Friday, December 29, 2006

Case of Kenneth Shankman

Case of Kenneth Shankman

Photographer / Panter and Decorator - Manchester, England, Great Britain
Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade - Great Britain

Convicted sex offender.  Found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault.  He was sentenced to four-and- a-half years in prison for sexually abusing three young girls over 20 years ago.  was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault.

Shankman occasionally helped out at the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, where he indecently assaulted three girls, aged be-tween six and 11, in the period from 1981 to 1988. One of his three victims, now aged 27, complained to the police about him in 1988 but although Shackman was arrested, he was released without charge due to insufficient evidence.

The Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade (JLGB) is a British Jewish youth organization based in and primarily serving the United Kingdom. The UK's oldest Jewish youth movement, it was founded in 1895 as the Jewish Lads' Brigade by Colonel Albert E. W. Goldsmid, a senior army officer, to provide an interest for children of the many poor immigrant families who were coming into England at that time. The first company was launched in London's East End but others soon appeared throughout the city and the provinces. The movement later spread as far as South Africa and Canada.

There are several people named Kenneth Shankman. The individual discussed on this page is British and was born around 1940.

If anyone has more information about this case or a photograph of Kenneth Shankman, please forward it to The Awareness Center, Inc.


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

Table of Contents:

  1. Pensioner sent to jail for child sexual abuse (12/29/2006)


Pensioner sent to jail for child sexual abuse
By Estelle Beninson
Jewish Chronical - December 29, 2005

A PENSIONER who sexually abused three young Jewish girls over 20 years ago was sentenced to four-and- a-half years in prison last week at Bolton Crown Court.

Kenneth Shackman, 65, of Man-chester Road, Bury was found guilty of 10 counts of indecent assault.

Shackman, a married father of two who occasionally helped out at the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, indecently assaulted three girls, aged be-tween six and 11, in the period from 1981 to 1988. One of his three victims, now aged 27, complained to the police about him in 1988 but although Shackman was arrested, he was released without charge due to insufficient evidence.

It was only in April 2004, when another girl, now in her thirties, came forward, that there was enough evidence to bring the case to trial. During the course of the investigation, the third victim also spoke out.

Shackman worked as a painter and decorator but also ran a video business, making recordings of weddings and barmitzvahs. The court heard that he was trusted by the girls' families and that some of the attacks occurred while he was working in the victims' homes and while the girls' parents were in another room.

Bolton Crown Court heard that Shackman's first victim was nine or 10 when she visited his house and watched a video of ET. His second victim was six or seven when he sexually attacked her and again, he showed her a video of ET before he carried out the attack. The third victim was about nine when she was subjected to a series of sexual attacks.

Judge Morris told Shackman: "What a disaster for you and above all, for your immediate family. You have, in every other respect, led a respectable life. It is a disaster you could not resist a sexual attraction for children. You had the confidence of the parents. You were treated as a family friend. What a gross misuse of trust."

Neil Martin, chief executive of the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, said that reports in Manchester papers that Shackman was employed by the JLGB were not correct.

"Mr Shackman was the parent of two children who came here. Like other parents, he sometimes helped us but we never employed him," he said. "Our organisation acted very promptly at the time. As soon as the little girl made the allegation to us we believed her and stopped him from coming into the club. She made the complaint on a Sunday, and the following Monday, when he tried to come into the club, he was stopped at the door."

Detective Constable Natalie Arm-stead, from the Child Protection Unit at Whitefield, said: "Children who have fallen victim to sexual offenders often don't realise what has happened to them and by the time they understand they think it's too late to call the police.

"This case shows it is never too late to report these offences and we do take cases of historic abuse very seriously."



Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." –– Margaret Mead


Friday, December 22, 2006

So Many Rules, Protection, Sex Among Ultra

So Many Rules, Protection, Sex Among Ultra
By Hella Winston
Lilith / Winter 2006–07
Download PDF for all the graphics

The first time 12-year-old David Framowitz had his genitals fondled by a respected teacher from his yeshiva (see the case of Rabbi Yehuda Kolko), he panicked, desperate to flee the parked car in which the man had given him a ride to school. Later, when he told his parents about what had happened, they dismissed his story, unable to fathom that a rabbi could be capable of such behavior. Not wanting “to cause trouble,” Framowitz continued to suffer the abuse in silence, until he changed schools two years later. Now 48 and the plaintiff in a civil suit against this rabbi, and the school and camp that employed him, Framowitz has come forward to tell his story. Not surprisingly, reactions to it in the ultra Orthodox world have hardly been encouraging for other victims.

Last May, New York magazine ran an article about the Framowitz allegations, and while many members of the ultra-Orthodox community expressed their outrage in private conversations, or anonymously on Internet blogs, the communal leadership remained silent. The few rabbis and other leaders who acknowledged the report expressed anger not about the alleged abuse and cover-up, but at those who brought the crimes to light.

That bombshell article (disclosure: I was quoted in it) suggested several reasons why confronting sexual abuse is a particular challenge for ultra-Orthodox Jews: the social stigma associated with being the victim of abuse; the agesold Jewish prohibition against mesira, or “informing” to the secular authorities; and the religious proscriptions against lashon hara (gossip) and chilul Hashem (“desecrating God’s name,” which in this context means giving the community a “bad name”). These impediments silence victims and protect perpetrators. Reporter Robert Kolker also speculated that the characteristically restrictive ultra-Orthodox approach to sexuality may foster such abuse through its rigidly enforced sex segregation, strict laws governing physical contact between the sexes (including married couples), and taboo against talking openly (“immodestly”) or educating young people about sexuality.

The conjectures in that article proved deeply offensive to many in the frum (religious) world. Orthodox advocate Marvin Schick, in his regular advertisement which runs as a paid column in New York’s Jewish Week newspaper, accused Kolker of “group libel.” In an op-ed article in the same newspaper, Avi Shafran, spokesman for the influential ultra- Orthodox umbrella organization Agudath Israel, offered a counter-argument:

A Torah-observant life does not lead to aberrant behavior; it helps prevent it.…That fundamental Jewish truth that human inclinations are harnessed and controlled by Torahlife and Torah-study is self-evident to anyone truly familiar with the Orthodox community. The vast majority of

its members are caring and responsible people who lead exemplary lives, free in large measure from societal ills like rape, AIDS, prostitution and marital infidelity that affect their less “repressed” neighbors…. To imagine that what ha defined traditional Jewish life for millennia is somehow a risk factor for abuse is to turn all logic and experience on their heads. The true risk factors, as mental health professionals attest, are things like absent parents, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of support systems and the touting of a Woody Allenesque “the heart wants what it wants” mindset, all considerably underrepresented in the Orthodox community. If any environment can reasonably be imagined to foster the bane of child abuse, it is the charged atmosphere of MTV, R-rated movies, contemporary advertising and uncontrolled Internet usage, not the universe of Jewish values.

So Little & Suppression Orthodox Jews
There is no doubt that the vast majority of Orthodox Jews are caring and responsible individuals, and that Judaism stresses ethical conduct. Further, because the reasons for pedophilia are not completely understood, to assert a causal relationship between this disorder and the strict regulation of sexuality is problematic, just as inaccurate as blaming pedophilia on MTV or Woody Allen. However, many interviews I have conducted over three years with people intimately familiar with ultra-Orthodox life— including therapists, social workers, physicians, educators and community members themselves—suggest that some  aspects of today’s stringent ultra-Orthodox approach to sexuality, intended to promote marriage, procreation and a strong family life, can also (unintentionally) create conditions conducive to sexual abuse.

The ultra-Orthodox world consists of both Hasidic and non-Hasidic Jews. While there are important differences between these groups, and within the myriad communities that comprise them, they share a punctilious observance and interpretation of Jewish law, and strict boundaries between themselves and what they see as a corrupt—and corrupting—“secular” society. Though the Hasidim tend to promote an even greater separation from the surrounding culture than their non-Hasidic counterparts, both groups generally prohibit watching television, movies or sports; reading secular books, magazines or newspapers; using the Internet (except for business purposes); socializing with outsiders; and getting a secular education. These constraints are intended to protect religious integrity and help ensure the perpetuation of a way of life by staving off assimilation.

These communities—concentrated primarily in parts of New York and New Jersey—also enforce rigid gender roles, derived from a belief in the essential difference between men and women. Rules about “modesty” in dress and behavior also justify sex segregation in almost every area of social life, including education, employment and family relations. Women generally have primary responsibility for the “private” realm of home and family, and some public charity efforts, while men—who, unlike women, are obligated to engage in religious learning—occupy public positions of leadership and power in the community.

A fierce commitment to sex segregation has emerged in the “rules” issued recently by the leadership of the Hasidic enclave of New Square, in New York’s Rockland County, purportedly to ensure the “modesty, holiness and pureness” of this “holy shtetl.” In this community of approximately 7000 people, about 30 miles north of Manhattan, Yiddish signs instruct women and men to use opposite sides of the street, to prevent them from walking or talking together in public. In addition, women in New Square are urged never to sit in the front seat of a car (as passengers only; women there and in several other Hasidic communities are not allowed to drive); not to congregate in middle of the street or talk loudly in public, especially at times when boys and men come home at the end of the day; not to sit or stand near the entrances of the school or their own housing complexes, since that might force men to pass by them too closely. The rules also prohibit girls from riding bikes or “dancing” on a trampoline, unless it is surrounded by an actual mechitza (a wall separating women from men in synagogue and mixed social events). Other regulations warn against women wearing transparent hosiery, dying their eyelashes and sporting
long wigs and housecoats outside the home.

Most of these regulations deal with control of women’s bodies and their mobility, but they also imply that “immodest” women have the power to defile the entire community. In fact, ultra-Orthodox ideology places most of the burden for thwarting male sexual desire on women, who are to blame if male desire is incited.

In the upstate New York Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, several women told me that they had received letters and visits from members of self-appointed community watchdog groups (meshmeris hatznius—“guardians of modesty”) because they were seen to be violating communal standards.  One woman was targeted for wearing a skirt that was “a few inches above regulation” (about three inches above the ankle is the custom), while another was approached because she and her husband often invited divorced men to her home for Shabbos, something the watchdogs apparently considered inappropriate mixing of the sexes; eventually both of these women moved with their families out of the community.  This past August in Kiryas Joel, a flyer was posted publicly referring to one married woman by name and labeling her a “stinking carcass” and a “sinner” who must “abscond from” this “holy shtetl.” No resident I spoke to could confirm this woman’s sin, other than to mention that she dressed attractively and that she and her husband often invited other young couples to their home to socialize.

Certainly New Square and Kiryas Joel are among the most extreme ultra Orthodox communities; in more “modern” (and not exclusively Hasidic) neighborhoods, many ultra-Orthodox women do drive, and there are no directives ordering women and men to walk on different sides of the street. Nonetheless, throughout the ultra-Orthodox world schools are sex-segregated, and social contact with nonfamily members of the opposite sex, let alone casual dating, are generally prohibited. In this environment, all-male yeshivas can become breeding grounds for behavior that borders on—and sometimes crosses over into—sexual abuse.

In an email to me, one Hasidic man I know personally explained how this can happen:
The atmosphere of sexual repression in yeshivas (at least the kind of yeshivas I’m directly familiar with) contributes to many sexual perversions in people not otherwise inclined to behave that way. I’m not only talking about the rampant gay sexual activity (“rampant” as in relative to what I would

expect; I don’t know if it’s rampant relative to a similar secular environment), but also pressuring younger boys into acquiescing to certain acts by the older boys, offering payments— or certain electronic goods in lieu of payments—for outright molestation, and sometimes even rape. The vicious cycle is sometimes continued by newlywed young men coming back for their favorite “pets” even after they have a chance for something different (either because they are gay, or because they feel more of an emotional connection to their friends than they do to their wives). Even without the above, the outsized emphasis put—both explicitly and implicitly—on the sin of masturbation, combined with the extreme sexual repression, leaves many detrimental affects [sic] on most going through the system. Now combine all of the above with the fact that many people in positions of authority over young boys and teenagers are young men not yet mature enough to have acquired a healthy attitude toward sex after the perverse environment in yeshiva.

While this man stressed that the abusive behavior he described is by no means a universal feature of yeshiva life, his overall assessment of the environment, and its potential impact on students, was echoed by other people I have spoken to at length. A married Hasidic woman with whom I communicated online wrote “Everyone knows frum boys fuck around with each other in yeshiva, mikvah (the ritual bath).  Because they are told DON’T EVER look at a girl...Blah Blah Blah.... They get married but still think of gay sex once in a while”—even though male homosexual sex is forbidden by the Torah. These observations were confirmed by a sex therapist working with ultra-Orthodox clients, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity because of her sensitive therapeutic role. She likened the situation in all-male yeshivas to that of prisons, or the military. “It’s the same thing. People are sexual and it gets acted out.” In fact, several men told me that sexually abusive teachers would often target boys they knew were already “sinning” by experimenting sexually with their peers, as a way to ensure their silence about the teacher’s abusive behavior. Further, my own research revealed that many Hasidic boys were groped or fondled in the ritual bath (mikvah), something that has been the subject of recent discussion on blogs like and

Some women also reported same-sex activity in all-female seminaries; notably, the women tended not to experience these relationships as hierarchical or abusive, but more playful or even loving. This may have to do with the fact that there is no explicit Jewish religious prohibition against female homosexual acts, and thus perhaps less guilt, shame and coercion surrounding such encounters. The sex therapist noted that the prohibition against male masturbation (“spilling seed”) can exacerbate problems for boys—at least those who take it seriously. Without any outlet for their normal sexual urges—one man told me that he and his classmates were

instructed not to touch their penises even while urinating, lest they accidentally get aroused—particularly at a time when those urges are strongest, boys may act out sexually in ways they otherwise would not if other options were not forbidden.

Young people growing up in ultra-Orthodox communities generally receive no formal education about sex. All of the Hasidic men I spoke with told me that in their schools, boys skip the sections of the Talmud that deal with sexual

matters. While their non-Hasidic ultra-Orthodox counterparts apparently do study this material, they do so in a very technical manner, focusing, for example, on laws relating to sexual relations in marriage, or on menstruation.


Sanctioned sex education generally occurs only in the weeks before one’s wedding, typically an arranged marriage.  One man summarized for me the session with his “sex rabbi” this way: “He told me to do a little kissy, kissy, touch her here and there, and then put it in.” A Hasidic woman described being on the receiving end of such advice: “My husband had no idea what he was doing,” she told me. “It hurt and was humiliating.”

People in the secular world are hardly immune to such experiences. However, a taboo against talking about sexuality can do more than predict awkward wedding nights; it can also foster a profound sense of shame around sexuality, and about the body and its functions. Many Hasidim told me that they had never even learned the words for genitals, but were taught to use euphemisms instead; for men, for example, “the organ of the bris.” With no vocabulary—let alone permission—to discuss matters of a sexual nature openly, people who have been sexually abused often have trouble communicating, or even understanding, what has happened to them.

A social worked illustrated this quite strikingly when she described to me an interview she conducted with an 18-year old Hasidic victim who had been molested: lacking the words for parts of his own body, the young man had to use gestures to indicate what happened to him. Even for people who are able to speak about such experiences, there is often an inordinate amount of shame involved in the disclosure.

One woman recounted her parents’ reaction to her revelation that she had been repeatedly raped by her brother:

[You] know damn well that anything sexual is not discussed in a frum household. My mom and dad, they moved on, dismissed it like it never happened. [My mother] does not know that such actions screw you for life. She is in denial. I don’t know if it’s only my parents or all frum parents. My father, after he was told, did mention he wants to kill my brother, that’s all. I was told [by a non-family member] to buy a book and read it, regarding incest. On my wedding day, my father found it and was so upset that I was reading such a sexual book. Oh, come on, it’s ok for your fucking son to fuck me, but it ain’t ok to heal through reading such a book.

One highly regarded Manhattan psychiatrist, who treats many ultra-Orthodox patients and who spoke on condition of anonymity in order not to compromise his therapeutic relationships, told me he had noted a good deal of what he called “casual incest”—sexual activity between siblings— among his patients. He attributed this to the fact that boys reaching puberty are denied what would be considered healthy contact with females apart from close relatives and, with masturbation considered sinful, end up acting out sexually with whomever was available. Of course, no one suggests that there are more abusers in the ultra-Orthodox world than in the general population. Research by psychologist Dr. Michelle Friedman, appearing last summer in the annual student journal of Yeshiva Chovevei Torah, Milin Havivin, found that Orthodox girls and teens report rates of sexual abuse similar to that of their secular counterparts. The main difference is that, for a variety of reasons, within the ultra-Orthodox world abuse if it does occur is more likely to go unchecked, allowing abusers to remain in business longer, creating more victims.

Why the silence?
Bringing shame on one’s family is a significant obstacle to reporting abuse and prosecuting abusers. Because most marriages are arranged on the basis of individual and familial reputation, public knowledge that a person has been a victim of abuse severely compromises his or her options for making a “good match.” The stigma of abuse taints not only the victim but siblings and other relatives as well. As a result, those who have been abused (and their families) have a tremendous incentive to keep the abuse a secret. One woman told me that her father, learning that she had been raped by a respected member of the community, threatened to burn her with a hot pan if she ever told anyone in the community about it; she was 10 years old at the time. Another serious impediment to rooting out abuse is the communal prohibition against mesira, betraying the community to outside authorities. Once punishable by death, mesira is still taken seriously, discouraging most people from reporting abuse to the police. When I asked her whether she had ever considered going to the police, one woman who was molested replied, “I don’t think so! It does not work like that in the frum world. You shall not be a moser, which means no telling on others; suffer in silence.” This attitude is pervasive, despite a recent ruling by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a Jerusalem rabbi considered by the ultra-Orthodox to be one of the most respected interpreters of Jewish law. Elyashiv’s ruling held that it is permissible to hand over a child abuser to the American police in cases where “It is clear that [the person] has committed a foul deed, and that this [informing] constitutes a sort of repair of the world.” However, even in light of this clear ruling, the fear of being branded an informer remains strong, and is often exploited by those in power as a means of silencing victims, protecting the community’s “good name”—and protecting the abuser
in the process.

Many parents privately express concern about this issue, and claim they would like their leaders to prevent sexual abuse in institutional settings, and to deal with it effectively when it does occur. Most also say, though, that they themselves are unlikely to speak up about their concerns, let alone “inform” to the police on an abuser. Further, most admit that they would not allow one of their own children to marry a known victim of abuse.

While the outside world responds to such reports with shock, there is no denying the role played by the larger society in enabling this state of affairs. In the name of deeply held American commitments to religious freedom, these communities have been allowed to flourish with little outside oversight.

A combination of ignorance and nostalgia often makes these very stringently observant and closed communities immune to serious scrutiny by fellow citizens—particularly liberal Jews who may idealize or romanticize this way of life, or politicians who appreciate the fact that ultra-Orthodox leaders can and do deliver votes in a bloc.

Unlike their public-school counterparts, administrators in ultra-Orthodox schools and other non-public schools are not required to run background checks on teachers, and because clergy are exempt from being mandated reporters, ultra-Orthodox teachers (most of whom are rabbis, at least in boys’ schools) are not legally required to report suspected cases of abuse. And where distortions of Jewish law and custom may be invoked to prevent people from taking legal action, and educational options are limited, there may be little motivation for self-policing, aside from the obvious: the health and welfare of young people. Instead, this past August, a few months after the original magazine article appeared, the teacher accused of sexual molestation was spotted escorting young campers to a water park in Connecticut, and a reliable source told me that he has since been soliciting parents to sign their children up for a similar outing next summer. At Rosh Hashanah, he was also reportedly asked to blow the shofar in his shul, an honor accorded only the most respected members of the community. One can only imagine how his victims must feel about that.

Hella Winston is author of Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels. She received her PhD in sociology.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Offers comprehensive information and Jewish resources on sexual violence, a speakers’ bureau and a certification program for Jewish community leaders. In the two weeks following the New York magazine article, The Awareness Center received over 60 calls from (mostly male) survivors who’d never before told anyone they were abused as children. Run by Rabbi Mark Dratch, JSafe is aimed at addressing the issues of domestic violence and child abuse in the Jewish world through newsletters, conferences and comprehensive training for people working in Jewish organizations. A blog administered by anonymous Jewish survivors of sexual abuse provides general information on childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault and rabbinic misconduct.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Case of Rabbi Avraham M. Leizerowitz

Case of Rabbi Avraham M. Leizerowitz
(AKA: Avraham Mordecai Lazerewitz, Avraham Leiverowitz, Avraham Mordecai Leiverowitz)

Gerrer Yeshiva and Mesivta Bais Yisroel School - Borough Park (Brooklyn), NY


CALL TO ACTION:  If you or your child was sexually abused by Rabbi Avraham Lezerowitz please make a police report immediately!  It may be easier for you to contact your local rape crisis center to help you make a police report.  They have experience and will walk you though the process along along with providing free legal advocacy and short term rape counseling.

FYI: By making a police report you become eligible for crime victim/witness compensation to help pay for long term counseling. If need help locating a rape crisis center.

The Awareness Center wants to remind everyone that harassing an alleged victim (or family member) of a sex crime is against the law.  It is called witness tampering. If you are a survivor and this happens call your local police immediately.

A civil suit was filed against Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Leizerowitz of the Gerrer Mesivta High School in Borough Park Brooklyn. The charges include improperly touching a boy during a one-on-one help session in the rabbi's office in the Borough Park secondary school.  Three other older boys have also come forward making similar allegations.

Avraham Mordecai Leizerowitz, described as man in his early fifties. He was originally hand picked by the Grand Rebbe of Ger for the position of spiritual advisor at the Gerre Mesivta Bais Yisroel school.  Leiverowitz has been affiliated with the institution for around thirty years.  He is originally from Bnei Brak (or spelled Bnei Braq), Israel.

Prior to escaping to Israel, Leizerowitz resided at: 1742 58th St, Brooklyn, NY. 11204

Gerrer Yeshiva and Mesivta Bais Yisroel School
5407 16th Ave., Brooklyn, NY


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

Table of Contents: 

  1. Going Away Party Poster  (07/2006)
  2. Perv Charge VS. 2nd Rabbi (12/14/2006)
  3. Kernen LMaan Arad (12/14/2006)
  1. Rabbi Avraham M. Leizerowitz is now counseling troubled boys.  (12/06/2009)


Going Away Party Poster
July, 2006

The following is poster of a "Going Away Party" that was organized for Rabbi Leizerowitz. It appears that Leizerowitz decided to move to Israel when the allegations against him were first made public in the Borough Park community. Due to the number of complainst the party was canceled.


Perv Charge VS. 2nd Rabbi
By Patrick Gallahue and Alex Ginsberg
New York Post - December 14, 2006

December 14, 2006 -- For the second time in a week, a respected Brooklyn rabbi has been accused of sexually abusing a boy student at a religious school.

A suit filed Tuesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court accuses Avraham Mordecai Lazerewitz, described as the spiritual supervisor at the Geres Misivta Bais Yisroel school, of touching a student in April.

Lazerewitz groped and improperly touched the victim during a one-on-one help session in the rabbi's office in the Borough Park secondary school, says the unidentified boy's lawyer, Eric Green.

School officials did not return a telephone message. Last week, authorities accused Brooklyn Rabbi Joel Kolko of fondling a student, 6, and a 31-year-old former pupil.

Kernen LMaan Arad
Tax Exempt OrganizationsUnder The Leadership of Rabbi Avraham Leizerowitz

December 14, 2006

Organization Name: KEREN LMAAN ARAD,

Address: 5014 16TH AVE STE 266, BROOKLYN, NY, 11204-1404

Asset Amount n/r

Income Amount n/r

Form 990 Revenue Amount n/r

Employer Identification Number (nine digit number assigned by the IRS to identify a company)

In Care Of Name (the officer, director, etc. to whose attention any correspondence should be directed) ABRAHAM LEIZEROWITZ

Classification (category under which an organization may be tax exempt)  Charitable Organization

Filing Requirement the primary return(s) the organization is required to file)  Form 990 - Not required to file (church)

Taxonomy (classifies an exempt Internal Revenue Code 501 (c)(3) organization)

Jewish Secondary Name (another name under which KEREN LMAAN ARAD does business. Also used for trade names, chapter names, or local numbers for subordinate organizations of group rulings) n/r

Affiliation (defines the organizational grouping) This organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations).

Ruling Date (the month and year of a ruling or determination letter recognizing the organization's tax exempt status) 09/1999

Deductibility Status Contributions are deductible

Foundation Type Church

Principal Activity 1 n/r

Principal Activity 2 n/r

Principal Activity 3 n/r Organization Type n/r

Universal Location Code (the Internal Revenue Service District Office which has jurisdiction over the organization) 11

Advance Ruling Expiration Date (A charitable organization exempt under IRC 501(c)(3) whose status as a public charity (rather than a private foundation) has not been determined generally will be allowed to operate as a public charity for a specified period of time. At the end of this time frame (expiration date), a final determination will be made as to the proper classification of the organization. This shows the month and year when an advance ruling is to expire.) n/r

Tax Period (the date of the latest return filed) n/r

Accounting Period (accounting month end date of organization)


Rabbi Avraham M. Leizerowitz is now counseling troubled boysAccused Haredi Pedophile Has A Brand New Job 
Failed Messiah Blog - December 6, 2009 

Word from Israel on accused pedophile Rabbi Avraham M. Leizerowitz:
2 new pictures of Leizerowitz. They were taken this week in Israel at a party for a newly married couple. He was honored with reciting a blessing at the event: 

Avraham M. Leizerowitz has started working at a new job. He is the mashgiach ruchani (religious counselor) in a Jerusalem yeshiva for teen boys who have trouble in mainstream yeshivot. He is now working with disadvantaged boys. The yeshiva is endorsed and affiliated with Rabbi Avrohom Schorr of Flatbush, Brooklyn. Rabbi Schorr is also a Gerrer ChaLeizerowitz fled Brooklyn after a lawsuit alleging he molested a student in his yeshiva was filed against him in late 2006.
Leizerowitz was the mashgiach ruchani (spiritual advisor) of the Gerrer hasidic Mesivta Bais Yisroel in Borough Park.

Word in 2007 was that Leizerowitz was welcomed by Gerrer hasidim in Israel with open arms.

Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Case of Ariel Elimelech

Case of Ariel Elimelech
Jerusalem, Israel

Convicted of rape and indecent assault under aggravated circumstances, of two minors aged 14 and 17.

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

Table of Contents:

  1. Man convicted of raping minors (12/12/2006)

Man convicted of raping minors
by Yuval Yoaz
Haaretz - December 12, 2006

News in Brief

The Jerusalem District Court convicted Ariel Elimelech yesterday of rape and indecent assault under aggravated circumstances, of two minors aged 14 and 17. The judges, Moshe Ravid, Orit Efal-Gabai and Aharon Farkash, accepted the claims of the prosecution that Elimelech had given rides to the two girls and then sexually assaulted them. The defense said that it would appeal the decision. Elimelech is expected to be sentenced in January, 2007.


Some of the information on The Awareness Center's web pages may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.

We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

For more information go to: . If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." –– Margaret Mead


Friday, December 08, 2006

Getting kicked out of shul

Getting kicked out of shul
The unpleasant underside of synagogue life raises questions about the power of rabbis and boards to keep some Jews out

By Amy Klein, Religion Editor
Jewish Journal - December 8, 2006

A few weeks before the High Holidays, Aaron Biston went to pray at Beth Jacob Congregation, a Modern Orthodox synagogue on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

After services, during the Kiddush, Steven Weil, the congregation's rabbi, came over to Biston and asked him to leave the synagogue because he had been banned from its premises several months prior.

Biston refused and demanded, in front of his 13-year-old daughter, to know why he should comply.

Biston said the rabbi replied by addressing the girl: "Your dad's a thief, a crook, a bad man and a menace to the community."

Biston then cursed out the rabbi.

What happened next is a matter of some dispute, but both parties agree that the rabbi publicly asked Biston to leave the synagogue and never return.

Biston is now threatening a lawsuit against the congregation unless, he said, he receives a public apology from the rabbi and is allowed to return to the synagogue. Weil has already sent a letter to Biston and his daughter, in which he apologized for his language but said he stands by his decision to ban Biston from the shul.

Biston's public airing of his story and his threat to file suit have brought to light a number of complaints from others who also have been asked to leave Beth Jacob. They claim the rabbi is autocratic and mercurial and bars people who don't fit his image of an appropriate congregant.

Weil is a charismatic and intense leader. He came to Beth Jacob from Detroit in 2000, and he can often be seen wearing the work boots and jeans of his upstate New York farming upbringing. He is known for innovative programming, including a cigar club where the rabbi and young men in the community smoke, drink and learn Torah, and the summer Kollel, a post-college learning program.

He spoke to The Journal in the company of synagogue president Dr. Steve Tabak and former synagogue president Marc Rohatiner. Together they openly discussed the half-dozen people who have been banned from their shul.

Although they did not divulge identities of the people they had banned in order to protect them and their accusers from public scrutiny, they painted a picture of individuals whom they believe pose a threat to Beth Jacob's membership.

Among the stories was that of Biston, who was a defendant in a civil lawsuit over a real estate deal with another member of Beth Jacob that went sour. Court documents allege that Biston cultivated the deal on the shul's grounds, although Biston claims to have known the man outside of the shul.

The other individuals include someone alleged to have sexually harassed a synagogue member, a man alleged to have behaved inappropriately with children, a woman alleged to have stalked a member with whom she believed she had a relationship and a man who, shortly before being asked to leave the shul, was convicted of pedophilia.

This ugly underside of synagogue life raises the question for all synagogues, not just Beth Jacob: What power does a rabbi or executive board have to deny entry to Jews?

The legal answer is straightforward: A synagogue is a private institution, and when it comes to membership -- or in this case, entry, because most of the people asked to leave were not members -- the synagogue is entitled to accommodate however it sees fit.

The religious answer is not quite as clear. According to halacha (Jewish law), one needs a beit din, a religious court, to put a person in herem -- which means to excommunicate them, to cast them away from the community and isolate them. But the old rules don't really hold today, when there are many congregations from which to choose.

"Many times, throughout Jewish history, there were rabbis who placed people in herem," said Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, West Coast director of the Orthodox Union. "In those days it was a major thing; today, they'd laugh and go to the next town."

The Rabbinical Council of California (RCC), which runs the Orthodox religious court of California, said it does not get involved in private synagogue matters. "The RCC is a council of rabbis, not a council of synagogues, per se, and doesn't set synagogue policy," said Rabbi Avrohom Union, the administrator for the RCC.

In any case, all the religious courts have refused to intervene in the Biston case. (Biston said he is taking his case to a New York beit din.) The Orthodox Union, the governing organization for Orthodox shuls, holds that a rabbi has the authority to act independently.

"Each rabbi is the morah d'atra, the rabbinic halachic authority of his congregation -- that's why he was chosen," Kalinsky said. "If the rabbi feels strongly about [someone], he will go to his board, which is responsible for the issues of governance in the synagogue, and they could enforce what they deem appropriate."

Even if the question is neither legal nor halachic, it nevertheless remains one of ethics: If a synagogue is intended to be open to all Jews, how should leadership deal with characters they feel are unsavory or pose a threat to the community? What is the balance between freedom and security?

Synagogues everywhere always have grappled with the issue of security, but especially since the attacks of Sept. 11. With terrorism and anti-Semitic attacks on the rise internationally, most Jewish institutions have strengthened their security. For example, on the High Holidays this year, a month after the Jewish Federation offices in Seattle were attacked by a gunman, murdering one worker, most synagogues in Southern California increased the number of guards at their doors and carefully checked guest lists of people who had preregistered.

The price? Drop-ins, unaffiliated, undecided and last-minute shul-goers, were turned away. In addition, before the High Holidays, Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss met with neighborhood synagogues to discuss security issues and precautions.

But what of the insider whom synagogue leaders believe may pose a threat to synagogue members? In a climate of increasing vigilance against sexual predators, many religious leaders these days would rather err on the side of caution than take any potential risk.

"What is the line between making your shul an open place and a safe place?" asked Rabbi Abner Weiss of Westwood Village Synagogue, who was rabbi of Beth Jacob for 15 years prior to Weil.

Weiss is also a licensed therapist, and he said there are situations where rabbis are obligated by law to report to the authorities when a person is a danger to others, such as when they are suspected of child or elder abuse.

A man once dressed up in Army fatigues and ran around Beth Jacob wielding a knife, Weiss said. They had him committed, but when he seemed better, Weiss let him back into the synagogue and invited him to his house for lunch. "That was a mistake, because he was unstable," the rabbi remembered. "He didn't take his meds. I'm sorry that I wasn't more careful about letting him into the house."

The man threatened the rabbi and had to be medicated again.

Which is why in some cases, it's better to err on the side of caution, Weiss believes. When the rabbi was leading Beth Jacob, he said, one man was accused by members of getting too close to children.

"It upset parents, so I quietly spoke to him, and I said people are uncomfortable, and I didn't want him to get into trouble. I suggested he would be more comfortable somewhere else," he said.

That man left the synagogue -- but he came back after Weiss left, presenting Weil with the same problem.

"He's a single man, doesn't have children, why is he sitting on the ground talking with little kids in the middle of the prayer services?" Weil said. "We asked him to come to the office, and we explained to him why we were asking him to leave," Weil said, and they also notified other shuls in the area to alert them of the danger.

Rabbi Stewart Vogel of Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills said that when he was a rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom, a "bag lady" came into the synagogue. "There were people who were uncomfortable, and we talked about it and said, 'You know, these people have a right to come in; she's not bothering anybody,'" he said.

The situation resolved itself without conflict.

"I think she just stopped coming," said Vogel, whose congregation is Conservative. He added, "The synagogue should be a haven for anybody. Think about the haggadah, 'Kol dichvin' -- those who have spiritual need and those who are just hungry should be able to come there."

That sentiment is shared by Rabbi Dan Shevitz of the Conservative synagogue, Mishkon Tephilo: The shul should be open to all.

"Beiti bet tefila, yikarehu lechol ha'amim means that a house of God has to be universal, since God is universal," he said. "We can't tell people they're not welcome in God's house."

Shevitz should know, because his congregation has its home two blocks from the beach in Venice. Homeless people can often be found sleeping on the top of the shul steps, behind the white pillars at the entrance, and often wander into the synagogue during services.

"Sometimes they come in and they're abusive or they think it's a church. The harder cases may be someone suspicious, or who maybe smells, who wanders in and sits in the back." he said.

The congregation usually lets these people alone, although for security's sake, they offer to check their packages, and if the person is compliant, he or she can stay.

Sometimes, he said, vagabonds also come for Kiddush. "Sometimes guests are greedy, but I figure if they're hungry, then they'll eat it. It's better than giving them money and them shooting up," Shevitz said. "If we can use the Kiddush to alleviate hunger in the community, then that's a good thing."

"We don't check the tzitzit of anyone who comes in; they can enjoy the tefillah and Kiddush like anyone else -- as long as they're not disruptive," Shevitz said.

Disruptiveness is another story when it comes to synagogue etiquette. Rabbis, like comedians and politicians, sometimes must tolerate hecklers.

"There are people who can be disruptive in a synagogue setting," said Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive director of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, who spent 20 years as a Conservative pulpit rabbi in Washington, Philadelphia and the Bay Area.

"If someone was being disruptive during or after services when I was a pulpit rabbi," he said, "I conferred with the president and key members of the board -- and every situation is different -- it would involve someone speaking with the individual, making them aware of their conduct." If that didn't work, he said, the person was told, "This is not the place for you."

Diamond said pulpit rabbis often have to deal with people who are dangerous, offensive, disruptive or just plain political. He once had to deal with a leader in his congregation "who often was irritating and very much a contrarian and said and did things that were very hurtful to me as a rabbi."

Diamond said he went out of his way to be extra nice to this thorn in his side. "People were watching to see how I would respond, and it was important for me as the spiritual community leader that I wouldn't let him get to me."

Shul politics and dealing with disruptive leaders and members is one of the topics discussed in the synagogue leadership institute, Diamond said. The program, which is five years old, trains emerging synagogue leaders, taking lay leaders from different synagogues to "engage in serious text study and give them leadership skills."

Another part of the course involves mediation and dispute resolution. Lawsuits between shul members are very common, he said.

"Most rabbis are well advised to try to stay away from these legal matters," he said, although the rabbi can try to encourage the people to go to beit din. "Too often it's a lose-lose situation for the rabbi. Unfortunately, if it's bitter and nasty, he should try to get them to reconcile, but it's best to stay out of it."

Weil didn't become involved until recently in the Biston dispute. The lawsuit that caused rift revolves around a civil court case with a shul member, Gary Klein. The two entered into a real estate deal together in 2000, and within the next year they were on opposite sides in a civil lawsuit.

In 2005 a jury verdict was returned against Biston, who filed a motion for a new trial, but the case was settled before the motion was ruled on. The settlement agreement provided for payment of $300,000 to Klein.

Biston says the entire affair is a private matter irrelevant to his attendance at Beth Jacob.

"Rabbis should not get involved with other members of the synagogue," Biston said. "Who is he to decide who should be able to pray at the temple? No rabbi can decide that."

Weil said he only got involved in the Biston case because, as stated in allegations in court documents, Biston had first approached Klein on synagogue grounds to discuss the real estate transaction that ultimately resulted in the lawsuit. Biston claimed to have known Klein beforehand.

After the settlement, Klein said he went to the rabbi and said, "I waited three and a half years, now I have the goods; you have it here in writing ... he used your institution."

When Klein approached him, Weil got the board involved. Beth Jacob's bylaws provide that the executive board has the right to ask people to leave. This transaction is done privately and is not subject to a trial. But some people who were asked to leave the shul have taken offense at the manner of the proceedings.

Gadi Pickholz wrote a letter from Israel to a Web site,, run by blogger Luke Ford, saying that Weil "falsely accused me of sexual impropriety of an unstated nature with a congregant of unstated name (how convenient) in an attempt to get me out of his shul."

Ford also had been banned from Beth Jacob and Young Israel of Century City. The rabbis of the synagogues and Ford all declined to speak on the record about the ban, which has to do with Ford's blog and his former involvement writing about the porn industry.

"We did not go into reasons of why we were asking [Pickholz] to leave in order to protect the person," Weil said. He and the board had been following up on a specific complaint from a member, and they solicited advice from the police. "The Beverly Hills police said we had to protect the members. It was left pretty vague -- we did not want to get into it. I was careful to tell him, 'We're not saying you're guilty; we've taken on a policy that when credible accusations are made, we're going to ask people not to return.'"

Another man asked to leave the shul said he found the whole process mystifying. "It was Yom Kippur morning [2005], and I was saying 'Avinu Malkeinu,' and [Weil] said can you come outside, I want to talk to you," said the other man who requested that his name not be used. He told the rabbi that that he'd come out when he finished davening, and was told, "You have to leave this shul, and if you don't come now, I'll call the police."

The police came and evicted him. Later, he said, "I tried to talk to some people on the board, but I don't know why he did the whole thing." A few months ago, the man said he ran into the rabbi at an event and confronted him. "What did I do?" he asked the rabbi, who told him it was about a problem with another member.

"A man came crying to me that he couldn't come to this synagogue without being verbally abused and threatened," by this man, Weil told The Journal. The man in question had been a tenant of the other man, who was elderly, and they had also been involved in a court case.

"The case was five or six years old, and it was resolved in court; it's a civil issue that has nothing to do with the shul," the man told The Journal. Weil said that if people like this man would like to return to the synagogue, they'd have to go before the executive board and "ideally ask for forgiveness" from the people they offended.

"A community has a responsibility first and foremost to create a safe and secure environment," Weil said of the various cases of eviction.

"We want to create a place where young people of all ages can explore their Judaism in a warm environment," Weil said, "where adults can explore their Judaism emotionally, spiritually or intellectually. And where there's a sense of responsibility to the community, to Israel, to tikkun olam [heal the world]."

Despite the recent allegations against him, Weil's vision for the synagogue has proven results. When he came to Beth Jacob from Detroit in 1999, the congregation had between 400 and 500 member families, about 50 of them families with children. Now, some eight years later, Beth Jacob membership has almost doubled, with more than 800 family units -- some 200 of them with children and teenagers -- making it the largest Orthodox congregation on the West Coast. The synagogue leaders pride themselves on being diverse and welcoming.

And it is perhaps that same sense of openness that has made the synagogue seem inviting to some undesirable characters, Beth Jacob leadership said, although, noted board president Tabak, asking six or seven people to leave from among the thousand or so that pray there on a weekly basis "is not very many." He said, "One of our greatest strengths is our greatest weakness."

"We're likely to attract the good and the bad," added Rohatiner, a past president and a lawyer who was also present during the meeting.

Does Beth Jacob attract more undesirable characters than most synagogues? "I think [because of our size] it's much more likely you can blend in here," Rohatiner said.

Weil added: "On a typical Shabbat there are six different prayer services, another five different youth services. It's very easy for someone to slip though the cracks. We view as our responsibility to make it a safe place for anyone who walks into the synagogue."

As a result of the public airing of the ejection of Biston and others, Rohatiner said that one change will be made: The executive board will deal with these cases.

"It's beneath the raabbi's position to ask these people to leave," Rohatiner said. "That's not what we're about."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rabbi Considers Appeal Kaye Sentenced for Sex Crime Charges

By Eric Fingerhut

Rabbi David Kay
The lawyer for the rabbi caught in a hidden camera sting of online sexual predators said Tuesday that he and his client are still discussing whether to appeal his conviction on sex crime charges.

A notice of an appeal must be filed within 10 days of last Friday's sentencing of David Kaye, in which Alexandria U.S. Court Judge James Cacheris sent the Rockville rabbi to prison for 78 months.

Kaye was found guilty in September of "coercion and enticement" and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor. Those charges were brought after Kaye was featured in a broadcast of the Dateline NBC "To Catch a Predator" series.

Kaye lawyer Peter Greenspun said he was pleased with the sentence considering that the government had originally asked for a term of 121 months. But, the lawyer said, "that doesn't mean it's not a difficult and harsh ... sentence."

Federal sentences are determined by a system that assigns a certain number of points for a specific crime and and then adds or subtracts points based on various enhancements and reductions.

Prosecutors asked for three enhancements, but the judge only accepted one, for obstruction of justice. Cacheris ruled that Kaye had commited perjury by testifying that he had gone to the house in Herndon expecting to meet with a young adult. For that reason, the judge also rejected the defense request for a sentence reduction based on his acceptance of responsibility for the crimes.

Kaye testified at trial in August that he believed his chat partner had been lying about being 13 years old and was engaged in a "role play."

In fact, his chat partner was an adult and a member of an organization called Perverted Justice, a controversial group whose volunteers pose as children online in order to expose potential Internet predators and then turn over chat logs and other information it gathers to the police.

The group was working with Dateline NBC, and Kaye was confronted on camera by a Dateline reporter when he arrived at the Herndon house.

Kaye, who served for more than three years as vice president of program at the Rockville-based teen educational group Panim: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values, resigned from that post just days before the Dateline segment first aired. Until 2001, he had been a rabbi at Potomac's Congregation Har Shalom for 16 years.

His time in prison is likely to last about five more years. His sentence includes the more than six months he has already served since his May indictment and can be shortened by 15 percent with good behavior.

Once he serves his time, though, he faces an additional 10 years of supervised release. He will be required to register as a sex offender and banned from accessing the Internet and being alone with children under the age of 18 without the prior approval of a parole officer, among other conditions.

Cacheris also recommended that Kaye be admitted into the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the federal prison in Butner, N.C., although he said that Kaye may have to wait a while. The program is currently full.

In congressional testimony in September, Andres Hernandez, director of that program, said that therapy at Butner includes about 15 hours of treatment activities per week that "help offenders manage their sexual deviance in an effort to reduce sexual recidivism" by teaching "effective self-control skills."

Charles Onley, a research associate at the Silver Spring-based Center for Sex Offender Management, said that he wasn't familiar with the specifics of Butner's program. But, he said that such treatments often teach offenders to identify "triggers" for their behavior and make them much better prepared for re-entry into society.

In his statement to the judge at Friday's hearing, an emotional Kaye acknowledged his father and others family members in the courtroom and asked the media ‹ specifically citing Washington Jewish Week by name ‹ to "keep this private."

He then said that the Dateline incident was "my cry out for help," and while it may be a cliche, "sometimes cliches are true." (Major media outlets have already reported details of Kaye's statement.)

Reactions to Kaye's sentence were mixed. Vicki Polin, executive director of the Awareness Center, which tracks sexual abuse in the Jewish community, said she thought Kaye received a "fair sentence," considering that there was no evidence presented in court that he had contact with a child.

Congregation Shaare Tefila's Rabbi Jonah Layman sees the sentence as a "positive thing for him and his family," given it is "a lot less that he could have gotten."

"I hope that this can begin the process of David's healing and his family's healing," said the Silver Spring rabbi, a friend of the Kaye family.

Agudas Achim Congregation's Rabbi Jack Moline, a longtime friend of Kaye's, said he was less concerned with the sentence than with the vigilante methods used to catch him.

"I can't defend what he did. I don't think that's the issue," said the Alexandria rabbi. "Whether or not he should have been doing [it] ... the man was convicted by NBC," which was "interested in the most sensational story."

"It's not about justice, it's about ratings," and "it's a terrible way for justice to be served," he added.

Moline noted that NBC continues to rerun the video of the Kaye sting and the video can be viewed on the program's Web site.

"Now that he's convicted and sentenced, what is the purpose of ... keeping it up on the Web site?" he said.

Dateline did not respond to a message requesting comment. Meanwhile, the show has scheduled a program with "updates" on those caught in its "To Catch a Predator" series for this Saturday night.