Monday, February 26, 2007

Regarding the case of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

 © (2007) by Vicki Polin

When I first created The Awareness Center I was inundated by calls from women from all over the world, who disclosed that they were sexually abused by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach . I also want to mention that these calls came right before his Yahrzeit.

The callers often described the internal pain they felt each year that their synagogues were having a special Carlebach Minyon in his honor. Several women disclosed that they quit being religious, quit going to shul. A few even converted to other faiths as a result of being sexually victimized by Carlebach.

I am from an unaffiliated background. I'll be honest with you, when the calls first started I had never heard of Shlomo Carlebach. I ended up asking various rabbis for background information on him.

I was told that Shlomo Carlebach was an artist . . . a musician. . . someone who was responsible for bring hundreds if not thousands back to Judaism.

Due to the number of neshema's (Jewish souls) he saved it was enough reason for him to deserved to be respected. These same rabbis all acknowledge that Shlomo Carlebach had a little problem with loving women a little too much.

When asked what that meant, I was told "boys will be boys -- you know how musicians are, etc." Basically many were giving him an excuse for practicing clergy sexual abuse (professional sexual misconduct).

Finally one rabbi said something that I believe explains the reason for the volume of calls.

"Vicki, you have to understand some of the facts. Shlomo traveled a great deal, he was a Kiruv worker (Jewish outreach worker). Let's say Shlomo was "with" one woman a week -- times that by forty years. So basically that would mean he would have been with 2,160 women."

"The problem is that Shlomo most likely had a sex addiction. Knowing Shlomo the odds are he was with at least one or two woman a day; that would mean he was with over 14,600 women."

I have no idea if this rabbi statement was correct, yet I do know that over the last five years I've gotten more calls from survivors of Shlomo Carlebach, then any other one alleged or convicted sex offender.

Each and every one of the women who have been sexually violated by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach have a right to have their voices heard. For that reason I am sharing Ariela's story with you. Please note there is no way to verify her words, yet they are consistent with what others have shared.

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