“There is no nice way of saying it,” Mrs. Engelman said. “Our community protects molesters. Other than that, we are wonderful.” --Pearl Engelman, a 64-year-old great-grandmother, whose son, Joel, told rabbinical authorities that he had been repeatedly groped as a child by a school official at the United Talmudical Academy in Williamsburg
If there is one thing that really irritates me it is anti-gay religious groups that shelter child rapists. These beacons of morality preen and preach about their lovely moral values and condemn loving ADULT same-sex couples who harm no one. Yet, they can’t even protect innocent children from the clutches of fondling reprobates and perverts. Let’s go through today’s important New York Times article:
The New York City area is home to an estimated 250,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews — the largest such community outside of Israel, and one that is growing rapidly because of its high birthrate. The community is concentrated in Brooklyn, where many of the ultra-Orthodox are Hasidim, followers of a fervent spiritual movement that began in 18th-century Europe and applies Jewish law to every aspect of life.
Why do all fundie sects have high birthrates? Unfortunately, it allows their unrestrained child molesters more options to choose from.
Their communities, headed by dynastic leaders called rebbes, strive to preserve their centuries-old customs by resisting the contaminating influences of the outside world. While some ultra-Orthodox rabbis now argue that a child molester should be reported to the police, others strictly adhere to an ancient prohibition against mesirah, the turning in of a Jew to non-Jewish authorities, and consider publicly airing allegations against fellow Jews to be chillul Hashem, a desecration of God’s name.
Keep the pure followers away from the filthy heathen and their liberal ways or they may get contaminated and do something unforgivably disgusting like rape children. Oh, wait….
Some ultra-Orthodox Jews want to keep abuse allegations quiet to protect the reputation of the community, and the family of the accused. And rabbinical authorities, eager to maintain control, worry that inviting outside scrutiny could erode their power.
Protecting power and the reputations of sinister adults at the cost of the mental health and spiritual well-being of innocent children? For a moment I thought we were talking about the Roman Catholic Church. Why do all these homophobic “religious” groups selfishly place self-preservation, power, and their public image above protecting the most vulnerable in the community? And given such appalling values and abusive actions, what gives these enablers of child rape the right to talk to others about sexual morality?
“You can destroy a person’s life with a false report,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, the executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, a powerful ultra-Orthodox organization, which last year said that observant Jews should not report allegations to the police unless permitted to do so by a rabbi.
Rabbinic authorities “recommend you speak it over with a rabbi before coming to any definitive conclusion in your own mind,” Rabbi Zweibel said.
And lives aren’t destroyed by the actions of child molesters? This group sounds more like the mob than a religious organization. With such a strict code of silence, I’m having trouble distinguishing this Rabbi from the Godfather. Speaking of mob-like actions:
When ultra-Orthodox Jews do bring abuse accusations to the police, the same cultural forces that have long kept victims silent often become an obstacle to prosecutions.
In Brooklyn, of the 51 molesting cases involving the ultra-Orthodox community that the district attorney’s office says it has closed since 2009, nine were dismissed because the victims backed out. Others ended with plea deals because the victims’ families were fearful.
“People aren’t recanting, but they don’t want to go forward,” said Rhonnie Jaus, a sex crimes prosecutor in Brooklyn. “We’ve heard some of our victims have been thrown out of schools, that the person is shunned from the synagogue. There’s a lot of pressure.”
A judge who heard one of these cases was alarmed at how the Ultra-Orthodox community intimidates victims and rallies around alleged perpetrators.
In August 2009, the rows in a courtroom at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn were packed with rabbis, religious school principals and community leaders. Almost all were there in solidarity with Yona Weinberg, a bar mitzvah tutor and licensed social worker from Flatbush who had been convicted of molesting two boys under age 14.
Justice Guston L. Reichbach looked out with disapproval. He recalled testimony about how the boys had been kicked out of their schools or summer camps after bringing their cases, suggesting a “communal attitude that seeks to blame, indeed punish, victims.” And he noted that, of the 90 letters he had received praising Mr. Weinberg, not one displayed “any concern or any sympathy or even any acknowledgment for these young victims, which, frankly, I find shameful.”
“While the crimes the defendant stands convicted of are bad enough,” the judge said before sentencing Mr. Weinberg to 13 months in prison, “what is even more troubling to the court is a communal attitude that seems to impose greater opprobrium on the victims than the perpetrator.”
Even good Rabbi’s who are doing laudable work protecting children have incurred the wrath of the extremists.
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg of Williamsburg, for example, has been shunned by communal authorities because he maintains a telephone number that features his impassioned lectures in Yiddish, Hebrew and English imploring victims to call 911 and accusing rabbis of silencing cases. He also shows up at court hearings and provides victims’ families with advice. His call-in line gets nearly 3,000 listeners a day.
In 2008, fliers were posted around Williamsburg denouncing him. One depicted a coiled snake, with Mr. Rosenberg’s face superimposed on its head. “Nuchem Snake Rosenberg: Leave Tainted One!” it said in Hebrew. The local Satmar Hasidic authorities banned him from their synagogues, and a wider group of 32 prominent ultra-Orthodox rabbis and religious judges signed an order, published in a community newspaper, formally ostracizing him.
“They had small children coming to my house and spitting on me and on my children and wife,” Rabbi Rosenberg, 61, said in an interview.
If you wonder how convicted felons and reprobates like Artur Abba Goldberg of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) keep getting clients from the Ultra Orthodox community in Brooklyn, read this article. The community is a cesspool of sexual corruption and federal authorities need to quickly move in, as if it were a drug den, to protect innocent children.
Meanwhile, homophobic blowhards like “Jews for Morality” founder Rabbi Yehuda Levin should get off his anti-gay high horse and do something to stop child rape in his own backyard. Where the hell has this family values crusader been? Doesn’t ultra-Orthodox Jewish morality include protecting children from molesters?
Apparently not. These hypocrites ought to get on their hands and knees and bow their heads in shame.