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Caring Enough to Dissent "A"
Who are the True Patriots?
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Mishpacha Magazine

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6/4/08

Four-Star General Eric Shinseki’s abrupt and stunning fall from grace among the civilian military leaders of the Bush administration in the months leading up to the Iraq War is the subject of this column. I feel that it contains profound lessons for us as our growing kehila kedosha explores parameters for the public discussion of pressing communal issues in these trying times.

Eric K. Shinseki graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1965, quickly rose through the ranks of the U.S. Army, was promoted to General in June 1997, and became the Army’s 34th chief of staff on June 22nd, 1999. After an extraordinary career in the Army, however, Eric was forced to retire in less than ideal circumstances in June, 2003. The ‘sin’ General Shinseki committed that earned him the disfavor of President Bush’s inner circle was his courageous stand in publicly stating that far more troops and resources were needed by the American military in order to secure Iraq and transition it to a vibrant democracy.

On February 28th, 2003, The New York Times reported that, “Mr. Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark." Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed articles in several newspapers asserting that Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction at $60 billion to $95 billion. (For the record, current long-term estimates of the War’s cost range from $1 trillion to $3 trillion dollars.)

Many months later, A Newsweek story titled, “ERIC WAS RIGHT,” notes that “The personality clash between Shinseki and Rumsfeld was well known. Shinseki had a reputation as a quiet, reserved officer, while Rumsfeld had a history of his tough questioning and "wire-brushing" senior officers. (A senior Army officer described Rumsfeld’s wire-brushing as "chewing them out, typically in a public way that's demeaning to their stature.")

Eric paid a steep price for his principled stand. He quickly fell into disfavor with senior administration officials and was either asked, encouraged or forced to resign, depending on whom one asks. In a “highly unusual move,” The Washington Post reported, Pentagon officials informed the press fourteen months before Eric’s retirement that his replacement had already been selected, undermining the General’s authority. And in another departure from tradition, no senior administration officials attended his retirement ceremony.

Why all the talk about General Shinseki? Because, from my vantage point, I see striking and frightening parallels between the conduct of Bush administration officials and the attitudes of many members of our community as it pertains to having candid discussions about the challenges we collectively face.

Instead of lauding the caring and knowledgeable individuals who offered diverse and dissenting opinions, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz shunned, ignored and “wirebrushed” them – repeatedly accusing them of being unpatriotic. The result was a headlong rush into a disastrous war without the careful evaluation and reflection that may have avoided the horrific carnage that ensued, the effects of which will haunt us for decades.

Sadly, I keep seeing this pattern of thinking in our kehila as well, where people who respectfully attempt to draw our collective attention to pressing communal problems are accused of spreading negativity and displaying a lack of “patriotism.”

Look; we all know that there are many very real issues that are practically begging to be addressed—really addressed, not merely managed. The elitism that is needlessly driving more and more of our mainstream, average sons and daughters (according to recent studies, fifty percent of children are below average) to at-risk schools or to the streets because they cannot meet criterion or keep schedules that few adults can. The exponentially growing instances of abuse and molestation. The lack of parnasah that is draining the simchas hachayim and shalom bayis from so many homes. The crushing, unbearable burden being carried by so many 50-and-60-year olds who are supporting several families at an age when they should be retiring or at least winding down. The horrific acts of violence perpetrated by members of our community on others that do not meet their standards or chumros. On and on.

What is most troubling is that we seem to be lurching from crisis to crisis without any substantive discussion of strategic, proactive solutions that could improve things.

Why? Because many of the soft-spoken “Erics” among the members and even leaders of our kehila are reluctant to engage in such long overdue dialogue due to the very real fear that they will be “wirebrushed” or worse by kanayimfor daring to mention that we are not superhuman, flawless beings or for promoting appropriate Torah hashkafos that are different than theirs. And I fear that as long as this mindset continues, things will never improve.

Thirty years ago, perhaps the premiere “Eric” of our generation, Rabbi Abraham Twerski, received numerous death threats for speaking publicly about spousal/child abuse and kids at risk. How ironic it is that, to my knowledge, none of the recent high-profile accused or convicted pedophiles in our kehila needed protection from such threats, while Rabbi Twerski paid the price for being decades ahead of his time and for caring enough to stick his neck out and saying what needed to be said.

Sixty years ago, our charedi kehila was a small, start-up enterprise. Since then, we have, with the chesed of Hashem, grown and thrived beyond the wildest dreams of our leaders of two generations ago. But along with the growth comes the need to discuss and address the problems we collectively face as we expand and face the changing world of today and tomorrow. Not from a position of weakness, but rather with the self-confidence and maturity of having arrived.

Condemning the “Erics” for their courage to dissent and empowering the “wirebrushers” to intimidate and be hostile to them will only lead us down the road to ever-growing misery and the creation of problems that are increasingly difficult to solve.

© 2008 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

Recommended reading:

They Do Not Represent Us

Enough is Enough

You Might End Up Dead



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1. Where have you been all my life?     6/5/08 - 3:10 AM
Goosebumps!

Could it be that the Rov is endorsing a UOJ approach? I believe it is very fair to say (while there may be other criticisms of him) that he represents the antithesis of falling into the trap of "Ericism". He speaks out about our problems, ignores the kannaim and the wirebrushing, exposes the people who should be afraid for their lives, and opens one of the only forums (until now, right here), for people to express their deepest feelings and most creative and daring ideas for addressing the enormous overwhelming problems facing Judaism.

I feel like this latest post is a watershed moment and will go down in Jewish history as such.

Can you imagine, if what you have just written, dear Rabbi Horowitz, VERBATIM became the keynote address at the Agudah Convention this year. Instead of the good old attack UOJ? If you could pull that off, you have my vote for Mashiach.

Seriously, in order to even dream of something like that happening, maybe you could respond to the following questions in all seriousness:

Which part of what you wrote CANNOT be publicly agreed upon by our Gedolim?

Why is it?

Is it because:

A) Our Gedolim, while wonderful people, just don't get it???

B) They understand, but are too afraid that all hell will break loose if they make any calls for change? Do they think for example that admitting that Torah Tmima is not the safest place for a Jewish child to learn Torah would somehow bring a massive exodus to Christianity or Buddhism?

C) Is it the "kannaisha baal habatim" or "askanim" or spokesmen and lawyers of Agudas Yisroel (not mentioning names) that somehow use their sophisticated manipulations of our leaders to lead them astray because some of these "professionals" are actually cruel and evil megalomaniacs?

D) It doesn't make sense to say that it all comes down to money. Firstly, none of these gedolim are personally wealthy, or at least not the majority of them. Second, the money is going down the drain with the current system, anyway, so why not fix it? How many multi million dollar lawsuits against yeshivas will it take until someone in position of power says "Oops"?

E)Could it be that the gedolim doubt their own power? Don't they realize that wagging of their fingers and a flourish of signing their names, they were able to wreak havoc on people's lives and livelihoods by "banning" a music concert at MSG?

I've read books on the Catholic Church crisis and how it developed and got so out of hand. But I am still completely baffled at how our system got so broke and how nobody is willing to do the bare minimum to change it.

Let me explain just by way of one example. Sice UOJ decided to try to stop Rabbi Yuddi Kolko from molesting Jewish children, these are the different approaches that have been tried:

1. Internet exposure 2. Mass mailing in Brooklyn 3. News media publicity in New York magazine 4. Multi-million dollar lawsuits 5. Criminal prosecution leading to a guilty plea for "endangering the welfare of children"

And it continues. We can hope for Kolko to be eventually convicted and jailed. We can hope for the Yeshivah to be held accountable and to be "forced" to admit and change. But still at the end of the day, Yudi Kolko (after his jail sentence) will still pose a horrible threat to Jewish children as long as our communities leaders continue to keep silent and to deny. "One slipped through our fingers".

However, without all of these years of pain and suffering and heroic efforts on the part of the survivors and their advocates, fighting an uphill battle, all it would take, and all it ever would have taken, and of course its not to late...

is for even a few of the 30+ rabbis who signed the Lipa-gate ban to sign a similar one saying simply "Jewish parents should not allow their children to be anywhere near Yuddi Kolko". No more. No more. No explanation of the danger necessary, so you don't have to offend any laws of tznius or worry that the children will "be exposed to sex education, chas v'shalom, rachmana litzlan". You don't have to "destroy Kolko's family" (which have still been doing nice shidduchim as they should since they are not criminals)the way the ban threatened to destroy the lives of Lipa Shmeltzer and anyone who participated in his Satanic concert.

Just say "Better keep the kids away." No questions would need to be asked or answered. The gedolim till this day have never needed to explain the Lipa ban. Totally unnecessary. They just did what they thought was right and "Tzadik goyzer V'Hakadosh Baruch Hu Mekayem". So the same would be true for the dangers (not as bad possibly as the Lipa concert) but definitely a danger that any Gadol could see, of Kolko, Mondrowitz, Eiseman, Layzerovitz, Mattis Weinberg, Aron Tendler, etc. The "kala dlo passik" in all these cases is there. Where is the "koyl koreh?"

"All it takes for evil to be victorious, is for good men to do nothing."


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2. P.S.     6/5/08 - 3:25 AM
goosebumps

I would have signed my real name, but look what happened to poor Eric!


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3. Very powerful     6/5/08 - 7:26 AM
Yardena - EY

Boy, Rabbi, you really know how to sock it between the eyes. You know why? Because you're absolutely right.

One of your strongest points was that the high-profile pediphiles (and presumably their supporters) didn't need protection, but that the brave and wise Rabbi Twerski did. He is one of my favorite Yidden and I was shocked to hear he'd actually gotten death threats.

Nice post, Goosebumps.


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4. Leadership Challenge     6/5/08 - 4:44 PM
Anonymous

My dear Rabbinic colleagues,

1] We as a society are unable to come to terms with the state of our religion. As a result these special people are marginalized or expelled from leadership positions in order to maintain the status quo. However, the responsibility of leadership demands one to stand up for what’s right regardless of the repercussions.

2] Too many families are torn apart as a result of abuse. Once abuse has been sown into the fabric of a family it takes tremendous effort to eradicate it. Otherwise this behavior will become a part of family lore and tradition. Abuse is sadly a fact of life in all societies. The US court system has numerous laws and statutes in place to minimize the spread of this terminal illness. Abuse happens in the Orthodox community as well. Despite the outer trappings of a religious family, hideous abuse is happening behind closed doors. When we witness child abuse we must rise up to defend the innocent victim. If a child is abused in public, one can only imagine what happens at home. We have to open our hearts to the abused to enable healing to take place.

3] The rabbinic leadership must figure out which battles to fight. It’s impossible to wage war on all fronts. We must create a hierarchal structure of concerns to be addressed, a triage if you will:

· Fabric of society: molestation, abuse, extortion, etc. destroy the norms of society and create an unsafe environment. These behaviors must be dealt with honestly, forcefully and urgently. · Laws unique to Jews: Shabos, Kashrus, Taharas Hamishpacha make us unique as a nation. Basic morality should come before what makes us outstanding. · General laws: lashon hara, etc. enhance our daily lives. Yet this has been used as a reason by us to shirk our responsibilities to our constituents. Shame on us.

We have all read and were saddened and stunned by reading stories of serios abuse in our communities. It is time to rally to the side of and support these unfortunate victims. We must demonstrate through our actions that this is not the way a Jew is supposed to act. What was done to these victims is an abomination.

This week we read the birchas cohanim. “Hashem should bless you and watch over you. He should light the way for you and guide you. He should turn his face to you and give you peace.”

Let the healing begin!


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5. I hate this article     6/5/08 - 5:47 PM
RG

Since you are being civil about your points, I wonder whether I may say that I think you are completely wrong. The problem with a blog such as this is that you DON'T have a dialogue going with people who refuse to use internet, and you DON'T understand what they are doing and why.

So talking about why "Rabonim don't Get it" is not only naive, it's also narrowminded. How do you know that they don't "get it". How do you know that the "it" that YOU have got is a significant "it" - that is, you're complaining about a Shidduch/abuse/off the derech crisis and are quite sure that open discussion is a frank way of brainstorming and a healthy way to a successful solution. Well. Not everyone agrees about that. I for one don't think that talking about it any more is helpful, I don't think bashing Rabbonim as the source of all evil is helpful, nor does it provide a conducive attitude to people actually approaching these gedolim privately and openmindedly hearing their opinion.

No, the Rabbis are not narrowminded, nor are they unaware. Some Rabbis are askanim, like the Imrei Emes about whom I read in the Mishpacha, and some spend their main focus helping many Jews keep the general derech in the right direction, like banning Lipa, and being available for and promoting a system in which Halachic Shaylos are answered, and other Shaylos have an address (and doing a lot of other important things that you are chosing to ignore).

Why does every Rabbi have to be the same, have the same arsenal of tools, and see the problems in the same light, and use the same methods for dealing with them? If you want to disparage any Rabbi who sees things differently, and does things differently from yourselves, I guess it's your human right to choose who you look up to. I look up to the Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel and the US and UK, and I don't believe they have their heads in the sand. Some may be more clued in, some a little less so, they are all learning, just like you and I are. This generation presents a learning curve for everyone.

The halacha is that a person who just made a certain brocho can't answer amen to someone else making that brocho a moment later. It's as if he's saying "I appreciate that Hashem made apples, um do I? oh Amen, yes I do". It's rude. Similarly, if a Rabbi bans Lipa but does not ban Kolko, I mean, isn't it obvious? Lipa's concert seems OK to many Frum Americans. That's why you need someone objective to say "No, this is going too far in the wrong direction. You're taking music to new heights (or should I say, new lows)" Yet to ban Kolko is making fun of the Torah. If a Rabbi has to ban him, it actually gives him credence.


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6. Which planet are you describing with your halachic analysis?     6/5/08 - 6:54 PM
To the one who hates

"If a rabbi has to ban Kolko it gives him credence?" On this planet, not some but ALL rabbis either participated in covering up for him, refused to believe his victims for 40 years, continue to honor the person who knowingly employed him without considering the POSSIBILITY that he might be dangerous to Jewish children, completely endorse sending children to this same school, allow Kolko to continue to live peacefully in a Jewish community without demanding he go to therapy, apologize to his victims, develop a safety plan, etc.

One big rabbi has gone on record publicly stating that since there was no sexual penetration the children were not really hurt. (If the quote is not true, I assume he would have been so shocked and hurt that he was quoted that way, he would have sued the magazine, or at the very least writte an explanatory letter to the editor.)

Many, many people who are fine ehrliche Jews living in the frum community in which I reside believe that Kolko is innocent and should be reinstated in his job. The fact that he is claiming that the D.A. settled for a weak plea bargain proves his innocence, is working wonders for those who want to be "dan l'chaf zcus" a rabbi and beloved teacher to many.

So in what way exactly would it be helping him if the Gedolim told the truth about him, and in some ....ANY way censored, banned, condemned the horrible abuse of power that the yeshivah and its hanhalla inflicrted on the victims by threatening them, silencing them, refusing to listen to them, minimizing their pain, and continuing for 40 years out of sheer arogance to keep Jewish children directly in the line of fire?

Talk about clueless. Maybe if you would get a clue, you wouldn't hate Rabbi Horowitz's argicles so much. Hatzlacha with that.


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7. It is really just crying out to them     6/5/08 - 7:14 PM
Here we go again with the Gedolim bashing

One way to view the problem:

After the horrible situation in which a rabbi endorsed a parent forcibly sending his child to a seriously abusive "boot camp" school in Jamaica, there was an ad that appeared as a public service announcement saying that "parents should not send their children to such schools."

It was honorably signed by Rabbi Twersky, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky, and Dr. David Pelcowitz, Ph.D.

The problem:

Many Jewish parents interpreted this to mean that simply that they should not send their children to GOYISHE schools which encourage and allow child abuse, and where like Rabbi Horowitz has pointed out, there are no professional psychologists on staff, and no policies outlined that protect children from abuse. Because Goyim abusing our children while serving non-kosher food, and making them be mechalel shabbos is unacceptable.

The OBVIOUS "diyuk" is that if you send your child to a "Chashuve Yeshivah" like Torah Tmimah or Ner Yisroel or Ger Mesivta then that is fine. It is noble. It is a wonderful environment with every hechsher of the "Gedolim" who agree to sign bans with the heads of these yeshivas. The fact is that these schools also don't have professional psychologists working there, and also don't have policies and safety plans to protect children. Adrabba, they of course have extremely sophisticated plans for protecting molesters, (in order to deny the problem exists and face reality) in which the offending rebby is either A) placed on administrative leave after 40 years of allegations of abuse (YTT), B) "retired" and allowed to stay on campus and not sent to treatment, without any warning to the parent/student body after decades of allegations of abuse (Ner Israel), or C) thrown a good-bye party and shown apprectiation for being a wonderful "mechanech" as he moves onto greener pastures in Eretz Yisroel (Gerrer Mesivta).

When will Rabbi Kaminetsky, David Pelcowitz and Rabbi Twersky use the clout and the honorable reputations they have to tell it like it is: That sending your kids to these yeshivas at this point (while they have refused to take responsibilty about these issues) is just as bad morally as sending your kid to a boot camp is religiously. A previous poster explained beautifully that derech eretz kadma Latorah. If your child is taught to keep shabbos and kashrus and to learn shas b'iyun, but at the same time they are taught that child abuse is tolerated in ANY form (physicl, sexual or emotional) then what have we really created....a self destructing society. Does anybody really believe deep down that this is what the Troah wants from us????


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8.     6/6/08 - 4:35 AM
RG

I don't know Eric, and I don't know his motives. It turns out he was right in his unpopular forcast of how to win the war. I don't know what his opposition's motives were in silencing him.

Even though he squealed about something which retrospectively is seen to be the obvious truth, what he did not accomplish is to enable that truth to be accomplished in a timely manner. Thus just perhaps one can suggest that Eric's hidden motives were showing off, over the very important issue of money and soldiers lives in Iraq. Even though he lost his job and fame over it. The reason I suggest this is because if he had been serious about really caring about his fellow taxpayer's money and US soldier's lives (not to mention that of the Iraqis) he would have tried more effective means than just unpopularly squealing about it. So either he just wanted to show off and be able to say "I told you so", or he was naive about how important his word was to George W (and that George W just didn't take him seriously by mistake), or Eric didn't realize that the upper echelons also don't care about tax payers money and people's lives.

What do we learn from all this? That if you don't like someone's message that the messenger gets attacked, and that that's what happened to Eric, and to Rabbi Twerski, and to anyone who dares speak up? Or do we learn that people who truly care will do more than speak up. They will learn more about the situation, explore different ways to deal with it, practically and emotionally reach the right people - as opposed to just blaming the right people for making all the wrong decisions - and actually make a difference.


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9.     6/6/08 - 8:35 AM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, do you have the guts to say this to the gedolim when you meet with them for aguda stuff? if not your a fake! if yes, what did they respond? you probobly will ignore this or remove it, or maybe say you don't have time for a complete responce. thats what you always do with real questions on your integrity.


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10. To Anon 9     6/6/08 - 8:53 AM
Tayere Yid

>Being that this is being published in Mishpacha and publicised in a public forum on the Internet, even if Rabbi Horowitz would not confront the "Gedolim" directly, how can you call him a fake? You don't the Moetses knows about these articles? He is a brave man, certainly braver than you and I.


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11.     6/6/08 - 10:01 AM
Cliff Notes on #5 & 8

Let's put RG's comments into perspective. On "The Greatest Threat" he stated his belief that parents and grandparents have the right to abuse their children.

Now, he is very concerned that Rabbi Horowitz is asking for people to fight the status quo. His idea is that if we don't talk about abuse or molestation it will somehow be forgotten. You see RG is is petrified that some nasty skeletons are aout to pop out of his family closet. Hence, his passionate advoacy against Rabbi Horowitz.


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12.     6/6/08 - 11:26 AM
Anonymous

I have to agree with first comment.RYH is basiclly becoming another OUJ.A word of caution to his followers.Although Rabbi Horowitz claims in responce to 'he has nothing nice to say' that he never insinuated that anything against Rabbonim he does say 'some parents don't get it'. A friend of mine who is psycholagist with both a jewish and nonjewish clientel commented to me that although his nonjewish clients usually have much more legitimite complaints against their parents, his nonjewish clients don't have nearly the resentment for their parents his jewish clients do.He explained it(in a nutshell) that every frum kid grows seeing too much critisism of parents and feels resenting them or their hostile feelings are legitimite.So let me warn you.First they came for the Roshey Yeshiva,Then they came for the Rabbonim,and soon when they come for the parents...


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13. How can we help?     6/6/08 - 11:28 AM
Anonymous

I never knew Rabbi Twerski was threatened. That is the exact behavior of leaders of the Italian Mob and black and hispanic gang leaders. These people call themselves Jews? What a disgrace!

Can everyone start posting different kinds of ideas how we can implement changes?Some ideas will be related to donating money but other ideas need to be related to organizing groups of people to meet with Rabanim and other Jewish leaders to implements changes that we can all suggest.


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14. to 10     6/6/08 - 12:30 PM
Anonymous

the forum of this blog is very different then mishpocho. the way in which the comments make the article look much more anti, and they are not disputed or removed, while many anti rabbi h comments are removed is the reason that i beleive he is a fake and has no guts.


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15. Re: Comment 12     6/6/08 - 1:23 PM
A.R.P.

>>>A friend of mine who is psycholagist with both a jewish and nonjewish clientel commented to me that although his nonjewish clients usually have much more legitimite complaints against their parents, his nonjewish clients don't have nearly the resentment for their parents his jewish clients do.He explained it(in a nutshell) that every frum kid grows seeing too much critisism of parents and feels resenting them or their hostile feelings are legitimite. >>>

You bring up an excellent point. However, even in the MO community there is less resentment. Maybe it’s because there is less of a focus on Project Derech and Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation in school. Therefore, these kids are less intimidated to talk things out with their parents. Whereas the more yeshivish schools impress the Godliness and infalibility of parents and rabbonim. So when they are being mistreated they can only wallow in hatred until they finally break loose and go off the derech.

I’m 100% sure Rabbi Horowitz will agree about this.


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16.     6/6/08 - 1:36 PM
Benzion Twerski

This article is right on target for many reasons.

1 – The concept of PC (political correctness) is live and well in the frum community, even for those among us who are not computerized. A reasonable knee jerk reaction to hearing that a yid has been arrested is to seek his immediate release. This is generally seen as pidyon shvuyim, and some even spend money for this. This sounds praiseworthy. However, some of the people getting arrested are pedophiles or violent, and jail is a better place for them. The investigation to determine whether it is better or worse to leave them there is seldom done. For the most part, Rabbonim participate in the process to extricate yidden from being detained or incarcerated. Without passing judgment on Rabbonim, it is far too often that they take these actions without having investigated the matter well. Even more often is that their decisions do not have the input from those working with the cases, and they lack the background to understand many issues in context. These Rabbonim need to be informed and taught about them. This process has begun at quite a small scale. Agudas Yisroel, Ohel, Nefesh, other organizations, and various individual professionals have started processes to insure that Rabbonim receive the education needed to understand the facts of cases.

In Rabbonus, as in many professions, there is a concept of specialization. Not every Rov is competent to rule on every single aspect of halacha. That is just a fact. It should not be out of the purview of a Rov to direct someone to ask the sha’aloh of another Rov with that specific area of expertise. This would be proper, and sometimes a luxury – that a Rov with the required expertise is available. There are just some types of issues that land before Rabbonim frequently, and these demand that the Rov have the specialty or acquire it. However, how can one dare the question whether a Rov has the skill to respond to a particular question? These are the Eric’s in the article. These are the hamon am as well as the Rabbonim who are seen as rebels for implying that a Rov does not know kol hatorah kuloh.

By the way, the issur that was published about Tranquility Bay was simple and clear. If anyone wants to treat it like a piece of gemora and propose implications of it, recognize that the signatories did not discuss or propose any of them.

Additionally, my father, Rabbi Twerski shlit”a did need police protection for many of the lectures on domestic violence for a while after his book was published. Yes, his book was banned, and many seforim stores were instructed to not offer it for sale. The book contained no accusations, did not besmirch anyone, and never went into speculation of any kind. The subject matter was simple and clear, and facts were provided. I was also approached by people who feel that this book did a disservice to the community. All of these people were silenced when I asked them how they would respond if the victim involved was their own child. Someone else’s child needs to be treated as one’s own when help is needed. I do not know the sources of the threats, but the book bans involved Rabbonim, not activists.

The comment about attacking the messenger rings a bell. Some people apply that logic to Rabbi Horowitz because they don’t like the messages here.


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17.     6/6/08 - 1:59 PM
Anonymous

#15.The one person commented to me about the resentment in the frum world towards parents is not charedi nor are most of his jewish clients (as far as I know - he live OOT in a community with a very small population)


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18. font color     6/6/08 - 3:34 PM
anonymousfornow

Trivial this may be, but is there any way for the site to use a different color for the comments? It's a very difficult to read light blue. Kol tuv and gut yom tov.


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19. Pidyon Shvuyim     6/6/08 - 4:34 PM
steve - brooklyn, ny

Rabbi Twerski,

Your comments regarding the halacha of pidyon shvuyim are a welcome breath of fresh air in the blogosphere. However, your assertion that certain rabbonim are not clear regarding the halacha as it applies to certain dangerous criminals is baffling. If they are true rabbis, they should know this either from svara (logic) or from clear cut written halacha. I would not attribute their misguided compassion to ignorance. I think it's more about refusing to believe that a seemingly "frum" Jew, with all the chitzonyus of beard and hat, raising a properly observant family, could be a predator. They prefer to think that large groups of alleged victims got together and hatched vicious plots and conspiracies to destroy a seemingly ehrliche yid. It will take a long time to change these attitudes and misconceptions, but the work that people like yourself and Rabbi Horowitz gives us hope and a reason to be optimistic about the future.


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20. To Reb Bentzion     6/6/08 - 6:26 PM
Asher Lipner, PhD.

Unfortunately, I have to agree with the last post of Steve from Brooklyn, that Rabbanim cannot claim ignorance on many of these issues. I recently attended a lecture by a prominent Rov to a group of professionals, in which someone brought up the delicate issue of Rabbanim covering up for other Rabbanim in cases of clergy sexual abuse. The Rav defensively remarked that in all professions people cover for each other and gave the example of how it is impossible to get a doctor to testify against another one in a malpractice case.

To me this did not make sense on two levels. One, two wrongs don't make a right. The Torah has whole parshios dealing with Zaken Mamre, Navi Sheker, Asher Nasi Yecheta, etc. in which it tells the Rabbanim exactly how to deal with other rabbis who sin. No need to go by what other secular professions do just like we don't look to the secular world as a guide for ethics or morals on anything else. Unfortunately, sometimes the goyim get it even better than us, such as in the case of the governor of New York being forced to resign for illegal improer behavior, the boyscouts being forced to implement serious rigorous safety precautions against child sexual abuse, etc.

Secondly, it seems like the kind of hypocrisy that turns many teen-agers (and some adults) off the derech, that they are taught to respect Rabbanim much more than doctors or professionals, and then when Rabbanim abuse the power afforded them by this respect the Rabbanim are excused by comparing them to doctors who are "human". If this Rav is willing to teach young children that "Rabbis are people too" and do not deserve any kind of special trust or respect (and I'm NOT talking about the molesters who we teach our children to look out for), and that you cannot expect a rabbi to protect you against another rabbi who is hurting you, then ok. I suspect this is not what the Rov would want us to teach our children.

Rabbinic abuse, as opposed to ignorance has recently made it to the State Supreme Court in Albany in the case of a rabbi who seduced a woman with his "rabbinic counseling skills" telling her that to sin with him would help her according to the Torah. The question before the court is whether this was more than just an act of two consenting adults behind closed doors, or whether the rabbi abused his clerical authority in the nature of the relationship to hurt the woman. Doctors and therapists have been sued for less. The last President of the United States was impeached for lying about a similar abuse of power. I would think it a Kiddush Hashem if we held rabbis to the same standard, whether this woman wins her case or not.

As for the discussion of the ad about the bootcamp in Jamaica, I understood the writer who sounded disappointed in the signers to be pointing out the irony that even the outspoken members of our community are only ready to advise parents to keep their kids safe, as long as it does not involve criticizing a yeshivah.

In a post on Rabbi Horowitz's article on having "the talk" with your children before camp, I said basically the same thing. It is high time, (would you not agree?) for parents to be encouraged to have "the talk" with their children's yeshivas about responsible safety plans and prevention of coverups of sexual abuse. I'm sure such parental action would accomplish much more with yeshivahs than with non-jewish bootcamps.

Your father, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twersky, shlita, has done more, perhaps, than any individual alive, to promote the message of painful acknowledgment of the need to change our community. He has done it at great personal sacrifice and literally risked his life. Nobody could accuse him of shirking his duty in this regard, even if he would not want to be the one to publicly call for such action to change yeshivas. However, is there anyone at all who can do it? Rabbi Horowitz? Another Rabbi? Any Askanim with a lot of money? The Torah Umesorah has proposed guidlines for yeshivas, but far too few have implemented them because they feel no need to, since the parents have not demanded it. And nobody has encouraged let alone instructed parents to do so. What are we all waiting for? Where is Eric when you need him?

A couple of years ago, I pitched an idea to your father to have the Nefesh organization do something like this: Simply to offer a professional "hechsher"/ reccommendation to parents for certain yeshivas who act responsibly for children's safety. This too would not need to criticize or point fingers at anybody in particular, only to advertise the achievements from a mental healh perspective of those yeshivas who comply with basic guidelines of mental health from both a treatment and a prevention approach. When faced with two excellent yeshivas where all else was exactly equal, including stature, education, tuition costs etc., don't you think the endorsement of Nefesh or any group of respected professionals who understand safety issues would sway many parents and have them vote with their feet, sending a message to all yeshivas to then do the right thing? Talmudic Academy in Baltimore has already publicly instituted a system that has used cutting-edge, expert research psychological know-how as well as common sense to protect the children of that yeshivah.

Rabbi Twersky liked my idea very much and agreed to bring it up with the board of Nefesh. Apparently it was an idea ahead of its time, because it was not instituted most likely for politically correct reasons. I don't know for sure, but I think it is safe to assume that it would be frowned upon in our community for professionals to be giving advice to Rabbinic Mechanchim in public. It's one thing if we are lucky enough, as you say we are, for Rabbanim to consult and seek our expert opinions when asked a shayla l'halacha. But for us to offer suggestions to parents about which yeshivahs to send their children to, it would be considered out of line.

Ok, so we're back to square one: Who of any stature in the community would be able to get the message across in clear English/Yiddish?:

"PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO YESHIVAS OR BAYS YAAKOVS THAT ENABLE CHILD ABUSE.

Even if your child is lucky enough to be go unharmed, it is a terribe message to give them that their safety is less than paramount to you as their parents and to the Jewish community at large."

"Im ayn ani li, mi li? V'im ani L'atzmi mah ani? V'Im lo achshav Aymasay?"

A.L.


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21. The Wrong Half     6/6/08 - 7:02 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

We are paying a terrible price for 'sitting' on information that will help keep them safe. And this 'sheltering' is totally ineffective anyway.

WE ARE SHELTERING OUR CHILDREN FROM THE WRONG HALF!!

We are well-meaningly witholding important information from them in order to shelter them. It is not working. And they are left unprotected anyway.

2 simple examples:

1) The 3 drug runners in jail in Japan were duped into taking the bags because (that is the official story at least. I am unconvinced) they did not know that there are frum drug pushers. Why? Because we don't discuss it. Guys like me who do, are decried for doing so.

So our kids are not getting anti-drug information from rabbis, rebbeim and parents because "We don't want to give them ideas."

Is it working? You decide. Brooklyn is flooded -- flooded -- with frum drug dealers, selling coke and heroin not just pot. Don't trust me?? Ask any cop.

At the same time, any kid can go to the library, go online and see every type of shmutz there is.

So we are not really effective at protecting them from shmutz, but we are very effective at witholding information that can save their lives -- like the fact that there are frum drug dealers and WHY they should not do drugs.

2) It is MUCH worse with molestation information. There are simple, tzniyusdik ways to inform kids about abuse prevention

see here: http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=934&ThisGroup_ID=346&ID=Most%20Viewed&Type=Article

We don't talk about this in our homes or schools because we don't want to talk about these topics.

So; our kids are terribly at-risk for being abused, and, again, they are not really protected from shmutz.

The sex abuse/molestation is skyrocketing in the chassidish and very yeshivish community. I didn't write this publicly (yet), but my gut tells me that it is as high or higher in our kehilos than in the non-Jewish , secular or modern orthodox world. (The party line is that "Baruch Hashem it is lower, but it is still a problem.... I used to think so. I do not anymore)

Why? Because we are protecting them from THE WRONG HALF.

Imagine how many hundreds (really many thousands) of lives would have been saved had we listened and not supressed the words of Rabbi Dr. Twerski shlita over a generation ago.

And we have learned little in 30 years.

If I am to endure slings and arrows for standing with him, I will accept them with pride.

I get abuse calls each week that would make you lose your sanity.

We are headed for more and more of this, my friends, if we don't get our acts together.

Yakov Horowitz


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22. Abuse calls     6/6/08 - 7:23 PM
Asher Lipner, Ph.D.

Rabbi Horowitz,

If any of these calls need professional help with dealing with the emotional ramifications of abuse please send them to us at Tikvah at Ohel. We specialize in treating trauma survivors. We are currently starting our second therapy group for adult male survivors of sexual abuse, and we have already begun one for adult female survivors. And of course we offer individaul therapy and psychiatric services as well.

As for the slings and arrows, if you need any help you can send some my way too. If I can back you up in any way, it would mamash be an honor. Yasher Koach. Keep up the good work. Good Shabbos and Good Yomtov,

A.L.


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23. Ahavas Chaverim     6/7/08 - 6:46 PM
RG

Rabbi Horowitz,

you wrote "I get at least 5-10 abuse calls each week. Stories that would make you lose your sanity."

I am losing my sanity just thinking about it.

I am sorry if I came across as accusing yourself and Rabbi AJ Twerski of being wrong to speak up. I intended rather, that speaking up is not an effective way of dealing with denial. Ask Asher Lipner - if he have a patient in denial, does he really just shout louder? Get more frightening? I don't think that this is likely to be effective. In fact, it could create other, new problems.

Similarly, if the problem here is that Rabonim are in denial about this problem then you or I or all of us need to get an effective way to counter the denial. Speaking up without taking it a step further - getting change - is not enough.

According to your most recent comment, it seems that it's not that the problem affects ALSO JEWS, a good part of the problem is affecting ONLY JEWS. I think that this makes a lot more sense than "the outside culture seeping in". Yes, the outside culture is seeping in, but not because it is so pervasive. It's because we're opening specific doors to invite it. eg a combo of being too naive, in denial, power struggles, splitting ourselves like Jeckel and Hyde, etc.

Unconscious though it may be, I believe that people act intentionally - ie that some people want the Frum society to collapse, perhaps out of revenge for it not working for them. Thus the solution to the problem may not involve fighting back in this manner or that (forcing small classes, labelling acceptable institutions, etc.) These are just stop-gap measures and even possibly exacerbate the power struggle, or moving it somewhere else.

It's the heart that counts, it's the heart that could make every Jew care about every other Jew, about recognizing the wrongs of drug pushing and get the courage to find a better solution than addictions and molestation of the next generation. When the heart's in the right place you don't have to frighten people into co-operation.

We should be targetting helping every Frum heart, young or old, sinner or innocent to WANT to help Frum society to survive, and to improve. That means that Frumness has to work for each person, they have to enjoy indentifying with it and its values. K'ish echod b'lev echod.

I disliked your article because it raises awareness of the periphery of the problem, the results of the problem, the part that is getting your attention (and really would get everyone's attention if they faced what you face), but I'm still not convinced that it is the source of the problem. Also, the source will not be healed by just raising awareness of why it's important to raise awareness. That's only fixing a part of the problem, the denial aspect.

Here are two ideas about why we Jews specifically and now specifically have these issues:

Perhaps the source of the problem is a reaction to Moshiach not being here yet. By all accounts, he should be, but he isn't. So maybe it's a collective sigh of anguish and despair - perhaps he isn't really coming? We Jews are pretty resilient, but Moshiach not coming is a breaking point for many of us, and each acts out in different ways, cheating, anger, abuse, addictions, depression.

Additionally, for the first time perhaps since the Churban, we Jews have been given a ton of freedom. Free to spend money instead of time on kids. Free to indulge every wish and addiction. Free to laze around and still have plenty food. Free to have anger and victimize kids or parents, instead of dealing with the problem, taking inner control. Free to stay up all night on the web. Any music at our fingertips. Free to go off the derech, marry goyim with no societal repercussions. Free to abuse schoolchildren by giving them a syllabus with no individualized chinuch. free to eat nosh instead of healthy food. Free to become anorexic. Free to molest without anyone believing it has been done. Free to write rude emails. A million freedoms. And how do we respond?

Perhaps it's the final level of coming out of Egypt, when every single level of control has been lifted from us. We are now given a choice. Accept the Torah, and Hashem as our voluntarily accepted king, or not. Do we want Him?

Do we say na'aseh venishma or not? If yes, we say it in the plural, that we are accepting responsibility for EVERY SINGLE other Jew too. If no, then no.

A particular important point, to me at least, is as follows: Kavod HaTorah means thinking and speaking respectfully of people who have spent their days learning Torah, even if they have issues too with control or denial. Yes, we all have problems. Yes, we all need to grow. Not every molested teenager is completely innocent, yet our heart goes out to them, and not every denying Rabbi is guilty, and our hearts could extend to them too. Denial is only a subsection of a problem that affects every Jew on every level from their inner soul to their outer actions. Abuse, Shidduch crises, drug pushing, and OTD are similarly only a small part of the problem - the visible aspects.

The main problem is in regular people's (lack of) desire for a healthy society on every level, prepared to give of themselves for society and for G-d. These are things Rabbis actually do to a much greater level than most other people. If everyone would have the Ahavas Chaverim and Ahavas HaTorah that they have, these problems wouldn't exist. Perhaps that's a reason they seem to have denial.

I hope I've made my point, I hope everyone forgives me if I've offended them - you asked for open dialogue and in good faith I complied.

For the record, Cliff Notes, I'm not a he, but a she, and I never said nor implied that parents or grandparents have a right to abuse their children. If you want to see a negative agenda in my comments, that's your perogative, but I'm telling you, it's not true. I disagreed strongly with the thrust of the article, and I cared enough about Rabbi Horowitz and his noble work to tell him so.


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24. On #23     6/8/08 - 1:57 AM
Cliff Notes

In addition to his examples of "FREEDOM" RG makes some very interesting points:

• He is justifying in some perverted way how abusing or molesting a child is permitted. These disgruntled teens weren’t molested as teens, rather as children, who did NOTHING wrong.

• We as a community must accept sinners into our midst and accept the consequences of their actions, even though they are not required to take responsibility for their own actions.

• Moshiach not coming is to blame for cheating, abuse, anger, etc. NOT the other way around.

• People who go off the derech do it intentionally, (they make a hineni muchan!) to try to give Jews a bad name, not that they were harmed and have no place in Jewish society which shunned them.

How a "Jew" can think like this is unreal.


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25. testimony     6/8/08 - 10:52 AM
Anonymous

For those of you who are doubting rabbi horowitz: when i was in 7th grade i was sexualy abused by and older guy in school and a couple of years later i found out that there were 4 other kids in my class alone that were also abused by this older guy.and sadly when this happens in MOST schools.so, for those of you who bash rabbi horowitz-open your eyes. rabbi horowitz,thank you for the great job your doing for our community and for klal yisroel.


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26. I didn't make this up     6/8/08 - 11:20 AM
Yakov Horowitz

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/990151.html

and

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1212041475139&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Police on Wednesday arrested two teen brothers from Bnei Brak - aged 16 and 17 - on suspicion that they raped and molested their three younger sisters, aged 9, 10 and 11.

A social worker who had been treating the family filed a complaint with police after she became suspicious that the girls were being molested, and following a conversation she had with the girls that confirmed those fears.

The two have been questioned, and police have also recorded testimonies from the girls, who repeated the allegations of rape and molestation. The deeds were allegedly committed over a period of several years.

The two brothers were brought to the Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday for an extension of their remand.

This was just in last week's papers. I predict that there will be many more cases like this with all the attention given to the 3 high profle charedi abuse cases.

I guess people will now write letters -- like the guy did to Mishpacha -- that I caused it since I've been writing about abuse.

I assume that these boys knew with ruach hakodesh that I would write about abuse when they did these horrible, unspeakable things to their sisters years ago.


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27. Don't worry Rabbi H., the truth is on your side, Hashem will help you.     6/8/08 - 3:31 PM
Asher Lipner, PhD.

I feel so bad for you, Reb Yankie that you feel attacked and blamed for the problems you are pointing out. Once again, if I can be of any help.

You mentioned that there are many who are eased by the "fact" that it happens less by us. I often tell people that the clergy abuse that occurs by Orthodox rabbis is most likely less than that occurs at the hands of Catholic Priests. However, when it comes to cover-up, they (the goyim) could learn a few things from us. I agree with you that while this phenomenon has not been studied by social scientists as of yet (because who among us wants to know the truth badly enough to fund such research?), most likely we do have more of the problem than many other (not all) communities. This is a logical "guess" based on the clear and obvious dynamic that abuse thrives in secrecy. As a molester once told me "we are only as sick as our secrets." There was, in fact, actually one study done recently in Bnei Brak by police, finding that cases of abuse (most often discovered by undercover law enforcement rather than by self report) exists there at a higher level than anywhere else in the Sate of Israel. They explained this finding by saying that it is NOT that there are more chareidi molesters, but rather that those that molest choose to live in Bnei Brak where they have free reign to commit their atrocities. They know that nobody will tell the authorities under any condition, regardless of Piskei halacha from Rav Elyashiv and most recently Rav Sternbuch saying that one should report.

Two points on your observation:

1) Even if it is true that there is less sexual abuse then in other communities, it baffles me to try to understand how this soothes anybody's worries. If we had gay marriages, but less than other communities, or we had suicide bombers, but less than other communities, or we had eating on yom kippur but less than other communities, would that feel ok? I know that we are certainly more tznius and keep a higher level of kashrus, and have much less immorality at concerts than other communities, but this does not for a minute stop our leaders from exhorting us to do better, from making proclamations, from issuing bans, from doing whatever is in their power to promote growth and change. So why is it ok to have child molestation as long as it is not as bad as in other communities? Unless it is not really viewed as such a bad thing. This shocking conclusion is also implied when a pominent rabbi is quoted in the secular press as saying that it is in fact not so bad, as long as there is no penetration. I don't know if he said it or not, but I have been looking for a long time in press and media, Jewish and non-Jewish, for a rebuttal, denial, explanation of what seems like a chillul Hashem. I really don't understand how our community could allow such a quote to be published without suing the publication. Or at the very least, a letter to the editor clarifying or denying this quote. To the outside world, at least, it appears that Chareidim do not consider sexual abuse to be a crime or a sin or a societal problem. This is also enforced by the fact that Agudas Yisroel and the Catholic church are the only two religious organizations that continue to fight in Albany against legislating mandated reporting by clergy. Elliot Passik, Esq., who has posted here before, said that he is humiliated when he lobbies for Jewish children's safety and is asked by the rest of the people in Albany, why he is the only Orthodox Jew doing so.

2) Since there are many people who believe that we do not have a serious problem, is there a more public way for you to get the message across? For example: A public debate between you, Rabbi Horowitz (and if you need support I and other professionals would join your team) and Rabbi Shafran and Marvin Shcick, or other respected community leaders who have gone on record minimizing the extent of the problem. We could debate whether "the orthodox community has a Catholic priest problem, and if so what needs to be done about it?"

Isn't it time that EVERYBODY gets to hear the truth? How else will it ever change? I think the debate format is good because it forces people to listen to the facts and the logical arguments. To read a post like your on the internet is not public enough and is easily dismissed. But when you have the "other side" confront what you are saying, and through the argument, the truth emerges, I think it would be much more powerful. Don't we all look forward to the McCain/Obama debates to expose some truths about the different ideologies and opinions?

If not, is there any way to at least get your articles into the Yated, Hamodia and/or Jewish Observer? I know for a fact that thes publications take seriously any instruction from our Gedloim. Are there any gedolim who could be mobilized to give them a call to say it is time to publish Rabbi Horowitz's warning? Are there any gedolim who would even give an actual haskama to your article? If not, then what can we do to get them on our side?

Asher


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28. A POint To Ponder On Shavuos     6/8/08 - 4:37 PM
Anonymous

Rabbis Horowitz, Twerski, Lipner and other concerned parties:

You aren’t hitting the root cause, the long and short of incest, molestation of siblings etc.

It’s called in English BLACKMAIL. Where the victim did some minor indiscretion and the perpetrator dangles the carrot of if you don’t want Tatty to find out, you give me something in exchange. So the secret ingredient here is AIMA YESAIRAH, EXCCESSIVE FEAR IN THE HOUSE. The dominant figure (generally the father) has made himself feared by the other members of the house.

Now that the horrid incident has transpired, the poor victim is still too scared to come forward to tell. All because they are dead scared what their madman will do to them for the minor indiscretion that caused the trouble to begin with. As a result, the poor, innocent victim has a wound which cannot be properly cleansed.

No, my name is not UOJ, but I am privy to loads of information spoken from the mouths of these teens.

We as a community turned a blind eye on physical abuse and emotional tyranny in homes. We as a community didn’t care when a child came over for help, with clear signs of abuse. We lived in fear of terrorist thugs who threaten rabbonim and society at large. WE DID NOTHING.

WE LET THE CANCER GROW unchallenged in our communities. Now we are paying the price.

Think about this over Shavuos when we again say NAASEH V’NISHMAH; • IF WE SUSPECT ABUSE IN FAMILIES, NAASEH. DO, get help for the person don’t keep the person in danger. Then NISHMAH, let the professionals figure out what is going on. • IF YOU SEE SOMEONE ABUSING A CHILD, NAASEH do something, yell, call 911, grab the victim out of harms way. Then NISHMAH listen to the threats, curses etc. and don’t respond because you are right. • IF RABBONIM ARE TOO INTIMIDATED BY THE “ASKONIM”. NAASEH, do resign from the rabbinate to avoid future Chillul Hashem. Tell your fellow rabbonim why you are doing this and NISHMAH, listen to your praises from the nidchei yisroel.

UOJ’s last post by the Genovese family is frightening. All those cases mentioned could have been saved a life of gehennom if people would simply had acted, and asked questions later. May all those victims have complete yeshuos


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29. not only blackmail     6/10/08 - 4:54 AM
RG

Thank you anon for your points to ponder on Shavuos.

I read a very interesting article, about toxic faith systems. These include churches, families, and any other faith group. The specific article I read is about Churches, what makes a church a healthy way to serve G-d, and what makes it toxic. Well, to my mind, adding in the service of Yoshke makes the service of G-d unauthentic, but I'd like to put that aside for now. From a psychological point of view, I found the article very enlightening, and here's why. Here's one excerpt out of many:

"6. Religion becomes unhealthy when our attendance and service flows, not out of faith in God who has loved us ... and given us opportunities to serve out of that place of rest, but out of a need to be loved and find worth. Religious addiction is hard to spot because it has to do with motive."

The article is a summary of a book called "Toxic Faith", by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton (Oliver-Nelson, 1991), a book I have not read. Nor do I endorse the article in its entirety. As you will see if you read it, there are many healthy aspects to our Jewish faith and the way our religion is run. It's easy to see what is wrong, but if we look critically we can also see that a lot is right.

Nevertheless, there are also some aspects of Frumness that could cause it to evolve into an unhealthy system in some ways. In the "toxic faith" idea, the community can be built on a set of people with addictions. Inasmuch as the people at the top have an addiction to power and non-accountability, there are people all the way up who need the system to remain that way.

Drawing a parallel between Church service and Jewish service is not completely accurate, because Frum Jews do believe that we MUST serve G-d, and keep the laws of the Torah. This even includes heeding the Rabbonim of the day.

I think a good part of the problem is that nowadays many individuals don't seem to really believe in G-d, don't trust Him, don't feel His love. With such an atmosphere, it is not suprising that toxic faith systems have been set up in communities, and in families. Radio stations and media have set it as their goal to ridicule religion, as if to say it is a waste of time, or a matter of identity. So people begin to doubt. Primarily, people stop FEELING, and stop caring that they do not feel.

Thus my vote, in order to direct us Jews away from the cliff to which we seem to be headed is to help arouse people's feelings. Let people say if they HATE G-d, discuss it, what happened. If, as we believe, G-d's love for us and our security in Him, is the absolute truth, it should be strong enough to be found when we try to search. With a strong feeling of being loved and safety, the toxic faith systems will fall apart all on their own, hopefully to be replaced by a stable system.

Do I believe in legislation to prosecute molestors? Definitely. But to be effective as a punishment and as a deterrent, you first need to get a good percentage of the community in agreement. This is unlikely to happen for many reasons, for example:

In Golus, people don't trust the Israeli nor American authorities enough to confide in them unless the case is extremely obvious and clearcut. Plus there's the problem of shaming the families, who've probably suffered enough already. Plus you often only find out about it only many years after the event. Plus that toxic faith systems are asking for this problem to continue despite legislations. Think of America invading Iraq. US forces can't set up a democracy there, partly because the various Muslims at every level need a toxic faith system. They try at every chance to sabotage democracy. Toppling the guys at the top was NOT effective.

Thus I think that acting to dissolve the addictions aspect of the toxic faith systems is the faster and more thorough approach. It involves encouraging each individual to explore and become aware of his trust in G-d, who is the only one who is truly reliable, and who is the only one who truly loves him. Call it reality therapy if you like. Imagining a healthy system without a realistic G-d element is doomed.

Here is the link: http://www.philosophy-religion.org/criticism/toxicfaith.htm


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30. how far do you go?     6/11/08 - 10:26 AM
steve mcqueen

When you write columns like this I wonder how far you are prepared to go.

You list the pressing issues as "The elitism that is needlessly driving more and more of our mainstream, average sons and daughters (according to recent studies, 50% of children are below average) to at-risk schools or to the streets because they cannot meet criteria or keep schedules that few adults can. The exponentially growing instances of abuse and molestation. The lack of parnasah that is draining the simchas hachayim and shalom bayis from so many homes. The crushing, unbearable burden being carried by so many 50-and-60-year olds who are supporting several families at an age when they should be retiring, or at least winding down. The horrific acts of violence perpetrated by members of our community on others that do not meet their standards or chumros. On and on. "

Aside from the molestation issue, the "cure" for the problems you diagnose are shorter school days, telling kids who achieve less in Torah learning that they are ok, parents working to produce an income, not minding so much about not keeping chumros. On and on. But isnt this the Modern Orthodox program? At what stage can you still be charedi and implement this? (perhaps you think it does not matter) This piece had me thinking not of Eric but of the former Russian president - Mikhail Gorbachev. He was the man who put in the time within the Communist system, worked it so well he became its boss and then from the inside declared it was not working and worked on switching it over to a different system entirely.


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31. TO #29     6/11/08 - 10:31 AM
BP

RG,

You obviously don’t believe in the concept of “If you do the crime, you do the time”.

Let’s talk about the Torah (Old Testament/Exodus) instead of Corinthian faith models. It says straight out that Ma’im Mizbechi Tikachena Lamus, “A Cohen may be taken away from the mizbeiach and put to death”. We see that even though we may believe RG’s nonsense that a person can kasher themselves by being a good citizen, the Torah says NO, take him away and do justice.

Let’s talk about Civil Law, the Weisenthal Center has actively pursued Nazis long after they have been living upstanding, productive, non-criminal lives, BECAUSE the Nazis are criminals no matter how many years passed. So, are you advocating for John Demjanjuk to be freed since we found him only years after his atrocities. WHY SHOULD A MOLESTER BE DIFFERENT???

You feel bad for the family shame. Lucky molester at least has a family. How many victims live with scars for life, can’t enjoy marriage, get divorced, AS A RESULT OF WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM???


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32. To #31     6/11/08 - 11:13 AM
Yardena - EY

It seems to me that RG's post #29 should be read again. It's clear to me that she was referring to the shame of the VICTIM's family, not the molester's. What's more, she clearly stated her desire for improved legislation to prosecute sex offenders.

Her post stated current problems and their causes, and she suggested a theory behind it all. There was nothing in there that supports your accusations.

RG's posts tend to be deeper and more complex than most and I suggest reading them twice to get the full meaning, especially if you're inclined to shoot extremely nasty curses at the very people Hashem commands you to love - just because you happen to take offense. Which is exactly what Rabbi Horowitz's post is about: We need to stop attacking people who offend us or with whom we disagree, and instead examine, and only then either dismiss the ideas (if false) or use the new information (if it's true) to create a solution.


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33. re comment 30     6/11/08 - 12:07 PM
anonymousfornow

You wonder how far we can go implementing needed change before we cross the rubicon, from Chareidi to MO. But some of the things you say - honorably earning parnasa, chanoch l'naar al pi darko, that is, not letting our children feel disenfranchised if they blossom in other areas, etc., are not the purview of MO exclusively. They should be the birthright of ALL Jews, and Charedim, at least in America, should have no misgivings of doing whatever is the best thing to do at that time.


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34.     6/11/08 - 5:04 PM
Anonymous

Assuming it is indeed true that Brooklyn is teeming drug dealers like RYH is claiming why doesn't he have them prosecuted?I don't believe any coverup is at work because as someone who lives in the Brooklyn Charedei community I can attest that I have NEVER heard any sympathy being expressed for drug pushers or child molesters.OTOH I do share the sentiment that we can't go on witch hunts and lynchings based on anonymous accusations like the blog world demands.


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35. Weighing in     6/11/08 - 5:49 PM
Benzion Twerski

I will beg to agree and differ with earlier posts. Rabbi Horowitz is perfectly accurate when he notes that Brooklyn has its reasonable (sic) share of drug dealers. They come from every race and creed, and there are plenty of dealers within the frum community. That is fact. It is also fact that there is no Rov, Rosh Yeshiva, Menahel, or any other individual in a leadership capacity that will make positive or merciful statements about drug dealers, even frum ones. Here’s the catch. Those statements are generalities. When it comes to a specific individual, there is great resistance to hear the accusations, especially if the perpetrator is someone from that Rov’s own community. There is every effort at denial and defense, and this includes even when arrests are being made – to get the individual released immediately. In the case of one molester who is well known to the local precinct, the captain responded to a concerned parent of a victim who complained why an arrest was not happening. The captain explained that there is no point to it, since the perp gets released into the custody of some askan who cites the integrity of the family, etc.

I would not use the term “teeming”, but it is easy to make sure that a frum dealer gets the business as there are too many around. Some have been “caught” by interested parties, but they typically just relocate to another block, shul, or section of town to continue their business.

It may also be worth noting that there is minimal effort on the part of law enforcement to remove the low level, front line, street drug dealers. These individuals are quickly and easily replaced. The energy is invested in getting to the big time dealers (wholesale?) There is much controversy about the use of law enforcement to address the War on Drugs. I was acquainted with a civilian officer in the US Coast Guard who had been in charge of interdiction (catching the shipments of drugs at sea). He indicated that the government knew that their best successes added up to about 4% of the drugs arriving in US by sea would be caught. Many have postulated that attention is better paid to working with the drug users and with prevention. I am not sure of the answer either, but we are certainly doing too little. And the enemy may be us.


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36. Solutions     6/11/08 - 9:13 PM
Asher Lipner, Ph.D. - lipnera@gmail.com

Dr. Twersky,

You really hit the nail on the head with your last post. Although I do not specialize in substance abuse, I can deduce the dynamic you describe in our community from the experience I've had with another kind of dangerous criminal: child molesters. No rabbi will say that the molesters are doing any kind of holy work. (However, there are rabbis who minimize the damage by differentiating between molestation with or without penetration, using halachic formulas for age of consent, one rabbi telling a mother to tell her 14 year old daughter to be more "tznius" so as not to be molested any more by her step-father). But even when community leaders do speak out against child sexual abuse, (and this is not nearly enough- when have you seen it mentioned in Yated or Hamodia or Yeshivaworld) they tend to protect and defend individuals accused even when there is substantial evidence that they pose a danger. Patients of mine have gone to the police about molesters and rabbis/aksanim have immediately gotten the molesters out of jail. I know of too many students who were thrown out of yeshivas for complaining about teachers molesting them.

Getting back to drugs, while you accurately point out that law-enforcement is quite limited in what it can do for prevention, Rabbi Horowitz has plainly stated what has been well-researched, that education for young people can be quite helpful. However, a prominent Rov recently told a group of frum therapists that although he agrees in principle to drug education in yeshivas, we should be careful about very chasidishe yehsivas where the children are sheltered and we may put ideas in their minds. I asked him how teaching about drugs would be any different than teaching about the Aseres Hadibros in which we find that murder, robbery, adultery and idol worship are forbidden, things that our yeshiva students are hardly exposed to. Why put ideas in their minds? Obviously because the Torah knows that without exposure, there is still a danger that people will find their way in the world to do bad things, and that we need to prepare our children by educating them as to what not to do. It seemed to me that the Rov imagined drug education as some sort of "how to" on getting high and partying, as opposed to a scientific, moral and cultural lesson on the horrible lifestyle choice of abusing drugs.

It is the same thing with sex-education. The schools fear that it will be done in a way that will titilate and excite the children into thinking about things that we don't want them to be thinking. But we all know that the yetzer hara is a natural inborn drive that kids will experience at some time. For too many, their first exposure to sexual experience is way before the yichud room with their spouses, as many are abused sexually by adults and older children, and many others experiment and or find illicit ways to explore their sexuality by themselves out of healthy curiosity.

As Rabbi Horowitz's main message screams out "We are sheltering them from the wrong half"! I run a therapy group for frum teen-age sex offenders. Not all, but some of their problems begin with frustrated sex drive combined with complete ignorance and lack of a healthy means of getting information. What begins in this way, can burgeon into a serious paraphillia and other problems with psychosexual development if left untreated. But it really would not take so much for prevention. A mother recently asked me about some of her 10 year old son's sexual behavior and I suggested she talk about it with him. She was afraid of "not knowing how". I went online at Amazon and found over 100 books on how to talk to your kids about sex. Guess how many they have at Eichler's?

As for the discussion above about the need to keep Chareidi from becoming Modern Orthodox, must we also keep chasidim from becoming litvish or vice versa? I know of many people nowadays who are simply ehrliche yidden with none of the above titles. Post-denominational Orothodox Judaism. If that's what it takes to stop us from going off the cliff....


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37. re 36 - "post denomination Judaism"     6/11/08 - 9:52 PM
anonymousfornow

I always say that I have the same goals as my American born grandparents (born over 100 years ago): halevi my children should be shomrei Shabbos with a bren for Yiddishkeit.


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38. Out of touch     6/11/08 - 10:18 PM
Tzvi

Yanky horowitz is a fake! yes he is a fake not only that,but totally out of touch .while most rabbis are out there in the field actually dealing with people and helping them out being hands on and meeting people face to face,Yanky horowitz is in a different world, he lives in the cyber world of charedi bashing in the communities of hate blogs and websites instead of seeing the good and the bad thats out there he finds a few extreme cases of molestation and abuse and claims thats its rampant. well if thats all you see of course you would say that.If your neighbors are the likes of UOJ and harry maryliss what else do you expect? he is a wolf in sheeps clothing disgiused under the banner of AGUDAH and a master mechanech (ask all the parents why they pulled the kids out of darchei noam and why he is no longer there). he is morer dangerous than a modern orthodox rabbi because he is dressed like a charedi. he feeds fuel to the fire of rabbanim bashing he is smarter and more educated than our roshei yeshiva and manhigim. and do you realy think that since rabbanim dont post evreything on the web and blog about it that it is not being dealt with?for someone that does nothing except for talking and bashing and then taking credit for it yeah,then if its not out in the open for all the self haters to see than it is being swept under the rug but there is another world out therer a worlds of people who have ahavas yisrael rabbanim that dont have time on their hands rabbanim who are tending to their flock roshei yeshivos who are busy wit htzorchei amchah who dont have to impress the modern orthodox and anti rabbanim bashers. who are the ones that are realy making the diffrence.


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39. Ask any beat cop if this is true     6/11/08 - 11:45 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

At the end of the day, policemen and women are human beings with the same emotions that we have.

So when they put their hearts into their jobs, follow leads, conduct stakeouts, and arrest a frum drug dealer only to have their district office get bombarded with phone calls from askanim insisting that the pushers get released, they become frustrated and discouraged. (Additionally, their records get tarnished, as it looks like they did a poor job – making arrests that get keep getting dismissed.)

Eventually, they understandably develop an if-you-don’t-care-why-should-I? mindset – which gives pushers license to spread death and destruction freely to our beloved children.

As I noted in an earlier essay,

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=936&ThisGroup_ID=346&ID=Most%20Viewed&Type=Article

I was given a clear, direct psak by our leading gedolim in a real-life, lemaisah situation that drug pushers have a din of a rodef.

When will we learn?


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40.     6/12/08 - 12:13 AM
Benzion Twerski

Reb Yaakov: I was given a clear, direct psak by our leading gedolim in a real-life, lemaisah situation that drug pushers have a din of a rodef. I believe you completely. However, that was probably not in an instance where the accused was a member of the gadol’s kehila or a talmid of his. It was also not where the victim was a child of the gadol.

As for Tzvi #38 – your ranting is best coped with by the down arrow. I am not sure what beef you have with Rabbi Horowitz, but he has spoken a painful truth. The reality is that whatever you claim that Rabbonim and gedolim are doing about the problems of molestation and drugs, it ain’t working. Recovery from addiction teaches several altruisms. One is, “If you keep doing what you always did, you’ll keep getting what you always got.” Another is, “Addiction is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.” How true. Whatever it is that these leaders are doing, it has not done anything to arrest the problem. That needs to stop. We still have way too much material for the bloggers to discuss and attack. At least the mental health professionals have created increased awareness, and have helped some of those affected. I wish my colleagues and I could do more. I wish we could implement the kinds of prevention programs that are effective in most yeshivas and schools. I wish we could have perpetrators who destroy so many lives brought to justice and taken off our streets, out of our yeshivos, shuls, homes, and communities.

I do not call this site bashing. It points to our shortcomings as a community. We need our leadership to change directions, and we are making the efforts needed to teach them. I guess more needs to be done. But the process is painful. I am sorry you are upset and angered by any of this. There is no more pleasant or less hurting way to do it. Meanwhile, relax. Instead of venting your anger on Rabbi Horowitz, try suggesting some methods of how to intervene to protect our children (and adults) from drug dealers and molesters. You might consider making these suggestions in ALL CAPS so we will all recognize your anger. It will at least be channeled contructively.


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41. Tzvi:     6/12/08 - 12:28 AM
Joseph - Passaic, NJ - jmn284@gmail.com

Judging from your post, you seem to be a perfect example of the failure of the Chareidi educational system.


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42. At The Crux Of It All...     6/12/08 - 12:34 AM
Joseph - Passaic, NJ - jmn284@gmail.com

is, in my belief, the recognition by many, even subconciously, that the system is rotten and that form is valued over substance -- especially by our institutions and many of our leaders. This is something I personally have witnessed countless times.

Don't believe me? Go down to your local 7-11 type of store and count the proportion of regular people (ie Goyim) who hold the door open for the person right behind them or say, 'Thank You' when someone does them a small favor and those from our community who, at best, seem oblivious to such kindnesses.


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43.     6/12/08 - 2:11 AM
TZVI

I will heed bentzion twersky's advice and type in CAPS.WHY DO YOU THINK THAT ONLY YOUR METHOD WORKS?DO YOU THINK THE CHAREIDIM ARE NOT SMART ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THEESE ISSUES?FROM THE COMMENTS ABOVE IT SEEMS THAT THE ONLY SYSTEM THAT FAILES IS THE CHAREDI SYSTEM,RIGHT!THE MODERN ORTHODOX HAVE IT PERFECT NO RAPES NO MOLESTATIONS NO ABUSE NO UNDERAGE DRINKING NOTHING ITS THE PERFECT EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM ONLY THE YESHIVISHE CHASSIDISHE CHAREIDIM DONT GET IT RIGHT. IF YANKT HOROWITZ IS SCREAMING ABOUT KIDS AT RISK FOR OVER 10 YEARS DONT YOU THINK SO MUCH PREVENTION WOULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE THAT WE SHOULD SEE LESS OF THE PROBLEM STATISTICS SHOW ITS WORSE AND YANKY HOROWITZ SAYS IT HIMSELF.THERE ARE PLENTY OF RABBANIM AND ASKAIM WHO CREATED PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS ,SPECIAL YESHIVOS ETC.. THAT ARE TAKING CARE OF THE PROBLEM AND PREVENTING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE NOTHING TO DO WITH YANKY HOROWITZ OR OTHERS.THEY ARE THE ONES THAT DESERVE THE CREDIT.i HAPPEN TO KNOW PERSONALY CASES WERE TEENS KNOCKED ON RYH DOOR ONLY NOT TO BE HELPED THAT IS WHY IM UPSET THERE ARE PLENTY OF MECHANCHIM WHO WONT SAY IT PUBLICLY BUT ARE AWARE OF THIS SITE AND HIS CHAREDI BASHING THAT HAVE DECIDED ITS TIME TO DO SOMETHING.TAKE A FEW EXTREM NEWS ITEMS AND BAD MOUTH ALL THE FRUMMEH.DOES IT SAY ANYWHERE THAT THE STORY IN BNEI BRAK WHERE CHAREDIM? AND IF THEY ARE DO THEY REFLECT AN ENTIRE POPULATION?AND IF YOUR SUCH AN EXPERT DO YOU REALY BELIEVE THE 3 BOCHRIM IN JAPAN ARE DRUG RUNNERS?YOU WANT TO BELEIVE THAT THEY ARE SO YOU CAN SY SEE I TOLD YOU SO.


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44. Thank you Rabbi Horowitz     6/12/08 - 3:19 AM
Mordy

Keep up the good work. We hope to join you!


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45. Time to take action     6/12/08 - 3:59 AM
MS - RBS

Rabbi Horowitz, It seems to me that the majority of comments on this article agree with you. There must be hundreds of thousands of more yidden worldwide who are not posting who also agree (I cannot think of one person in my frum kehilla in Israel who would disagree). It is time to take action: Let's begin a petition to the Gedolim and finally get the gedolim to back an initiative to expose the molesters, abusers, pedophiles, drug pushers etc.. Let's setup a hotline where a kid/adult can call in anonymously and give info about abusers and then involve the undercover cops (no! - not the rabbonim!) to expose the guy. One of the biggest problems that the victims of abuse face is that no-one believes them, especially if a rabbi or important person is involved. A kid who is being abused by his parent (Hashem yerachem!!!!) will not be believed at face value. Schools should have a person on staff who the kids can talk to and they will investigate the case or help the kid expose the perpetrator by using technology to record the events etc.. people will start getting the message that there WILL be consequences and that they cannot get away with it no matter how choshuv they are. If a drug dealer is a rodef (and now we understand this better seeing the 3 boys in jails in Japan, then it is our duty to stop them!!!) call the COPS!!! All these ideas need to be presented to the Gedolim by serious professionals like Rabbi Horowitz and many others who come into daily contact with these victims. I cannot believe that any Godol who hears ten stories with all the ugly details that they usually contain (like frum boys raping their sisters for years!!!!!!) will not be willing to back an initiative to reverse this ugly trend that has infiltrated our Mikdash Me'at.


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46. Dream on, dear brother; MS - RBS.     6/12/08 - 5:18 AM
DS - Yerusholayim

Do you know what happens when a kid calls the cops? Ask your nephew Y; he was expelled from school twice for it. (No - B"H he was only being physically abused when he decided to call.) Once he called from school about a Rebbe, once he called from home about a neighbour.

A number for kids to call? They exist! Open any non-Hareidi newspaper to get the number. There are privately run ones, municipal run ones, Ministry-of-Education run lines.

Good luck trying to publicise these numbers; but wait until after the wedding; you don't want to spoil the group photos.

Wish you lots of luck with the Gedolim. If you can con their henchman to get let you near them, they'll kill you on the way out when they hear what you want. Heard of Slikin? Making of a Gadol? Gurvitz? Ponoviz?

Sure the Gedolim care; talk to my lawyer-friend who deals with abused women desperately trying to get a divorce from a meyuchos husband; everybody is ready to help until they hear the family name. "Everybody" knew beforehand that he's a gangster - aka Best Guy In Yeshiva. It was so well known that they didn't bother mentioning it when the family inquired. Now multiply by hundreds of cases including throwing pregnant wives down staircases to affairs to anything you can imagine and plenty you can't.

We'll gladly help; but not with THIS family. Not going anywhere near them.

The Hareidi community is being terrorised by the Tznius-Patrols, the Gedolim-Gatekeepers, some Ultar-Fanatics and a few others. Ever heard of the Lulav cartel? Remember what happened when Matza Yehuda tried to get another Hechsher along with the BeDatz.

What I think we need is an ADL; a gang of honest people who are trained well enough to bloody somebody's nose and brave enough to do so.


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47.     6/12/08 - 6:05 AM
CB

It's time to recognize that the problems the "chareidi" community is experiencing is not despite our system but directly because of it. Torah has become distorted and perverted. No one has any true notion of why we are here, what we are meant to be doing, or why we do what we do in terms of (what passes today for) Yiddishkeit.

Chareidi, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox--they are all the same: meaningless political classifications that indicate nothing about a person's understanding of or commitment to Avodas Hashem.

The "leadership" doesn't have it; the "machanchim" don't have it. But there are quiet, unassuming people with integrity--talmidei chachamim in the truest sense of the word--who don't seek the spotlight, honor, or power who do have it. Find them, learn from them, and teach your children.

In this generation, change will have to come from the bottom up.


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48. THANK YOU TZVI!!     6/12/08 - 7:17 AM
Anonymous

Rabbi horowitz, i wasnt sure if your articles and speeches were accomplishing anything but thanks to people like tzvi ,i know that your doing a great job!! Keep up the great work!


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49.     6/12/08 - 9:03 AM
yoni

and I think a healthy dose of forgiveness would go a long way too. People who have been abused (or had alcoholic parents) need love, and lots of it, and it seems to me that the usual response of the frum world to them is "I don't care" or "I can't help you".

I'm fairly certain that over 90% of victims of abuse turn to the opposite sex for comfort, and while they're looking for love and affection, more often than not they don't know the different between that and other stuff, and so they end up going farther than they should have because they're so vulnerable. Maybe this isn't as much a problem for abused boys, but I know its a huge problem for abused girls.

and I think we need to face it, they WILL end up doing this sort of thing. Those who don't end up with so many problems that its heart breaking to watch.

and yet people not only throw up their hands while these kids are wallowing in their blood, they also condemn them as being "loose" (not the actual word) and refuse to do anything to help them ensure that what they get is what they need, not what they've confused it with. Making sure that they're safe, physicaly and emotionaly, and are able to get the love that they need to heal without everything else that so often is drawn along with it.

I was lucky, how many other people are? I'm not sure.

and before you start bashing me how its so against halachah, there do seem to be hetterim that might apply here. As long as they A aren't in yichud, and B if it can be defined that healing, repairing their relationship with hashem, and gaining the strength and wholeness they need to do mitzvos counts as "l'shaim shemayim"


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50. To Tzvi     6/12/08 - 10:26 AM
Benzion Twerski

Tzvi:

There is no single method that works. Not that of Rabbi Horowitz, not any other one. The issue he has stated is that our leaders need to stop doing the meaningless things they have tried. The defending of the molesters because of the shame of their families has not helped. While there is much good to say for the “second chance” yeshivos, they have not helped either. The success rates are notoriously poor, despite the many dedicated mechanchim that give of their lives to work with the kids. The drop-in centers have also much positive, but they have periodically introduced elements into their programs that are as damaging as the stuff the kids try on their own. The yeshivos scream against the prevention programs, and many hang onto the laurels that the yeshivos “in der heim” did not have such programming or accepted input from professionals.

Tzvi: You are right. There are many people working the “kids at risk” scene that are not affiliated with Rabbi Horowitz. No one said that he is the single voice that should direct the strategies for prevention and intervention. However, his voice mingles with those of many others, and there is much being accomplished. I watch those successes together with him and with others. Our difficulty is that the growth of the problems is presently exponential, and that our interventions are individual. Numbers are not in our favor, and we are well aware of it. That’s why there are articles like this one that direct attention to fundamentals that need to change.

The Chazon Ish ZT”L recognized that the system of chinuch needed to change, from a focus on the masses, to transplant Torah after the holocaust, to a focus on the individual. I am not sure this was ever realized or implemented, but he had the guts to make such general statements.

There is no chareidi bashing here. There is pointing at our systems and raising awareness that we are not doing enough to cope with the changes of the outside environment and its encroachment into our community. We are also not managing to stem the tide of the problems that multiply as the census does. The few percent of yesteryear may not change much proportionally (debatable), but the numbers certainly grow. This latter observation is responsible for new dynamics in the community, and we seek the leadership to cope with all this. That is not bashing – it’s crying out for help. Tzvi, join us in this venture to seek and benefit from the guidance of our Torah leaders. Not the Horowitz bashing that characterized your last several posts (some of which have been removed).


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51. question to Rabbi Horowitz,     6/12/08 - 12:13 PM
Rachel J.

To Rabbi Horowitz,

I became frum quite a few years ago in Brooklyn (Hashem must love me), in the middle of all the off-the derechs who were turned off by the yeshiva/Rebbe/Principal, etc. & already then these problems existed, but all were in denial. Even now, there is a handfull of Rabbies that will talk about it. I must say, that these kids came from good homes, families & I don't mean yichus, just good people, I hate to say this but the yeshivas messed them up. First, I & thousands of others appreciate your work, your healthy approach of bringing up our next generation, your approach of dealing with these issues instead of hushing it down & hiding them under the rug, despite some of the narrow/closed minded remarks you get. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

... But, I do have a question, Rabbi Horowitz, I assume you have the right connections in Agudah, do you bring up these issues to their attention as much as you write on this site? Do they hush you down? What's the deal? Because all we do is write & read about these horrible things, I mean awareness is important, but what are we doing? Or, do they just tell you to take care of these issues on your own? because I don't hear other Rabbies/Gedolim talking about it out in the public?

...Also, I don't mean to bash the chareidi world, I am very much to the right but I don't like to give titles, but the more chareidi or yeshivish the community is the more problems it has of this sort. I understand it this way, please correct me if I'm wrong, the chareidi way is (almost) being like a soldier, soldiers are rough, they do what they are told to do & will use force to get it done. There is no consideration for feelings or emotions, don't think for themselves, it's like programmed robots. I don't mean to offend, but that's what it seems.


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52. Heads in the Sand?     6/12/08 - 3:20 PM
Anon2

There was an ad in the Yated quoting a gadol saying that the biggest danger in klal yisroel today is "cell phones." After reading the comments on this blog and others, there are numerous possibilities here.

1) The rabbi was misquoted. Severely misquoted. 2) The rabbi is totally oblivious to the problems discussed here such as abuse and drugs. I can't imagine anyone rational saying that cell phones are worse than molesters or drugs. 3) The rabbi somehow thinks that the cause of these problems (abuse, drugs, etc.) has to do with cellphones. I find that hard to believe - would there be no kids-at-risk if we set the clock of technology back 100 years? Plenty of Jews assimilated (many more than today) back when text messaging wasn't even a thought.

Not to mention that blaming technology is an easy way to "pass the buck" and let parents, rabbeim, and roshei yeshiva off the hook. Proper chinuch is critical, and will do a million times more good for the community than a return to the stone age. We ought to look into the mirror before blaming anything with a microchip in it for the failures in the system.

If someone thinks cellphones are the biggest danger today, then there's a severe lack of leadership. The system is a failure, and something drastic has to happen. Something has to change.

I wish I had the answers, I wish I knew what needs to be done. But the first step is awareness, and we need to be aware of what our leaders are thinking, what they know, what they don't know, and what they should know.

Halevai that cellphones should be the biggest issue our community has to face.

- I would love to say that the system is great and everything is wonderful, but last I checked, a Jew is allowed to have kashos.


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53.     6/12/08 - 4:14 PM
Anonymous

horowitz is a oppurtunist who feeds off the bashing of frum jews by those that hate the torah. word is that the agudah is severing their ties with him.


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54. To Anonymous @4:14 & Tzvi     6/12/08 - 5:20 PM
Anonymous - moshep613@aol.com

That's just fascinating that you seem to be in the inner circle of Agudah operations. Please give us some more insights about what is going on in Agudah headquarters.

Please drop me a line by 3:00 EST explaining the reasoning behind the Agudah decision you have firsthand knowledge of. I'm astounded at the chutzpah you display to a man who has done so much for the "at-risk" kids, Judaism's weakest link.

In business what counts is the "Bottom Line", dollars and cents. For too long I have financing the yeshivas you chronic bashers of Rabbi Horowitz learn in. From your behaviors and posting times it has become apparent to me that my investment is not being used wisely.

Explain in your e-mail:

>Who informed you of this decision by Agudah. >Who was involved in this decision. >The rationale behind it. >Why should I continue supporting the yeshivish institutions you seem to be defending. >Print your name and address.

If my deadline passes with no satisfactory response, many institutions will feel the financial crunch by August. Mark my words!


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55.     6/12/08 - 5:21 PM
Anonymous

The sex abuse/molestation is skyrocketing in the chassidish and very yeshivish community.

As usual, you don't back up your assertions with facts. Whether it's drug pushers or getting drunk on Purim, you say: ask the cops. I asked you: the cops where - in Lakewood? New Square? Monsey? You didn't reply.

Let's say your assertions are true. Sad isn't it that the more articles are printed on the skyrocketing molestion/drinking/drug use/kids no longer frum/adults no longer frum - the higher the numbers rocket. How can you make a case for more articles and lectures when the more you talk, the higher the numbers go (so you claim)?

I rated the article as "poor" because it's a rewrite of previous articles. It's boring.


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56.     6/12/08 - 5:22 PM
Anonymous - moshep613@aol.com

Excuse me, I should have said tomorrow June 13, 2008 at 3:00 PM EST!


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57. Our Wonderful Rebbe SHLIT"A     6/12/08 - 9:15 PM
Anonymous

Since being introduced to HaRav Yakov Horowitz SHLIT"A and this Web site, my family and I have benefitted significantly from his Torah-oriented expert advice. I am sure that is true of many others, as well.

However, I am concerned that other blogs -- whose intentions are not Ehrlich -- quote from our Rebbe to further their agendas of Chareidi-bashing and Sinat Chinam, R"L. Does Rav Horowitz SHLIT"A or anyone else have suggestions on how to stop this?

If Rav Horowitz puts copyright notices on his essays and clearly prohibits reproduction elsewhere, will that work? Any other ideas?


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58. Last Comment     6/13/08 - 12:25 AM
Attorney

If Rav Horowitz puts copyright notices on his essays and clearly prohibits reproduction elsewhere, will that work?

Yes; or such a notice on the home page. Excellent suggestion.


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59. Mazal Tov to Rav Horowitz SHLIT"A     6/13/08 - 12:39 AM
Anonymous

Mazal Tov to our Rebbe SHLIT"A for winning a prestigious Covenant Foundation award:

http://www.vosizneias.com/16964/2008/06/12/monsey-ny-rabbi-yakov-horowitz-awarded-as-outstanding-jewish-educators-in-north-america/


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60. To Anon2 (#54)     6/13/08 - 4:31 AM
CB

Leaders are only leaders insofar as they have followers. If it has become obvious that some "leaders" are leading in the wrong direction--i.e. antithetical to Torah in its entirety--then simply stop following. Why continue down a dead-end road? Why do we need to look around at our neighbors to see how everyone else reacts first? If you recognize sheker then leave it and seek emes. Toras Emes is not a "system". We create systems for convenience (and other more cynical reasons, I'm afraid). If there is a system in which it is obvious that Toras Emes does not exist, leave and seek emes elsewhere.

As our family and grown and matured, we have realized that chinuch--a true passing down of Toras Moshe MiSinai--will not come from anywhere but our home. Our chidren are required to go to school and so we send them, but this has clearly ceased to be the ideal situation for today's generation and we cannot rely on chinuch from the schools--no, not even Beis Yaakov or Yeshivos. Yes, it is a delicate balance to instill in children a necessary respect for authority while making sure that misinformation and lessons antithetical to Torah on the part of their teachers and Rebbeim are swiftly corrected but this is the challenge of our time and we cannot ignore the predicament we are in.

We believe that a good part of the atmosphere today that is conducive to abuse and molestation can be blamed on our overemphasis on "respect for authority" without any qualification. "Authority" by definition implies obligation, not entitlement. Certain behaviors and attitudes on the part of people in positions in authority (I mean well before the abuse and molestation begins) nullify their authority. Yes, it is tricky, but children need to be taught where the lines are--and there are lines before abuse and molestation.

"Ein lanu al mi lehisha'ein." It seemed like a nice idea to be able to hand over the responsibility for chinuch to others but, alas, it was obviously not meant to be this way. Parents, the responsibility to be mechanech our children is ours alone.


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61.     6/13/08 - 8:59 AM
plagerizing?

copyrighting wont work since alot of the material posted here is taken from other websites and jewish newspapers and periodicals without even mentionng the sources i wonder if its plagarizing?.


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62. A Major Benefit     6/13/08 - 9:16 AM
Anonymous

I agree that this Web site should contain copyright notices prohibiting reproduction of its contents elsewhere, accompanied by strict enforcement, including threats of Hazmanah LeDin Torah against violators.

This will force other Web sites (some of whom are not Ehrlich) to provide links to this site. The end result will be drawing innocent Jews -- especially young people -- away from other Web sites (some of whom encourage Machlokes and Sinas Chinam) to this Web site, which so effectively promotes Ahavas Torah, Yiras Shamayim, and Ahavas Yisrael.


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63.     6/13/08 - 11:14 AM
mo

the problem is that alot of horowitzs posts are taken from theese same websites you mentioned that spew lashon hora and bash rabbanim he also proudly and frequently posts there as a guest bloggersee haemtza.blogspot he is on the same level as them!! he does it in the disguise of a rabbi.


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64.     6/15/08 - 1:33 AM
Anonymous

The problem is that a lot of Rabbi Horowitz's posts are taken from these same websites you mentioned that spew lashon hora and bash rabbanim. He also proudly and frequently posts there as a guest blogger (e.g., haemtza.blogspot)...

I have checked with several Rabbonim, who confirmed that the haemtza.blogspot should not be visited for the reasons mentioned.

We should judge Rav Horowitz LeKaf Zchus; i.e., his appearance there as a guest bloggeris totally innocent. However, we respectfully urge him to: refrain from that site in the future, and prohibit publication of his work elsewhere without his written permission.


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65.     6/15/08 - 4:37 PM
Anonymous

he is smarter then the gedolim .let him say it publicly here that he no longer will post on these blogs that undermine kol davar shebikdusha,and lets see him defend the torah instead of feeding fuel to the fire of sonei torah vechachamehu.


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66.     6/15/08 - 4:59 PM
Anonymous

have checked with several Rabbonim,

and i have checked with several rabbanim who said that your rabbonim don't exist and that you have a din of an am haeretz mamash.


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67. "VeAl TVieinu...Lo LiYedei NiSayon VeLo LiYedei Vizayon..."     6/16/08 - 9:25 AM
Anonymous

LiChvod HaRabbanim Horowitz & Gluck LOY"T:

BiMechilas Kvodchem.

Comment No. 69 is so outrageous! It has been here over 16 hours! If you cannot immediately remove Hotzaas Shem Ra, Lashon HaRa, etc., you have no other alternative! This site obviously requires regular supervision by a moderator!

Please check with Poskim, but I believe a Web site is considered an active transmitter LaRabim, not merely a passive, innocent bystander.

BeChavod Rav


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68.     6/16/08 - 9:54 AM
Anonymous

they stoped taking these comments down because they got flack for leaving the gedolim bashing ones and taking down the horowitz bashing ones. by the way check out the coner stone article. they have removed almost every post!


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69. waiting     6/16/08 - 2:35 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, rather than tell me to ask a cop,I'm waiting for YOU to tell us which cop you have spoken to, his name and precinct, what you asked him and what he answered.


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70. to anonymous #72     6/16/08 - 11:53 PM
Rachel J.

Don't be a wise guy.

Why don't you stop waiting & go into precinct #66 in Boro Park on 16th Avenue & 59th street, they'll enlighten you.


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71. wise guy?     6/18/08 - 5:10 PM
Anonymous

Excuse me?

Rabbi Horowitz made some shocking statements. It is up to him to verify them, not tell me to go and do so.

If I want to take you up on your idea, tell me precisely what to do. I should walk into that precinct, approach whoever is sitting there and say what?

"Excuse me, I was just wondering ... how many orthodox Jews are drug pushers? And how many of them do you find drunk? And how many of them are caught with prostitutes?"


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72. Open your eyes     6/18/08 - 5:49 PM
taayere yid

>And how many of them are caught with prostitutes?"

From the looks of this, it looks like between 10 & 20 percent of those caught are Frum. There are at least two, and possibly even three in this photo.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=4488623&page=1


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73. to anonymous #74     6/18/08 - 9:30 PM
Rachel J.

There you go being a wise guy again..... too many questions. And must you be spoon fed?

I have a question for you, once you know the numbers what will you do about it?

oh, yeah, before I forget, yes you can speak with anyone at the 66th precinct in Brooklyn, just go up the steps (about 4), go straight to the desk in the front. Would you like me to give you instructions on how to get there, where to park your car, etc.?

Hatzlacha


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74. to comment number 70     6/19/08 - 9:21 AM
Anonymous

Comment No. 69 is so outrageous! It has been here over 16 hours! If you cannot immediately remove Hotzaas Shem Ra, Lashon HaRa, etc., you have no other alternative! This site obviously requires regular supervision by a moderator!

I love it - Anoymous accusing Anonymous of Hotzaas Shem Ra on ANONYMOUS - this is too much fun.


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75.     6/22/08 - 9:33 PM
Anonymous

I have a question for you, once you know the numbers what will you do about it?

Ask Rabbi Horowitz. He's the one who said to ask. He has to tell me what to do with it. Meantime, silence.


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76. Back to the original issue     6/25/08 - 3:12 PM
CB


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77.     6/25/08 - 4:20 PM
Anonymous

cb how dare you talk like that about GEDOLIM!!!


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78. Self-interest.     6/26/08 - 8:53 AM
Anonymous

Much of the air brushing comes from people within the kehilla who want to maintain their own leading positions. They are definitely the Rumsfelds of the frum world. Just as scoundrels hide behind patriotism in the secular world.


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79. What a disappointment     6/27/08 - 2:17 AM
CB

I have only to hope that Rabbi Horowitz himself did not see my post #83. What a disappointment.


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80. To the new moderator     6/27/08 - 4:08 AM
CB

I think it only fair to warn people that this site is now being more heavily moderated such that posts are not only being removed but selectively edited so that what is left may in no way resemble what you actually wrote, but in fact may reflect the total opposite.


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81. CB     6/27/08 - 9:40 AM
Anonymous

Oh, well.

It looks like Big Brother has finally caught up with this forum.

So much for honest exchange of ideas. I guess everything will have to be "politically correct" from now on.

I might as well read JO.


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82. Dissapointed     6/27/08 - 2:07 PM
Anonymous

#85, you would think that would be assur to do. It's a shame. I was holding out hope that R' Horowitz & co. was the last hope for us. I guess differing opinions is not tolerated at all. Well kids, time to jump ship.


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83.     6/28/08 - 4:25 PM
Anonymous

"The horrific acts of violence perpetrated by members of our community on others that do not meet their standards or chumros."

I read this in the Mishpacha magazine and have hard time with it. I've asked almost everyone I know to give me examples of these "horrific acts" and no knows even one. Can you expand on this? What are you talking about? Is this a daily, weekly, monthly occurence? Who's doing it?


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84. what's doing with all this moderation?     6/28/08 - 5:06 PM
RG

I hope this won't be considered Admin-bashing, but it seems to me that some of the moderation is getting the wrong guys. I mean, did Admin remove CB's comment #79 and moderate all future posts by CB only because comment #80 suggested (perhaps even tongue in cheek) that #79 was Gedolim-bashing? What's going on?

I suggested in a previous comment, on the poll, that perhaps if you wish to moderate a certain user, you might give a pop-up, asking if they prefer their new comment to be moderated or discarded. I further suggest that if they choose the "moderated" option, the pop-up should then ask for an email address. If the moderator has a problem with something in this comment, he/she sends an email to this address, to tell the writer what it was that is objected to, and ask them to rewrite the comment appropriately.

I know it sounds like a lot of hard work for the moderator. Yet given that this site consists mostly of people who really mean well and are trying to find the Emes, I don't think you'll need to have too lengthy conversations with anyone.

Best wishes


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85. Thank you     6/29/08 - 2:58 AM
CB

Thank you, RG.

I am going to try again because I believe strongly in my message as well as the communal benefits of this site; I am not quite ready to give it up.

To the moderator, I ask that you read the post all the way through.

I think the term "THE Gedolim" should be discontinued because:

1. That we have Gedolei Torah today is unquestionable, however there is no identifiable entity known as "THE Gedolim."

2. People use and abuse this term for their own nefarious ends, attributing statements and decisions to "THE Gedolim" when in fact no Gadol BaTorah ever made those statements or decisions, or at the very least it is one opinion of one Rav or three among numerous dissenting ones. But of course, all one has to do is invoke "THE (mysterious) Gedolim"--without specifying which Gadol or even qualifying the term. People are then afraid to object for fear of being accused of "talking that way about THE Gedolim" when in reality, the term itself has no inherent meaning, but instead means whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

This is actually a serious bizayon, affront to the kavod of our true Gedolei Torah--and to those of us who have the utmost respect for them. Discontinuing the use of this vague and all-encompassing term and discounting any ideas stated in the name of mysterious "gedolim" would go a long way toward restoring some of that kavod.


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86. Dissenting in a caring way     6/29/08 - 7:15 AM
AK-ey

Cb, I am glad you are here and making your contribution. I read your post and your observation re- the meraglim was legitimate and it is a question that every kid at school and every adult should be concerned. In fact a lot of this shabbos I began exploring the issue of personal responsibility where the leadership is mistaken , whether in this case the mitvah lishmoah divrei chachamim applies. I thank you for bringing it up as the Torah,gemorah, Rambam, Halacho etc deals with this issue . I think this is what this site is all about , the regular parents taking responsibility for their lives by becoming ' thinking Jews.

I assume we have a new moderator. The blog structure here is a major contributor for your dissention to your post imho expressed in a very uncaring way. Your intent for sure is lesheim shamayim , not like Korach. If bloggers were registered , a moderator could Private mail an explanation or ask for the post to be edited. There is no room here for editing one's own posts , often we may not get it right the first time. I am still confused how your post was removed and there is still a lot of comments which imho could be reframed.

Rav Horowitz - if the structure of the blog does not allow you to dissent in a caring way , maybe this calls for a change


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87. To AK-ey     6/29/08 - 2:31 PM
CB

Thank you once again.

And again, what's bothering me most, and what still has not been addressed by the administration is that my post #81, although still comprised of some of the words I typed, is not only not my post in its entirety but has been cut and spliced so that my words have been twisted out of context and they no longer convey what I meant to say at all. And my initials are still on it! I'd have been bothered a lot less had the entire post been removed. Does this not seem serious to anyone else?

Furthermore, and probably worst of all, I then addressed my next post to Rabbi Horowitz, informing the Rav of the above and politely requesting a response. That post, too, was removed and I doubt that Rabbi Horowitz himself ever saw it. This is a VERY legitimate concern--possibly even Halachic--and I am once again politely requesting that: a) Rabbi Horowitz be informed; and b) this concern be directly addressed.


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88. concerned     6/29/08 - 6:29 PM
tb

Good luck with this, CB. I appreciate your insights and your tone. I am concerned about changing of words and misrepresenting true statements on this site. That would be completely inappropriate. I hope this is resolved soon.


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89. Chicago Jew     6/30/08 - 10:14 AM
Anonymous

Speaking about Caring Enough...:

We are very pleased that Rav Horowitz SHLIT"A has -- after a brief break -- resumed his essay series for the Chicago Community Kollel. We sincerely appreciate his taking time from his very busy schedule to offer expert, Torah-oriented parenting advice.

We assume that the same essays e-mailed to subscribers will be presented here, as well, as they have in the past.


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90. to # 51 dr. twersky     7/3/08 - 7:29 PM
Anonymous

please site the chazon ish .


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91. Chazon Ish citation     7/3/08 - 10:02 PM
Benzion Twerski

http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/jewishobserver/archives/fringe/chazonish.htm

There is a second reference as well which I have on paper (in translation) in a file that I need to find. I am not sure if it is digital format, but If yes, I will IY"H post the link.

I heard similar quotes from other gedolim as well. One was one of the Roshei Yeshiva in Telz (in Lita) who was giving a tour of the yeshiva to a potential donor. He entered the beis hamedrash, pointed to one bochur, and stated, "That bochur is my ben yochid." He leter pointed to another bochur, and repeated his statement, "That is my ben yochid." By the third repetition, the man asked how he could have three only children. The Rosh Yeshiva replied, "To me, each talmid needs to be my only child. That is how to be mechanech."


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92.     7/4/08 - 7:08 AM
Anonymous

to rbz twersky thanks yes indeed. it said in the name of the basht that hashem loves each of us as a ben yachid [which is very understandable being that "adam nivra yichidy"] so it follows then ,that one who is hashem's shliach in teaching his torah [or better yet his 'pipe line' -as hashem himself is teaching (see nefesh hachaim)] should love his talmid the same. halevai!!


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93. Eric was hired by Obama     2/24/09 - 1:41 PM
Anonymous

Isn't it interesting that President Obama hired Eric??

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/07/obama.shinseki/

CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama formally announced Sunday that retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, a decorated veteran and popular figure among critics of the Bush administration, is his pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.

"There is no one more distinguished, more determined, or more qualified to build this VA than the leader I am announcing as our next secretary of Veterans Affairs -- Gen. Eric Shinseki," Obama said at a press conference.

"No one will ever doubt that this former Army chief of staff has the courage to stand up for our troops and our veterans. No one will ever question whether he will fight hard enough to make sure they have the support they need," Obama added

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