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The Weberman Conviction - A Parental Teaching Moment
Free Project YES Teleconferences - Thursday Night December 13, 2012
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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Utilizing Your Teachable Moment

A "teachable moment" is an unplanned opportunity that arises in the classroom where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to his or her students. Often, these teachable moments offer the richest learning experiences because they are by their very nature something very "real" to children.

For example, imagine that you are preparing to teach a unit on the Revolutionary War and your students are filing in from outdoor recess break when a kid blurts out, "It's freezing outside."

Instead of saying, "Open your books," you could say, "What a perfect opening to today's lesson. You were outside for fifteen minutes and you were freezing -- just imagine how cold and miserable the soldiers were in Valley Forge..."

When an event such as the Weberman trial enters our public awareness, we often and understandably whisper a prayer hoping that our kids won't raise the issue when they arrive home because ... we really don't know what to say.

But think about it. When is there a better venue to have such discussions with your kids than at a time when it is on their minds? These are precisely the very best moments to develop meaningful relationships with them and to teach them that they can discuss anything with you. (Indeed, one of the greatest challenges of child abuse is that kids are often ashamed or afraid to broach the matter of their trauma with their parents because they have no history of having discussed uncomfortable topics with them in the past.)

The Weberman trial has created an extraordinarily powerful "teachable moment" for parents -- and we at Project YES encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to open meaningful avenues of dialogue with your kids and teach them critically important lessons about safety and personal space.

For an example of how a public scandal presented me with an incredible teachable moment with my own children, click here

With that in mind, and in order to help you gain the tools and language to utilize this teachable moment, Project YES is offering free conference calls on this subject tomorrow, Thursday evening, Dec. 13th at 9:00 p.m. EST in English and at 10:00 p.m. in Yiddish (Full disclosure; my Yiddish is far from perfect, so there will be a liberal sprinkling of English in the presentation.)

  • Dial in number: (209) 647-1600
  • Participant Access Code: 827269

For those who were not able to participate in the live conference calls, we recorded the calls and posted the links below for the recordings for you

Links to download the English teleconference: EnglishTeachableMoment.mp3

Links to download the Yiddish teleconference:

Topics will include:

  • Relationship Building
  • Tips on how to have conversations with your children about uncomfortable topics
  • Looking for signs that your child may c"v have been abused, and what to do if that is the case
  • The four basic child safety messages

We would also like to include many of the issues on your minds regarding this topic, so please feel free to drop us an email at with questions you have on this subject that are general in nature. (Due to time constrains and email volume, we will regretfully not be able to respond to individual questions.)

We hope you find these conference calls helpful and best wishes for endless Nachas from your children and a Freilechen Chanukah.

Yakov Horowitz
Director, CFJFL/Project YES

Two Very Important Notes

1. Many abuse survivors are finding this to be an emotionally draining time in their lives -- even though Weberman's conviction is an enormous leap forward for child safety in our community. Please, please seek professional help if you are finding this to be the case. (Please see an article on this subject "Abuse Survivors, Please do not Suffer Alone" coauthored with Dr. Benzion Twerski, an expert in child abuse.)

2. Before the trial began, I was contacted personally by four additional credible victims of Weberman's abuse and that number has more than doubled since.

What is particularly frightening is that all those who came forward are married adults, leading us to believe that there are untold single girls who may be suffering horribly in silence due to the fear of ruining their chances for shidduchim. If your daughter (and/or son) had any involvement with Weberman through his "counseling" services or even through neighborhood/family connections, we plead with you to carefully evaluate the situation and get immediate PROFESSIONAL help if you have even the slightest suspicion that they were c"v abused.

Those of us who deal with abuse survivors have attended far too many funerals of kids, who took their own lives r"l, and we consider seeking professional help as genuine pikuach nefesh (a matter of life and death). As we have been strongly suggesting for over a decade, please do not go to well-meaning people who "deal with these issues" (please understand that this includes myself as well) but only to a professional, credentialed therapist, preferably one who specializes in, or has trained in abuse-related matters

Other Resources:

Weberman Trial Take Aways
The Halo Effect and Good Fences
Clear and Present Danger
Stand With the Re-victimized Victim

Our Kids Are Not Hefker.

Monster Inside.

Safe and secure.

Human problems.

Video: Teach Your Kids About Personal Safety

To purchase "Let's Stay Safe!"

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

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