness Center.

Also see: Spiritual Abuse




Jewish Renewal

Round II: Rabbi A. Charles Shalman Accused Of Having an inappropriately Relationship With A Female Congregant

Rabbi at Amherst's Temple Shaarey Zedek resigns amid complaint
Synagogue member alleges misconduct
By Jay Tokasz
Buffalo News

Rabbi A. Charles Shalman was censured in 1999 after a Rabbinical Assembly investigation concluded that he had violated several principles of rabbinical conduct during his private counseling or teaching sessions with female members of the synagogue."

The rabbi of an Amherst synagogue who was censured in 1999 for ethics violations has resigned amid a new complaint alleging misconduct.

The Rabbinical Assembly, the union that represents 1,400 Conservative rabbis worldwide, is investigating the complaint, filed by a member of the synagogue who accused Rabbi A. Charles Shalman of having an inappropriately close relationship with the member’s wife.

Shalman submitted a letter of resignation last Wednesday, citing personal reasons for leaving Temple Shaarey Zedek, a Conservative synagogue at 621 Getzville Road.

Shalman, who was hired in 1995, told The Buffalo News on Tuesday that the complaint was just “one piece of a much larger picture” of why he resigned.

“I have put a lot of thought into this decision and hope that I can find a less stressful second career, though I know it will never be as gratifying as my service to the congregation has been,” Shalman, 52, said in a brief telephone interview.

He said he was crafting a letter to the congregation that would explain his decision more fully.

C o ngregation President Rusty Zackheim said the Temple Shaarey Zedek community was shocked and saddened by Shalman’s resignation.

The temple board did not ask Shalman to resign.

Zackheim said she was made aware in late December of the complaint, which she described as being much different in nature from those that surfaced in 1999, when Shalman was nearly removed as rabbi of Temple Shaarey Zedek.

A Rabbinical Assembly investigation concluded then that Shalman had violated several principles of rabbinical conduct during his private counseling or teaching sessions with female members of the synagogue.

The assembly’s ethics board found that Shalman had improperly touched, questioned and made suggestive comments to some women. The assembly ordered him to seek therapy and refrain from counseling or teaching women, unless approved in advance by the ethics board.

The congregation voted to retain Shalman, who had four years remaining on a contract that paid more than $100,000 per year.

The 1999 investigation split the congregation into dueling factions, and the rabbi indicated to board members that he did not want to see it torn apart again, Zackheim said.

“The atmosphere was circuslike,” she said. “He did not want to see that happen again.”

Shabbat services were held Friday evening and Saturday morning without Shalman and will continue under the direction of Cantor Mark Spindler and lay leaders, Zackheim said.

The synagogue has applied to receive an interim rabbi.

The programs of Temple Shaarey Zedek also will continue, except for a Talmud class that Shalman taught.

Shalman had acquired a reputation as a compelling public speaker and bright Talmudic scholar. He often participated in dialogue on sensitive topics with people of other faiths and offered his perspective in public discussions about Israel and the Middle East, Christian-Jewish relations and other subjects.

He is a former president of the Buffalo Board of Rabbis and is listed as a faculty member of the Kadimah School of Buffalo.

Temple Shaarey Zedek, the area’s largest Conservative congregation, with about 500 members, is in the midst of merger talks with the area’s oldest Conservative congregation, Temple Beth El in the Town of Tonawanda.

Zackheim and Temple Beth El President Ed Drozen said Shalman’s resignation would not affect those discussions.

“It doesn’t throw a wrench into it,” Drozen said. “It just gives us something else to deal with.”

'Narrow Bridge' Showing Updates - The Awareness Center sponsoring more showings

Vicki Polin, Director - The Awareness Center / Israel Moskovitz, Director - Narrow Bridge

I was told that The Awareness Center will be sponsoring more showings of the film 'Narrow Bridge' in March and April. The locations will be in New York City, New Jersey and also a location in Rockland County, NY.

The set up will be similar to the one in Baltimore and Washington DC., with a panel discussion of experts following the film. I heard that the panel members will be different with each showing. More information to come soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Group says DA should rip Giuliani; Letter: Rudy 'hurtful' to molest victims

By Brian Harmon
Daily News Long Island
Monday, January 14th 2008

Unsatisfied with Rudy Giuliani's campaign-trail defense of a Long Island priest accused of molesting boys and suppressing complaints against other clergymen, protesters have turned to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota for help.

Members of SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - showed up at Spota's Hauppauge office on Thursday to hand him a letter that urges the prosecutor to blast the ex-mayor and Republican presidential hopeful for his "repeatedly hurtful, insensitive and misleading public comments and innuendos" about a Suffolk grand jury report on the sex abuse scandal within the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

Specifically, SNAP members are bothered that Giuliani, in cities across the country, has steadfastly defended his life-long pal, Msgr. Alan Placa, who was accused in the 2003 grand jury report of sex abuse but was never tried because of the statute of limitations.

"Giuliani continues to rub salt into the wounds of victims by claiming he doesn't believe Placa is guilty," said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP.

During a TV interview in October, Giuliani stood by Placa.

"He's a friend of mine for over 35 years. I have great confidence in him," Giuliani told WBZ-TV in Boston. "I know, I understand, that people feel very hurt about this issue in general. They have every right to. But then you just can't, just can't assume that people are responsible for things that they're accused of. You've got to give the whole process a chance, right?"

Because none of the 23 priests whose sex abuse cases were outlined in the grand jury report was formally charged, Spota spokesman Robert Clifford said, the district attorney is prevented by law from identifying any of the clergymen - labeled Priests A through W in the report. Therefore, Clifford said, Spota cannot comment on the letter from SNAP.

In numerous published reports, Placa has been identified as "Priest F," a parish priest who taught at a boys high school and later became a civil attorney who would write the diocese's sex abuse policy. Placa, a former vice chancellor for the diocese, was relieved of religious duties in 2002 and is now employed by Giuliani's consulting firm. He has denied the allegations, which include groping three boys.

Spota was among the first prosecutors in the country to commission a grand jury to address the nation's pedophile priest scandal.

When the report was released, he said the grand jury would have considered an indictment, if a "fitting statute of limitations been in effect."

Blaine said that SNAP and other organizations representing survivors of clergy sex abuse are grateful for Spota's work and the grand jury report, but "we feel their efforts are being spat upon by Giuliani's statements. We're looking for somebody to step up and challenge these statements."

Extradition Process For Sex Offenders Hiding Out In Israel

By Ruth Rabin, Former Director, Dept. of International Affairs, Ministry of Justice
and Irit Kohn, Director Dept. of International Affairs, Ministry of Justice

Extradition in Israel is governed by the Extradition Law, regulations and court decisions. International customary law applies only insofar as it is compatible with Israeli law and insofar as it has been incorporated into the body of that law.

Israel is signatory to one multilateral extradition treaty, the European Convention on Extradition, having signed in September, 1967. Israel has concluded seven bilateral treaties including treaties with Australia, Belgium, Canada, Fiji, South Africa, Swaziland and the United States.

Passive Extradition: Extradition from Israel Requested by a Foreign Country
Section 1 of the Extradition Law lays down the general principle that a person found in Israel shall not be extradited to another country except under the provisions of the Extradition Law. In order to institute extradition proceedings, the first step is to secure the presence of the person sought, either by provisional or full arrest.

Provisional Arrest and Full Arrest
A request for extradition may be preceded by a request for provisional arrest. When the appropriate authorities in Israel have decided that the situation warrants the provisional arrest of the designated person, that person may be detained before the formal request arrives.

The request for provisional arrest usually contains all the documents specified in the treaty between the two countries. The Extradition Law, Section 6, states that the Attorney General or his representative can order the provisional arrest of the designated person if he has reason to believe that the designated person is extraditable, that a request for his/her extradition will be submitted and that the arrest is necessary to ensure the extradition.

Under Section 6 of the Extradition Law, a person provisionally arrested must be brought before a Magistrate's Court within 48 hours.

Under Section 7 of the Extradition Law, the magistrate may then order him/her to be held in custody for up to 15 days pending receipt of the petition for extradition, and may extend the custody for a further 15 days. Upon special application by the Attorney General, the magistrate may extend the requested person's arrest up to a maximum, aggregate period of 60 days. Once the petition has been filed in the District Court to have the person sought declared extraditable, then pursuant to Section 5 of the Extradition Law, the District Court may order that the person sought be held in custody until the end of the proceedings.

Pursuant to Section 22 of the Extradition Law, at any time during extradition proceedings the requested person may appeal the decision to continue his arrest by petitioning the court for his/her release.

Extradition Request
The formal request for the wanted person's extradition must be submitted through diplomatic channels. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs transfers the request for extradition to the Department of International Affairs of the Office of the State Attorney in the Ministry of Justice for further action. Under Section 3 of the Extradition Law, if the Minister of Justice determines that there is a proper case for extradition proceedings, he will order that the requested person be brought before a District Court in order to determine whether he/she is extraditable.

Judicial Proceedings
Judicial proceedings begin once the Attorney General submits the extradition petition to the District Court. (see: Section 4, Extradition Law). The requested person and his/her attorney are then given an opportunity to examine the petition and all of the documents filed with the court. Arguments are presented by both sides before the District Court.

Any evidence which the defense may wish to introduce is limited to establishing one of the exceptions to extradition under Sections 8(1)-(3) and 10(1) and (2) of the Extradition Law, or the non-fulfillment of one of the threshold requirements set out in Sections 2, 16, 17 and 21(1). The defense is forbidden to introduce evidence solely to refute the prima facie case against the requested person.

The court listens to the arguments of each side to help it verify whether the evidence is sufficient and admissible, the Rule of Speciality is applicable, and double criminality exists. There is a difference between the evidence required when the person sought is a convicted felon and the evidence required when he/she is a suspected felon. Where the requested person has already been convicted, prima facie evidence need not be shown (but the State must show that the rules of speciality and double criminality have been satisfied). In contrast, when a requested person is only accused of committing a crime, the State must show a prima facie case.

Once arguments have been completed, both parties sum up. If the court is convinced that the terms of the Extradition Law have been met, namely, that there exists sufficient, admissible evidence to try the requested person had he/she committed the same act in Israel, then the court will declare him/her extraditable to the requesting state for those specific crimes. If the Law's provisions have not been met, the court will dismiss the petition under Section 9 of the Law.

The requested person may appeal the decision declaring him/her extraditable. Once the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the District Court, the Minister of Justice under Section 18 may order the extradition of the person sought. Under Section 19(a), the Minister of Justice has 60 days to exercise his discretion whether to order the extradition to be carried out. If the defendant believes that the Minister has not exercised his discretion properly in this regard, he may challenge the decision in the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice.

Threshold Requirements
Section 2 of the Extradition Law sets forth the threshold requirements for extradition.

(1) Existence of a Treaty
Section 2(1) of the Extradition Law requires the existence of a treaty and permits extradition only where there exists an agreement between Israel and the requesting state providing for reciprocal obligations to extradite requested persons.

(2) Extraditable Offenses
Extradition from Israel can only be effected if the offense for which the person sought is an extraditable offense. Section 2(2) defines an extraditable offense an offense that is not of a political character and is listed in the Schedule attached to the Extradition Law.

(3) Reciprocity
Section 2(1) of the Extradition Law requires that the existence once, of an agreement between Israel and the requesting state that provides for reciprocity in the surrendering of criminals. This requirement may be fulfilled in the requested state either by extraditing or prosecuting the fugitive, or carrying out his/her sentence.

(4) Nationals
Any person may be extradited from Israel except for a person who was an Israeli national at the time of the commission of the offense. However, to ensure that an Israeli national does not escape prosecution, Sections 7A and 10A of the Penal Law, 5737-1977 (as amended) extend the jurisdiction of the Israeli courts to hear cases in which an Israeli national is alleged to have committed a crime abroad, thus adhering to the rule "aut dedere aut punire".

(5) Double Criminality
Section 2(2) of the Extradition Law states that a person may be extradited if:

"he is accused or has been convicted in the requesting state of an offense of a non-political character and which, had it been committed in Israel, would be one of the offenses set out in the Schedule to this Law."

This means that the crime must be an offense both in the requesting and the requested state. This section is thus the source for the requirement of double criminality.

Although the criminal act attributed to the person sought must be an offense under the criminal laws of both states, this does not require that the same terminology be used in describing the offense.

In conclusion, all of these requirements existence of a treaty, a non-political offense, an extraditable offense, reciprocity, nationals and double criminality are threshold requirements. Each requirement must be fulfilled if the Minister is to initiate proceedings.

Once the court decides that all of the threshold requirements have been fulfilled, it should determine that none of the limiting factors listed in Sections 8, 10 , 11, 17, and 21(l) of the Extradition Law exist.

The limiting factors prohibit extradition where:
  • the death penalty is sought;
  • the statute of limitations has run out;
  • the person sought has been pardoned;
  • the extradition of the requested person would subject the person to a second trial for the same offense in the requesting state;
  • the person will be tried for offenses other than those for which he was extradited;
  • the request arises from racial or religious discrimination; or
  • the request involves a fiscal, military or political offense.

Under Section 9 of the Extradition Law, in addition to the other provisions of the Law discussed above, the court must be convinced, before it declares the requested person extraditable, that there is a prima facie case which would be sufficient for committing him/her for such an offense in Israel.

Section 12 of the Extradition Law provides that the court which hears the petition shall not reject testimony as evidence only because it was taken in a foreign state. In addition, the court will admit in an extradition proceeding a document or other form of evidence that has been designated admissible by an agreement between Israel and the other state.

In Attorney General v. Friedman, C. A. 579/86, 40(4) P.D. 301 (1986), the court held that the quantum of the evidence had to be sufficient for an indictment but not for a conviction. The Court cautioned against turning an extradition hearing into a hearing dealing with the guilt or innocence of the defendant.

Court Decisions
After a hearing, the District Court can declare the person sought extraditable in accordance with Section 9 of the Extradition Law. Thereafter, the person sought has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. (See Section 13 of the Extradition Law.) The person sought has a further remedy of petitioning the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, at any point in the proceedings on the basis of an equitable claim.

Discretion of the Minister of Justice
The Minister of Justice exercises the executive function in the two-pronged extradition process judicial and executive) described above and exercises his powers at both the initial and final stages of the that process. His decision may be challenged in the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice.

Israel's Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, ruled that only in an "extraordinary" case could the Minister ignore the District Court's decision that the person sought was extraditable.

Once the Minister of Justice has signed the order of extradition, the procedure by which a person is transferred from one country to the other is not laid down by law. Rather, each extradition treaty specifies the particular procedure to be followed.

Active Extradition
Active extradition refers to the situation where Israel requests another state to extradite a person suspected or convicted of a crime. The focus of the Extradition Law is almost entirely upon passive extradition, so that when Israel seeks to extradite a person she is guided by the treaties to which she is party.

International Cooperation and Extradition
International cooperation in the criminal field raises many interesting points which we shall try to clarify.

The Effect of Differences between Legal Systems
Extradition by its very nature arises out of the common desire of the international community to cooperate in combating crime, but this desire is complicated by the differences between legal systems and rules of evidence. For example, one of the basic rules of evidence in Israel is the right to cross-examine, whereas other systems do not allow this right but safeguard the accused in other ways. That the requesting state does not permit cross-examination is not an obstacle to Israel extraditing to it because, by signing an extradition treaty with that country, Israel has determined that its criminal justice system, although different, is adequate.

Problems may arise when a trial must take place in lieu of extradition and it may be necessary to take the testimony of a witness in a requesting country that does not permit cross-examination. In such a situation, it is essential to reconcile the differences of judicial practice and Israel may try to obtain the consent of the requesting country to what is for it an 'abnormal' procedure.

Another area of transnational disparity is the degree of protection that countries afford their nationals. Some countries do extradite their own nationals, others do not. With respect to the latter, the crucial point is how it defines "a national". At one end of the very broad spectrum of possibilities, "a national" may be only someone who had nationality prior to the commission of the offense. At the other end, some countries define as nationals persons who acquired nationality only after the extradition order had been issued but before it was executed. Israel has taken a middle position on this question. Only those who were citizens before the offense will not be subject to extradition but this does not render them immune from prosecution for the offense in Israel, since Israel has no wish to absolve them from their criminal responsibility.

Holding a trial in a country other than where the offense was committed may present strategic, procedural and practical problems. For example, many of the witnesses must be brought from abroad, perhaps even from more than one country. Some witnesses may require special custodial care. Other witnesses may add little to the substance of the case but may be required to establish the admissibility of documents which have been in their possession. Under Israeli law, the defendant must have the opportunity to cross-examine every witness, even merely technical ones, so that the cost of holding such a trial may become prohibitive.

Moreover, even when it is possible to use international legal assistance and letters rogatory, Israel faces the dilemma that certain legal systems do not allow a visiting lawyer to directly question or cross-examine the witness. In such a case, Israel may not be able to fulfill the requirement under its internal law, that the defendant have the opportunity to cross-examine. As with the first problem in this section, to date only ad hoc solutions have been found.

Trials in Absentia
Trials in absentia are one approach to the problem of a defendant who tries to frustrate the criminal justice system by absconding before or during the prosecution. Some countries allow a trial to continue if the defendant absconds during the course thereof.. Others conduct an entire trial in the absence of the defendant, subject to the right of retrial upon his/her return.

Conflicts arise in the sphere of extradition when the requested state is asked to honor a conviction or to enforce a sentence emerging from a trial in absentia, when its own laws do not permit such trials. The Supreme Court recently considered the case of two Israeli nationals who were indicted in Illinois, USA, for a number of offenses, including attempted murder, and fled a few days after the trial began. The American court proceeded to conduct the trial in the absence of the defendants but with counsel for the defense present. Both defendants were convicted and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. The USA has asked Israel to extradite the defendants or to execute the sentence in lieu thereof. The key issue before the Israel Supreme Court was whether Israel may honor such a request when its own law does not allow trials in absentia for felonies. The Supreme Court upheld the imposition of the sentences in Israel.

The Rule of Speciality
For the Rule of Speciality to be properly observed, the requested state should specify the charges for which the requested person may be tried, sentenced or imprisoned by the requesting state and, once the felon has been extradited, the requesting state should notify the requested state of the result of judicial proceedings in the former. The protection of the Rule of Speciality may be invoked by both the defendant and the requested state, although their reasons for doing so may differ. The requested state might do so, for instance, to ensure adherence to the requirement of double criminality, whereas the defendant might do so to avoid prosecution for a crime committed prior to that for which he was extradited. The same two parties may also waive the protection of the Rule for different and clashing reasons. For example, the defendant might want to plead guilty to charges outstanding against him/her, even though such offenses would not be extraditable, whereas the requested state might not wish to accede to such a plea.

Civil Liability
Most treaties and most states prohibit the requesting state from trying a person for a criminal offense committed prior to the one for which he has been extradited. This is not the case regarding civil suits unless the laws of the requesting state specifically prohibit such suits. Whether immunity from civil prosecutions is desirable is open to debate. A state may not wish to hinder its citizens in their efforts to pursue civil claims against a person, even though he/she would not be in its jurisdiction but for the extradition on another offense. Moreover, why should an extradited felon be shielded from liability merely because he/she has been extradited? For example, a man convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment is extradited to Israel for the sentence to be executed. His wife wants to sue for child support. If he were immune from civil proceedings, she would be unable to use the legal system in the requesting state to obtain that support. On the other hand, the state should not become the tool of unscrupulous citizens who might attempt to use the extradition process to bring someone into the state's jurisdiction apparently on criminal charges when the real purpose is to institute civil proceedings. This is an issue which challenges the lawmakers to strike a delicate balance between protecting the rights of its citizens and the rights of the extradited person.

We have summarized Israel's extradition procedures, adducing both Israeli law and its treaty obligations, and have discussed how Israeli courts have dealt with the legal issues arising in certain cases.

The international nature of extradition proceedings gives rise to a number of intriguing issues. A coherent framework within which to respond to these dilemmas would be helpful to legal practitioners and to all concerned.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Baltimore's Rabbi - Yisroel Shapiro Pleads ‘Not Guilty’

Phil Jacobs / Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro

From The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter:
CALL FOR ACTION: Phil Jacob Going Soft on the case of Rabbi Israel 'Yisroel' Shapiro

The Awareness is thankful to Phil Jacobs, executive editor and the Baltimore Jewish Times for continuing to write about sex crimes in the Baltimore community. The problem is that Phil Jacobs keeps referring to Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) Shapiro as "Mr." instead of using his ordained title of "Rabbi". This is a case of clergy sexual abuse and should be referred to as such. By not doing so takes away some of the influence and status he had over the children he molested.

Rabbi Israel (Yisroel) Shaprio is the son of the late Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro and the brother of two other ordained rabbis. One of his brothers is living in Maryland and the other residing in Massachusetts, both are Rosh yeshiva's (deans) of two different Jewish day schools. His family has a great deal of influence and clout in the orthodox community of Baltimore, which includes connections with the administration at Ner Israel Rabbinical College (and high school), Rabbi Moshe Heinemann and Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer.

Some time ago The Awareness Center put out a CALL FOR ACTION on this case, which you can download at: It's odd that Phil Jacobs never mentioned any of the following demands in his article:

The Awareness Center is asking that everyone contact Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz and the Baltimore Vaad HaRabbonim and ask them to:

1. Make public the plan they established to notify parents in the community of the potential dangers of their children being left alone with Rabbi Yisroel Shapiro.

2. We are also asking that this statement include the safety plan created when Yisroel Shapiro is davening (praying) at Darchi Tzedek or any synagogue.

3. They also need to make public the safety plan they established for Wasserman's and Lemberger," the retail business in which Shapiro is employed and also for any other public location Shapiro may enter.

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - President
Vaad Harabbonim of Baltimore

Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz
Congregation Darchei Tzedek
410-486-0445 (Rabbi Horowitz)

Considering the fact that Phil Jacobs is the executive editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times, I'm sure he has influence in how long or short a story is in his paper. Please call and or write to Phil Jacobs and ask him why he's going soft on this story.

Phil Jacobs, Executive Editor
Phone: 410-752-3504
Fax: 443-451-6025

Yisroel Shapiro Pleads ‘Not Guilty’
Israel Shapiro Gets April 1 trial date for multiple molestation charges.
By Phil Jacobs
Baltimore Jewish Times
January 18, 2008

“Not guilty.”

This was the plea entered into court record by Israel Shapiro before Judge John Miller Tuesday morning in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Mr. Shapiro made his plea in response to charges of three counts of child sexual abuse, three counts of third degree sexual offense, three counts of fourth degree sex offenses and six counts of second degree assault. The charges were brought to court by the State’s Attorney’s Sex Offense Unit.

Unless a plea deal is made, Mr. Shapiro will appear in court for an April 1 trial.

The allegations made by plaintiffs dated back to 1987-88 and 1993-94. click here to read more

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CALL TO ACTION: Educating The Baltimore Jewish Community On Sexual Abuse

Watch the panel discussion after the screening of Narrow Bridge in Baltimore. Click Here: Panel disccusion

From: The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter

See the flyer below about a program being put together by Ohel for the Baltimore Jewish community. The program is called:
"How to Keep Our Children Safe". As you may be aware, Ohel is a community mental health center based in the ultra-orthodox community in Brooklyn, New York. Over the years The Awareness Center has heard complaint after complaint from survivors who utilized their services. Unfortunately, Ohel has a bad habit of making the orthodox community believe they are experts in the field of child sexual abuse. What ends up happening is that hey are doing a disservice to those who have been sexually victimized. When a survivor doesn't get help from those who really understand the dynamics and work with them from a multidiscipline approach the survivors end up getting re-victimized, making healing almost impossible. If the rabbonim really wanted to make changes they should be educating the community with professionals who really know what they are doing. The Ohel - Baltimore program includes:
  • Rabbi David Gottlieb - promised a survivor to do something when the survivors alleged child molester moved to the community. A year has passed and nothing was done. The alleged sex offender is roaming freely attending classes in which minors are present.
  • David Mandel - has a degree in Business, has no clinical experience yet continues to speak out as an expert in the child abuse field. Mandel and Rabbi Dovid Cohen have been named by many as helping to cover up sex crimes in Boro Park and other Jewish communities around the globe.
  • Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - who has been advocating for the rights of alleged sex offenders and has a long history of shaming and blaming survivors of sexual abuse.
  • David Pelcovitz - a psychologist who jumped on the sex abuse bandwagon when he thought it was a trendy thing to do, yet really does not have the background to be working with survivors.
CALL TO ACTION: Demand the Rabbonim of Baltimore Stop Playing Games! Demanding that when programs are presented about sexual abuse they bring in professionals who actually have the education and experience to be presenting such a program. Contact:
Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb
Shomrei Emunah
Shul Office: 410-358-8604 (Option #1)
Home Office: 410-653-2423

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer
(Note: when you call Rabbi Hopfer be aware that his secretary is the daughter of alleged sex offender, Rabbi Moshe Eisemann. Demand she not screen the message and actually gives it to him).
Shearith Yisrael (Glen Ave. Shul)
Phone: 410-466-3060
Fax: 410-367-9183

Rabbi Moshe Hauer
Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion Congregation
Fax: 410-358-2631

You may be interested to watch the video of panel discussion that followed the Baltimore screening of the film 'Narrow Bridge.' This event occurred on Jan. 2, 2008 at the Pikesville Library, Pikesville, MD

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Status of Women In Israel - Gender Segregation On Buses Infringes On Human Rights

News in Brief
Yuval Yoaz
Jan. 15, 2008

The safety of passengers on sex-segregated buses who do not wish follow the practice of men and women sitting separately must be ensured, Justices Yoram Danziger, Elyakim Rubinstein and Salim Joubran said yesterday. The justices were hearing a petition filed by author Naomi Ragen and the Israel Religious Action Center that claims that the current gender segregation on bus lines that cater chiefly to ultra-Orthodox Jews infringes on human rights. "A voluntary system that harms dozens or hundreds of women is impossible and the driver must ensure his passengers safety," Danziger said. The court will give its decision in a few days.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


From The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter

Baltimore Jewish Times Policies Of Not Mentioning The Awareness Center

Below you will find two versions of the same letter written to the editor of the Baltimore Jewish times. Both letters were written by Ruth Goetz. The first version was in the printed edition of the newspaper. The second is the online text.

Phil Jacobs who is the editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times has been speaking out and writing about sexual abuse over the last year. Mr. Jacobs attended the Baltimore showing of the film 'Narrow Bridge' and the panel discussion that followed.

Considering the papers stance on exposing sex offenders and educating the public on the issues of sexual violence in the Baltimore Jewish Community -- it was interesting that there was no mention or story written about the event in the paper, other then the one letter to the editor.

Ever since the case of Mordechai Gafni broke in the news around 2003 - 2004, there has been a policy that Jewish newspapers around the country would NOT to mention The Awareness Center or any events associated with our organization. The strange thing is that many of these same papers continued consulted with The Awareness Center as they gathered facts.

The ban against The Awareness Center started once our organization learned about and made public the connections between Gary Rosenblatt (publisher and editor of the New York Jewish Week) and many of the Gafni supporters.

The showing of 'Narrow Bridge' occurred on January 2, at the Pikesville library. The Awareness Center had around 110 attendees. The audience was made up of Jews from every movement within Judaism and a few of our non-Jewish friends.

The room was packed, every seat was taken, with no room for more people to stand. The reality is that The Awareness Center had to turn away around 30 people due to the lack of space. One would think that would be news in it's self -- especially considering the topic being discussed.

Following the film, was a panel discussion which included:
  • Senator Jim Brochin
  • Dr. Joy Silberg, PhD - Nationally renowned child psychologist, who specializes in sexual abuse.
  • Dr. Mesa Leventhal Baker, MD - Medical Director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.
  • Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC - Founder and Director of The Awareness Center
  • Murray Levin, JD - Survivor of Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro
  • Bob Russell - Legislative coordinator of SNAP
One would think that having a Maryland Senator talk about sexual abuse -- let alone the others who made up of the other panel members would be headline news -- especially in a paper that boasts about wanting to make changes in the way the community deals with sex crimes.

All we can figure is that:
  • Andrew Buerger, Publisher
  • Phil Jacobs, Executive Editor
  • Neil Rubin, Editor
did not feel that The Awareness Center's event was newsworthy.

We all know that the Baltimore Jewish Times took some heavy hits when Rabbi Moshe Heinemann posted a note in his synagogue banning the paper to his congregants. The ban occurred after the Jewish Times published a story regarding the case of Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro . At the time, The Awareness Center encourage everyone to buy extra copies of the paper as a way to show support to both Phil Jacobs and the paper. We all honored them as heroes for stepping outside the box -- breaking the silence.

Because of the unspoken policy of American Jewish papers not to mention The Awareness Center, we were surprised that the Baltimore Jewish Times mentioned the showing of the film in the published version of the paper the film 3 days before the event occurred.

The sad part is that almost all seats were taken prior to the time the Baltimore Jewish Times published an announced of the event. Vicki Polin stated "it was frustrating. If the paper would have published the announcement sooner, we would have known we needed to find a larger location to hold the event -- so that there was room for everyone who wanted to attend".

This week The Awareness Center was shocked again. They were amazed that the Baltimore Jewish Times published the following letter to the editor both online and also in the printed addition of the paper.

What was confusing was the fact that the online version of the letter written by Ruth Goetz was much shorter then the printed version.

Could it be an error? Did the Baltimore Jewish Times mean to put the entire letter written by Ruth Goetz on line? If it's not an error we need to ask why the printed version would be longer then what was posted on line? It would make sense that the printed version would have been shortened to save space. Yet shortening the online version seems strange.

One can't help but wonder if the Baltimore Jewish Times shortened the online version as a way of not mentioning The Awareness Center and also held off publishing a story about the upcoming event sooner -- had anything to do with the ban by Jewish papers not to mention The Awareness Center?

Think about it, this was the first time the Baltimore based, international Jewish organization was sponsoring an event in the community. The Awareness Center has been located in Baltimore since 2002. Since that time the Baltimore Jewish Times has only written one article about the organization.

Could it be that an educational event sponsored by The Awareness Center was not as important as the following?
  • "Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, black church, celebrate Martin Luther King"?
  • "The Beckers: Father-son basketball fun"?
  • "Special Agent - Ron Shapiro is an adviser who makes everyone feel elevated"?

Contact the Baltimore Jewish Times and ask them why there was no story about The Awareness Center's educational event that occurred on January 2nd.

Baltimore Jewish Times
Phone: 410-752-3504
Fax: 443-451-6025

Andrew Buerger, Publisher

Phil Jacobs, Executive Editor

Neil Rubin, Editor


Letter to the Editor
Head In Sand
Baltimore Jewish Times - January 11, 2008

This past week a public screening of an important film called "Narrow Bridge" was shown at the Pikesville Public Library ("Molestation Film Screening," BJT, Dec. 28). It told about the struggles of a young Orthodox Jewish male sexually abused as a child by his teacher at his yeshiva. The film explores the aftermath of the abuse and how it negatively affected the student for years.

Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center, which helps survivors of sexual abuse, organized this event to raise awareness of this terrible hidden problem. In addition to the film, a highly qualified panel included Del. (Senator) Jim Brochin (D-42nd), two survivors, a psychologist from Sheppard Pratt and a physician.

While the event focused on the crisis of sexual abuse in the Orthodox community, it appeared that community was a minority in the crowd. I saw no day school principals and only one Orthodox rabbi.

While this topic may make people uncomfortable, it is absolutely necessary to confront this issue. It is a tragedy when our leadership appears have its head in the sand. We must teach our children about inappropriate touching and let them know that they will always be protected and advocated for if someone ever violates that rule. We must also provide therapy and support to survivors. There must be strict guidelines on how to deal and punish predators.

I thank Phil Jacobs of the Baltimore Jewish Times for publicizing this problem, as well as Vicki Polin

Ruth Goetz

Online Version

Letter to the Editor
Head In Sand
Baltimore Jewish Times - January 11, 2008

Marci Hamilton - Seperation of Church and State

Interesting Video

Professor Hamilton, author of God v. the Gavel, is a leading authority on religious freedom. She is known for her successful representation of the City of Boerne, Texas in the landmark Supreme Court case invalidating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Marci Hamilton
Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Yeshiva University - Cardozo Law School

B.A., 1979, Vanderbilt University; M.A., 1982, 1984, Pennsylvania State University; J.D., 1988, University of Pennsylvania

Specialties: Constitutional law, First Amendment, law & religion