|Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau - Alleged Sex Offender|
Instructor, Ner Israel Rabbinical College and High School, - Baltimore, MD
If you or anyone you know were sexually victimized by Isaac Neuberger and are looking for resources, please feel free to contact The Awareness Center and or your local rape crisis center.
- Mrs. Goldberger is the sister of Mrs. Eisgrau
- Rabbi Moses Eiseman is a cousin to Rabbi Moshe Eiseman
Table of Contents:
- Letter from A concerned member of the Baltimore community (11/09/2004)
- A Story of Survival - Surviving Incest (05/16/2005)
- The Day The Torah Was Molested (01/21/2005)
- The Day G-d was Excommunicated (01/17/2005)
- Dear Famiy by Eliezer Eisgrau's Daughter (07/10/2006)
- Eisgrau's Daughter Talks About Shmuel Juravel (08/01/2006)
- Message from the Son-In-Law of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau (09/30/2006)
- Awareness Center a clearinghouse of concern — and controversy (01/10/2007)
- Call To Action
- CALL TO ACTION: Allowing A Survivor Civil Rights - Awareness and Education
- Testimony Provided at Maryland Senate Hearing on SB575 (03/01/2007)
- Regarding R'Yisroel Meir Lau (12/01/2007)
- CALL TO ACTION: Calling for the ethical treatment of the daughter of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau. (12/31/2007)
- Breaking the code of silence (02/20/2013)
Other Related Cases:
- Case of Rabbi Moshe Eisemann
- Eisemann Family Tree
- Case of Aron Goldberger
- Case of Shmuel Juravel (AKA: Samuel Juravel)
- Case of Stanley Levitt
- Case of Rabbi Yaakov Menken
- Case of Rabbi Isaac Neuberger, JD
- Case of Rabbi Aron Tendler
- Case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
- Case of Rabbi Matis Weinberg
|Rabbi Elieizer Eisgrau|
Just under six years ago Rabbi Eisgrau's daughter called Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer asking him to remove the decree. Unfortunately, Hopfer could not remember why he made the decree, yet stated he must have had a good reason to have made his decision and decided to continue to stand behind his ignorance and deny the daughter the right to communicate with her siblings.
|Torah Institute of Baltimore|
|Entrance to The Torah Institute of Baltimore|
|Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau|
A Story of Survival - Surviving Incest
|Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau and Rabbi Boruch Neuberger|
|Aviva Weisbord, Phd|
The Day G-d was Excommunicated
- How can they be such hypocrites?
- Are they so full of their own power-trip that they are in denial?
- Are their hearts hardened like Pharoah?
- Do the molesters and their protectors know the extent of their sins?
- Are they sorry?
- Do they even doubt themselves ever as normal human beings do?
CALL TO ACTION: Allowing A Survivor Civil Rights - Awareness and Education
- Do you think that The Awareness Center should ask everyone to boycott the Baltimore Jewish Times?
- Do you think we should encourage everyone to purchase a subscription and send letters as a subscriber to demand they start writing about sex crimes in the Baltimore community?
- Or can you think of other pro-active methods that can be utilized?
From: VICKIPOLIN@ aol.com
Dear Mr. Rubin,
From: Neil Rubin
Thank you Vicki. I believe we posted the whole thing at our website over the course of a week.
All the best,
From: VICKIPOLIN@ aol.com
Thanks for letting me know. I've only been able to find one of the articles.
Our links are unfortunately not in great shape right now. But I will check.
-N (Neil Rubin)
The reality is that the Baltimore Jewish Times has not written anything about our organization since 2002. I am fully aware that your paper has repeatedly written articles about other Baltimore organization more then once.
Considering a few of the articles mention our organization, it seems fair enough to believe you would want your readers to fully understand they dynamics of what's going on when it comes to those who advocate for survivors. Do you mind letting me know why you feel the need to delete it from the series? I wonder if it's because it mentions the case of Mordecai Tendler. I am aware there are several of his relatives who live in this community. I also want to know if it is because the article quotes me as saying someone in the Jewish community of Baltimore spit in my face?
We don't have room in print. The paper is smaller than it used to be due to what' s happening in the industry. If we had room, we could. We also didn't print JTA's series on the need for new rabbis, on the changes in Latin American Jewry, on GM's relationship with Nazis, on the Israeli-Jordanian partnership, etc.
Rest assured that we are not going to cover every issue that is important to everyone simply because we can't.
I'm comfortable with what we've done.
When it is your frum parents who are molesting and torturing you and no one notices or helps, it breaks something inside of you. The psychological pain is indescribable. You cease to exist. Your ego and identity are shattered. No matter how hard you work to move past it and live a normal life, your sense of trust in people, in the Torah, and Hashem, is never completely healed. You can not morn your lost family, your lost childhood, and lost self, like a holocaust survivor can. You can't even talk about your experiences without people doubting and questioning your memories. Most people who you tell beg you to deny...They plead with you to recant...They can not let you rock their world in this way. They can not begin to question their faith in Rabbonim and in Daas Torah. You must be crazy. You must be wrong. You wish with every ounce of your being that you could agree with them..
... If only I had lost my family in the holocaust and not in this cruel confusing way, I could cry aloud and people would cry with me! They would understand my grief, anger, and pain and my need to talk about it. Instead I sit an endless shiva in secret isolation. No one really wants to listen or to believe me. I sit in a shiva of shame. I cry alone.
There are people who deny that the holocaust ever happened, and we are incredulous. We personally know survivors! How can they be so evil? Are frum people who deny the personal holocaust of any survivor of sexual abuse any different? What they are doing is cruel. What they are doing is wrong.
CALL TO ACTION: Calling for the ethical treatment of the daughter of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau.
STANELY Z LEVITT
Examiner - JULY 15, 2012
BY: VICKI POLIN
Baltimore, MD -- Last week Rabbi Moshe Hauer released a letter which included a photograph of Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt in hopes of protecting unsuspected children from harm. Rabbi Levitt was arrested back in 2009 in Boston and charged with sexually abusing students at a Jewish day school more then 30 years ago. Jury selection on Levitt criminal case begins on July 30, 2012 at the Suffolk County Superior Courthouse in Boston. Stanley Levitt currently resides in northeast Philadelphia, but also maintains a residence in Baltimore, MD
According to Hauer’s letter, Levitt is not allowed in any orthodox synagogue except for Shearith Israel Congregation (also known as the Glenn Ave. Shul), which is under the leadership ofRabbi Yaakov Hopfer. The letter continued by assuring the Baltimore community that Stanley Levitt would be closely monitored when going in the hallways and or the restroom, that he was mandated to be accompanied by another adult. Due to the seriousness of the allegations pending against Levitt in Boston, he is not allowed to get into any in synagogue service such as reading a Torah portion, saying any blessings to the congregation, etc. This is an amazing unprecedented response to be getting from the ultra-orthodox community in Baltimore.
View slideshow: Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt
Video: Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer - Child Molester Enabler
Several community members in the Baltimore orthodox community voiced their concerns regarding the fact that Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer is in charge of monitoring Levitt. His synagogue has been known to be a harbor for other alleged and convicted sex offenders residing within the eruv (ultra-orthodox Jewish community) of Baltimore. In the past it has been reported that Rabbi Hopfer attempted to conduct his own investigations regarding allegations of sex crimes, instead of encouraging community members to make hotline and police reports. One such case in which many believe there was an obstruction of justice is the case of Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau, who is the principal of the Torah Institute (TI) of Baltimore. Allegations arouse several years ago that Eisgrau had allegedly molested his daughter. When a police detective attempted to investigate the case he was told that no one knew who Eisgrau or his daughter was. A reliable source stated that community members were instructed by rabbi Hopfer along with other members of the Vaad of Baltimore (Jewish religious court) not to assist law enforcement officials in this matter. The fear was that letting the rest of the world know that problems like this existed in the charedi world, could bring on another pogrom or holocaust.
Recently, a Hillel rabbi from Baltimore came into possession of a Torah (Jewish bible) from the holocaust. He was looking for someone who was trained to repair the scroll. Rabbi Stanley Levittis a trained sofer stam (scribe) and had the qualifications needed to do the repairs. According to standard policies an individual who handles a Torah has to do so within the guidelines of purity, which includes going to a mikvah (ritual bath), prior to doing the work.
When Levitt applied to do the repairs on the holocaust Torah, he was interviewed three times prior to his application for the work was sent off the information to a Vaad in London (Jewish religious court). Immediately a member of the Vaad did a "Google search" of him, and learned of the allegations made against him along with the pending court case, which was found on The Awareness Center’s website. This was enough information for the Vaad to choose someone else to do the work.
Even though the Vaad of Baltimore has been aware of the allegations made against Levitt for several years it took the son of the Hillel rabbi to have the letter sent out by Hauer to be sent out. The truth is protecting children is everyone’s responsibility. According to Jewish law, every adult is a mandated reporter. If you suspect a child is at risk of harm, pick up the phone and call your local child abuse hotline. It is the only way to ensure that offenders are taken off the streets and that our children stand a chance at being safe.
Breaking the code of silence
Sexual abuse scandals are continuing to rock ultra-Orthodox community, as victims come forward
By Andrew Friedman
Jerusalem Post - February 20, 2013
The last time Nanette Eisgrau spoke to her father was in 1994. She was 19 years old, and her father – Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau, the principal of the Torah Institute of Baltimore – had found out she had been seeing a secular-trained (but Orthodox) therapist to deal with the emotional fallout from the sexual abuse, she says she endured as a child, inflicted by her father and maternal grandfather.
“My father forced me to perform oral and anal sex repeatedly between the ages of three and seven,” Eisgrau recounts to The Jerusalem Report during a conversation at her home in a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community in Israel. “My grandfather also exposed himself to me, and touched me in my private areas.
“But when I confronted my father about it, he threatened to sue the therapist I had been seeing. He said she had convinced me of things that never happened. There was no fatherly attempt to hear my pain or to try to work through the issue together, just total denial; and he blamed me for trying to ruin his life.”
Following the confrontation with her father, her siblings demanded that she stop “telling stories” in public; and when she refused, the family sought the advice of Rabbi Yakov Hopfer, a respected authority in Baltimore’s Orthodox community, but with no secular training as a psychologist or family counselor.
After brief conversations with Nanette Eisgrau and a psychiatrist who treated her for crisis management following a suicide attempt several years later, Hopfer determined that her accusations were baseless. He advised the family to cut off all contact with her, saying they had to choose between their father and sister – and he advised the community to do the same.
“I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder, but it was such a shanda [shame] for them, they just couldn’t deal with it,” she says now. “My mother continued to talk to me for a while after I was cut out – we even tried joint therapy together for a while after I tried to kill myself, but she denied that I had any baggage or any reason to be in treatment.
“What they have done to me since is a lot worse than even the original abuse. They cut me off in the most complete way I can imagine.
What’s even worse, I don’t think it’s only about me. They’ve made an example of me for the rest of the community to make sure that nobody else speaks out about abuse.”
When Manny Waks went public in July, 2011 with allegations that he had been repeatedly molested by staff members at Chabad’s Yeshiva College in Melbourne in the 1980s, the news sent tremors through the Australian Jewish community. Three years earlier, the community was scandalized by accusations that a female school principal from Melbourne’s ultra-Orthodox Adass community had sexually molested dozens of students, and that the community had closed ranks when police got wind of the story. Eventually, police believe, the woman was spirited quickly out of Australia to prevent legal authorities from launching a full-scale investigation.
Like in the Baltimore case, Waks informed rabbinical authorities of the abuse, but they, too, advised him not to seek professional counseling and forbade him from reporting the abuse to the police. And like Eisgrau, Waks, too, paid a heavy price for his decision to go public.
“I’m not observant anymore, so the rabbis don’t have terribly much power over me,” Waks tells The Report. “But they have tried hard to silence me by making my family suffer: My parents are 100 percent dedicated to Chabad and its teachings, but my father isn’t allowed to have analiya in shul anymore.
Several longtime study partners have abandoned him, either because they feel I have betrayed the community, or because they fear a backlash from the community for supporting my case.”
The Eisgrau and Waks cases are only two of a slew of sex scandals that have rocked Orthodox Jewish communities around the world in recent years.
In Israel, prominent Zionist rabbis such as Mordechai Elon and Shlomo Aviner have been accused of sexual misconduct; and in the United States, modern Orthodoxy’s flagship Yeshiva University was rocked last year by allegations that rabbis there had abused students in the 1980s, and that others had failed to report the abuse to police or child welfare authorities. And in January, both the massive 103-year prison sentence handed down against Nechemia Weberman, a member of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hassidic community who was convicted of abusing a teenage girl, and the reported rape of a five-year-old ultra- Orthodox girl in the Israeli town of Modi’in Illit, and the subsequent cover-up, sent shockwaves around the globe. But they, too, are just the tip of the iceberg.
Abuse and cover-up stories have been reported from Ramat Beit Shemesh to London, from Lithuanian-style yeshivas such as Baltimore’s Ner Yisrael and Melbourne’s Kollel Beth HaTalmud, from within Hassidic groups including Chabad and Satmar, and from elsewhere.
In Israel alone, support organizations that deal with sexual abuse receive thousands of requests for assistance from ultra- Orthodox communities every month.
According to Magen, a Beit Shemesh-based organization that focuses on preventing child abuse and encourages people to seek professional counseling and to report sexual offenses to civil authorities, there are strong cultural explanations for the fact that the vast majority of offenders do not get caught, but it isn’t because people don’t want to deal with this phenomenon.
“Nationally, about 2 percent of the population reports child sexual abuse cases to law enforcement officials,” David Morris, the group’s founder and chairman, tells The Report. “In the Orthodox world, that number appears to be far lower – in 2010, Beit Shemesh recorded the lowest proportion of abuse reports in the country, followed by Bnei Brak and Beitar Illit. There are several explanations for this, including strong social mores attached to sexual matters, and because of a strong social contract to deal with the issues facing the community ‘in house.’ “Traditionally, religious Jews really believed that sex abuse was just not a problem in ‘our’ communities, so strongly that any suggestion to the contrary was dismissed almost out of hand. That position is no longer tenable, and nobody who wants to appear serious would make that claim anymore.”
Morris adds that rabbis who are asked to adjudicate sexual abuse claims often have serious conflicts of interest with regard to those claims. “Some of this has to do with the multiple roles that a rabbi has in a religious community. Many times, an individual can serve as the principal of a school, the rabbi of a synagogue, the head of a local charity fund and a halakhic authority for the whole community.
So when a parent complains that his child has been abused, which of those authorities is receiving the complaint? Add in to the mix a strong desire on the part of the rabbinic establishment to maintain control of communal issues and you’ve got a recipe for at least the appearance of cover-ups,” Morris notes.
But, at the same time, Morris asserts that there are signs that grass-roots activity is beginning to combat the phenomenon. Not only have victim-support organizations cropped up in virtually every Orthodox community in the world, run by Orthodox lay people and mental health professionals, but Orthodox people themselves are taking advantage of their services.
Morris says that in 2011,the first full calendar year after Magen was founded, reporting from Beit Shemesh rose by 43 percent. In cold numbers, more than 200 victims of abuse have come forward to tell their stories, and they have identified more than 100 perpetrators, and there is an increasing trend to report abuse.
“There is a scourge that is affecting our communities and our children are at risk.
People are sick and tired of pretending these issues don’t exist, and they no longer have confidence that community rabbis can deal effectively with their problems on their own.
Community rabbis do have an important role in investigating these issues – they can calm down the community, can educate parents about child protection, encourage people to come forward, protect them from backlash and provide counseling for victims and families.
“People here are scared. They want abusers fired from their jobs as teachers and yeshiva rabbis, and they want criminals to go to jail. Moreover, people are saying loud and clear that they want professional help for their psychological trauma. More and more, people are saying ‘no’ to the suggestion that untrained rabbis can act in the place of trained social workers, mental health professionals and of police investigators.”
Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in Australia, and nowhere has it had more of a positive effect. Manny Waks says his pleas in the 1980s for help and justice went unheeded, and he says the current community leadership of Chabad continues to criticize him and to ostracize his family. But his campaign to encourage victims to break their silence has begun to bear fruit. Two of the individuals that Waks originally accused are now on trial in Melbourne, and multiple victims have stepped forward to testify in these cases.
Perhaps even more significant has been the response by Australia’s official rabbinical bodies. Whereas Waks says that Chabad officialdom has continued its “campaign of intimidation” against him and those who cooperate with him,” the Rabbinical Council of Victoria and other official rabbinical organizations, which are dominated by Chabad rabbis, have made a series of strong statements encouraging people to report sex crimes to the police.
Furthermore, there are signs down under, even from within Chabad circles, that previously held norms may be changing. Take for example the mid-February announcement that New South Wales police had opened an investigation into the Chabad-run Yeshiva Center in Sydney for alleged sexual abuse at the school in the 1970s and 80s. The day the investigation was announced, the yeshiva issued an official statement condemning the abuse and encouraging victims to report their experiences to the police.
While there is no question that instances of sexual abuse have skyrocketed in recent decades, mental health professionals are split when it comes to explaining the phenomenon.
One Israeli psychiatrist tells The Report that there was little hard data that would allow mental health professionals to draw up policy recommendations to combat the phenomenon.
The psychiatrist also points out that the details of abuse were different in the Orthodox world than in the general population. For instance, he notes, Orthodox abusers were more likely to molest boys than girls, probably due to the fact that they had fewer opportunities to abuse girls. He compares this phenomenon to prison: It is a well-known phenomenon that men engage in homosexual acts in jail not because they are gay but because men are the only sexual outlets available.
On the other hand, he also notes that in Orthodox societies, women are essentially exempt from much of the “benign” sexual harassment (such as inappropriate comments) to which women are often exposed in secular circles. Solid data on this topic was almost impossible to come by, says the doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noting that many of his patients are ultra-Orthodox and he did not want to compromise his ability to treat them.
What is clear, however, is that mental health professionals say sex abuse has reached “epidemic” proportions, in Israel and abroad. In Jerusalem alone, the Crisis Center for Religious Women has handled more than 72,000 cases since its establishment in 1992. According to Debbie Gross, the center’s founder and director, there isn’t a single community in Israel that has not been affected by this phenomenon.
There are many factors to explain why sexual abuse has grown so fast, Gross tells The Report. A major factor, she says, has nothing to do with Haredi social norms – pornography.
“Thirty years ago, when people went looking for pornography they found pictures of naked ladies,” Gross says. “That would almost qualify as family entertainment today.
The porn that’s out there today is violent; it features sex with animals and with children, and most of all, it is readily available. Sexuality, then, becomes identified with aggression and predatory behavior, and people can become addicted. Once that happens, they feel a need to act out the fantasies they’ve watched in pornographic movies.
“The second thing that’s changed is that in years gone by, no one talked about boys being victimized. So more often than not, their trauma went undiagnosed and untreated, and they in turn became abusers. So you might have had one person abuse 300 kids during a teaching career. If ‘only’ 10 percent of those victims grow up to be abusers, but each of children, you’re looking at a lot of people,” Gross says.
When trying to deal with this problem, experts are split on how the war against sexual abuse should be waged. Whereas Magen’s David Morris says that rabbis must be taught that they do not possess the skills or the knowledge to correctly ascertain on their own whether abuse has taken place, or the ability to treat victims of abuse, Gross feels it would be a mistake to lay all the blame at the feet of the rabbinical leadership.
“You cannot blame the rabbis alone,” she says. “How about we talk about the police and the media role in all this? I’ve accompanied many women to the police, helped them file complaints – only to read about their cases in the next day’s newspaper. True, the reports don’t reveal names, but they can feature so many details that it’s easy to figure out who the victim is. So victims walk away feeling violated again, and sorry that they’ve reported the issue.
“If we want victims of abuse to come forward, we have to create a situation in which his or her privacy will be totally respected.
That would go a long way towards encouraging people to speak up,” Gross says.
Gross adds that civil authorities in Israel and abroad must readjust their thinking if they are to craft policies that could seriously address the issue. “We tend to look at this issue as a criminal one, but I’d suggest that the correct way to look at it is as a health issue,” she says. “It’s an epidemic, like any other epidemic.
Compare sex abuse to swine flu: We were worried about a mass outbreak of swine flu, but health officials around the world took responsible measures to prevent it.
“Sex abuse is similar. I don’t believe we can stop it completely, but we can teach people how to build safer environments for children.
Our staff and volunteers have been giving workshops for Orthodox parents, teachers and school administrators all over the world.
We give them tools to make schools safer – for example, you’ve got to make sure there are teachers on duty at the boys’ bathroom every recess period. You’ve got to have teachers or parents patrol the school during break time and after school. Remember, predators do not want to get caught, and if they know people are watching, the chances go down that they’ll be able to abuse,” says Gross.
Although there are no signs that the epidemic is subsiding, there are signs that ultra- Orthodox communities are beginning to act.
One Haredi man who spoke to The Report on condition of anonymity said the issue of protecting children is a topic of conversation today in all parts of the ultra-Orthodox world.
Another said people are talking openly with their children in a way that they would never have done even five years ago.
The ultra-Orthodox establishment, too, has started to turn to professional organizations to deal with the phenomenon. Gross says she now gives regular workshops to rabbis and schools in all Haredi neighborhoods in Israel, at the behest of the communities themselves.
“Obviously, there is no more sensitive or painful subject for a community to deal with,” Gross says. “It’s taken religious communities a long time to wake up to the reality they are facing, but it’s happening. It is our responsibility to make sure there is an infrastructure in place to deal with problems when they arise, or even better – to create a situation in all communities in which sexual abuse simply cannot thrive. It’s a slow process, but I’d have to say that it’s happening.”
Rabbi Yakov Hopfer responds: “Ms. Nanette Eisgrau’s accusations were made known to police and local social services authorities at the time. She also consulted with many psychologists, none of whom took her seriously. At the time, I advised her siblings to maintain contact with her, and to be understanding and kind to a young woman who clearly had many problems. I also suggested that Ms.
Eisgrau attend therapy sessions – with a therapist of her choosing – with one of her sisters, and that they agree to follow whatever advice he or she gave. They went for that counseling, and the therapist strongly recommended that Ms. Eisgrau put her issues behind her and get on with her life. She refused,and only then did I advise the family to break off contact.
“Sexual abuse is a vitally serious issue, and I take these allegations very seriously.
Moreover, professionals in the state of Maryland are legally obligated to report abuse to the relevant authorities. This was done in this case, by more than one professional, and we have taken action in other cases where action was warranted.
But not all allegations are true.”