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Extending the Safety Net of Chesed
Join Us Next Week at Nechemia Weberman’s Trial
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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11/22/12

Extending the Safety Net of Chesed

Join Us Next Week at Nechemia Weberman’s Trial

These lines are dedicated in memory of Yoni Polansky a“h (1994-2012).

Dear Readers:

It has been inspiring, to say the least, seeing the incredible unity and kindness displayed by so many members of our community in reaction to both the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the horrible onslaught in Eretz Yisrael emanating from the Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Amazing acts of chesed are being performed, and incredible sums of money are being raised by and for Jews of all stripes.

How wonderful it would be if we could extend that unity and chesed to another group of people in our community – those who have suffered and survived the hurricane of abuse. For all too long, those victims have been ignored or, far worse, ostracized and even terrorized. This is an opportunity for us to reflect and improve things for them.

These pure children and young adults were living their normal lives until evil monsters, who often successfully disguise themselves as upstanding, respected and likeable members of the community ravaged their innocence and robbed them of their childhood. Most survivors never, ever feel safe in their homes again for the mold and mildew of their horrific experiences make their lives unlivable.

Many of them lead pained and tortured lives, sometimes rejecting religion, acting antisocially and resorting to drugs/alcohol in a vain attempt to dull their pain. Much to our shame, many of us misread their suffering and confusion and respond to their rejection of our values with the withdrawal of our support and love.

Some of those who courageously reported their abusers were met with threats and vicious terror campaigns directed against them and their family members. Like the Hamas terrorists, those who intimidate the victims hide in residential areas, surrounded by community members who willfully close their eyes to the destruction and collateral damage that they cause the children they purport to love and care about. Their unconscionable defense of the abusers directly results in more shattered lives.

Thankfully, things are changing, and the sunlight of today’s technology-driven connectivity is proving to be the best disinfectant. This brings us to a trial about to take place in Brooklyn Criminal Court which may prove to be of singular importance to those fighting valiantly to protect our children.

On Monday, November 26th Nechemya Weberman (Case Number 01589-2011) will go on trial in Kings County Supreme Court for allegedly abusing a young girl in the Williamsburg community over a period of three years – beginning when she was 12 years old.Weberman is entitled to his day in court and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, but Something is Very, Very Wrong here. Since Weberman's arrest, I was personally contacted by immediate family members of four additional alleged victims of his who are afraid to come forward, and the Brooklyn DA took the unusual step of publicly acknowledging that six more alleged victims of Weberman came forward, but were afraid to testify.

It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of this courageous young lady, may she be gezunt and ge’bentched, who is determined to see this through to the end so others won't suffer like she did. Unbearable pressure is being brought to bear against her and her family to drop the case, which is one of the reasons that a show of support is so important.

Those of us who work with abuse survivors respectfully implore you to please, please stand with this victim on November 26th and for the duration of the trial. (Kings County New York State Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Part 21, 320 Jay Street, 2nd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 in front of Judge John G. Ingram.)

Attend the trial because the Torah mandates that we heed the timeless charge of Yeshayahu (Isaiah) (1:16) to “Seek justice [and] strengthen the victim.”

Attend the trial because it will help your children and grandchildren be safer.

Attend the trial because it will give courage to the other silent and silenced victims who are watching this case unfold very carefully.

Attend the trial because it will finally send a message of acceptance and support to all the abuse survivors in our community.

Attend the trial because you were inspired by the thousands of our brothers and sisters who rolled up their sleeves in the past few weeks to help members of our community. The innocent victims of abuse deserve no less.

Please pass this on to your friends and family members and I hope to see you at the trial.

Yakov Horowitz



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