Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks (Brooklyn, NY) - This makes me sick!

The following came from The Awareness Center's daily newsletter

Case of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks (Brooklyn, NY) - This makes me sick!

What more can we do to protect innocent people from becoming the next victim of Rabbi Ephraim Bryks?

How is it that after all these years of exposing the serious allegations made against Rabbi Ephraim Bryks is still able to draw a crowd?

What makes this alleged cult leader so charismatic that people would flock to hear what he has to say? Remember this is an "orthodox" rabbi who allegedly molested several boys and manipulated adult women he was counseling into have sexual relations with him. This is a case in which several suicides are connected. This is a case in which the Canadian Broadcast Network put together a documentary.

The only way anything will ever change is with public outrage. Below is a link that listss recent lecutres conducted by alleged serial rapist/child molester - Rabbi Ephraim Bryks. Please contact every news media group you know and let them know about this case. Go to the web page that is promoting Bryks, and write to the owner and let him know your outrage at his posting of Bryks's lectures. Let the owner know if anyone comes in contact with Rabbi Ephraim Bryks after listening to one of his lectures on line and is harmed, that he could be named in a civil suit since he was made aware that Bryks is a danger to women and children.

WARNING: Rabbi Ephraim Bryks and Marriage Counseling
Ephrayim Bryks has become a rabbinic marriage counselor. The term marriage counselor or life coach can be used by anyone. He is not the only "rabbi" suspected of sexual abuse using one of these titles to access vulnerable individuals or couples both here and in Israel. Consulting actual professionals is expensive and unless the community publicly warns against going to these charlatans (often worse) many innocents will continue to be hurt.
Rabbi Yosef Blau

Rabbi Ephraim Boruch Bryks principal Yeshiva Berachel David Torah High School Queens, currently serves time as a member of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens (Rabbinical committee that makes important decisions within the community). As of today, there has been no public statement made concerning his decade long membership on the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. On May 27, 2003, he resigned his membership in the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), after being involved for a quarter of a century.

Anyone with relevant information regarding the open case in Canada is encouraged to contact the Winnipeg Police at their main phone number: (204) 986-6037.

Anyone with relevant information in the United States is encouraged to contact their local police department and their local District Attorney's office, NYPD Switchboard: 646-610-5000 Queens District Attorney's office: 718-286-6000.

Rabbi Ephraim Bryks is originally from Denver, Colorado. In this case, accusations about his inappropriate behavior with children started surfacing in the 1980's. These accusations also included making sexual advancements to women in his congregation. When his alleged victims disclosed their experiences to a rabbinic leader in their community, they were basically told to keep silent. The rabbi advised them not to go to the police or child family services. He told them to deal with the allegations internally with the synagogue board. The children were not offered psychotherapy to help them cope with their alleged victimization. Unfortunately a teenager who didn't have the coping skills to deal with his memories ended up committing suicide.

Over the years Rabbi Ephraim Bryks has left a trail of alleged victims from such far-away places as Winnipeg, Canada. He is currently located in New York City. There are no documented cases or public information regarding any victims in New York, yet he has been let go by schools (one characterized as firing), but the schools will not discuss the matter.

For years alleged victims have been going to rabbinic leaders in their communities looking for guidance. For years rabbinic leaders have found it more important to protect an alleged sexual predator over protecting our children.

49 year-old Rabbi Ephraim Boruch Bryks will continue to run Yeshiva Berachel David in Queens until the end of the 2003 school year. No public statement has been made concerning his decade- long membership on the Vaad Harabonim of Queens. Rabbi Bryks was a member of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) for over a quarter of a century before his May 27, 2003 resignation. Ads in The Jewish Press indicate that Rabbi Bryks is currently working as a mortgage broker for a company he runs out of his home called REB International LLC.).

Friday, April 25, 2008

WARNING: Malka Leifer is currently living in Emmanuel, Israel

WARNING: Malka Leifer is currently living in Emmanuel, Israel
Background History
by Vicki Polin - Executive Director, The Awareness Center, Inc.
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter
April 25, 2008

Please forward this to anyone you know who may come in contact with Malka Leifer. The goal is to prevent one more person from becoming a victim of a sex crime. Click here: download poster to pass out to members of the Emmanuel community

Malka Leifer was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 2000, Malka Leifer was hired by Adass Israel Girls School. In 2003 she was promoted and made principal. Her employment terminated and left Melbourne within 24 hours of being investigated by the school board. There were allegations made that Adass Israel school purchased the ticket for Leifer to return to Israel. Norman Rosenbaum, the schools spokesperson, the rumors are not true. Another source stated that she “borrowed” $ 24,000 the day before she left from some of the girls and teachers at the school.
For more information on this case click here

Sick of Anti-Semites and Racists!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

G-d Questions From A Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse

G-d Questions From a Survivor of Jewish Child Sexual Abuse

The following questions were sent to me from a survivor. I'm hoping every survivor, parent or rabbi out there who reads this will post their answers in the comment section.

Many say G-d gave us the freedom of choice. I've heard over and over again that when someone sexually victimizes another they are choosing to do evil. My question and confusion is the fact that G-d gave those who offend the thoughts and ability to sexually abuse/assault others.

Why would G-d do that?

What kind of G-d would even come up with the idea of allow humans to do these sorts of things to children?

Do you ever wonder where was G-d while you were being sexually violated?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prof. Marci Hamliton mentions the case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko

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The Supreme Court Considers Whether Imposing the Death Penalty for Child Rape Is Constitutional: The Arguments For and Against the Penalty
By Marci Hamliton
April 7, 2008

Yesterday, Wednesday, April 16, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Kennedy v. Louisiana, on the question whether Louisiana may constitutionally impose the death penalty on an offender convicted of committing child rape. The Court had previously ruled in Coker v. Georgia that the rape of an adult (though, in that case, it was the rape of a sixteen-year-old) could not be punished with death. In this case, the question is whether a stepfather can constitutionally be put to death for the brutal rape of his eight-year-old stepdaughter.

The Court's decision, which is likely to appear in June, will set important precedent, because a handful of states take Louisiana's approach, and others are poised to adopt the death penalty for child rape if it is upheld by the Court. In this column, I'll consider the arguments for and against the penalty for child rape.

The Arguments in Favor of, and Against, the Death Penalty for Child Rape
The argument in favor of the death penalty for child rape is simple justice. If capital punishment is appropriate for murder, applying it to child rape is not a large extension. The crime closest to murder is the rape of a child, whose childhood is essentially exterminated and whose future is forever changed. The whole culture suffers grievously, too, from the severe disabilities generated by child sex abuse.

Some argue that there should be simply a bright line at murder for the death penalty, but a crucial aspect of its internal logic - deterrence - is obviously very important in the context of child rape.

The argument against this punishment, though, is that the severity of the penalty is likely to lead legislators and others to think that they have accomplished more than they actually have by imposing it. The truth is that life in prison without parole is just as successful in serving society's need to keep child rapists away from children as the death penalty would be. There is no quantum increase in child safety that depends upon whether the perpetrator is alive and locked away, or dead and gone.

One can understand, though, the motivation behind imposing capital punishment for child rape. As it has become increasingly clear to policymakers that child predators are permanent recidivists, frustration has grown. Desperate to protect our children, we have thrown everything we can concoct at the predators to keep our children safe -- sex offender registries, to track the ones who are now out of prison; GPS monitoring units on offenders during parole, to improve the quality of the tracking; and increasingly stiff sentences to achieve the greatest effect in deterrence and incapacitation that, as a society, we possibly can. (There is also the idea of pedophile-free zones, but as I discussed in a previous column, this much-touted solution is doomed to be ineffective and makes little sense.)

Of course, what we really want, as a society, is to rid the world of child sexual predators. The crime is so heinous and devastating that such offenders simply should not exist. Children should have childhoods filled with happiness and light - not terror and abuse that scars for a lifetime. But such predators do exist, our children remain at risk, and, worse, current data indicates that sex abuse is scarily prevalent, with at least 20% of boys sexually abused, and at least 25% of girls.

While the registries, GPS tracking, and longer sentences are all good ideas that make meaningful contributions to child safety, they do not get to the heart of the most serious problem we have: We don't know who most of the predators are.

There are two primary reasons we do not. First, we have engineered the statutes of limitations so that the vast majority of claims never get to court. The result of this appalling error is that we have an army of predators, currently grooming children to be victims, who operate under the anonymity of expired statutes of limitations.

Until we create opportunities for survivors to get into court, the current bells and whistles of predator treatment will remain irrelevant for a major class of predators. After all, you cannot put someone whose identity you do not know on a registry, attach a GPS monitor to his ankle, or increase his sentence. Thus, removing the statutes of limitations for child sex abuse is fundamentally necessary if we want to increase our knowledge of who the predators among us truly are -- as I argue in more detail in my book forthcoming from Cambridge University Press this month, Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.

Second, too often, known predators are permitted to plead to less serious charges, and thereby permitted to evade the registries that would otherwise list them, and the GPS monitoring and stiff sentences they would otherwise occur. More resources should be directed to prosecuting on the heaviest charges the evidence warrants.

There is an inherent difficulty with these cases, which involve child witnesses, and traumatized children at that. Prosecutors may hesitate to put children on the stand to be subjected to such a public process, not to mention cross-examination. But there is also a solvable difficulty here: Due to lack of resources and personnel, prosecutors cannot possibly keep up with the volume of sex abuse cases that exist. Here, more funding and more attorneys and staff dedicated to these crimes surely would help.

A recent case in Brooklyn of a rabbi who was credibly accused of sexually abusing two boys, but who was permitted to plead merely to "child endangerment," illustrates the problem: Because child endangerment is not a "sex crime," the perpetrator could not be added to a sex offender registry. In addition, the weaker charges led to probation rather than jail time.

When prosecutions in child abuse cases are watered down in this way, as they are far too often, the standard vicious cycle of child abuse continue: The predator avoids serious punishment, returns to ordinary life, and starts grooming the next victim, who is more than likely within the predator's own family or circle of friends.

One Argument Against the Death Penalty for Child Rape that Is Quite Unpersuasive: Fear of Deterring Reporting of the Crime

Opponents of the death penalty for child rape have argued that it is a bad idea, because it will deter reporting of the crime, given the severity of the punishment. That seems far-fetched, however. To the contrary, you might get more reporting if the victim thinks that the predator, if convicted, truly will no longer be able to inflict abuse on them. The same result would follow, however, if the justice system reliably put away known child abusers instead of cycling them back into society. Thus, the death penalty and life sentences have the capacity to motivate victims to report in order to remove the predator from their lives. (To be sure, survivors of child sex abuse face many hurdles to reporting, which may not be affected in any way whatsoever by the potential penalty.)

In sum, whether or not the Court upholds the death penalty for child abusers this Term, the entrenched barriers to identifying predators will not be eliminated, or even reduced. For that reason, from the perspective of the child being abused today or the survivor trying to cope in the wake of abuse decades ago, the case is a lot of hype - a paper battle that distracts from the far more essential battle for the reforms that are truly necessary if justice and decency are to be served.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Matzah Songs

Friday, April 18, 2008

Passover and Jewish Survivors of Child Abuse

Surviving Passover:
Jewish Survivors of Child Abuse (Incest, Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse)
© (2003, Revised 2006) by Na'ama Yehuda, MSC, SLP, TSHH and Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC
(Download PDF)

There are many issues surrounding holidays and childhood sexual abuse that have rarely, if ever been addressed in our communities. One of those issues pertains directly to surviving Jewish holidays.

It's not too surprising that many adult survivors of childhood abuse (emotional, physical and sexual abuse) have difficult times during Passover (Pesach), as this time of the year can bring up painful memories of families get together and that routines are changed. Plus there is the added stress of cleaning your home top to bottom, preparing, and "doing it right." These issues alone can be extremely stress producing; yet in a home where violence occurred, would most likely lead to an increase of abuse.

Parents who are already inclined to use their children as an outlet for emotions and urges, are even more likely to do so when under the pressure of increased anxiety.

Many survivors of childhood abuse report that they were abused more around and over a holiday period then any other time of the year. Remember Passover brings with it--on top of cooking and cleaning--an added financial burden.

This is written as a reminder to all survivors of child abuse -- YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is not uncommon for symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to emerge this time of year, even after times of relative remission and/or intensify in those already struggling.

It is not unusual for Survivors to experience an increase in disturbing thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks. Thoughts of self-harm, even suicide, may be an issue. The important thing to remember is these feelings are about the past, the abuse is over, and that it is of utmost importance for you to be kind to and gentle with yourself.

Over the years we have spoken to many adult survivors who find it very painful to even consider going to a seder. This is OK. Someday you may feel different, but if the pain is too intense, it is important that you do things that can be healing. Set healthy boundaries for yourself and do what feels safe for you. If you have a rabbi that is sensitive to child abuse issues, discuss these issues with him or her.

One survivor shared that she felt uncomfortable not doing anything for Pesach, so she'd rent the "Ten Commandments" each year on Seder nights and watch it, forming her own ritual of remembering the events that lead to the Seder night. Another survivor would invite other Jewish Survivors over to her home and they would use "The Survivors Haggadah" for their services. Another person used the time before Pesach for "spring cleaning" her relationships--reconnecting with friends with whom she feels safe, airing out the achievements of the last year and making resolutions for added liberation from her past for the coming year. The survivors above found a way to celebrate a "modified" Pesach, but there are many others for who just try to survive this time of year by pretending that there is no such thing as Pesach.

The goal is for you to do things that are healing and brings about an emotional freedom. Remember you are not alone, not wrong, not bad for having second and third and forth thoughts about how to celebrate and if to celebrate the holiday.

Look into yourself and see what you need, then do what you can to do it. Be kind to yourself for needing to make these adjustments. And remember, when Bney-Israel left Egypt to walk toward a new era--they were walking from a place they knew, but was of pain, to a place unknown, but free. The essence of the Seder night is to remember, and ask why, and be expected to understand and participate only to the extent one can.

Have a gentle, safe holiday!

Passover Prayer On Behalf of Abused and Neglected Children
(Pesach, 2007) Author Unknown
(Download pdf)

The prayer below was written for protective parents and their loved ones, child abuse advocates, and all who care about children to recite at their passover seder. A spring onion is added to the seder plate, or placed on the table as a symbol.

The Passover Seder is a time to celebrate our freedom and remember those who still struggle for the freedoms they deserve. Freedom from tyranny, violence, and oppression is a core value for us as our ancestors have known slavery, and our heart goes out to the enslaved and the imprisoned of any race, culture or creed. Tonight we remember a group of individuals often forgotten, trapped by a kind of slavery so cruel, that society often looks the other way---children (including adult survivors of child abuse) enslaved in lives of abuse.

Today I remember ____________ (fill in name of a child or children you know trapped in lives of abuse. or substitute... "these children.") Though many of us have tried to free them, the Pharaohs in our generation have blocked our efforts or looked the other way. Our hearts ache knowing the pain these children live with day after day. They are not forgotten. With this prayer we share our commitment to find a way to liberate them from their lives of exploitation and tyranny.

This spring onion on the Seder plate is our symbol for these children and their plight. The shape of the onion reminds us of the whips used on slaves to keep them subjugated. The tears we shed from the onion remind us of the silent tears of these children waiting for rescue. The newness of the onion reminds us of the promise of hope, that one day these children can grow healthy and free from the tyranny they are living with today.

We pray for the wisdom to find an effective path to liberate these children. We pray for the courage to stand up to the Pharaoh's of our generation and speak the truth of what we know. We pray for the strength and fortitude to keep on fighting for their freedom.

May these children (including adult survivors) soon know the sweetness of freedom from violence and oppression and share Passover Seders and other celebrations of freedom, safely, with loved ones next year!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thank you SNAP for all your work!

Vicki Polin writes:

Congratulation to Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy, Barbara Dorris and ALL members of SNAP!!

All day when I turned on the television or radio there were news blubs talking about Pope
Benedict XVI visit in the US. What I think is extremely important was the fact that whenever the news media mentioned the Pope's visit the next statement had to do with the topic of child sexual abuse. I kept thinking what a major accomplishment this was. There's a lot more work to be done, yet we all need to thank and honor Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy, Barbara Dorris and all the other members of SNAP. This small group of people has made the Catholic world aware of the topic of clergy sexual abuse. Without their efforts The Awareness Center would not have been able to do the work we have been doing, let alone many other sexual violence survivor advocacy groups.

I'm still amazed at the fact that each time the news media mentions the Pope's visit, they always mention sexual abuse and the cover-ups.

My hope is that before Pope
Benedict XVI leaves he will sit down with Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris and come up with a plan in how changes will be implemented to keep children safe, insure that all offending priests, nuns and other members of the church will be prosecuted for their crimes, all books and records will be turned over for discovery and that all survivors abused by members of the Catholic church will receive at least 1.2 million dollars without having to file a civiil suit.

Barb, Barb and David thank you so much for the work you've been doing!


Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, ATR-BC

Founder, Executive Director -The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 65273, Baltimore, MD 21209

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rabbi Yehuda Kolko Cops A Plea

The New York Daily News reported that Rabbi Yehuda Kolko plead guilty yesterday. Kolko received probation and manditory counseling. He will not spend time in jail, nor will he be on the National Sex Offender registry. I received the following note from The Awareness Center.

The Case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko will not be listed on the National Sex Offender Registry, yet he is on The Awareness Center's web page. Unfortunately, without financial support The Awareness Center's site may not be available. If you think the community needs to be kept aware of the case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, please send your tax deductible donations to:

The Awareness Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 65273
Baltimore, MD 21209

Monday, April 14, 2008

Don't Politicize Child Abuse Case

From Vicki Polin
Though I am currently on a sabbatical I thought it was important to make the following comments.
Rabbi Levi Brackman / Vicki Polin
RE: Don't Politicize Child Abuse Case

By Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC, ATR-BC
Executive Director - The Awareness Center, Inc.

It was embarrassing to read Rabbi Levi Brackman article that appeared in YNET news (Israeli paper), "Don't Politicize Child Abuse Case"
, in which he speaks out about alleged cult leader, Rabbi Elior Chen.

When reading the article it is extremely obvious Rabbi Brackman lacks the needed education, knowledge and understanding on the issues of child abuse and neglect. In the credits at the bottom of his article it states that Rabbi Brackman's experience is in the business world and does not state his expertise in the issue he is speaking out upon. I was embarrassed for him that a newspaper such as YNET would allow Rabbi Brackman to promote his ignorance on such an important topic.

Rabbi Brackman must be in a state of denial when making blanket statement that "violence is less common in the haredi society." Statistics of abuse are the same in all societies, haredi (ultra religious) or not. The only difference is that the rabbis in the haredi communities do their best to cover up the reality of what is actually happening. Over the years I've seen over and over again, they do their best shame and blame victims into silence, and promote those who offend. This practice is not just limited to the haredi community, it's also happened with in the Catholic church.

The haredi community has a tendency to say if someone in their community is abusing a children (or a spouse), then that person is really not haredi -- that they are just pretending to be haredi. Yet these same individuals daven (pray) in their synagogues, keep kosher and shabbat. They even are allowed to work and spend all their time in the haredi world.

Statistics will show that one out of every four adults were sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. The statistics of physical and emotional abuse is much higher. Until proven differently, we have to believe the same is true in all communities, including the community that Rabbi Levi Brackman resides.

The only way things will ever change, and the world will be safe for our children is by speaking out publicly and by the news media publishing the stories of those who have been abused and the way our society (including the haredi world) deal with such cases. Unfortunately, Rabbi Brackman wants the tradition of silence to continue, which in the past lead to more children becoming victimized.

I think the most important thing to remember is that Rabbi Levi Brackman does not have the expertise in the field of child abuse to be making a public statement on such an important issue. Perhaps the best thing we can do to help Rabbi Brackman, is by everyone sending him articles and books on the topic of child abuse and neglect. Perhaps that will inspire him to research a topic thoroughly prior to embarrassing himself again in such a public venue.

Contact Information:
Rabbi Levi Brackman
3959 Ponderosa Lane
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Something Our Rabbis Seem To Forget - Incest

A friend writes:

Our rabbis always seem to be concerned about what exposing sexual abuse will have on family members of sex offenders. On thing they seem to neglect to look at is the fact that every incest survivors is the child of at least one sex offender. According to statistics 47% of all reported cases of child sexual abuse occur in the home. When our rabbis encourage people not to report sex crimes they are basically saying that it's OK for a father and or mother to continue sexually abusing their child.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The State of The Awareness Center -

I communicated with Vicki Polin via e-mail regarding the following notice.

Vicki stated that the organization is not shutting down. She explained The Awareness Center need time to catch up with the work they already have been doing for the last seven years. The goal of the organization has always been educational.

Vicki went on to say that The Awareness Center can not keep up with the demands at this time. By taking down the web page is allowing there time to regroup and focus on fundraising efforts. The Awareness Center has been an volunteer based organization that has grown at such a rapid pace that it can't take on anything else until to can afford to hire mental health professionals who have experience working with the survivor population, a director of development and also someone experienced in web development.

Vicki also stated that various individuals offered to host the site free of charge. She stated the issue is not about hosting the site. The problem is that they need paid staff to go along with site. She went on to say that the organization has always been much more then a web page. She stated it's sort of like the "make a wish foundation" for Jewish survivors of sexual violence.

Dear Friends,

It saddens me a great deal to let you know that The Awareness Center site is no longer available. We are in hopes of finding a way to put it back up along with having a financially sound organization to go along with it. We are still looking f
or a self-motivated individual to become our Development Coordinator. This individual will be responsible for all aspects of fundraising. This is a volunteer position that can be made into a paid position by your successful grants

It's been a pleasure getting to know all of those who we have met over the years and are hopeful someday that the need for an organization like The Awareness Center will diminish.

If you would like to make a donation, please do so by sending a check to the address below.


Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, ATR-BC, Founder, Executive Director

The Awareness Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 65273
Baltimore, MD 21209

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Vicki Polin Responds to Rabbi Yona Metzger's call on excommunication image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Rabbi Yona Metzger / Vicki Polin

Rabbi Yona Metzger on Child Abuse and The Case of Rabbi Elior Chen
by Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, Executive Director - The Awareness Center
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter
April 8, 2008

It seems strange that Rabbi Yona Metzger would be making the following statement, especially since he was accused of sexual misconduct/clergy sexual abuse (with four men) several years ago.

I strongly disagree with the statement Rabbi Metzger made regarding excommunicating the parents of the children who were so horrendously abused. Even though the actions came from their own hands, I believe that they were being manipulated and were acting under the explicit directions of their spiritual leader/cult leader,
Rabbi Elior Chen.

Many individuals who get involved with cults, often have histories of child abuse and or neglect. From past experience in working with ex-cult members, I found that women who have left abusive relationships are also more susceptible to getting involved in cult like groups.

The basic issue is that adult survivors of child abuse (emotional, physical and sexual abuse) and those battered as adults are looking for unconditional love. What happens is they get manipulated in believing that their leader represents "the truth." They no longer are able to access their ability to use
deductive reasoning / critical thinking.

Though I do believe these parents should no longer have custody of their children, I do not believe that we should make blanket statements stating they should all be excommunicated. We need to look at each situation on a case by case basis. I also have mixed feelings about the parents and the criminal cases that will be brought up against them. If these parents were unable to access their critical thinking, would they then be considered mentally ill? Were they at the time of each act unable to discern right from wrong? I'm not trying to make excuses for their behavior, it's just that I think there is much more to the story then what we are reading in the newspapers. The parents psychiatric help and exit counseling. This can occur either in a prison or a psychiatric facility. I believe that the parents are most likely individuals who most likely have the potential for rehabilitation.

I do not believe this is true when talking about Rabbi Elior Chen.
I do agree with Rabbi Metzger that Chen should loose his rabbinical title and believe he should spend the rest of his life in a prison. I do not believe he will ever be safe to be out with the rest of our society.

Below is the article that was in the Jerusalem Post, below that is information on Destructive Cults.

For more information on:

Metzger: Abusive parents and rabbis should be 'excommunicated'
Jerusalem Post - April 9, 2008

Following a spate of allegations of child abuse in the religious community, Ashkenazi Chief
Rabbi Yona Metzger called on rabbis to "unhesitatingly renounce" such violent acts.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Metzger said that abusive parents and rabbis must be "condemned" and "excommunicated."

He told community rabbis to express their disapproval and the disapproval of the Torah for such "acts of brutality."

Biderman's Chart of Coercion

Most people who brainwash...use methods similar to those of prison guards who recognize that physical control is never easily accomplished without the cooperation of the prisoner. The most effective way to gain that cooperation is through subversive manipulation of the mind and feelings of the victim, who then becomes a psychological, as well as a physical, prisoner. (from an Amnesty International publication, "Report on Torture", which depicts the brainwashing of prisoners of war.


Deprives individual of social support, effectively rendering him unable to resist
Makes individual dependent upon interrogator
Develops an intense concern with self.

Once a person is away from longstanding emotional support and thus reality checks, it is fairly easy to set a stage for brainwashing. Spiritually abusive groups work to isolate individuals from friends and family, whether directly, by requiring the individuals to forsake friends and family for the sake of the "Kingdom" (group membership), or indirectly, by preaching the necessity to demonstrate one's love for God by "hating" one's father, mother, family, friends.

Abusive groups are not outward-looking, but inward-looking, insisting that members find all comfort and support and a replacement family within the group. Cut off from friends, relatives, previous relationships, abusive groups surround the recruits and hammer rigid ideologies into their consciousness, saturating their senses with specific doctrines and requirements of the group.
Isolated from everyone but those within the group, recruits become dependent upon group members and leaders and find it difficult if not impossible to offer resistance to group teachings. They become self-interested and hyper-vigilant, very fearful should they incur the disapproval of the group, which now offers the only support available to them which has group approval.

Warning signs
The seed of extremism exists wherever a group demands all the free time of a member, insisting he be in church every time the doors are open and calling him to account if he isn't, is critical or disapproving of involvements with friends and family outside the group, encourages secrecy by asking that members not share what they have seen or heard in meetings or about church affairs with outsiders, is openly, publicly, and repeatedly critical of other churches or groups (especially if the group claims to be the only one which speaks for God), is critical when members attend conferences, workshops or services at other churches, checks up on members in any way, i.e., to determine that the reason they gave for missing a meeting was valid, or makes attendance at all church functions mandatory for participating in church ministry or enjoying other benefits of church fellowship.

Once a member stops interacting openly with others, the group's influence is all that matters. He is bombarded with group values and information and there is no one outside the group with whom to share thoughts or who will offer reinforcement or affirmation if the member disagrees with or doubts the values of the group. The process of isolation and the self-doubt it creates allow the group and its leaders to gain power over the members. Leaders may criticize major and minor flaws of members, sometimes publicly, or remind them of present or past sins. They may call members names, insult them or ignore them, or practice a combination of ignoring members at some times and receiving them warmly at others, thus maintaining a position of power (i.e., the leaders call the shots.)

The sense of humiliation makes members feel they deserve the poor treatment they are receiving and may cause them to allow themselves to be subjected to any and all indignities out of gratefulness that one as unworthy as they feel is allowed to participate in the group at all. When leaders treat the member well occasionally, they accept any and all crumbs gratefully. Eventually, awareness of how dependent they are on the group and gratitude for the smallest attention contributes to an increasing sense of shame and degradation on the part of the members, who begin to abuse themselves with "litanies of self-blame," i.e., "No matter what they do to me, I deserve it, as sinful and wretched as I am. I deserve no better. I have no rights but to go to hell. I should be grateful for everything I receive, even punishment."

Monopolization of Perception

Fixes attention upon immediate predicament; fosters introspection
Eliminates stimuli competing with those controlled by captor
Frustrates all actions not consistent with compliance
Abusive groups insist on compliance with trivial demands related to all facets of life: food, clothing, money, household arrangements, children, conversation. They monitor members' appearances, criticize language and child care practices. They insist on precise schedules and routines, which may change and be contradictory from day to day or moment to moment, depending on the whims of group leaders.
At first, new members may think these expectations are unreasonable and may dispute them, but later, either because they want to be at peace or because they are afraid, or because everyone else is complying, they attempt to comply. After all, what real difference does it make if a member is not allowed to wear a certain color, or to wear his hair in a certain way, to eat certain foods, or say certain words, to go certain places, watch certain things, or associate with certain individuals. In the overall scheme of things, does it really matter? In fact, in the long run, the member begins to reason, it is probably good to learn these disciplines, and after all, as they have frequently been reminded, they are to submit to spiritual authority as unto the Lord.. Soon it becomes apparent that the demands will be unending, and increasing time and energy are focused on avoiding group disapproval by doing something "wrong." There is a feeling of walking on eggs. Everything becomes important in terms of how the group or its leaders will respond, and members' desires, feelings and ideas become insignificant. Eventually, members may no longer even know what they want, feel or think. The group has so monopolized all of the members' perceptions with trivial demands that members lose their perspective as to the enormity of the situation they are in.
The leaders may also persuade the members that they have the inside track with God and therefore know how everything should be done. When their behavior results in disastrous consequences, as it often does, the members are blamed. Sometimes the leaders may have moments, especially after abusive episodes, when they appear to humble themselves and confess their faults, and the contrast of these moments of vulnerability with their usual pose of being all-powerful endears them to members and gives hope for some open communication.
Threats sometimes accompany all of these methods. Members are told they will be under God's judgment, under a curse, punished, chastised, chastened if they leave the group or disobey group leaders. Sometimes the leaders, themselves, punish the members, and so members can never be sure when leaders will make good on the threats which they say are God's idea. The members begin to focus on what they can do to meet any and all group demands and how to preserve peace in the short run. Abusive groups may remove children from their parents, control all the money in the group, arrange marriages, destroy personal items of members or hide personal items.

Warning signs:
Preoccupation with trivial demands of daily life, demanding strict compliance with standards of appearance, dress codes, what foods are or are not to be eaten and when, schedules, threats of God's wrath if group rules are not obeyed, a feeling of being monitored, watched constantly by those in the group or by leaders. In other words, what the church wants, believes and thinks its members should do becomes everything, and you feel preoccupied with making sure you are meeting the standards. It no longer matters whether you agree that the standards are correct, only that you follow them and thus keep the peace and in the good graces of leaders.

Induced Debility and Exhaustion

People subjected to this type of spiritual abuse become worn out by tension, fear and continual rushing about in an effort to meet group standards. They must often avoid displays of fear, sorrow or rage, since these may result in ridicule or punishment. Rigid ministry demands and requirements that members attend unreasonable numbers of meetings and events makes the exhaustion and ability to resist group pressure even worse.

Warning Signs:

Feelings of being overwhelmed by demands, close to tears, guilty if one says no to a request or goes against a church standards. Being intimidated or pressured into volunteering for church duties and subjected to scorn or ridicule when one does not "volunteer." Being rebuked or reproved when family or work responsibilities intrude on church responsibilities.

Occasional Indulgences

Provides motivation for compliance

Leaders of abusive groups often sense when members are making plans to leave and may suddenly offer some kind of indulgence, perhaps just love or affection, attention where there was none before, a note or a gesture of concern. Hope that the situation in the church will change or self doubt ("Maybe I'm just imagining it's this bad,") then replace fear or despair and the members decide to stay a while longer. Other groups practice sporadic demonstrations of compassion or affection right in the middle of desperate conflict or abusive episodes. This keeps members off guard and doubting their own perceptions of what is happening.

Some of the brainwashing techniques described are extreme, some groups may use them in a disciplined, regular manner while others use them more sporadically. But even mild, occasional use of these techniques is effective in gaining power.

Warning Signs:

Be concerned if you have had an ongoing desire to leave a church or group you believe may be abusive, but find yourself repeatedly drawn back in just at the moment you are ready to leave, by a call, a comment or moment of compassion. These moments, infrequent as they may be, are enough to keep hope in change alive and thus you sacrifice years and years to an abusive group.

Devaluing the Individual

Creates fear of freedom and dependence upon captors
Creates feelings of helplessness
Develops lack of faith in individual capabilities

Abusive leaders are frequently uncannily able to pick out traits church members are proud of and to use those very traits against the members. Those with natural gifts in the areas of music may be told they are proud or puffed up or "anxious to be up front" if they want to use their talents and denied that opportunity. Those with discernment are called judgmental or critical, the merciful are lacking in holiness or good judgment, the peacemakers are reminded the Lord came to bring a sword, not peace. Sometimes efforts are made to convince members that they really are not gifted teachers or musically talented or prophetically inclined as they believed they were. When members begin to doubt the one or two special gifts they possess which they have always been sure were God-given, they begin to doubt everything else they have ever believed about themselves, to feel dependent upon church leaders and afraid to leave the group. ("If I've been wrong about even *that*, how can I ever trust myself to make right decisions ever again?").

Warning Signs:

Unwillingness to allow members to use their gifts. Establishing rigid boot camp-like requirements for the sake of proving commitment to the group before gifts may be exercised. Repeatedly criticizing natural giftedness by reminding members they must die to their natural gifts, that Paul, after all, said, "When I'm weak, I'm strong," and that they should expect God to use them in areas other than their areas of giftedness. Emphasizing helps or service to the group as a prerequisite to church ministry. This might take the form of requiring that anyone wanting to serve in any way first have the responsibility of cleaning toilets or cleaning the church for a specified time, that anyone wanting to sing in the worship band must first sing to the children in Sunday School, or that before exercising any gifts at all, members must demonstrate loyalty to the group by faithful attendance at all functions and such things as tithing. No consideration is given to the length of time a new member has been a Christian or to his age or station in life or his unique talents or abilities. The rules apply to everyone alike. This has the effect of reducing everyone to some kind of lowest common denominator where no one's gifts or natural abilities are valued or appreciated, where the individual is not cherished for the unique blessing he or she is to the body of Christ, where what is most highly valued is service, obedience, submission to authority, and performance without regard to gifts or abilities or, for that matter, individual limitations.

Characteristics of a Destructive Cult

What is a Cult?

A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community. (West & Langone, 1986)

Characteristics of a Destructive Cult

1. Authoritarian pyramid structure with authority at the top

2. Charismatic or messianic leader(s) (Messianic meaning they either say they are God OR that they alone can interpret the scriptures the way God intended.....the leaders are self-appointed.

3. Deception in recruitment and/or fund raising

4. Isolation from society -- not necessarily physical isolation like on some compound in
Waco, but this can be psychological isolation -- the rest of the world is not saved, not Christian, not transformed (whatever) -- the only valid source of feedback and information is the group.

5. Use of mind control techniques (we use Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's criteria from chapter 22 of his book Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism to compare whether the eight psychological and social methods he lists are present in the group at question)

• Milieu Control: Control of the environment and communication within the environment

• Mystical Manipulation: Seeks to promote specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that it appears to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment, while it actually has been orchestrated totalist leaders claim to be agents chosen by God, history, or some supernatural force, to carry out the mystical imperative the "principles" (God-centered or otherwise) can be put forcibly and claimed exclusively, so that the cult and its beliefs become the only true path to salvation (or enlightenment)

• Demand for Purity: The world becomes sharply divided into the pure and the impure, the absolutely good (the group/ideology) and the absolutely evil (everything outside the group) one must continually change or conform to the group "norm"; tendencies towards guilt and shame are used as emotional levers for the group's controlling and manipulative influences

• Confession: Cultic confession is carried beyond its ordinary religious, legal and therapeutic expressions to the point of becoming a cult in itself sessions in which one confesses to one's sin are accompanied by patterns of criticism and self-criticism, generally transpiring within small groups with an active and dynamic thrust toward personal change

• Sacred Science: The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic doctrine or ideology, holding it as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence questioning or criticizing those basic assumptions is prohibited a reverence is demanded for the ideology/doctrine, the originators of the ideology/doctrine, the present bearers of the ideology/doctrine offers considerable security to young people because it greatly simplifies the world and answers a contemporary need to combine a sacred set of dogmatic principles with a claim to a science embodying the truth about human behavior and human psychology

• Loading the Language: Words are given new meanings -- the outside world does not use the words or phrases in the same way -- it becomes a "group" word or phrase

• Doctrine Over Person: If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question -- it is always "turned around" on them and the questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered directly the underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or human experience and one must subject one's experience to that "truth" the experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt one is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one's own evil when doubt arises, conflicts become intense.

• Dispensing of Existence: Since the group has an absolute or totalist vision of truth, those who are not in the group are bound up in evil, are not enlightened, are not saved, and do not have the right to exist; impediments to legitimate being must be pushed away or destroyed one outside the group may always receive their right of existence by joining the group; fear manipulation -- if one leaves this group, one leaves God or loses their salvation/transformation, or something bad will happen to them; the group is the "elite", outsiders are "of the world", "evil", "unenlightened", etc.

Why Is A Jewish Music Blogger Writing About Tranquility Bay?

I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of the posting written by Blogger DM on Isaac Hersh and the case involving Tranquility Bay.

Why Is A Jewish Music Blogger Writing About Tranquility Bay?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Issac Hersh Will NOT Be Free Until He is Back Home In Texas!

Tragedy Then Triumph: The Isaac Hersh Story
By: Zev Eleff
The Commentator (YU)
April 7, 2008

Isaac Hersh /Tranquility Bay

A month ago, Tzvi Gluck got word of a troubled Jewish teen being treated in Jamaica Estates, New York. A busy investment banker from Brooklyn who doubles as a professional askan, Gluck gave the matter very little thought, if any. After all, Gluck said to himself, there are many frum Jews in Jamaica Estates.

After hearing about 16 year-old Isaac Hersh a few more times in the ensuing weeks, Gluck received confirmation that the boy was being held against his will at Tranquility Bay, a behavior modification center located in Jamaica - the country.

There are very few frum Jews in Jamaica.

What has happened since is both supernatural and highly political.

Despite its name, Tranquility Bay has been likened to a concentration camp. Touted by some as a facility proven to straighten out severely disturbed youngsters, Tranquility Bay's staff practices severe disciplinary measures to accomplish its goals. Just for glancing the wrong way, detainees of the boot camp are forced to lie down on mats for 30-hour periods.

And that is the most lenient punishment doled out by the disciplinary academy's correctional officers.

What's more, aside from housing about 300 American teens, reports indicate that local authorities use the tightly guarded compound as a jail. At least one of Isaac's roommates was convicted of murder.

Never short of contacts and resources, Gluck researched the camp for weeks.

Gluck's informants also uncovered critical details about exactly who was this young teen so many people were now planning to save. Isaac Hersh is the son of Michael Hersh, the now former CEO of Hatzolah. Reports printed previously in newspapers and on blogs indicate that Hersh had trouble handling his two twin sons and used prescription medication to "control" them when the family lived in Israel for a time. Now back in America, Michael Hersh - who was making somewhere in the vicinity of a quarter-million dollars a year without any major medical or business experience - could afford to send his "Yitzy" to board out-of-town and attend school away from his parents.

Never given much of a chance before, Isaac finally found something like a home in Houston. There, Isaac lived with Rabbi Aryeh Wolbe, director of the Torah Outreach Center of Houston, and his family. Isaac attended Robert M. Beren Academy, an Orthodox day school affiliated with Yeshiva University. Although nobody contended that Isaac did not struggle academically in Houston, contrary to his father's allegations, all agreed that his behavior was stellar at Beren Academy.

"Isaac was a fine and upstanding citizen of the school community," wrote Head of School Rabbi Ari Sigel in a letter. "He was warm and friendly to everyone he encountered and we did not, at any time, have discipline issues with him."

Rabbi Segal added that "for anyone to suggest that he was a behavioral problem during his time in Houston, would constitute an outright lie."

The only one who saw a flaw in Isaac's behavior was his father.

At the end of the school last year, the Wolbes thought Isaac could use a break. In addition, the Wolbes were expecting a child that summer and suggested to Isaac that he look for a summer job in Toronto, where he had spent some time during his travels and still maintained a very good reputation.

To do this, however, Isaac would need to have his estranged father, still the boy's legal guardian, sign various government forms to obtain a worker's visa. After some discussion, both sides agreed that Isaac would briefly return to New York where his father would sign the documents.

Nothing was ever signed. Instead, Michael Hersh, with a flight ticket in hand, forced his son to LaGuardia Airport. Evidently, Hersh was told that one or two Jewish families with troubled boys had sent their sons to Tranquility Bay for successful "correctional therapy."

While being pushed in the direction of the terminal, Isaac screamed, "Help! I'm being kidnapped." Nobody helped and Isaac was on his way to Tranquility Bay where he would stay for the next ten months.

At last, a camp detainee who had befriended Isaac somehow reached a computer and, as instructed by Isaac, emailed Rabbi Wolbe. In the email, the already distressed Rabbi Wolbe was told that Isaac was being tortured and forced to lie down on mats for months. Something had to be done quickly.

On March 19, the eve of Purim, a group that included Gluck and with the financial support of Gluck's employer, Joseph Sharashefsky, readied themselves for a private flight to Jamaica. Once there, a small delegation would plead with the American Embassy to release Isaac.

The question was then raised: who would be boarding the plane for the Jamaica rescue mission?

After dozens of consultations, it was decided that Gluck would be joined by Rabbi Wolbe and his father, Rabbi Avorhom Wolbe of Monsey, and Yeshiva University's Straus Professor of Psychology and Education Dr. David Pelcovitz.
David Pelcovitz, PhD

The jet touched down on Jamaican soil at 6:30 a.m., on Thursday, March 27. Although the group was received by the American Embassy, there was little any official could do.

Dr. Pelcovitz explained to the Embassy's officials that as an expert on trauma, and based on the email Rabbi Wolbe received, it was imperative that the psychologist see Isaac immediately.

But their hands were tied. The Embassy would bring Isaac to their headquarters, but the only two conditions whereby Dr. Pelcovitz could be permitted to assess the psychological fitness of the teen were either by obtaining consent of the boy's father - not happening - or from Isaac, himself.

"When are you bringing him to the Embassy," the rescuers asked.

"We're not allowed to say," the US officials answered.

"Where are you bringing him from?"

"Not going to tell you."

Luckily, the group's Jamaican driver, Garfield, not only knew where the unmarked facility was located, but was familiar with the building's entrances and exits, as well. Leaving the younger Rabbi Wolbe at the main entrance, the others stationed themselves at a back entrance. Not too long after, Isaac, escorted by a team of Tranquility Bay guards, exited the building's back entrance, recognized the elder Rabbi Wolbe and made a break for it.

After a few moments of tearful hugs, Isaac readily agreed to discuss all details of his dreadful experience at the camp. According to one account, members of the New York team and the Embassy cried uncontrollably as Isaac recounted the events of his stay at Tranquility Bay. In one of the easier diagnoses of his career, Dr. Pelcovitz confirmed that Isaac had been physically and mentally abused at the camp.

Michael Hersh / Rabbi Aharon Schecter/Steve Mostofsky

In the meantime, Tzvi Gluck became acutely aware of two obstacles preventing the final pieces of Isaac's rescue mission. First, the passports of all four members of the rescue team were suspended. Both Michael Hersh and his lawyer, Shlomo Mostofsky have since claimed that they knew nothing of the suspended passports.

When contacted for this story, Mostavsky, who also serves as President for the National Council of Young Israel, declined comment.

Aside from being temporarily stuck in Central America, the second problem incurred by the team was that Isaac, according to US regulations, could not be released from Tranquility Bay unless authorized by his father.

The first issue proved not to be a much of a problem. After a few phone calls to higher-ups that included the likes of Sen. Hillary Clinton, holds on all passports were quickly removed.

The second hurdle was trickier. Members of the Embassy urged the group to continue their fight in the courtroom. After all, now that Dr. Pelcovitz had thoroughly analyzed the teen, relieving Isaac from his parents' custody seemed merely a formality. Yet, with the boy's testimony reverberating in his mind, Dr. Pelcovitz believed he could not remain in Jamaica one minute longer.

With considerable help, Dr. Pelcovitz made contact with Mr. Hersh, his lawyer, and local renowned rabbinic authority, to plead on the boy's behalf. Finally, after deliberation with his gedolim and lawyers, Michael Hersh relented. All parties agreed that there would be ample time to fight a custody battle after Isaac returned to American soil at an undisclosed location.

The rescue team prepared to depart Jamaica with one extra passenger the same day they had arrived, at 11:30 p.m.

As they fastened their seatbelts, the Rabbis Wolbe gazed at the child whom they were starting to believe they would never see again. Seated nearby, knowing that his line of work provides few opportunities for joyful tears, the trauma expert tried his best to take in the moment while the investment banker who doubles as a professional askan planned his next adventure.

And with a cell phone attached to his ear, sixteen year-old Isaac Hersh spoke to his grandparents, themselves survivors of a Holocaust over 60 years ago, for the first time in almost a year.

"Zayde, now we're all survivors." Isaac cried.

And some of us are superheroes.

Naomi Ragen on Rabbi Elior Chen - Is this a case of Ritual Abuse?

Ritual Abuse is an extreme sadistic form of abuse of children and non-consenting adults. It is methodical, systematic sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse, which often includes mind control, torture, and highly illegal and immoral activities such as murder, child pornography and prostitution. The abuse is justified by a religious or political ideology.


On the cover of yesterday's newspaper, Yediot Acharonot, is a photo of hammers, knives, guns, turpentine, and heaters all of which - according to the newspaper -were used to torture small children allegedly at the behest of a so-called haredi Rabbi, Elior Chen.

According to the article, a four year old is in the hospital with irreversible brain damage from one of Chen's "hassidim", David Kugman. Chen and Kugman have fled the country and are now
in Canada, along with at least one family of Chen's "hassidim," the family of Joseph Fisher. Chen is suspected of leading a cult that believed that torturing children would remove the "devil" from them. The removal of the devil, according to notebooks found in Chen's apartment filled with his instructions, included force-feeding toddlers drinks of alcohol and turpentine.

Making them eat feces. Forcing them against electric heaters until their skin turned black then pouring alcohol on the wounds. Stuffing their mouths with skullcaps and taping them closed, and then zipping them into suitcases for days. Leaving stones on the Shabbat "blech"all day and then placing the stones on the tender skin of these babies.

The following is excerpted from an article in Haaretz on April 8 by Uri Blau, Yair Ettinger, Jonathan Lis and Ofra Edelman:

"Chen may be meeting other members of the sect in Canada, where the family of one of the members lives, according to a friend of Chen's who is familiar with the group but doesn't belong to it. The friend said Chen fled with Joseph Fisher, whose name was not mentioned in an indictment filed yesterday against the mother of the children suspected of being abused by Chen's followers. The remand of the mother was extended Sunday until April 14.

Two of the family's eight children, aged 4 and 5, were hospitalized in serious condition two weeks ago, after Chen allegedly ordered two of his followers to discipline the children by beating, burning, pushing and shaking them, and tying them up as a way of "correcting" their behavior.

The 4-year-old remains in a coma. Police suspect that Chen's supporters also doused the children in hot and cold water and broke their bones with hammers and blows. The mother was charged with forcing the children to eat feces, beating them unconscious and locking them up in a suitcase for three days.

Jerusalem police also arrested an additional suspect in the case, and have issued a gag order regarding his identity. The Magistrate's Court extended his remand by five days.

Chen and three of his supporters allegedly began providing the family with "educational lessons" several months ago. They allegedly kicked the father out of his home and began abusing several of the family's eight children, especially the two youngest.

Chen and Fisher left the country legally, and their exit was registered at border control. Afterward, their wives and children went into hiding. The Fisher apartment has been cleared out and its contents have been placed in storage.

Police said they do not know the location of Chen's and Fisher's families, but Chen's friend said they were hoping to go to Canada as well and may have already left the country.

Chen and his supporters chose Canada in part, the source said, because "the extradition law is tough" there. "Only in very exceptional cases does Canada extradite," he said. "

All families with children involved in this cult are IN IMMINENT DANGER if even a fraction of these allegations turn out to be true. The people involved all dress as haredi Jews and are most likely to live in a haredi neighborhood. Other members of the cult are still in Israel. Please keep your eyes and ears open and report anything that might be helpful to the authorities. The heart weeps and the heart cannot fathom such cruelty. As former Chief Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau said: "Judaism cannot justify the tears of helpless child...I call on every mother in Israel to recognize that not every person who wraps himself in the title of Rabbi is deserving of thier title... Is the terror of a mother towards her children any different from a terrorist who spills innocent blood?"

This is the worst case of child abuse in Israeli history. Even the police are in shock.

-- Naomi Ragen

Monday, April 07, 2008

Message to Isaac Hersh From A Survivor of Physical and Emotional Abuse

The following letter was sent anonymously.
Isaac Hersh
I'm worried about Isaac Hersh
Is no news good news?

By Anonymous

As a child I was severely abused in my home until the time I was placed in foster care. I know first hand the terror that goes on day after day, never knowing what will come next. I remember feeling so desperate that I attempted suicide.

I can't stop thinking about Isaac Hersh and what he must have gone through while he was imprisoned at Tranquility Bay. I'm so concerned for him because I've read on line that he is still not safe. That Isaac is not with the family in Texas who seems to love and care for him. If I was him I think I might have my moments that I might loose hope of ever being free.

I haven't heard any concrete information on how Isaac Hersh is doing? I've read on blogs his current foster parents are very much hooked into the system that help land Isaac at Tranquility Bay.

I've heard rumors that he is awaiting a psychological consult so that the judge will determine which is the best place for Isaac to live. If the judge reads this, please free Isaac. Let him go back down to Texas.

I personally know what it's like to be waiting and waiting for your life to become stable. To be in an environment that is safe, free of emotional and physical harm. I can only imagine what Isaac is going through.

I loved my parents. Part of me always wanted to be with them. While I was growing up I always dreamed of going back home. My fantasy was that my parents would be loving and kind. They would be like the parents in the "Brady Bunch." There have been many times I tried to go back home. Each time I ended up getting hurt. Now that I'm in my thirties I still can't go back home. To this day my parents try to manipulate me and as of last year was physically abusive towards me.

I don't trust that Dr. David Pelcovitz is looking after Isaac Hersh's best interest. I think he's more interested in the political game that the rabbis are playing. I also don't trust anyone except for the foster parent who went down to free Isaac. I look at that rabbi as being a real mench. I just hope he doesn't try to make Isaac frum, unless that's something Isaac wants for himself. Isaac needs to figure out for himself who he is and what he believes without any pressure from the outside. He needs a lot of time to heal.

Isaac, if you read this message, please know that you are not alone. I pray for you every day. Like many of us, we only want you to know freedom and for you to live in a nonviolent, kind and loving world.