Case of Rabbi Hershy Worch
(AKA: Hershey Worch, Hershy Worch, J. Hershel
Worch, Jeremy Hershel Worch, Jeremy Hershy Worch, Jerome Worch, Reb Hershy,
Moonish, Captain Shleck, Just Sir Will
(Formerly known as the Case of the Unnamed Rabbi
in West Rogers Park)
Tsfat, Hazafon, Israel (2011 - Current)
Rabbi, Congregation Ohawe Sholam - Pawtucket, RI (1992 - 1994)
Hillel Foundation at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1997 – 1998)
Hillel: Foundation for Jewish Campus Life - Melbourne, Australia (1995 - 1996)
HaMakom: Jewish Study & Youth Cultural Center - Melbourne, Australia, (1995-1997)
CALL TO ACTION: Rabbi Hershy Worch and his
Hershy Worch received his rabbinic ordination from
Rabbi ShlomoCarlebach, who was considered to be an orthodox rabbi. Recently Worch
created his own Yeshiva and is
now planning on giving his students his own Rabbinic Ordination.
According to rabbinic resources, the only way to revoke
an ordination is for the rabbi who granted the title to revoke it. Since
Shlomo Carlebach passed way, it is said there is no way to have his rabbinic
title removed. I've also been informed that once individual becomes a rabbi,
halachicly he/she can ordain another individual.
Unfortunately because Rabbi Hershy Worch is not a member
of either rabbinical organization , the survivors were told that nothing
could be done.
Since Shlomo Carlebach gave Hershy Worch a rabbinic
ordination, he is consider to be an orthodox rabbi, The Awareness Center
is asking that the
Rabbinical Counsel of America and Alliance for Jewish Renewal hire an agency
suggested by The Awareness Center to do an investigation of the claims. Once
the investigation is completed, The Awareness Center is demanding that a
public statement on their web pages.
The allegations against Rabbi Hershy Worch include
Rabbinical Sexual Misconduct and also the claims of his rewriting and misuse
of Torah. These claims have been following Hershy Worch around the world
for several years.
It is time for the three Jewish organizations to stop
passing the buck and do the right thing!
Jeremy Hershy Worch was born in Manchester, England, on May 20, 1954.
He recieved his smicha (ordaination) from
Rabbi ShlomoCarlebach in 1992.
There have been several serious allegations made claiming Reb
Hershy's behavior as being predatory, manipulative and sexually abusive.
Allegations have been made in while residing in Chicago; from a group
from the Hamakom Synagogue in Melbourne, Australia; and from other
Rabbi Worch has been accused of utilizing a mixture
of kabbalah, hypno-eroticism and other manipulative techniques to enagage
his potential victims prior to sexually assaulting them.
There have been allegations that Reb Hershy creates
a cult-like devotion to himself utilizing trance-like-states, guided meditation,
hypnosis; all under the guise of kabbalah teachings. Allegedly his MO (modus
operandi) has been to use such techniques on women with histories of childhood
abuse, so that he can lead them into BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism,
Masochism). activities with him.
Rabbi Worch has allegedly written a "BDSM-Kabbalah"
and finds his "students" over the internet, primarily through his Livejournal
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
The Kabbolist Haggadah: A Handbook of the Seder
Serious allegations made against
a Rabbi in Chicago (10/14/2004)
Attempt at cyberbullying Vicki Polin - Holy Sister (10/21/2004)
- Past Contact information
- Regarding Rabbi Jeremy Hershy
Banned In Turkey?
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch banned by the Chief Rabbinate of
Newspaper publisher becomes the
story before debate (07/15/2005)
CALL TO ACTION: Gafni
and Worch Speaking in Chicago? (04/20/2006)
Worch - Rosh Hashana 5767 - Sept '06
- Attempts by "rabbi" Hershy Worch Cyberbullying Vicki Polin (01/24/2008)
- Potent mix of charisma and Kabbalah
Sex and the
- Cartoon in the Jewish Press by Salome Worch (12/25/2012)
- WARNING: J. Hershy Worch is a potential DANGER to All Women and Children living in Tzfat, Israel (04/8/2013)
Alleged and Convicted Sex Offenders Connected
to Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
- Case of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
- Case of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni (aka: Marc Gafni, Mark Gafni, Marc Winiarz, Mordechai Winiarz, Mordechai Winyarz)
- Case of Rabbi Michael Ozair (AKA: Rabbi Michael Ezra - Kabbalah Coach, Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair, Rabbi Michael)
- Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
Background Information - Rabbi Hershel
By Levi ben Avraham
Jeremy Hershy Worch was born in Manchester, England,
on May 20, 1954. He was ordained by R. Shlomo Carlebach in 1992. (One
report says Carlebach gave Worch semicha so that Worch would have a way to
make a living to support his family.) . Rabbi Worch has six adult
children from his first marriage and three young children from his second
marriage. Both ended in divorce. On November 11, 2004, rabbi
lost custody of his three young children.
Hershel Worch has gone through the 12-step program
for drug and alcohol abuse and he has the lingo down pat (see, for example,
his book The Kabbalist Haggadah). Twelve-step programs are a great way to
get laid. Many people substitute sex addiction for drug and alcohol
Chicago Orthodox rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch has numerous
friends who say he's a righteous rabbi. Some say he's the only rabbi who
understands them. Others say rabbi Worch is a sexual predator.
Some women who've known Rabbi Worch intimately allege
that he uses kabbalah, hypno-eroticism and other manipulation techniques
to have sex with women and to take their money.
Though he is into the BDSM (bondage - domination -
sadism - masochism) scene, he principally seeks out (say critics of his)
those who are not into BDSM and are therefore more susceptible to his influence
and less likely to understand healthy boundaries.
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch didn't show up to his last court
date (January, 2005) to challenge custody/visitation rights to his children
that he lost a few months ago. The rumors are that he has moved out of his
apartment and sold the contents. It is believed that he relocated to
NOTE: Rabbi Hershy Worch is well known in the "twelve-step world" of Chicago.
Often women are warned to stay clear of him.
The Anonymous Haggadah
A Synthesis of The Passover Ritual and Liturgy
With The Twelve Steps of Recovery
By Rabbi Hershy Worch
JCN18.com - 1997
Why is this Haggadah different?
More than any Jewish book of prayer or study written
since the close of the Bible 2,500 years ago, the Haggadah has resisted attempts
to change its format or content.
The reasons are immediate and apparent to anyone who
has enjoyed a Seder conducted by someone who knew what they were doing. The
impression that remains is indelible and enriching beyond compare.
Seder night is a journey into another time and place.
It is a swift glance at the darkest night of the human soul and a lingering
dance with liberty and freedom. It is a long play with family and food and
a short sharp reminder of the depths to which we may plummet when the framework
and fabric of our life decays.
The Journey, more a procession, wends its stately way
through fifteen points of interest. There are washing of hands and breaking
of bread. There are stories and unfamiliar foods. There are roles for children
and playful songs for adults. There is wonder and enchantment, heroes and
wicked adversaries, stories of Revelation and Retribution. There is even
time to partake of a full Festival meal. There must be time. In my father's
house the Seder took upwards of six hours.
If the Seder is an adventure, the Haggadah is map,
guide, directory and vehicle.
What is it?
|rabbi Hershy Worch - Sexual Predator?|
Well, the main event of Pesach (Passover) and Seder
night is the Exodus from Egypt, the miraculous birth and redemption of the
Jewish People. One cannot be long in Recovery without becoming increasingly
aware how close are the ideas of Exodus and Recovery. My understanding of
the steps and process of Recovery has deepened my appreciation of the Seder.
Now my Seder blossoms in the light of Recovery.
The Seder is not simply a description of the Exodus.
It is an opportunity to scrutinize the real issue: our slavery. We were slaves
and now we are free.
So what then is freedom? Does it mean we may now do
whatever we want?
If we try that route we will soon find ourselves back
on the road into Egypt. Freedom is not license. It is the absence of constraint
and an awesome life-long struggle. We have learned this lesson, painfully,
again and again. For when we became habituated to any self-destructive behavior
we were no longer free. Furthermore, of all the destructive patterns of behavior
to seduce a person, a "bad habit" is the most difficult to kick. Whether
the habit is heroin, gambling or fixing people's lives. Whether it is
self-denial, fasting, smoking or looking through people's windows.
This then is what the Haggadah is about. Long before
the 12 Steps were formalized, enlightened people knew a Way. The Haggadah
describes the Recovery process of an entire people, hundreds of thousands,
adults and children. The distilled essence of their experience boils down
1. They were powerless, they admitted it
2. They came to believe in a Higher Power
3. They turned their lives and will over to It.
The Meaning of Chometz
It is a very ancient custom (dating back to around
1300 Before the Common Era) to begin preparing for Pesach 30 days in
We do this primarily by learning about Pesach and cleaning
our dwelling houses and other properties of all Chometz (leavened
On the evening before Pesach begins, we search by the
light of a candle all the nooks and crannies where conceivably Chometz may
have been carried and forgotten. We remove all cooking pots, crockery and
cutlery that have been used throughout the year and prepare food for Pesach
using Pesach foodstuffs and utensils.
The climax of all this frenetic activity is the Seder
Night when we join with our families and enjoy the ritual and tradition of
the festival itself.
For those of us familiar with the Twelve Steps and
terminology of Recovery, the essence of our preparations for Pesach are a
thorough First Step, wherein we examine in great detail all the manifestations
of the disease and all the forms which it may be taking control of our
What is Chometz (leavening)? Technically, it is the
action of particular enzymes in the flour which are activated only by the
presence of water. It is what transforms a lump of pasta into the fluffy
aerated palatable staple we know as dough which bakes into bread and
No one in their right mind would sit down to a meal
of raw yeast, though it may indeed be the secret, the essence of the goodness
of bread. The fact that yeast makes the dough rise and taste good, is not
a reason to make a meal of it. Gorging on yeast or sour dough would make
anyone very ill. This has been the experience of those of us who have gorged
ourselves on "yeast." We have been abusing something or someone in our lives.
A relationship that might have been nourishing in the right circumstances
or proportions has turned toxic because we are extreme. We have lost the
balance of sufficiency and health. We are incapable of controlling the manner
or frequency of our obsession or the nature of our compulsion.
The First Step is an admission of powerlessness and
recognition of the unmanageability of our lives. Strangely, though, the longer
we work at recovery, the trickier and subtler grow the incidents of craziness.
Here is an example:
Once there was a man who vowed to himself that he would
have the perfectly Pesach-cleaned house. Towards the end of winter he began
in the attic, and working his way downwards he took the house apart stick
by stick. Three weeks before Pesach there was no bread or Chometz in the
house. People entering had to examine their clothing and pockets for crumbs,
wiping their shoes on a special mat. He was satisfied that the house was
completely free of Chometz. He had achieved a spiritual asepsis, so to speak,
and sat down to enjoy his Seder with a clear mind.
Now a bird flew over the house with a biscuit in its
mouth. The biscuit fell down the chimney into the soup cooking over the fire
and appeared in the man's plate as he was about to eat. He was aghast. He
looked for a reason to explain this obvious act-of-God.
We in the Program do not have to look far for an
explanation. The man was obviously a control freak. His whole Pesach was
the antithesis of surrender. The reality is that we are powerless over even
such a relatively simple thing as cleaning for Pesach.
Unless we receive the help of a Higher Power we are
doomed to struggle in vain. If we find the task of cleaning for Pesach daunting
it is because we are supposed to find it so. None of us has achieved a clear
picture of the nature of our disease without simultaneously being overwhelmed
at the task of Recovery. That is why the Second Step follows the first full
recognition: "A power greater than ourselves."
In the history of Creation described in the Book of
Genesis, the unfolding of evolution is depicted over a series of six days,
beginning with the creation of Light. Each day's progress is accompanied
by the comment "And the Creator saw that it was good."
Upon completion of the sixth day of creation, it is
observed "And behold it was very good." The Talmud asks, "What happened on
the sixth day that merited the superlative description Very Good?" The answer,
says the Talmud, is this: there was an addition of a certain ingredient to
the stew of Creation, meriting that title. A final magic ingredient, the
yeast that makes the dough rise. Sometimes we call it the Evil Inclination,
sometimes we refer to it as Satan, sometimes we refer to it as the Angel
of Death. It makes the world "Very Good."
This concept that the impulse to indulge our desires
for comfort, sex and prestige is the source of all that is excellent in the
Universe is thematic through Rabbinical literature. The disease model of
addiction simply examines the effects of these desires when they become ruling
passions. Another theme that runs through the literature is the reference
to the Evil Inclination as the yeast in the dough.
The full realization of how we have turned our lives
into problems through the misappropriation of funds, as it were, must be
clear to us before we can recover.
In order to keep it simple, let us explore those three
areas of life where ancient sages and modern scholars agree we need to
Step four in the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
of AA" contains the following quote: "If men and women didn't exert themselves
to be secure in their persons, made no effort to harvest food or construct
shelter, there would be no survival. If they didn't reproduce, the earth
wouldn't be populated. If there were no social instinct, if men cared nothing
for the society of one another, there would be no society."
So these desires - for sex relations, for material
and emotional security and for companionship - are perfectly necessary and
right, and surely God-given. Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence,
often far exceed their proper functions. Powerfully, blindly, many times
subtly, they drive us, dominate us, and insist upon ruling our lives. Our
desires for sex, for material and emotional security, and for an important
place in society often tyrannize us. When thus out of joint, man's natural
desires cause him great trouble, practically all the trouble there is."
Compare the above with a much older quote, dating back
around 150 CE. Rabbi Eliezer is quoted in the Mishna as saying:
"Envy, greed and pride take a man out of the
It is clear that the Evil Inclination hasn't managed
since the dawn of time to invent even one simple human pleasure. This stands
at the crux of our understanding. Good and Evil are not the same as right
Now can we apply all this knowledge to the cleaning
of the house before Pesach?
Can we see it as the opportunity to survey our possessions
and take stock of every single item in our lives? Can we bear to scrutinize
them clearly and plainly?; ask ourselves how we are meeting our basic human
needs?; are we obtaining our supplies in a spiritual way? Are we now living
We will be in difficulty if we try arriving at a clear
consensus of the meaning of Spirituality. Though there are no perfect definitions
of the word, certain aspects are self-explanatory. Spirit means breath, the
stuff of life. Whatever is dead cannot be spiritual. The more we celebrate
the life we enjoy, the more we live inside our
bodies in the here and now, the more we are reaching
towards a spiritual existence. For many of us, simply dwelling inside our
skin has been the most difficult task in Recovery.
A Note on the Anonymous Haggadah
Because of undeniable and inalienable Rights to a Higher
Power of my own understanding, and because the Right to a Higher Power of
my own understanding is total and without any exceptions, I have not used
the word "God" in this Haggadah. For me it carries baggage, has connotations
and brings associations which would deny me the right of free
Instead I have used the Hebrew word (translit.) Hashem,
which means "The Name." I know of no scholarly treatise on the meaning of
the word Hashem. You may use whatever name you have for your Higher Power.
For me the name changes as my knowledge changes, even as my mood
"Hashem" seems the least tyrannical of all choices,
under these circumstances.
If I have referred to Hashem as "Him" it is only because
I find "Her" equally arbitrary, "It" inappropriate, and I am still hopelessly
bound by literary convention and too timid to invent something new.
The Anonymous Haggadah
It is interesting to note that the Haggadah does not
mention Moses who was central in the dramatic events described in the Exodus
|Rabbi Hershy Worch accused of Clergy Sexual Abuse|
The reason is pointedly an application of the fundamental
rule of "principles before personalities." Whilst Moses may have been the
most important person to carry the message to us, we slaves in Egypt were
the real cause of events. We mattered in ways that Moses didn't.
We were the people in trouble, enslaved and in need.
The Haggadah reminds us that we did not embark upon the Exodus brimming with
goodwill and fellowship. We were physically, emotionally and spiritually
bankrupt. All of us (excepting perhaps a few women), were totally enmeshed
in the spiraling insanity of life in Egypt.
This then is the story of our Recovery. The principles
that become apparent through the story and rituals of Seder Night are germane
to our life tonight - Moses our teacher is not.
Who, then, is the Author of the Haggadah?
There is another anonymous character whose presence
pervades the seder. If you both should chance to meet, consider yourself
fortunate. But remember what was said: "You may say You were there, but you
may not say whom you met there. You may repeat what you heard there without
attaching names to it."
Knowing our selves as well as we do, we know our penchant
for evading the obvious opportunity for self-examination. It is also fairly
certain that any mention of Moses would have been the launching point for
innumerable anecdotes and commentaries about his role. We try and keep the
focus on ourselves, where it belongs.
Many question dismissal of rabbi at Hillel
Published Online March 23, 1998
By LYNDA ZIMMER News-Gazette Staff Writer
- Rabbi Hershy Worch, director of Hillel Foundation during the 1997-98 school
year, has lost his job. The foundation - at 503 E. John St., C - serves Jewish
students on the University of Illinois campus. It was the first Hillel
established in the country.
Worch supporters describe him as an exceptional teacher
who got a raw deal. Critics acknowledge his teaching talents but say he was
no administrator. Portia Shah, a Muslim student, said she was one of about
15 students and community members who went to a Hillel board meeting last
week to support Worch because he had welcomed Muslim, Hindu and Christian
students to Hillel.
English born, Worch took rabbinical training in his
teen-age years and 20s; moved to Israel and New York to become what he called
"a starving artist" in his early and mid-30s; then became a rabbi who worked
with a congregation in Rhode Island and students in Australia before taking
the Champaign job.
Worch and his wife have 4-year-old and 2-year-old
sons and a third child due by early May.
Hershy's Cartoons on Jewish Denial
JACS (Jewish Alchoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons
and Significant Others) - June 2, 2002
Sought thru prayer and medication...
Rabbi Abe taught us the 12 steps are Jewish ...
We have no fleas or Jews...
We have the Torah ....no problems with addiction
The meetings are all in churches...
I'll be the judge of when I am drunk...
It's a goyishe program ...I know
Animosity is the spiritual foundation ...
It's all Twerski's fault ...before him, there were
no Jewish alcoholics or addicts ...
Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail: Australia and India and
Kulanu.org - Fall/1995
Peace and blessings and all that is pleasant.
In Australia I had about 15 radio appearances and an
hour on television, and I gave about 20 lectures. Articles were written in
the Jewish and general press. As of today, we have many Australian supporters
of our activities.
A Bet Din is prepared to travel to India to oversee
conversions if the Chief Rabbi approves.
I returned from Australia, and found Kulanu's FAX
on the matter of the Abayudaya. Evidently, it was arranged by Providence
that I should be at the home of a special person, a Jew named Hershey Worch,
who is the Rabbi of Hillel House in Melbourne. The reason for my acquaintance
with him and my stay at his home was the Abayudaya. He traveled (to Uganda)
after the delegation of Kulanu and conveyed information about them to
I have known about the Abayudaya over 20 years. A little
over a year ago, the Aguda L'Ma'an HaGer (Association for the Convert) turned
to me on this matter.
I expressed my agreement to the circumstance that if
two of the Abayudaya will come to Israel, I will find a program of Jewish
study for them and assist them to become converted if they are suitable.
If the Abayudaya want to convert, we must consider
exactly how to accomplish this. I must inform you that the conversion process
in Israel today is very difficult and complicated. For example, the authorities
will not allow a conversion process to begin unless that person has been
in Israel at least one year, and permission to stay in Israel for one year
is very difficult to obtain ("Catch-22").
Furthermore, as I understand official Israel today
(especially the Ministry of Interior) and the social fabric and attitudes
of the general public, I suggest that the best course of action is to send
a teacher (preferably a married couple) to teach them there for at least
one year. This is of course contingent upon the understanding that they want
to convert. I do not yet know just how to organize this conversion, but when
they do convert I do not think that they should remain in Uganda. At that
point they should make Aliyah.
A good year to the members of Kulanu!
(Editor's note: Readers' tax-deductible contributions
to Kulanu can be earmarked for Abayudaya education, which could cover sending
two members of the community to Israel for study, sending a teacher to Uganda,
and/or paying school tuition and expenses for students in Uganda.)
The Kabbalist Haggadah: A Handbook of the
Ruach.org - June 2, 2006
Author: Hershy J. Worch
Numbner of pages: 236 pages, including index and
Retail price: $30.00 includes Free Shipping!
Published by Spriit of the Desert Productions
The Passover Ritual and Liturgy with Explainations
Of The Ten Sephiroth and Twenty Two Mystical Paths.
The Kabbalist Haggadah give the reader a compelling
reason and a marvelous tool for revisiting the original Haggadah text.
Every line of the text and every detail of the ritual is given its
basic Kabbalistic description and appropriate Kavanah - Intention. The subtext
of the Haggadah is the healing of the primal trauma, Adam and Eve eating
from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil resulting in the loss of intimacy,
referred to ask the Exile of Da'at - Knowing. Seder Night is a moment
of Giluy Shechianah - Revelation of the Divine Presence, the healing of Da'at
About The Author
J. Hershy Worch is wll known for his previous publications:
Sacred Fire, Torah from the Years of Fury 1939-42, a translation of the Hebrew
manuscript by R. Kalonymos Kalmish Shapira, Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto, published
by Jason Aronson, 2000. He has served as rabbi of Pawtucket, Rhode
Island, and as Director of the Hillel Foundation in Malbourne, Australia.
His writings on a variety of subjects from Maimonides to Generation
X have appeared in books, newspapers and journals world wide. Worch
lives in Chicago, Illinois, where he teaches Jewish texts.
"Celebrating your Seder with Reb Hershy Worch's Haggadah
will get you to experience the sould dawn of "Rabboteynu - the time for the
morning Shema' has arrived." -- Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
Serious allegations made against a Rabbi in
By Vicki Polin
The Awareness Center - October 14, 2004
There have been some serious allegations made regarding a rabbi
who resides in (West Rogers Park) Chicago, IL.
The alleged offender originally meets his victims on
line, and then after time connects with them in person. The allegations that
have been made include the rabbi using a form of hypnosis and then sexually
assaulting his alleged victims.
If you or anyone you or anyone you know has been victimized
by this man, please call the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline and let them know
your story. Tell them that The Awareness Center suggested you call. The Rape
Crisis Hotline is being made aware of the situation and are extremely sensitive
to the issues that are involved in this case.
The Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline's phone number is:
Vicki Polin, MA, ATR, LCPC
Executive Director - The Awareness Center
Past Contact information:
The Awareness Center - October 14, 2004
If you have information on this case please contact
the following people (Tell them that The Awareness Center suggested
Rape Victim Advocates (RVA)
(888) 293-2080 or (312) 663-6303
228 S. Wabash Ave., Suite 240, Chicago, IL 60604
Rabbi Mark Dratch -JSafe
Rabbi Josef Ozarowski -Chicago Rabbinical
Attempt at Cyberbullying Vicki Polin
Sister Vikele remove me
Live Journal - October 21, 2004
By Hershy Worch
I would have been satisfied to have Holy
Sister Vikele remove me from her awareness website, I would have
breathed a sigh of relief, but no longer. No. The website has to come
down. Mostly it has to come down because it is a shaming thing, a
shameless, shameful thing, an ERVA where vicki exposes her privates and
plays with herself in our faces. But, equally important, it is time to
celebrate the good things Reb Shlomo Carlebach gave us all. Next week
will be his tenth Yahrzeit - Aniversary. Let's celebrate it with the
joy it deserves.
Regarding Rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch - While in
From a group of men and women in Melbourne Australia
who wish to remain anonymous - December 6, 2004
Hershy Worch came to Melbourne, Australia with his
wife and young family in 1995. He was initially employed by the
Hillel Foundation. As rabbi of the
Synagogue, he was then financially supported by members of his community
from the years 1995-1997.
During this time both his behaviour and demeanour with
his female students were consistently predatory, manipulative and abusive.
He proactively sought 'romantic' and sexual relationships wtih many many
women, specifically targeting those who were emotionally vulnerable and fostering
acute dependency. He consistently used his role as counselor to make sexual
advances towards those who came to him in need. He had 'romantic' sexual
relationships with married and unmarried women who ranged in age from 20
His inappropriate behaviour towards female students
- Physical sexual interactions
- Predatory behavior in the pursuit of women: e.g. late
night phone calls and invitations to teach women privately.
- Using the teaching of Torah as a tool of
- Using group situations with himself at the centre -
that utilized his musical, vocal and narrative 'talents' - to manipulate
individuals and create a cultic environment around 'Kabbalah' classes.
- Using his relationships with students to influence
them to 'rescue' him by financially and publically supporting and defending
His abuse of his position as rabbi, chazzan and counselor
traumatized this community leaving wounds that took and are still taking
many years to heal. Reputations were publicly compromised and personal lives
were taken over.
Those who have followed his career since he left Australia
and returned to the United States have observed a repetition of these patterns.
We trust that with our testimony and others you will do everything within
your power to expose Hershy Worch and warn individuals and communities who
may be vulnerable to his 'teachings' and promises of insight and
Banned In Turkey?
Jewish Whistleblower - May 5, 2005
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch has been banned by local Turkish
religious authorities from taking any pulpit. He even fled the US for Turkey
rather than show up at custody hearings regarding his own children.
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch banned by the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey from taking
any pulpit position,
ALSO conclusive proof he is
Jewish Whistleblower - May 8, 2005
JWB has learned exclusively that Rabbi J. Hershy Worch
has been banned by local Turkish religious authorities from taking any
The reasons for the ban? Read his profile.
He even fled the US for Turkey rather than show up
at custody hearings regarding his own children.
Newspaper publisher becomes the story before
Yori Yanover, publisher of the Grand Street
By Ronda Kaysen
The Villager - Volume 75, Number 8 | June 13- 20, 2005
Much thought isn't usually given to moderators. By definition,
they are thought to be moderate, but Yori Yanover, who was tapped to facilitate
Tuesday night's City Council District 2 debate, has some strong opinions
about the feminist, gay rights and psychoanalytic movements and isn't afraid
to blog them.
On Tuesday morning, hours before 12 of the candidates
vying to fill Margarita Lopez's City Council seat gathered at the Henry Street
Settlement for their first public debate, an anonymous e-mail circulated
among the candidates, urging them to boycott the event, which was to include
three panelists asking questions in addition to Yanover, who was to moderate.
The writer, identifying himself only as Constitution Man of the Committee
to Boycott LoHo Realty and their Grand Street News, pointed to a private
Web blog penned by the debate's moderator as cause for a candidate-wide
The blog, www.usajewish.com, was written by Yanover,
the publisher of Grand Street News, a booklet-size community newspaper sponsored
by LoHo Realty. The entries in question address an ongoing dispute within
the Jewish community about a handful of rabbis accused of sexual
In one entry, Yanover responds to sexual allegations
against the late
Carlebach lodged by several women after Carlebach's death. The allegations
were never brought to court. In response to the unsubstantiated allegations,
Yanover, in his blog, blamed the "homosexual movement, the feminist movement
and the psychoanalytical movement. All three movements have politicized the
sexual, and with that, robbed us of the carefree availability of our sexual
expression," he wrote.
"The gay rights, feminist and psychological movements
have changed how society approached sex in worrisome ways," Yanover told
The Villager. "Making a sexual mistake in this society is the most dangerous
thing that can happen to you. The boss who 10 years ago may have said something
cheeky to a secretary or a female underling, now he's going in the other
direction. This is part of the anxiety of our culture."
One candidate, Brian Kavanagh, withdrew his name from
the debate after learning about Yanover's statements. "The moderator of a
debate is not merely a bystander, but controls the forum and has a public
presence and I think that choosing this particular person under the present
circumstances shows some insensitivity both to the gay and lesbian community
and also to victims of rape," said Kavanagh, describing the blog entries
"Is she concerned? I'm sure she would be concerned
with anything that's homophobic or anti-women," said Roberto Caballero, who
is gay and is the campaign manager for Reverend Joan Brightharp, the only
member of the clergy in the race. Brightharp, however, planned to attend
the debate, which occurred as The Villager went to press.
Yanover is a strong presence in the Lower East Side
community. In fact, Grand Street News approached Henry Street Settlement
several months ago to co-sponsor the debate along with LoHo Realty. Some
local figures have jumped to his defense in the wake of the Tuesday morning
e-mail. "I believe in supporting good people," said Susan Stetzer, district
manager of Community Board 3. "He is not homophobic, he is not anti-feminist.
He and his wife are feminists and they're raising their daughter to be a
feminist." Stetzer and David McWater, C.B. 3 chairperson, were profiled by
Grand Street News within the past year and their photo appeared on its
Henry Street Settlement, which hosted the event, had
no intentions of canceling or changing moderators on Tuesday afternoon. "At
this point, we're not making any changes," said Kathleen Gupta, a chief
administrator for the Henry Street Settlement, two hours before the event.
"We're just moving forward and hoping it'll be a productive evening."
Rosie Mendez, the only openly gay candidate in the
race, had not read the e-mail when she spoke to The Villager on Tuesday afternoon
and was reluctant to take a position. "I have to ask myself, `Why today,
a couple of hours before the debate, is this coming to light?' " she said.
"This has been planned a long time ago. It's interesting that this has come
out now." Mendez planned to attend the event.
The author of the e-mail that pointed candidates and
The Villager to the blog did not return requests for comment, nor did he
respond to requests to identify himself.
Bias is often subjective and, according to Yanover,
the comments on his blog — all of which were removed on Tuesday afternoon
— were part of a larger dialogue within the Jewish community. The blog
entries in question were written last winter, he said, in response to comments
made last October by an organization, the Awareness Center, about his close
Jeremy Hershy Worch.
Center, a Maryland-based organization, is "dedicated to addressing sexual
violence in Jewish communities around the world," according to its Web site.
Among the alleged perpetrators of sexual violence accused on the Web site
is Yanover's friend Worch.
time you Google the guy's name, every time he applies for a job," the
link to the Awareness Center Web site appears at the top of the search engine,
said Yanover. "His name is destroyed. What can you do about this? All you
can do is cower away or you can fight this."
And so Yanover printed the full name, address and telephone
number of the woman who made the accusations against Worch, removing the
"the shelter of anonymity" that protected her.
"This woman destroyed the life of a man, she accused
him of despicable things and hid behind a veil of anonymity and she did not
deserve it [anonymity]," said Yanover in a telephone interview, pointing
out that no charges were ever brought against Worch.
Ironically, the Internet and the infinite memory of
Google may now have turned on Yanover, thrusting his online ramblings into
the political arena. "A friend of mine last October was destroyed by sinister
people and it's been my business to defend his good name," he said. "And
if I get skewered by that then that's the way it has to be."
Call To Action:
URGENT - Gafni and Worch
Speaking in Chicago?
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - April 20,
Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people;
neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor" (Leviticus
According to a blog ran by Yori Yanover, Marc Gafni
and Hershy Worch are planing on speaking at a cafe in Chicago. I have not
been able to verify that this is true, yet due to the shortage of time I
thought I would make sure you are aware of this possible situation. I've
tried calling the "No Exit Cafe," yet no one answered.
I understand that the majority of people in the
conservative or orthodox community would not attend this function, the problem
is that many unsuspecting Jew's and non-Jews may attend.
Please calll the "No Exit Cafe" to help verify that
Marc Winiarz (AKA: Mordechai Gafni, and Hershy Worch are speaking. If they
are, please WARN the owners of the cafe that both of these individuals have
serious allegations of sexual violence made against them.
No Exit Cafe:
Thursday, April 20, 2006
in Open Dscussion of the Izbicer
A gig for Chicagoans... There will be a Symposium at
the No Exit Cafe 6970 N. Glenwood, Chicago this coming Sunday afternoon with
Rabbi Gafni and J. Hershy Worch and friends - between 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm.
If you'd like to come and meet some of the other local Chevrah, you'd be
most welcome. Bring your questions and curiosity... Yours truly will be listening
online via Skype and might get into the discussion if they'll let me...
Yanover at Thursday, April 20, 2006
Worch - Rosh Hashana 5767 - Sept
Letter From Worch - September 25, 2006
(Deut 30:1) It shall happen, when all these things
have come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you,
and you will take them to heart...
What needs to be taken to heart is that the curse
also contains some blessing. (The Rebbe of Izbicy 1801-1859)
Two years ago I was accused in the media, anonymously,
of criminal and contemptible offenses. Most specifically that I use cult-like
and manipulative, mind controlling behaviors to entice women to my home where
I assault them. The attack was an outright slander, a lie without one iota
of truth in it.
The accusation was embellished with details of my
private, work and public life, added to make the allegation sound more
believable. Since 1985 I have published work, mostly poetry and short stories
using pen names, Moonish and Chapt Schleck. And it was under these names
that I maintained and moderated a number of websites and bulletin boards
specifically for Orthodox Jews on the farthest fringes of the community.
One such website was "Kinky-Shiduchin", a place for Orthodox Jews with particular
and peculiar needs to find their match in a safe, anonymous environment.
Much of the writing published under the name Moonish is provocative, loud,
erotic, iconoclastic and most certainly not the sort of writing I could publish
under my own name as an Orthodox man without radical consequences. That fact
alone was used to attribute to me all sorts of scurrilous, offensive and
nasty material I never wrote, as well as selectively quoted fragments from
my writings all brought to prove my violent and predatory nature.
I don't have a violent or predatory nature. The purpose
of the libel was to hurt me; to damage my reputation and ruin my career.
It largely succeeded; these past two years have been very trying and
disheartening. Whoever spoke up for me or attempted to show how the accusations
might not be true was attacked, ridiculed and defamed. Doors once open were
closed to me. In the age of Google, one has only to do a cursory internet
search of my name to be overwhelmed with evidence of its savage
Finding the blessing hidden in this curse is a great
challenge. When every indiscretion and misdeed I may have committed since
childhood is trumpeted and broadcast in the media and no area of my life
remains private, where is the blessing? There is certainly no shortage of
sins with which to castigate me, and I provided most of the ammunition being
used against me now.
Divorce is often a process bringing out the best and
worst in people, at times in acrimony and bitterness. There are marriages
and relationships which ended with my having to make difficult and painful
amends. But no one to whom I have apologized has ever accused me of malice,
violence or cruelty.
If there remains anyone who feels I have not addressed
their grievance, please seek me out and confront me with my wrongdoing. If
it was a criminal act, report me to the police. Accuse me to my face. Don't
attack me anonymously, using depraved people and shameless websites to take
If there is a blessing in the curse it may be twofold.
First I'm grateful for all the people who have been directed to me only because
of the notoriety surrounding my name, and second, for the friendships and
loves which have stood the test of time and in having endured trouble are
grown stronger. But, if being or becoming the blessing requires that I say
it was all worth it, I'm afraid I'm far from being there yet.
I won't mar this page with the names of my tormentors,
you know who you are. I bless you with all the good things a good life enjoys
in abundance. May this High Holiday festival season be one of joy and healing
wherever and however you celebrate them. Undo as much of the damage and remove
the causes of as much of my pain as you possibly can, please.
From associates, friends and those around me who have
suffered because of me, because of this and other things which have brought
disgrace upon me, from you I ask forgiveness in the deepest contrition.
J. Hershy Worch
rebhershy (rebhershy) wrote,
Attempts at "rabbi" Hershy Worch Cyberbullying Vicki Polin
Been feeling like journaling lately
@ 2008-01-24 20:08:00
It's been so long since I felt safe I hardly recognize the feeling.
Seriously, since my enemies tried their hardest to crucify me three years ago not a day went by but I dreaded some new infamy.
Evil has many faces, but ugliest is the face of virtue triumphant. It
matters not whether it triumphs like Rabbi Eichenstein who quietly
calls my employer to have me fired, or like Vicki Polin who calls my
ex-wife to say she's talking to 26 women who say I raped them in front
of the children. There's no question in my mind that the worst sins are
those we commit with the Yetzer Tov - Good Inclination. By the way,
Eichenstein discovered I was working for XXXXXXXX XXXXXX Funerals Ltd as
a Shomer - Guardian; someone who sits with the dead. He discovered it
because one of the dead I happened to sit with (reciting the psalms at
his side), was an uncle of his. When the good rabbi saw it was me, he
called the funeral director and had me fired. He also stiffed me for the
$15 an hour I'd earned sitting there all night.
Now I say that having a man fired because you think badly of him,
doesn't make you less of a man. But stiffing the man who sits guarding
the corpse of your uncle, finding an excuse to avoid paying him his fee
after he's done the job, now that makes you a very small man indeed.
The thing is, the really important thing is that Eichenstein's
Shabbes candles burned his house to the ground. Well, his wife put the
tea lights on the plastic tablecloth which ignited when it heated up
sufficiently, to be more precise, but you get the picture. I know which I
prefer, having a mean prick try and burn my livliehood down or have the
Sabbath burn my house down! Sometimes when I'm having sex I think of
Victoria Polin, especially when I'm laughing. Or sometimes when my
breath catches in my throat at the sheer beauty of woman skin or the
perfume of her private places, I catch a glimpse of all the hot laughing
sex Vicki doesn't have a hope of tasting, and I ask myself, who came
out of all this enriched, and who impoverished? It's something to think
about, isn't it?
You know, once a month like a fetish, on the 14th or 15th of the
month, Luke Ford will visit all my web pages looking for only he knows
what. 5 or 6 times in the last two years the 14th and 15th have fallen
on the sabbath. So here's this convert to Judaism, to orthodox judaism
no less, lives on a futon on the floor in a basement somehwere in Los
Angeles, who can't hold back from firing up his computer to go snooping
on the sabbath. Talk about being born again and getting a life!
I shouldn't crow, I suppose. But I feel like crowing, damnit.
Potent mix of charisma and Kabbalah
By Yvonne Fein
Australian Jewish News - May 6, 2008
It is an ugly fact of life that the very nature of authority
guarantees its abuse. And in too many cases, those who exert authority, along
with those in whom it is invested will not only abuse it, they will also
get away with doing so.
In Jewish life, the corrupt power-brokers have often
been our rabbis.
Intended to be men of God, increasingly they have been
exposed as having feet of clay.
And those who dare to unmask them risk community opprobrium
along with personal discredit and humiliation.
I despise, and always have, those who manipulate others
simply because they can. I despise their fraudulence and their cold-hearted
abuse of the susceptible.
Yet even worse in my eyes are those who blame the victims,
those members of the Beth Din, for example who, as was the case in the US
not so long ago, forced victims to apologise to the rabbi who had wronged
It was not until the victims put their case before
a criminal court of the land that the rabbi in question was found guilty
and sentenced to several yearsâ¤TM imprisonment. His was not an
Between its covers, I have told a strange and disturbing
story about rabbis and students, masters and disciples.
The Torn Messiah is a psychological thriller set in
It centres on a charismatic New York rabbi who rides
into town on a page of Kabbalah, bringing with him an irresistible mix of
personality, mystical teachings and guitar playing.
Melbourneâ¤TMs vulnerable Jewish youth flock
to him, hungry for any teaching which will show them a way of identifying
Jewishly beyond the narrow confines of Holocaust and Zionism.
And while the protagonists are Jews who walk our
well-known, Caulfield streets, the tale inside the novel is a universal one,
grappling with a global dilemma.
How should we respond to the enchantment of those who
would fill our brains with exhilarating ideas, our hearts with music and
pleasure and yet manipulate our consciousness for their own dubious ends
-â¤" sexual, spiritual or emotional?
What defence can we mount against such a profound abuse
of power as well as against the potent seductiveness possessed by texts,
ancient or modern, when they combine with bitter-sweet melodies filtered
through generations of suffering.
The Torn Messiah reveals how an authority figure steeped
in spiritual mysticism can endanger the susceptible and the defenceless and
perhaps it asks more questions than it is able to answer.
I have always thought that the essence of being a Jew
was to question and to argue. The humblest can challenge the greatest and
all that matters is the truth. No one may be deferred to because of
What is the Talmud, after all, if not one long, albeit
incredibly mellifluous, argument down the centuries with scholars challenging
scholars -â¤" their peers and those long dead -â¤"
over their opinions ranging from the great questions of life and love, of
death and the great beyond, to the most infinitesimal, microscopic examination
of halachic minutiae.
Arguably, the greatest argument ever recorded.
How is it possible then that matters have come to such
a pass that we defer to rabbis, beyond all reason, simply because they have
laid claim to the power?
They are men of God, not God himself. And, thank God,
Judaism has never subscribed to any sort of doctrine of infallibility.
Once we admit, therefore, to the risk of fallibility
in our leaders, it behoves us to keep them honest by a clear-eyed, clear-headed
assessment of their actions.
If they act improperly in any way, surely it is a greater
crime against the God they claim to serve if we turn a blind eye simply because
it is too painful to admit their frailty and their weakness.
The Torn Messiah took me more than five years to write
and then another year to sell and bring to publication.
It is not, however, like giving birth to a child. If
women had to gestate for five or six years to produce a single offspring,
the human race would have died out long ago.
So why did I do it?
I want the story out there. As a Jew, I want people
to be aware of the imperfections within a system that is at once flawed and
As a writer, I am compelled to put words to paper.
There is no WA (Writers Anonymous) chapter I can attend, no 12-step program
I can undertake to break my compulsion.
It is the hand I was dealt. It is the itch I am eternally
compelled to scratch.
And along with it comes a desire to tell stories only
I can tell because of the life I have led, to tell them with truth and integrity,
to place them in the public domain and let the chips fall where they
Sex and the synagogue
By Liz Porter
The Age (Australia) - September 21, 2008
He seduced vulnerable women who came to him for spiritual
enlightenment. Now Rabbi Hershy Worch is the one being exposed and
RABBI Hershy Worch did not look like a serial seducer.
Short, fat and married, he favoured the white silk stockings, knee breeches
and big fur hat - or "shtreimel" - worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews on the
But the rabbi could sing magnificently - and played
a mean guitar. He was also an inspiring teacher of Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical
doctrine famously studied by Madonna. Talented and charismatic, despite his
homely looks, the "singing rabbi" attracted crowds of students of both
Women predominated because Worch specialised in teaching
female students the Talmud - Jewish commentaries traditionally taught to
The English-born rabbi came to Melbourne from the United
States in 1995 as a 41-year-old chaplain and mentor for Jewish students at
Victorian university campuses. Now a new book by one of his former students,
Melbourne writer Yvonne Fein, paints him as a manipulative seducer, a man
who made sexual advances to his most vulnerable students and was psychologically
abusive to many others.
The Torn Messiah is a novel, not a memoir or a work
of investigative journalism, but it is an open secret in the Jewish community
that it is a thinly disguised account of the effects of the maverick rabbi's
The main character is "Rabbi Reuven Klein", not Hershy
Worch. Meanwhile, Fein herself, the editor of the 1990s Jewish magazine
Generations, appears in the novel as Freddie Rose, editor of the magazine
Diaspora Dreaming. Its headquarters are downstairs from Rabbi Klein's office
- just as Generations was downstairs from Rabbi Worch's office - and its
location is "Ben Gurion House" in Kooyong Road, Caulfield, easily identifiable
as the Beth Weizmann centre, a few blocks away on Hawthorn Road - the setting
for many of Worch's classes.
HaMakom, the "alternative" orthodox synagogue Worch
established, appears in the novel as "HaDrasha". The fictional Rabbi Klein
has sexual relations with three of his students and tries to seduce
Fein openly admits that much of the novel's content
is based on Worch. She made her fictional Rabbi Klein a "composite character",
based on Worch and several other rabbis, because she feared she was unable
to make a "short, fat and ugly" rabbi into a credible fictional seducer.
She wrote the story as a novel, she says, mainly to
protect the identities of other women involved. Fein says her fictional rabbi
and the real Rabbi Worch both played on the emotions of a group of young
adults who were all children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.
"We were all consenting, tertiary-educated adults.
But, in some sense, we were all damaged," Fein says. "(Jewish) Melbourne
is still, in many ways, a Holocaust town. We were all looking for a way to
be Jewish that was not defined by Holocaust suffering or by loyalty to Israel
... We wanted to find another way. And he came with another way."
Fein says she and others were vulnerable to someone
who could teach Hebrew biblical texts "without butchering it".
"He came along with this Torah from heaven ... He made
it poetic - and mysterious."
Women came to study early and late, and were often
alone with the rabbi. It was then, Fein says, that he made sexual advances
that several did not resist - but which later led to anger and distress.
Worch left Melbourne in 1997 because the Hillel Foundation
- the Jewish student support organisation employing him - had run out of
money to pay his salary. But in 2004 a few of Worch's former Melbourne students
were contacted by a representative of the Baltimore-based Awareness Centre
- a Jewish organisation specialising in helping sex abuse victims.
These women wrote a long, anonymous statement accusing
the rabbi of "predatory" and "manipulative" behaviour and it was added to
the Baltimore website's "Case of Rabbi Hershy Worch" listing.
The entry on Worch runs to several pages, noting his
alleged 1998 dismissal from an Illinois teaching post and referring to
allegations made against him in Chicago in 2004. It also alludes to complaints
about him to the Rabbinical Council of America and the Chicago Rabbinical
According to the Melbourne women's statement, Worch
"proactively sought 'romantic' and sexual relationships with many, many women,
specifically targeting those who were emotionally vulnerable and fostering
acute dependency. He consistently used his role as counsellor to make sexual
advances towards those who came to him in need.
"He had 'romantic' sexual relationships with married
and unmarried women who ranged in age from 20 to 50."
The statement also says that his inappropriate behaviour
towards female students included "physical sexual interactions", "predatory
behaviour in the pursuit of women - late-night phone calls and invitations
to teach women privately" and "using the teaching of Torah (bible) as a tool
Worch, now 54, has married a third time since leaving
Melbourne and lives in California where he runs online Kabbalah and Jewish
scripture classes. Responding to The Sunday Age's questions by email, he
said he couldn't talk about what was in a book he hadn't read. But, he added:
"I, myself, am looking for a publisher for my novel, The Inner Shikseh, about
a Hasidic rabbi who meets and ministers to the needs of kinky Jews,
sabbath-observant queers, sadists and masochists, bondage freaks, masters
and slaves, pain-givers and pain-cravers, humiliation artists and a plethora
of other taboo-breakers."
He parried repeated requests to comment on the allegations
about his time in Melbourne posted on the Baltimore website. "When a lady
of quality ... chooses to divulge a sexual liaison, it's dashed bad form
then to approach the man for corroboration," he wrote.
"I came to Australia to work with Jewish students on
and off campus, to share my sense of excitement and discovery with them about
the Torah ... I found Melbourne brimming with impassioned and enthused people
of all ages and every possible religious persuasion, starving for someone
to give them access to ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts."
On his own Live Journal blog, the rabbi has twice posted
denials of the website's allegations against him. In 2006, he wrote of being
"accused in the media, anonymously, of criminal and contemptible offences.
Most specifically it was alleged that I use cult-like and manipulative,
mind-controlling behaviours to entice women to my home where I assault them.
The attack was an outright slander, a lie without one iota of truth in
Fein is adamant that Worch's actions, though not illegal,
were exploitative and abusive, in that he took advantage of the power imbalance
between rabbi and congregant. They were also a serious breach of Halacha
(Jewish law), which forbids a rabbi from having illicit sexual liaisons.
Sam Lipski, editor of the Jewish News when Worch was
in Melbourne, says that at the time of his sudden departure in 1997 no
allegations of impropriety had come to the newspaper's attention.
At the time, influential businessman, rabbi and former
Melbourne Football Club president Joseph Gutnick had offered to re-fund Hillel,
the organisation that had been paying Worch, if it got rid of the radical
rabbi. Gutnick had strongly objected to remarks he regarded as pro-Palestinian
that Worch had made at a student meeting hosted by the businessman.
Several years passed before the first accounts of alleged
sexual improprieties began to filter in from the US. Joseph Gutnick heard
them, and also read testimonies from American and Australian women who reported
inappropriate sexual overtures from Worch. The reports confirmed his opinion
of the rabbi, Gutnick says now.
"He is a low-life and a heretic. What upsets me is
that he uses religion to abuse women. There are numerous women who have suffered
at his hands," Gutnick says.
So why didn't the Melbourne women complain to rabbinical
authorities when Worch was here?
According to Fein, conversation about alleged impropriety
began after the rabbi's sudden departure, when his shocked students gathered
Fein herself was only "intellectually seduced" by Worch,
she says, meaning she did not sleep with him. But she was shattered that
she had been manipulated by a religious leader .
"I was too ashamed to approach anyone official," she
says. "Anyway, who would you go to? And what sort of hearing would you
Another former student of Worch says the rabbi used
his own vulnerability as a seduction technique. "He was clearly a damaged
person," she says.
"He made inappropriate suggestions to me but I just
ignored them." She still feels uncomfortable about her "complicity" with
Worch's manipulative ways.
But Worch still has his supporters in Melbourne. Another
former female student says she went to many group classes and never witnessed
any hint of anything untoward.
"I had respect for what he taught us," she says. "If
some women had a problem with him, they should have complained at the
At the time, says Fein, any Australian woman considering
making allegations of abuse to rabbinical authorities would have first thought
of the now notorious case of New York's Rabbi Baruch Lanner. In 1989, some
of his congregants complained to a "beth din," or tribunal of rabbis, that
Lanner had sexually abused teenagers. But they were not believed. They were
not vindicated until 2000, when a Jewish newspaper's reports on the claims
sparked a police investigation - and eventually a jail sentence for
It is a poorly kept secret in the Jewish community
that Lanner came to Melbourne in 1990 to be interviewed for a position as
headmaster of a Jewish school. The interview was quietly cancelled after
some calls to New York.
THE Torn Messiah took Fein more than five years to
write. It took a further year to find a publisher.
"It took me a long time to get over (the Worch
Jewish communities in Australia, says Fein, have been
slow even to admit the possibility of clerical abuse.
She points to the secrecy surrounding sexual abuse
claims against the principal of the Adass Israel Girls School in Elsternwick.
The school board paid for the principal, Malka Leifer, to return to Israel,
sacking her after investigating alleged sexual offences.
But Rabbi Meir Kluwgant, president of the Rabbinical
Council of Victoria, says that his organisation is now facing up to the issue
and has arranged for a small group of professional legal and psychological
advisers to offer confidential advice and support to abuse victims.
In the past few months, the council has been investigating
- or attempting to investigate - claims of "inappropriate physical contact"
as well as "improper financial transactions" by a "trusted" religious official
in the Jewish community.
In a front-page article in the Australian Jewish News
in late March, Kluwgant provided a special phone number and urged the man's
victims to come forward. Twenty people came forward with information, he
says, but nobody was prepared to sign a statement.
Kluwgant says confidential advice and assistance will
also be offered to any former congregants of Worch who want to come
"There has been a shift in the rabbinate towards addressing
the issue (of clerical abuse) openly and frankly and publicly," he says.
But Jewish Community Council of Victoria president
Anton Block says there is still "not enough openness" in dealing with sex
abuse thoroughly and publicly because of fear of fostering anti-semitism.
Like any other community, the Jewish community does not like bad news published
about itself .
"But we have the added concern that, when messages
like this get out, it adds ammunition to those who want to hurt us and say
'look at the Jews'."
Cartoon in the Jewish Press by Salome Worch
Jewish Press - December 25, 2012
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch and his wife Salome made Aliyah from California, moving to Tzfat, Israel.
|Click on Image To Enlarge|
WARNING: J. Hershy Worch is a potential DANGER to All Women and Children living in Tzfat, Israel
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - April 8, 2013
The following message was forwarded to The Awareness Center by a reliable source:
Wanted: Responsible Woman Driver
|Photograph from Worch's MySpace web page|
Tzfat emailer - April 7 2013
To convey a group of five girls to and from their home in Ibikur/Canaan to school in Me'or Chayim. 20 times per month.
1200 - 1300 shekel negotiable.
Must be reliable, prompt and safe.J. Hershy Worchtel-072.252-4236cell-050.413-7569
For over twenty years there have been numerous allegations made against Rabbi J. Hershy Worch involving clergy sexual abuse . The post from the Tzfat emailer suggests that he has contact with groups of girls and is looking to bring them to a school in which he is connected.
The Case of J. Hershy Worch - CLICK HERE for more information
Jeremy Hershy Worch was born in Manchester, England, on May 20, 1954. He received his smicha (rabbinic ordination) from Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in 1992.
The first arose against Rabbi Worch occurred during the years in which he was living in Australia. A book was written about his alleged predatorial several years ago regarding his behavior at Hamakom Synagogue in Melbourne, Australia, titled "The Torn Messiah".
Over the years Rabbi Worch has been accused of utilizing a mixture of kabbalah, hypno-eroticism and other manipulative techniques to enagage his potential victims prior to sexually assaulting them.
There have been allegations that Reb Hershy creates a cult-like devotion to himself utilizing trance-like-states, guided meditation, hypnosis; all under the guise of kabbalah teachings. Allegedly his MO (modus operandi) has been to use such techniques on women with histories of childhood abuse, so that he can lead them into BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism). activities with him.
Rabbi Worch has allegedly written a "BDSM-Kabbalah" and finds his "students" over the internet, primarily through his Livejournal "Kabbalah_101" community.
Please help The Awareness Center warn the Tzfat community of how dangerous he allegedly has been in the past.
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