Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
(AKA: Chezi Goldberg, Scotty Goldberg)
|Chezi Goldberg - Rape Victim Advocate|
|Chezi Goldberg, murdered during a terrorist attack. Chezi was a cherished volunteer for The Awareness Center|
Articles by Chezi Goldberg on Childhood Sexual Abuse
- Commonly Asked Questions About Sexual Abuse (07/31/2002)
- Can Sex Offenders Ever Be Cured? (08/07/2002)
- Molested - Secrets That Come Back To Haunt (Part One) (09/25/2002)
- Secrets That Come Back To Haunt — Molestation — Intelligent Words From A Pained Inner Child (10/30/2002)
- A Haunting Story: A Man Shares His Trauma To Help Others (11/20/2002)
- It Doesn`t Matter Where I Have Been Or What I Have Done: From The Gutter, Hope Is Heard (11/27/2002)
- I May Not Be Around - A Molestation Victim Writes An Urgent Letter Asking For Help (03/25/2003)
- Readers React To Letter From Abuse Victim:`I Don`t Want Him To Die (04/09/2003)
- Letter From Molestation Victim Creates A Storm (04/21/2003)
- Letters And E-mails Keep Crossing Chezi`s Desk (04/30/2003)
- Teens: Despair Not, Don't Give Up (08/25/2003)
- Be Patient With Therapy (01/07/2004)
- Male molestation and rape in the Orthodox community (02/18/2004)
- If You Don't Cry, Who Will? (01/29/2004)
- [Reprint] Just Around the Corner (01/29/2004)
- Does it Really Happen? Sexual Abuse Of Men in the Orthodox community (2/25/2004)
- Chezi Goldberg Remembered For Devotion To Israel, Young People (02/04/2004)
- Yechezkel (Chezi) Goldberg, z``l (02/04/2004)
- Who will be their Lifeline? (02/05/2004)
- Toronto-born "street-angel" killed in bus bombing (02/05/2004)
- B'nai Brith holds vigil in memory of Goldberg (02/05/2004)
- Personal reflections on Yechezkel Goldberg's death - My family's pain (02/05/2004)
- `The pain of terrorism respects no borders" (02/05/2004)
- Envoy cancels condolence call (02/05/2004)
- Canadian envoy cancels West Bank condolence visit (02/06/2004)
- Canada denies snub to grieving family - Envoy didn't visit West Bank home Toronto-born man killed in bombing (02/06/2004)
- Government owes Chezi Goldberg's family an apology (02/12/2004)
- Public memorial for Chezi Goldberg,Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - 8 :00 PM (02/24/2004)
- Chezi Goldberg's family plans Purim campaign for Zaka (02/26/2004)
- 1200 "cry" for Chezi (03/11/2004)
- Silence No More (03/12/2004)
- Murder at the Hague (03/16/2004)
- Bus 19's Peaceful Future At Jewish Camp (03/10/2006)
- Letters to the Editor - Truly Missed (03/17/2006)
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Post - July 31, 2002
There is an old adage ``when it rains it pours.`` Based on the number of calls I have received recently about sexual abuse involving children, I decided to dedicate the column to this topic.
People have many preconceptions about sexual abuse. Furthermore, sexual abuse is an unpleasant matter which most people prefer to ignore.
I encourage people to educate themselves about sexual abuse — for their children`s sakes. Ignorance is not bliss. In my Jerusalem clinic, I see that, time and again, ignorance can lead to tragedy. Parents are constantly telling me, ``We really missed the signs,`` or ``I just thought she was exaggerating,`` or ``He was his favorite teacher, I simply cannot believe it`` and a multitude of other denials. The guilt that drowns the parents, emotionally, is devastating, especially if a parent feels that she/he could have prevented the misfortune from happening. Take the time to build your awareness. It could save your child`s life.
Educators and those heavily involved in youth work should also concern themselves with becoming knowledgeable in this troublesome area. As you will read further, schools and youth groups can be breeding grounds for sexual abuse perpetrated against children. By knowing the statistics, signs, symptoms and steps towards prevention, a professional on the front lines can be the crucial individual who identifies a problem and alerts the appropriate authorities.
What follows is a collection of most commonly asked questions about sexual abuse.
Why Do I Need To Know About Sexual Abuse And Abusers?
We need to know about sexual abuse because abuse of children is all around us in our homes and communities. One in five girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
Some laws have been created to notify the public about the sex offenders who have been convicted and released, requiring registration and sometimes notification of their communities. But most sexual abuse — nearly 85 percent — is never reported. The police and the courts can`t tell you about these sex offenders because they don`t know who the abuser is — but these may be people we know in our families and in our community. It is a frightening reality. In the Orthodox community, sensitivity to stigmas and privacy create an even greater veil of secrecy. The victims hide and the pedophiles roam freely unreported.
Kids should not be the ones to stop the abuse all by themselves. We can teach them to talk to us, but the child is still exposed to the abuse in some way. We adults have to learn to see when people are behaving inappropriately around our children. Many calls to our help line begin with someone telling us, "I may be over-reacting but..." and then describe a situation of possible sexual abuse. And adults need to learn what to do when we think a person is harming a child in a sexual way. There are many resources available today on the Internet and community based, which should be used to assist those who suspect sexual abuse.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse is sexual activity with a child by an adult, an adolescent, or an older child. When any adult engages in sexual activity with a child, that is child sexual abuse. When sexual activity involves another child or an adolescent, it is not always so clear. Some kinds of sexual behavior among children might be natural explorations rather than abuse. It is important to speak to a trained professional for clarity, if you are concerned and are finding it difficult to discern if activity between children is abuse or exploration.
Is Child Sexual Abuse Really That Big A Problem?
Statistics show that child sexual abuse occurs at an alarming rate. To repeat, at least one in five girls and one in seven boys have been sexually abused by the age of 18, according to most reliable studies of child sexual abuse in the United States. These statistics are pretty much consistent around the world. It is important to note that there have been cases in recent years that have hit the headlines where people in powerful educational and religious community positions exerted their power over youths in their charge.
Highly publicized cases such as the Baruch Lanner case in the Jewish community and the Catholic Church controversy that is still unraveling have brought the issue out of the closet. Those who work in the field know that these media cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Parents must be aware that child sexual abuse is a prevalent problem. Parents need to know what is happening in the real world. That knowledge, as repulsive as it is, motivates many parents to fully research sexual abuse as a step towards protecting and street-proofing their children.
Who Are These Abusers?
Sexual abusers are likely to be people we know, and could even be people we care about. It would be easy to figure out who the sexual abusers are if they were like the ones we see on TV — those strangers in trench coats hanging around the edges of playgrounds or the "monsters" who kill and mutilate children. Forget the dramatic imagery. Sexual abusers do not fit the stereotypical profile.
In 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows and trusts the person who commits the abuse. It`s hard to face that someone we know — and even like — might be a sexual abuser. However, the statistical data is accurate. Consider yourself warned. Most pedophiles are not lurking in the dark waiting to prey upon some young tyke. In fact, quite to the contrary, they tend to be people who your child is told to trust. I understand that this can be scandalous to consider. Do not turn a blind eye to this statistical reality. Pedophiles confess time and again how they exerted enormous energies building trust with their victims. The fact that pedophiles often operate in positions where they have influence and trust of parents and children is validated by the reality that pedophiles do not commit the crime once and stop. Child sex abusers repeatedly molest. Often, when cases do finally come to light, it is discovered that sexual abusers have indeed worked on whole groups of children in schools, communities and families. They are trusted and so, they continue to operate.
Are Men The Only People Who Sexually Abuse Children?
Those who sexually abuse children — the ones we know about and the ones we don`t — can be anyone in our lives. They are fathers, mothers, stepparents, grandparents, and other family members such as uncles, aunts and cousins. Child sex abusers are neighbors, babysitters, rabbis, ministers, teachers, coaches, or anyone else who has close contact with our children. Although more cases of sexual abuse by men are reported into the legal system, they do not hold a monopoly.
(To be continued)
Authors note: the column ``I Love Israel, I Love My Child`` is due a second follow-up column. Due to current events in Los Angeles and Toronto that dominated headlines including in the LifeLine column, the response column will follow after the series on Sexual Abuse concludes. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg is a Jerusalem counselor. In his clinic he deals extensively as a counselor for overseas yeshiva, seminary and university students in Israel. Contact information is 972-2-58-000-41. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Postal address: 13 Noam Elimelech St., Beitar Illit 99879, Israel.
Commonly Asked Questions About Sexual Abuse (Part Two)
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - August 7, 2002
With specialized treatment and adequate support groups, a sex offender who accepts full accountability for his or her crime can learn to control his or her abusive behavior. The public holds the myth that sex offenders have the highest recidivism rate of any crime. In reality, the recidivism rate for most sex offenders is quite low, even lower when the abuser gets specialized treatment as part of his or her criminal sentence.
Like many other diseases and dysfunctions (like alcoholism) we cannot expect a cure, but we can expect and demand control of behavior throughout a lifetime. When people who abuse have the support and "tough love" of their friends and families, they are more likely to complete their treatment programs and live productive, abuse-free lives.
Ohel founded just such a program a few years ago in Brooklyn. After being approached by DA Charlie Hynes about secrecy in the Orthodox community, a secrecy that ends up protecting pedophiles from prosecution, Ohel took the initiative and created a program to answer the need. Any pedophile from the community brought before a judge is given the choice of entering the Ohel Support Program for Pedophiles, or going to jail. The last I spoke to David Mandel from Ohel about the program, there were 16 pedophiles who had molested thousands between them before entering the program.
Pedophiles have a disease. Ohel has taken the lead in offering them a way to live and overcome their lust disease. Those who would like more information about the program should contact Ohel directly.
Are All Sexual Abusers The Same? Do They All Pose The Same Risk To Re-Offend?
No, not all abusers are the same. Like any other population, there is a wide range of behavior and a variety of people who sexually abuse children.
It is important to keep in mind what the experts state about sexual abuse. Children who are abused, if they are not promptly treated therapeutically, will often turn around at some point in their lives and become abusers. Some will react this way sooner, and others will suddenly find themselves acting out sexually years later.
This is important for parents to know. ``Molestation`` is not something that goes away. Time itself does not heal victims of sexual abuse. As painful as it is to hear about one`s child being molested, and as much as parents of child sex abuse victims wish that the nightmare would just disappear, it is crucial to face the painful reality of what happened and to seek out competent treatment for any child who has suffered sexual abuse. This is to prevent the child from turning around and becoming an abuser and is to ensure that the perpetrator of the abuse does not roamfreely preying on other children.
There is a positive side to all of this. With specialized treatment and full accountability for their crimes, many abusers can change and never offend again. However, child sexual abuse in any form is a crime and must be dealt with first through the legal system.
There is no escaping the legal ramifications. People who are aware of sexual abuse that is ongoing and fail to report it to the authorities, are compromising themselves legally. If at some time in the future, police do get involved and in their investigations the law finds out that you knew and did not report, you can be held legally responsible.
That being said, ultimately, if a pedophile admits his problem, then we do what we can to help him get help. The goal is to get everyone who wants to change into the best treatment available and help him never to hurt a child again.
Why Do People Sexually Abuse Children?
People abuse children for a sense of power and a sense of pleasure. They may seek children to abuse because they have had a long history of sexual attraction to children, or because they took advantage of an opportunity to abuse a child in their trust. They may have started abusing because they had been abused before, or because they never learned that the behavior is wrong and is a crime.
How Can We Keep Our Children Safe From Sex Offenders?
We need to teach children about safety. We, as adults, also need to learn more about abuse and abusers. This is the first step. Read what you can about sexual abuse. Become wiser. Check out resources in your community. Surf the Internet to quickly gain access to more in-depth knowledge on the topic. Then, once you feel that you understand the basics, you can start to talk to your children about sexual abuse.
Here are some things that you and your family can do to prevent the sexual abuse of a child you know and love.
Adults need to:
- Watch for signs of possible sexual abusiveness in adults, between adults and children, and in children.
- Show by example in your own life, how to say "no" when someone you know and care about does something you do not like.
- Set and respect family boundaries.
- Speak up when you see "warning sign" behaviors.
- Practice talking about difficult topics such as sexual abuse with other adults.
- Teach children the proper names of body parts.
- Teach children the difference between "ok touch" and touch that is "not ok".
- Teach children that secrets about touching are "not ok."
- Set up a family safety plan that is easy to remember.
Complete a list for yourself of whom to call for advice, information, and help.
Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg is a Jerusalem counselor. In his clinic he deals extensively as a counselor for overseas yeshiva, seminary and university students in Israel. Contact information is 972-2-58-000-41. E-mail address: email@example.com. Postal address: 13 Noam Elimelech St., Beitar Illit 99879, Israel.
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
Jerusalem Report - September 25, 2002
Children are molested. Parents complain. The problem is swept under the table. Perhaps the molester is fired from his place of work. Maybe the parents are put under pressure from local community leaders to keep the story quiet. Maybe nothing at all is done.
Don`t make the mistake of thinking that this is something that happens once in a blue moon. Don`t be so naive as to think that this could never happen in your community or in your local school. Don`t make the mistake of assuming that you are immune from the scourge called pedophilia. It can rear its ugly head in our most holy institutions, and our most private and trusted surroundings.
* * *
Camp: Child is found crying. It is discovered that the child was molested by a staff member. Urgent meeting called. Fire him. Some staff protest. Camp heads meet. Molester is assigned duties that do not involve contact with other children. Everyone figures the problem has been solved. Two months after camp is finished, a complaint is filed against the camp with the police. Another boy from the camp had been experiencing sudden mood swings and personality shifts that caused the parents concern. After having him examined by a professional, it became known that the boy was also a victim at the hands of the same molester. On the last day of camp, when everyone was distracted with packing up and saying goodbye, the molester struck again and there was no one around to stop him. Now the camp director has two headaches. First, he has a police complaint to deal with. Second, he has to wonder how this molester received such accolades and references from the camp where he worked the previous summer. Eventually, the police find out that the same pattern had taken place at the previous camp as well. So of course, they would not hire him back. They could not hire him back. After all, he had molested children. Then again, the parents were known as good people in the community. Camp owners and directors were not interested in causing the parents anguish, pain or embarrassment. They wrote the boy a strong letter of recommendation, one that helped him land a job the next summer in another camp only 30 minutes away from their camp.
You already know the rest of the story. Pedophiles don`t just stop because someone tells them to stop. Pedophiles don`t stop molesting just because they switch locations. The overwhelming lust urge is overpowering. It requires appropriate treatment. Sometimes, the treatment includes involving the law enforcement authorities and agencies. Fear of prison is one reason many molesters turn up for therapy. And even if it doesn`t help, the molester, it sure can help prevent another child from being molested.
* * *
Cheder in Jerusalem: A certain rebbe has been working there for 10 years. He has a great name as being very warm and loving and affectionate towards the children. One day, little Yanky comes home and throws a tantrum that leaves the house in shambles. This behavior continues. The tempest grows. Over time, sweet Yanky becomes a wild and crazed child, unable to sleep, with completely unpredictable behavior. Already at their wits` end, the parents are simply smothered in grief and shock when they find out one day that a policeman is standing at their front door. Little Yanky has been caught acting inappropriately around local children.
Suddenly, the family finds itself in a whirlwind of social service activity, and the law is now keeping track of their son. The light at the end of the tunnel ends up as another shock. In therapy, Yanky declares that he had been molested six months earlier by his rebbe, and that it happened four times since then. The story is checked and double-checked.
The end of the story reveals that the rebbe with the great reputation also had a series of complaints filed against him over the years. Each and every time, the school covered up the tracks and calmed the parents down. The school warned the rebbe that they were concerned about the accusations. The rebbe stayed in the cheder and taught. The rebbe kept molesting. Over the years, countless children had the most private areas of their bodies violated and invaded by this "mask-wearing" teacher. He hid behind his "rebbe-mask" and used it as easy access to perpetrate indecent acts on his students. Some of those very children later became pedophiles themselves.
Pedophiles do not stop just because someone tells them to stop. Warning a pedophile does not ensure that the pedophile will stop molesting. Issuing a warning to a pedophile does not effectively protect the children within his reach.
Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg is a Jerusalem counselor. In his clinic he deals extensively as a counselor for overseas yeshiva, seminary and university students in Israel. Contact information is 972-2-58-000-41. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Postal address: 13 Noam Elimelech St., Beitar Illit 99879, Israel.
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - October 30, 2002
I continue to receive countless emails and letters in response to the series on Molestation. I have heard from communities down under, out west, in the great white north and in the Holy Land. The following letter is one of the most articulate letters received to date. I am sure it will affect my readers just as deeply as it affected me.
A friend of mine was molested as a child. I am writing to you as I understand her thoughts and feelings. She has much to say and to offer, but is too uncomfortable and has a difficult time expressing her ideas. She has shared her history and that of her family with me. I think this is something to be shared with the entire frum community.
Kudos to you, Chezi Goldberg. You are bold and a true Ohev Yisrael for the ``up front`` discussions of a very sensitive topic of molestation and sexual abuse within the frum community. In your articles of August, September and October, you discuss awareness and prevention, two essential areas that will hopefully help families as they cope with the ills of today`s society. You basically presented your readers with an expose of a well-kept secret of our times. However, there is one other area that my friend wishes to bring to the attention of your readers. Here is her story as described and expressed through my own words.
A Caring Friend
A Pained, Inner Child Reacts To The Series: `Secrets That Haunt`
Chezi, your four articles dealt with the molester`s history and explanation of his illness. Examples were cited of crisis management that ensues when an abuse takes place in a school or camp. In addition, suggested treatments were mentioned so that the molester does not repeat the crime. I would like to talk about the unfortunate victim.
While it is so important to deal with prevention and warnings, I would like to bring to the attention of the readers a biography of the child who was already been victimized and left with a horrific secret. He is the one who was too frightened to share what befell him. What happened to him and where is he today? Let`s jump ahead about three or four years. He is now 14, cannot handle the rigors of a high school yeshiva program, was kicked out of at least one yeshiva and is attempting a less stressful program. His previous friends are no longer associating with him and so he seeks a social life in other areas. Roaming the streets seems to be a popular way of utilizing his free time as he continues to fall through the cracks of the educational system. At this point, he has already pulled away from his family`s traditional religious lifestyle and has probably begun experimenting with chemical abuse.
This child has now been indoctrinated into a new realm called "kid at risk." The description of his lifestyle is now dubbed with the official title, "off the derech". The nightmare did not just begin. It started with his horrific secret three or four years prior.
Allow me to acquaint you with this child. His pain has been aching and his wrath has been fuming. However, he does not utter a word of the incident or perhaps incidents. Instead, he acts out in various manners. He may develop a rage that he releases to anyone within close proximity. It could be to a teacher, to a principal, to a sibling, but most certainly to a parent. It is a seething anger that must be taken out on anyone within range. Why then would he not rather share his feelings? Simply stated, his perception is that someone may blame him and say that it was his fault. Then again, an adult figure may not believe him and say that the story was a lie. After all, between an adult and a child, who will another adult believe? This child now trusts very few people — especially adult religious figures. He considers most religious people hypocrites and refuses to abide by their word or ways.
He will probably go out of his way to seek friendship from non-Jews and will only befriend people who have accepted an alternative lifestyle; one that is devoid of Yiddishkeit. There are times when he will sit alone and sulk. There are occasions when he will be found with burn marks, deep cuts or piercing on parts of his body. He may be seen with clothing and listen to music that depict the existing turmoil of today`s teenage secular society.
Entertainment goes beyond bowling and pool. It is an opportunity to socialize with other young teens of both sexes at all-night parties in the city. Let us not forget the mingling of the sexes and the freedom of indulgence. These unhealthy activities are a norm at such events. And he, along with the others, will take the opportunity to mask and drown out his pain with the chemical substances that abound the gathering.
Who is this pained child? Is he a bum? No. He is probably your neighbor or your relative. How do I understand his pain so well? Very simply, I actually have the pain of that child within my being, only I am not a child. Rather, in psychology terms, I have a portion within me that is alive and kicking, known as the "inner child."
No, I did not live the lifestyle of the child that I described. However, I did relive the entire incident of a molestation that occurred to me about 30 years ago. I am currently undergoing therapy to heal from being victimized. I am living with every bit of pain that a struggling teen that has been victimized is living through. The only difference is that my pain was lying dormant for so many years. It caused me to be a very angry person most of my life, and I did not even know why. The rage was always there and my consistent anger was the means by which I expressed my pain. The problem was that I never shared the incident with anyone, not a family member or a professional.
The incident and all the little girl`s pains had accumulated over the years and sat there while the adult was growing up. Whereas most adults grow in an emotionally healthy manner, I could not. My inner child was too scared. I never had the opportunity to express my feelings of a devastating incident, and so the feelings just lay bottled up for years. The fear crippled me in many ways. I had a difficult time concentrating on schoolwork throughout my school career because I lived in a fantasy world. This was my way of escaping my memories. I was distrusting of people, and especially of men. I lacked self confidence and self-esteem. There were times I was even depressed to the point where I felt no reason for living. The worst point was when I became disinterested in my marriage and began having ill feelings towards my husband. This was my wake-up call.
The purpose for relating my story is two-fold. I am addressing the administrators of schools, camps and programs, and at the same time I have a message for parents. I am acquainted with some teenagers who have been molested at an earlier point in their lives. They do not all fit into the picture that I described, although some do to the full degree. Pay attention and heed the advice of the professionals. The Jewish Press had listed a number of points with which to make the teachers and rebbeim aware of children`s actions and activities. Do not ignore change in behavior and pawn it off as oppositional or simple bad behavior. Do not use this opportunity to kick a child out. Be aware and bring the behavior to the attention of the administration and parents. The negative attitude is a warning sign.
It is a child`s way of saying "I need help but I don`t know how to ask for it." Let us try to catch these warning signs early.
I implore parents. Take your child to a competent professional who knows how to talk to children about such a sensitive topic. Therapy is paramount at the outset. Do not negate or neglect it. Do not think that it is nothing and it will go away. It does not. The memories are there and so are the shame and the guilt. It will only appear later and will manifest itself at a different point in life. Take it from my inner child.
I have to undo over 30 years of holding down those memories in addition to alleviating myself of the shame and the guilt. The pain is horrendous and I do not wish it on anyone. The difference between my generation and today`s is that today, everything and anything is available for one`s desires and consumption. Once the turmoil begins, there is an overabundance of painkillers around. I am not necessarily referring to pills. The description of the pained child, the path and order in which he slowly deteriorates, are all a type of painkiller. The painkiller begins with something not harmful, like change in clothing, but then may move along the path to a dangerous way of living, including living a life devoid of Yiddishkeit.
Here is my message to administrators of schools, camps and programs: Heed Chezi`s words. If you know of a specific perpetrator, do not shove it under the carpet. Do not pass him along to another system, program, city or state. There is help for him, and he should get the help he requires. There is no doubt that you care about children and their neshamas; that is why you are in the field of chinuch. Do not allow a neshama to get marred and destroyed because of negligence. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, let us assume that you are not aware of the everlasting damage that a perpetrator can cause to a child. I can safely assume that you also care about the family of the perpetrator. Even the perpetrator`s family is entitled to be cared for, but not at the expense of an innocent neshama.
I pray that all perpetrators get the help they require for their healing process, and that the pained children get their appropriate help. My own pain will be worth experiencing if one responsible person reads my message and if my message is instrumental in preventing another pure neshama from becoming victimized.
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - November 20, 2002
The following was recently received in response to the series of articles about molestation. It touched my heart in a deep and piercing manner. I share it with you, and I`m sure that it will have a profound effect.
What follows are the secrets of a well respected community man. He is the man in the community everyone admires. He is the man that no one, in his wildest dreams, would guess he was the victim of a molester. When people think of victims of pedophilia, they imagine a world of losers and tainted deviants. This a false and cursed stereotype. It is cursed because it allows people to feel free from the responsibility of taking action against molesters in our midst.
I advise that this letter be read, reread and passed on to friends and family. By doing so, you will be an effective partner in the lifesaving campaign to educate the Orthodox community about pedophilia. By doing so, you will also help the author of this painful letter to heal some of his pain. As he wrote me in our original correspondence, if one molestation victim is helped to recover by the publication of this letter, then it will have been worth his effort. I will go one step further and offer a hopeful prayer that at least one child will be saved from being molested because of this letter.
I thank the author for sharing this story with us. It is a story of heartbreak, trauma, shame, courage and hope.
Chezi Goldberg, Israel
I have been following your column over the past months on the issue of molestation. I toyed with the idea of writing to you earlier, but shied away from doing so. This past week`s letter from the woman who was abused 30 years ago hit me like a ton of bricks.
I am the father of wonderful children. I am married to a wonderful woman who has been a true partner in life and is exemplary in raising our family. In many ways, I am truly blessed with a wonderful wife, great kids, a good business, beautiful home.... I am grateful to Hashem for the wonderful, frum lifestyle that I lead...shul, shiurim, yeshivas. From the outside looking in, I am surely in an enviable position.
So why is life always a struggle for me? I too have secrets that haunt me. You see, 30 years ago I was abused by a family member. My introduction and training in sexuality was forced on me by someone that no one would suspect. To this day, if I were to share my experiences with any member of my extended family, they would tell me that I was crazy... no one would believe it.
Although the actual abuse ended after six months, the trauma lives on until today. Every day of my life I am taunted and haunted by the memories, the flashbacks, the guilt, and the shame. While I outwardly live a very normal, happy life as a frum husband and father, what goes on inside is not to be believed.
About two years ago, I saw a series of articles and advertisements on the subject of molestation being sponsored by a major Jewish family services organization. While it took everything I had, I decided it was time to start working on the horrors, so I contacted this group. I was invited to a symposium of several chashuva Rabbanim whose sole purpose that evening was to address the frum public on this topic. I looked forward to that evening with anxiety and hope.
What a disappointment it was! Aside from the Rav I spoke to prior, the other Rabbanim were so uncomfortable with the subject that their speeches almost completely evaded the topic at hand.
I came crashing down even further after that night. Here was a wonderful opportunity to begin the road to healing. Who better than Rabbanim? Instead, it put me into further anxiety and depression.
Several months later I was Eretz Yisrael. My own Rav was there at the same time. During the course of our stay, my Rav invited me to come with him to get a bracha from his Rebbi...a noted Yerushalayim "mekubal" (Kabbalist). I gladly accepted. While I was sitting talking to this chashuva Rav in the presence of my own Rav, I decided to tell my so far untold story. Both Rabbanim were extremely sympathetic. The Rav gave me his blessing for refuah (healing). He told me that my presence in Yerushalayim that week was obviously meant to be, because that coming erev Shabbos he was going to be conducting special Mincha with davening that contained tikunnim (rectifications) for my problem.
I again looked forward to participating in such tefillah...it could only help. Again, I was disappointed. An eclectic group of people with an obvious assortment of problems filled the shul. There was much loud davening and crying and screaming. Not that my emunah is not there, but such a davening could not possible unravel years of horror and anxiety.
While still in Israel, I explained to my own Rav that he was one of the select few who knew my situation. I told him that I had never discussed the situation with my wife. He guaranteed confidentiality, which of course he has kept. I was looking forward to have him to talk to me about my issues. He has never really made references to my situation again, except during a celebration when he whispered in my ear that he thought of me and my situation all the time. This was another disappointment.
I am very much in agreement with the woman who wrote to you. While we don`t want to acknowledge it, those in positions of importance in our frum community need to wake up! Sexual abuse can and has gone on in our world. Family members, Rabbeim, teachers, friends are possible predators. Once it happens, lifelong damage is done.
Not to say that the family services organization did a poor job..just the opposite. They are attempting to break a silence in our world, but the Rabbanim do not seem to be ready. Not to say that my Rav, whom I respect and love dearly, wasn`t trying to help me in Yerushalayim. He just was not ready and was uncomfortable in dealing with it. These are just examples of how uncomfortable and unprepared the frum world is to deal with this subject.
Parents, Rabbeim, teachers need to wake up!!!!! The sooner that abuse is recognized and dealt with, the sooner that the innocent young person can begin healing and possibly avoid the daily torture and horror that I live with.
I was recently introduced to a young, frum therapist. He is helping me chip away at many years worth of problems. It has started to help, but it will require much more work and time. I am also coming to terms with the reality that the effects of what happened will never go away... hopefully I can achieve a point when some, or most of the pain will subside.
Congratulations for taking on a taboo subject, especially in our community
Thanks for taking the time to read my long letter.
Looking Great On The Outside, USA
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - November 27, 2002
Over the past weeks and months, we have read stories of pain and suffering, trauma and fear. These stories are heart wrenching and stirring. They are testimonials that there are victims living within our midst who have experienced unspeakable horrors. Because these horrors are unspeakable, they have remained silent.
Silence is not passive. Silence is active and deadly. Silence about the unspeakable festers and becomes a poison. They have lived lives of anguish and torture because secrets destroy our innermost feelings. Secrets turn us into morbid beings who act out in ways that we ourselves cannot believe we are capable of acting.
The silence can be broken. The silence must be broken. Breaking the silence is the key step in opening the gates of freedom within the tortured souls of victims of abuse. Once people face their innermost secrets and break the silence, they are able to move on and live wonderful fulfilling lives. The following lettertells such a story.
I used to be one of those girls whom everyone referred to as "off the derech," but in my mind I was further gone than that. I believed I was a goy.
I grew up in a kehilla where I was isolated and ostracized. I was an extremely withdrawn, angry and violent child, which was a direct result of being sexually abused for a number of years by a prominent member of the kehilla.
I never told anyone at the time and, to this day, only a handful of close friends know. I don`t remember how it started, and the details are irrelevant.
What is important is the way my life was molded and shaped as a result of the abuse. I acted out in school and at home. I was violent and aggressive, and my teachers and family did not know how to cope with me.
From the age of four, I was sent to social workers and behavioral therapists, all to no avail. I had sworn to this man that I would never tell, and I believe that this bound me forever. The school I attended could not cope with my outbursts, and other children were banned from playing with me. I was shipped between schools until I had been thrown out of every heimishe school that would accept me.
Eventually, my parents were forced to send me to a public school. There did not seem to be an option in the Jewish school system. By this point, the abuse had stopped. But I had no friends, I had no social skills, and I had no way of understanding what had happened to me. I decided that HaShem hated me, and that I was evil. And because I had such a bad reputation, it was easier to play into that, than to try and "fit in" to the Jewish world.
From the age of 10 or 11, I ran wild. I was sexually promiscuous, I was heavily addicted to drugs, I was involved in criminal activity, and I started living on the streets and with other abused and neglected kids. It was with this crowd that I first felt as though I belonged. No one else had ever accepted me, let alone enjoyed spending time with me. With these kids, I was at ease, purely because we were all rejects, or at least we felt that we were. I stayed in school, and I would come home every week for Shabbos to see my family, but I had found my niche in the underground sub-cultures, and that was where I spent most of my time.
Drugs and alcohol numbed me, and when I was numb, I would forget that I hurt and that I was in pain. I was running away from my life, and the fastest way to do that was through drugs. Within a few months of trying these substances, I became hooked. Not just on the effect, but on the lifestyle. I was so used to being abused that I enjoyed abusing myself. I was so full of self-hatred that it was easy to destroy myself.
My reputation went from bad to worse. Parents of kids my age would cross the road to avoid me. People were banned from coming to my house if I was there. My brothers and sisters refused to have friends over when I was in the house. Everyone was afraid of me, or sickened by me. When I was around, I would see kids from the various schools I had attended and they would shun me. No one wanted to know me, and my family was always receiving phone calls from people who claimed to be concerned for me but, in reality, wanted to report to my parents all the trouble I was supposedly creating.
Every time any kid got caught with drugs or got into any form of trouble, people assumed it was my fault. The more extreme I became, the worse I was shunned.
I made myself look as goyishe as possible, walked around in revealing clothing, mainly to express how I felt, but also to get a reaction from those around me. Eventually, as I grew older, I dealt drugs to kids at Beis Yaacov, Lubavitch schools, and other frum establishments. I came to the area and broke into people`s houses to steal from them. I would bring my friends and start fights with Jews walking down the street, or throw bricks through the windows belonging to the various communal rabbanim. I hated every Jew, because I equated them with my abuser and those in the kehilla who had rejected me.
When I turned 17, I was heavily addicted, primarily to heroin and crack cocaine. I was drinking alcohol and smoking pot like it was bread and water. I didn`t wash or change my clothes. I had spent the last seven years of my life in youth prisons, under social care orders, in secure units, and living on the street. I was broken. I had succeeded in numbing myself to the point where I had forgotten what I was running away from.
But the drugs stopped working. I had this hole in me that I couldn`t fill up. I would wake up every day and wish that I was dead, that this wasn`t my life. I would try and take overdoses when I injected drugs, but they always failed. I didn`t even have the strength to take my own life.
There was one rabbi around who had always kept an eye on me. He would find me asleep by the bus stop and would take me home and give me a meal and a bed for the night. His wife would clean my cuts and bruises. I would call him when I got into trouble with the police. When I hit my rock bottom, he put out a hand to help me. I had nowhere else to turn. He and his family loved me. They didn`t try to shove Yiddishkeit down my throat and they didn`t judge me or treat me differently from anyone else. It was he who helped me get into a rehab program. And, Baruch HaShem, I`ve been clean ever since.
I went to Israel when I finished school, and found a way to allow Yiddishkeit into my life and to connect with HaShem. Today I`m living life. I am not running anymore. I have nothing to hide from, and I`m not scared to live. I`m Shomeret Torah and Mitzvos to the best of my ability. And I have hope — hope that I`m not going to be just another statistic, not just another kid who was abused and messes up my life as a result.
I don`t know what message my story carries, but I do know that I carry a message to the kids in my area that it doesn`t matter where I`ve been or what I`ve done — there is a way to better and improve my life. I`m studying and working and living independently. I still have scars and work to do on myself, but I`m here to tell the tale.
I don`t know if my life would have been different if the signs had been picked up when I was younger, or if I would have still continued on that path. But for me, it doesn`t matter anymore. It`s for the kids that don`t make it back that it matters.
Many of my friends are still out there, kids from good families who do not know where their place in the world is. I don`t have any answers, except that the love that one family showed me changed my life. It says that to save a life is to save a whole world. Well, the hakaras hatov (appreciation) I owe to my rabbi is immeasurable.
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - March 26, 2003
In the past months, I have covered different aspects of child molestation.
When LifeLine focused on this issue, I received combinations of responses. Some people found the writings healing, as they had been victims of sexual abuse. Reading the articles and accounts in this column was a form of therapy. Those individuals were appreciative.
At the same time, I received e-mails from people who complained that I should focus my column on other topics. Either they found the topic of molestation difficult to relate to, or they found it too painful to keep reading about it. And so, for the past few months, I purposefully went away from the topic of molestation. I decided to step back and let the message sink in. Then, the following letter arrived in my mailbox one wintry day in Israel.
Unfortunately, the letter had been rerouted incorrectly and took a long time to arrive to my mailbox. When it arrived this week, I was so taken aback by its contents that I decided to return to the topic of molestation immediately. As you will read for yourself, this letter is about pikuach nefesh (saving a life). I would strongly advise that everyone who reads this letter keeps that in mind when reading it.
The letter came without a return address. I know not which town, city or school this boy is writing about. There were no clues at all. Could it be that this 15-year-old boy is a boy in your own town? Could it be that this 15-year-old boy is learning in the same school as your child? Could it be that the author of this letter is your son?
If you are a principal, could it be that perhaps, this child is writing from your school about a continuous molestation that is taking place under your watch? As long as you can answer any of the above questions with, "Yes, it could be, I don`t know," then you have good reason to be concerned.
I advise everyone who reads the following letter to post a copy of this letter in your local shul and in your local school. By doing so, you might save this boy`s life.You will certainly be giving many people a lot to think about. And now for the letter.
Dear Yechezkel Goldberg,
I am 15 years old. I was molested 15 times this year by my rebbe. I cannot tell anyone about it. I am scared of my principal. He is very mean and doesn`t like me. He probably would slap me for being a mechutsaf (disrespectful).
I can`t tell my parents. They would overreact. My mother would sue everybody and probably take me out of yeshiva for good.
I cried to my rebbe to leave me alone, but he won`t. I can see on his face that he can`t stop. I thought about running away and not telling anyone. I thought of speaking to my friend who is the same class, who is also being molested by my rebbe. He doesn`t know that I know that he is being molested. And he doesn`t know that I am being molested.
My rebbe takes him to the same room as me when he wants to do this. I am scared, hurt, depressed, embarrassed and ashamed. As I write this letter, my rebbe just called for me to come to his house to learn. He is my tutor, too.
My parents are so happy he is willing to tutor me for just 10 dollars an hour. If only they knew what goes on over there! I don`t know what to do. Either I continue to go, I finally run away, or...I don`t know! I need help. Please tell me what to do in your next issue. After that, I may not be around.
Frightened, Depressed Molestation Victim, USA
I am glad that you wrote to me. I am happy that you reached out for help at such a low time in your life.I am sorry that the mail got lost on the way. I hope that my answer reached you in time. I also hope that your letter and my answer get passed around to every single cheder where you live, and elsewhere.
While I know that your letter paints a real picture of a lonely boy fighting a lonely painful battle, trust me that you are not alone. There are other boys who have been molested just like you, and some of them are out there reading your letter. These victims know just how you feel. I showed your letter to one such 15-year-old here in Jerusalem. He is a victim of multiple molestations. He told me that I should find some way to let you know that although right now you are living through a terrible nightmare, that you can live through it and life can get better. He lived through it and his life is getting better each and every day.
Your rebbe is taking advantage of you. He is counting on the fact that you will remain secretive for all sorts of reasons. If you are right and you have good reason to fear your principal, then the rebbe must know that he can do what he wants and the principal will protect him. He probably nows from past experience that the principal wont interfere. It sounds like you will have to get the help you need outside of the school.
Here are your options.
1) Tell your parents! Yes, I know you are worried about what will happen if you do. Whether or not your Mom will sue the school is not your worry. That will be the concern of the school. If your mother and father would want to protect you, then you should tell them. You are a victim here. Your teacher is doing terrible things to you and you need help. The first line of getting help is telling people who can force the rebbe to stop.
If you do tell your parents, please tell them that your first goal is to create safety for your self and to get yourself help, psychological help. Your parents can then speak to whatever therapist you work with and he can help you decide how to act towards the school. If, in the end, your parents decide to take action against the school and it is with the guidance of a therapist who is experienced in this area, then you should not worry about it. Besides, you say that other children are being molested. Most likely, you will be helping all the other children who are being molested.
If your parents are the type of people who would want to protect you, tell them immediately. Don`t hesitate one more moment!
If you are worried that your parents will remove you from the yeshiva that you are in, then that is something that you need to talk to them about. Perhaps your local rabbi or a trusted family friend can help you deal with your parents so that they allow you to remain in yeshiva. But I must tell you to keep in mind that, as long as this rebbe is allowed to continue in the school, you should not attend. As long as he is there, you are at great risk.
(2) Your second option is to call a local Jewish Board and Family Services in your town. Make a private and confidential call to them. They should be able to help you find the right professional person to talk to over the phone.
(3) Your third option is to go straight to the police and let them do their work. This is their job. Many molestation victims find this intimidating to do on their own, and only do so accompanied by an adult that they can trust. Do not feel guilty about going to the police. Any teacher who is molesting his students is engaging in criminal behavior. He is a danger to his present victims and to his future victims.
Many molesters molest hundreds!!!! of innocent children over their lifetime. What he is doing is against the law and the children in the school, including you, must be protected.
Your letter is not the only one that I have received on this topic. You are not the first child to go through such a trauma. Trust me when I tell you that you can get out of this. You are just 15 years old, and I am sure that the whole scenario seems quite scary to you.
I have worked with other kids who were molested by rebbes. The rebbes were taken out of the school and the boys were able to get the right psychological help. With the right help, you can recover. Children who were molested can heal their pain and move on to have healthy lives.
You speak of suicide. I don`t blame you for thinking about ending it all. You are caged in and you see no way out. Follow my advice. Contact those people listed. Do not hesitate! You will see a better tomorrow. Reach out for help. The sooner you share your pain and suffering, the sooner you will start to understand that you can overcome this horrifying situation and live a full life.
Please write back to me and let me know what happens. You are in my prayers wherever you are.
I encourage readers who are touched by the above letter from our 15-year-old friend, to e-mail me your thoughts.
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - April 9, 2003
My wife is from a major city in eastern USA. There was an incident awhile ago when two boys molested a girl and people started to talk about it. Apparently some Rabbanim stated that it should not be discussed at all since it is Lashon Hara. I don`t know any further details about this incident, but perhaps this topic should be discussed at the next convention of Agudas Yisroel, NCSY, etc. With the help of Hashem, in a team effort, we will succeed to accomplish something in this field. Principals, Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbanim need to become aware of the severity of this problem, and learn how to properly handle these situations.
May Hashem guide you so that you be successful in all of your endeavors Chag Kasher V`Sameach.
Concerned Husband, USA
Dear Concerned Husband,
Steps have been taken towards lifting the rug and dredging out this painful topic. I applaud the Rabbinic leaders who have embraced the topic of child molestation with appropriate seriousness and unswerving dedication. I see for myself how, as time goes on, rabbis and professionals are developing systems for working together when cases of child molestation arise.
The more we talk about child molestation, the easier it will be for all of us to deal with. The more we talk about child molestation, the safer all of our children will be.
Thank you for writing.
As a social work intern in a frum town in America (I`d rather not say which one), I can tell you that cases of rebbe-student molestation occur a lot more often than any of us would like to think. I`m still a student, so I haven`t dealt directly with the cases in my town, but I hear of them and they are sickening.
The way in which the most recent case that I am aware of was handled, was to remove the rebbe (a most beloved Rebbe who was also "tutoring" his eight-year-old students) from his teaching position, and set him up with a frum local therapist. The children who were victimized have been referred for therapy, but they are acting out in inappropriately sexual ways with other children, so the problem is compounded.
The authorities are almost never informed (out of concern for the rebbe`s family, future shidduchim, etc.) Other parents in the school are not warned to be on the lookout for signs of abuse. I only heard of this case because I work with some of the therapists who are dealing with it.
I don`t want to know the name of the rebbe because then I would feel conflicted about what to do with the information. Don`t I have a moral imperative to alert the authorities? On the other hand, if I ever want to work in this town in the future, I have to subscribe to the unwritten code of never "being moser" on a fellow Jew to the authorities, even in such extreme cases.
Please continue to address this topic. It clearly affects many people who would otherwise be too scared to come forward and seek the necessary help. Thank you for having the courage to address this difficult subject.
Welcome to the field of child molestation. It is one of the most painful areas of therapy to work in for many reasons. It is also one of the most rewarding areas of therapy. A child who was molested desperately needs therapy to get perspective on his life. Helping these children deal with this haunting trauma and turn their lives around is extremely rewarding. Their families need guidance to make it through the Pandora`s box that was opened up by a pedophile. Families who find out that their child was the victim of a sexual molestation are in desperate need of proper professional guidance so that they can help themselves and their children.
At the same time, there are molesters out there who want to stop what they are doing. They don`t know how to stop and are too embarrassed to reach out for help. They can be helped. A molester who really wants to stop molesting children can be helped if he finds an expert who truly understands the field of pedophilia.
I mention this to you as encouragement to continue on your path and apply yourself to learning as much as you can about this particular area of social work. We need all the good people we can find.
And now, a few additional pointers. If the molester you are speaking of is still a danger to children, then his name must be made known to the proper authorities. If the teacher is going from one cheder to another, then yes, the school that he now works for must be warned and the families at that school must know. If he is still tutoring, then that must be stopped. Those children are not safe with him.
Regarding the moser community code that you mention in your letter, you raise a very, very important issue. In every country there are laws. In Israel, for example, there is a law that obligates mental health professionals to report certain situations to the authorities that become known to them. There are cases for example, where a professional must report knowledge of pedophilia, to protect the children. That is the law. To ignore the law means that the mental health professional risks being arrested and losing his license. In such cases, I always advise professionals to consult with appropriate professionals, government officials in the legal justice system as well as a Posek who has expertise in this area of Halacha.
Most people throw around the term "moser" in error. Halacha does not dictate that a community must allow a pedophile to roam freely. Halacha does not dictate that children should be put at risk as prey to a pedophile just because the rebbe can`t find a job elsewhere. A pedophile is in the Halachic category of a "rodef," and must be deal with as such. I must tell you that, in my experience, Halacha is compassionate and responsible. The key is, finding the right Posek, one with expertise in this area of Halacha, to handle your particular sha`ila for you.
Thank you for your letter. Yes, child molestation is indeed a difficult topic to write about and to read about. Letters such as yours makes my efforts worthwhile.
I am a new fan of your E-mail list, and appreciate what you do. I am totally blind and just retired after working for 38 years as a medical social worker in a large hospital.
As a youngster, I was constantly beaten by my alcoholic father who blamed his drinking problem on my blindness. I was born prematurely and with the help of Hashem, survived with blindness as my inconvenience. I am almost 63 years old. I am still trying to help people and co-facilitate a support group for persons with ALS.
Your advice to the 15-year-old is right on target. Thank you for your e-List. Each day is a precious gift.
Grateful and Alive, USA
Thank you for your letter. It sounds to me like you have overcome a lot of adversity in your life. What is so inspiring about your story is that, instead of focusing on yourself, you continue to look for ways to help others. May G-d give you strength to successfully continue your efforts to help others with medical problems.
I appreciate your mentioning the enjoyment you get from my e-list that I set up for those who want to receive copies of my articles directly to their email box. I invite other readers, their friends and family members to join at (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/chezilifeline/).
One of the amazing things about writing in a public forum is that every once in a while one gets a letter from a person such as yourself, and I personally understand how people across the globe can be touched through the convenience of the Internet. Thank G-d for the internet, e-mail and readers such as yourself who inspire my work.
You are right — each day is indeed a precious gift. I hope that our young friend is still alive and well and reading your letter. If he is, I am sure that your brief letter gave him reason to consider that despite his traumatic experiences, life is worth living.
Your article with the letter from the boy who was being molested was a miracle for me.
I too am 15. No one in my family believed me when I told them that my stepfather was molesting me. I was really depressed about it. I figured life was no longer worth living. I had basically made up my mind to end it all. Then I read your article. Please tell the boy who wrote the letter that when I read his letter, I started to shake and cry. It was as if I was reading about myself. Then I picked up the phone and called a local Jewish Board Family Hotline and went for help. That boy saved my life.
I still do not know what will happen with this whole mess in my life. But I no longer want to die. Tell him that I know how he feels. Tell him that it can get better. Tell him AGAIN to please go for help. Tell him that I don`t want him to die. He saved my life. Please tell him to save his own.
Girl In Canada
Dear Girl In Canada,
There is nothing to add to your letter that would do it justice. You said it all. I hope our young friend is ALIVE and WELL and reads your letter. I thank you for calling for help. Making that first call is often the most difficult step. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
May G-d care for you every step of the way to your complete recovery. G-d bless you!
Letter From Molestation Victim Creates A Storm
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - April 21, 2003
The recent letter from a 15-year-old molestation victim caused quite a storm of activity in my e-mail and mailboxes. His story, horrific and frightening to read, created a collective current of responses that continue to flow in weeks after his plea for help was registered in this column. His cry for help has affected victims in recovery, victims still in hiding, and from concerned citizens in general. The consensus is that his letter represents a crime that continues to be perpetrated and covered up, so much so, that even in the year 2003, pedophiles continue to wreak havoc on the lives of little boys and girls, and not enough is being done about it.
The overwhelming majority of people request that this column continue to run letters such as the one written by the 15-year-old molestation victim, as well as letters from the general public in order to give them a constructive forum to vent their fears and concerns, and to share ideas. And so, the discussion continues.
I read your column that included the letter from the 15-year-old molestation victim with much anger and sadness. This boy will have serious issues if this situation is not dealt with, and so will our people. It angers me that there are people who don`t approve of your writing on this topic. It is wrong that we are so concerned with maintaining our untarnished image that we`d risk the safety of children!
We are not perfect. Many don`t want to face reality, but in our community there are those who steal, use drugs, abuse, and molest. We have gone so overboard censoring all the prost (coarse) in our community that we have cast off those that really need our help. Please send your article to every yeshiva possible to get the message across. Don`t listen to those readers. You have an obligation as a counselor to assist these poor souls. We have a responsibility!
Gary, Somewhere USA
I was six years old when my cheder rebbe stole my innocence away from me. I thought he was being warm and friendly. I did not understand that when he touched me inappropriately, it was wrong. I did not understand why it was wrong for him to entice me to keep secrets. And I was not the only one. He told me that it would be our secret. He gave me presents and prizes for my silence. I am now in my mid-20`s. I am one of those little boys who was molested and kept the secret inside for years. Chezi, it affected me. It was not until years later that I realized, with the help of a wonderful therapist, just how badly it affected me.
I do not fault my parents. It was not their fault that the school ignored the signs and kept the rebbe on staff. It was not their fault that the yeshiva worried more about the rebbe`s salary and career than about the little children in his charge.
For reasons that I will not go into detail here, I was sent years later, in my late teens, for mandatory therapy. It was only then that the trauma and tragedy of my life came out of the closet. My parents felt horrible. They blamed themselves.
I keep telling them that, for years, all of the parents thought this rebbe was the "cream of the crop." The school had heard rumors but chose to ignore them. And over time, he molested tens of children. He is now behind bars, where he belongs.
I do not seek revenge against a man who sick. Only a sick person would force himself on little boys. However, if keeping him behind bars means that little children are safe, then that is where he should be. I have a bigger problem with the school staff who decided to turn a blind eye when little children were being messed up for life. They cannot be forgiven.
Thank you for writing about child molestation. Someone has to.
Molested, New York
I have no comment on your letter, which is powerful and profound. I only want to wish you a continued recovery from the trauma that you suffered as a child. It takes great personal courage to face these past traumas and I pray that G-d continues to give you the strength.
Our local day school had a preying molester on staff. Apparently, higher ups knew what was happening but chose to look the other way. This man was preying on little boys in his charge. Nothing was done for years. This man was also heavily involved in running many after-school activities. All of the parents loved him for his dedication to the kids. They did not realize that his dedication was motivated by sexual depravity.
Then one year, suddenly everything changed. He was fired without severance pay. For those readers who would like to know what changed, I will oblige you with the answer. He finally molested one child too many. Yes, when the grandson of the principal was discovered to be a victim, the teacher with the wandering hands was fired fast and furious. They ran the teacher out of town so fast that no one knew what happened.
Thinking about this case in retrospect, I guess the principal finally found a victim that he could no longer look in the eye and deny reality to.
One Former Victim, Canada
I have been reading your column for a couple of years now. I always find it interesting, although sometimes, quite frankly, you deal with some real heavy topics that can cause me to lose sleep at night. When that happens, I wonder if you sleep at all, knowing what you do, seeing what you see, hearing what you hear in your clinic. Anyway, here is my question.
I always thought that molesters were fringe lunatics. I am getting the sneaking suspicion after following your column that in fact, molesters are anything but deviant maniacs. Am I right or wrong?
Curious to Know
Gush Etzion, Israel
Your sneaking suspicion is correct. Molesters are often upstanding citizens, responsible community folks, steady job-holders and trusted names in the town. In fact, they are often family members — those people that a child naturally trusts the most.
That is why, when people hear of charges being laid against a pedophile, most often the first reaction is shock — i.e., it can`t be true! He is such a nice man! Along the same lines, perhaps you can now understand why so many children do not report sex crimes. Children intuitively understand that it will, indeed, be difficult to convince the outside world that this "wonderful person" could be such a rogue. And so, often molesters are siblings, trusted grandparents, educators and the like. So, throw out the old stereotype because, statistically, the molester is someone most victims are quite familiar with when the cycle begins. This makes the trauma of the molestation even more severe, since so often, the molester was supposedly someone whom the child couldtrust.
Thanks for being such an avid reader of this column and keep your questions coming.
Boy`s Letter Opens People`s Hearts And Minds
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
The Jewish Press - April 30, 2003
It all began with a letter from a boy who was being molested by a teacher. The letter was a cry for help. That cry was heard loud and clear and has stirred many readers to write in with their feedback.
I just read the letter you published from the 15- year-old boy. Needless to say, it`s not just shocking, but a very necessary letter to have published. Even though it really made me feel quite sick, my question is as follows. How can a parent prevent this from happening to their child? How much should a child be told without frightening him or her?
We have told our children that no one is allowed to touch them in a way, which makes them feel uncomfortable or which they dislike. This goes for being hit by the rebbe as well as being kissed by their grandparents. We have told them that their bodies are theirs. But is this enough? Should we let our 12 and 13-year-old sons read the letter you published, or may this just frightenthem?
Keep up with writing on this very necessary and painful topic.
Penina Super, Melbourne, Australia
Thank you for writing from Down Under. Your supportive letter seems to be in unison with letters that are pouring in from around the world in response to the column in question. You pose some valuable questions in your letter that I would like to address.
You ask, how can parents prevent this from happening to their child? The frightening reality is that unless we are watching our children 24/7 we can never fully protect our children. At the same time, parents can do much to prepare their children for situations such as molestation.
Through the use of dolls and discussion of good touch/bad touch, by reading stories and by creating interactive problem solving stories with the children, most children will become stronger in their resolve to say NO when caught in a precarious position. While a parent can never totally prevent a child from being victimized, a parent can ready a child for many situations. That readiness, because of previous discussion with the parents and through scenario training, can often be the catalyst to a child saying NO.
I have heard of many stories of children who when confronted with an abuser, said NO because they were prepared. I have also heard many parents bemoan the fact that they felt that they had left their child open and vulnerable by not discussing the issue with their children.
Suffice it to say, Penina, that many parents feel uncomfortable discussing such issue with their children. That hesitation is understandable. It should be known that Torah leaders do not support the stand of "ignore it and it will go away." That approach does not work.
Children undergo growth periods and they need to know what their bodies are experiencing. They need to know that it is normal. In the same vein, children need to know that there are adolescents and adults out there who will act impulsively on sexual needs at any price. While we hope our children never encounter such a person, we have to assume that such persons could present themselves at some point. Therefore, we must prepare them for the worst while we hope and pray for the best.
You ask how much should a child be told without frightening him or her? Herein lies a great debate. A parent need not describe a full molestation for a child to understand the point. Parents can talk about appropriate touch, appropriate comments, the importance of their full disclosure to parents, and never being afraid that a parent will be angry with the child if they are victimized. In actuality, I have found that children are much more in tune with these discussions than are the parents who agonize endlessly before engaging their children in such talks. Kids are more comfortable and open to the talks. Parents often are projecting their own nervousness when they say, "but my poor children will be traumatized."
In fact, I have had parents whose children have already been molested tell me that they don`t want to discuss the issue with their children for fear of creating a trauma in the child`s mind. If the child has been molested, the monster already exists. Avoiding discussion on the topic only makes the monster more powerful in the child`s mind.
So, I encourage parents to find the right way to discuss with their children the issues of good touch and bad touch. Plenty of materials are on the market to help parents along.
Thank you for your insightful questions from Down Under.
Over and Out,
Chezi Goldberg, Jerusalem, Israel
Thank you for the good work you are doing in helping our community to be more sensitive to problems that must be addressed and to the people in crisis who deserve our support. I am referring not just to the articles on molestation, but also other kinds of abuse. It can be very uncomfortable for people to admit that these problems exist in our community, which is why it is so important for you to continue to keep these issues out in the open so that no one will be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. I believe it is the pain of isolation that is the most scarring.
I know that some find it difficult to read your articles because they do not wish to relive painful memories — I am talking about survivors of verbal abuse as well. But for those in crisis as well as for those who need to feel the community acknowledges its problems, you are doing a great mitzva. We need to be responsible and trustworthy to help each other. There are many adults today who have survived painful experiences in yeshivas, schools and at home. I believe the Jewish community will gain in emotional maturity by acknowledging these very tough issues. This will help open the door for any one of us who feels closed out.
Thank you and I hope your kindness becomes contagious. And if for some reason, nothing changes, please do not give up your cause.
Anonymous Supporter, Israel
I read the letter from the boy who was molested. My parents tried to hide the article from me. They did not want me to see something like this. I read the article. My father found me Shabbos morning sitting reading the article with tears in my eyes from crying. He asked me what was wrong. When I told my father that someone close to me had been doing stuff to me that I did not want done, he turned white from shock.
I started to cry more. I thought Dad was angry at me. He called Mom down. My parents were wonderful. They hugged me and helped me talk about it. Then they took me to speak to a counselor.
I just wanted to thank you for printing what you did.
And I want to tell the boy to please, please stay alive. I too was not sure if I wanted to live anymore because I was so ashamed. My counselor helped me understand that I was not at fault for being molested. She helped me understand that being scared was natural. And now, she is helping me understand that I can say NO to anyone. Please tell the boy to stay alive. Tell him to talk to someone and get help. It can get better.
Teen Girl Victim, West Coast, USA
Dear Teen Victim,
You are great. Your letter brought tears to my eyes. And your parents are a 10 in my book. They stood by you and got you the help that you needed. Wishing you continued success in therapyand in life.
Teens: Despair Not, Don't Give Up
by Chezi Goldberg
Israel National News - August 25, 2003
Last week, I wrote a column to parents telling them not to despair when their kids are in crisis and going through hard times in life. Parents often describe the mayhem that seems to take over their lives as they struggle to come to terms and come up with solutions.
I would be unfair if I did not address the other side of the story. Kids at risk often get a bad rap. Just because some teenagers look strange, dress different and act outrageously, people assume that he/she is the guilty party. Not always. Just as there are families with risky teens, there are teens with risky parents and risky families. This week`s article is dedicated to the kids.
I want you to know that you are not alone. I want you to know that there are those of us who understand your side of the story.
We must face up to the reality that often, you kids find yourselves in situations that are troublesome. Objectively speaking, it is not easy being a kid. After all, I remember not too long ago the trials and tribulations of my childhood and adolescence. Growing up is hard to do.
In the world today, it is even harder in some ways. Look at television for example. When I grew up, the worst television that was available was "Gilligan`s Island" and "All In The Family." When Archie Bunker called his son-in-law "Meathead", it was a scandal. Today, that would be considered clean viewing entertainment.
Today, television shows are shocking. It is even more shocking if we try to comprehend the stress that exists in the minds of teens today as they struggle to wade through all the trash and make sense of it all. Television is no longer an entertainment option. Television today invades your lives and your minds with unutterable, abominable trash. Valuable programming is rare and it is an effort to find it. Growing up is hard to do in the age of modern television.
I recently heard a rabbi who just returned from New York describe his visit to a frum family where each and every child had his own desktop computer. The fact that these people see nothing troublesome in the fact that they are buying expensive equipment for young children, who will obviously grow up expecting only the best in life, is one issue, of course. The central issue, however, is the statement by the father that he has no idea what his children do on the computer.
It became clear that all the children go on-line and chat with their friends. According to Dad, that is the standard way that kids communicate after hours. What Dad was not aware of is the invasive nature of all sorts of dangerous elements via chat rooms. I am trying to imagine what it must be like to be an 11-year-old with complete and independent access to all and everything that the Internet has available, and being forced to make choices all by himself. On the one hand, teenagers want to be up to date and to be able to go with the flow, but on the other hand, teens are constantly faced with dangers in places like chat rooms. And everyone expects you to handle it by yourselves. Growing up is hard to do in the age of Internet.
When I was a teen, we saw a cop "flick" where the drug addict was some strung-out heroin addict. Today, unfortunately, the person doing heroin can be the chevreman next door. Kids are offered drugs in yeshivas right under your noses. Anyone who reads the news knows that the drug dealers of yesteryear, who were these villainous thug caricatures, have now been replaced by a whole slew of nice looking people, including avreichim.
I am trying to consider in my mind the moral corruptness that weighs down on our children today as the insidiousness of the drug trade infests our schools and communities. Moral choices are no longer as clear as they were when we grew up with Batman and Robin. We grew up in a world that was much more black and white. Batman and Robin were the good guys, Superman was our hero. Today, the Batman and Robin and Superman in our life could be offering us drugs. What a crazy upside down world we live in! Growing up is hard to do, especially in a topsy-turvy world like ours today.
The prevalence of child molestation in the community is frightening. Many parents are shocked when they discover that the person who molested their child is a known offender that the community or "powers that be" chose to allow to remain in his position. You kids out there who have been molested have your worlds of trust blown to bits. When you finally decide to reach out for help, you often are subjected to cross-examination with the burden of proof being on you, as people suspect you of ulterior motives.
For those of you who are victims of sexual and physical abuse, it is often an agonizing process until you feel that someone believes you. It is no wonder so many abused kids opt to isolate themselves instead of reaching out for help. Growing up is hard to do in a world where adults are often trusted more than teens, just because of the age factor.
You are living in a "cookie cutter" generation. With all the talk about chanoch lana`ar al pi darko (educate each child according to his way), our generation is fixated on the fantasy that each child will grow up to be a gadol hador or a tzadekes. Never mind the unrealistic nature of the fantasy. Never mind the wasted efforts in trying to make each child into a Gadol. Never mind the foolishness that in any generation, each child is a born leader. What is worse is the feeling that many children receive the all-or-nothing feeling from their parents, schools and communities. We don`t value kids who are, plain and simple, good kids with good midos, colorful personalities, different interests, varied talents and skills. We don`t value them, and you kids know it.
I shudder to think how hard it is for all of you to grow up in a world that wants to xerox each and every one of you into a carbon copy of some saint. I dread to think what it is like to wake up in the morning and to feel that if you, as a boy, do not have the makeup to sit and learn all day, or if deep down you are a girl who really does not want to marry a Rosh Kollel (the next Gadol Hador, of course), then you have disappointed your parents or you have failed as a Jew.
Each of you is a precious mold, pressed and formed by G-d in his wisdom, creativity and love. No two of you could or should ever be alike. Each of you has a special neshama, your own streak of uniqueness that cannot be cloned. And yet, the world around you has lost its senses and tries to force you to fit into the cookie-cutter machine. And if you don`t fit into that mold, then the world around you tells you that you are the problem.
Do not despair! You are understood. You are not alone. You can overcome, if you hold on and reach out for help.
I want to close with an excerpt from a letter that I received recently. Written by a teenage girl who had been repeatedly sexually abused by her older brother for years, the letter is a testament that even when things are dark and gloomy, there is reason to hold on. As Rabbi Frand put it best, avoid "the Grasshopper Syndrome". Don't give up. Don't lose hope.
"To all those teens out there in situations similar to mine, I wont judge you. Al tadin es chavercha ad shetagia limkomo. No two situations are the same. I was never in your situation, and you will never be in mine, so I won`t judge you, and you can never judge me. My advice to you is, don't repeat my mistakes. Get help and tell everything! After that, the only other thing to do is to daven. Make your siddur your best friend. It is okay if your siddur has tear stains, or the pages are torn. It will make you feel better if you really believe. If there were no G-d, you would never be able to get out of your situation!" – Name Withheld Upon Request, USA
Wishing all of you that you find the light at the end of your tunnel. May your light be bright and shine with the special light that only lives inside your soul, body and mind.
Chezi Goldberg, Israel
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg
Jewish Press - January 7, 2004
Therapists who work with children will often report that the first question parents ask is, "How long will this take?"
This question is a crucial one to parents. Parents want to have some sense that this process will not drag on forever. I guess you could safely say that parents want to see results.
What parents need to understand is that therapy takes time, and for therapy to work, a certain level of patience is needed by all involved. People erroneously expect therapy to be the same as other forms of medical treatment. For example, a child is ill. The doctor runs some tests. He gives the parents the diagnosis, the treatment plan, and estimated amount of time to recovery.
This seems reasonable in the context of a physical illness. Drugs have been tested and their effectiveness can almost be predicted based on the pharmaceutical`s history. If surgery is needed, it is often straightforward. True, each case of post-surgery recovery is different and unique. Yet, generally speaking, doctors are able to predict fairly accurately how long the convalescence period should be and what is involved.
Mental health issues are of a different nature.
A girl is thrown out of school because of her after school activities. Parents are frantic to get their daughter back into school. They run to a professional for help. They express concern that the therapy process should be quick and effective.
The therapist wisely asks the parents their definition of the word "effective." They answer that the therapy should get her back into school.
It is clear to the therapist that the parents are mistakenly looking at therapy as a way to get their daughter out of the trouble she has gotten herself into. They do not see therapy as a longer-term method of helping their daughter figure out why she keeps getting into trouble in the first place.
The problem did not happen suddenly, as with an accident or a flu. It was probably brewing over a period of time, and the symptoms ignored, for a variety of reasons.
Duvie is depressed. He walks around tense and is always agitated and uptight. The parents search out a therapist to help their son. It becomes clear that their son has had trouble for a few years. The parents now realize that their son needs serious help.
And yet, when meeting with the therapist, they seem more concerned with how long treatment will be, than with how effective treatment will be.
Their child, who feels bad enough about the load he has dumped on his parents` plate, feels even worse, because of the financial concerns of the parents. He then uses the financial stress in the home as his excuse for dropping out of therapy.
It is important that parents value therapy. It is important the parents have realistic expectations of the therapeutic process.
I often recommend that parents try to see therapy as a process. Sometimes it will take longer, sometimes it will happen faster.
If someone wants to use therapy as a quick way out of a bigger and deeper problem, then I would advise against it. If someone sees therapy as a tool towards making positive changes in life, then I would advise in favor.
Don`t expect therapy to work overnight.
Therapy is NOT a quick fix solution. Respect the therapy process and you will benefit from it. Give therapy time. I often remind people that by the time they come in for therapy, much time has elapsed since the problem began to manifest. I then suggest that since therapists are not magicians, and since therapy is not magic, therapy should be given some time to be effective as a healing mechanism.
Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg is a counselor and a CASAP (Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Professional). In his Jerusalem clinic, he deals extensively with adolescents and families in crisis, and with overseas students studying in Israel in various one year programs (boys and girls).
Male molestation and rape in the Orthodox community
By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg, HY"D
Jewish Journal - Feburary 18, 2004
It is out there. It happens. It is a reality. In the Orthodox community just like any other and yet, no one wants to talk about it.
I am not surprised.
Somehow, it is easier for everyone to talk about the abuse of women than to talk about the abuse of men. Both are horrible events that require incredible sensitivity.
I think that when a man is molested and raped, there are stereotypes, stigmas and confusing questions that come along as baggage with the event. They include the idea that a man who is raped is weak, questions about his masculinity, concerns of the victim being a homosexual because of the attack, and confusing questions and thoughts about how the victim of an attack is affected long term by the attack.
For example, it is common for male victims to be preoccupied with the concern that because they were raped, that they are from that time onwards, homosexual. This concern can have far reaching ramifications on the victim and the choices he makes in his life.
No one wants to talk about men who are sexually abused.
To the extent that people want to avoid the topic, we are required to deal with it.
It is crucial that victims have a place to turn where they can find a listening ear and understanding, trained advisors who can help them through the crisis and the post trauma stress.
It is crucial that professionals educate the community on the topic so that people can be more sensitive to it.
It is essential that as a community we allow professionals to pass on their knowledge to rabbis, teachers, parents and community leaders. Somehow, we need to find a way to educate children on how to say NO. It is so important that the children who are victims know the difference between good and bad secrets.
If the community puts this discussion on the table, solutions will be found.
It is fundamental that rabbinic leaders find a compassionate way to convey their thoughts to victims who are out there, to let victims know that they are not bad people if they were assaulted, that assault happens and that victims, in the eyes of the Torah and the rabbis, are still considered full fledged members of our community. In the Orthodox community, many important moves forward on the community agenda have occurred after rabbis have given the green light for things to move ahead.
This is doable.
I know from intimate conversations with Gedolim that they are aware that sexual abuse of men exists. I know that these same rabbis have been compassionate, understanding and very insightful when offering guidance and comfort to victims.
In the end, I don`t know that we can ever eliminate sexual abuse across the board. I wish we could. I also wish we could eliminate terror attacks, murder, robbery, fraud and many other problems that threaten society.
Albeit a wonderful ideal, I just don`t know that it is possible to accomplish. However, while we cannot eliminate these problems and the perpetrators of these problems, we can decrease the negative feedback and disapproving reactions which the victims of sexual abuse receive when they reach out for help and support within the Orthodox community. We can empower the victims to take back their lives after a perpetrator has tragically torn asunder the victim`s will and power.
While we don`t have all of the answers figured out, we need to start by making it available and safe for a victim to seek out help and guidance without having to look over his shoulder or to feel guilty about what happened.
To that end, it is important to keep on spreading the word about places where victims can go for help. The Hotline for Religious Men Who Are Victims (972-2-532-8000, in Israel) is just one service answering this clarion call.
I pray that the number of organizations and professionals offering their assistance and direction increase. The more places a victim can turnfor help, the better his chances of receiving the help he needs.
by Yechezkal Chezi Goldberg
Aish HaTorah - January 29, 2004
If we become numb to the pain, how can we expect it to ever stop?
Chezi Goldberg, the author, was tragically murdered in the Jerusalem bus bombing on Thursday, Jan 29. If we don't cry, who will?
7:30 a.m. Israel time, Sunday December 2, 2001. Eight Hours after the triple-terror attack on Jerusalem's popular Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall.
He walked into shul. I nodded my acknowledgement like I always do. He made some strange gesture, which I couldn't understand. I went on with the business of the prayer service.
A few minutes later, he walked over to me and said, "Didn't you hear?"
"Hear about what?"
"Didn't you HEAR?"
I understood that he was talking about last night's terror attack on Ben Yehudah Mall.
I assumed that he obviously intended that someone we knew was hurt or killed.
He looked at me as if I had landed from another planet. "About who? About everyone who was attacked last night."
I nodded, "Yes, I heard."
"Then why aren't you crying?"
His words shot through me like a spear piercing my heart. Our Sages teach that "words that come from the heart enter the heart." He was right. Why wasn't I crying?
I could not answer. I had nothing to say.
He pointed around the shul. "Why aren't all my friends crying?"
I could not answer. I had nothing to say.
"Shouldn't we all be crying?"
He was right. What has happened to all of us? -- myself included. We have turned to stone. Some would call it numbness. Some would call it collective national shock. Some would say that we all have suffered never-ending trauma and it has affected our senses.
The excuses are worthless. All the reasons in the world don't justify our distance from the pain that is burning in our midst.
When an attack happens, in the heat of the moment, we frantically check to see if someone we know has been hurt or killed. And then, if we find out that "our friends and family are safe," we breathe a deep sigh of relief, grunt and grumble about the latest tragic event and then, continue with our robotic motions and go on with our lives.
We have not lost our minds, my friends. We have lost our hearts.
And that is why we keep on losing our lives.
IF NOT ME, WHO?
When I left the shul, my friend said to me with tears dripping from his bloodshot eyes, "I heard that the Torah teaches that for every tear that drops from our eyes, another drop of blood is saved."
We are living in a time of absolute madness. And yet, we detach ourselves and keep running on automatic in our daily lives.
Last night, 10 people were killed and nearly 200 were injured. Even MSNBC referred to the triple terror attack as a "slaughter."
And still, we are not crying.
Perhaps my friends, we are foolish to believe that the nations of the world should be upset about the continuous murder and slaughter of Jews -- if we ourselves are not crying about it. Am I not my brother's keeper?
The most effective way for us to stop the carnage in our midst is to wake up and to react to it from our hearts. How can we demand that God stop the tragedy, when most of us react like robots when tragedy strikes?
If we don't cry about what is happening around us, who will?
If you don't cry about what is happening around us, who will?
If I don't cry about what is happening to us, who will?
Maybe our salvation from this horrific mess will come only after we tune into our emotions and cry and scream about it.
NUMB TO THE PAIN
My friend walked into shul this morning and from the looks on his friends' faces, he could not tell that they had heard what had happened on Ben Yehudah Mall.
When our enemies pound us and we fail to react because we no longer feel the pain, we are truly in a precarious position in the battle to survive.
I know a woman who has no sensitivity in her fingers. When she approaches fire, she doesn't feel the pain. That puts her in a dangerous position because she might be getting burnt and not know it, because her senses don't feel it.
If we are being hurt and we don't feel it, then we are in a very risky position. A devastating 3-pronged suicide attack on Jerusalem's most popular thoroughfare should evoke a cry of pain and suffering from all of us, should it not? Unless of course, we have lost our senses.
And if we have lost our senses, then what hope is there?
I turn on the news to hear of more carnage in Haifa. Sixteen dead. Sixteen of my brothers and sisters.
King Solomon said, "There is a time for everything." Now is the time for crying.
May God protect each and every one of us from our enemies so that we will not have to cry in the future.
Chezi Goldberg is a Jerusalem-based counselor for Adolescents and Families at Risk, and is a freelance columnist.
by Chezi Goldberg
Arutz Sheva IsraelNationalNews.com - January 29, 2004
[The author, Chezi Goldberg, was murdered by a suicide bomber on Thursday, January 29, 2004. This article was originally printed on Israel National News.com's Opinion page on November 24, 2002.]
You know, when one reads the news, it is truly very difficult to understand what is going on when the stories contain names of little towns and villages that the reader is not familiar with. Case in point - El Khader. The suicide scum who blew up a Jerusalem bus last week is reported to have come from El Khader. If you are sitting in Toronto or New York, that means nothing to you.
Let me bring the point home:
Every morning I travel on buses to Jerusalem. Our bus leaves Betar, turns right, passes Husan on the left. At the first intersection, we turn left, that is El Khader. A few minutes later, after passing the security checkpoint and driving over the tunnel roads, we turn right and watch Bethlehem and the Tomb of Rachel from our windows as we head into downtown Jerusalem. That means that the bomber could very well be someone I have seen in a passing moment. That means that the Israel military is now in full operation minutes from my home, turning over every stone possible to eradicate other suicidal maniacs before they kill children on their way to school.
I know, you still cannot relate, right?
Try this: If you live in Toronto, it is like someone from Thornhill hearing about a terrorist from Finch and Bathurst. That is close.
If you live in Flatbush, at Ocean Parkway and J, then it would be hearing about a terrorist from Avenue R and Ocean Avenue. That is close.
If you live in Los Angeles, it is like finding out that the terror cell that attacked your local town actually operated from a mosque five minutes away from your local Young Israel.
I only tell you this, because when CNN and FOX news report stories of bombings, most readers see Israel as a far away place that doesn't really affect them. They read the story in a way that doesn't hit home. Read the story differently my friends. When these bombs go off, it does indeed hit home. Too close to home. I thought most New Yorkers learned that lesson the hard way from 9-11. I guess I was wrong.
Tachlis (Hebrew for brass tacks):
The bombing last week in Jerusalem took place a five minute drive from the Jerusalem hospital where my son was born just weeks ago, Shaarei Zedek. The ongoing marathon of funerals took place as I wrote this article, a five-minute drive from my office in Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers are fighting to keep us all safe and sound a five-minute bus ride from where I hoped to try to catch some shut-eye. Yeah, Bethlehem and El Khader are places I pass on my way to work each and every day. And you think you have a problem understanding what is going on here?
Don't feel so bad, my friend. I think we are in this bloody mess, because many of the politicos making life and death decisions for this country have forgotten that terror is just a five-minute ride from home, anywhere.
"Sure it happens, but not in OUR community."
Lifeline By Yechezkel Chezi Goldberg A"H
Jewish Press (NY) - Posted 2/25/2004
The following is the last article Chezi Goldberg, z"l, sent us, just four days before he was murdered. Not usually ahead with his columns, he sent the last four to us way ahead of time, and this last one is being printed at his shloshim!
This is a typical reaction. Unfortunately, this reaction is one that those involved in dealing with the problem encounter all
the time, all over the place. Everyone seems to be resistant to admitting that sexual abuse of men occurs within their communities, within their homes, within their midst.
Educating the public about sexual abuse of men is imperative. The more people are aware of the facts, the more likely that victims will be able to find the help they desperately need. Furthermore, by being versed in the facts about sexual abuse of men, there is a greater likelihood that steps towards prevention will be implemented. After all, if there is no problem, why implement steps towards prevention? If there is a problem, and people are aware of the problem, then at some point, it begs the question, how do effectively impede sexual abuse from happening within our midst.
What follows are some facts about the sexual abuse of men. I would like to thank the Religious Men`s Hotline for Abuse Victims (972-2-532-8000) for collating these facts for our readership.
Facts About Sexual Abuse Of Men
- Sexual violence is an act of power in which the sexual element is an expression of power and control.
- Research has shown that one out of all seven men have experienced some form of sexual abuse during their lifetimes (the figure for women is one in three). These findings have been gleaned from epidemiological studies that apply across cultures and societies.
- Up to the age of 12, there is no difference in the number of sexual assaults on boys and girls.
- The assailant is almost always male, the number of women involved is extremely low and numbers no more than five percent of the cases.
- The number of homosexual assailants is no higher than their number in the general society.
- As with sexual assault of women, the assailant is usually known to the victim, is often a family member, teacher, counselor or any individual with whom the victim is in a hierarchical relationship.
- Sexual assault against men is most common in situations where there are large aggregates of men in a hierarchical power structure such as prisons, dormitories and the military.
- Symptoms that commonly occur shortly after sexual violence include: sleep disturbance; intrusive memories and thoughts; dissociation; flat affect and emotional detachment; social isolation; avoidance of situations that might remind the victim directly or indirectly of the attack; problems in concentration and function; mood-swings; anger and aggression. Among children there will often be severe behavior problems and inappropriate sexual acting out.
- Long range symptoms often include: damage to the victims masculine self-image that may lead to over-masculinization; confusion and anxiety concerning sexual identity; sexual dysfunction; further experience of sexual assault (re-victimization); problems with trust; problems in establishing relationships and intimacy; compulsive behavior; substance abuse; eating disorders;depression; suicidal ideation and self attack.
Spread The Word
Take these facts, take the opportunity and spread them around. Pass it onto your children`s principals, to the local rabbis, to youth group leaders, to medical doctors, to neighbors, to friends and family. Understand, that a great portion of the battle to help victims of sexual abuse is the creation of an environment in which victims feel that they have someone to turn to.
We never know where a victim will turn.
We never know to whom a victim will turn.
We never know if we will be the one to whom someone in pain will turn to for comfort and guidance.
You never know if YOU will be the one to suddenly be on the receiving end of a shocking conversation in which someone finally decides to share his secret and look to you for direction.
You need not have all of the answers.
If you do have the facts, if you are aware of the reality that surrounds sexual abuse of men, if you can be a good listener, you will be able to save someone`s life.
Countless times I have heard firsthand how victims of sexual abuse finally gather up the courage to share their burden with someone, only to be disappointed by the reaction of the person they chose to unload their troubles to. Many describe that when they find themselves telling their story to someone who reacts improperly, they feel like they are victims twice.
So yes, sexual abuse of men does really happen.
Yes, it happens in our community as well.
Can we take steps towards prevention? Yes.
Is it possible to complete eliminate sexual abuse?
I don`t think so.
Can we prepare ourselves better so that we can offer solace, compassion and support to victims? Yes.
On a personal and professional level, I believe that the first order of the day is to do whatever we can to educate ourselves and those around us on the topic so that victims can receive the care they desperately need and deserve.
Don`t rely on the other person to be the prepared one. You cannot always assume that this issue won`t land on your doorstep. You never know if and when you might be put on the spot and be asked to listen to someone unload their heart and their story. If you should ever be in that position, be prepared.
Chezi Goldberg`s mother, Ruth Goldberg, speaks out a the Chezi Goldberg memorial on March 2, 2004:I am Ruth Goldberg, Chezi's mother. While my sons and daughters are individual people, we are proud to tell the world, collectively we are Yechezkel Chezi Scotty Goldberg's family.
Daily we continue to hear amazing stories about my son, Chezi.
If we are to learn from Chezi's death, we must stop the media from making a mockery of my son's murder. For one month now headlines are screaming the wrong message favoring politics over morality, preferring to focus on politicians behaving badly, when there is only one message to be taken into each of our homes and heart. Three words. I repeat, three words, `safety, security, defence.' Safety. Security. Defence.
The father of my 7 grandchildren, the love of my Shifra's life, would be standing here today, instead of me, talking with you. Chezi would be alive if the world would abide by one standard with regards to the wall in Israel. Keep bad people out and keep good people like my son safe and alive.
We must stop deluding ourselves. We must admit that terrorism does not respect borders, zip codes, culture, race or religion. One month ago, January 29, 2004, bomb murderer Ali Jarrah climbed aboard bus Number 19. Ali Jarrah did not say "jews to the back, everyone else get off. " He looked into the faces of innocent commuters. He sat down in front of my son. Then he murdered eleven people including the heart of our family, leaving over fifty innocent victims severely injured. Countless bystanders, doctors, nurses, volunteers and civilians will never forget their horror of that day. News moves forward. Our nightmare won't.
This is my son. This could be your son, your brother, your father. I could be your mother standing here.
On a personal note, thank you ZAKA for the dignity your volunteers gave my son in death. If only the leaders of the world would give equal value to the living as ZAKA gives to the dead.
By Carly Weeks
Globe and Mail - Friday, Jan. 30, 2004
Toronto — Yechezkel Goldberg grew up singing on albums with the Toronto Boys Choir, a group that brought children together to celebrate Jewish music. His vocal love of his faith eventually caused him to move to Israel, where he dedicated his life to helping people, including victims of terrorism.
That life ended yesterday morning, when Dr. Goldberg, 42, got on Jerusalem's No. 19 bus. A suicide bomber detonated his explosives just as the vehicle pulled away from the station, killing Dr. Goldberg and at least nine others. The attack, carried out by an off-duty Palestinian police officer, was claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which said the bomber was avenging an Israeli raid in the Gaza Strip.
Today, Mr. Goldenberg's wife, Shifra, and seven children, plus brothers, sisters and friends across the globe, are struggling with a grim reality: More Israelis are dead, and someone they love is on the casualty list.
"We walked over to pay our respects. There's no way we could have possibly known," said David Weinberg, a Canadian childhood friend who walked to the scene of yesterday's bombing to light memorial candles with other members of a visiting anti-Semitism forum. The group didn't know that one of the dead was a dear friend, and ended up attending his funeral.
At midnight in Jerusalem, more than 200 people were waiting for the funeral procession to arrive at the hilltop cemetery where Dr. Goldberg (known to many by his nickname, Chezi) was being brought.
People described a sorrowful scene with many Canadians, including expatriate Torontonians, who had come to pay their respects.
"It's getting awfully cold. . . . I guess that just goes with the atmosphere here," said Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B'nai Brith Canada.
Dr. Goldberg was an internationally renowned psychologist who specialized in counselling troubled teenagers.
He spoke at many conferences dealing with mental-health issues and wrote regular columns for many Jewish publications.
He operated a clinical practice in Jerusalem, and lived in the suburb of Betar Illit, which is home to about 16,000 people, most of them Orthodox Jews.
Many at the funeral noted that the attack had taken place just down the street from the hotel where world leaders had met to discuss the growing problem of anti-Semitism, and on the same day when Israel traded hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group.
"The tragedy and the irony of it all that this should happen today when Israel is exchanging prisoners," said Keith Landy, national president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
"It's such a heinous event today that one has to question the humanity and the fact they are so disdainful of the sanctity of human life."
"This is anti-Semitism taken to its extreme," Mr. Weinberg said.
Dr. Goldberg, a graduate of the University of Toronto, leaves family members in his childhood neighbourhood in Thornhill, Ont., including his mother, Ruth, sisters Marla, Nesya and Cara, and brothers Aaron and Chaim.
"Once the sadness settles, the next thing is anger and disgust and revulsion at the way this terrorism is affecting all of us. It hits very close to home," said Moshe Ronen, a childhood friend.
Friends said Dr. Goldberg wasn't heavily religious as a child.
Dr. Goldberg was educated in Toronto's Jewish school system and by the time he reached high school, he had decided to use the Hebrew Yechezkel instead of his given name, Scott, signalling his changing relationship with his faith.
Dr. Goldberg spent the rest of his life practising Orthodox Judaism, which inspired him to move to Israel after spending the first three decades of his life in Toronto.
A vigil for Dr. Goldberg is to be held today in Toronto at the Israeli consulate, and B'nai Brith has plans to establish a scholarship fund to help his children.
With a report from Jonathan Fowlie
by Rabbi Ephraim Shore
Aish Ha Torah - January 31, 2003
Chezy Goldberg z"l, who was murdered in last week's Jerusalem bus bombing, cared and took responsibility for others. He was a true disciple of Moses.
They blew up my friend Chezi today. His crime? Riding the #19 bus in Jerusalem.
|Rabbi Shimshon Pinkus remember Chezi|
Chezi wasn't "marked," either. He was vital, dynamic, healthy, enthusiastic, always laughing and bringing others to laugh. The shock of Chezi no longer alive is compounded by the shocking way that he died, blown up in an instant while on a bus, along with 10 other beautiful, innocent and beloved souls.
His wife had to go down to the morgue to identify what was left of him.
Chezi, like me, was age 42 and from Toronto. He made Aliyah to Israel eight years ago, and we were neighbors in the city of Betar Ilit. Last year his wife gave birth to their seventh beautiful child.
What the bomber didn't know was that if his goal was to render maximum damage, to take out an accomplished and beloved Jew, then he found his mark in Chezi.
He didn't know that Chezi was responsible for helping hundreds of "at-risk" teens as a professional social worker and special ed counselor. For sure he never heard about the last initiative Chezi was so enthusiastic about: a new organization providing support for abused men. He never knew Chezi wrote a newspaper column ("Chezi's Corner") and hosted a radio show that focused on helping kids and sometimes fighting terrorism. He never knew that Chezi's singing voice was so beautiful it could make you cry, and how Chezi hosted an annual songfest in his Sukkah.
Bitter irony: At the start of this terror war Chezi and I had formed an organization -- "Security before Tragedy" -- to pressure the Israeli government to do more to protect civilians from terror attacks. Chezi wrote: "When we look at a miraculous escape from a deadly attack and breathe a sigh of relief, we lose the war on terrorism. When they fire to kill, they make their intentions clear. They will try again."
Every year Chezi would underwrite an annual lecture in memory of his father, where it was always moving to hear the love and respect for his departed father.
Everyone loved Chezi, and it seems that just about everyone knew him. Last week when he and I were walking past a hotel in Jerusalem, the concierge ran out and hand-delivered him a newspaper as a little gift.
We will cry this Purim when we think of the town's most colorful clown, who used to walk through the streets delivering gifts of food with his kids. We loved Chezi because he was a lot of fun, full of life, and forever ready with a joke and a piece of wisdom. Last week Chezi and his wife Shifra were with me on the bus, along with their one-year-old baby. We were all laughing at his usual jokes about the lax attitudes of Israelis, the national habit of believing that if we ignored the threats they would cease to exist through the strength of our desire.
And now Shifra is a widow with seven fatherless souls.
Above all, Chezi took responsibility when no one else did.
The Torah portion read a few days before Chezi was slaughtered spoke about Moses killing an Egyptian taskmaster who had been abusing a Jewish slave. We are told very little about Moses' life other than this short episode, and suddenly we see God choosing Moses as the leader of the nascent Jewish people.
From here we see why Moses was chosen. When he saw the suffering of his brothers, he could not hold himself back. Knowing full well that killing an Egyptian meant risking his own life, the end of his luxurious lifestyle in the palace, and likely exile forever, still Moses did not hesitate. He took action to stop the injustice in the only way possible. God saw that here was a person who cared and took responsibility for others.
Chezi was a true disciple of Moses. When Palestinian thugs were stoning dozens of cars daily on their commute home to our city of Betar, and the army was not responding, Chezi turned to action, driving through the streets with a megaphone sticking out of my car, hosting meetings for people who cared, raising money and organizing rallies to cry out for the army to do what it could do -- and eventually did do -- to protect us.
Chezi felt deeply the pain of every Jew. When he discovered that hundreds of troubled boys had virtually no resources to help them, he set up a hot-line, found volunteers, and created a national network to support them.
That's what I really loved about Chezi: he cared. He cared enough to get angry. When he saw that the security situation at our daughters' school was appalling, and everyone was silent, he yelled about it. It ate away at him. He couldn't lull himself to sleep like most of us. He got mad.
Chezi would be really mad now, if he was alive. He'd be mad enough to demonstrate about the bombing of bus #19. Years ago, people would be crying fasting and in shock at such a thing. But this is the situation of the Jewish people today -- that we have lost this ability to feel. Chezi decried this laxity. He warned us against falling into "numb acceptance" of terror attacks.
After every terror attack, Chezi would go to as many funerals as he could, even though he didn't know the victims personally -- just to cry.
It is a step toward the final redemption when we will be forced to cry out. It seems that the time has finally come to get mad and to cry. For Chezi and his wife and kids.
Rabbi Ephraim Shore is the Israel Director for HonestReporting.com and the Hasbara Fellowships for campus Israel activism. Prior to making aliyah, he was Executive Director of Aish HaTorah in Miami and Toronto.
Vigil held for Toronto-born man killed in suicide attack
Rabbi urges Ottawa to investigate death of father of seven
By Peter Small
Toronto Star - Jan. 31, 2004
|Vigil held in the Memory of Chezi Goldberg|
"They are in disbelief," said Rabbi Moshe Stern, a family friend who had just come from the shiva — a mourning ritual that goes on for a week — with the family of Yehezkel "Hesky" Goldberg in Thornhill.
"They are also questioning why innocent people like that, their lives would be snuffed away. And they can't understand why a human being would hate so much to take their own life," Stern said.
Goldberg, a 42-year-old psychologist and social worker, was among 10 killed in Thursday's deadly suicide attack on a Jerusalem bus. Forty people were injured when Ali Jaara, 24, a Palestinian police officer from Bethlehem, blew himself up.
Stern was among 50 people who gathered outside the Israeli consulate on Bloor St. W. near University Ave., for a vigil yesterday. They said prayers and lit candles for the dead.
Rochelle Wilner, national president of B'nai Brith Canada, said Goldberg's commitment to Judaism compelled him to live in his ancestral home.
"We grieve for him and his beloved family who are our friends and neighbours right here in Toronto. And we grieve for the families and loved ones of all the victims of yesterday's massacre," she said.
"How many more vigils must we hold? How many more slaughters must we endure before the governments of the free world, our own government in Canada included, say: `Enough is enough?'" she asked.
Goldberg lived with his wife Shifra and seven children, aged 1 to 16, in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit and operated a clinical practice in Jerusalem.
The University of Toronto graduate, who moved to Israel several years ago, was an internationally renowned psychologist who specialized in counselling troubled teenagers. He wrote columns for Jewish publications and spoke at conferences dealing with mental-health issues.
When he died he was on his way to work with children who were distressed, drug-addicted or homeless, said Israeli Consul General Ya'acov Brosh.
"The children he worked with will come back home. He will never come back to his wife, and to his seven children," he said.
Goldberg was taking the number 19 bus to his job as a social worker in downtown Jerusalem Thursday morning. When Shifra Goldberg, who knew her husband was supposed to be on the bus, heard news of the attack, she began scanning the lists of the wounded, Israel's daily Ha'aretz reported online. When his name failed to turn up, she went to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir, where she identified his body.
Goldberg's mother, Ruth, a brother and three sisters and their children were mourning at the home of his brother, Dr. Aaron Goldberg, in Thornhill yesterday, Brosh said.
"Their grief is not their grief alone. We are all broken because of their loss," said Stern, a rabbi at Shaarei Tefillah congregation in Toronto.
The irony was that Goldberg "helped all people no matter what their race, religion, colour," Stern said.
He urged Ottawa to investigate Goldberg's death. "We call upon the Canadian government to take a moral stand and not to be wishy-washy and not to try to appease the murderers by remaining silent."
He also urged the federal government to review how Canadian tax dollars are being funnelled through the U.N. to fund Palestinian schools, which "educate babies from their infancy to hate and to kill and to glorify these murderers when they perpetrate those crimes."
`That's the way Chezi was'
By ANNA MORGAN - Staff Reporter
Canadian Jewish News - Feburary 4, 2004
Last Thursday morning, Yechezkel (Chezi) Goldberg, 41, missed his regular bus, a service he had helped arrange between his West Bank town of Betar Illit and Jerusalem. Goldberg took a different route into the city to keep an appointment with a family in crisis.
The alternate route put Goldberg on the number 19 bus with Ali Jaara, a Palestinian policeman from Bethlehem who detonated himself, killing Goldberg and 10 others, and wounding 50 more. Hamas and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an offshoot of Arafat's Fatah movement, are both claiming responsibility.
"I can just imagine Chezi riding the bus, talking on his cellphone, probably complaining to authorities that the regular service wasn't running on schedule," said his neighbour, Avraham Guttman, also formerly from Toronto.
"That's the way Chezi was," Guttman said in a phone interview. "Always doing, always arranging."
Last Friday afternoon, friends and relatives poured into the Thornhill home of Goldberg's brother Ronn to offer condolences, some still in shock. The family was busy preparing for Shabbat and making last minute arrangements to leave for Israel Saturday night.
Yechezkel was born Stuart Scott Goldberg in Toronto. He grew up in the Bathurst-Finch area, went to Jewish day schools, served for a short time in the Canadian Armed Forces and graduated from York University with a BA. He also studied at Columbia University, and while in New York, he met his wife Shifra Goldberg at a party for Orthodox singles.
"My brother used to joke and say that he was very considerate marrying Shifra because she didn't need to change her name," his sister Carrie Devorah said.
In describing her brother, she said, "Scottie took awhile to find out who he was," but once he committed himself to working with children at risk "he did everything right."
Goldberg was a counsellor and certified alcohol and substance abuse professional for Orthodox teenagers. In his Jerusalem clinic, he dealt intensively with adolescents and families in crisis. He helped the homeless, the addicts, the depressed – young people who needed somewhere to turn.
Chezi and Shifra began their family in Brooklyn, N.Y., before moving to Israel 10 years ago. The couple and their seven children, now aged one to 16, lived in Betar Illit, a community near Bethlehem, of about 16,000, most of them observant.
"It was his dream to live in Israel, and his [late] father, Jack, encouraged him to pursue his dream," said his mother, Ruth, who wanted to explain what Chezi was really like.
"He was such a down to earth, sensitive guy. Teenagers could relate to and confide in him," his mother said.
In Israel, Goldberg wrote Lifeline, a column that appeared in The Jewish Press, an English language newspaper that primarily serves Orthodox readers. He authored several articles for the Jewish World Review and spoke often on the Arutz Sheva radio network. He dealt with issues not often discussed publicly. He wrote about religious male victims of sexual abuse and offered them ways to seek help. He taught parents how to develop lines of communication with their children when they seemed out of control and he stressed the importance of taking responsibility and not looking for others to blame when problem solving.
`There are so many problems in this world, and at the end of the day, we will never, ever get rid of them all," Goldberg wrote in one Lifeline column. "Problems are a part of life. I guess the question is, do we perceive ourselves as negative kvetches or positive solution seekers?"
In an article about Koby Mandell, a 13-year-old killed by terrorists two years ago near his home in Tekoah, Goldberg used Koby's parents as an example of strength. He also tried to comfort the Appelbaums, another family affected by terror when David Appelbaum was killed with his daughter, Nava, in a café in Jerusalem last year. He suggested the family read The Blessing of A Broken Heart, by Sherri Mandell, as a source for bereavement counselling.
Even while he encouraged the Appelbaums to take control of their grief and continue with their lives, Goldberg's article revealed the anger, determination and despair Israelis face living in the midst of a daily conflict that seems never-ending.
His writing reflected the anguish faced by many families affected by terror. Ironically, the day Goldberg died, another Canadian, Ali Jaara, an accused Hezbollah training instructor, was being released as part of a prisoner exchange.
In the wake of the Mandell and Appelbaum tragedies, he wrote that he couldn't help but wonder how families of terrorism victims could go on.
"[If] truth be told," Goldberg wrote, "the how question still screams out at me."
A trust fund, the Chezi Goldberg Memorial Fund, is being set up for the Goldberg family. For information, go to www.goldbergmemorial.org. Cheques can also be made to B'nai Brith Canada, with a notation that they are for the Chezi Goldberg Memorial Fund.
Goldberg is survived by his mother, Ruth; his wife Shifra and their children Chana Bracha, Esther Zahava, Yaakov Moshe, Yetzchak Shalom, Shoshana Malka, Eliezer Simcha and Tsvi Yehoshua; and brothers and sisters Chaim and Chavit Goldberg, Marla and Samuel Fidgor, Carrie Devorah, Ronn and Sara Goldberg and Nesya and Dovid Jacob.
Chezi Goldberg Remembered For Devotion To Israel, Young People
Jerusalem Post - Feburary 4, 2004
By Combined News Sources
JERUSALEM – Riding together recently on a Jerusalem bus, Devora Goldberg, 19, asked her uncle whether or not being on buses in Israel frightened him.
Outside of his home, where relatives and friends gathered to sit shiva for the 42-year-old Yechezkel (Chezi) Goldberg, one of 11 people killed in last Thursday's bus bombing, she repeated his answer: "Life must go on. We have to live and we have to give them the message that we will continue living here as proud Jews."
|Chezi's mother lighting a candle|
"To him, moving to Israel was the be-all and the end-all, saying things like `G-d did not take us out of Egypt to live in Toronto,' " recalled Goldberg's long-time friend, Joe Halpert, who immigrated from Toronto around the same time.
Goldberg, a father of seven, was commuting by bus to his Jerusalem office, where he counseled at-risk teenagers and their families, when he was killed by the massive bomb set off by the suicide bomber, a Palestinian Authority policeman from Bethlehem.
A little over a year ago, Goldberg wrote an article about his feelings when he heard about a failed terrorist attack while riding on a Jerusalem bus.
He preached for years against making concessions to terrorism in articles he wrote for The Jewish Press and on a radio show he hosted on Arutz 7.
But Goldberg, a social worker in Jerusalem and Betar Illit, wrote mostly about his specialty: saving American immigrant children at risk. His Jewish Press column was called "Lifeline," and he proved to be just that for families having difficulty with their aliya and Orthodox children who abused drugs and alcohol.
"When we, here, look at a miraculous escape from a deadly attack and breathe a sigh of relief, we lose the war on terrorism," Goldberg wrote. "When they fired to kill, [the terrorists] made their intentions clear... They will try again.
"We have been warned. The next time, they might hit the target. They next time, we might not be so lucky."
When a teen from Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood died of a drug overdose in May 2000, Goldberg was invited to the Knesset to address the Immigration, Absorption, and Diaspora Affairs Committee. He told the committee that the problems of Western immigrants often get lost when the overwhelming majority of immigrants come from the former Soviet Union, and that Anglo immigrants require special attention.
Friends of Goldberg said he saved many lives.
"Even the word saint is not enough to describe him," Betar Illit spokesman Bezalel Kahn said. "He was always ready to make sacrifices to help people."
Goldberg was eulogized at the Bostoner Shul in Betar Illit, where he served as a sexton, before he was buried Thursday night at Har Hamenuhot Cemetery in Jerusalem.
In his eulogy, Rabbi Avraham Stern noted that Goldberg had a non-judmental approach to dealing with youth in crisis, and took a profoundly personal interest in the lives of those he counseled.
Goldberg is remembered as a charismatic figure who fit a tremendous amount into his busy day – balancing work, his home life, involvement in three synagogues and civic activities.
"The first time I met Chezi, after 10 minutes I felt as if I'd known him all my life, and at every meeting after that it was like being with an old friend. I think he had that special ability to make everyone feel that way," said Naomi Klass Mauer, associate publisher of The Jewish Press.
Bearded and burly, he always was on hand with a joke and an extraordinary capacity to help others, relatives and friends say.
He had a Master's degree in education and training in crisis counseling and conflict resolution.
His colleagues say part of his talent was an ability to focus on children's abilities instead of their disabilities, and to push them to reach their potential.
One of his past jobs was with the Jerusalem municipality helping get teenagers off the streets. He recently had opened his own office where he privately counseled troubled teenagers and their families, many of whom came from Jerusalem's Orthodox, English-speaking community.
For eight years Goldberg worked for Gan Harmony, a center that tries to integrate special-needs children into mainstream schools.
"He was a very strong personality. When he thought something was right he went all the way for it and didn't mind taking slack over it," said Shoshana Savyon, a supervisor of Goldberg's at Gan Harmony who became a close friend. "He was willing to champion kids no one was willing to champion."
As part of his work with Gan Harmony, Goldberg spent time at an Arab school in eastern Jerusalem, helping teachers develop a program to mainstream students with special needs.
Savyon related how a staff member at the school who worked with Goldberg began crying hysterically on the phone when she called to express condolences.
Last week Goldberg lectured to over 500 religious social workers and therapists at an international conference in Jerusalem on working with at-risk youth while staying within the framework of Jewish law.
"I will remember him as a person with a lot of charisma, optimism, energy and hope, a commitment to the Land of Israel, who was determined to make his life here and to make a difference," said Dodi Tobin, director of social services for Nefesh B'Nefesh, an organization that helps North Americans immigrate to Israel. Goldberg worked closely with the group's staff.
"He was very much about youth at risk and gave his heart and soul to that work. It will be a tremendous void felt by the teens he helped and the community," Tobin said.
In Beitar Illit, a large settlement populated by Orthodox Jews in the hills near Jerusalem, Goldberg took a leading role in the community, including lobbying for more bus service to the settlement.
On Thursday, January 29, he had a packed day of appointments with clients. That morning, however, he missed the bus he usually rode to Jerusalem and had to take a different one that took him to central Jerusalem – where he caught the ill-fated No. 19 bus.
A December 2001 article of Goldberg's posted on JewishWorldReview.com was entitled, "Because, If You Don't Cry, Who Will?" In it he bemoaned Israelis' complacency in the face of repeated suicide bombings.
"We have turned to stone," he wrote. "Some would call it `numbness.' Some would call it `collective national shock.' Some would say that we all have suffered never-ending trauma and it has affected our senses. Frankly, the excuses are worthless."
"All the reasons in the world don't justify our distance from the real pain that is burning in our midst. When an attack happens, in the heat of the moment, we frantically check to see if someone we know has been hurt or killed.
"And then, if we find out that `our friends and family are safe,' we sigh a deep sigh of relief, grunt and grumble about the latest tragic event, and then we continue with our robotic motions and go on with our lives.
"We have not lost our minds, my friends. We have lost our hearts. And that is why we keep on losing our lives." – With reporting by Jewish Press staff, JPFS and JTA.
Jewish Press - Feburary 4, 2004
By Editorial Board
|Chezi Goldberg's Family|
We at The Jewish Press were long taken with Chezi`s very special sense of commitment and talent for helping troubled youngsters enter or reenter the world of Torah. Indeed, when we learned of his tragic death, his distinctiveness in this regard immediately called to mind both the Talmud`s observation in Berachos (58a) — "The mind of each is different from that of the other, just as the face of each is different from that of the other" — and the explanation of Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, zt``l, that this notion is the basis of Jewish mourning.
As Rav Soloveitchik wrote in the classic On Re-pentance:
"Each man is not only one person in number, but is also unique. He is different from others, being characterized by some original quality that no one else possesses. This singularity ... reflects the Divine spark in him.
"The concept of mourning in Judaism is based upon this assumption. What do we mourn over? We mourn over those who "are gone and not to be found," in the sense of an irretrievable loss...
"This is what the Mishnah meant when stating: `Whoever saves a single life — the Torah accords him credit for having saved a complete universe.` Why? Because he is irreplaceable; with his decease will disappear that uniqueness which he embodies... Every person is indispensable; he is not just `one` who can be replaced by `another one.`"
And Rav Soloveitchik surely had the life`s work of people like Chezi in mind when he went on to say, "Sometimes a person develops his own inner potential; and sometimes it remains locked within him like an untapped treasure and never comes to light. In either case, this unique quality is lost with a man`s death.
How many countless young Jewish treasures did Chezi put on the road to fulfillment?
May his memory be for a blessing.
Jewish Tribune - February 5, 2004/Shevat 13, 5764 (Page 3)
Yechezkal Goldberg, a native Torontonian, was murdered by the enemies of both Israel and the Jewish People. Yechezkal leaves behind his beloved family, a wife and 7 children, who supported him behind the scenes at all times so that he could be the lifeline to so many others in need. Now we need to be their Lifeline In consultation with the family, Bínai Brith Canada has set up a trust fund for the orphans. Please send your tax deductible donation to the Bínai Brith Foundation-Goldberg Trust Fund, 15 Hove St., Toronto, Ontario M3H 4Y8 or call 416-633-6224 ext.128 for further details. Your donation is greatly appreciated.
By Marshall Shapiro
Jewish Tribune - February 5, 2004/Shevat 13, 5764
|Memorial for Yechezkel Goldberg|
Among those killed was Toronto-born sociologist Yechezkel Goldberg, 42, of Betar, Illit. He was on his way to work, and had missed his regular bus, which forced him to board the ill-fated vehicle. Ironically, says his brother Aaron, he had narrowly missed an earlier bombing when he left a restaurant moments before it was blown up.
The father of seven children ranging from 18 months to 17, Chezi, as he was popularly known, made aliyah with his wife Shifra eight years ago.
"To him, moving to Israel was the be-all and the end-all, saying things like `God did not take us out of Egypt to live in Toronto,' "recalls Goldberg's long-time friend, Joe Halpert, who emigrated from Toronto around the same time.
Although Goldberg was buried in Jerusalem's Har Menuchah Cemetary only hours after his death, family members in Thornhill heard the funeral and eulogies by phone. His three sisters and two brothers left for Israel immediately following the Sabbath to sit for the seven day mourning period with his wife and children. On the Thursday night, however, they gathered at the Thornhill home of Goldberg's brother Aaron.
Israel's Consul General Cobie Brosh visited the family in Thornhill. "I went to cheer them up but they cheered me up," he told The Jewish Tribune.
His sister, Marla Figdor, told The Jewish Tribune of the excruciating bune of the excruciating loss of her brother. She told of how he had been a member of the Toronto Pirchai boys' choir and loved to sing and how the family would engage in song long after Shabbat was over. He had, she said, attended Or Chaim and had a fervent love for Judaism throughout his life. He had helped hundreds of families overcome their tragedies, she said.
Goldberg is remembered as a charismatic, almost larger-than-life figure who fit a tremendous amount into the day – balancing work, his home life, involvement in three synagogues and civic activities. Bearded and burly, he always was on hand with a joke and an extraordinary capacity to help other, relatives and friends say.
A frequent contributor to Jewish newspapers and Web sites, Goldberg had repeatedly written about terrorist attacks. In one terrorist attacks. In one column he discussed the proximity between bombing and their victims, noting that every morning he traveled by Palestinian cities such as Bethlehem to reach Jerusalem from the religious Jewish community in the West Bank where he lived, Beitar, Illit.
Referring to a 2002 attack, he wrote in an article originally printed on Israel National News.com on Nov.24, 2002, "The bomber could very well be someone I have seen in a passing moment," he wrote.
A Toronto friend of Goldberg's, Mitchel Shore, says that it's "cruelly ironic" that much of what he wrote could now be written about him.
"He's the best of what we have," says Shore. "Here's a man who devoted himself to at-risk people, traumatized people, victimized people. He was gregarious and affable and selfless and kind and was raised in the bosom of a very loving family who are adored by this family who are adored by this community and were devastated. They've taken from the finest and it's irreplaceable. There are seven young children who will never see a wonderful, loving, funny, generous father again."
Through his company, Shore Creative, Shore has built a Web site devoted to Goldberg [www.goldbergmemorial.org]. The site will post articles by Goldberg and will try to help his family.
"I can't do anything for him but I certainly want to make sure that his family has a place in the sun because he never enriched himself because he spent his whole life enriching others," says Shore.
A graduate of Toronto's York University, and Columbia University in New York, Goldberg was a counsellor and a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Professional (CASAP). He became a well-known personality in the Israeli Haredi community treating troubled and special needs children and working tirelessly with religious teenagers suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. He became popular with his own radio show on Arutz-7 where he dealt with social problems especially with children. "Most of us strive to do something profound with our lives. He accomplished it," says Shore.
In his Jerusalem clinic, he dealt extensively with adolescents and families in crisis, and with overseas students studying in Israel in various one-year programs. His colleagues say part of his talent was an ability to focus on children's abilities instead of their disabilities, and to push them to reach their potential.
"Everyone knew him and loved him," said Jerusalem lawyer, Jack Golbert. "Even people who never met him. He was a frequent chatter on Janglo (Jerusalem Anglo network) with helpful advice and encouragement."
"The outpouring of the community towards the Goldbergs is unbelievable," says family friend Avraham Guttman, who made aliyah from Toronto a few years before the Goldbergs.
Guttman, along with a social worker accompanied Shifra Goldberg to identify her husband's body.
"The social worker was close to tears in the car," Guttman says. "She was so impressed that there were people that cared about the family. What she didn't realize was that these people were only repaying his wife – he touched so many peoples lives."
Guttman lists just a few of the people Golberg helped – the rabbi for whom he provided new furniture; the newlyweds to whom he sent anonymous gifts; the bank manager to whom he gave the most precious of commodities – a hug. "He was just a loveable person, showed his affection to others. That's why he was so good at helping people – he had a true concern for people."
According to Guttman, Goldberg learned early. As a child in Toronto his father would say "Yechezkel come with me" and they would go to peoples houses in the middle of nowhere to bring kids toys, or a family food.
"He did the exact same thing to people here," says Guttman. "Touched their lives like his father had."
The bomb that killed Goldberg completely gutted the No. 19 bus as it travelled on Rehov Aza. Police estimate the bomb contained seven kilograms of explosives and was packed with shrapnel. Since the bus route ends near Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, it is not unusual for Arab speaking riders to get on. In this case it was a 24-year-old policeman from Bethlehem shopping for 72 virgins at the behest of Yasser Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade – a wing of Arafat's Al Fatah party.
"The bomber ran in through the back door," said Yisroel Stefansky, a Zaka and Hatzolah volunteer who attended at the scene. According to Stefansky, this was one of the new "green" buses, with huge, low windows and a minimum of steel structure. It is designed so that in the case of a bomb blast, the windows will "powderize" like snow and passengers would be thrown out. However, because of the narrowness of Gaza Road and the proximity of the buildings, the blast was contained causing unspeakable carnage.
The week before, Stefansky was enjoying a hot chocolate at Java & Jewels on Bathurst Street and shaking hands with Toronto rabbis. A few days later those same hands were searching through the rubble in search of body parts.
Also killed in the attack were Avraham (Albert) Balhasan, 28; Rose Bona, 39;Chana Anya Bunder, 38; Anat Darom, 23; Natalia Gamril, 50; Baruch Hondiashvilli, 38; Dana Itach, 24; Eli Tsfira, 48; Octovian Floresco Viorel, 42; and Mebebra Valadi Zadik, 35.
Riding with him recently on a Jerusalem bus, Devora Goldberg, 19, asked her uncle whether or not being on buses in Israel frightened him.
Outside of his home where relatives and friends now gather to sit shiva, she repeats his answer: "Life must go on. We have to live and we have to give them the message that we will continue living here as proud Jews."
Chezi Goldberg was in the process of writing a book about miracles. Unfortunately, when he needed one, it wasn't there. He will be missed.
With files from JTA's Dina Kraft in Jerusalem.
By David Horowitz
Jewish Tribune - February 5, 2004/Shevat 13, 5764Toronto – Extreme cold weather and windy conditions could not keep people from attending a vigil held by B'nai Brith Canada, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Israel on January 30. The vigil was held outside the Israeli consulate in Toronto in memory of the Israelis murdered in the previous day's terrorist bus bombing in downtown Jerusalem. Among the dead was Dr. Yechezkel Goldberg, 42, a native of Toronto who made aliyah eight years ago [see accompanying article].
Speaking at the vigil was Rochelle Wilner, National President of B'nai Brith Canada [see page 9 for her full remarks], Rabbi Moshe Stern of Shaarei Tefillah Synagogue, Rabbi Joseph Kelman, Emeritus, of Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue and Cobie Brosh, Consul General of Israel. They spoke passionately about the tragic loss of those killed in the bus bombings in Israel, which coincided with the death of Corporal Jamie Murphy, a Canadian soldier stationed in Afghanistan who was also killed in a suicide attack. In reference to Dr. Goldberg and Cpl. Murphy, Wilner juxtaposed how "attacks like those that took the lives of Dr. Goldberg and Cpl. Murphy this week – among many other lives in Israel and around the world – are crimes against humanity, and should be recognized as such." Wilner commented how the Canadian government has a responsibility to take the necessary course of action to hold out just the perpetrators responsible for these acts of terror, but those who plan and finance these attacks, adding "Canada can and must lead the community of nations along the moral high road...Now is not the time to be neutral. Now the time to rededicate ourselves to upholding those values which made this country great – freedom, justice, and above all, the right to life."
Futhermore, Rabbi Stern extolled Dr. Goldberg as a compassionate and selfless individual, committed to assisting families with the difficult process of integration into Israeli society and for providing help to Orthodox children on the street. Rabbi Stern said that Mr. Goldberg was "full of humanity and kindness" and someone for whom the young people "depended on his expertise." Following the remarks, candles were lit, Kaddish was recited, and Hatikvah and the Canadian national anthem were sung by the participants carrying B'nai Brith placards and Canadian and Israeli flags.
Personal reflections on Yechezkel Goldberg's death - My family's pain
by Kassia Goldberg
Jewish Tribune - February 5, 2004/Shevat 13, 5764 (Page 4)
Kassia Goldberg wrote the following in an email to her friends after her cousin Yechezkel (known as Chezzie or Scottie) was murdered in the recent Jerusalem bus bombing.
|Chezi Goldberg's son|
I didn't know if I should write this email but I thought people should know what my family is going through, and how I'm feeling.
This morning a 24-year-old Palestinian police officer got on a bus in the middle of Jerusalem and blew himself and 10 other people up. One of the people on that bus happened to be my cousin Scottie Goldberg Z"L. He was a great man, who had dedicated his life to helping others. He made aliyah about ten years ago, and was living in Beitar, with his seven children. He dedicated his life to helping kids that needed help and guidance. He just had a new baby this past year, and his eldest, Chana is 16. I can't put into words so well, right now, how I'm feeling. I don't understand how people can do this to a family. Seeing my aunt's face, my cousins who have lost their brother, my cousins that have lost their uncle, the list goes on.
These aren't just numbers that died, these people all are connected to so many. Going to the shiva, I was so afraid, I didn't know what I was going to do. I saw all these people I have to come to love, and gotten so close with these past months, broken, in shock, dazed, and just so sad. I hope this is the last one G-d has to take from us, I hope its in Scottie's zchut that the bombings stop and our people are not murdered anymore. I pray that no one should have to deal with this kind of sadness, 7 young children shouldn't lose their father, mothers shouldn't be losing their children, and wives their husbands. I pray for peace in Israel, how much more so that seems impossible to me now.
If you all could pray for his family, for the families of the other victims...
A shiva like no other
By Rivkah Jaff
This past Thursday night I lay crying myself to sleep. Just a few hours ago I returned from a shiva house. This was unlike any shiva house I had been to. As I walked through I heard muffled heart wrenching sobs coming from the low couch where the mourners sat and people huddled together talking in low soft whispers.
As I made contact with the mother, Ruth Goldberg, whose son Rabbi Yechezkel Goldberg had been brutally killed in the recent suicide bombing in Jerusalem, my heart bled.
What can one say at a time like this to comfort a mother, a sister, a brother? I wanted to reach out and envelope them and take away some of the pain and offer the words of comfort. But I couldn't. The words just weren't there. How can I possibly put into words how sorry I am that a mother has to bury her own son?
It's impossible to grasp how the value of life means nothing at all to these Palestinian terrorists. We as Jews value life over all else. We were willing to hand over more than 400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for three dead Jewish bodies, so that they could have a Jewish burial and the families could have some closure.
My head throbbed and my mind reeled in anger and pain. What human could be filled with so much anger and hatred to execute such a brutal act? Why would anyone murder innocent people and end his own life at the same time?
Each time a suicide bombing occurs my heart goes out to the families and friends but then the paper is put down and life continues. But this time was so very different because I knew the family and I had read his articles in the numerous newspapers. How does one begin to go on with life after such a terrible tragedy? Israel is our land and has been for over 2000 years. Without Israel we would be a wondering nation with no roots and no place to call home.
My friends, when do we reach the point when we stop and say it's too much? How much blood needs to be shed for us as a nation to realize that we need to put ourselves and the lives of our children first and foremost as a top priority high on the list above world opinion? We know that peace comes at a price but what price are we as a nation willing to bear?
Even though the crying stops, the raw pain is always there. This suicide bombing hit home. It wasn't just a name on a paper, this time it was someone I knew.
May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Jewish Tribune - February 5, 2004/Shevat 13, 5764 (page.9 and 10)
B'nai Brith Canada President Rochelle Wilner addressed the January 30 rally in Toronto.
We stand together today in solidarity with men and women of all nationalities and all faiths, mourning the senseless loss of more innocent lives in yesterday's horrific terrorist bombing in downtown Jerusalem.
Yesterday's attack was perpetrated by a Palestinian Authority policeman, an individual whose responsibility it was to maintain civil order. Instead he used himself as a human bomb to target and kill innocent men, women and children.
Yesterday the body of a soldier, Corporal Jamie Murphy, himself a victim of a similar attack, was returned to this country. Cpl Murphy was a hero, as are all of our brave men and women serving the cause of freedom in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cpl Murphy's family, and the families of all Canadians who are risking their lives for our future and our children's future. The pain of terrorism, like the terrorist murderers themselves, respects no borders. It's carnage does not discriminate.
This afternoon we particularly mourn the loss of one of our own – former Torontonian, Chezie Goldberg. Dr. Goldberg was a loving husband, a father to seven beautiful children, a respected professional who dedicated his life to helping others. He was, as we say in Yiddish, a real mentsch.
His commitment to Judaism compelled him to make aliyah – to make his life in our ancestral home. And it was ultimately this commitment to his faith that led to his death yesterday at the hands of yet another terrorist. Dr. Goldberg's life and death were a Kiddush HaShem.
Both Corporal Murphy and Chezie Goldberg are united in death by being victims of homicide bombers. Both deserve our prayers as do their families, Both deserve recognition, in equal measure, by our government for being victims of terror.
How many more vigils must we hold? How many more slaughters must we endure before the governments of the free world, our own government in Canada included, say: "enough is enough"?
No longer can the world afford blind and ultimately false hope to justify half-hearted measures. No longer can the world afford to seek solace in euphemism. It is time for the free world – Canada included – to act. Attacks like those that took the lives of Dr. Goldberg and Cpl Murphy this week – among many other lives in Israel and around the world – are crimes against humanity. They should be labelled so, and their perpetrators, not just those who commit the grievous acts, but also those who plan and finance them, should be hunted down and brought to justice, like the criminal thugs they are.
Over the course of the last 2 years Canada has identified several terrorist organizations and outlawed their activities on Canadian soil. We applaud these steps but they are not enough. Canada can and must lead the community of nations along the moral high road – the moral right road. Now is not a time to rededicate ourselves to upholding those values which made this country great – freedom, justice, and above all, the right to life.
Ladies and gentlemen, those who commit these heinous acts are not freedom fighters. They are not militants, they are criminals. They are murderers. What happened yesterday in Israel and what happened earlier this week in Afghanistan was cold-blooded, premeditated, calculated murder. They were and are crimes against humanity. This is the message that our government must promote in the international arena.
Chezie Goldberg was a Jew and a Canadian. We grieve for him and his beloved family who are our friends and neighbours right here in Toronto. And we grieve for the families and loved ones of all the victims of yesterday's massacre. Ten lives brutality taken – forty other lives altered forever – by the actions of a cadre of criminals driven by their lust for power and their hate for Jews.
May the survivors and their families be granted the strength to cope with what faces them and endure the difficult days ahead.
JTA - Feburary 5, 2004
Canada's ambassador to Israel canceled a condolence call to the home of a Canadian-born man killed in a terror attack.
Donald Sinclair's visit to the family of Yechezkel Goldberg, killed in last week's Jerusalem bus bombing, was called off because Goldberg lived in the West Bank, the Jerusalem Post reported. A Canadian spokeswoman said the government had offered to help Goldberg's family, but that not visiting beyond Israel's pre-1967 borders is consistent with Canadian policy. Goldberg's brother said the family is insulted by the cancellation.
Canadian envoy cancels West Bank condolence visit
By Yaakov Katz
Jerusalem Post - Feb. 6, 2004
The Canadian ambassador to Israel, Donald Sinclair, canceled a condolence visit to the home of Yechezkel Goldberg who was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem last week because Goldberg's family lives in the West Bank.
Yechezkel's brother, Dr. Ron Goldberg, told The Jerusalem Post that his brother, who had served in the Canadian armed forces, was a passionate Canadian and that the family was personally insulted by the ambassador's refusal to travel to the West Bank settlement.
"The message I received was that it was outside their jurisdiction to pass the Green Line," Goldberg said. "We believe in Canada's role in pursuing peace and they should have balanced and nondiscriminatory policies." Goldberg said that he was offered the opportunity to meet the Canadian ambassador at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Friday but that he declined since "it would be an insult to my brother's memory."
Spokeswoman for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs Marie-Christine Lilkoff told the Post that Canada has taken "unusual steps" to console the Goldberg family, including the publishing of condemnations against the suicide attack and the offer of assistance.
She said, however, that Sinclair's action was "consistent with Canadian policy regarding the occupied territories" by not traveling to the West Bank since "the ambassador does not have jurisdiction beyond the Green Line."
Yechezkel, 42, a native of Toronto who immigrated to Israel eight years ago, is survived by his wife and seven children.
Canada denies snub to grieving family
Envoy didn't visit West Bank home Toronto-born man killed in bombingToronto Star - Feb. 6, 2004
MITCH POTTER - MIDDLE EAST BUREAU
JERUSALEM "The grieving relatives of a Toronto-born suicide bomb victim say they feel "neglected and insulted" by Canada's refusal to pay a condolence visit to the family's West Bank home.
Canada's ambassador has been conspicuous by his absence at the Jewish settlement of Betar Illit, the family says, despite the flow of several thousand mourners in remembrance of psychologist Dr. Yechezkel Goldberg, one of 11 people killed Jan. 29 in a horrendous bus bombing in downtown Jerusalem.
Yet Canadian policy â¤" to have diplomats stay well clear of the controversial Jewish settlements, which are illegal under United Nations resolutions â¤" is subscribed to by most Western governments, a Western diplomat in the region told the Star last night.
Goldberg, 42, a father of seven, grew up in Toronto attending high school at Yeshivat Or Chaim, an Orthodox school for boys.
He moved back and forth between Israel and New York with his family before settling in Israel about 10 years ago but was "forever proud" of his Canadian roots, his brother Chaim Goldberg, a Thornhill doctor, said last night.
"That's why this is so painful," Goldberg said. "We don't get so much as a phone call from the Canadian government for a full week, and finally they tell us today the ambassador cannot visit us because it is against policy.
"They said it is outside their jurisdiction to pass the Green Line (demarking Israel's pre-1967 border). This is discriminatory. This little house is just 10 minutes from Jerusalem, and it is in pain. But if Canadian policy comes before people, Canadian policy stinks."
A foreign affairs spokeswoman in Ottawa last night defended the government's response to the tragedy, citing a host of "unusual measures" Ottawa has taken to convey sympathies. Marie-Christine Lilkoff said the Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv contacted the family within 24 hours of the attack offering condolences and consular assistance.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham has sent letters of condolence to both the mother and wife of the victim, as has Canada's ambassador to Israel, Donald Sinclair. Graham also condemned the attack in a press release, a move that "is not standard practice," Lilkoff said.
"Ambassador Sinclair has also offered to meet the family at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem to convey his condolences and the condolences of the government of Canada," she said. "And he has offered to pay a condolence visit to the family in Toronto when he returns in the near future.
"But the Canadian ambassador to Israel does not have jurisdiction beyond the Green Line," she added. "This is consistent with Canada's policy regarding the occupied territories. Canada has never sent its ambassador to a settlement in any official capacity, and this longstanding policy will not change."
Moshe Ronen, a childhood friend of Goldberg's, told the Star's Melissa Leong last night: "The Canadian government showed poor judgment.
"Protocol is for politics, not for tragedy," said the Toronto lawyer who is also chair of the board of governors of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
"The family was really incensed," Goldberg's sister-in-law Chavi Goldberg said from her Toronto home last night. "They want to drag (Goldberg's) kids to a hotel and there, a Canadian ambassador will talk to them? Their baby isn't even 1Â 1/2. This child isn't going to have a second parent to hold it. There is no comfort for our family."
Despite local media reports indicating Sinclair had initially agreed to the visit and subsequently cancelled, Lilkoff said "there was never any plan for the Canadian ambassador to visit the family home of Dr. Goldberg."
Chaim Goldberg dismissed the offer of a meeting at the historic King David Hotel as "more than an insult to the memory of my brother. It is a well-known fact that Foreign Minister Graham has met with Arabs in the West Bank. If he goes there, he should come here. That would be balanced policy."
Graham visited the West Bank city of Ramallah in May, 2002, for a 30-minute meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, where he reiterated Canada's commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state, but warned it cannot happen without an end to suicide bombings, terrorism and violence. Graham met the same day in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, telling the Israeli leader there could be no military solution to the conflict.
Canadian politicians from several parties have also visited the West Bank on fact-finding missions.
A Western diplomatic source in the region said last night Canadian policy is identical to that of most Western governments in steering clear of the controversial Israeli settlements at any cost. Goldberg's home in Betar Illit, south of Jerusalem, comprises one household among the estimated 250,000 Jewish settlers living in Israeli-sponsored enclaves on occupied land the Palestinians claim for a future state.
"Canada never has gone there, Canada never will go there. And to my knowledge, no foreign diplomat has ever gone to a settlement for any official reason. These are illegal settlements under international law. That's the whole point," the source told the Star, on condition his name not be used.
Goldberg disputed the claim, saying "the United States wouldn't do this. They would put their people first." A U.S. State Department spokesperson in Washington declined comment on the matter. Officials at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv and U.S. consulate in Jerusalem were unavailable.
By Marshall Shapiro
Jewish Tribune (Toronto, ON, Canada) - February 12, 2004/Shevat 20, 5764
Cover story (continued on page 9)
Toronto – The family an friends of Yehezkel Goldberg are furious that the Canadian government prohibited a condolence visit from the Canadian Ambassador.
After Goldberg, a 41-year-old father of seven, was murdered along with 10 other Israelis in the January 29 Jerusalem bus bombing, the Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Donald Sinclair, informed the family that he would be coming to their home to make a shiva call.
The family was later informed that Sinclair would not be visiting the shiva house, but would like to meet with the family during the shiva period at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
"A Jewish family in shiva cannot get up from sitting in mourning to go to any other location," said Goldberg's brother Ronn. It is part of the ritual of mourning that the family does not leave the house for the seven days of the shiva period.
The decision not to visit the shiva house was made not by Sinclair, but at the highest levels of government.
"It is important not to focus attention on our Ambassador who was merely following the instructions of his superiors in Ottawa," said Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B'nai Brith Canada and a close friend of the Goldberg family. "The bereaved family is entitled to an apology from the Government of Canada. We should recall that Canadian politicians have shown no compunction about meeting Yasser Arafat, a man who gives comfort and aid to Palestinian terrorists who commit the very type of atrocity that has devastated the Goldberg family. And yet meeting with the victims of terror is classed as conflicting with Canadian policy on an imaginary green line."
"It's a sad day for this country when narrow political consideration scan so easily trump basic humanity, leading to such lack of compassion for a Canadian-born victim of terrorism," said Rochelle Wilner, National President.
Jason Kenney, MP Calgary Southeast, raised the issue in the House of Commons. "Mr. Speaker, last week Scotty Goldberg, a Toronto native who had served in the Canadian Forces, was killed by a terrorist bomber in Jerusalem," said Kenney.
"The Canadian ambassador to Israel scheduled but then suddenly cancelled a condolence visit to the Goldberg family, apparently because he thinks they live in a disputed part of Judea, compounding the Goldberg's tragedy with an insult from their own government. Was the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware of this insult to the Goldbergs and does he condone it?"
The Hon. Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, responded by saying "I immediately upon the notice of the terrible, tragic death of Dr. Goldberg, offered the condolences of the Canadian government, the Canadian people and of this Parliament.
"Our ambassador was prepared to meet with the family in Jerusalem, which is appropriate. Unfortunately, that was not possible. There was a suggestion they might meet elsewhere, but our ambassador, as the American ambassador and others do, takes the position that they do not go into places which are disputed at this time.
"We are willing to meet with the family. We offered them our condolences. It is a very sincere wish on our part that the family understand our deep sympathy."
Not satisfied with this answer, Kenney asked why the minister would politicize the offering of condolences on behalf of the Government of Canada to the Goldberg family, noting that the visit was apparently cancelled because of political objections to where the Goldberg's lived.
"I do not believe that the ambassador cancelled the proposed meeting," said Graham. "The ambassador offered to meet with the family at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem ...He has offered to attend on the family in Canada when he returns to Canada."
Ronn Goldberg characterized Canada's response to his brother's murder as a disappointment. "A shiva call is a humanitarian gesture." Goldberg said. "It's an act of condolence and compassion. It's not a political statement."
There will be a public memorial for Chezi Goldberg, Tuesday, March 2, 2004 - 8 :00 PM at the Bayt synagogue in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada, 613 Clark Ave. West, L47 5V3, 905-886-3810.
By PAUL LUNGEN
Canadian Jewish News - February 26, 2004 - 4 Adar, 5764
Shortly after the number 19 bus was blown up last month by a suicide bomber in one of West Jerusalem's narrow streets, members of Zaka, Israel's Disaster Victims Identification organization, arrived on the scene.
Although Zaka personnel have become somewhat inured to gruesome terrorism attacks, this one was particularly bloody.
Zaka could not save Canadian-born Yechezkel (Chezi) Goldberg, who was one of 11 passengers killed in the blast. But Goldberg's family, who lives here, remains intensely grateful for their efforts to help the injured and the dignified way they treated the human remains.
As a mark of support, the family is promoting a fundraising campaign for Zaka that coincides with the holiday of Purim, which falls on March 7 this year.
The family is encouraging the purchase of Purim greeting cards to be sent to friends and family in lieu of mishloach manot (the sending of gifts), said Chavi Goldberg, who is married to Yechezkel's brother, Chaim.
"I just thought it is a way of showing thanks for what these people do, the care they take of the remains of the body and the care they take of the injured," she said.
"They literally give of their lives to care in a most sympathetic and professional way for people who are attacked in these tragedies."
Goldberg believes the festival of Purim lends itself to an effort that would support Zaka. "It's a time of making human connections. Purim is a time of renewing friendships," she said.
Giving gifts of food to friends and donations to charity are holiday traditions, so sending a greeting card to a friend renews that contact while at the same time it supports a worthwhile charity, she said.
Goldberg said supporting an organization such as ZAKA is something that would have made sense to her late brother-in-law, who was a social worker who provided emotional and spiritual support to terror victims.
"He had been in some locations close to attacks. He saw up front what they [Zaka] do. He was very touched by any kind of caring. He was involved with victims' families. He was one of those who helped victims and victims' families after an attack.
"So, in a way, they were in the same job."
Freelance journalist Marshall Shapiro, Zaka's representative in Canada, said 30,000 Purim greeting cards have been printed. They are selling for $15 for a package of six.
Businesses in the Jewish community are being asked to either sell the cards or provide order forms.
All funds raised will go directly to Zaka, a 600-member volunteer organization that is often the first to arrive on the scene after an attack. After administering first aid, the group's personnel – recognizable by their signature fluorescent green vests – begin the grim task of collecting body parts for proper burial.
Shapiro said the funds will be used to purchase medical supplies, body bags and motorcycles, which help volunteers get to terrorism scenes quickly.
Over the past two years, Zaka has raised about $100,000 from Canadian contributors, he said.
To place an order, call 416-636-8030 or e-mail email@example.com
1200 "cry" for Chezi
By Rick Kardonne
Jewish Tribune (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - March 11, 2004/Adar 18, 5764
Thornhill – The names of Israeli victims of Arab terror were read aloud as mourners filed into the BAYT auditorium to attend the memorial service marking the end of the "shloshim" (thirty days) since the murder of Toronto-born Jerusalem social worker Yechezkiel Goldberg. Goldberg was murdered in the bombing of the number 19 bus in Jerusalem's southwest Rehavia district on January 29.
Approximately 1200 people from all segments of the community attended the March 2 service chaired by B'nai Brith Canada Executive Vice President Frank Dimant.
Consul-General of Israel Ya'acov Brosh, Brosh read letters of condolence, from Israeli President Moshe Katsav and the Israeli Ambassador to Canada Chaim Divon, who praised Chezi as "a person who gave to everyone. He was killed by one educated in hatred. These people will never defeat us!"
Representing the federal government was Joe Volpe, Liberal for Eglinton-Lawrence: "The Government of Canada stands firmly on the side of Israel against this insane act of barbarian violence, which has been condemned by our new Prime Minister Paul Martin." Provincial Cabinet Minister (Security) Monte Kwinter, describing his "overwhelming sorrow and anger," expressed sympathy on behalf of Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"We still stand with you. His death is not in vain!" Federal Conservative Party Foreign Affairs Critic Stockwell Day promised the Goldbergs. Day, who was the only speaker to be applauded, told the audience that four federal MPs, one from each of the four parties, will introduce a motion declaring terror bombings a crime against humanity.
A message of condolence was also delivered by B'nai Brith Canada Senior Vice-President Harold Davis: "As the tides of anti-semitism sweep through Europe and as the blood libels which haunted our people echo throughout the Muslim world, we give you our assurances that B'nai Brith will be in the forefront to battle these evils."
World Mizrachi Co-Chair Kurt Rothschild described how his Jerusalem home is only five blocks away from the site of the bus bombing. "Chezi wrote that we have become numb to death," Rothschild noted.
Among the high-profile attendees were Consul-General of Romania, Dumitru Nicanor Teculescu, and the Consuls of India, S.R. Grover, and Bulgaria, Nadia Dandolova, Ambassador of Canada to Israel Don Sinclair and Special Coordinator Middle East Desk Jill Sinclair. Other dignitaries included The Hon. Elinor Caplan, The Hon. Art Eggleton, M.P.P. Mario Racco, Mayor of Vaughan Michael De Biase, York Region Police Chief Armand La Barge, Councillors Susan Kadis, Joyce Frustaglio, Mario Ferri and Karen Stintz; Tony Clement of the Conservative Party of Canada, Rabbi Pliner, Dean of Eitz Chaim Schools, and Rabbi Shoichet of Lubavitch Thornhill.
Sandra Demson, Vice President of the Canadian Council of Churches was present, as were Christians for Israel Chair Rev. John Tweedie, Canada Christian College president Dr. Charles McVety, and Dean Bye of Return Ministries.
Goldberg's brother Chaim delivered a Siyum, in which he declared that "peace comes through strength." A close friend of Chezi, Rabbi Yitzchok Feigenbaum, stated that his "very being was connected to the past, present and future of the Jewish people. He cared about all Jews."
In the closing D'var Torah, BAYT Rabbi Baruch Taub likened Chezi Goldberg to the legendary Rabbi Yochanan who "gave away all of his material possessions in order to live a life of Torah." Describing his orphaned family as now experiencing financial need, Rabbi Taub asked the audience to "translate our compassion into a pragmatic act of sympathy."
An impromptu speech by Goldberg's mother Ruth Goldberg was the climax of the event.
"We are all Yechezkiel Scotty Goldberg's family," she said. "Only one message: safety, security and defense is something democracy owes everybody. Chezi would still be alive today if the world had one standard regarding Israel's fence: Keep bad people out! The Arab bomber Ali Jawzra boarded the bus looked into the face of my son, then murdered 11 people and injured 50 others, including many doctors and nurses, as this bus goes to Hadassah Hospital."
Mrs. Goldberg then showed a large photo of Chezi Goldberg and declared: "This is my son. He could be yours. I could be your mother!"
Contributions to the family can be made through B'nai Brith. For details call 416-633-6224.
Silence no more
WorldNetDaily - Friday, March 12, 2004
By Carrie Devorah
Israeli Insider columnist Doron Kescher wrote, "the silent majority of Palestinians who just want to live in peace simply does not exist." I think I found one. His name is Yousef Jaara.
BBC Online reports Yousef says "we must talk." Yes. We must. Yousef Jaara's 24-year-old son murdered my brother, Jan. 29, in a Jerusalem bus bombing, a little over 30 days ago.
While mourning, I flew to the Netherlands, an American-Canadian face showing solidarity for the No. 19 bus which Chezi was murdered in. Christians for Israel funded flying the bus from Tel Aviv to shame Hague's International Criminal Court. I stated to world media gathered in front of my brother's final ride, "I want to meet the murderer of my brother."
I just might get my chance.
Seven years ago, a cabinet member from the PNA was assigned to my Thanksgiving holiday dinner table. I was a citizen diplomat. I told media at the Hague, my guest told me no mother wants to bury her child before herself. I said I want a mother who conceives a child, carries a child, births and raises a child for 24 years to look me in my eyes and tell me she suffered this joy to have him murder himself along with a 10 commuters in Israel.
Let me tell you what the press told me in the Netherlands: Ali's mother is devastated. And Ali's father is talking out. Talk to me Yousef. Help me figure out how we are losing our young to manipulative, emotional terrorists eager to sacrifice young men and women in crisis. I want to know what trigger-pushing causes dysfunctional young adults to murder without conscience.
One day after eight Palestinians were killed in clashes on the Gaza Strip, Yousef Jaraa's son climbed on Chezi's No. 19 one-way ticket commuter bus. BBC quotes Yousef saying, "Killing on either side is not good." BBC Online says Yousef would have stopped his son if he knew Ali's intentions. How often do we know what are children are really doing, where they are going, who they are meeting?
I discovered my son was dating a girl 2:30 one morning. A fire marshall called to let me know he was a near-fatal casualty in a car accident four hours from his college. Yousef found out Ali's political involvements shortly before the Israeli Defense Force arrived to destroy his house. His son was a murderer. Now Yousef lives in a tent.
Ali is part of the growing demographics bomb murderers are commonly found in – the tough 20s, the age teens grow into challenged, but sometimes not surviving. High school ends. Some youths move to college and careers. Others become disillusioned. So death becomes them. Ali is consistent with their profile. Quiet. Non-political.
Ali supported seven sisters, an ailing father. Yousef tells how hard his son's murder is on his heart. Israeli checkpoints complicate his travelling for medication to hospitals.
Chezi's murder is hard on his family's hearts. Their financially challenged life was spiritually fulfilling. Between working as a radio host and columnist, Chezi pioneered in Israel a field of psychology focused on children of emigrant families to the Holy Land who fell between the cracks after their move from the Western Hemisphere.
You name it, Chezi pulled skeletons of prostitution, alcoholism, drug abuse, incest, sexual abuse, clerical sexual abuse out of Israeli closets. The Knesset called upon him to testify to a subcommittee when a Western 15-year-old girl died of an overdose.
He had yeshiva school bills and a mortgage. Just before dying, Chezi found out about improprieties in his pension, which was dissipated. Seven children, debt mounting from living shekel to shekel, Israeli dollar to Israeli dollar, Chezi – unable to afford a car – commuted to his death.
If someone is keeping score, please tell me when we are even?
Ali Jaraa, a Palestinian Authority police officer, made a political statement he didn't count on when Chezi's elite quorum of 10 civilian men and women were called to service, one block from Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's residence in the Muslim Jihad, Holy War, against America. Israel's self-victimization just makes it a convenient scapegoat.
Readers now admit openly, without Chezi, they fear living. He broke reader's hearts, admitting unashamedly he feared dying. A complacent world that lost its tears, is answering his question: "If you don't cry who will?" I'm crying. Yousef is crying. We're all crying.
We didn't realize what we had until we lost it. Maybe Yousef and I can start building a gesher ktzar me'od-- a narrow bridge – back to the Holy Land, building over a cuppa. My place or yours, Yousef? Earl Gray, English breakfast, chamomile or mint?
Murder at the Hague
By Carrie Devorah
Jewish World Review - March 16, 2004 / 23 Adar, 5764
The author, a photojournalist, is used to covering the news. When the skeleton of the bus her brother was murdered on was recently brought to the Hague, she became the part of the story.
I stunned a colleague by telling him that I was flying to the Hague. This was not a social trip. Yechezkel "Chezi" Goldberg, my brother, was the first Canadian murdered in a pigua in Jerusalem. Chezi's bus, as I have come to call the Number 19 Egged his life ended on, was going to be in the Hague's town square opposite the International Court of Justice while Israel's right to ring Israeli citizens within a safe security fence was being debated. I would be there for my brother.
Chezi's friends began emailing me days before the Hague trial was set to begin. "You must go, Carrie." Christians for Israel was flying Chezi's bus to the Hague to illustrate that bomb murdering must stop. I booked my flight Thursday. Confirmed the hotel on Friday --- and then began packing my funereal basic mourning black wardrobe.
Fearful of flying, I was, nonetheless, off. I was going for one person. No mission. No bully would stop me from being our family's shomeres, guardian, of our brother's honor in what would be a politically charged protest.
The United Nations Assembly delegated the International Court of Justice to render a non-binding opinion on Israel's life preserving fence that, though not even completed, is already providing its residents increased safety and security from terrorism.
The Cypriot clerk at my hotel said the UN's position on Israel's fence is hypocritical. The UN erected a security fence in Cypress, separating Turkish and Greek Cypriots. That was one of the first of things I learned in the Hague that the world press does not discuss. Enemies of Israel- Cuba, Colombia, Mongolia, Jordan- were deciding the fate of 6 million citizens of Israel, in the Peace Palace, as the the International Criminal Court is nicknamed. It's directly across from a pillar and stone sculpture, the Hague's memorial to 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
Left. Right. Live. Die. The world is not crying out now. Maybe it's because anti-Semitism is alive and well in the Netherlands, sixty years after humanity's Bermuda Triangle. Before, there was no Israel. Just Jews. Now the home for Jews, Israel, is the Achilles heel of America. It is what terrorists are striking at.
My brother's friend begged me to leave my cameras at home. "Mourn, Carrie," he said. I can't. If I let myself fall into sorrow, I will break into pieces that will never be able to be put back together again.
Camera gear is in my backpack when my brother's bus arrived in Hague Square, Monday morning. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. I'm leading the silence. It is here that Chezi's murder on Aza Street became real for me.
Always behind camera, lenses were now trained on me. I did not disappoint picture editors. Sobs shook my body. Realization hit Israeli victims. The "put-together American lady from D.C." was falling apart, was still in mourning for her brother. I was now one of them.
ZAKA volunteers showed me where Chezi sat. ZAKA's corps are volunteer Orthodox Jewish men who come together to gather bombing victims body parts for burial. Chezi was their real life friend. They told me Chezi knew he was a dead man commuting. They showed where the blast scattered his body. ZAKA's men cried with me.
I knew where to take media. I showed them Chezi sat right behind his murderer. Chezi saw Ali Jarah murder him. I stood by Chezi's bus, showing media ZAKA's One Way Tickets for Eged buses. I showed the world this is where my brother sat. This is where his murderer sat. I pointed to a picture of Chezi five months and three days earlier in Jerusalem with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg said he was showing solidarity to Israelis who ride buses. And here are two pictures of Chezi's body after Ali Jarah murdered him. What was that question? No, NY Mayor Bloomberg has not issued an official statement about Chezi's murder.
I tailored media bytes to cultures. With British journalists, l talked about Northern Ireland's Shankhill Road wall, the fence around Buckingham Palace and Barshak breaking security at Windsor castle.
With the Los Angeles Times, I talked about gated communities- Malibu. Calabassass. Rancho Mirage. Bel Air.
With Canada's Globe and Mail, I talked about speed bumps in residential communities forcing drivers to a crawl.
And with the Washington Post, I talked about cement barriers and one armed bandits outside the White House.
Asked about Palestinians struggling to make a living, I talked about Jews struggling to make a living. My brother was working three jobs to make ends meet for his seven children. There is no one to provide for them now, I said.
My brother's mangled bus, was a grim sermon of humanity's charred heart. No wall means genocide, killing a race --- the crime Winston Churchill says has no name.
That is something the UN is familiar with. Rowanda. Armenia. Iraq. The Holocaust. Pink Floyd sang "All in all it was just a brick in the wall." Ronald Reagan's "Tear the fence down" is credited with winning the cold war. Now, those words are life or death, a national bloodbath. The wall means life. Three words. Three words. Safety. Security. Defence. Keep good people of all religions, cultures and races alive.
Humanity forgets, 45 minutes away from the International Court of Justice, a fence existed in Germany readying Jews for murder. I comprehended the magnitude of this reality when Christians for Israel members, Johan and Willem Broos toured me through Amsterdam. The brothers, Dutch Christians, told me their grandfather was murdered in Dachau. He was a partisan. The brothers drove me into the Jewish quarter, past Anne Frank's house, now a tourist site. People queued in the rain to see where the teenage Jewess hid until her walls were penetrated. The world did not cry out when the fifteen year old was shipped to her death in Bergen Belsen. The modern world reads Anne Frank's diary as a work of literature.
There were two sets of rules at the Hague. One for the Israelis. A second for the Arabs. Chezi's bus was flatbedded in for the Israeli protest. At 12 noon, it was sequestered on a side street away from Arab protesters. KLM counter agent Erik, said, "The police should have left the bus there for the Arab march. Then the world would have seen how they really behave towards Jews." PLO flags were marched through the Hague. A block long PLO flag covered the storybook style cobblestone streets. Arabs screamed "Kill Israel. F--- the Jews. F--- the Jews." PLO protesters carried postercards bearing swastikas, illegal in the Hague. The Arabs built up a symbolic wall at their protest. Why did the Israelis not build their own wall of over 900 faces representing the murdered? Jewish protesters, on nearby monument steps, holding a hand drawn Israeli flag, were ordered out of public sight. Israeli pro flags during their march. Defiantly, they wore them on their backs, superman style.
Netherlands de Volkskrant, Dinsdag February 24, covered the protest. Buried inside Page two was a half page story on White Pride World Wide, stormfront.org. Page One pictured a group of Jews marching with the PLO. Jews are our own worst enemy. At the Hague, the battle Israelis lost was that of PR. We murdered our own people at rope ends of semantics not semitics. I watched on European TV how the Arab press machine, fronted in DC by PLO's English speaking legal beagle red hot Donna Butto, steamrolled over the Israeli Foreign Ministry, neophyte at understanding Western Press.
In, out, good, bad, I guess fences are all relative to which side you are standing on, and what one's intent is. The Palestinians, cite the wall undermines "the prospect of a viable Palestinian state," declaring in an attempt to avoid a $116 million Florida judgement for a Hamas attack, they are a sovereign state. Isn't that what Palestine alleges their murderous battle is for. Statehood?
I declare. War over.
Carrie Devorah is a Washington, D.C. and Beverly Hills -based photojournalist.
Bus 19's Peaceful Future At Jewish Camp
Baltimore Jewish Times - MARCH 10, 2006
For a while it was a monument, a stunning silent tribute to the pain of war and the price of peace. Then they hauled it to the junkyard iterally.
Destroyed in a terror attack, the remains of Egged Bus No. 19 visited Baltimore two years ago as part of a nationwide tour meant to wake up Americans to the reality of violence in the Middle East. With the tour over and no more stops scheduled, the bus ended up in a Frederick junkyard, slated for oblivion.
Now it's to be given a new lease on life, as a monumental work of art at Camp Shoresh in Frederick County.
"I'm not the prime minister of Israel, I don't know the peace solutions and what will work or won't work," said camp director Rabbi David Finkelstein. "What I know is that Jewish children need positive Jewish experiences and that this is a perfect teaching object to talk about the need for peace and the pursuit of peace."
Egged Bus No. 19, a Jerusalem bus, was destroyed by a suicide bomber in January 2004. Eleven Israelis were killed and more than 50 people were injured.
Not long after, an evangelical group called Christians For Israel organized nationwide visits for the bus, which was hauled around on a flatbed truck. Media accounts at the time described the bus as having a cathartic effect, drawing out people's energies and emotions in the face of so tangible an artifact of terror.
"It is one of the starkest testimonies one can imagine to the havoc and suffering caused by terrorism," said Jay Bernstein, a local lawyer and "Shalom USA" radio host who helped bring the bus to Baltimore. "We read about these events all the time and see them on television, but to actually see the bus has a tremendous impact."
Having opened hearts around the country, the bus eventually found its way to Reliable Junk, where owner Brian Sclar recognized it as something more than just another hunk of scrap steel. He brought it to the attention of Rabbi Morris Kosman, spiritual leader of Beth Sholom Congregation in Frederick.
Rabbi Kosman in turn tracked down Rabbi Finkelstein, whose sprawling camp facility seemed a likely end-of-the-line for this unusual artifact.
The camp director was reticent at first. "My first thought was that this was so negative," he said. "We are all about positive Judaism here. We don't tell the kids: Hitler killed you and Eichmann burned you, now come and be more Jewish."
As he thought it over, though, Rabbi Finkelstein came to see things in a different light. Now the bus is slated to be broken down, its twisted frame cut apart to serve as material for local artists. Rabbi Finkelstein said he will seek out sculptors willing to forge a monument to peace from this former icon of violence.
The plan calls for the creation of a memorial garden to be designed around these sculptures.
"There may be a lot of hate in the world, but over here at Shoresh we are sending out peace," Rabbi Finkelstein said. "That is what Judaism is: We are a nation of peace lovers."
Letters to the Editor - Truly Missed
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