Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sinead O'Connor - War on Child Abuse

Watch on YouTube.  The real enemy is any person who enables sexual predators to continue molesting and or covers up the crimes.  This aired on Saturday Night Live back in 1992


Sinead O'Connor - War on Child Abuse





Until the philosophy,
Which holds one race superior
And another inferior,
Is finally and permanently
Discredited and abandoned,
Everywhere is war.

Until there is no longer first class
Or second class citizens of any nation.
Until the color of a man's skin,
Is of no more significance then
The color of his eyes,
I've got to say "war".

That until the basic human rights,
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race,
I'll say "war"

Until that day the dream of lasting peace,
World-citizenship and the rule of
International morality will remain
Just a fleeting illusion to be pursued,
But never obtained.
And everywhere is war.

Until the ignoble and unhappy regime
Which holds all of us through,
Child-abuse, yeah, child-abuse yeah,
Sub-human bondage has been toppled,
Utterly destroyed,
Everywhere is war.

War in the east,
War in the west,
War up north,
War down south,
There is war,
And the rumors of war.

Until that day,
There is no continent,
Which will know peace.

Children, children.

Fight!

We find it necessary.
We know we will win.
We have confidence in the victory
Of good over evil
Of good over evil
Of good over evil

Fight!


Vicki Polin Talks About Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community on Justice Interrupted.






March 28, 2010 -- As Passover begins this week Vicki Polin from the Awareness Center will be discussing how there is still an overwhelming rate of abuse in the Jewish Community. Also Dottie Laster and Logan Clarkwill explain how we are still being evaded by human traffickers.





Click here for more information on Justice Interrupted Radio Show

Justice Interrupted Radio - Sexual Abuse in Jewish Communities



Vicki Polin from the Awareness Center was a guest on Justice Interrupted Radio discussing how there is still an overwhelming rate of abuse in the Jewish Community.  The hosts were Prosecutor and Author, Robin Sax and Police Officer and Author Stacy Ditrich.

Click here to listen.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vicki Polin to Appear on Justice Interrupted - Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vicki Polin will appear on Internet Talk Radio Show 


Sunday, March 28, 2010  -   8:30 PM (Eastern time)


Justice Interrupted, is THE  Place for news, information, safety, and most importantly justice. Tune in weekly for our blogtalk radio program!

If you feel your case was a case of Justice Interrupted, and would like to feature it on our radio show, please send a request to: info@justiceinterrupted.com and put “Radio Show Request” in the subject line. Guests and cases are scheduled on a case-by-case review by Robin and Stacy to determine whether Justice Interrupted’s media outlet can help.


About Justice Interrupted
Are you or a loved one a crime victim who feels your case has been forgotten or handled poorly by the criminal justice system? Do you feel that the case was mishandled and the result and an injustice was done? Are you unfamiliar with the inner workings of the criminal justice system and need to know which direction to turn? Justice Interrupted may be able to help.
Robin Sax and Stacy Dittrich advocate for crime victims by utilizing the ever powerful media to bring cases the attention they deserve. Justice Interrupted has been credited with the denial of parole for a multiple murderer, the return of an abducted child, and many other cases that have faded away. No longer official investigators, they advocate, educate, and allow victims' voices to be heard.
Justice Interrupted has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, E! True Hollywood, and countless other cable networks and shows including, The Tyra Banks Show, The O’Reilly Factor, The Nancy Grace Show, Geraldo-At-Large, and Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell. They have provided expert opinions on hundreds of radio shows nationwide, and their commentary has appeared in print worldwide, in publications such as The New York Times, The U.K. Observer, The Boston Herald, SELF Magazine, Marie Claire, Women’s World and numerous others.
Accomplished authors, Robin and Stacy have written approximately 15 books on a variety of topics, including Robin’s bestselling book “Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Keep Kids Safe,” and Stacy’s take on murderous cops with “Murder Behind the Badge: True Stories of Cops Who Kill.”

Emotionally, Can I Do Pesach This Year?








The impact child abuse can have on survivors
© (2010) by Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC

With Pesach (Passover) less then a week away many Jewish incest survivors are faced with the dilemma of trying to figure out what they are going to do for the holiday.  For many survivors it’s much too dangerous to go home because they fear the risk of emotional and or physical harm. The truth is that other incest survivors may not even be invited home after confronting family members with their childhood abuse.
What I’m going to share with you is quite personal.  I also know that I am not the only one facing these sorts of dilemmas and for the sake of helping other’s I’m going to share my experience with you.  Please remember, if you are an incest survivor or a survivor of any other form of child abuse -- you are not alone, nor are you to blame for the physcial, emotional or sexual offenses committed against you as a child or as an adult.
I’ll be honest with you, I am one of those incest survivors who do not spend the holiday with my family.  I haven’t done so since I left my childhood home in my late teens.  
There have been many years where I would invite survivors who were my friends to my home and we would do a mock seder, using the Survivors Hagaddah. There were other years in which it was just too painful for me to even consider doing Pesach at all.  
Over the last ten years I did my best to reintroduce the holiday into my life.  I was fortunate enough to be included in seder’s at my rabbis’ home.  I’ll never forget the first year I was invited.  I was terrified to go.  You see, for me, Passover was a holiday that was filled with memories of abuse.  I couldn’t even imagine being a part of it, yet my rabbi heard my pain and listened to my memories of my childhood horror.  My rabbi told me that it would be OK, and that at any time I could leave -- but to just come to see what a “real orthodox seder” was like.  
Prior to going we went over everything that would happen, so that there were no surprises.  He also told me that I would be sitting up close to him, so that he would be there to keep me safe, just in case I got scared, and that at anytime I could pull him aside to talk with him.
I remember arriving for that first seder.  Many of his family members were there.  I felt out of place, yet everyone made me feel at home.  The seder itself was beautiful.  I had no idea that how beautiful the davening and bracha’s (prayers and blessings) could be, nor did I know that my rabbis family members were so gifted with their voices and the harmony was amazing.  I felt as if I was at a concert.
Each Passover since that first time I’ve been invited to my rabbis home.  Each year was filled with the same amount of stress and fear.  As much as I want to say that I’ve worked through my flashbacks of this holiday, some of the sadness and pain remain.
This year will be quite different for me.  You see, back in July I was assaulted by my rabbis brother.  I made a police report, charges were pressed and he was found guilty of second degree assault, forth degree sexual assault.  The judge gave the offender a slap on the hand with the sentence of PBJ (Probation Before Judgement).  Meaning, if the offender behaves, after a year the record disappears.
I was warned that if I made a police report against my offender, that my rabbi would have no other options but to severe ties with me.  It took me thirty-three days to make the police report.  I feared loosing the “family connection” I had with my rabbi and his family.  I was told by my rabbi “to find a way to heal without making a police report”.  I personally could not do that.  I went without sleep.  How could I not do what I’ve suggested other people do?  I also knew that if my rabbi’s sixty-four year old brother (who is a retired college professor and a man with rabbinic ordination) could assault me --  the odds were that he had assaulted other women in the past.  I feared he would do it again in the future.
I know my dilemma is one that is faced by many survivors of sex crimes.  I made the report and lost more then just friends.  I lost a family that made me feel safe enough to do Jewish holidays.  
As the days approach and Pesach is upon us, I realize the impact that the assault had on me once again.  This year I am not in the place to clean my home for the holiday, nor am I in a place to go to a seder.  I need to honor myself and do as I have told others -- that as Jewish survivors of incest we need to do what is necessary to survive.  We need to be good and kind to ourselves and if we are not in a place emotionally, that it’s OK.  I’m sure that in future years I’ll be able to reconnect, yet just as many other incest survivors  may decide -- this year I need to  honor and respect myself and the freedom I have to choose.


Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC is the founder and director of The Awareness Center, which is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with over twenty-five years of experience working in the sexual trauma field. 


Also see:


Monday, March 22, 2010

Welcome to New Square

Welcome to New Square
(AKA: New Skvere)
By Vicki Polin
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter -  March 22, 2010
(© 2000) Photographed by Vicki Polin

Early in 2000 I was visiting a friend in New York.  At the time I was newly religious and so my friend wanted to take me on a tour of New Square, NY (AKA: New Skvere).  

Just outside of the town line, my friend pointed out the following sign to me.  I was in a state of shock.  I understood that in Israel it was common place to have signs like this when entering ultra-orthodox communities, yet this sign was placed on a street in the United States of America.  I had no idea it was legal for a community in New York to put these types of restrictions on women.  Besides the dress code, it was also very much frowned upon for women to be driving a car.  Because we were two women and here was no male in the car, it was "more" permissible. 

Considering the signs below, may make it easier to understand how sexual predators can get away with their offending frenzy within this community.  It's all a part of understand the mindset of this chasidic town.  


Also see: 




Monday, March 15, 2010

How to find out if your therapist is licensed.

Over the years survivors have asked me how can you check to see if the psychotherapist they are seeing is licensed or not.  As you may be aware there are times various individuals state they hold degrees and licenses in which they have never acquired. Almost every state has an online site in which you can check.  In most states to call yourself a social worker, you must be licensed, the same as a counselor or a psychologist.  Below are a few of the state sites, in which many Jewish survivors reside.

Arizona

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Case of Rabbi Nachman Stella

Case of Rabbi Nachem Stella

Tel Aviv, Israel

  
Rabbi Nachem Stella was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison on sexual assault charges.  He fled Israel and was later extradited back.

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Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents:  

2010
  1. Know thy neighbor (03/14/2010)

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13 years in prison pedophile who had fled abroad extradited
Yoav Zeitoun
YNET - March 14, 2010
Translated using Google original Hebrew below

Judges sharply criticized the court ruling in favor of Rabbis Nachman Stl testified, he fled abroad after being convicted of sodomy performed on Ben 14: "Do not damage their community who is vulnerable?"


Nachman Stella pedophile, he fled to Britain after being convicted of carrying a boy sodomy 14, was sentenced today (Sunday) to 13 years imprisonment.Stl, was extradited to Israel in July last year, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexual assault a year in prison on the escape. The court ruling sharply District Court judges in Tel - Aviv criticized the rabbis, who testified in his defense.

Legal proceedings in the case began a decade ago, Stella was accused of performing sodomy boy drove him, in his work. According to the indictment, the defendant fondled a number of occasions the boy's bottom, and one of the two study trips in his car, he stopped at a bench, a quiet place, despite the opposition of the boy who cried, committed an act of sodomy.

Then the boy gave Stl 200 shekels, and ordered him not to tell anyone about it. Finally broke the boy, telling the exploits of the accused rabbi school where he studied. The boy had the courage, backed by Rabbi eventually testified about it in court, complaining against the police Stl. In 2000, the defendant fled from Belgium, and following the indictment that was canceled. New charges filed in 2005 on his return to Israel, a year later he escaped again and this time Britain.

The judges, headed by Judge George Read, sharply criticized the defense witnesses, including defendant's wife and father, a community of South Tottenham London, Rabbi Michael Bibrfld, and Rabbi Yosef Kreuzh - serves as a supervisor meetings Mea Shearim neighborhood in Jerusalem.Four in court showered praise on Stl. "There was no problem with him, was perfectly normal activity," said Rabbi London. Rabbi Kreuzh added: "I wish to feel sorry for the woman and nine children. Told me that he regrets and should help him". The father added: "My son is a wonderful man, one of the saws. However diminished since 1990. The father of the accused and his lawyer argued in court that in 1997 took Stl raising his head, causing distortions in the face boots.

Sentence written on the defense witnesses, "All the witnesses actually saw defendant and his family 'victim'. Yes tried various witnesses described the defendant as an answer.

How one of the witnesses did not address the complainant, the only real victim?

Distinguished rabbis actually expected to take even one word about the crimes committed - by the defendant. Why are viewing the mercy of the court, as they do not express any pity or minimal reference to the complainant ". More judges wrote:" Is actually the same rabbis were to ignore the menace posed by the defendant? Do not damage their community who is vulnerable? "

Later the judges attacked the practical Stl: "The defendant used the plaintiff's innocence and select it to fill the wants and Ustiotio. Defendant lured the complainant not once, not two. Everything had to be easy prey.Besides sentence, the judges ordered the defendant to compensate the victim in 50 thousand shekels.

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 ORIGINAL HEBREW 
    
13 שנות מאסר לפדופיל שנמלט לחו"ל והוסגר
השופטים מתחו בגזר הדין ביקורת על רבנים שהעידו לטובת נחמן סטל, שנמלט לחו"ל לאחר שהורשע בביצוע מעשה סדום בבן 14: "האם פגיעה במי שאינם מקהילתם אינה פגיעה?"
יואב זיתון
פורסם:     14.03.10, 17:49

הפדופיל נחמן סטל, שנמלט לבריטניה לאחר שהורשע בביצוע מעשה סדום בנער בן 14, נידון היום (א') ל-13 שנות מאסר בפועל. סטל, שהוסגר לישראל בחודש יולי אשתקד, נידון ל-12 שנות מאסר על התקיפה המינית ושנת מאסר על הבריחה. בגזר הדין מתחו השופטים בבית המשפט המחוזי בתל-אביב ביקורת על רבנים, שהעידו להגנתו.  

ההליכים המשפטיים בפרשה החלו כבר לפני עשור, כשסטל הואשם בביצוע מעשה סדום בנער אותו הסיע, במסגרת עבודתו. לפי כתב האישום, הנאשם ליטף במספר הזדמנויות רב את ישבנו של הנער, ובאחת מנסיעות העבודה של השניים ברכבו, הוא עצר ליד ספסל, במקום שקט, ולמרות התנגדותו של הנער שבכה, ביצע בו מעשה סדום.

לאחר מכן נתן סטל לנער 200 שקל, והורה לו לא לספר על כך לאיש. בסופו של דבר נשבר הנער, וסיפר על מעלליו של הנאשם לרב בית הספר בו למד. הנער אזר אומץ, ובגיבוי הרב שבסופו של דבר העיד על כך בבית המשפט, התלונן נגד סטל במשטרה. בשנת 2000 נמלט הנאשם מארץ לבלגיה, ובעקבות כך בוטל כתב האישום. אישום חדש הוגש ב-2005 עם שובו ארצה, ושנה לאחר מכן הוא נמלט שוב והפעם לבריטניה.

השופטים, בראשות השופט ג'ורג' קרא, מתחו ביקורת קשה על עדי ההגנה, בהם אשתו ואביו של הנאשם, רב קהילת דרום טוטנהאם בלונדון, הרב מיכאל ביברפלד, ועל הרב יוסף קרויזה - המשמש כמפקח ישיבות בשכונת מאה שערים בירושלים. הארבעה הרעיפו שבחים בבית המשפט על סטל. "לא היתה איתו שום בעיה, פעילותו הייתה נורמלית לחלוטין", אמר הרב הלונדוני. הרב קרויזה הוסיף: "אני מבקש לרחם על האשה ותשעת הילדים. נאמר לי שהוא מתחרט וצריך לעזור לו". האב הוסיף: "בני הוא בנאדם נפלא, אחד מבני המסורים. עם זאת חלה ירידה בתפקודו משנת 1990". האב ופרקליטו של הנאשם טענו בבית המשפט, כי בשנת 1997 לקה סטל בגידול בראשו, שגרם לעיוותים בפניו ובגפיו.

בגזר הדין נכתב על עדי ההגנה: "כל העדים ראו למעשה בנאשם ובמשפחתו 'כקורבן'. כן ניסו העדים השונים לתאר את הנאשם כ'בעל תשובה'.

 כיצד איש מהעדים לא התייחס למתלונן, הקורבן האמיתי והיחיד? מצופה דווקא מהרבנים הנכבדים להתייחס ולו במילה אחת לעבירות בוצעו על-ידי הנאשם. מדוע שיצפו הם לרחמי בית המשפט, בשעה שהם אינם מביעים כל רחמים או התייחסות מינימלית למתלונן". עוד כתבו השופטים: "האם דווקא אותם רבנים היו אמורים להתעלם מהסכנה לציבור הנשקפת מהנאשם? האם פגיעה במי שאינם מקהילתם אינה פגיעה?"

בהמשך תקפו השופטים את מעשי סטל: "הנאשם ניצל תמימותו של המתלונן ובחר בו למלא את מאוויו וסטיותיו. הנאשם פיתה את המתלונן לא פעם אחת ולא שתיים. הכל על מנת שיהיה לו כטרף קל". מלבד עונש המאסר, הורו השופטים לנאשם לפצות את הקורבן ב-50 אלף שקלים.
 

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Friday, March 12, 2010

WARNING: New tactic in war on sexual abuse

I feel the need to say that I have gotten many complaints about Support Orthodox Victims of Rape and Incest (SOVRI) which is listed as a resource in this article.

The issue is that they do NOT make hotline reports when they SUSPECT a child is at risk of harm. They say they don't because of confidentiality issues. The laws in NY are not the same as in other states. Unfortunately, until they change this policy The Awareness Center can not use them as a resource and suggests that those looking for help go
.   –– Vicki Polin

ALSO SEE:

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New tactic in war on sexual abuse - Voices of dignity
By Michael Orbach

The Jewish Star -
March 12, 2010/ 26 Adar 5770
 

Kal Holczler and Melanie Curtin, managing director of Voices of Dignity

A new organization is aiming for a softer edge in helping survivors of sexual abuse.

Much of the success of Voices of Dignity, as it will be known, will depend on the charisma of founder Kal Holczler, 27. With blue eyes and a trim beard, it seems like he would blend right into the pages of GQ, rather than the sordid world of abused children. The organization hopes to work in the Orthodox community to prevent sexual abuse from within. Their approach is based on Holczler’s own life.

Sitting in a Starbucks across the street from where the trial of Boruch Mordechai Lebovits ended with a conviction on March 9, Holczler told a story that has become now disturbingly familiar. The son of a prominent Chasidic family, he grew up in the town of New Square. As an adolescent he was sexually abused by a rabbi and then again by a community member close to New Square’s religious leader.

“He would drive [us] to the Refuah Health Center. He’d lock the door and go upstairs to one of the doctor’s office and do his duty…Over the last 40 years he has abused hundreds of people that I’m now in communication with,” Holczler explained. “I started running away when I was nine.”

Soon after, he was sent to the first of a number of yeshivas in Brooklyn and Monsey. Eventually, like so many other survivors of abuse, he fell into drugs and petty theft. He ended up in Israel on a program for troubled teens, but found he kept to the same pattern there. The head of the program was eventually sent to prison for molesting his own daughters.

“Those abusers, given the nature of the community, are usually the ones who are paying attention to us,” he related.
Holczler left Judaism completely for the next few years.

“I was selling drugs, stealing, trying to not remember what happened. I attempted suicide,” he said.

As his drug use intensified, friends and family convinced him to attend a drug rehabilitation program upstate. Newly sober, he met with rabbis who he said gave him a transformative experience.

“They showed me something I had never experienced: compassion and willingness to help people who have gone through sexual abuse or who come from traumatic experiences. Not just judging,” he said.

Holczler eventually returned to Israel, to Aish HaTorah, and took night classes to become a substance abuse counselor and began working with Jewish survivors of sexual abuse. He has spent the last few years working in different abuse programs in the United States. Phone calls from victims just like him kept on coming.
Six months ago, after hearing from a relative who was abused in New Square, Holczler returned to New York to found Voices of Dignity.

“It’s not the case that everyone in the Chasidic community wants to cover up sexual abuse,” he maintained. “That’s been put in the papers for the last year and a half. People in the Orthodox community are eager to deal with sexual abuse, even to put people in prison or to send them to treatment.”

He says that the community is hampered by a lack of knowledge about the prevalence of sexual abuse inside the community, as well as how to recognize and deal with it.

“People who have authority … are not even educated in what to look for and how it’s affecting people,” he said. “So far, [it’s] been my experience, if we can get them the funding and introduce the program they think they can implement then the chances are big.”

Voices of Dignity’s first goal is to coordinate pre-existing organizations inside the community. They arranged for an advertising campaign for Sovri Helpline as well as a new hotline number. They plan to work closely with the police, but said that for the community, wide-scale reporting of abuse is “a long way from that.”

“It’s heading in that direction,” he said. “If you have a critical mass when it is acceptable to talk about [sexual abuse], but not acceptable to keep it under the radar, then things will start changing.”

“Kal’s strength lies in his ability to work with such a broad array of people, from Chassidic to secular Jews, from professionals to at risk-teenagers, from law enforcement to victims,” said Asher Lipner, a psychologist in the Orthodox community. “He epitomizes the saying of the rabbis, ‘Who is the wise man? He who learns from every person.’”

So far, Holczler’s work has even brought him back to his own hometown where he met with the man who sexually abused him.

“The only remorse he showed was he was willing to pay to have it go away,” he said.
But, Holczler said, he’s not going anywhere.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ohel Gets New State Funding For Sex Abuse Awareness

OHEL DOES NOT MAKE HOTLINE REPORTS even though they are mandated by law!
Ohel Gets New State Funding For Sex Abuse Awareness

I seriously have problems with giving any organization funding where their policy is not to make hot-line reports when they suspect a child is at risk of harm.  I would much rather these funds go to one of the agencies associated with the New York Coalition Against Sexual Assault.  At least they are unbiased and have a proven track record.  They like all legitimate rape crisis center's staff have the education, experience and training to do this kind of work.  Like all legitimate rape crisis center's they are more then willing to work with any community, learn about the cultural issues and address them with out the payoffs and/or cover-ups of crimes which are committed by high ranking Jewish leaders, their family members or friends. Ohel does not deserve anymore funding, nor does any of the other politicians other cronies.
I say "NO MORE GAME PLAYING".  This is just more of the same BS with a new name.  -- Vicki Polin, Founder/Director - The Awareness Center

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New State Funding For Sex Abuse Awareness

by Adam DickterNew York Jewish Week - March 2, 2010
In the days before Gov. David Paterson’s already-embattled administration began to implode in an alleged cover-up scandal involving a top aide, Paterson reportedly agreed to allocate $500,000 to help identify and treat sex abuse victims in the Orthodox Jewish community, The Jewish Week has learned.
In the days before Gov. David Paterson’s already-embattled administration began to implode in an alleged cover-up scandal involving a top aide, Paterson reportedly agreed to allocate $500,000 to help identify and treat sex abuse victims in the Orthodox Jewish community, The Jewish Week has learned.

The funds were sought by Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and are to be administered by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, an agency that has experience with state contracts.


The money from the state’s Department of Children and Family Services, Hikind said, would be used to set up a new organization called Shomrei Yeladim — Hebrew for “guards of the children.” It would fund the creation of culturally sensitive education materials to be placed in yeshivas and other institutions as well as workshops dealing with combating the problem of pedophilia in the Orthodox community. The money would also fund counseling for abuse victims.


“This is a major campaign to educate everyone from teachers to parents and students with regard to sexual abuse,” said Hikind, who said further details of the program would be announced at a future press conference.

Hikind said the funding would represent the first time the state has directly allocated money for the problem of child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community.

Hikind has been outspoken on that issue, making it a frequent topic on his weekly radio show. But he has come under fire for collecting information on alleged molestation cases without turning it over to authorities, saying he was protecting the confidentiality of victims. Lawyers for one plaintiff in a civil case obtained information from Hikind by subpoena.

William Rapfogel, executive director of Met Council, said Monday that if the program is approved by the legislature and added to the budget, his office will be responsible for the paperwork.

“We will make sure all the milestones and performance guidelines are met,” said Rapfogel.

He said the program will primarily be implemented in Orthodox areas of Brooklyn such as Borough Park by an accredited social service agency, which has not yet been named.

“The current system does not have adequate materials,” Rapfogel said. “We also need money for cases and social service management for people to come forward [as a result of the materials]. We don’t know how many people will come forward.”

The potential funding comes as Brooklyn’s Orthodox community is struggling to deal with the pedophilia problem. A central debate has been over whether the community can effectively police the problem from within and fight the stigma faced by potential victims of reporting abuse to law enforcement.

In an indication that attitudes may be changing in the community on the issue, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office recently launched a hotline, called Kol Tzedek (Voice of Righteousness), whose goal is to urge potential victims to come forward to law enforcement.

Ben Hirsch, president of Survivors for Justice, a group that advocates for victims of sexual abuse in the Jewish community, said the funding was welcome, but that it should go to organizations with a track record of addressing this issue.

“We applaud Governor Paterson’s funding of programs aimed at addressing sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community and hope it presages the passage of the Child Victims Act,” said Hirsch in a statement, referring to a bill that would temporarily extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits related to sex crimes. 

“At the same time,” Hirsch continued, “we are left to wonder why funding is being directed to Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a very worthy organization but one with no connection to the issue of childhood sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community.”

Hirsch cited JSafe, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children and Jewish Survivors Network as examples of organizations that have been active on that topic.
“We find it frightening that a respected organization such as Met Council will be channeling this funding to large ‘licensed’ Brooklyn-based social services organizations with a history of protecting pedophiles and a total disregard for victims of childhood sexual abuse,” he said. “Established organizations don’t need more funding so they can create programs with nice-sounding names. Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to spread patronage on the backs of long-suffering victims and their families.”

“Frankly,” Hirsch concluded, “we’d prefer the money stayed in Albany instead of being sent to Brooklyn where it will likely further harm our long-suffering community.”
The organization that would implement the new program has not yet been named, but the leading social service provider in the area of abuse counseling is Borough Park-based Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services.

Ohel therapists treat survivors of sexual abuse and for years the organization ran a now-defunct offender treatment program as well, something for which it has come under fire. While some of those in the offender treatment program were mandated for treatment by the courts, others were coerced into treatment by rabbis and community leaders, who did not report them to the police.

Ohel is also a partner with Met Council in Kol Tzedek.

Another possible group that could implement the new program is Shalom Task Force, a rabbinically endorsed organization that deals with domestic violence in the Orthodox community. Its director of training is Lisa Goodman Twerski, the sister-in-law of Benzion Twerski, who served briefly on Hikind’s sex abuse task force but resigned citing pressure from members of his community and family.

Paterson’s press office did not respond to a request for comment on the funding at press time. In a statement relayed through a spokesperson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the funds were necessary even with the state facing a massive budget deficit.

“While these are very difficult financial times, it is critical that we fight for programs that help protect our children from terrible instances of childhood sexual abuse,” Silver said.

Hikind is a political ally of Paterson since the governor’s early days as a state senator, and prior to the announcement that Paterson would not seek election to a full-term this year, Hikind said he would have been on board to support the campaign.

Hikind said the meeting to finalize the deal took place when Paterson still intended to run for governor. n

Hella Winston contributed to this report.

The Real Story of Purim

I was very impressed with this short vort given by Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman that I wanted to share it with others who are survivors of sexual violence. I think you will find it both uplifting and inspiring. 
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Today is Tuesday the 16th of Adar 5770 and March 2, 2010

The Short Vort
The Real Story of Purim
By Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman

 My son was asking a riddle on Purim. The riddle, which of course was being told in jest, went as follows:
Why did Haman want to kill all the Jews if it was only Mordechai who was guilty of not standing in the presence of Haman?

The answer my son offered in jest was: Haman was not in the mood to receive 49,000 emails from Jews all over the world. It was therefore simpler to just kill all the Jews.
The reference which the riddle covertly refers to is of course the unfortunate episode of the execution of Mr. Martin Grossman which occurred the week before Purim and the attempt of Jewish leaders to rally 50,000 people to email the governor for a pardon.
If you find the riddle humorous or not is not my concern; if you involved yourself in the campaign on behalf of Mr. Grossman is also not germane to this Short Vort.
However, what is important is my son’s question.

Indeed, why did Haman want to kill all the Jews? After all, it was only Mordechai who was insubordinate to him? What was the reason Haman had to kill all the Jews?
I could not get the question out of mine the entire Purim and Shushan Purim.

I was aware and recognized that Chazal felt that this was indicative of the anti-Semitic attitude of Amalek and is a manifestation of the concept “Eisav Sonei Yakov”- Eisav hates Yakov (the Jewish people).

However, on a simple text level, why did Haman want to kill all the Jews?

Indeed, from the Megillah it seems clear that Mordechai was an individual with little if any popular support.

The verse states: All the royal officials at the king's gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. (3:2)

It seems clear that only Mordechai was not being compliant to Haman; why the need to kill all the Jews?
Let us take a step back and ask and even more basic question. What did Haman care so much that Mordechai refused to bow and kneel down to him?
Obviously the simple answer is that Haman feared that Mordechai’s insubordination could spread and ultimately undermine his power. However, if so, the question returns, why didn’t Haman just kill off Mordechai? If he was able to convince the king to obliterate an entire nation, he certainly should not have had much resistance on the part of Achashveirus to kill off one Jew; especially one who is so flagrantly disobeying the prime minister’s decrees!
Indeed, the decree had the backing of the king himself as the verse states:
2 All the royal officials at the king's gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. (3:2)
If so the question becomes stronger and stronger.

Why did Haman want, or need to kill off all the Jews?

Why not kill Mordechai himself and all would be fine?

The other Jews were not bothering Haman, indeed, they were subservient and docile, why mix them in?
Inside the Mind of Haman
The answer is the following.
Haman mixed in all the Jews to his hatred of Mordechai was not because Mordechai was an excuse to kill his real enemies; namely, all the Jews. No, quite the opposite; the reason Haman mixed in all the Jews was to cover up his real and only enemy, Mordechai. 

Meaning, Haman’s accusations against all the Jews were simply a smoke screen to get at his real and only enemy- Mordechai.
Please run that by me again.
Here we go.
Haman was using the Jewish people as a veil to conceal his true intent, namely to destroy and kill Mordechai; not the other way around.
I don’t get it.
If Haman only wanted to destroy Mordecai, why not kill him right away?

Why did Haman use the ruse of: "There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people and who do not obey the king's laws; it is not in the king's best interest to tolerate them. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them, and I will put ten thousand talents of silver into the royal treasury for the men who carry out this business."?

If his real intent was just to kill Mordechai, why not tell the king to kill Mordechai right away?
The answer is because Haman could not do that. The king would not have agreed.
Why not?
Let’s go back in time.

Haman and Mordechai were once both officers in the army of Achashveirus.

Achashveirus had distributed money for the officers. Haman- being a person who always needed immediate gratification- spent his money on his carnal needs right away. Later in the campaign when Haman was broke and needed bread, he came begging to Mordechai for his basic needs: bread and water.

Mordechai, who conserved and saved his provisions, would only agree to supply Haman with his needs if Haman would agree to enslave himself to Mordechai. Haman agreed and even signed a document testifying to the sale. (Yalkut Shemoni; Esther; Remez 1,056)
Therefore, Mordechai was not being haughty or hubris-like by not bowing to Haman.

After all, as the Talmud teachers, ‘whatever a slave acquires, his master acquires’ (Pesachim 88b). Therefore, Mordechai was legally correct in not bowing to Haman.

Therefore Haman could never just ask Achashveirus to kill Mordechai (although eventually his irrational hatred would finally convince him to do just that- to his own demise).

If Haman would ask Achashveirus just to kill Mordechai, the king would ask why. Even a superficial investigation would reveal the deep dark secret of Haman; and Haman not Mordechai would be humiliated. Therefore, as any abuser of power and of people, Haman had to divert attention from himself by discrediting his intended victim and his victim’s family!

 By discrediting the entire Jewish people, Haman would be successfully diverting attention from himself, while simultaneously showing how Mordechai is a product of an entirely dysfunctional family unit that has to be destroyed.

This is why he claims: "There is a certain people dispersed and scattered among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom whose customs are different from those of all other people”; in other words, they are one big dysfunctional family unit!
Haman is the ultimate abuser.

 It makes no difference if the abuser is a pedophile, a wife beater, a controlling spouse or parent; the modus operandi is always identical.
The abuser realizes that the victim knows a secret evil which the abuser has committed.

In the case of Haman, he knew that Mordechai was aware of his sordid past as one who had squandered the king’s wages and that as he was not a respectable prime minister; but rather a despicable and lowly servant of Mordechai.
In a case of pedophilia, only the child knows that the ostensibly respected authority figure is in truth a lowly and basely beastly worthless low life; notwithstanding the abusers standing in the professional world.
In the case of spousal or child abuse, it is the spouse or child who knows the secret evil which the ‘respected’ spouse and or parent are perpetuating in the privacy of the home.
However, one thing is always the same as it was with Haman.

Just as Haman realized that in order to buttress his attack on Mordechai, he had to distract attention from his crimes through intimidation by discrediting his victim and the victim’s family by declaring the supposed dysfunctionality of the entire Jewish people, so does today’s pedophile attempt to distract attention from himself by claiming that the victim and/or their family are dysfunctional, strange and that they are the real criminals.
Although, Mordechai and the entire Jewish people were always loyal citizens to the crown, this did not deter Haman from claiming that Mordechai and indeed the entire Jewish people are ‘different’ from everyone else.
So too, the abuser will always attempt to discredit the victim and their family. By discrediting the victim’s family he hopes to silence his true enemy, the victim.
I can recall in dealing with various cases of abuse, how the abuser would attempt to discredit the victim’s family by claiming exaggerated and outright false accusations against the victim and their entire family.
This is nothing less then the evil legacy of Haman.
The case against the Jewish people was nothing more than the modern day’s abuser attempt to create a smoke screen which simultaneously attempts to deflect attention from the abuser and their hideous deeds and discredit the victim by defaming the family of the victim.
However, ultimately, Haman is undone by himself. Ultimately, Haman cannot even wait until Adar when- by order of the king- he and everyone will be allowed to kill the Jews.

After Haman sees Mordechai once more he is filled with rage and anger. Let’s see the episode inside the Megillah:
9 Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king's gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai. 10 Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home. 
 
      Calling together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 
11 Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. 12 "And that's not all," Haman added. "I'm the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow. 13 But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate."

 14 His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy." This suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the gallows built. (Chapter five)

Haman states: But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king's gate”.
Why is that? Why is that “all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordechai sitting at the king’s gate”? This is strange; after all, Mordechai would have been wiped out based on the king’s decree that all Jews will be killed by Adar. Why couldn’t Haman let matters take their natural course and wait until the following Adar when Mordechai will be killed along with the other Jews?
The answer is found in the words: “as long as I see that Jew Mordechai sitting at the king’s gate”.

As long as Mordechai was seen by Haman, Haman could no longer contain himself for even one more day. Why not?

Mordechai represents the deep dark secret of Haman.

Mordechai who represents the ‘victim’ is the only person on the face of the Earth who knows about Haman’s murky past. He is the only one who stands in the way of his further climb on the ladder of power and fame. As long as Mordechai is alive and well, Haman the abuser is never safe. He cannot claim he is great, wonderful and honorable without being contested. As long as that one person is still alive and well, Haman’s plans for grandeur could be stifled at any minute. Mordechai must be silenced and must be silenced today!

Although Haman had hoped by discrediting and destroying the entire Jewish people, Mordechai would also be destroyed; he could not wait the eleven months, his evil mind would not let him rest.
This is the typical of the pedophile and of the abuser. When attempts at distracting attention from the crime by discrediting the family are not sufficient, the abuser becomes a caged animal who will stop at nothing to destroy his prey.

However, these efforts at destroying Mordechai were ultimately what led to the downfall of Haman; as on the exact tree which he prepared for Mordechai he was hung.

So too as well, last ditch attempts by abusers to destroy the credibility of the victims will be their undoing.

I recall the historic event we had at the Shul on Erev Yom Kippur when brave victims of abuse stood up and declared unabashedly"Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?"

 6 Esther said, "The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman."(7:5, 6)-
 After the event there were those who attempted to protect the abusers. They called me and ‘reported’ to me how this victim is ‘unstable’ and that victim is ‘not normal’. However, as time has gone on, it has become clearer and clearer that everyone was indeed telling the truth and it was those who deny that such things are going on who were wrong.

These last ditch attempt by the abuser or by his cohorts to destroy the victim will ultimately be their own demise as it was with Haman.

At the end of the day, truth and tzedek, justice will reign.

Just as the Megillah ends on a happy note with Haman’s demise and Mordechai’s elevation, so too we daven that all abusers will be eliminated from our midst and the true victims will one day receive the recognition they truly deserve.