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Olam Hafuch Ra'isi - A Topsy-Turvy World Gone Mad
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 35 users   |   Viewed 48375 times since 9/10/08   |   48 Comments
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9/10/08

Dear Reader:

Please take a moment to click on this link and read this letter that I wrote to our readers. Whatever you can do to be of assistance would be most appreciated.

Thank you so very much,

Yakov

Today, the talmidim of Yeshiva Darchei Noam, where I serve as Dean, moved into our new building after living in rented quarters for 11 years so you can well imagine how hectic things were in my office this week.

Amid all the activity yesterday, I fielded several anguished calls from my dear chaver and colleague, Dr. Benzion Twerski, describing the pressure he was undergoing and the harassment that his family members were undergoing as a result of his courageous efforts to help reverse the frightening and growing abuse statistics in our community.

I have had the privilege of interacting with Reb Benzion many hundreds of times over the past 11 years as I’ve sought his guidance in dealing with the abuse cases that have come my way. I would like to inform those who do not know him that he is a genuine talmid chochom, a true chassid, and an osek b’tzarchei tzibur b’emunah (one who selflessly devotes himself to communal needs) in every sense of the word. I am proud to call him a friend and I am inspired by his devotion to the children of our community.

I must admit that I advised him to resign from the position he had assumed due to the very real harassment that he and his family members were undergoing. I felt that he almost had no choice due to the circumstances.

What an olam hafuch we have created. A decent, caring mental health professional who has devoted his life to helping Yiddishe kinder is terrorized while evil monsters like Avrohom Mondrowitz and others like him live peaceful lives in our communities. One week ago, I published a column on this subject in the Jewish Press, Lm'aan Hashem -- What Will it Take?.

Here is a quote from the article:

“Is there any more sacred obligation than protecting the children entrusted to our care? Shame on us, for failing to treat it as such. Shame on us, for allowing ourselves to repeatedly get distracted with meaningless and often silly non-issues raised by self-appointed “askanim” that purport to pose spiritual risk to our children while our paramount communal responsibility to keep evil people from destroying the physical and spiritual lives of our children keeps getting bumped to the back burner.”

Well, to this I add: Shame on those who harassed a wonderful member of our community like Dr. Twerski. You have the blood of future abuse victims on your hands – kids who could have been saved by the initiatives that Dr. Twerski would have implemented.

And shame on all of us for allowing such an olam hafuch to be perpetuated.



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1. It's sick really     9/10/08 - 6:39 PM
Anonymous

It's enough to make you sick. BZ Twerski is no coward. The pressure must have been overwhelming - and must have come from "normal" people, for him not to have simply disregarded them.


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2. "my conscience is clear" ? ? ? ? ?     9/10/08 - 7:37 PM
Anonymous

An Open letter to Rabbi Benzion Twerski

Dear Benzion,

The Torah says "Al Todin Es Chavercha Ad Shetagia Limkomo" so I can not second guess your difficult decision and I commend you for having tried to deal with our "AM KSHEY OREF".

However, I find myself bewildered, wondering how you or anyone of us (me included) can sleep at night, while we attempt to "rationalize" to ourselves imagining that "my conscience is clear entering the days of selichos and yemai hadin".

How can anyones "conscience be clear" when we know the truth that we have just abandoned innocent Neshomos to abuse - why? To save ourselves from being abused on the street by the "Am Kshey Oref" who are in FEAR and don't want the problem fixed.

We are a people who have had 6 Million of our brothers and sisters abandoned to abuse and much worse, while the entire world turned their back on us because "they didn't want to get involved" and "couldn't take the heat".

If I was in your shoes, perhaps I couldn't take the heat either.

But I also could not sleep at night, never mind say "my conscience is clear" when I know that i just turned my back on all the Yiddishe Neshomos who continue to be abused RIGHT NOW, as we speak and we DO NOTHING about it, because we have to "save our own skin"!


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3. "my conscience is clear" ? ? ? ? ?     9/10/08 - 8:07 PM
Anonymous

I did not Chas Vesholom want to criticize anyone and certainly not Rabbi Twersky.

The "Musar" I speak of, I say to myself and to anyone who can identify with how I feel.

We must never forget that during world war II all the countries who turned their backs and allowed Jews to continue to be abused, also did so because "they had to worry about themselves first" and if they got involved in the war against Evil, it would cost their own country "casualties of war".

So were they right or wrong?

I ask you!

I don’t doubt for a second, how severly Rishus’dig some people can be against those who want to “do things right”. However, it is precisely for this very reason, precisely BECAUSE of this extreme Rishus by the elements who refuse to allow “change” to take place, that unless we (me and you and everyone else) will have MESIRAS NEFESH, then we may as well Kiss Our Children Goodbye, Chas Vesholom.

I’m sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but no loving parent would ever consider “saving their own skin” while leaving their OWN CHILD, at risk of abuse.

Why is it so different if it’s someone else child instead of our own?

And the scariest question is: How can you be so sure that it would not be your very own child NEXT?

If it was a matter of saving OUR OWN CHILD from abuse, would we also surrender to the Rishus?


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4. Rabbi Horowitz-EINENU LECHA TELUYOS     9/10/08 - 8:08 PM
steve - Brooklyn, NY

Rabbi Horowitz,

I would like to commend you for your bravery and your tireless work on behalf of our children. Your articles on this terrible plague that has engulfed us are right on the mark. I believe that you are one of the few in the Orthodox rabbinate that really "gets it" when it comes to dealing with child molesters. Rabbi, we need you to continue writing and speaking about this unpopular subject until the rest of the community "gets it". We need you to speak to other rabbonim and to explain to them your experiences in dealing with survivors of sexual abuse. You must help them understand the errors of the past in how these cases were handled (and are still being mishandled). Only when the rabbinic leaders speak out with one voice and the kahal begins to understand that the laws of messira, lashon hara, rechilus, and pidyon shvuyim do not apply to child molesters, and that the din of rodef certainiy does, then we can start effectively dealing with this scourge. As a rabbi, you need to focus on these halachos more in your writings (as you did in the last JP article). Too many members of the kahal think that they are doing a big mitzvah and a big Kiddush Hashem by covering up these cases, while in reality we know that the opposite is true, and that there is no bigger Chillul Hashem than covering up for child molesters. I would like to remind everyone of the story in Maseches Gittin, 57b, which was the Daf Yomi only a few days ago:

"Rav Judah said in the name of Samuel, or it may be R. Ammi, or as some say it was taught in a Baraitha; On one occasion four hundred boys and girls were carried off for immoral purposes. They fully understood what they were wanted for and said to themselves, "If we drown in the sea we shall attain the life of the future world." The eldest among them expounded the verse, "Hashem said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring again from the depths of the sea. 'I will bring again from Bashan,' from between the lions' teeth. 'I will bring again from the depths of the sea,' those who drown in the sea. When the girls heard this they all leaped into the sea. The boys then drew the moral(kal vchomer) for themselves, saying, "If these for whom this is natural act so, shall not we, for whom it is unnatural?" They also leaped into the sea. Of them the text says, "Yea, for thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are counted as sheep for the slaughter"

Next time you have any doubt on how to deal with a child molester, think of those children that leaped to their deaths. To them, there was no shayla. How can they submit to sexual abuse? Children who are sexually abused are "counted as sheep for the slaughter". I'm not making this up, the gemara says it befeirush. HOW MUCH LONGER ARE WE GOING TO ALLOW OUR CHILDREN TO BE COUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER??? On Yom Kippur, during slichos, we pray to hashem to do kindness to us LMAAN TINOKOS SHEL BEIS RABBAN SHELO CHATTU, for the sake of the schoolchildren who never sinned. What right do we have to ask hashem to do for their sake? WHAT HAVE WE DONE FOR THEIR SAKE???


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5. To posters #2 and #3     9/10/08 - 9:56 PM
Anonymous

Poster#2 asserts, "I can not second guess your difficult decision" and then proceeds to do just that. Poster #3 claims, "I did not Chas Vesholom want to criticize anyone and certainly not Rabbi Twersky"--and then goes on to criticize Rabbi Twerski. Sort of like "nisht un Shabbos geredt!"

I can't follow the logic behind the conclusion that Rabbi Twerski's resignation indicates an abandonment of the cause of abused children. I have no doubt that Rabbi Twerski will continue his longstanding, active, behind-the-scenes commitment to victims of countless forms of emotional trauma, including abuse, in his quintessentially unassuming, humble manner. And, by the way, are those of you out there who equate Rabbi Twerski's decision with the world's silent response to the horrors of the Holocaust (a ridiculous comparison on so many levels!) applying and interviewing for the position?

Ve-chol ha-oskim be-tzarchei tzibur be-emunah Hakadosh Baruch Hu yishalem scharom.


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6. dissapointed     9/10/08 - 10:14 PM
shaya goldmeier - chicago - gldmeier@rcn.com

R' Horowitz,

I will start by saying that your work has been uplifting in such times of darkness. Thank you for your efforts.

I must say though that I am horrified that you counsled him to quit, and that he did so. Is sakanos nefashos not worth the abuse? I do not pretend to understand the depth and meanness of the threats, but, my goodness, is this not one of the most important issues to deal with? isn't it worth some mesiras nefesh, as he is a professional and capable of such work? NOONE deserves what he went through, but they were wrong!!!! Should we adjust the torah laws because we yell and scream, even though we are wrong? wow, What would have happened if Pinchas had backed down due to the pressure he supposedly was under?

The measure of a man is accounted under adversity, not times of good. i am dissapointed and have lost respect for R' Twerski. When k'lal yisroel needs an advocate against these monsters, a man with his capabilities couldn't stand up.

I am more upset with him than the ignorant masses who abused him.


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7. Wild West ?     9/10/08 - 10:48 PM
BH

"For several days, I was approached by individuals, some stating that they would cross the street if they were to meet me while walking with their children. Others told me that they would not accept my child into their class if assigned."

"Was this a campaign by a group or individual, or was this just the street gossip fueling itself? I may never know"

Who are these people who are confident enough to go to a principle of a school against a respected individual and think they would be taken serioualy, and thus stop him from all klal work? What level of prominence do such people occupy in the chasidish/litvish/mordern-Orthodox communities? Do any respected people support them? Is silence assent? How did such an atmosphere of blackmail come into existence; did it happen overnight, or slowly, over many years?

Whose task is it to speak out against these kannoim? Should the Charedi press speak out against this? Should it be spoken about by rabbonim? If rabbonim don't have the power alone, how can the community stop such verbal terrorism working with rabbonim? Standing up against such people might give children and adults more pride in their community, thus being a positive factor in the at-risk issue.

I hope Hashem rewards Dr. Twerski and his family for all the work he's done for the klal(I personally have benefitted from his insights on this website).


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8. R' Twerski     9/10/08 - 10:51 PM
someone who cares

Thank you for all your effort on behalf of the klal. THis is terrible and I hope that people retract.

Some questions: 1. Why are people so determined to protect the abusers? Why don't they realize we have to deal with it now, and this would have been the best way possible?

2. Why would they threaten your family? Would your kids even want to make a shidduch with someone like that?

3. Is it necessary to announce who joins this task force?


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9. Chilul Hashem     9/10/08 - 11:41 PM
Sherree

I just read Hella Winston's article and I am appalled that someone as ethical and totally committed to Halacha, Dr. Twerski, was badgered and threatened to the degree that he had to step down from heading Dov Hikind's Task Force on Child Abuse Prevention. This is truly a Chilul Hashem that someone who has the sechel, knowledge, heart and spirit to truly understand both sides of the coin and has the "guts" to not only protect the innocent children but also to "understand" the illness of the accused and innocense of their families and to guide the "olam" in handling the sensitivity of the issues not only halachicly but also as sensitively as possible in regard to all parties involved.

Most others would not be as fair minded to ALL parties as Dr. Twerski has proven to be. Not only is this a Chilul Hashem to make such a non-judgmental, level-headed, intelligent, learned, experienced and truly frum jewish individual step down from this very responsible position that is a great burden to anyone that would be willing to assume this responsibility; but it is a true example of cutting off one's nose to spite their face or as some would say "hoisted on their own petard".

I am sure that the next person who accepts this challenge will have a much tougher line and be much more determined to accomplish the goal of ridding the Jewish society of molesters and pedophiles without the same sensitivity to the "illness" and without the fear those cowards will hope to instill in the next candidate as well.

Imagine the chutzpah of these "am haaretz" individuals who would stoop so low to threaten Dr. Twerski. Is that what the Torah teaches? Is that halachacly appropriate. Does that make them Frum, G-d fearing individuals? How brave they think they are, they can threaten a Tzaddik rather than help each other drag their heads out of the sand. These people must have been cursed at one time with the old fashioned Yiddish curse "zolst vaksin vi a tzvibel mit der kopf in der ert" - you should grow like an onion with your head in the earth!!!


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10. THE INMATES ARE RUNNING THE ASYLUM     9/10/08 - 11:54 PM
Miriam Shear - Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel - imahawk@aol.com

Dear Dr. Twerski: Please do not resign from your position. "For all we know, this is why Hashem has put your here - for this time and this reason" (Megillas Esther)

There are many ways Hashem can test us. Should you walk away from this one, another one will surely come your way.

We are davening for you and your family.


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11. A Letter To a Reader In the Vos Iz Naies Column On This Topic That Is Nogayah     9/11/08 - 1:27 AM
Survivor - NJ

Dear Heimishe Yid, I would like to point out that the very people you are asking to join together and fight against those who threatened Rabbi Twerski are quite possibly ONE AND THE SAME! The reality is that we cannot depend on our "leaders" to get on board and change the situation. Look how fear and intimidation, justifiable or otherwise, got to Rabbi Twerski - one of the good guys!

Ask yourselves, who created the fear of trouble with Shidduchim? WE DID! As long as we continue to be paralyzed by these crippling thoughts, the predators will always feel free to operate in our midst because they know that people feel that being associated with this Inyan somehow comes back on reputation and family. This mentality has turned into a social epidemic. Keep the people living in fear and they will comply. Where do we live? The Soviet Union? Communist China? Cuba? North Korea? We live in a country that allows freedom to practice our Yiddishkeit openly, yet we are trapped behind the "Iron Curtain" of our minds. Why were people not afraid of Shidduch troubles when their friends found out that they ate Treif meat sold to them by a Heimishe Butcher in Monsey? Does public knowledge of this fact ruin their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren's chances for Shidduchim? NO! It only does if you think it does. As a survivor of sexual abuse myself, I can assure you that I do not have a problem with any of my children marrying into a family that had a Negiyus to this topic either as a survivor or as an Askin/Advocate. If, however, I found out that one of my children was set up in a shidduch with someone from a family of naysayers such as those being discussed in this forum, I would be horrified. Do not fool yourselves; YOU naysayers are really the ones with the fatal flaw unworthy of marrying my children.

Rabbosi, the community is at a major crossroads RIGHT NOW and has to decide whether we will finally collectively fight back and bring about change, or whether it will submit to fear and intimidation and once again allow ourselves to be herded into the cattle cars believing what we choose to believe.

This time do NOT say you were not warned.

B'hatzlacha, Survivor

09-11-2008 - 1:05 AM

http://www.vosizneias.com/20213/2008/09/10/borough-park-ny-exclusive-to-vin-news-dr-benzion-twerski-in-his-own-words-address-his-departure-from-askunas/#comment-111360


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12. I don't understand!!     9/11/08 - 2:03 AM
Malki Hockman - Jerusalem


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13. I don't understand!!     9/11/08 - 2:12 AM
Malki Hockman - Yerushalyim

Sorry, last post was a mistake! I understand that there might be a some crazy people who are managing somehow(?) to rally this campaign against Rabbi Bentzion, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF US????

I am sure that there are hundreds of thousands of Yidden, Parents, Children, Rabbeim and Moros, that should/want to be crying out, just like Rabbi Horowits was crying out, GEVALD, this must be stopped! Where are all the voices that are supporting this Task Force? Why is Rabbi Twersky actually scared that his children won't get a Shidduch or that is grandchildren won't go to school. Rabbi Twersky should be hearing from all of us: Who cares if you won't get a Shidduch from some Meshugaim, but OUR children WILL be thrilled to marry your grandchildren. OUR schools will be thrilled to accept your children.

I believe that there are enough of us to make that statement. There is power in number, and we are ignoring that fact and allowing some lone crazy voices to dominate the way we live and decisions that we make!!!


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14. FEAR - PURE FEAR-- and an idea     9/11/08 - 2:52 AM
Rickismom - Israel - pruth@bezeqint.net

I am rading this with pure FEAR. I have a special-needs daughter. Statistics tell us that special needs children and adults are the most abused members of society.If pedophiles have no fear of retrubution, I have great FEAR for the future. Here in my community, I am organizing material in preparation for a series of talks for mothers of special children. What do we need to teach our children to protect themselves.Parents of EVERY child need to teach their child certain matters: public /private my body is mine the right to say no no/go/tell

If the community will not stop these jerks (and I hope we will reach the stage that we will), in the meantime EVERY PARENT MUCH TEACH THEIR CHILD. And they must spread the news to other parents

Prehaps people on a task force can at least publish information for parents (and workbooks?) on what/how to teach This is of course not a full solution. But it should help.


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15. Silent majority     9/11/08 - 3:05 AM
AK-ey

Hi, R Twerski has made a decision not only because of the harrassment but because of the silent majority who do not stand up. I am absolutely sure there is plenty of support , how about a ' rally in support ' , petition, people speaking to their own Rabonnim and lay leadership on what action to take.


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16. Pikuach Nefesh overrides all mitzvos but 3     9/11/08 - 5:11 AM
MS - RBS

It should be obvious to all the readers that if Rabbi Horowitz advised Dr Twerski to pull-out of this, the threats must have been life-threatening and unfortunately, these threats are not idle! Finally, with the help of Rabbi Horowitz, Dr Twerski, Div Hikind and others, the foundations of evil are being shaken and the rodfim are going to try anything to prevent being exposed (no pun intended). However, we cannot expect these malachim to literally put their lives (and their families) at risk for this cause. Our job is to give backing to these Rabbanim and askanim and help them in their fight. When you have information that can stop an abuser: call the cops!!! Don't call the local Rabbi. Find out how to address these subjects with your children so that they feel comfortable telling you if someone ever touches them inappropriately. There are special books available which address a bunch of dangers that kids need to be aware of including snakes, roads etc.. and they slip in pedophiles as well. Our kids must know that they are in charge of their bodies and no-one! absolutely no-one! is allowed to invade that privacy. Schools must run programs to help protect kids from abusive parents. The shame and blame must be shifted from abused to abuser!! When the likes of Mondrowitz are exposed: there should be cherems put on him from all the batei dinim in the world and his picture in every Jewish paper and website warning people that he is dangerous. Facilities should be built to lock these people up far away from society. They are sick and need to be put in isolation just like a contagious patient.

May Hashem give koach and siyate dishmaya to all who are willing to stand up and say ENOUGH! Chizku Veimzu!


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17. I don't understand     9/11/08 - 5:38 AM
MK

Rabbi Horowitz, please would you explain why you considered resigning from the post to be the better option? It really seems like a step backwards.


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18. Here's the problem     9/11/08 - 5:51 AM
Where are the Gedolim???

Many have given the gedolim a pass on the problem of child sexual abuse, saying they don't know, they don't understand, they aren't aware. As if the high profile cases in the goyishe papers have "slipped through their fingers"...

But now is the time when they show their true mettle:

Will they allow an inocent man, a tzaddik, a person devoted to helping THEIR children, be bullied and abused into stopping his mission? NOBODY can say that all of the gedolim do not know about this. Come on! Now, either they will allow, condone, possibly even support Dr. Twerski's resignation, or they will stand up for him and for our kids.

It is really simple. It is like Eliyahu on Har Karmel. Do you want to believe in and follow the Neviay Sheker who are praying for Dov to stop his efforts because they are scared and more concerned for the yeshivas' reputation than they are for the kids, or do you choose to protect your children, even though the gedolim do NOT support your efforts to do so. This is what is meant by Oylam Hafuchos, the gedolim are acting like ktanim, and plain simple folk like Dov Hikind and Benzion Twerski are trying to save klal Yisroel, AGAINST the efforts of the gedolim.


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19. I don't get it     9/11/08 - 8:14 AM
Sarit - Ramat Bet Shemesh

If Rav Horowitz commonly gets the approval - even command - from many Rabbanim for his work, where were they?

Couldn't someone have taken a doctored version of the Lipa Shmeltzer ban, in favor of the task force, and gotten that signed by a few gedolim?


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20. Offense and defense     9/11/08 - 9:35 AM
Anony

To me this illustrates a vexing problem we have. When on defense because of charges brought from outside the community, many frum leaders and followers wax ecstatic about due process, the rule of law, fairness and so on. When on offense because someone inside the community is not bending to their will, the same people will stop at nothing in destroying other Yidden while due process and halacha not to mention mentchlichkeit are tossed into the ashcan. Somewhere we must find fearless leaders and fearless followers who have a strategy to stand up to mafia tactics.


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21. No words     9/11/08 - 9:47 AM
Eliezer - Toronto

R' Tzadok HaCohen explains that the tekiah of the shofar, an unbroken cry, represents the pain and anguish which a person feels being far from the Ribbono shel Olam, which is so deep that it cannot be separated and expressed in words.

This is how I feel when hearing about something like this. Words do not even begin to do justice to the depths of pain we should feel in the knowledge that our community is so incredibly far from the Ribbono shel Olam that such things can happen.

When we hear the shofar during Elul, let's turn to the Ribbono shel Olam and beg him to help us, because it seems no one else can.

Thank you to Dr. Twerski and Rabbi Horowitz and others like you, for doing what you can to end this insanity.


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22. Offense and defense, continued     9/11/08 - 9:49 AM
Anony

Since I don't know how "many" leaders and followers are the bad apples, I should have written "some" above. But any are too many.


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23. This issue is simple     9/11/08 - 9:59 AM
Yisrael

Rav Elyashiv has ruled that child abusers are rodfim. Rabbi Twersky assigned to a position to try and reign in these rodfim. Now it seems there are people out there who are trying and seemingly succeeding in stopping Rabbi Twersky from doing his holy endeavor. To me, these people have taken sides with the rodfim themselves. I don't understand why the names and locations of these people shouldn't be posted all over every newspaper. They are standing in the way of someone trying to stop rodfim from committing emotional murder. How in the world can these people remain nameless?

Can someone help me out with this?!


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24. Outraged     9/11/08 - 10:15 AM
Outraged

1) If he was receiving threats, why didn't he call the police? I am sure they can track down through phone calls, etc. 2) This is why I have ZERO respect for "gedolim" and "rah-bonim." I see ads that cell-phones are the worst thing in the world, Lipa is a horrible person for singing a song, but not a word about abuse. Shame on all of them. The Agudah should be ashamed for not backing legislation making clergy mandated reporters, and for not backing legislation making private schools do a background check. What are they hiding? Furthermore, while R' Horowitz is a great guy and he does much, Project YES is still a part of the Agudah and he won't do anything as long as the cell-phone banners have higher priorities. I have no wonders at all now why someone would leave "frum" Judaism. People who go out and scream "daas Torah" are the ones that are destroying our children and our religion. It is time for us to take things ourselves and not rely on our immoral and corrupt leadership. They are worthless.


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25. Simple     9/11/08 - 10:16 AM
Anonymous

#23, simple, people have shidduchim to worry about. They can't let a simple thing like child abuse get in the way of a good shidduch.


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26. Name the Names!     9/11/08 - 10:27 AM
Name Names Please

R' Twersky, Let the power of the blogs and internet work for the betterment of our society. Name the people who threatened you. Let the internet know who among us prefer to safeguard rapists and molesters rather than saving children. Don't cop out. This is your job now. Save the children!


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27. A Direct Quote     9/11/08 - 10:39 AM
Yisrael

Rabbosai: this is a direct quote from Rabbi Twerski regarding what he's had to endure:

"For several days, I was approached by individuals, some stating that they would cross the street if they were to meet me while walking with their children. Others told me that they would not accept my child into their class if assigned. Others used euphemisms that I refuse to repeat. Family members were likewise confronted by all sorts of comments and phone calls. My married children had been told to fear ever getting shidduchim for their children. Basically, I was left to choose between abandoning my family for this mission, or to take the painful step that I did."

(http://www.vosizneias.com/20213/2008/09/10/borough-park-ny-exclusive-to-vin-news-dr-benzion-twerski-in-his-own-words-address-his-departure-from-askunas/)

I am seething in anger. It is hard to remain within the category of kol kol ya'akov and not go over to the other camp when reading such quotes. Rabbi Twerski is an outstanding, honest, humble, and selfless individual, the likes of which we need so many more of. How can it be that these rodfim - yes, one who assist a rodef BECOMES a rodef! - have won?! Where are our rabbonim on this? Where is the outcry in shuls, in papers, in kol korehs on every shul wall?

The last mishna in Maseches Sotah comes to mind... we are truly in the ikvesah d'meshicha.


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28. My apologies     9/11/08 - 10:41 AM
Yisrael

I didn't realize the quote by Rabbi Twerski was already posted here on this blog. My apologies for reposting it.


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29. WE ARE ALL AT FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     9/11/08 - 11:25 AM
Rachel J.

We are all guilty! Why didn't we as a community of stand-up Jews stand by R'Twersky? What did we do that gives us a right to judge him for withdrawing? Some of us who comment here would not even post their names or initials. We are a nation of cowards! Scared for our own skin only. As long as my family is not touched or affected in any way everything is ok. I'll just stand by & feel good for others that do the right thing & take the heat. HOW DID THE SPIRIT OF OUR NATION DISAPPEAR?

THE FOCUS OF JUDAISM IS ON PROTECTING & PRESERVING OUR FUTURE GENERATION, WE ARE ACTUALLY DESTROYING IT!

I know one thing, every power has a higher power. If we wanted to, we could have stood up for Rabbi Twersky ....but WE DID NOT!!!

I hope & pray that Rabbi Twersky will be involved in this task behind the scenes.


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30. Gedolim     9/11/08 - 11:48 AM
Sherree

I am going to put it right out there to YOU Rabbi Horowitz and to YOU Dr. Twerski, because you are our Role Models when it comes to doing things according to halacha.

Have you spoken to and/or informed Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky AND Rav Eliyashav of this new situation. That a person who was willing to work on behalf of the innocent children AND do it according to Halacha WITH Daas Torah was threatened so drastically that he had to step down from this very responsible post.

What psak would RAV Eliyashav and Rav Kaminetsky give on the "rodfim" who had the nerve to "attack" the innocent to protect the guilty!

I am SO VERY SERIOUS about this question. I absolutely feel it is 1,000 percent necessary to ask both of these Rabbonim this shailah. Two Rabbonim who have finally realized the severity of the situation, not because it has risen to epidemic proportions, but because it has been buried and ignored for so long that it has hurt thousands of innocent children for generations and the cycle continues. The damage it has produced has now turned into a witch-hunt blaming the victims instead of the guilty.

We need a statement from these two Choshuv Rebbeim and more on this very immediate and important issue.


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31. CHAZAK VAMATZ     9/11/08 - 11:53 AM
cazzie

Just wanted to say thanks for the obvious brave work that you do. May Hashem grant you strength to continue the unbelieveable life saving job that you have so heroically undertaken.


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32. Please keep up the good work!     9/11/08 - 12:58 PM
Yoss

Rabbi Horowitz please keep doing what you are doing and writing what you are writing whether in the public eye or out. May HaShem protect you and provide you with the strength to carry on with your Klal-saving work.

Chazak Vamatz.


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33. Support for Rabbi Twerski     9/11/08 - 1:25 PM
Lana - Boro Park

I guess I was under a rock, because I just found out what has happened. I am so shocked and sorry to hear about this and the choice Rabbi Twerski was forced to make. I know it was not made easily. To those who have called Rabbi Twerski a coward-shame on you! Would you truly have the courage to stand up to that type of pressure and put your family at risk????

Rabbi Twerski toils long and hard in areas that most in our community don't want to touch - and he does so with deference to strict halachah and hashkafah, not to mention sensitivity and caring. I agree with Rabbi Horowitz when he wrote that Rabbi Twerski is a: "genuine talmid chochom, a true chassid, and an osek b’tzarchei tzibur b’emunah (one who selflessly devotes himself to communal needs).

This is just a tragedy only Hashem can correct. It serves as a major setback on improving our community's awareness of and response to molestation in our ranks. Hashem should help - and please keep watching over our precious neshamales until the community can finally do the right thing and deal with this problem that destroys so many lives.


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34. silver lining     9/11/08 - 2:24 PM
Yehoshua

Perhaps there is a silver lining to this terrible news. We see Rabbonim will respond to harassment. In this case the harassers' agenda was evil. But how about if we harass the Rabbonim for the good? If we see a Rav who is stone-walling on an abuse case and organize a campaign along similar lines ("I won't teach your child or walk on the same street") as R. Twerski was subjected to, then we would make some progress????

This sounds wacky doesn't it? But why? Because respectable individuals, such as ourselves, don't behave this way. But perhaps now is the time to change the way we do things.


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35. My letter to the editors of Yeshiva World News     9/11/08 - 2:48 PM
EZH - Israel

I have been reading with much horror and sadness about the goings on in the "Chareidi" communities in America. The fact that Dr. Bentzion Twerski was threatened into leaving his much admired, self appointed position as leader of a panel to prosecute child molesters is sick and twisted.

My question to you, YWN is if the general chareidi public is, as I believe them to be, good decent people who are as horrified as I am at the fact that molesters get protected and saviors get prosecuted, then why is there not a public outcry to release the names of these reshaim and bring down the hooligans once and for all and restore the good name that chareidim used to have?

You, YWN reach quite a large readership, from all walks of life, but I would assume the mojority of your readers would associate themselves as "yeshivish/chareidi". If you believe as I do, that most of that community are, in fact, decent people then please please publicize what has happened to Dr. Bentzion Twerski! You have the power to reach many many people and to try and make things right. Let the chareidi public know who is amongst them and let the chareidi public outwradly condemn and prosecute those who are wrong! If you, YWN stay silent on this issue that is flooding the blogs belonging to the more moderate orthodox then that just proves that the entire chareidi community is still burying their heads in the sand, which is effectively allowing more children to be molested every year, and rachmana l'tzlan preventing those who have already been victimized to get proper treatment. Do the right thing, and make a difference, you have the power to do so. YWN Editor, I don't know who you are, but if you are in the yeshivish circles as I would assume you are, just think. If it's Chas V'shalom your kid's turn next, and you had the power to help stop it- how would you feel?


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36. Please Remove Comment No. 33 Immediately. Thank You.     9/11/08 - 2:54 PM
Anonymous

Please Remove Comment No. 33 Immediately. Thank You.


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37. Looking for balance     9/11/08 - 3:39 PM
cynical observer

One cannot condone what appears to have been outrageous attacks on a fine dedicated individual. Unfortunately that is itself a bigger chillul Hashem than anyone can claim to have been trying to avoid. Without minimizing the negative aspects of this behavior, though, we still should try to understand the motivation of the people who opposed the program and set in motion the destructive forces. I don't know them but I can guess they would fall into two categories: (i) those who fear chillul Hashem; and (ii) those who fear the possible unintended consequences of setting up an independent abuse program . As to the first category, I am sure there are many well-meaning individuals who genuinely believe that because the Torah requires sacrifices to prevent chillul Hashem, the individuals involved must suffer the consequences. After all we are required to give up our lives to avoid chillul Hashem. B'sheas hashmad individuals were called upon to sacrifice their lives. We may not be in that matzav now, but Gedolim have to make that call. As to the second category, I am sure there are many roshei yeshiva who fear any abuse program would undermine their own livelihoods and the well-being of the entire yeshiva and its students and rebbeim. Allowing an independent organization to determine an abuse claim that is generally unverifiable by anyone other than the victim and the perpetrator must be very scary. Maybe those who administer the program will ultimately be no better than those who harassed Rabbi Twerski. A yeshiva may be ruined by malicious individuals who administer the program or who influence those who administer the program. What if the angry mob instead of harassing Rabbi Twerski harasses the program administrator into making an abuse finding. And maybe a yeshiva and a rebbe will be ruined by someone using the program to get rid of a competitor. The program is a threat because it creates a new power structure that would have a strong influence on public opinion. Why do I write all this? Because I see this incident as further evidence of the general lack of integrity in our community. If I were running a yeshiva I would be scared that everything I have worked for could be ruined by this new program. When money and kavod rule to the extent they do, nothing is safe. What is the antidote? If good people, like Rabbi Twerski, can be advised by other good people, such as Rabbi Horowitz, to quit, we will never be a community that has the capability of becoming a true am kadosh capable of impelling us to the time of the coming of the moshiach. We need a revolution; our leaders must change or we must change our leaders. Until that happens there will be many korbanos. The korbanos would be either the abused children who will continue to suffer from not having the program or courageous people who will be their temura so that the korbanos will eventually stop. We need mavericks.


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38. Re: my conscience is clear?     9/11/08 - 4:52 PM
Yossie - yossief@aol.com

You do sound very harsh indeed, and very accusatory. What I find most interesting, is that you didn't even volunteer your first name. You are just anonymous. That is completely contrary to your lecture which admonishes all of us to stand up to Rishus. I agree, that we must do something about it. I just wonder how much you actually do, considering that you do not even have the courage to use your name.


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39. Response to comment 37 asking to remove my comment     9/11/08 - 5:19 PM
Comment 33 writer

It is just this sort of tyrranical censorship which has allowed this issue to fester for so many decades. Why does my comment make you so uncomfortable? Perhaps because if it is true it will break apart your preconceievd world view and require you to reevaluate your life and your belief system. I have had enough encounters with Rav Shmuel and others to see how "Daas Torah" is misused as an excuse to stifle dissent and honest debate. Freedom of thought,expression,and speech, are essential human rights and are essential elements in confronting tyrrany and corruption. "Daas Torah" as a doctrine has been and continues to be misused as a cudgel to knock down honest debate and dissent, in our communities. The result is many of the problems we now see. And so I call upon those who are looked to as "Daas Torah" to admit to a problem which they themselves help to perpetuate either wittingly or unwittingly by being participants either actively or passively in the misuse of the Daas Torah concept. They need to hold themselves accountable to the public they lead just like any other leader in any other arena particularly with regards to the welfare of our children.


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40. rav shlomo zalman ztl     9/11/08 - 5:52 PM
Anonymous

i remember as a bochur 25 years ago when the rasha yemach shmo mondorowitz move dto eretz yisroel and i would see this deranged animal at the kossel and i could not understand how he was tolerated.at the time people went to the gaon and tzaddik rav shlomo zalman ztl and if my memory serves me correctly,he said that until it is clarified in bais din we cant do anything.rav shlomo zalman loved every yid and cared for every yid.this was daas torah.as a parent of a child who a molester tried to bother,yes a frum guy who is nebech a sicko,i didnt have the heart to beat the daylights out of him,otherwise i would have smashed his head with a bat,so i cant be accussed of siding with the molesters,the question is how to deal with it.i havent seen the exact srtategy but certainly rabbis horowitz and twersky are the ones.why not circulate petitions,sign up thousands asking them to rejoin and assuring our support,maybe with each signatur eshould go 5 dollars to fund whatever expenses may be incurred,that would be more productive than rsntings and deciding who is or who isnt a gadol btw,its the same with con artists from shick to berger from cleveland now in montreal and shereshevsky we tolerate these monsters a very respected rosh yeshiva told me that we should be giving a klap on the bimah to announce these scam artists,i assume the same would go for these predators


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41. The Sounds of Silence     9/12/08 - 11:06 AM
Comment 33 writer

Well you removed my comment. But the point is still valid. perhaps if I express it without naming names you will not delete it. The only leaders I have heard speaking out on this issue are Rabbi Horowitz,Rabbi Twerski(who has now been silenced,and Dov Hikind. The silence from other quadrants is Deafening!!!!!!!! Will the silent ones be able to say Yadeinu Lo Shafchu Es Hadam Veinainu Lo Raoo???????!!!!!!!! And do you think that the only problem in the Frum community and in the schools that has not been addressed is this one?????? Are there not many other problems as well that are swept under the rug.By insisting on the removal of my comment you are guilty of the same kind of harrasment and mentality that removed Rabbi Twerski. It is time to take the gloves off and let the chips fall where they may.No public figure or institution whether Rabbinic or Lay should be above accountability. It is long past time for the disinfecting light of day to be beamed into our dark corners.Censorship will not make the problems go away. We of all people should be sensitive to the dangers of censorship and the suppression of free speech. The internet and particularly the blogosphere have been great equalizers allowing heretofore defenceless victims to have a voice and serious communal issues to have a forum. The Torah and actually Hashem himself is critical of our greatest leaders Ledorei Doros. No one should think that anyone is above reproach. I am sorry Rabbi Horowitz but I feel that this particular problem has festered for so long specifically because of the top down nature of the management of our communal institutions. I do not believe that parents are able to do much beyond maintaining a happy home and educating their children to not allow anyone to violate them. But there still needs to be some real change from the top.


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42. Backup     9/12/08 - 2:39 PM
commenter 33

Look what type of entities try to silence people. The Chinese govt. For one. It bothers me that under the legitimate guise of protecting Ruchnius, The Internet has become evil personified in the Charedi community. The similarities to the thought control of the Chinese Communists are somewhat chilling. Perhaps at some point, Protecting Ruchnius actually leads to destroying Ruchnius.

New York - A United Nations agency is quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous.

The U.S. National Security Agency is also participating in the “IP Traceback” drafting group, named Q6/17, which is meeting next week in Geneva to work on the traceback proposal. Members of Q6/17 have declined to release key documents, and meetings are closed to the public.

The potential for eroding Internet users’ right to remain anonymous, which is protected by law in the United States and recognized in international law by groups such as the Council of Europe, has alarmed some technologists and privacy advocates. Also affected may be services such as the Tor anonymizing network.

“What’s distressing is that it doesn’t appear that there’s been any real consideration of how this type of capability could be misused,” said Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. “That’s really a human rights concern.”

Nearly everyone agrees that there are, at least in some circumstances, legitimate security reasons to uncover the source of Internet communications. The most common justification for tracebacks is to counter distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks.

But implementation details are important, and governments participating in the process - organized by the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency - may have their own agendas.

A document submitted by China this spring and obtained by CNET News said the “IP traceback mechanism is required to be adapted to various network environments, such as different addressing (IPv4 and IPv6), different access methods (wire and wireless) and different access technologies (ADSL, cable, Ethernet) and etc.” It adds: “To ensure traceability, essential information of the originator should be logged.”

The Chinese author of the document, Huirong Tian, did not respond to repeated interview requests. Neither did Jiayong Chen of China’s state-owned ZTE Corporation, the vice chairman of the Q6/17’s parent group who suggested in an April 2007 meeting that it address IP traceback.


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43. To Commenter 33, 42, and 43     9/12/08 - 3:09 PM
Anonymous

On behalf of Rabbi Horowitz and the participants at this Web site:

As participants, all of us are guests of Rabbi Horowitz. It is our obligation to respect the wishes of our host and the other participants. First and foremost, we must adhere to the laws of the Torah.

In Comment No. 33, lies and slander were used to demean a highly-respected Rabbinical scholar. Such conduct is absolutely unacceptable.


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44. Slander maybe, lies not.     9/15/08 - 2:12 PM
Commenter 33

I certainly did not lie although you might accuse me of Lashon Hara it was not Motzi shem Ra. There is no question that People including menahilm of yeshivos,Askonim, and the like, quote Daas Torah to support many of their actions and policies. But How many people ever call the source of the supposed Daas Torah to verify precisely what the parameters of the Daas Torah was or if the Rov who supposedly said the Daas Torah even considers it himself to be Daas Torah. I have had the experience Where I was told "but So and so said such and such and if you are not Mekabel it means you do not accept Daas Torah." Or "Since all the yeshivos are doing it like this, that indicates Daas Torah feels that this is how it should be." There are Gedolim such as Rav ------ who may say something as an eitza not as a Psak and it is improperly utilyzed as a Psak Halacha because after all "Daas Torah". Once Daas Torah is invoked of course, all discussion ends and any dissenters, even Talmidei Chachomim, and Bnei Torah are in danger of being labeled Apikorsim should they disagree. Try expressing your opinion in that kind of an atmosphere. I submit to you that Daas Torah is being misused in a great many arenas in our communal life. This misuse often borders on abuse of power such as in cases dealing with protecting institutions and individuals who have molestation issues or other issues. There is real power in invoking Daas Torah and there is a very real potential for abuse of that power. Unchecked power is a dangerous thing. Those who are looked upon as Daas Torah have a responsibilty to make sure that their views are not misused, misrepresented, or twisted. One of the big Taanos, Gedolim had on the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zichrono Livracha was that he did not stop his followers from calling him Mashiach. I think there is a valuable lesson in this. That is, that if you are a manhig in Klal Yisroel, you certainly have to speak out when your followers are not doing the right thing.


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45. No Justice- No Peace     9/17/08 - 10:24 AM
Staten Islander

The most physically and psychologically abused prisoners in jail are those that sexually abuse children.No murderer or rapist has compassion for abusers of children.They are beaten and raped on a daily basis and jail guards look the other way because they are happy these men are getting what they deserve.In many states these offenders are jailed in separate areas to keep them safe.We need to learn from their actions.The Rabbeim in the past thought that they could control the abusers, but today, professionals know that the only way to control abusers is to put them in jail. The minute they get out our children our at risk. There is no cure. I would definitely be willing to engage in a variety of activities to bring these people to justice.Why do we always have to wait for the child or grandchild of a rich man to be negatively affected before a program is financed and then supported by our gedolim to prevent child abuse by staff in our yeshivos? Rabbi Twerski, I'm sorry that you were abused by the Jewish People. You have done so much. We need other qualified people to step forward.Many would like to help in different ways.Let's work on a plan.


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46. IP Traceback exists,look in a siddur     9/22/08 - 1:46 AM
Anonymous

There is an IP Traceback that has already been imlemented, and is mentioned in Pirkei Avos: it includes not only actions, writing and words but also thoughts.

There is no delete key, although there is an update option: teshuva.

Freedom of speech is great, but, as with lighters and matches, it must be used carefully.

Chips can't just be allowed to fly or fall, since we don't have a City of Refuge when one swings an axe and a chip flies in an unintended direction.

Self-moderation is the best way to ensure that this forum doesn't require the heavy-handed/time-consuming type of moderation. As was pointed out above, we are guests. Perhaps it can be added that this applies wherever we go.


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47. #47 update     9/22/08 - 1:48 AM
author 47

#47 was meant to begin:

Re: #33, 43

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I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


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