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Keeping Our Children Safe - Part Two
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Chicago Community Kollel

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12/28/06

Dear Rabbi Horowitz,

(excerpt from last week’s letter) … Recently I have heard a number of stories about abuse in the frum community and would like to know … At what age should parents begin to address the issue with their children, and in how much detail? And, what is the proper way to even begin the conversation? …


Rabbi Horowitz Responds

Please see “Note to readers” in last week’s column (click here) for references that I used to prepare for this column.

On a personal note, I would like to thank the many readers who emailed mazel tov wishes on the occasion of our daughter’s wedding. Each and every one of them was greatly appreciated.

Y.H.

In the broadest sense, I think that the time for fathers and mothers to begin protecting their beloved children from sexual abuse is the moment that they walk down from the chuppah and begin their married life together.

Think of it this way. Children who are raised in homes that are havens of safety, love, mutual respect and tolerance are far more likely to immediately notice when they are treated in an abusive manner. Emotionally healthy, self-confident children who appreciate their sacred right to privacy (click here) and personal space are far more likely to hear the warning bells blaring whenever that space is invaded. Children who grow up with the notion that they can be comfortable discussing anything – ANYTHING – with their (click here) parents will, in all likelihood, inform their parents the very moment that something is amiss.

Conversely, children who are bullied into submission by their own parents or those who regularly view one parent being cowed into silence by the other may think that abusive behavior is quite normal. Children who are denied their personal space or whose individuality is crushed or suppressed by their parents may not think much is amiss when outsiders do the same to them. In fact, most predators have a ‘sixth sense’ of which children have grown up in these trying conditions – and zoom in on them like a moth drawn to light.

Let’s face it. Foolproof protection is impossible. You cannot follow your children wherever they go, nor should you raise them to be frightened or suspicious of every adult that they will meet. Moreover, as I noted last week, even though the high-profile abuse cases are school based, they are only a tiny percentage of the instances of molestation. Abusers are far more likely to be extended and close family members, older kids in the neighborhood, family friends, neighbors and peers.

Therefore, the most effective things that parents can do is to keep their children safe are to model healthy interactions between adults (that’s you) and children, and to empower them to speak up if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

Here are some practical tips:

  • Encourage your children to share the events of their day with you when they arrive home each day. Spend time with them, make eye contact, and listen – really listen – to what they have to say.
  • Tell your children – early and often – that they can discuss anything with you, no matter how disturbing or uncomfortable those things are. Be aware that this means that you must develop true tolerance for their misdeeds if you want this to continue.
  • One of the most effective methods of protection is to teach your children that no adult is ever permitted to tell them a secret that they cannot tell their parents. This is a huge ‘red flag’ for predatory behavior, since part and parcel of the depraved strategy of molesters is to keep things secret from parents. There is no acceptable set of circumstances where any adult should ever be telling a child to keep secrets from his/her parents. Teaching your children that this is wrong is a powerful tool in their protective arsenal. Likewise, parents who keep secrets from each other are also modeling poor values (the kids figure it out quite soon).
  • Encourage the notion of personal space in your child’s life. Tell your children to knock before entering a room if they think that someone there may be undressed (do the same yourself). Give your children a drawer to keep their private possessions, and ask their siblings to respect that privacy.
  • “Your body belongs to you,” is a theme that should be stressed with children. While bathing young children, for example, is often a good time to discuss privacy matters in a calm, matter-of-fact manner. Tell them about ‘good touching’ and ‘bad touching’. One way of expressing this concept is to explain to them that no one except for parents can touch them in a spot covered by a bathing suit. Please do not alarm them. Frame the discussion as one of safety, and use the same tone that you would use when informing them not to take candy from strangers and not to cross the street without an adult.
  • Another supremely important thing to convey to children is that they should not ever be forced to do things that make them feel uncomfortable. Tell them that if they are asked to do something that “doesn’t feel right,” they have the right to say no – even to an adult. (Many, many victims report that they felt they had no choice but to go along with the demands of the abuser.)

If you suspect that your child was molested, please seek the counsel of a trained mental health professional, preferably before you speak to your children.

On a Communal Level

These columns are primarily devoted to helping parents raise their children – not to address communal issues. However, it is clear that in the arena of the prevention of sexual abuse, there is much overlap between what parents ought to be doing and what communities (schools, shuls, etc.) need to do to protect our children.

Communal change can only happen when there is an honest assessment of the facts on the ground and the steely determination to do whatever it takes to improve matters. In other words, when reality-based thinking rules, not faith-based wishing. Sadly, in the area of molestation, we are nowhere near that stage yet.

I find that in many ways, my experiences with the abuse-prevention matter mirrors what transpired about ten years ago when I – and several others – publicly lectured and wrote about the fact that frum people were (and still are) pushing drugs to our children. At the time, there was a stunning level of denial that this was happening. Even after there were several well publicized deaths of frum children from drug overdoses. Even after a 50-year old charedi man was arrested for selling drugs in a BoroPark shul. And even after that arrest was widely reported on the front pages of NYC newspapers.

We kept writing and speaking about it – but people didn’t seem to get it. Please read these 3 articles that I published three years ago in The Jewish Press. (Click here, here, and here).

I cannot understand why members of our community are not willing to report the criminals who are selling drugs to our kids directly to the police. This is, in my opinion, a misplaced application of the concept of mesirah. Ten years ago, I asked our leading gedolim if I should pass along information to the police regarding drug pushers. I got a unanimous psak that drug dealers have the full status of a rodef (one who poses life-threatening danger to others), and that I have not only the right, but also the obligation to do everything in my power to have them arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In my opinion, there is no substantive difference between a drug pusher and a child molester. Let the system work and let’s finally start protecting our children before there are any more shattered lives and suicides.

I think it is a terribly sad statement that an individual who sold non-kosher food in my hometown of Monsey ran for his life the moment the story broke and was not seen since, while a fiend who molested both Jewish and non-Jewish children in Boro Park is living comfortably in Jerusalem while evading extradition. I am most certainly not promoting or condoning vigilante violence. But it would be a positive step forward when accused child molesters in our community need to ask for police protection for fear of being harmed by righteously indignant people.

Incredibly, in that case, only the non-Jewish parents pressed charges. Here is text from a Nightline article on the subject: “The only victims that cooperated with the investigation were Italian. They were neighborhood boys who trusted the rabbi because he bought them gifts like bicycles. Not a single Orthodox Jewish boy or their parents would talk to the police. The statements of four Italian boys, aged 11 through 16, were the basis for the indictment against Avrohom Mondrowitz. He was facing eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and five counts of sodomy in the first degree.”

I ask, “Are Jewish children less sacred and worthy of protection than are non-Jewish children?”

© 2006 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



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Related Articles:
Keeping Our Children Safe - Part One


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1. What is your halachic basis?     12/28/06 - 4:06 PM
Mrs. H.

>>In my opinion, there is no substantive difference between a drug pusher and a child molester

The substantive difference is that a child molester is not molesting in public. The drug pusher you described was selling drugs in shul. If someone is suspected of selling drugs, he can be staked and caught in the act.>>

>>I think it is a terribly sad statement that an individual who sold non-kosher food in my hometown of Monsey ran for his life the moment the story broke and was not seen since, while a fiend who molested both Jewish and non-Jewish children in Boro Park is living comfortably in Jerusalem while evading extradition.>>

There is a huge difference in that when people went into the butcher's storage room, they found non-kosher meat! Do you know of anyone who caught the molester in the act?

If a molester is not caught in the act, how do you propose people press charges? A rabbi told me that a child under bar/bas mitzva is not allowed, according to halacha, to testify. So when we hear of preschool children that were molested in Lakewood or Yerushalayim, and nothing happened to the alleged perpetrator (the ganenet's husband), what do you think should happen?

Can a man be beaten up, run out of town, or reported to the police based on the testimony of 2-3 year olds? How about 8-12 year olds? I was told the answer is no. You disagree? On what halachic basis?


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2. Does it belong to us?     12/28/06 - 4:12 PM
Anonymous

“Your body belongs to you,” is a theme that should be stressed with children.

I understand what you mean to say but there is something that irks me about the way you wrote it. Our bodies are on loan to us by Hashem. They do not belong to us. If our bodies belong to us, does that mean I can choose to cut myself or otherwise abuse my body? Of course not, since the Torah does not allow it but perhaps you can word this guideline in a different way so as not to be misunderstood.


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3. Yasher Kochacha     12/28/06 - 7:40 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - Borhowitz@yahoo.com

"Communal change can only happen when there is an honest assessment of the facts on the ground and the steely determination to do whatever it takes to improve matters. In other words, when reality-based thinking rules, not faith-based wishing. Sadly, in the area of molestation, we are nowhere near that stage yet."

Yasher Kochacha--this needs to be said!

"Of course not, since the Torah does not allow it but perhaps you can word this guideline in a different way so as not to be misunderstood."

I do not see any problem with saying your body is "yours". We talk about owning property even though everything belongs to Hashem. Some write "l'Hashem haaretz u'meloah" in a small corner of a sefer to counteract the feeling of ownership, but halachically the sefer is owned by the person, even though he or she is only a caretaker.

The same is for one's body: one is responsible for damages one causes because one controls the body, and it it essentially "his", even if it is on loan, and one can not inflict self-damage.

Nevertheless if you want to couteract that feeling, then after saying "your body belongs to you alone", you can add the story of Hillel who said that bathing is a mitzvah because he is honoring the tzelem Elokim contained in the human body, just as the caretaker of the Roman statue. But it is still correct that "your body belongs to you", because one is exercising control or stewardship over it. One is in effect saying : this is "my body", as in "this is my personal space", even though the space belongs to Hashem.

Interesting story: Rav Aryeh Levine said " *our* foot hurts", to demonstrate the he was connected to his wife's pain. Nevertheless, most of the time, I am sure he spoke of "his body" when he had a headache, not that his "wife also had a headache" or that "the body owned by Hashem had a headache", "ishto k'gufo", and "bittul hayeish" notwithstanding. :)


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4. Thank you     12/28/06 - 8:10 PM
Anonymous

"“Your body belongs to you,” is a theme that should be stressed with children.

I understand what you mean to say but there is something that irks me about the way you wrote it. Our bodies are on loan to us by Hashem. They do not belong to us. If our bodies belong to us, does that mean I can choose to cut myself or otherwise abuse my body? Of course not, since the Torah does not allow it but perhaps you can word this guideline in a different way so as not to be misunderstood. "

You're an idiot.


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5. Police     12/28/06 - 10:13 PM
Bar Daas

A rabbi told me that a child under bar/bas mitzva is not allowed, according to halacha, to testify. Can a man be beaten up, run out of town, or reported to the police based on the testimony of 2-3 year olds? How about 8-12 year olds? I was told the answer is no. You disagree? On what halachic basis? ______________ The halacha is clear. In an instance such as this where the only testimony can come from a child or woman, their testimony is accepted. Your rabbi is mistaken. Suggest to him that he learn a little Shulchan Aruch; Choshen Mishpat; siman 35, seif katan 14. Tell him that I suggest he not voice his opinion on matters he has no knowledge of, certainly not matters of pikuach nefesh.

There is a published psak by Harav Elyashiv in which he states clearly that victims of molesters should go to the police.

Yes, a child who accuses someone of abusing them must be brought to straight to the police. Let the police determine the truth of the matter. It is almost unheard of for a child to accuse falsely and reporting the abuse will prevent another child from being destroyed.


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6. Partnership between home and school     12/29/06 - 9:29 AM
Yosef Blau - New York, New York - yblau@nyc.rr.com

Your work in educating parents to help them protect their children is needed and valuable. At the same time there is much that can be done by our Yeshivos in recognizing children who show signs of being abused as well as in screening employees. Our rabbinate has to acknowledge that this a serious problem in our community and demonstrate leadership.


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7. Another important column     12/29/06 - 9:46 AM
Elliot Pasik, Esq. - Long Beach, NY - efpasik@aol.com

Rav Horowitz, shlita, writes another important column.

When I was a young lawyer, I began to negotiate one of my first transactions with a much older, experienced lawyer. He had drafted the contract, and I began to make some corrections and negotiate. He conceded some of my points, and he even complimented me. After I continued making "corrections" and negotiate, he said, somewhat exacerbated, There's an old saying: Any ordinary lawyer can break a deal, it takes a good lawyer to make a deal.

Mrs. H asks Rav Horowitz, the fortunate talmid of Rav Pam, ztl: What is your halachic basis? Mrs. H says "she was told" that children (boys under 13, girls under 12) may not testify; therefore, we have no basis for reporting pre-pubescent child molesters to the police, since only a child's testimony can convict a molester.

I'll exercise some lawyer's chutzpah, and mix in. Much ink has been spilled on dina d'malchus dina. American courts accept child testimony. I've personally represented many frum children in civil cases. From time-to-time, frum children also testify in criminal cases.

Rav Elyashiv has held that children can testify against a child sex abuser.

Rav Horowitz writes that he asked many g'dolim whether one can report a drug pusher to the police. The unanimous answer was, Yes. A drug pusher has the full status of a rodef, and one is OBLIGATED to do everything in one's power to secure arrest and prosecution. Rav Horowitz sees no substantive difference between a drug pusher and a child molester. So, yes, call the police, and LET'S STOP THE SUICIDES.

An excellent article on the widely misunderstood concept of mesira appears on the website, JLaw.com. It is,"Informing on Others for Violating American Law: A Jewish Law View", authored by Rabbi Michael Broyde. He writes, "A Jew regularly assaults people. May one inform on him to the police? This case is straightforward. All agree that such a person must be informed upon, either because informing is permitted generally or because a violent person should be informed upon. Thus, it is clear, that one must report allegations of child abuse (sexual or physical) when one is aware of it (even if this means that the child might be placed in a Gentile foster home." Two footnotes cites several authorities, including, Rav Elyashiv.

Mrs. H, do you want to make a deal, or break a deal?

The posuk says, Lo sa'amod al dam ra'echa. Do not stand upon the blood of your brother. This is a mitzvah d'oreisa incumbent upon every Jew. If you see a Jew drowning, you must try to save him. If you see children assaulted by drug pushers and molesters, you must try to save them. How great is this mitzvah? It distinguishes us from every legal system in the world. Under standard principles of tort law, applicable in America and probably every nation in the world, if I'm walking past a body of water, and I see a drowning human being, I am under no obligation to wade in and rescue. We Jews are different. The Torah commands, Lo sa'amod al dam ra'echa. Save him.

Why our community fails to do this, and keeps throwing up stumbling blocks, like mesirah, child testimony, and other red herrings, baffles me. In truth, I know the reasons, but I'm still baffled.


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8. A Grand Slam     12/29/06 - 10:30 AM
SephardiLady - orthonomics@gmail.com

Better than the first article, so I'm sad I can't award extra stars.

You've given me a lot to think about in regards to my parenting style. Thank you for your courage in addressing this subject.


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9. Information for the public     12/29/06 - 10:39 AM
Elliot Pasik, Esq. - Long Beach, NY - efpasik@aol.com

I should add that a police report is not the only option. Particularly in cases of child sex abuse, where the victim is the only witness, a police report may not be possible for most people.

New York State has an Office of Child and Family Services which operates a child abuse and maltreatment 24 hour, 7 day per week hotline. The web page is at www.ocfs.state.ny.us/ohrd/ccg, where an interactive guide can be found to help "all citizens" stop child abuse. The guide precisely tells you what occurs when a report is made. The hotline phone number is 1-800-342-3720.


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10. Enablers     12/29/06 - 11:19 AM
Anonymous

Isn't it time to start naming names. How will the situation improve if there is no social opprobrium associated with individuals and institutions who implicitly defend and condone accused child molestors and despite their obligation to serve in loco parentis to our children enabled them to continue in their position long past the time any reasonable person would have allowed.

Now they have the "chutzpah" to hold a gala Melava malka this Moetzoei Shabbos "honoring" those fortunate among them who presumably were not victims of their "hear no evil, see no evil", "three blind mice" mentality.

I, for one, refuse to attend, and neither in my humble opinion should anyone concerned about the protection of our children.

Things will change only after a "tipping point" has been reached, where the social and financial consequences of not doing the right thing outweigh the current "sweep it under the rug" mentality.


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11. Anybody reviewing the comments here?     12/29/06 - 11:42 AM
M

Rabbi Horowitz, you wrote, "However, I ask for restraint and an open, respectful discussion – where we can agree to disagree. "

Rabbi Horowitz - please see previous comment which says "you're an idiot" to a fellow Jew.


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12.     12/29/06 - 12:54 PM
Anon

M:

Do the math. the rabbi is in middle of sheva brachos for his daughter.

cut him some slack. i'm shocked that he got this article out.


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13. Leave up the idiot comment     12/29/06 - 1:09 PM
Blunt father

The root of "idiot" is "hedyot", a perfectly legitimate word. Many rabbis utilize these types of mild epithets to disparage an opponent, e.g., chamor (donkey), shoteh (fool), chazir (pig), pea brain, mental midget.

I also agree. Looking at the big picture, the comment is idiotic. On a topic like child sex abuse, we few advocates need to stop excessively criticizing and nitpicking each other. As a father, when my children go to camp, or an overnight outing, I sometimes put on a stern face and say, Be careful, protect your body. Don't let anything weird happen. I look at their face, and they know what I'm talking about. Its not the time or place for a hashkofa lesson.

Rabbi, let the blunt comment stay up.


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14. Excellent article     12/30/06 - 2:51 PM
Mother in Israel

I think you made many excellent points. My only quibble is that your last point, about teaching children not to do anything that makes them uncomfortable, should also be applied to touching. In other words, children (and adults) should not allow anyone to touch them anywhere or in any way that makes them uncomfortable. Pinching cheeks, tickling, slaps on the back, and unwelcome kissing and hugging are all examples that come to mind. I don't see the point of teaching them specifically to be wary of people who touch their privates. I agree that they should be taught that their privates have a special status, just not only in relation to being touched by others.


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15.     12/30/06 - 7:22 PM
Anonymous

The true champions of this cause, those behind the scene, have expended substantial sums in bringing rabbinic child molestation and our organizational cover-up out into the open. Yaakov Horowitz, who dropped into the “At-Risk Teen” scene at a most opportune moment and has done some good while profiting greatly, has now seen fit to place himself (hand outstretched) into the sexual abuse business.

Horowitz would serve this vital cause well to proclaim loudly and clearly in as few words as possible: VICTIMS, GO TO THE POLICE! As importantly, he must do this without asking for money. This is one issue that he and his ilk should not be allowed to profit from.

Yaakov Horowitz is not selfless nor is he committed to this cause. He is moving sloth like in the right direction while at the same time seeking to raise funds with lightening speed.

Horowitz can be a helpful voice in this arena provided he is crystal clear with his message and stops looking to profit off the backs of victims.

We who seek no glory and continue to spearhead and fund this mission have the right to object to his unseemly behavior.


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16.     12/31/06 - 1:39 AM
phoenixmom

Thank you.


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17.     12/31/06 - 5:27 PM
Anonymous

Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

Why the bold mention of Avrohom Mondrowitz in sharp contrast to the not so courageous avoidance of naming Yehuda Kolko and Lipa Margulies?


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18. hashkafa     12/31/06 - 8:19 PM
M

Blunt father: you say, "Its not the time or place for a hashkofa lesson."

My question to you is why do you think saying "Hashem gave you your body and we have a mitzva to take care of it," is inappropriate at that time and place?


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19. M - Because I'm the boss, not Uncle Moishie     12/31/06 - 9:52 PM
Blunt father

M, every time I speak to my child about this, that, and the other thing, I don't need to invoke G-d, heaven, gehennim, thunder, and lightening, and scare the daylights out of him/her. We read from s'forim at the Shabbos table. We say divrei Torah. I daven and learn regularly all week, and I set an example for my children. You want to sound like Uncle Moishe all day long, and say, clear the table, Chanele, its a mitzvah, Hashem wants you to, well, gezunteheit to you. I'm more likely to say, clear the table, please, your mother and I work all week, we need a rest. Eventually, we'll all get up to help anyway.

Blunt father tells his kinderlach, Children, there are some strange, weird people in the world, both adults and kids like you. Some of these strange birds even have beards and long payos, and they may act nice, but they're really not. Be trusting, but up to a point. Don't let anybody touch you without your permission. If you're not comfortable getting undressed in front of others, either turn to the side, or dress in a bathroom. Your private areas are private. Let me know if anything strange happens, and don't be afraid to yell. And, by the way, a lot of these strange people get even stranger diseases, and they get sick, suffer, and die. These diseases are contagious - you can catch them if you get too close to them.

One of the places of great danger is overnight stays at friend's houses during the year. In my opinion, this is more dangerous than a camp or dorm. There are no counsellors, no paid adult supervisors. As much as I think I know the parents, I really don't, none of us do. One time, my daugher came home to tell me that a father who I thought I knew was sitting and walking around his house Shabbos afternoon in a sloppy bathrobe, no pajama pants underneath, hairy legs sticking out, and when he sat down, grossssssss.

When my children have their friends over, I only wear clothes, even late at night. If my daughter has a friend over, my boys are not allowed to walk around in their pajamas, they must wear robes. And I ask that all their friends do not walk around in pajamas, they should bring robes.

That's my parenting style.


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20.     1/1/07 - 8:43 AM
M

Just because it's your style and you like being blunt, doesn't mean you need to knock other people and their approach. That's plain rude.

You write, "every time I speak to my child," - who said it needs to be done EVERY time? And who said anythinig about fear?!

Why knock the mention of G-d - why compare it pejoratively to a children's tape? Do you also think there is something childish in saying "boruch Hashem", "im yirtze Hashem," "b'ezras Hashem"?

I would agree with you if a person overdoes it but we probably have different tolerance levels... and I would be wary of rolling my eyes at someone's mention of G-d ... You might be relieved to know that if my child asks me what's for supper tonight, no, I don't say, "lasagne im yirtze Hashem" ;)


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21. Overnight dangers     1/1/07 - 9:05 AM
M

Blunt father - you make an excellent point when you say, "One of the places of great danger is overnight stays at friend's houses during the year. In my opinion, this is more dangerous than a camp or dorm. There are no counsellors, no paid adult supervisors. As much as I think I know the parents, I really don't, none of us do."

Yet this is hardly mentioned. It's so much easier to write articles and have lectures about "good touch and bad touch" etc. Very hard to tell people not to allow their children to sleep over at friends, to tell parents to tell camps no overnights with sleeping bags outdoors, to beware of overnight Shabbatons (what are the sleeping arrangements? who are the counselors? does knowing who they are, help? no...). Hard to tell parents that when kids are visiting Shabbos afternoon they need to be supervised even if the kids are old enough to play on their own. Parents go off for their Shabbos afternoon nap and there can be trouble ... Hard to tell parents not to allow their children to go off with their brothers (the children's uncle) on Chol Ha'Moed trips or anywhere ...

Since the offenders are generally people the children know, the talks with children should include specific names such as:

"You know X our Shabbos guest? Such a nice man! But if he comes to school and tells you that he is supposed to take you home, you must call me first!"

"You know Y from shul? Such a nice man! But if he asks you to come into his house for a minute, you have to tell him that you have to ask your parents first. What if he says it's just for a minute? YOU HAVE TO ASK YOUR PARENTS FIRST!"

Ditto for dear Uncle Fishel!

You see I think that the pointers about what to tell children, though useful, don't address children's vulnerability. What's a child to do in camp if the HEAD COUNSELOR, whom they all revere, asks him to come to his office? What child will refuse? And if it's the principal who calls him to the office and closes the door? Do we expect a child to speak up and say, "My parents told me ..."????

Re "nobody can tell them to have a secret from their parents" - what's not addressed is, what if the molestor warns them of dire things that will happen to them if they tell? What's the child to do?

3 year olds in a private gan in Yerushalayim were threatened by the ganenet's husband not to tell. One of these 3 year olds would wake up screaming at night and pointing at her private parts. Her parents thought she had a urinary tract infection perhaps. They took her to the doctor. Thought it might be worms. Then the truth came out. The 3 year old cried, "asur l'daber!" (we are not allowed to say). She had to be reassured that it was okay.

So tell me, what speeches to 3 year olds would have forestalled this tragedy in which a seeming chareidi man molested 3 year olds? What blunt talk about men with pei'os and diseases would have helped?

Does anybody think that "Your body belongs to you" talks with 2 year olds would have forestalled the tragedy in the playgroup in Lakewood years ago in which the morah's husband, with or without her complicity, was molesting the toddlers?

And what do you think happened to the molesters in Lakewood and Yerushalayim?

Answer: nothing.

One thing that could help prevent such tragedies is not sending children to programs in people's homes. Does anybody see that being a realistic option in Lakewood and Yerushalayim where the metapelet/ganenet/babysitter works from home?


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22. I'm not knocking     1/1/07 - 12:17 PM
Blunt father

M -

I didn't knock your style, I just stated my style. The original commentator wrote, "Our bodies are on loan to us by Hashem". No, I'm not apt to tell this to my young children when I'm warning them about molesters. For the clear, strong message I wish to impart, this intangible concept is best left for another time and place - like when I tell her why I frown upon face or body painting.

I'm glad to hear you don't say, Lasagne, IYH. Such people quickly get on my nerves, and it has the taint of sheker, depending on who you are.

For some ages, though, you're right, of course, blunt talk won't help. What can be done to protect 2 or 3 year olds? Background checks, cameras, strict rules, yichud, parental vigilance, and a clear, undiluted message from rabbis that victims should call the cops when something happens - all of this would together act to deter future incidents.

Today on the blog Hirhurim, there is a good article posted, "Protecting our Children: A Halachic Perspective". The writer is Rabbi Yair Hoffman. He recommends cameras in all schools, among other things.


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23.     1/1/07 - 1:40 PM
Moishe

It's amazing how something so important with so simple a solution gets treated as a fund raising opportunity and also gets wrapped up in arcane religious pieties. If a child, after being taught what should be taught about personal safety, still is molested, The matter MUST be reported to the police. A little more concern about getting molesters behind bars and a little less concern about lashon hara would keep kids a lot safer.


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24.     1/1/07 - 1:41 PM
Anonymous

Bravo, Moshe. I'd like to add that the camera suggestion is almost silly.

...edited by YH

I'm certaim no one is suggesting cameras be installed in the bathrooms. Likewise, cameras will not prevent abuse by a rebbe after school or in his home or car.

The answer is education, an open relationship with our children and the knowledge by pedophile rebbes and their protectors that we will go to straight to the police with any and all accusations.


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25.     1/1/07 - 9:14 PM
Anonymous

removed


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26.     1/2/07 - 10:59 AM
Anonymous

http://theunorthodoxjew.blogspot.com/


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27.     1/4/07 - 11:39 AM
Concerned Parent

I think that Rabbi Horowitz is taking a huge step in the right direction. For us to expect a leap, may be looking for too much. Yes, he should expose people .... (edited ...) is still free and living elswhere in Brooklyn where he can go on molesting at will). However, Rabbi Horowitz is the first true insider to have the guts to step up and say that people need to stop these rodfim! That people need to go to the police instead of thinking that they, together with (...edited...) can take this upon themselves. The rabbis feel that they can moniter these people and keep them from molesting again. What they do not realize is that THE VAST MAJORITY OF MOLESTORS WILL MOLEST AGAIN! They can not stop it. They should worry less about the life and soul of the man who made innocent ... children ...

Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for standing up to the ignorance and cruelty that we are seeing from our leadership. Please have the courage to take this battle to the trenches and see it through to the end.


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28.     1/4/07 - 2:23 PM
Anonymous

Will all of the people who are complaining about the request from Rabbi Horowitz for help in "underwriting the cost of the production of a quality booklet (abouy abuse)" please tell me where I can get get pamphlets authored and published for free. I have some booklets I wouls love to put out and it would be easier for me if the booklets wrote and published themselves.


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29.     1/4/07 - 4:21 PM
YH - Monsey, NY

Concerned:

Thank you for your kind words, but no names please.


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30.     1/4/07 - 7:01 PM
Anonymous

removed


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31.     1/4/07 - 7:06 PM
Anonymous

please tell me where I can get get pamphlets authored and published for free. ----------------------- You can start by forming an organization to deal with an "in" issue and get a few major organizations to partner with you.

Thereafter, commence raising lots of money for this worthy cause and become the new expert on this issue. Pay yourself a large salary and give yourself all sorts of perks. Presto; you have the recipe for doing all sorts of stuff for free.

Unless; you are a greedy fellow at which point you overstep and suffer a backlash. But, that is yet another recipe.


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32. The Dangers of Writing Articles Like This     1/6/07 - 11:00 PM
Jewish Survivors - jewishsurvivors@gmail.com

Dear Rabbi Horowitz, On the whole I think the idea of writing articles on sexual abuse is extremely important. The problem is that when individuals read your articles they automatically think you are an expert in the area.

I'm both happy and sad to say that it seems like the topic of sexual abuse is becoming "trendy" to write and talk about in the chardei world. Unfortunately because of this people who do not specialize in working with survivors are looking as if they are experts in an area they know little about. Survivors are beginning to scan the Internet looking for safe people to communicate with. When they see an article written by a rabbi, some will automatically think that you know what you are talking about, that you might actually be able to help them.

People like you end up referring survivors to people who do not really have the experience in working with survivors. People like you often refer survivors to one of your buddies. Anyone can say they have the experience and in reality they don't.

What happens is that inexperienced therapists end up shaming and blaming the survivor. I've seen this happen time and time again. I would have no problem with you writing articles as long as you referred survivors to rape crisis center's in their area. Unfortunately the therapists you mention in your article really don't have the experience needed. They jumped on the bandwagon without the knowledge needed. Just become someone is a frum therapist does not make them qualified to work with survivors.

Too many complaints come from survivors who attempted to utilize the services of Ohel. They don't have therapists who have the right qualifications. The inexperienced therapists end up play head games with the minds of survivors instead.

I also want to add that in this article you wrote, you never even mentioned incest survivors. An incest survivor grows up without having anyone they can go to within a family.

Once again, I'm glad that the topic of child sexual abuse is being talked about. The problem is that you should be researching your information by contacting those who are really experts in the field, and not by those who are pretending that they are experts.

www.jewishsurvivors.blogspot.com


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33. Pamphlets     1/6/07 - 11:04 PM
Anonymous

You can find several pamphlets and articles that you can download for free on The Awareness Center's web page.

www.theawarenesscenter.org/awarenessarticles.html


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34.     1/7/07 - 7:45 AM
Anonymous


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35. How do we recognize symptoms?     1/7/07 - 10:41 AM
E Stern - estern@ytc.edu

How do mechanchim recognize symptoms of this type of abuse as opposed to emotional or verbal abuse?


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36.     1/7/07 - 6:39 PM
Anonymous

Visit jsafe.org and contact Rabbi Mark Dratch for answers to any questions you may have.


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37.     1/7/07 - 11:38 PM
Anonymous

I contacted Dratch and felt like he gave me the run around. After the second call with him I couldn't stop crying. I called Rabbi Blau after that and felt like he understood me and my situation.


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38.     1/8/07 - 1:38 AM
A Survivor

My sex offender is someone I called "tatty". I also feel my mother was also to blame. The reason why I say that is because I'm sure she was aware of what was happening.

I'm having a great deal of trouble trying to have some sort of relationship with Hashem, yet it's not working at all. I can't help but see Hashem as a sex offender. Can someone here help me with this? No one seems to have the answers in helping me see things from a different perspective.

I know that everyone's first impression of God comes from the relationship one has with their parents. I understand on an intellectual level that what my parents did to me was wrong, yet the child within me doesn't get it. I can't seem to separate out God from my father. Does anyone else out there have the same problem? If you do, how did you get past that?


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39.     1/8/07 - 1:49 PM
Baal Habayis

Anon. above, Rabbi Dratch's background is pulpit rabbi in Conn., and he writes academically-oriented articles about the sex abuse problem. He's chair of the RCA sex abuse committee, and operates JSafe. I think because he has an "establishment" background, he's somewhat limited in what he can say and do. Rabbi Blau, who seems older, has been Mashgiach Ruchani, student spiritual advisor, at RIETS for many years, the yeshiva division of Yeshiva University. He is also president of the Religious Zionists of America. I've heard him speak, and he seems to have some "gravitas". He also occasionally posts some very short, smart comments on various blogs. So your experience makes sense. Not all rabbis are suited for victim counselling.


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40.     1/8/07 - 7:26 PM
Anonymous

Hi Baal Habayis, What you said makes sense. The question is why would anyone call Dratch considering what you said? It sounds like he's part of the problem and not the solution. I've also spoken to both Dratch and Blau. It's a world of difference in the responses.

Rabbi Blau is such a mentch or I should really say Tzadik. I feel so honored each time he takes my calls and spends time talking things out with me. I can say the same thing about Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center. She spends the time listening and seems to know all the right resources for what ever it is I seem to need.


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41.     1/10/07 - 7:57 AM
Baal Habyayis

I understand. Everybody has their role. Both rabbbis are doing well what they are doing. The best people are the ones who are perfectfly truthful, and admit their limitations, and errors, I feel. You just don't find that too often.


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42. Free help for abuse booklet???!!!??????????????????????????????????     1/22/07 - 4:12 PM
Anonymous

What free help for abuse booklets?????? I have a daughter with a retardation and was looking for resources to teach her to be carefull. (This is the MOST abused population.) Have you ever looked on the internet how much these type of things cost????????????????????? They cost a LOT, and if they charge so much, I doubt that they will start giving stuff away free. And besides, how can he post it for down load? You want kids getting to it WITHOUT their parents involvement???? If cheders won't allow it. he can't really post it either. It has to be sold dirrectly to parents....


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43. to survivor     2/14/07 - 10:03 PM
Anonymous

A period of irreligiosity might be good for you... it was good for me. I decided to pretty much ignore or deny god. Every time I was really disturbed and horrified, I would think to myself, "Don't worry, there really is no god!" and go about my merry life. (you need not make drastic changes in lifestyle either...)I thought this might last me until the end of my life but it lasted less than two years until I developed a different concept of god- but without pressuring myself to do so. Give yourself slack and see what happens.


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44.     2/16/07 - 2:09 AM
Anonymous

to the individual who has a child who is challenged,

Are you aware of the resources on The Awareness Center's site for those who are intellectually challenged?

theawarenesscenter.org/mentallychallenged.html

here's information for those who are deaf or blind www.theawarenesscenter.org/deaf.html

here's information for those who have physical challenges www.theawarenesscenter.org/physicallychallenged.html


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45. rabbi horowitz needs to speak to a posek     5/27/07 - 1:06 PM
Anonymous

please tell me rabbi horowitz what the age of consent is according to the torah? do we follow state law? so halachicly someone in ohio is innocent but in new york he is guilty if he has sex with a 16 year old? if a man is 18 and his girlfriend is 16 is he a child molester? what if hes 17 and shes 16? (in new york hes guilty but in NJ hes innocent) what if he's 55 and shes 17? (in new york hes innocent but in new jersey hes guilty). rav elyashev in his tshuva was talking about minors by torah law, girls under 12 and boys under 13. how do you justify your advice from a torah perspective?


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46. Mondrowitz     11/16/07 - 6:33 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

Dear Readers:

As widely reported in the secular press,

NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/16/nyregion/16molest.html?_r=2&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

and Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/924568.html

there is movement to extradite Mondrowitz from Eretz Yisroel to face prosecution for his serial abuse of countless children.

Here is my question: "Should our mainstream frum papers report this and discuss it?"

I welcome your comments.

Yakov Horowitz

--------------------

BTW; here is what I wrote about the matter of our community's free pass to Mondrowitz in the above column -- which was published in the Jewish Press a year ago:

"I cannot understand why members of our community are not willing to report the criminals who are selling drugs to our kids directly to the police. This is, in my opinion, a misplaced application of the concept of mesirah. Ten years ago, I asked our leading gedolim if I should pass along information to the police regarding drug pushers. I got a unanimous psak that drug dealers have the full status of a rodef (one who poses life-threatening danger to others), and that I have not only the right, but also the obligation to do everything in my power to have them arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In my opinion, there is no substantive difference between a drug pusher and a child molester. Let the system work and let’s finally start protecting our children before there are any more shattered lives and suicides.

I think it is a terribly sad statement that an individual who sold non-kosher food in my hometown of Monsey ran for his life the moment the story broke and was not seen since, while a fiend who molested both Jewish and non-Jewish children in Boro Park is living comfortably in Jerusalem while evading extradition. I am most certainly not promoting or condoning vigilante violence. But it would be a positive step forward when accused child molesters in our community need to ask for police protection for fear of being harmed by righteously indignant people.

Incredibly, in that case, only the non-Jewish parents pressed charges. Here is text from a Nightline article on the subject: “The only victims that cooperated with the investigation were Italian. They were neighborhood boys who trusted the rabbi because he bought them gifts like bicycles. Not a single Orthodox Jewish boy or their parents would talk to the police. The statements of four Italian boys, aged 11 through 16, were the basis for the indictment against Avrohom Mondrowitz. He was facing eight counts of sexual abuse in the first degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and five counts of sodomy in the first degree.”

I ask, “Are Jewish children less sacred and worthy of protection than are non-Jewish children?”


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47.     11/16/07 - 8:40 AM
Mrs. H.

In response to your question, please see my first post here - comment #1.

also - can you remove rude response #5 please?


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48.     11/16/07 - 8:56 AM
yoni

anon, my suspicion is that dina d'malchusa dina comes in to play here, especialy because that question heavily is based in social perceptions.

It is, more than likely increadibly complex.

my suspicion is that there is more than enough sfaikus in order to justfiy taking him before court however.

and remember, halacha is not unanimus about the age of majority, even though we have long standing custome to be linient about the matter. The halachic oppinion with origional primacy stated 20 for boys.


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49. Awareness site     11/17/07 - 2:30 PM
Ak

Hi, http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/legal.html#Letter scroll a third down for the rabbi Dratch article The Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse of Children

Mrs H - Your questions were already answered by posters here - check the article as well.

As far as the question whether to publish the extradiction story in the frum press , it is my humble opinion that if it is already in the media , I would publish. As mentioned in the Dratch article , the chilul hashem of not reporting maybe greater than the chilul Hashem of reporting , it means these issues don't really bother us and that is not good for our good name. Chazal tell us that we can tell a person by his Ka'as - which may be explained as follows - you can tell a person by looking at what issues make him angry . By trying to protect our good name , we will not protect our children and cause a chilul Hashem that we could not be bothered


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50. Mondrowitz and the other guy     11/18/07 - 7:23 AM
tb

Years ago when I was hanging out with some at-risk teens (I personally considered myself not at-risk, just having fun) the boys I knew spoke of this Mondrowitz guy and another man whose name I will not mention here who ran away to Israel after molesting dozens of high school boys. They were angry, very angry. And powerless. Occasionally, they spoke of revenge for what was done to...their friends. I was young. I didn't think too much about it. As an adult looking back on those years, I was able to see clearly why most of the gang was "at-risk" to begin with and it was as I always say: learning disabilities, divorce, molestation, father a Rav and kid not fitting the mold or a combo of these. Should this guy pay? Yeah. Simply because he never did. Should it be publicized? Yeah. To give a clear message to the possibly at-risk adults that know him that the frum world is not okay with what happened to them. Find your way in Frumkeit--is the message. There is a place for you with us.


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51. TB is correct!     11/18/07 - 7:46 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

TB:

to validate your comment; this is something that i keep hearing from off-the-derech or dispirited-barely-frum adults, "Why are we so worried about public perception and not protecting our children?"

I've lost track of the endless times that i've heard that.

and i have no answer. there is none.

one comment that still sticks in my mind was years ago from a non-frum, never-frum therapist who asked me, "Rabbi; isn't your community so child-centered?" How can you guys allow this (sexual abuse) to keep happening to your kids?"

His question still hangs there unanswered.


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52.     11/18/07 - 2:18 PM
Mrs. H.

Ak- which posts answer my question with halachic sources?


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53. Sources     11/19/07 - 1:59 AM
AK

Mrs H, IMHO posts 6,9 and the articles on the awareness site answer your questions. In a nutshell the issue here is one of rodeif and concerns for the future and safety of people are taken into account. Also a Beis Din may act on the evidence of kids and women , other circumstantial evidence to clarify - birur - the situation and act upon it.


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54. a request for Mrs. H.     11/19/07 - 4:21 AM
tb

Mrs. H, this is a unique medium which allows for all kinds of comments. You are asking for a Halachic Pesak that would allow communal backing of this man being prosecuted. I would surmise then that you are comfortable speaking of Halacha in this forum. I then ask you to please ask your personal Rav about the Halachic implications of this choice to prosecute and post them here. You may leave out the name of the Rav if you wish. I would just like to see you make the phone call, make the effort in respect for the victims to ask the Shayla yourself. And, no malice, Mrs. H. Just wondering why you place the onus on others.


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55. for Mrs. H. from a fellow non-survivor     11/19/07 - 4:25 AM
tb

What do we non-survivors owe the victims? (I'm going to make the leap here for everyone and assume that you, Mrs. H, are not a survivor). I believe we owe it to them to express our doubts privately to our Rabanim if we are uncomfortable with the prosecution years later of their assailants. The acts we speak of are violent in nature. I believe for many years, American society mislabeled and misunderstood rape to be an act--not of violence--but of desire. That is not the case, as we know today. While you personally do not have physical proof that these acts of violence occurred, you do have the Achrayus to not cause the victims further pain by pushing your agenda here without consulting with your own Rav and posting his opinion.


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56.     11/19/07 - 1:45 PM
Mrs. H.

I think Rabbi Horowitz needs to present a halachic basis for his article. What my personal rav says is immaterial. This is not my blog, not my article.

I find your comment presumptuous and offensive. There is no reason to personalize this discussion.

Ak - where can I see Rabbi Elyashiv's psak?

As for reporting to the police, so this article was addressed to victims of molestation? If a person him/herself was not a victim, and did not witness the act, then they have nothing to report, and they would need to encourge the victim to report? As I asked in the first comment: If a molester is not caught in the act, how do you propose people press charges? This is very different than witnessing drug sales and finding treif meat in a butcher store.


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57. sources     11/19/07 - 4:04 PM
Ak

Mrs H, If you check the awarenesscenter site - click on 6 , then 6 , there is plenty of info - a statement by the Vaad Harabonim of Baltimore etc and more , Tshuvos etc. Also the article mentioned in 9 from Jlaw.com mentions Rav Elyashiv. Your question if I remmeber correctly is dealt with by Chazal - the very nature of sexual or other abuse is secretive and people are not caught in the act so how does society protect itself. So Chazal through their Takanos can use children or women as eidei birur , use circumstantial evidence and act upon it to protect society in the future. The focus is not on punishing the criminal - but we want a detterrent and not to let dangerous people be on the loose. So any good police force on hearing about a criminal offence or claims brought against a man by a kid would investigate and decide whether to charge the man and go to court. The psak is to report to the police suspected abuse. Tb - I don't consider Mrs H is placing the onus on me to prove that what we are encouraging is Halachically acceptable but sees the forum as a place of learning. Her question contributed much to my understanding of a complex and disturbing issue


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58. getting personal, please read Mrs. H.     11/19/07 - 7:51 PM
tb

Mrs. H, I believe as I said earlier that public support and publicizing of the name of the perpetrator helps adult survivors feel anonymously supported by the Klal. I believe that is what this article and others like it does. It is--for those of us who know people in pain and work with them--a form of Hatzalos Nefashos, of elevating the Ruach of a member of Klal Yisroel. I understand that you are concerned with his providing a Psak. I do not approach Daas Torah the way that you do. Daas Torah has evolved into something it did not used to be. Many people greater than myself argue the point better than I ever can. I wanted you to understand that you made it personal when you asked for the evidence of a Rav's Psak. That is your personal need and I do know that you think it is a given. It is not. And, my point was that your comments may be causing pain to readers here. You will probably not understand that. Carry on as you think you must.


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59.     11/20/07 - 11:04 AM
Mrs. H.

Assumptions again. You know nothing about my thoughts about daas Torah. Asking for a halachic basis for a position has nothing to do with daas Torah. On the contrary. The term daas Torah is commonly used for views that are not halachic in nature. If the view is halachic, it is a psak halacha.

If you think that asking Rabbi Horowitz for the halachic basis for his article was a personal question asked because of a personal need, then we have different definitions for the term "personal."

In short, we don't seem to be speaking the same language.


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60. To Mrs H, with Ahavas Yisroel and a bit of Kanaus on my part     11/28/07 - 9:28 AM
tb

Nope. We most certainly are not. And that is the point. The divisions that exist currently in Klal Yisroel, the malaise is a direct result of this kind of disconnect that exists here between us. Like I said, you will probably not understand my point.

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