Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Glamorization of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

By Vicki Polin
The Examiner - August 30, 2012

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach - Serial Sexual Predator
Over the years it has become apparent that writing an article or talking about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in any way that does not paint him as a tzadik (saint), can bring out a great deal of anger from highly respectable people, and it can also become dangerous.

A few weeks ago after the article Only in NY: Broadway Musical About Sexual Predator - Shlomo Carlebach" was published, I’ve received applause, complaints, cyberbullying and a death threat. The article was about a musical that made its way to Broadway that glorifies this well known sex offender.

Considering that followers of Shlomo Carlebach profess to be a peaceful, loving lot, these types of “hate” reactions are the status quo and have come to be expected when anyone writes anything negative about this iconic figure -- who passed away over a decade ago. What makes no sense to me is that there still is no real public outrage that Carlebach’s family and friends are still canonizing one of the most prolific sexual predators in all of history. During his forty year rein of terror Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach left hundreds if not thousands of women who were sexually victimized around the globe. It’s even more shocking is that even after his death rabbonim worldwide are trying to sweep his offenses under the carpet.   

The truth is that Shlomo Carlebach was given a free pass to sexually assault young adult women and teenage girls. The first allegations started popping up around nearly seventy years ago, yet many of his newest followers are blinded by the fa├žade that has been created ever since his death back on October 20, 1994.

Like many other cult like leaders, Shlomo Carlebach knew he had to make himself accessible to the masses, yet still presented his wisdom and knowledge as mysterious and rare; and only available to those who were “really ready for it”. This is basically the same tactics used by other alleged cult leaders such as Marc Gafni, Ephraim Bryks, Mordecai Tendler, and several other “spiritual leaders” in the ultra-orthodox Jewish world.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein banned the music of Shlomo Carlebach
Back in the 1950s, very little if anything was ever written on the topic of sex crimes, let alone clergy sexual abuse. It wasn’t until 1975 that the very first rape crisis center in the United States opened in New York City. Looking back at history it wasn’t until 1984 when there was a clear cut legal definition for sexual abuse or assault. During Carlebach’s early day the only recourse his victims had, was to rely on the rabbis of the time to do what they could to protect other women from being victimized.

Due to numerous complaints about Shlomo Carlebach’s behavior of hugging, kissing and fondling women -- without specifically naming him, a ruling was made banning his music back in 1959 by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who was a highly revered Jewish legal authority, who’s p’sakim (halachic rulings) were accepted worldwide.

Recently during a conversation with “Dr. Neshema Ahava” a highly decorated orthodox psychotherapist and researcher who wishes to remain anonymous wrote:

“While I totally support your efforts to expose sexual predators in the Jewish community, I cannot understand going after someone dead, who cannot defend himself. This strikes me as character assassination.”

After explaining the damage and harm the glamorization of this serial sexual predator has had on the women he victimized, Dr. Ahava wrote:

“Ok you convinced me. I have thought about this and I think the victim's pain outweighs the consideration of accusing the dead. Moreover, apparently many people do think Carlebach is a saint, which is inexplicable, the play about him does not deal with this aspect of his life at all.”

Rabbi Yosef Cornfeld, who is an Israeli social worker wrote:

I agree with you, and sympathize with with the victim's pain. I just think that trying to ban this play or anything else will only bring it more publicity and a bigger box office draw. I think that it would be better to expose the dark side independently of any of his music or teachings.

On some levels I have to agree with Rabbi Cornfeld, yet the truth is that without bringing direct attention to the newest methods of canonising this sexual predator, nothing will be done to stop it. This is exactly what happened several years ago on the 10 year anniversary of Shlomo Carlebach’s death, when a small group of his followers were attempting to name a New York City street after him. With enough public outrage, the group dropped the petition.

In honor of all the women who have been sexually abused, assault and harassed by Shlomo Carlebach; it’s time that we all step up and JUST SAY NO to honoring this sexual predator.


Death Threat from Shloimy Mermelstein - Hasidic Rebel

STOP THE INSANITY - Shlomo Carlebach

Dwell in Possibility

Strength and Healing From Sexual assault

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cyberbullying attempt from Stan Liberman

The Awareness Center's policy is to make all threats, harassment, attempts at cyber stalking and witness tampering of our board, advisory, board and volunteers public.  We also report these crimes to law enforcement officials.  The following message came as a result of the article recently written by Vicki Polin (our founder and CEO) after learning that a musical about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach was now on Broadway. 

Vicki Polin stated that she does NOT give in to blackmail, extortion, bullying, harassment, or threats.  "If I did, what kind of example would I set for others?"

Link to article The Carlebach article: click here

For more information on the case of Shlomo Carlebach" click here
To view the death threat recently received: click here 

Message on Facebook:

Stan Liberman - Facebook Profile
Stan Liberman

Vicki Polin: Eaten any kids lately?

You have brought a blood libel onto the Jewish community, on a national television show, claiming canibalism as part of Jewish rituals. Shame on you. You have never even apologized.
Besides that, you, Vicki, have destroyed many lives of a wonderful people without a shred of evidence in any wrongdoing, and I know a case of at least one whom you have libeled. Jewish community should forever forget you and never have anything to do with you again.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Support Survivors of Sexual Abuse!

Female Survviors of Sexual Abuse Too Emotional?

Case of Asher Lipner, PhD

Case of Rabbi Dr. Asher Lipner, PhD.

Ohel Famly Services - Brooklyn, NY 
Psychotherapist in Private Practice - Brooklyn, NY
Dov Hikind’s Task Force on Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community - Brooklyn, NY
Ner Israel Rabbinical College - Baltimore, MD
Mir Yeshiva - Jerusalem, Israel
Beth Medrash Govoha - Lakewood, New Jersey 
Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies of Adelphi University - Garden City, NY
Harvard Medical School - Boston, MA  

This is NOT a case of sexual abuse/assault. It is a case of a therapist acting inapproriately in his handling of cases involving sex crimes and breaching confidentiality with clients and those he advocated for.  

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. Asher Lipner speaking at a JBAC event in Chicago (10/17/2010)

  1. Rabbi Asher Lipner, PhD (08/21/2012)
  2. Pirkei Psychotherapia: Ethics of our Psychotherapists (08/21/2012)

  1. My Experience with Advocacy (01/15/2013)
  2. Linkedin - Asher Lipner (05/24/2013)

Asher Lipner speaking at a JBAC event in Chicago
JBAC - October 17 2010

At the time of this presentation, Asher Lipner was an unlicensed mental health professional.


Rabbi Asher Lipner, PhD
Huffington Post - August 11, 2012

Asher Lipner received his Bachelors Degree in Talmudic Law from the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore. He also studied at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, New Jersey, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Rabbinics and Talmud, as well as Rabbinic Ordination in 1992. He taught Judaic Studies at the Hebrew Academy of San Francisco and served for six years as the National Lecturer for the Academy’s Institute for Jewish Medical Ethics.

Asher began training at the Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies of Adelphi University, in 1994, and completed an internship at Harvard Medical School in 2000. He earned his Doctorate in Clinical and School Psychology in 2004 writing his dissertation on “Unconscious Ambivalence towards God in Psychoanalysis and in Judaism.” He currently practices as a licensed clinical psychologist in Brooklyn, New York, where he specializes in treating survivors of sexual trauma and abuse.

Dr. Lipner, himself a survivor of rabbinic sexual abuse, is an outspoken advocate for the rights of abuse victims. He has published editorials, appeared on radio shows, and lectured publicly to heighten social awareness about issues of child safety and healing from sexual trauma. In 2009, he served on New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s Task Force on Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community, and he has developed programs to help survivors gain a voice, pursue justice and find healing in their community. In the winter of 2008-2009, Asher was named a “local hero” by the Jewish Week after organizing the first National Conference on Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Jewish Community. His chapter entitled “Community Responsibility to Confront Abusers” was published in 2010 by Emunah Press in “Child and Domestic Abuse: Torah, Psychological and Legal Perspectives,” a volume in their Daas Torah Series.  


Pirkei Psychotherapia: Ethics of our Psychotherapists
By Vicki Polin
The Examiner - August 21, 2012

Rabbi Dr. Asher Lipner
On July 27, 1981 a six-year-old boy named Adam Walsh was abducted from a the toy section of a Sears department store in Hollywood, FL. A few weeks later his severed head was found in a drainage canal more then 120 miles away. As a result of this gruesome murder Adam’s father John became an activist in hopes of preventing another child from being harmed. Adam’s parents originally founded the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center, which later merged with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Eyes get opened up very wide when you or someone you know and love is victimized by a violent crime. It is not uncommon for a survivor or family members to read and learn everything they can about such crimes from not only an emotional and healing aspect, but from a legal perspective too.

The truth is that a vast number of licensed mental health, legal and law enforcement professionals who work in the trauma field are also often survivors of crimes in which they go on to became experts. In reality, survivors of heinous crimes often are looking for individuals who have been through similar experiences to watch intently and to emulate as role models. What better person to learn from than someone who has gone through something similar to what they have experienced. 

One such example is that of award winning attorney, Jeff Dion, who has been advocating for the rights of crime victims for nearly twenty years, and is currently the director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association

Jeff began advocating for survivors after his twenty-three year old sister Paulette, was murdered by the same serial killer who murdered Adam Walsh back in 1982. Over the years Jeff also shared publicly that he is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. It was only after he dealt with his own personal issues that he decided to pursue a career in law to help other crime victims. 

Unfortunately not every professional, either survivors of violent crimes or non-survivors who work with trauma survivors is really emotionally and psychologically ready to do so. Many graduate degree programs either highly suggest or require students to be in therapy while obtaining their degrees, not only so that they can experience first hand what it’s like to be on the other side of the proverbial couch, but also that they have the opportunity to work through any unresolved issues they may unconsciously bring to the therapeutic table.

Being a mental health provider means being able to maintain healthy boundaries in all aspects of a private practice and also outside of a psychotherapist’s working hours. This is especially true for professionals who are also in the limelight. One critical issue for any licensed mental health professional, especially when working with survivors sex crimes, is to be highly respectful to issues of confidentiality. The truth is confidentiality is also critical for anyone who is advocating for others. Including the lay people calling themselves “advocates”.

Dr. Rabbi Asher Lipner - Psychology Today
When a survivor of child abuse who also has a graduate degree, and speaks out as an expert -- and they personally have NOT healed enough to help others --often end up harming the very people they are trying help. Unfortunately, this is exactly what seems to have been happening with various survivors of sexual abuse who have been going to Dr. Rabbi Asher Lipner for help. The accusations made include violations of confidentiality along with other various types of questionable unethical practices.

Many of those involved in the anti-rape movement within the Jewish orthodox community have been extremely grateful and amazed that back in 2009, Asher Lipner had the courage and tenacity to come out of the closet and disclose that he was molested when he was in his late teens by Rabbi Moshe Eisemann, who is a highly accepted rabbi connected to Ner Israel Rabbinical College and High School.

Those of us who work with Jewish survivors of abuse originally saw Asher Lipner’s coming out as a great asset. Not only because he named his offender, who is an extremely revered rabbi, but also because of the credentials Lipner carried. Not only did Asher Lipner have a doctorate degree in clinical psychology he was also the first ordained orthodox rabbi who spoke out as a survivor.

Within a short period of time the truth about Asher's indiscretions regarding confidentiality and other unethical behaviors started to surface, putting a huge dilemma on the Jewish orthodox survivor and the lay advocacy community. Not only have there been several allegations of Lipner of breaching confidentiality, there have also been allegations made that when he suspected that children could be at risk of harm no hotline reports were made, along with the fact for a time he maintained a private practice without a license. Both are violation of New York law. In several newspaper articles published prior to Lipner receiving his state license, he was quoted using the title “psychologist” and also “social worker”, which again is a violating of the New York law.

Dr. Asher Lipner speaking with Rabbi Yosef Blau
One example of Dr. Lipner of publicly acknowledging a private practice before 2011, is in the article Jewish Star article: “How to talk to your kids about a touchy subject”. In it he is described as the vice president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, and a therapist in private practice. Another example of deception, is in the Jewish Week article: “Jewish Community Still Behind On Confronting Abuse”, where Lipner describes himself as being a clinical psychologist, which written was five months prior to him taking his licensing exam. According to New York state law, you can not be called a psychologist or a social worker unless you are licensed as such.

The question remains on the minds of many survivor and lay advocates, “What do we do about Asher Lipner?”

According to the Huffington Post, Asher Lipner began his clinical training at the Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies of Adelphi University in 1994, and then completed his internship at Harvard Medical School in 2000. It was not until 2004 that he received his doctorate degree in clinical and school psychology. Unfortunately, there is no mention of Lipner having any specialized training in the sexual trauma field. 

After finishing up graduate school Asher Lipner was almost immediately employed by Ohel Family Services in Brooklyn, NY. Since Lipner was employed by an agency that provided clinical supervision it was not mandatory for him to be licensed during the hours he worked at this fairly large mental health agency. One of many ethical issues arose when he opened up and maintained a small private practice during these same years. Bottom line is that it is illegal in the state of New York or almost every other state in the US, to practice as a mental heath provider without being licensed. 

Over the last several years there have been multiple reports made by individuals who went to Dr. Lipner for help who have been claiming that he violated confidentiality. When questioned about these allegations, Lipner often claimed that the things individuals shared with him was outside of the context of his professional capacity. More recently, there have been a few claims by “lay advocates” that not only is Asher applying pressure for them to refer potential clients to him he has also been instructing these same potential clients to blackmail their alleged offenders for funds to pay for therapy. 

After learning of these allegations individuals have been requested to file complaints with the New York state licensing board. Unfortunately, many of these individuals who felt victimized by Dr. Lipner come from the Torah observant world, where they were taught not to go to the secular authorities, let alone to make police reports about being sexually victimized. All one can do is hope that these individuals will find the courage and strength and help to protect others from the damage or harm they disclosed was caused by Asher Lipner. 

Over the last several years a few rabbinic, legal, law enforcement and mental health professionals were made aware of Lipner’s illegal practices, yet most did nothing -- except to encourage him to be licensed. There were a few professionals that did contact the New York State licensing bureau during this period of time prior to him becoming licensed, yet no criminal charges were filed against him. It is believed that the fact that he’s a survivor of clergy sexual abuse has buffered him from prosecution.
The issue that stood in the way for many was the fact that he was a survivor of sexual abuse. 

Everyone wanted to be kind and cuddle Asher in hopes that would help him to do the right thing. This is especially true since soon after disclosing he was a survivor of a sexual assault, he lost his position at Ohel. Because of the publicity it made it more difficult to find a new position and financially “he was forced to build a private practice”, even though he still was not licensed. Finally about a year ago he sat for his licensing exam, and became licensed on January 5, 2011

Nochem Rosenberg, Yaakov Horowitz, Mark Appel, Zvi Gluck, Asher Lipner
Over the years there have been several different survivor forums geared towards Jewish orthodox survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Repeatedly Asher Lipner had been reminded that he was a licensed psychologist. He was also reminded that after leaving his job at Ohel Family Services that he maintained a private practice without being licensed. Either way many individuals who contacted him looking for help stated he repeatedly violated the confidentiality agreement that is inherent when an individual works in the mental health field. Unfortunately, Asher Lipner posted information regarding several of his clients on various boards and web pages, without the expressed permission of his clients. 

One of the most difficult balancing acts for survivors who are professionals have, is to figure out if they can ever switch their roles from survivor to advocate/activist. It’s nearly impossible to be able to go back and forth between the roles. Yet, once you take on the role as a licensed mental health provider who is seeing a client clinically, you can never take on any other role with the person.
According to a Monica, who is long time survivor/activist in the orthodox world, yet wishes to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation stated:
“Asher Lipner has a habit of not only unethical practices, violating professional confidentiality laws, listening to hearsay and unprofessional opinions of law and psychology and then spewing harmful advice to survivors about other advocates and professionals.”
In Asher’s defense he repeatedly said that when complaints were made against him he stated that these were not clients of mine. He’d go on and say these were survivors who came to me in my role as an advocacy. He would also say things such as the person who was making complaints against him gave Asher permission to post the information. Lipner appeared to find all sorts of excuses for every claim made against him. Unfortunately, the complaints came from a merrid of different individuals who didn’t know other complaints were made against him. 

Dr. Lipner was given the opportunity to respond to these allegations for this article, yet chose not to. During the conversation Lipner became quiet defensive and started talking about a cases in which he violated confidentiality to the point that I immediately was aware of the survivor mentioned. The case involved a survivor trying to settle her case in a bet din (Jewish religious court). This was a case in which confidentiality was critical and that survivor only told a few individuals she trusted about her situation.

After awhile one has to believe that where there is smoke there’s fire. Asher Lipner does have a doctorate in psychology, he does have rabbinic ordination, he is a survivor of a sexual assault and he is now also a licensed psychologist. It saddens many of us to say that it appears that Dr. Rabbi Asher Lipner has not been healed enough to be working in the context of a mental health provider time. 

To file a complaint against a mental health professional in the state of New York: CLICK HERE


My Experience with Advocacy
By Asher Lowy
Support the Survivor Blog - January 15, 2013


Advocate. Noun. As defined by Oxford: A person who puts a case on someone else’s behalf. There is a legal concept in monetary halacha called Zachin l’adam shelo b’fanav, that you can acquire something for a person without his knowledge or presence, and that something will legally be in his possession. This only applies, however, if the acquisition is for the benefit of the intended recipient; if, however, the acquisition does not benefit the intended recipient, or harms him, then the acquisition is invalid and it is not his. As I understand advocacy, the intended functions are similar. You are acting on behalf of a survivor who either cannot or will not, due to situation, circumstance, or lack of means, in their best interests, whether that means arranging therapy, or doctor visits, securing legal representation, helping them navigate the labyrinthine justice system, or just being there for them when they have no one else. At least that’s how I understood it.

I first got involved in the (pardon the term) “abuse community” following my own abuse. After publishing an article in Ami magazine about my story, I decided I had to get more involved. I begun by writing the manuscript for a book I’ve since shelved, but that wasn’t enough. So I started volunteering at Our Place, a drop-in center for at-risk kids. Mind you, “at-risk” in this context does not mean at risk of going “off the derech;” at-risk means at risk of dying from drug overdoses, drive by shootings from angry drug dealers, winding up in prison for theft, assault, or even murder. I started my work there with a head full of idealistic notions of kiruv and self-improvement. I was going to help kids with the benefit of my experience and solid grounding in hashkafah. I was going to help kids with the backing of a community that must care enough about their kids, a community that if asked for help would surely respond enthusiastically.

I remember the first time I was painfully disillusioned of my notions of community and support from our leaders. I was talking to the owner of Our Place, asking him if perhaps we could get a few gedolim to support us, help us raise much needed funds. He laughed at the idea and told me that he had approached many rabbonim and had gotten responses varying from “I’m sorry, I can’t” to “Get out, your organization is terrible.” When I started telling people that I worked for Our Place I got mixed responses, too. Some people commended me for my selflessness and desire to work with such difficult people; others told me that we were encouraging the problem; that we were helping kids go off the derech, helping them get addicted to drugs; that we were not doing enough to ensure that otherwise good kids weren’t negatively influenced and sucked into street life. Despite my best arguments, they would not hear reason. I gave up on them.

Slowly I began to give up on more and more of my community. First I lost faith in the leaders, and then in the administrators, and then in the people themselves. Here were kids, most of whom were victims of some kind of abuse, kids who had begged for help but were thrown out of yeshivos for their efforts, kids, some of whom, whose lives are so bad, and homes so abusive, that they would prefer to sleep in homeless shelters rather than go home--or a park bench if a shelter wouldn't have them. Kids whose situations were created, exacerbated, and maintained by a community I had believed in. Kids who had been abandoned and driven from the community. And we were their last haven. We were the only people willing to give them help. The funny thing is, that the community welcomes back our success stories with open arms (providing they wear black hats and sit in kolel for the requisite amount of time).

So I got used to the idea that I was alone (barring one small oasis) in a community that would never accept me. No one would ever accept me for who I am with my history of abuse and what it did to change me. And then I stumbled across a forum for Jewish survivors of abuse. Given my history, I joined. At first when I joined I didn’t really think I needed a support group; as far as I was concerned I was healed. I joined in a support capacity, figuring that I could do for them what I had done for Our Place. I later realized just how much help I really needed and they’ve really helped me along in my healing process. About two months after I joined, I started getting more involved in people’s lives on the forum. If there was a problem someone needed help with, I made myself available to do what I could.

As I started getting involved in more and more of these cases, I started to explore the world of advocates, advocacy, and awareness. It seemed incredible at first--a world of people who openly acknowledged their pasts, who owned their pasts, people who were passionate about helping survivors, and put their livelihoods and reputations on the line to do what they can for another human being, frum or not. There were websites listing names, photos, and information on known sex abusers, and offering support to their victims. Organizations that held events for survivors where they could meet and have fun and find acceptance among similar people. People who were willing to tell their stories publicly, to go on TV despite all the communal pressure to stay silent, to protest outside a DA’s office or internet asifah, or fundraiser in Williamsburg. People who didn’t care about the pressures of shidduchim, or kibbudim in shul, or what Chatzkel would tell Yankel in the mikvah about him. Heroes.

My world went from a place consisting of everyone else and Our Place Island, the only place I would be safe, to an ever expanding utopia of survivors and advocates, all living harmoniously, all there to help one another. If we ever had a problem, the advocates were only a call or email away, ready with all the help we could need. But there was a pin for that over-inflated bubble. The pop came when I heard a certain advocate make a rude comment about a female survivor’s ass and what he would like to do with it. Another came when another advocate encouraged a very impressionable survivor to extort her abuser, despite the statute of limitations being up. Had she gone ahead with his plan, her abuser could very well have gone into his local police precinct, told them that he had sexually abused her twenty years prior and that she was now extorting him by threatening to out him, have her arrested, and gone home scott-free.

When confronted about his advice, he declined to comment. Instead, a friend of his, another advocate, responded for him. She accused us of going after a good man whose only concern was for that girl’s wellbeing. When we told her what he had done, she denied it. He finally joined the conversation and denied it as well. When we brought proof that he had indeed told her that, he claimed she was lying, that she was mentally disturbed, that everyone knows she’s a slut who couldn’t be trusted, and then he revealed personal information about her that he had no business telling us about. When I told him that he should be keeping confidentiality, he said he saw no need and was under no ethical requirement to do so. He clearly did not understand that being an advocate means he is supposed to work for a survivor’s best interests, among which is confidentiality.

When I told him that, his friend joined back in the conversation and asked me who the hell I was. I told her I was a twenty year old survivor who was concerned about the way the duo was advocating for him, she basically told me to shut up, that I was a nobody who had no right to talk to her that way after all she had done for the cause, and that I was a little kid who couldn’t possibly know enough to be qualified to open his mouth on the subject. I then told her that regardless of my age, she and her friend called themselves advocates, and by definition they exist to serve my best interests. If I feel my best interests are not being served, or are being hurt by your actions, I told her, then you are, in fact, by definition, not advocates. I earned the title pompous ass for my troubles.

A while later, I found out about a sexual harassment case that had been brought against a very prominent advocate back in 2002, that had been quashed. Someone had posted about it on a well-known advocacy site, and it confirmed what I had already suspected about that advocate’s character. When I checked back a few days later, the posting had been removed. After looking into it I was told that the owner of the site had been pressured into removing it. I asked around a little about it through some of my other contacts, and they all said they had seen it, but because they didn’t want to cause a fight they kept silent about it. Starting to feel a little like deja vu all over again.

The people I spoke to about my concerns all told me that I had no choice but to take the bad with the good, that they do good work, and that despite the harm they cause to survivors, those advocates mean well. A while back I wrote a piece about the flaws I saw in the advocates and the way they conduct themselves, but a friend convinced me not to publish it. The problems have not gone away, though. In fact, some of them have only gotten worse. I’ve seen survivors intimidated and bullied by advocates who pressure them into going public with their stories before they are actually ready to, or before they’ve started really healing. While it is a terrible thing to pressure someone to stay silent, pressuring someone to come forward before they are ready can be nearly as devastating emotionally.

I’m putting this piece up on the STS blog because I know that none of the other abuse blogs will ever publish something this inflammatory. Sound familiar? I’m reminded of the days when I was shopping around for frum publications willing to publish my articles on abuse, only now the situation is reversed. It’s becoming more and more apparent lately, that we have more in common with our enemy than we would care to admit. The advocates we have, for the most part, are self-proclaimed and uncredentialed. What defines an advocate in the Jewish world is anyone who decides that they are an advocate. Had an interview with the news once? Congratulations, you are now an advocate. Wrote an article? You’re an advocate. I can almost hear Jeff Foxworthy building a routine around this. There is no accountability at all among the advocates, and no one ever hears about the damage some of them cause. No one will, because we’re so scared of losing the little we have that we’re too afraid to speak up when the people who claim to protect us lose sight of our needs.

An advocate works in the best interests of someone else, in this case, survivors. Anything else is not advocacy, it is self-service. There is no place for ego, or self-promotion, or one-upmanship, or selfishness in advocacy. The survivor’s best interests must always come forward. TV interviews and articles are lovely, but what ultimately matters is how many children you protect, and how many survivors you support. If a survivor tells you that something you’re doing is not in their best interests, then you lose the title “advocate” until that’s rectified. There are many good advocates out there who are attuned to the needs of survivors and do listen when we ask them to change. Interestingly enough, though, those people cringe when people call them “advocate.” 


Asher Lipner - Linkedin
Linkedin - May 14, 2013



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Regarding Abortion

Death threat from Shloimy Mermelstein

As a policy I make it a habit to make all threats made against me public and make police reports. I just received the following message on Facebook. It appears that "Shloimy Mermelstein" is upset by the article published by the Examiner last week that I wrote about Shlomo Carlebach and also The Awareness Center's call for a ban on the Broadway play created to glorify this sexual predator. 

If you receive any sorts of threats for disclosing abuse, helping survivors or writing articles, it's best to make police reports. If the threats come via e-mail, facebook or any other internet connection then also make a report to the: Internet Crime Complaint Center

Vicki Polin


Hasidic Rebel

Vick if I would have the guts I would just gun you down for saying such nasty stuff about reb shlomo. Not everything you hear or read is true. So stick a dick in your mouth and shut the fuck up

Facebook picture of Shloimy Mermelstein (AKA: Hasidic Rebel)

Monday, August 20, 2012

CALL TO ACTION: Stop Musical About Serial Sexual Predator - Shlomo Carlebach

CALL TO ACTION: Stop Musical About Serial Sexual Predator - Shlomo Carlebach

Glorifying a man who sexually assaulted hundreds if not thousands of teenage girls and young adult women?  Shlomo Carlebach was nothing more then a sexual deviant who knew how to manipulate the public, like any good sociopath could.

Watch the video on the following link closely. You will hear how in this film they whitewash why Carlebach was banned from the orthodox world.  They don't come out and say it directly, but indirectly they talk about him assaulting women and teenage girls.   

Please help heal the multitude of women who were sexually assaulted by this once revered rabbi.  Stop the production of "Soul Doctor" on Broadway.  There's no need to glorify a serial sexual predator.

Read more about the case of Shlomo Carlebach here:  CLICK HERE

Everyone needs to read the book Against Our Will to help understand how and why Shlomo Carlebach got away with what he did for as long as he did.  

Stop Glorifying Serial Sexual Predator - Shlomo Carlebach by Banning the production of "Soul Doctor" on Broadway

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Police and the Rabbi

The Police and the Rabbi
By Michael J. Salamon
Times of Israel - August 19, 2012

What does it take to garner attention from the police? Now, what does it take for a Rabbi who is regarded as a respected member of a community to have the police and other authorities show up unannounced at his school, his charitable foundation or his summer camp and remove all the official documents, computers, ledgers and telephone records? We can all answer together – “Suspicion of a crime.” Most often it is the alleged misappropriation of several million dollars that should have been used for a child care or homebound services program but was instead used to invest and amass personal fortunes. I know what a minority of you are thinking – “The police are anti-Semites.”  Some cynics are thinking “Most people don’t get caught. Too bad that he was.” Others of you are thinking “No big deal. He will get a good attorney and work out a plea deal.” And still others are thinking, correctly –“This is happening with a frequency that is disturbing. We are totally embarrassed.” Some will add the addendum “Did he have to have a beard and wear the clothing that marks him as one of us?”
Now I will tell you what I am thinking: This is a much bigger issue than simple embarrassment, shock and anger. We have given ourselves over to spirituality, based on practice not thought or insight. We have allowed ourselves to be lulled into believing that the more stringent the leader, the more strident their publicly declared behaviors to serve their unique form of spirituality the more likely they are to be holy or closer to G-d.  We have created a form of  shared delusional thinking based on the belief that we are not sufficiently educated but those who scream the loudest are and they alone can guide us on this roller coaster ride we call living.
There was a time when more of our leaders were broadly educated with extensive secular knowledge. There was a time when religious Judaism was based on the rabbinical principals found in the Talmud, even in the Shulchan Aruch, where other, even contrarian positions, are respected and discussed and openly aired. We did not necessarily agree with the other side but we listened and respected. We have given that away to individuals who have falsely told us that predatory sexual molestation does not occur in our schools, where it is alright to throw someone out of a seat on a bus or airplane, where it is acceptable to hurl obscenities along with rocks at young girls not because they are dressed immodestly but simply that they are not dressed according to a standard that is followed by a minority. We will also be asked to contribute to a fund to help our arrested rabbis pay for their legal team and very expensive defense funds.
I know that this is sounding like a rant and in some ways it is. A good part of my intensity comes from the fact that I occasionally treat individuals who have been misled by this system. Had they gotten the proper help initially their disorders would never have become so severe. This orthopraxic system should be failing in so many ways but is hanging on with the intensity of a cognitive dissonance so passionate that people do not even hear the confusion in their own heads.
Let me give you some examples: After spending eight years in a religious girl’s school more than half the class cannot write a coherent paragraph nor do mathematical percentages. Parents rationalize this by saying that these skills are not critical in their world.  In another example a young girl was diagnosed with a significant learning disability. The professional evaluator, neurologist and a consulting psychologist all recommended a special educational environment in a different school setting. A rabbi told the parents that he will take care of the child’s academic needs in his school which has no real remediation programs for a child like this. Three years later at an evaluation follow up the report suggested that the child had fallen even farther behind in her basic skills and is performing at a level lower than first reported.  The parents still refuse to move the child to the right educational setting. And, then there is still the rabbi who tells children at his summer camp not to tell their parents that they were abused by a delivery man. Or the rabbi who told me that the young boy I evaluated was not abused despite the fact that the boy clearly described what happened to him just a week earlier.
Some will argue that these examples and unfortunately many others is what helped them decide that religion is bankrupt and does not work for them. But that is akin to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. That too is not a healthy approach. We can find a way to reduce orthopraxic rigidity. That simply means that we apply reason to religious issues and choose rabbis who think broadly too. It is also important to accept that people are just that, people, with all the foibles that individuals have. There will always be bad apples. We have to develop the ability to rationally accept that fact and not allow those bad apples to rise to a level of power that causes us to be dependent and thereby too forgiving. Unless we do that we should not be shocked the next time the police raid a rabbi’s organization.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Shlomo Carlebach's Broadwasy Play -- "Soul Doctor" or should it be called "Soul Murderer"?

According to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's ruling back in 1959, it is apparent that rabbonim were aware of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's predatorial behavior against women and teenage girls.

Stop the Music?
Excerpt from: "What to do with Abusive Rabbis: Halachic Considerations"

By Rabbi Mark Dratch

In 5719 (1959), Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was asked to rule on the permissibility of playing the music of a certain song writer who was rumored to engage in disreputable behavior. 

(Teshuvot Iggerot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer, I, no. 96.) Rabbi Feinstein distinguished between this composer’s early compositions and his later ones. Any music written in his early years when this individual comported himself appropriately remained permissible; at that time he behaved properly and his later activities can not retroactively taint his prior achievements. One of the proofs that R. Feinstein brought is from the case of a Torah scroll that was written by a heretic—Jewish law requires that such a scroll be destroyed so as not to perpetuate his name, reputation or achievements. (Hil. Sefer Torah 6:8) However, the law also asserts that a scroll written while that person was a true believer remains valid, even if he later became an apostate.(Pit’hei Teshuvah, Yoreh De’ah 281, no. 2.) Concerning subsequent musical compositions, R. Feinstein stated that even those songs that this person wrote after his “reputation became objectionable” are permissible because music, unlike Torah scrolls, have no intrinsic holiness. Furthermore, the questionable activities had nothing to do with undermining the fundamentals of Jewish belief but rather with casualness with regard to the intermingling of the sexes that were not in keeping with Orthodox norms. Such a lapse would not render a Torah Scroll he wrote invalid; it would certainly not disqualify his music. R. Feinstein wrote nothing about learning Torah from this individual. However, based on R. Feinstein’s discussion, one might distinguish between the teachings and insights of a heretic before and after his apostacy: the earlier Torah would remain kosher; the latter Torah would be banned.

That was 1959. Since then the allegations about this individual have become more serious and his music has been widely integrated into the prayer services of many congregations. His music, as well as his stories and teachings, have become a meaningful source of religious inspiration to generations of Jews and has perpetuated his legacy. Alleged victims of this man have expressed hurt and disillusionment over the community’s embrace of his music and his personality. What would Rabbi Feinstein have said if he were responding to this question today?

For more information on the case of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach go to:


Only in NY: Broadway Musical About Sexual Predator - Shlomo Carlebach 
By Vicki Polin
Examiner - August 16, 2012

Can you imagine the horror faced by the hundreds of alleged sex abuse survivors of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach as they learn the musical “Soul Doctor” is making its way to Broadway? 

Soul Doctor” has been around for a few years far off-Broadway but does nothing more then to glorify a known serial sexual predator, who raged a war against women while they were searching to connect with their Jewish identity.

Shlomo Carlebach was known to have been active from back in the early 1960s when he first moved away from the Lubavitch chasidic in which he was from, until his death in 1994. Throughout the years there have also been some mumblings that Carlebach left his Lubavitch roots under pressure, due to his “inability to maintain healthy boundaries with women”  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE