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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also shocked that there was no article in the JT this week. I didn't even notice the letter to the editor until I read about it here.

It's strange that they would shorten what is on line from the print version.

I am no longer going to buy the JT. It's not worth reading the propaganda coming from the Associated any more.

January 13, 2008 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all pretty silly. Everyone knows that Gary Rosenblatt has been mentoring Phil Jacobs for years. Prior to moving to the Jewish Week, Rosenblatt was the editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times. Did you really think that Phil would write anything about the Awareness Center?

January 13, 2008 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Awareness Center is in agreement with rav Heinemann when it comes to the BJT.

January 13, 2008 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mordechai Gafni confess to Gary Rosenblatt about molesting a 14-year-old girl. He also admitted to his sexual offenses against adult women in Israel a few years ago prior to fleeing the country.

Is this all really about Jacobs and Rosenblatt or is it really about the crap that Saul Berman tried to pull to protect his buddy, Mordechai Gafni?

January 13, 2008 8:53 AM  

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