Jul 28, 2011
When the Bubble Shatters

From the COLlive inbox: Whenever the topic of molestation comes up, some will claim that Jews don't hurt other Jews. Until you check the news one day and the bubble shatters.

By anonymous

Every person lives in a bubble. All of us have a bubble that we built for ourselves from what we hear, what we know, and what we believe. But what do you do when that bubble is shattered, when what you have been told to believe and accept as true is suddenly proven to be completely false.

Last week, the moment I heard the atrocities that happened to Leiby Kletzky, my bubble was gone.

In the past few years, there have been more and more speeches and meetings about abuse within religious communities. We have all heard multiple opinions and da'as torah about it, with most of them boiling down to that abuse doesnít really occur in religious communities, and when on the rare occasion, it does, tell your rabbi and he will deal with it by sending the perpetrator to therapy and 'curing' him.

Whenever I've heard the topic of abuse come up, at least one person will say that most allegations can't be true because Jews donít hurt other Jews. I've heard that line from rabbis, teachers and parents, all of whom deal with children every single day. And then one day I wake up to hear that a religious Jew murdered an eight year old boy. Jews are human; that means that we each have our own free will to do whatever it is we want with it. Although we donít want to think about it, there are Jews out there who use their free will to make deplorable choices that can destroy children's and families' lives forever.

Just because someone is Jewish does not automatically make him a good person in any way, or safe to be around our children. Levi Aron is a 'religious' Jew who murdered and mutilated an eight year old child. There are sick people out there who do sick things. We just need to learn how best to protect ourselves and our children from them.

Statistics show that two out of every five girls and one out of six boys is abused. That means that it is statistically impossible to not know at least one child being abused. It is also extremely likely that in a family of six children at least one of them is being hurt. Granted, the numbers might not be THAT high in the Jewish communities, but it is happening all around us. We need to be aware of it, learn how to protect our children, and in turn, teach our children how to protect themselves.

But no matter how aware people are of the problem, abuse can still happen to any child in any family. So what do we do if the situation arises where we know a child who is being hurt by someone in their family or their community? Well, we've all been told to go to the rabbis, most of who say that you should not report the abuse, but that they will force the abuser to go to therapy that will cure them from their 'disease'. It is proven that more than 99% of abusers CONTINUE to abuse no matter what amount of therapy they've been through.

So in essence, we are just sitting back and letting more and more children get hurt.

Is there one rabbi in the world who would say that we should allow Levi Aron out of jail and put him in therapy because we Jews know how to cure people from doing inexplicable acts? He murdered a boy. He needs to be locked up. So how is it that we can't cure a murder but we can cure molesters and child abusers? We 'cure' them and then let them back onto the streets where our children are at their mercy! The halacha to not report other Jews to the police does not hold in a time of pikuah nefesh. How can children getting abused not be a matter of life and death? A boy just died. Every time a child is abused, a part of him is killed. What is more important than our children?

The only way to truly protect our children is be aware of suspected abusers. If the rabbis have lists of who has touched children in the past, than why donít we have that list? Why donít we know who we are supposed to be protecting our children from? I donít care how much therapy he or she has been through; therapists themselves have no idea what triggers abusers to do what they do and therefore can never predict when or if an abuser will strike again. We should be told who in the community might be a danger. I would like to know if my kind sweet neighbor used to be a pedophile. That is important for the protection of klal yisroel and our precious neshamot.

The more we realize and learn about child abuse, the more we realize that we need to protect our children. They are our future generations. Leiby Kletzky is getting justice but what about the other thousands of kids who have no one to turn to? What about the parents who donít know who to go to for advice because if who would ever believe them that their child is telling the truth!

We are commanded "U'shmartem me'od le'nafshoseichem." We are responsible to protect ourselves and our children. They are looking to us for guidance and shelter. If we donít guard our children, then who will?

If you are a victim or know of one in the New York area, call the NYPD unit that deals with such issues at 718-330-5600

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Opinions and Comments
Hush by Eishes Chayel
I recently read a book entitled" HUSH!". The author writes her name as Eishes Chayel because she does not want to be identified. I was schocked and affected in a way that I as a Bubby and retiree, wouldn't believe posible. I told everyone I knew about it and recommended they read the book which is available in the public library.

It's about abuse that took place many years ago to a family you would lest expect by some one you would think you clould trust.
(7/28/2011 11:32:31 PM)
The solution?
Whilst I agree with the Op-ed above, is it right to create anonymous websites with A ďregistry of offendersĒ where they post names of suspected abusers? What about false accusations? There is no way to defend oneís self against these accusations.
How about that other local website posting the name and picture of an accused abuser? The manís life has been turned upside down, his family is burying their heads in shame, and the accused hasnít been convicted of anything yet. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?!
(7/28/2011 11:42:38 PM)
unfortunately bubble didn't just burst
I greatly disagree with all those that are saying that we are now in a new era since the horrific recent incident in BP, being that the crime was commited by a Yid, Hashem yishmor.
The reason that this made such a huge impact was because of the mass of volunteers, the HUGE press it got, and the no-words-to-describe horrific act that took place.
Perhaps people were shocked that a crime this horrific was done by another Yid, but they should NOT be shocked unfortunately that abuse or other crimes, lo aleinu, can be commited by another Yid.
Let's get real people.
Perhaps some people were unaware of such issues, but most of us have heard of stories, without names mostly, of Yidden commiting crime.
So let's stop using recent incidents to start a whole new "we are shocked campaign" or "this is a whole new era campaign" or "our bubbble has just burst campaign".
It should be more like an "it's about time campaign" and "let try to prevent this before it happens campaign" or "help those who need help campaign".... You name it-as long as it is honest and productive.
Again, this post is in NO WAY trying to compare Leiby's abduction and murder to anything previous, but just to try and address the point of not being surprised that one Yid can hurt another, chas v'sholom.
Moshiach should come NOW!!!
Let us all keep in mind that many times perpetrators of crimes have been in the past victims themselves. It becomes a vicious cycle that MUST STOP!!!
GOLUS]]]]]GOODYE!!! We don't want you here.
(7/28/2011 11:44:18 PM)
should have a hotline
I think that there should be a private hotline of abuse that kids can call without the fear that there familys or friends will not believe them...just like woman have in the mikvah for spousel abuse there should be one for child abuse-molestation. it is everywhere and the time has come to blow the cover in the frum communities that these sick men will not get away with it any longer! we need to talk talk and talk again openly to our kids so they know they can trust you and be open with you and even then, to pray!!!
only Nachas from all our kids
(7/28/2011 11:48:23 PM)
abuse on line
parents wake up there is the molesters to be aware about for your children and there are many crazy stories on the internet too, do you know who your child communicates on line with? is the computer in a private place in the child's room? is he-she up later than you on the web we need to be sooo careful with who they meet and friend over line, probably the biggest danger of today!!!!!!
and for those mothers that don't know how to use the computer get on with the program cause your children are way smarter and more advanced than all of us together!!1
(7/28/2011 11:51:55 PM)
Since when do bubbles shatter? I thought they burst.
(7/28/2011 11:58:33 PM)
Totally right
Very logically written, and very reasonable.
I'm not sure if it would be Loshon Hara or maybe abuse is beyond that. We definitely should have access to a list with pictures of abusers.
(7/29/2011 12:09:06 AM)
CH resident
I aggree and I will even say too bad no electric chair in NYC for this behema Levi Aron and all the others....google all the jewish molestors and don't be surprise even your own neighbors or friends ??? so hats, beards with their tehilim and tefilos are all choleih nefesh!!! ALL IN JAIL !! and NOT WITH A BAIL OF $ 5000 meanwhile some parents and kids are dommaged for life!!! please report!!!
(7/29/2011 1:28:10 AM)
what are you saying? Do we expose them all?
Most will agree that those that are abused are very likely to become a abuser. that being said there are two kinds of abusers.
Those that were abused as a child, and as a teen became a abuser but went to therapy, and changed their ways. Got married had children and never abused again!

Then there are those that in their 20's 30's 40's keep abusing no matter how many times they were exposed and moved from place to place.

Are you saying that we should make a list and ruin the lives of the family of the first category? or are you talking about the second category where by doing so we will be saving more victims from being abused?

i say this as someone who was abused by my cousin who was a teen at the time. who himself was abused as a child. After telling family members he went to therapy and as far as i know is living a happy healthy life. he does not work with children or come in contact with them. and i would hate to see his family go down because of this

(7/29/2011 2:57:41 AM)
oy me haya lanu
We are standing here waiting for your calls.. enough of the shtusim!! Enough of the sweeping under the rug!!
(7/29/2011 3:00:57 AM)
very true
true and well written. how many of us send our children to shul where they run around in the yard unsupervised, use bathrooms unsupervised. have we warned our children even in shul they need to be alert to "strange" people? how many shuls host anyone and everyone off the streets? how about at our shabbos tables? sure we welcome anyone for a meal, anyone who wants to come home from shul or is visiting from out of town. but are we aware not to leave our children alone with them when we dont even know them? i think we all need to be much more aware and make our kids more aware of people who may NOT be safe, in our own communities.
(7/29/2011 3:11:30 AM)
yasher koach
i like the idea of publicizing predators like this...
I think that the publicity itself could stop them because of shame and fear...
(7/29/2011 3:21:43 AM)
Agreed, but I see a potential problem
What happens if someone just decides to take "revenge" on a teacher or counselor or the creepy guy in the mikva? There are thousands of false accusations made every year and the fall-out is tragic. Fathers never recover from ex-wives claiming they touched their own children. Can you imagine what would happen if false accusations in our communities become public? No one will talk to anyone, we won't host guests etc.

Since little Leiby HYD there's an atmosphere of paranoia.We have to be very careful that the information coming out is accurate.

I definitely agree, the known molesters' names should be made public, but only after intense investigation & complete confidence that the claims are genuine.
(7/29/2011 4:24:12 AM)
I am a Lubavitcher bochur who was molested in one of our very prestigious camps. Next week I will officially be reporting my abuser to the District Attorney, where he will be put on a "Offenders" list, and the proper measures will be taken to prevent him from ever hurting another child.

I see how many of you are worried about whether he deserves it or not, and I've worried about it too. After all, Maybe he's been rehabilitated.

The truth is, I pity my abuser. He obviously is missing a few screws, and although I have no idea where he's holding now, it's not a risk I'm going to take, to let him walk freely and possibly hurt others because he knows he got away with it in the past.

Wake up friends, they are out there. Just like they're everywhere else. We cannot afford to live in denial anymore. We don't need to make the biggest deal about it, but we need to learn to take the proper measures when such an issue arises.
(7/29/2011 6:13:21 AM)
To #11
You said:
true and well written. how many of us send our children to shul where they run around in the yard unsupervised, use bathrooms unsupervised.

Then maybe you need to keep an eye out for your children. Try being a PARENT & supervise them better. Escort your kids to the bathroom or have a much older child take a younger one.

Don't abdicate all parental responsibility and then cry that someone abused your kids. Start supervising instead of leaving it to others (like me) who have to make sure YOUR kids don't drown in a mikvah, fall out of a window, run in the street or fall down from high walls, chas v'sholom. Start watching your kids and stop worrying about the baseball scores or the latest fashion accessory.
(7/29/2011 8:46:26 AM)
other solution
The children also need to be taught how to react in situations and know that it is NOT OK to be touched by someone in a way that they don't like it. They need to know what to do in such a situatuion. Either their parents, teachers, or some other mechanech needs to teach it in teh appropriate way.
(7/29/2011 8:59:17 AM)
in response to #9
I would like to believe that what you say about the 1st category of abusers. But did you let the victime know of your therapy? Did you you apologize so the victime can have closure with this horrible experience?
(7/29/2011 9:23:13 AM)
to #13
If we are not going to trust the young of the generation when they come forward with their stories, then we are taking away their confidence to come forward at all.
Please know that the website that has posted the "registry of offenders" checks and double checks that these accusations are real. They have listened to the stories of abuse first hand and know it is true.
And just know, the rabbanim know about these people, and support this effort, we need to support it too.
(7/29/2011 3:20:20 PM)
True solution
Lately there has been alot of talk putting about printing the names of the abusers from 20-30-40 years ago. this is . this is a good thing so we can watch our children from them.
but why dont we have programs in the schools teaching our kids how to watch out from predators and what to do if something happens? why is there no place for someone to turn to to get therapy if something did happen? so the victim does not become a abuser!
Remember levi aron was not on any of these lists. the most important thing is to teach our children how to deal with these situations.!!
(7/29/2011 5:51:18 PM)
To # 15
Yes, pple should watch their children and give them the proper care. But, that has nothing to do with people being abused. A child going to camp should feel safe and carefree. They should not have a part of them die forever because of a molester in camp or a Rebbe in a Yeshiva. Let's get real. Molesters have a sickness. They need to be reported and dealt with by therapists that work specifically in this field.
(7/29/2011 7:23:28 PM)
TO #19
'why dont we have programs in the schools teaching our kids how to watch out from predators and what to do if ..?"
(7/31/2011 11:26:24 AM)
Unholy Camps
My son reported abuse to the Director of one of the Holier Than Thou Prestigious Camps, to no avail. He never went back to any camp after that and I assure you no Grandchild of mine will ever attend any CHABAD camps.
(7/31/2011 4:08:39 PM)
Spouse abuse
Spouse abuse is another disease in our communities that is not being delt with.Women and families are being abused and emotionally destroyed daily.There is minimal support and less acknowledgment
(8/2/2011 10:33:46 AM)
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