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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These dudes presenting anything on sexual abuse is like the Awareness Center teaching halakah

January 15, 2008 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Complex PTSD in Victims Exposed to Sexual and Physical Abuse: Results from the DSM-IV Field Trial … - all 4 versions »
S Roth, E Newman, D Pelcovitz, B van der Kolk, FS … - Journal of Traumatic Stress, 1997 - Springer

Child and adolescent abuse and neglect research: A review of the past 10 years. Part I: Physical and … - all 5 versions »
SJ Kaplan, D Pelcovitz, V Labruna - Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent …, 1999 - jaacap.com

The Failure of a School-based Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program. Article - all 2 versions »
DAVID PELCOVITZ, NA ADLER, SMD KAPLAN, LCSW PACKMAN … - Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent …, 1992 -

Interactional effects of marital status and physical abuse on adolescent psychopathology - all 6 versions »
AJ Cohen, N Adler, SJ Kaplan, D Pelcovitz, FS … - Child Abuse & Neglect, 2002 - Elsevier

Adolescent Physical Abuse and Risk for Suicidal Behaviors - all 5 versions »
SJ Kaplan, D Pelcovitz, S Salzinger, F Mandel, M … - Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1999 - jiv.sagepub.com

Physically Abused Adolescents: Behavior Problems, Functional Impairment, and Comparison of … - all 4 versions »
SJ Kaplan, V Labruna, D Pelcovitz, S Salzinger, F … - Pediatrics, 1999 - Am Acad Pediatrics

Adolescent Physical Abuse: Age at Time of Abuse and Adolescent Perception of Family Functioning - all 3 versions »
D Pelcovitz, SJ Kaplan, A Ellenberg, V Labruna, S … - Journal of Family Violence, 2000 - Springer

January 16, 2008 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Monster Inside

Protecting our Children – Part One

By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz Mishpocho Magazine

A classic comedy routine involves a ‘good guy’ being chased by a villain. The good guy finally finds a safe haven, enters, slams the door behind him, and mops his brow with a sign of relief. However, he soon discovers that somehow the villain snuck in behind him. Now, he is alone in a locked space with the ‘bad guy’ – and nowhere to escape.

Whenever I hear people discussing the need to build higher and higher walls around our homes and communities to protect our children from the very real spiritual danger of ‘Walmart’ that I discussed in a recent column, I find myself increasingly playing in my mind a tragic version of this scene. Why? Because it is my strong and growing feeling that the number one risk factor for our beloved children abandoning Yiddishkeit is child molestation/abuse.

This is not to say that a majority of kids who are ‘off the derech’ were abused. But of all the complex and varied educational, social and familial factors that endanger to our children, the most damaging by far, in my opinion, is abuse. The very real threat posed by the external influences from which we all strive (in various degrees) to protect our children – such as media, Internet, and ‘bad friends’ – are all firecrackers compared to the atom bomb of sexual abuse.

Abuse robs children of their safety and innocence. Its ravages follow them through their teens and into adulthood, often shredding their marriages and complicating their relationships. Children who were molested harbor a simmering rage at the adult world that could not provide them with what should be the most basic birthright of every child; a sense of security. This anger displays itself in many forms – cultural, familial and spiritual. What is most dangerous, however, is when the rage turns inward and the children begin to self destruct by using drugs, abusing alcohol, engaging in self-mutilation … even committing suicide.

A close friend of mine runs a shelter/group home for charedi runaway kids. I recently ran into him at a wedding and asked him what his thoughts were on the correlation between abuse and the off-the-derech phenomenon. His immediate response was, “Yankie, all I deal with is abuse [victims],” meaning that virtually all the teens in his program were molested.

Most frightening from a communal perspective is that it is difficult if not impossible to cure a serial molester, even one who goes, or is forced to go, for help. Furthermore, untreated abuse victims are far more likely to abuse others then are people in the general population. So what we have is analogous to the Midrashic frog in Egypt (Shmos 8:2; Rashi) that multiplied each time it was struck. Similarly, a molester typically harms dozens or even hundreds of kids – each in turn a prime candidate to molest others; on and on.
How bad is it? Very, very bad. To paraphrase Rudy Giuliani’s famous quote in his 9/11 press conference, the number of abuse victims in our community is more than any of us can bear. I do not keep records of people who call me, or speak to me in public settings, but I would estimate that in the past year months alone between fifty and one hundred abuse victims and/or their parents contacted me. It has gotten so bad that when parents who do not suspect any form of abuse call me to discuss their at-risk children, the very first thing I listen for are the classic red-flags for abuse/molestation. (If I do suspect abuse, I immediately refer them to mental health professionals, as I do not feel qualified to deal with these matters.)

Why am I writing about this subject in the context of the ‘Walmart’ discussion? Because as we talk about building walls around our children to protect them from the decadence of secular culture, we had better make certain that the ‘monster’ of child abuse is on the other side of the wall.

Abusers are nocturnal creatures, operating most effectively in the darkness of denial. What they fear most is the light of day and the righteous indignation of victims. Most predators have a sixth sense of which children are from homes with parents who are inattentive or not ‘complainers.’ They zoom in on them like a moth to light knowing that the odds are slim that their despicable acts will be reported.

So ‘walled’ communities are the dream setting for a child molester. A community where negative news is not reported and the fear of causing a chilul Hashem makes people hush things up is a community where an abuser can comfortably set up shop.

Much as I would love to pass on the sensitive matter of child abuse and molestation, I feel the burden of responsibility to squarely address it due to the life-threatening danger that it represents to our children. I write these lines because I am haunted by the images of the many abuse victims I have encountered over the years. I visited shelters and substance-abuse facilities where they attempted to recover from drug overdoses. I tried my best to comfort their parents who were going through their own personal gehenom, while their children confronted theirs. I paid shiva calls to bereaved parents and siblings of abused children who later committed suicide and to those whose children’s suicides were presented to the public as death by other cause.

In short, I keep seeing the horrific carnage that the monster of abuse is causing among our children. We have the capacity to banish it to the other side of the door. All we need is courage and conviction.

L’maan Hashem, let’s finally do it.

January 16, 2008 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


American lawyer in Israel said...
Something for victims to consider before deciding which jurisdiction to file suit in.

Litigation-wise, there are some strong disincentives to bringing weak cases in Israel. There’s a filing fee that’s a percentage of the plaintiff’s claim (2.5%, half of which is due with the filing of the complaint). The losing party often pays at least a portion of the prevailing party’s attorney fees. And there are no juries.

The most interesting difference that I have encountered in my practice is that the Israeli Supreme Court not only serves as an appellate court but also as the court of first (and last) instance in most administrative suits challenging decisions or actions taken by state authorities. Unlike the US Supreme Court, which now routinely decides fewer than 100 cases a year, the Israeli Supreme Court decides over a thousand and has an almost unlimited conception of justiciability.

January 16, 2008 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the vaad of baltimore is putting this on because I'm sure Yisroel Shapiro will either cop a plea soon or be found guilty in a court room. I'm sure the vaad would rather have the first happens so they wouldn't be called to testify.

Rav Hopfer, we are all watching you. When will you finally admit your mistakes and stop enabling sex offenders?

The Vaad responded right before the article on Ephraim Shapiro came out. Now they are playing the same song and dance routine with Yisroel.

I wonder what his brother's are thinking? Does anyone know if there are any other sex offenders in the Shapiro family besides Yisroel and his father Ephraim?

January 17, 2008 8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not impressed by a psychologist having articles published.

Where's Pelcovitz's CV? Where did he get his training to work with sexual abuse?

Most professors have to write articles, yet they lack the hands on experience. Anyone can read books and pretend they are an expert in the field. Just because he's frum doesn't make him a good clinician. I've seen this happen way to many times that our rav's push someone on us as an expert, yet they are only an expert in BS.

I want to know which sexual abuse programs Pelcovitz did his training? Which sexual abuse expert provided clinical supervision with Pelcovitz?

How many times did he testify as an expert witness?

Or does this really all boil down to the fact he wears a black velvet What kipah?

January 17, 2008 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides Eisemann, there's still a sex offender on the loose at NIRC. He has a connection to the dorms.

January 17, 2008 8:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Below is a list of a few of the CALL FOR ACTIONS put out by vicki polin and the awareness center that name rav Hopfer as being an enabler to those who were sexually abused.

Read them. Go to the program on Feb. 20th and ask rav Hopfer to explain his behavior to the croud.





January 17, 2008 9:28 PM  
Anonymous Shocked at TAC said...

I am sorry to say that I feel the Awareness Center has really gone off the deep end on this one. I know every one of these four, and I know three of them in connection with their work in assisting victims of molestation. They are heroes and are doing a brave and extremely useful thing here. But the Awareness Center has convinced itself that they are evil people with nefarious motives. The Awareness Center has become a prisoner of its own delusions.

January 17, 2008 10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Pelcovitz is nothing more then the "damage control" psychologist for the RCA, Yeshiva University and Ohel.

It's sort of like he works for the insurance company for the Catholic Church. He's there to babble on about what wonderful things are happening to make changes and how much these organizations care about survivors. If they really cared they would be coming up with funds for survivors to pay for therapy with therapists of the survivors own choice and not that of who they believe they should be seeing.

The program being put together by the Vaad of Baltimore makes me want to vomit.

January 18, 2008 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B'H' for the Awareness Center. At least they have the courage to put out these calls for action. They seem to be the only ones who care enough to go the extra mile.

January 18, 2008 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Shocked at TAC said...

That would be the extra mile down the face of the cliff.

January 20, 2008 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is very sad. I was at the screening of the film 'Narrow Bridge' a few weeks ago. It was one of the best events I've been to in Baltimore. It saddened me that there was only one rabbi at the event. I really wish the rabbis in Baltimore would be working with the Awareness Center instead of Ohel. The Awareness Center understands the issues inside and out. It's a shame that our rabbis are afraid of the truth. Instead they are just pushing their propaganda of non-truth, lies and deceit.

January 20, 2008 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also at the 'Narrow Bridge' screening. There was a man there who scared me. I didn't catch his name, yet he identified himself as being a rabbi, attorney and a psychologist. The extremely large man was thrashing his arms around as he spoke loudly. I was afraid he was going to get up and hit someone. He was obviously out of control and spewing the propaganda of the Vaad of Baltimore.

Does anyone know his name? I think he should be reported to the APA if he's really a psychologist. If he's really a rabbi he should have his ordination revoked. I think the only career he's qualified for is being a defense attorney for sex offenders.

January 20, 2008 9:37 PM  
Anonymous Audience Member said...

The man you are talking about identified himself as Rabbi Reuven Poupko. Here's his web page: http://www.poupko.com/

He also scared me and I think everyone in the room. I would have described his behavior as being irate.

I think Vicky Polin handled the situation perfectly. I was surprised that they edited his comments out of the video. I think it would have been important for the world to see how insane those who represent the Board of Rabbis are.

January 20, 2008 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what helped with the Poupko situation was the fact that those in the audience were hushing him up. They were basically booing him down.

January 21, 2008 3:02 PM  

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