Sunday, January 27, 2008

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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at Phil Jacobs track record on other issues.

First Phil Jacbos says that there was an arson fire at Etz Chaim Center for Jewish Learning. The fire was started by an orthodox youth.

When Etz Chaim re-opened a few years later, Phil wrote about

In 2002, one of a 15-year old boy (Yaakov Menken's intern) committed arson against Etz Chaim, the outreach center of rabbi Shlomo Porter.

The Baltimore Jewish Times first wrote up the incident as arson.

Outreach Center Rebuilds After Blaze 2/7/02

Jewish Teen Arrested In Shul Arsons 2/21/02

Etz Chaim Rebuilds Destroyed Home 3/5/04

Finally, in the October 15, 2004 edition of the Baltimore Jewish Times, Phil Jacobs wrote "Etz Chaim Rebuilds Destroyed Home" 3/5/04

"Rabbi Porter said that the accidental electrical fire enabled him to look at Etz Chaim and start it over from scratch."

January 27, 2008 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at the people who Phil is working with to put the "Vaad" program together? It's none other then those connected with Matis Weinberg's family and those who covered up his crimes for years.

Phil is just playing games, or is he being manipulated by his therapist to make the Jewish community of Baltimore to look nice?

Look at Luke Ford's page on Menken

January 27, 2008 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hirhurim - Musings
Sunday, September 30, 2007

Activity on Child Molestation in the Jewish Community: Overblown or Barely Existent?

The Jewish Observer recently published an article by David Mandel, CEO of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services, regarding developments on child abuse in the Agudath Israel of America's community (link). The bottom line is: very little.

I'm no expert on this area but I've done some poking around and asking questions. What I've learned was best described by King Shlomo in Koheles (1:18): "ויוסיף דעת יוסיף מכאוב -- he who increases knowledge increases sorrow" (cf. Metzudas David). There is almost nothing being done when so much can be accomplished with relatively little effort.

Agudath Israel and Torah U'Mesorah have some non-binding guidelines that leave everything up to a school's principal and involve no transparency. Here's a hypothetical scenario: what if a principal thinks that it is in his best interest to keep an incident quiet? Or what if he is good friends with the perpetrator and refuses to believe that the incident happened? Here's what happens: nothing. And other parents in the school never find out about the incident.

Click here to read moreAnd there is currently no pressure on yeshivas to adopt even these weak guidelines!

Mandel writes: "Several yeshivas that wanted to hold seminars on safety and prevention from unwanted touch were reluctant to do so lest they be perceived as engaging in sex education or worse, stigmatizing themselves as a school with a problem." That is precisely where Agudath Israel can make a substantial difference. It is certainly true that the organization has little real power and that the yeshivas do not need to listen to a word that the organization or its Council of Torah Sages says. However, a public announcement in the form of a "Kol Koreh" signed by leading Torah scholars will greatly help yeshivas who want to hold seminars on safety etc. They will be able to point to the "Kol Koreh", wrap themselves in a mantle of religiosity and say, "Of course we are doing this. The question is why any other school isn't?"

According to Mandel's article, there are adult education workshops but where? How many? Why are they only publicized after the fact in self-congratulatory articles?

Mandel writes: "Several Batei Dinim have been established in major Jewish communities across the country to deal specifically with allegations of child and adolescent molestation." One would think that it would be in the public's best interest to know the names of the batei dinim so that when and if a situation arises the public can go to those batei dinim that have been properly trained for this issue. Specifically, which dayanim were trained and what did this training consist of? I strongly suspect that the training given to members of these batei dinim is woefully inadequate. Not to mention the key question: did those who trained these dayanim have adequate training themselves? A vague statement like Mandel's only yields less confidence that adequate steps are being taken.

You wouldn't know this from reading the article but there is now a central database of yeshiva offenders so that a teacher who abuses children cannot simply move to another community and abuse other children. But do many people know about it? Is there any transparency in how it is being managed? Once again, a central organization is telling us to trust them because they have everything under control. However, once you've dropped the ball you have to provide assurances that you are doing things the right way. A major part of that is transparency.

Not only does this article signify Agudath Israel's unwillingness to do anything significant about this issue, it has stymied other efforts. What principal will adopt someone else's proposals when he can simply take Torah U'Mesorah's policies, that leave him entirely in control, and say that he's simply following the Gedolim? The Jewish Observer article has essentially ended all independent work on this issue in the Yeshiva community. All so that they can say that they've done something without actually doing anything

Additionally, Agudath Israel had an issue that energized young adults and could have been used to mobilize them and get them involved in trying to help. The graying movement could use some young blood but, by doing nothing to solve this problem, they've alienated an entire generation. It is beyond me how anyone who is willing to take the time to learn about the community and get involved, can read this Jewish Observer article and be satisfied. What this article tells people like me is simple: the three-initial blogger is right that our community is incapable of responsibly handling this issue. And is there any issue that can possibly be more important? We are talking about the physical safety of our children (the grandchildren of the aging Agudath Israel population)! If we can't take the relatively simple steps that are necessary, what's the point of the existence of these organizations? Filing another legal brief about gay marriage? Is that supposed to get us excited enough to get involved?

The Gemara (Menachos 27b) points that in the four species we take on Sukkos, two produce fruit (esrog and lulav/date tree) and two do not (hadas and aravah). Only when all four are grouped together can one fulfill the mitzvah. The Machzor Vitri (364, quoted in Mossaf Rashi to Chullin 92a) connects this to another Gemara (Chullin 92a) that compares four types of people in the community to a vine: the branches are wealthy people (ba'alei batim) who support the community, clusters of grape are the Torah scholars, leaves are the working class (amei ha-aretz, as per Rashi's explanation) and small branches are people empty of Torah and mitzvos. The Gemara says that the clusters, the talmidei chakhamim, must prayer for the leaves, the working people, because without them there would not be any community. So too, the Machzor Vitri says, the species that produce fruit are the talmidei chakhamim who must be united together with the working people.

Why, though, does the Gemara in Chullin single out the working class for whom the Torah scholars must pray? Shouldn't they pray for everyone? I would suggest that, of course, the talmidei chakhamim will pray for the wealthy ba'alei batim. Without them there can be no shuls, yeshivas, chesed organizations, etc. And, of course, the talmidei chakhamim will make every effort on behalf of the people "at risk" and try to bring them back into the fold. But what about the average people, the silent majority of the community who lack the wealth to make major contributions and spend their time faithfully raising their family as best as they can? They tend to get lost in the shuffle. That is why the Gemara emphasizes that they, too, require attention. Talmidei chakhamim cannot cater to the wealthy and those with special needs while neglecting their main constituency.

I think that this is a lesson that can use reinforcing today. We are being taken for granted and our needs are being ignored. Do not take our support for granted!

(Note that comments on this will be carefully edited. Please do not list any accusations or malign any individual or organization. If you have a serious accusation, call the police.)

January 28, 2008 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kept trying to post this on Phil's blog yet it wouldn't take it. I figured I'd post it here so at least it won't get deleted.

Instead of deleting the link to the JS site, why not answer the questions? Why not let us all know where you are coming from? Stop playing game!

You are part of the planning committee who is brining in sex offender friendly croud. Its obvious you are chumming up with those who cover up sexual abuse in our community.

I also am curious where the funds came from for the documentary you are putting together. My bet it's nothing more then a PR piece for the vaad and JFS of Baltimore.

January 28, 2008 3:33 PM  
Anonymous What about Rabbi Eiseman? said...

How can the Baltimore Vaad, Rabbi Gotlib, Rabbi Hauer, Rabbi Hopfer, etc. get up in front of the community, and teach how to keep kids safe, when they continue to cover up for the yeshivah which is covering up for Rabbi Eiseman? Is Rabbi Eiseman going to come out of “retirement” to add his opinion on this matter? I actually think he would have the most relevant information to impart on how to keep kids safe from people like him. But these Vaad rabbis are MUCH better at speaking on how to keep molesters safe. They know how to keep the yeshiva’s reputation safe. They know how to keep their own jobs safe. But I don’t see why anyone would believe that they know how to keep children safe. And anybody who works with them, under the circumstances, is giving the wrong message. That you can talk about protecting children while simutaneously actively protect a molester. It is what the Gemorah calls “Chucha V’Tlula”...a joke.

January 28, 2008 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Poor, Poor, Pityful Phil said...

Poor Phil. He's been going around for months to various people letting them know how difficult it has been for him ever since started publishing the series on sexual abuse within the eruv of Baltimore.

I can't buy into his horror that he didn't realize that those with power and affluence wouldn't like it? For years he's been spoon fed various stories, yet refused to write about them. He was too afraid, he knew what the ramifications would be. Phil Jacobs knew exactly what would happen. He knew he would be shunned. I say this because he's heard over and over again what happened to those who were molested and tried to do something about it.

The survivors lost everything. So has all of those who attempted to advocate for them.

All you have been doing is wining and dining those you think you can manipulate or use in some way to promote yourself.

Phil, "your poor, poor, pitiful me act" will only take you so far. If you really want to be an advocate for those who have been sexually violated get up off your pity potty and start acting like a man.

Don't enable those who cover up crimes. Start working with those who are really doing the work. It's not those connected to Elaine Witman, Esther Giller, JFS, the Associated or Ner Yisroel. Have you forgotten -- they are part of the problem.

January 28, 2008 3:46 PM  

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