Jun 10, 2012
Abuse Experts: Skip the Rabbis
Photos by Levik Hertzel 718-810-2738

A panel of legal experts told Crown Heights residents not to consult with rabbis before reporting an abuse crime.

By COLlive reporter

Members of the Jewish community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, were told by a panel of legal experts to report physical abuse directly to the authorities when a crime occurs and not to consult first with rabbis.

Rabbi Yosef Blau, Senior Spiritual Guidance Counselor of Yeshiva University, said that the old treatment of 'informant' - mosser - in the case of abuse is not valid, noting that current Rabbis say that in the case of abuse, one must go to the authorities.

Explaining that many Orthodox communities are more worried about a 'Chillul Hashem' - embarrassment of G-d's name - than the vicims of abuse, Blau said, "Somehow if a perversion occurs we think if we keep it a secret, then it's not a chillul Hashem. When the DA says that part of our community is worse than the mafia, that's a Chillul Hashem."

"The key to change is in our commmunity," said Blau. "When all is said and done, when victims and their supporters become outsiders and are shunned by the community, they are devastated. When the commmunity supports people for going forward, then we can have real change."

There were no local rabbis present to emphasize his call. Organizers explained their absence by the limited time available for speeches by all 3 rabbis, and reminded of the groundbreaking psak ruling of the Crown Heights Beis Din on the need to report abuses to the police.

The 80 participants of Sunday's seminar on preventing abuse heard from 19 year old Mordechai Feinstein, a former resident who was a victim of abuse as a young teen and has since moved to Miami "on the long road to recovery."

Feinstein reminded the diverse crowd that the key to preventing abuse is good parenting. "As a parent you owe it to your child," he said. "Deal with abuse head on. The only way to make a difference is if parents stand up and say 'We want change.'"

Other speakers were Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel and Clergy Abuse Attorney Irwin Zalkin who offered similar advice to what residents heard in past seminars held in the neighborhood.

But the focus of the media circus in the Crown Condos hall, where the seminar was held, was on Charles Hynes, District Attorney of Kings County who has been in hot water recently over his office's handling of abuse cases.

In a defiant speech, Hynes defended his policy of predators' names being kept secret during investigations, making an argument which might not suit the sound-bite quotes expected in the press.

Hynes said that whenever a perpetrator's name was released to the press, within days the community members had figured out who the victims were, and in many cases the victims and their families were silenced with a "level of intimidation and abuse that I have not seen since the mafia," he said.

Hynes also said it is best for abuse accusations to be taken straight to the authorities, as rabbis who are consulted, if they intimidate or otherwise block a witness, are at risk for criminal prosecution.

"We've gone a long way since the day when everything was shoved under the rug," commented a participant. "But the frum communities are a far cry from properly implementing prevention in our schools and dealing with abuse crimes once they happen, G-d forbid."

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
I support this
I didn't go because Federman was involved
(6/11/2012 12:24:50 AM)
Thank you Rabbi Futerfas!
For bringing a professional to camp to properly train and prepare the camp staff for this sensitive topic.
(6/11/2012 1:43:46 AM)
To #1
That is exactly why I DID go. His heart is in the right place.
(6/11/2012 1:50:10 AM)
To #1
Don't not go because Federman was involved... you go because of the innocent children it involved. You go because Mordechai Feinstein was involved.
(6/11/2012 2:52:49 AM)
shame on hynes
Here he goes again making excuses for allowing molestors getting away. It was so obvious to see hynes lying and fabricatin excuses. We must be thrown out of office .
Hynes is playing politics with Jewish blood . There have been at least 100 deadly attacks in crown heights and not once has hynes gone after the thugs like he is doing to shuchat. A SCHOOL YARD FIGHT GRANTS EXTRADITION? Hynes is using shuchat to pave his next elections .Shame on him there must be a Federal Investoagtion on him .
Ad mosai
(6/11/2012 3:12:05 AM)
i didnt attend because the organizers lack an open counsel of experts to audit protocols & procedures
i still very much support the awarnesss campain! i only question the inexperience & arrogance of those purporting to look after the well being of our children w/o any humility to forming a bored of directors comprised of experts in the field
(6/11/2012 3:14:30 AM)
i predict a bitter artical by mr f
decrying the low turnout to his event!
perhaps its your lack of consultation with people like YY Jacobson or Simon Jacobson etc
(6/11/2012 3:16:31 AM)
There is a tiny fraction of community members, no rabbis from the community. The percentage of news far outweighs the percentage of crown heights crowd in attendance.
I opine that they made it specifically for the news and wanted a small turnout. Otherwise they would of made it in a hall worthy of a larger crowd, not a small 'shtiebel' size hall.
(6/11/2012 4:07:47 AM)
What a turnout the place is jammed :
(6/11/2012 4:12:40 AM)
Why are their babies in strollers??
(6/11/2012 4:17:21 AM)
Great work
Thank you for organizing this important event.Although I could not make it,I am 100% in support of this event.The more awareness there is,the less likely for being stigmatized for reporting abuse.
(6/11/2012 7:26:34 AM)
Yossy H
# 1,6,7

Your right, Mr Federman is not a perfect human being,but neither are you, me or anyone for that matter.

You can't complain about an event, unless YOU actually got off your couch and went there, then if you where unsatisfied you have a right to talk.

Federman use's his money and legal skills, to help victims, and alsoYeshiva's and Shluchim not to go bankrupt b/c of CH"V negligence on this issue

#3 is 110% correct.

Oh and I did go, even though I didn't agree with having Hynes, who has failed this community way too many times in the past, being a part of the event.
(6/11/2012 7:57:40 AM)
you wouldnt go becuase federman was involved -hes a great guy and even if i dont agree with something he did dont throw out the baby with the bath water. thats such a childish way of thinking this is an important issue - thank you eli for trying to help this situation
(6/11/2012 8:06:23 AM)
to number one
dont shun eli hes at least one step ahead of you - hes actually doing something about this situation as opose to you who is just sitting at the computer writing nasty comments
(6/11/2012 8:10:25 AM)
I am #1
I was doing a lot more to bring awareness to this issue in frum communities way before Federman got involved, so you cannot accuse me for sitting at home on my couch and doing nothing. Eli Federman seeks out every opportunity to burn this community's reputation as well as decent individuals of this community for one purpose of self promotion, he bashes others whenever he sees an opportunity to self promote in the non Jewish media, you say his heart is in the right place? Those who know Federman know better.
(6/11/2012 8:23:27 AM)
Inexperienced or not
To #7, people are are always quick to complain and criticize, if you have advice on how to make things more proffessional and experienced, go ahead, voice your opinion. Till then, these people are doing something, as chazal say "bemokom she'ein ish, hishtadel lihyos ish", they've done exactly that!
(6/11/2012 8:27:08 AM)
YY Jacobson and Simon Jacobson were consulted
(6/11/2012 8:33:01 AM)
Many parents didn't show as it was scheduled for 4:00 in the afternoon,a time when many children come home from school.
Also,the was another very exciting event for families at the same time. Please schedule future events as such,later in the evening .
(6/11/2012 8:35:20 AM)
It's a good thing
Its a good thing no one showed up to an event that said don't ask the Rabbi's
(6/11/2012 8:53:29 AM)
Why so empty? :(
(6/11/2012 8:56:37 AM)
American Justice System isn't great !!
Abuse is horrible. Let's get the culprit. Pressure the authorities until they find him. Or someone. Or anyone. Abuse is terrible.

Should we trust the system that did "justice" to Polard and Rubashkin ?!
(6/11/2012 9:20:45 AM)
On Eli Federman...
The issue is of course of paramount importance and can only be a benifit if attention is brought to it. At the same time, based on Federmans history I'm pretty confident that he's just using the issue of abuse to get himself in the media. So I can understand why some people were hesitant to go because of his involvement.
(6/11/2012 9:36:23 AM)
Fox guarding the hens
For some reason the "activist" who want to bring awareness such as the nuchem rosenberg guy (who has a marker and knows how to make dollar signs on every "s"), I would never leave my children within 1000ft of him, he creeps the heck out of me and same goes for a few other activist.

Cant they get some respectable people to be on the forefront?
(6/11/2012 9:42:12 AM)
Any rabbi who holds a position of responsibility should undertake a special course that will train him in identifying any sort of abuse that takes place in his community.
There are telltale signs and indications that can be recognised if one knows what to look for. This applies to spousal abuse, child abuse and other abuse. There are special course available.This would aslo be appropriate for school principals and head teachers.
(6/11/2012 10:09:05 AM)
Pervs and Principals RUN for the hills!
Google Irwin Zalkin! he was one of the lawyers on that panel!
(6/11/2012 10:21:24 AM)
yes skip the rabbis - they are NOT experts in child abuse!
(6/11/2012 10:23:05 AM)

(6/11/2012 10:30:09 AM)
was very impressed!
a big yoshar koach to the event organizers.
(6/11/2012 10:30:59 AM)
to #15
" burn this community's reputation" What about the community's reputation in the eyes of the abuse victims? Do you only care about the perception of the community in the media? How many of these victims are frum today? How many have had to deal with psychological problems because of abuse? If the community cared more about its children than how it appeared in the media or to other frum communities, there would be less problems of people off the derech.
(6/11/2012 10:34:54 AM)
this is a horrible situation thats out of hand ...
at least hes doing something about the situation which is serious- lets get all the help we can get
(6/11/2012 10:46:48 AM)
Teachers & Principals
ALL school staff are MANDATED reporters!
The DA & the lawyers said teachers and principals WILL go to JAIL for NOT reporting abuse!
(6/11/2012 11:16:45 AM)
I saw it advertised on Collive, on CHW, rec a text from my Shul, papers on table in shul as well advertised on CHW Facebook page!
It could have been better thou - I could have recieved an annoying automated call at dinner time.
(6/11/2012 11:30:29 AM)
Class A felony
Can someone please confirm?
I think Hynes mentioned that if there is any sort of intimidation, it is considered a Class A felony and principles’ teacher etc.. can face a year in prison.
(6/11/2012 12:05:02 PM)
Disappointed from LA
I can't believe there were so many empty seats and very few bearded Chassidim. This is the most important issue of our times and CH apathy is absolutely pathetic. I guess the old school still believes in hitting kids and sweeping molestation under the rug-- "Marry him off- that will cure him!" Wake-up Yidden! You want Moshiach to come, stop predators from hurting our children and bring them to justice!!! You rabbis live in the dark ages-- that's the Chilul HaShem!!!!!!
(6/11/2012 12:33:08 PM)
Wrong time
I would have loved to attend, but the time was not great for mothers who have kids a t home.
(6/11/2012 1:09:57 PM)
Can I just say
Is it practical Nd real to apply number 24,Comment to all ppl involved with kids or no, including all community members
(6/11/2012 2:51:59 PM)
Where's ANASH ???????????
By looking through the pictures, one sees very few anash.
Did they advertise this properly?
(6/11/2012 3:32:07 PM)
it's a slap in the face to our community, to bring Hynes and honor him no less. This is a man that is in the midst of prosecuting an innocent man in our community -very publicly, accusing him of hate crimes etc. Everybody knows what I'm talking about.

Have they no shame?!

Not the only Chutzpa...

It's an event openly mocking the authority of Rabbonim. While bringing down an MO rabbi, and showing that you don't care for the halachic opinion of the vast majority of today's ORTHODOX rabbis (not MODERN O.). With all due respect, Rabbi's Shwei and Braun are still in the minority.

Was a disgusting Chilul H'.

The only ones who cared for this were those sitting in the front row of seats, and who have been assaulting anash at their will, -all in the name of "protecting our children",

I'm sure, you folks (large portion of which don't even have children of their own) are the only ones who care for children, that's why almost none of (percentage wise) of the mothers of children in our community didn't attend. I know, it's because they really don't care for their children, only you (obsessed) ones do.
(6/11/2012 3:54:27 PM)
Victims can play same game
If anyone is going to intimidate the victims into silence, what's to stop them from taking illegal action to get justice? I
(6/11/2012 4:05:19 PM)
It's time
We need a meeting with the Rabbonim telling us this, not outsiders telling us what to do. Our own Rabbonim should be encouraging us and guiding us to protect our children.
(6/11/2012 5:49:53 PM)
To 38
Maybe you should show your face???
(6/11/2012 7:02:18 PM)
to everyone
you don"t need some one ells to take a stand everyone could in there own way .............ask u mashpia what to do
(6/11/2012 8:07:01 PM)
Doesn't look like anyone showed up...prett lame event in my opInion.
(6/11/2012 8:32:02 PM)
38 and 43
Are you both abusers? Or related to an a abuser? Just wondering.
(6/11/2012 10:28:09 PM)
feinstein feel bad for u
it seems like this feinstein kid is getting used and taken advantage of by getting him to come and talk......, i think thats the real ABUSE now hes truly a VICTIM, poor guy will have pay for that, not the arrangers who are using him.
(6/11/2012 10:58:18 PM)
contrasting sides
what is sad is that there is so little people here.. look what we have here... mass people sticking up for a accused rabbi.. vs.... just a fraction for victoms who will be stuck with sorrow for life! this cycle must stop so that our children can grow healthly
(6/11/2012 11:48:22 PM)
WHY should the jacobsons be consulted?
Since when do we need their approval for any event? Heck with their monopoly.
(6/12/2012 12:24:18 AM)
Yo 45
You're either stupid or an abuser yourself. "Now he's truly a victim"? Rachmono Litzlan. Seek help before it's too late, and don't forget to pay the bills for your victims too. Comments like yours is what I call intimidation. Stop deluding yourself and get help. And lets make this clear to all those uninformed people out there, abuse is not a one time thing, it lasts a lifetime, and sometimes an unfortunately short lifetime.
(6/12/2012 12:40:22 AM)
I love all these commonts


You guys for real? You really do not even know what is flying.... i wont even waste my time here trying to prove anything to a bunch of people that hide behind the internet and can not even use there names..... too afraid huh?
(6/12/2012 1:08:17 AM)
Thanks to the organizers!
Thanks to the organizers for arranging all these events and for finally exposing these molesters!
(6/12/2012 1:12:09 AM)
to #47
agree with you
(6/12/2012 1:22:59 AM)
to 44
Interesting how if you criticize whatsoever anyone who is involved in this sort of thing, you become either an abuser, related/friend to an abuser, or "protecting abusers".

This directly ties into the concept (or in our case lack thereof), of innocent until proven guilty. Which of course can't apply to "abusers", as I (or any 24yo bum) can freely put up a website, accuse whoever I'd like of "abuse", claim I have "proof", and have everyone believe me!

No court of law necessary, of course no oversight of Rabbis necessary (they're way outdated), just me and my laptop is all you need, and you'll believe everything I say. Innocent until proven guilty, don't you see?

So if I randomly choose to put someone you know on my website, and you say "wait a minute, is this true?", I now will place you on many list too, you must be an abuser. Because hey, forget the courts, the rabbis, the police, you were proven guilty by two guys with a laptop, and I have on my side the great hero Charles Hynes, you know, the guy who wants to throw a nice innocent Jewish boy in jail for protecting our community. So, I'll do a double hitter, I'll bring Hynes, and darn with crown heights community, and darn with the Agudah (who represent orthodox Judaism, a little closer to Lubavitch Hashkafa then YU/M.O.) whom Hynes has been slamming.
(6/12/2012 3:47:50 AM)
to #38
actually majority halachic opinion is that an abuser is a rodef and rabbis shwei and braun are right... anyway they are your rabbonim so they pasken in your neighborhood.
(6/12/2012 4:49:10 AM)
This might happen…
Why is this event needed, that is what the community is saying from all the criticism - You all are a bunch of loser’s, once your kid is abused/molested you will beg for help and then it will be too late.

To the people that put this event together, don’t try and help the community, don’t try to “make change”.
Classic quote from S S. “You only hurt yourself when you try to help others”

Buy a few guns (you most probable already have) take care of your family and let community fend for itself.

Then again, you take care of your family and sorry to hear that you think Chabad and your community is your family.

Chabad’s issue, they can take care of the world but they can’t take care of there own.
(6/12/2012 9:31:40 AM)
Who needs to be molested for this to become the # 1 issue in our community, maybe a school needs to be sued for every penny due to the fact that they for harboring and abetting child molesters, or maybe some Rabbi needs prison time for trying to intimidate.
chas v'shalom for all the above
And easer solution might be for the DA to contact every school, tell them to clean up shop and let them know that going forward they will have big issues.
(6/12/2012 9:50:26 AM)
Fire in our community.
we currently have a wildfire that very few people are trying to put out, doesn’t everybody realize the facts.

Fire out of control – Pedophiles (B”H very few, relatively speaking comparing to the catholic church)
Dry grass/tinder – Kids
No firefighters’ – Adults/Parents/Activist

Results = a few Pedophiles will molest a large number of kids “””” YOUR KIDS “”””

So do something about it or somebody else will…..
(6/12/2012 10:11:56 AM)
to 52
I do not criticize anyone; my question is who in there right mind would be against exposing molesters? You have something personally against that (24yo bum) that is what I see. (As someone that knows him very well he does not even touch the website and has no time for it since he is busy trying to save your child from being abused and trying to bring awareness to the community)

Yaakov (if that is your name) let me give you a little education.

A) As you see some people on the panel are heavy heavy hitters and that (24yo bum) invited them to talk the connections he has with lawyers, law enforcement, FBI, therapist all over the country you will never have or never reach out too.

B) He and his team are well respected by every other abuse advocate out there.

c) Read this and learn from it
Many people make the mistake of assuming that,because Henry Ford had but little "schooling," he is not a man of "education." Those who make this mistake do not know Henry Ford, nor do they understand the real meaning of the word "educate." That word is derived from the Latin word "educo," meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN.
An educated man is not, necessarily, one who has an abundance of general or specialized knowledge. An educated man is one who has so developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire anything he wants, or its equivalent, without violating the rights of others. Henry Ford comes well within the meaning of this definition.
During the world war, a Chicago newspaper published certain editorials in which, among other statements, Henry Ford was called "an ignorant pacifist." Mr. Ford objected to the statements, and brought suit against the paper for libeling him. When the suit was tried in the Courts, the attorneys for the paper pleaded justification, and placed Mr. Ford, himself, on the witness stand, for the purpose of proving to the jury that he was ignorant. The attorneys asked Mr. Ford a great variety of questions, all of them intended to prove, by his own evidence, that, while he might possess considerable specialized knowledge pertaining to the manufacture of automobiles, he was, in the main, ignorant.
Mr. Ford was plied with such questions as the following:
"Who was Benedict Arnold?" and "How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?" In answer to the last question, Mr. Ford replied, "I do not know the exact number of soldiers the British sent over, but I have heard that it was a considerably larger number than ever went back."
Finally, Mr. Ford became tired of this line of questioning, and in reply to a particularly offensive question, he leaned over, pointed his finger at the lawyer who had asked the question, and said, "If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?"
There certainly was good logic to that reply.
That answer floored the lawyer. Every person in the courtroom realized it was the answer, not of an ignorant man, but of a man of EDUCATION. Any man is educated who knows where to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action.


(6/12/2012 3:44:10 PM)
pink socks??
dude with the pink socks...nice touch!!

-24 year old bum from san diego
(6/12/2012 4:25:09 PM)
To 57
wow, I am floored at your eloquence, thank you for defending the 24yo bum, he is a great guy who selflessly tries to help everyone around.
(6/12/2012 5:30:56 PM)
to all in favor of this stupid thing:
i dont think any of you relize what happens when you wrongly accuse somebody in court even if he is proven innocent he is messed over for life and maybe even members of his family too.yes it is importent to get rid of all people who are a threat to our children but in a quiet way that you dont ruin this guy for life! so lets not forget this lesson:"to destroy a building can take ten minutes to rebuild a building can take a really long time". so keep going to the rabbis and when they tell you to go the da then you go.........and whoever said the rabbis dont about child...they probobly know better then u.
(6/12/2012 8:02:00 PM)
to # 60
the whole community agrees with you thats why no one showed up, except 1) the press who love stories against the religious jewish circles and CHABAD community, to show that RABBIS are bad...CHASSISDIM are bad......2) and people who are not religious so they can feel better about themselves its a great EXCUSE not to be from.
(6/13/2012 5:31:46 PM)
To #60
Comments like yours are dangerous. Rabbonim have no idea how to deal with this problem as has been repeatedly demonstrated. And yes, I have personal experience with rabbonim urging parents not to report abuse, for all the wrong reasons. And yes, there are abusers out there who continue to abuse because of well meaning but misguided rabbonim. The fact is that false accusations are very rare, while repeat offenders are very common. The fact is that most child molesters have multiple victims, and if you delay reporting for even a day you are virtually guaranteeing that there will indeed be additional victims. The fact is that misplaced trust in rabbonim has contributed, and continues to contribute, to the prevalence of abuse. And if anyone G-d forbid listens to your advice, you will have contributed to the abuse of a child. I hope that your children remain safe from predators. But, at the same time, if anything were chas v'shalom to happen to them, I hope that you will have the brains to do the right thing and involve the authorities immediately. And sure, after they arrest the abuser, then you can go chat with your rav.
(6/13/2012 9:25:09 PM)
Kudos 62
60 and 61-- you are out to lunch without a sandwich! Denial aint just a river in Egypt, you know. Almost never has anyone been publicly accused of child abuse/molestation of minors and the allegations have been proven false. ALMOST NEVER! It's a shanda that more people didn't show up. You live in the dark ages and you will pay for enabling these wicked people to perpetuate their abuse. You wonder why Moshiach isn't here? Go look in the mirror! You don't protect children and you allow perps to do their dirty work. When people make stupid, ignorant comments like 60 and 61, you have to suspect that they themselves are hiding something. To any victims that read my comment, KNOW that you have advocates out there, powerful community members, who care about your suffering and are dedicated to bringing these perps to justice!
(6/14/2012 11:58:47 AM)
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