Feb 7, 2019
Shliach Reveals He Survived Abuse

In a brave move, Utah Shliach Rabbi Avremi Zippel testified against his childhood nanny for years of molestation and abuse.

By COLlive reporter

Rabbi Avremi Zippel, Program Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Utah, has testified in the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City that his family's former nanny sexually abused him.

The Deseret News said that Zippel "is also making history" as he "may be the first Orthodox Jewish rabbi to come out during the #MeToo movement as a survivor of sexual abuse — a topic he said is rarely discussed in the observant Jewish community."

At a preliminary hearing Tuesday, the 27-year-old Zippel identified Alavina Florreich, 69, as the nanny who molested and abused him in his parents' home for about 10 years beginning at age 8.

Florreich was arrested March 30, 2018, on suspicion of 131 counts of child abuse. She was charged in 3rd District Court in April 2018 with five counts of aggravated abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and two counts of forcible abuse, a second-degree felony, according to charging documents.

He said the encounters occurred over 100 times throughout his childhood, the Desert News reported. When it would happen, he said he would fixate his eyes on the "nasty wallpaper" in the downstairs bathroom, as if he could disappear simply by focusing his gaze in one spot.

His parents, Rabbi Benny, now 52, and Sharonne, now 50, moved to Utah with their one-year-old son in 1992, as Chabad Shluchim.

Rabbi Avremi Zippel, now a father himself, said his past hasn't made him overprotective, and he deeply trusts the nannies he and his wife employ for their two children, Menny, 3, and Menachem, 18 months.

He told the Desert News that rather than becoming hypervigilant about protecting his kids, he has focused instead on creating an open, loving relationship with them.

"It’s given me kind of a wake-up call to provide the safest and most loving environment for my children possible, and to know that they will never be judged. That if anything happens to them, they will always have somewhere to turn,” he told the newspaper.

He said that by telling his story, he hopes to show the world, and especially the Orthodox community in particular, that survivors can be resilient, successful and strong.

"Sexual abuse needs to be talked about more in the Chabad community. We need to talk to our kids about bodies, about boundaries, about privacy," his wife Sheina Zippel commented.


Most Read Most Comments


Opinions and Comments
1
Courageous!
Avremi, you are truly courageous!
It should be noted that Elizebeth Smart played a key role in assisting Avremi accomplish this.
Over the past few years I spoke with many people who have been abused in this way. The suffering is terrible. It is beautiful to see a photo of a beautiful family. The beauty should spread from outside in, and remove the terrible pain.

Keep strong!
(2/7/2019 12:06:01 PM)
2
Thank you!!!
On behalf of so many victims of abuse, I’m so grateful this amazing Shliach is doing this. This will make parents more aware and victims more likely to get help.
(2/7/2019 12:06:34 PM)
3
A inspiration!!
You are truly a inspiration for what you have done for me and, showed everyone that it is ok to come out with this story!
You should be very proud of yourself!
Thank you!!
(2/7/2019 12:13:26 PM)
4
Thank you!
So courageous and so inspiring!
Thank you helping so many victims!
(2/7/2019 12:23:15 PM)
5
so brave
very very admirable. inspiring to many. hope that others find the strength to come out with these stories in the hopes that it will give children and adults alike a voice to put an end to abuse.

wishing you and your family menuchas hanefesh.
(2/7/2019 12:23:29 PM)
6
with the old breed
Good going. Still standing still strong.
(2/7/2019 12:23:34 PM)
7
read the full article
This article does not do justice to Rabbi Zippel's bravery.

Please read the original article for the full story:

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900054112/exclusive-a-utah-orthodox-rabbi-said-his-childhood-nanny-sexually-abused-him-for-10-years-heres-why-he-kept-it-a-secret-for-decades-and-he-decided-to-tell-his-story-for-the-first-time-elizabeth-smart-aly-raisman-me-too.html
(2/7/2019 12:30:53 PM)
8
Avremi!!
You are a warrior!
Thanks for sharing this story!
You will be helping so many people!!
(2/7/2019 12:31:40 PM)
9
trb
SO incredibly brave.
people are suffering all kinds of abuse and we have no idea what they are going through. The excellent Mental Health workshops are teaching alot, and I hope they are teaching people to recognize what abuse it.
(2/7/2019 12:37:47 PM)
10
Wow
This is so amazing
A chassidisher shliach, speaking up.
Takes real courage, and bravery, and sends a very powerful message
(2/7/2019 12:41:15 PM)
11
Way to go!!!
I know zaides who are still keeping their story a secret........
(2/7/2019 12:42:16 PM)
12
thank you for sharing
such bravery!!!!
(2/7/2019 12:44:52 PM)
13
WOW!!!
I hope that this will give hope to all those survivors out there to go get the help they need to run the lives they deserve to have!
(2/7/2019 12:45:58 PM)
14
Kol hakavod!
How brave of this young man to come out and face his abuser.
This will hopefully encourage others to do the same.
I’m just wondering; would he be as congratulated had his abuser been a chassidic rabbi?
(2/7/2019 1:07:33 PM)
15
Brave, powerful, strong
Reading the full article in the above mentioned comment...There is incredible bravery you have displayed, taking this, testifying, and reliving pain. Most definitely a survivor. Thank you for sharing your story, and allowing others to really gain.
May Hashem bentch you to have the ability to continue growing, feeling fulfilled, content, and continue inspiring people in the incredible way I am sure you do.
(2/7/2019 1:27:12 PM)
16
Incredible
It takes much strength and courage to face your childhood traumas and to fight a fight that most people give up on, especially in our world where everything is taboo and we are scared of what others may think. Just like you were inspired by people who took a stand, you will also inspire others to do the same.
(2/7/2019 1:29:32 PM)
17
amazing
TRULY AMAZING
(2/7/2019 1:34:39 PM)
18
The pain and shame
My husband revealed to me only recently after 20 years of marriage that he was s abused by a rebbi in yeshiva. Yemach shemo.
(2/7/2019 1:41:28 PM)
19
AMAZING!!
Your so strong! You're incredible! Just wondering did he want it on collive and everyone in lubavitch
to know about it?
(2/7/2019 1:53:03 PM)
20
to #18
Really a shame to say the very least. that this happened to your husband, but still perhaps shouldnt say yemach shemo for a yid.
(2/7/2019 2:04:49 PM)
21
To 14
Very good point
(2/7/2019 2:08:30 PM)
22
Blown away
Thank you for sharing your story. I can only try to imagine how difficult this journey has been. Hashem bless you for speaking up, and may you find a place of peace and happiness at the time that's right for you.
(2/7/2019 2:09:44 PM)
23
A very important part of the article is...
This part at the end, which you may not get to, or gloss over.
It’s human nature to not want to hear or deal with negative things in life, especially through our children, but as he advises, keep a very honest, open, and non-judgmental relationship with your kids, so things are nipped in the bud.

“Rabbi Zippel, now a father himself, said his past hasn’t made him overprotective, and he deeply trusts the nannies he and his wife employ for their two children, Menny, 3, and Menachem, 18 months. He said rather than becoming hypervigilant about protecting his kids, he has focused instead on creating a open, loving relationship with them.

“It’s given me kind of a wake-up call to provide the safest and most loving environment for my children possible, and to know that they will never be judged. That if anything happens to them, they will always have somewhere to turn,” he said.“
(2/7/2019 2:12:15 PM)
24
Thank you for sharing.
Very brave.
(2/7/2019 2:21:49 PM)
25
Thank you
Thank you. You are very brave and strong .
(2/7/2019 2:23:27 PM)
26
Parents pay heed
Parents read the original article. Do speak to your children about appropriate & inappropriate touch. Speak about boundaries & about their bodies being their own. There are now great children’s story books for frum kids like “let’s stay safe”.
Parents & particularly shluchim please take note that your children take precedence over your shlichus!!! Do not delegate your children to “watching movies” with non Jewish nanies.
Employ people to mop your floors, wash your dishes NOT to enstrust your precious children to.
(2/7/2019 2:23:39 PM)
27
These people who come out after abuse are HEROS.
Nothing else to be said.
(2/7/2019 2:25:52 PM)
28
Old school
I won't diminish the courage it took for him to publicize his personal situation or rather what happened to him in the past but I come from an era and proudly so that certain things should not be aired in the public for very obvious reasons not because we have to put it under the rug but because it it does more damage than good.
(2/7/2019 2:28:34 PM)
29
A true hero!
The bravery here is UNBELIEVABLE! A real chosid!!!
(2/7/2019 2:33:24 PM)
30
Kol HaKavod
Kol HaKavod to you for sharing your story and becoming vulnerable to the world. Have such deep respect and admiration towards you and I hope you can find some healing now that justice is being served
(2/7/2019 2:35:14 PM)
31
Inspirational
Very impressive - his act of courage must have just saved 100's of lives from abuse or to have the courage to share their story .. now THAT'S a shliach ...
(2/7/2019 2:39:46 PM)
32
to #19
if you read the article , he wants every1 to know
(2/7/2019 2:44:07 PM)
33
the sad truth..
to #14...do you know how many did come forward to report it? and do you know that most of them were told to shut up..don't ruin a rebbe's reputation, he needs the parnasa.it never happened..they are lying, making it up...and then we wonder why they went off the derech!!?! and on the flip side - do you know how many were falsely accused!!???
(2/7/2019 3:36:14 PM)
34
Credit to his wife!
I'm sure it was her support that helped him come out like this and move on!
true aishes chayil! May you have the best marriage and true sholom bayis and emese nachas from your beautiful children!
(2/7/2019 3:50:03 PM)
35
This is so scary and crazy
We need more help advice and ideas of how to protect and keep our children safe
Rabbi Zippel maybe write an article or send a video of your tips or ideas or thoughts to parents on how to protect their children please Thank You!
(2/7/2019 3:55:14 PM)
36
Good for you Avremi!
Keep strong! I'm inspired by your courage! I can imagine how scary it is, good for you!
(2/7/2019 4:06:58 PM)
37
Curious
Why is so important that he is a shliach?
He is a yid suffering and that makes the story more powerful!
Do people thinking shluchim are not human?
Having the word shliach in the title somehow implies it is a shlichus issue and therefore it is degrading to the establishment of shlichus.
This is not a story that happened as a result of shlichus or being shliach. It can happened to anyone anywhere who hires a nanny, sends his kids to school, camp etc. or r"l has a sick mother or father...
(2/7/2019 4:20:21 PM)
38
Sad truth
As a man abused by a frum woman as a child, I hate to say it, but the truth is this story would never have seen the light of day if this woman had been Frum or even Jewish.
(2/7/2019 4:22:16 PM)
39
Kol Hakavod
Rabbi Zippel, thank you SO much for speaking up and creating a healthy, safe space for others to do the same.
(2/7/2019 4:30:53 PM)
40
Incredably Brave!
Thank you for doing this!!!
(2/7/2019 4:36:07 PM)
41
Wishing you many brachos
Your bravery is incredible -- no words for it -- and you have already helped many others B"H. I wish you healing. I wish you great success in all your endeavors. Moshiach Now.
(2/7/2019 4:38:39 PM)
42
A collive reader
I have tremdous respect for you.
Hashem should give you tremdous strength to continue in all that you do and immense comfort for all that you have been through.
(2/7/2019 5:00:31 PM)
43
Thank G-d He didn’t go through JCW
Thank Gd Rabbi Zippel went to the police. JCW has compromised its integrity.
(2/7/2019 5:18:13 PM)
44
Responsibility of every religious Jew
Without detracting from Rabbi Zippel's courage and strength to come forward with his story,it is quite important to focus on a different aspect.

When reporting the story in the Utah newspaper, the article mentions many times the fact that he is an Orthodox and Chassidic Jew and that there is a big emphasis in those circles to limit s exposure and activity,to the extent that certain scenes in movies are fast forwarded when watched.
The insinuations of this and similar articles are that people that are more permissive in this area are less likely to feel the shame and guilt that religious people feel.
In other words,people that live with more s permissiveness are sort of better off than religious people who adhere to a stronger and higher standard of live.
They are protected from ever feeling shame or guilt, because there's almost nothing left to feel guilty or shameful about ! Everything goes !
Of course we all know what the s revolution produced in our world, including,but not limited to,wild and dangerous behavior, anxiety and depression,suicides,etc.etc.
Much of the churbon of our world is because of our loose and permissive society.
Therefore, it is
always with mixed feeling that we read these articles.
Of course we feel for the victim and we laud his or her courage to expose the abusers.
A religious Jew, though,has the responsibility to make sure that a distorted and false message does not emerge.
It's not about hiding things, like some would have us believe.Rather it's because of our duty to be a light unto the nations,that we be careful, more than others,not to help proliferate false and destructive behavior.
It is a MUST to consult responsible Rabbonim before making any such step.

(2/7/2019 5:18:27 PM)
45
Protection.
What about teaching children about Yichud and Shomer Nogea
(2/7/2019 5:45:19 PM)
46
Solution
Every school and camp needs cameras and see through glass doors.
(2/7/2019 5:46:38 PM)
47
wow
what bravery and courage
(2/7/2019 5:48:11 PM)
48
To number 19
I think it is wonderful that this family is coming forward. It is not easy, they are very brave! But I think every parent should read Rabbi Zippel's story to help protect and educate their children. Parents need to have conversations with their children from a very young age about names of body parts and what is inappropriate touch and sexual abuse. Parents need to let their kids know that they can talk to then about anything without the parent getting upset. Open communication is key. Kol tov
(2/7/2019 6:48:25 PM)
49
Kol Hakovod!!
,Sorry this happened to him for so many years ! Was wondering how come he did not know about the mitzva of Yichud?Wishing only happiness always!
(2/7/2019 7:01:14 PM)
50
Sheina
All my respect!
And let me tell you, everyone is carrying their own peckle.
From your maamorim chavrusa in MSY
(2/7/2019 8:07:41 PM)
51
Brave
It's truly amazing that you have not let this ruin you. It's important to talk to our children about what abuse is from a very young age and engage them in conversations daily so that they will get used to expressing themselves and never hold in any wrongdoings
(2/7/2019 8:12:53 PM)
52
To Avremi and Shaina
I have never met you ...
but this is such a brave act to come out 100% and share your story / your personal and private story with all of us - for the greater good.
You looked beyond yourself and your children and your family and you thought of 'what is the best and correct thing to do?' and that was to shine a light and be an example and bring truth to the surface. That these things exist.... all too often, right around the bend. And the more we know, the more aware we are, the greater the chance we have at fighting this ugly and despicable abuse.

May Hashem bless you with strength and power and may you go from strenth to strength in your avodas hakodesh.
May you always find joy and happiness in your lives and know that you are bringing that out for people.
After darkness / and from darkness comes light - a tremendous light.
May we be zoche to greet Moshiach all in unison and he will heal all wounds.
Mushkie
(2/7/2019 8:16:54 PM)
53
this is amazing!!
wow eye opener MOSHIACH NOW
(2/7/2019 8:29:42 PM)
54
To 20- re: yimach shemo
Yach shemo has been said about (I believe y....)- a yid
said by rebbeim, either FR or Rebbe

Although this not not clarify the parameters of when it's ok to say this regarding a yid

Good point!
(2/7/2019 8:52:02 PM)
55
Thank you
So many people are still carrying the shame and guilt of abuse around. And their families are becoming secondary victims also suffering from the abuse their spouse suffered. I know your courage will help others. You will help others. Such bravery.
(2/7/2019 8:53:40 PM)
56
#TEAMAVREMI
WHAT A HERO
(2/7/2019 9:23:34 PM)
57
We have to go after not just the abusers
But also the enablers. The ones who give support to the abusers, those that try to discredit the victims even if they bring proof, those that put pressure to keep quiet because 'it won't make us look good'...you know what really doesn't look good? When something is really there and you covered it up. Because in the end, the truth will come out and everyone will see if you were a hero or the one that stood in the way
(2/7/2019 10:14:41 PM)
58
wow
kudos to you for saying your story!! so so brave and very much impactful
(2/7/2019 11:13:22 PM)
59
To #28
If "old school" means being modest and discerning about what you say, to whom, and in what circumstance, I would describe myself that way too. However, THIS, Aderaba, does much more good than damage! Rabbi Zippel is giving encouragement to others who were abused and deserve to at least mitigate their suffering by knowing that they are not alone. For that I say Kol HaKavod--and may shining a light on this aberrant and sick behavior help bring an end to it!
(2/7/2019 11:22:12 PM)
60
Avremel thanks for sharing!
Very inspiring, only good from sharing this. There is nothing to be shamed of, in this age of transparency this does much good for people suffering from similar experiences.
This also let's people know that they too can overcome suffering and obstacles and thought that they may be living lies to be able to accomplish and get far in life.
You're an inspiration Avremi and a Kiddush Hashem.
(2/7/2019 11:47:50 PM)
61
To # 59
I don't know who you are or how old you are, but I'm quite sure that I have many years over you hence more experience in life than you, and I'll repeat again that without a doubt there's more damage than gain with this post.

As far as helping other victims of abuse, there are many venues that can and should be used, they DON'T need a fellow victims story on a public forum.
As far as this victim is concerned, with all due sensitivity and understanding I believe not too far down the road he'll see that due to collateral damage it was a BAD choice.
(2/8/2019 12:07:37 AM)
62
brave man
i'm so curious as to how she got away with abusing him so many times ?
(2/8/2019 3:34:29 AM)
63
Supporting Zippel’s Parents
Can’t imagine what the parents are going through.
(2/8/2019 6:09:21 AM)
64
Kol Hakovod!
This is very good to start the conversation, a need to teach Yichud in school and at home .It seems some parents are not aware of the special mitzva of Yichud and Shomer nogea.Parents can protect their children by making them aware of Yichud and shomer nogea..Keeping these mitzvos will keep our families safe!!!
(2/8/2019 6:59:52 AM)
65
Communal response !
Keeping the Mitzvos of Shomer Nogea will keep everybody safe
(2/8/2019 7:06:07 AM)
66
To 44
Thank you! Best comment.
(2/8/2019 7:47:56 AM)
67
Sad
I am so sorry to hear of the long suffering the Rabbi endured. So proud and glad he went for help and rabbi and family are healthy.I do not however think this personal and shocking account should be publicized here.Just a personal opinion that others may share too.
(2/8/2019 7:51:24 AM)
68
to #28
YOU are a closet abuser, I bet.

Your message falls flat and says volumes.

This article and announcement by this Shaliach is beyond courageous I have no words.

Respect!

COL thanks for being in the forefront and posting this.
(2/8/2019 8:53:17 AM)
69
To #44
Of cause there is way more guilt, pressure and shame involved when the victim is a part of frum community with higher expectations (compared to society outside of reclusive, strict communties). How much greater therefore is the level of courage and strength that takes for victims of sexual abuse (or any other abuse) within frum community to come forward and confront their abusers publicly. It is mind boggling how some individuals within frum community ( particularly those in leadership positions) are more concerned with the image the orthodox community projects to outsiders, both Jewish and non-jewish than dealing with horrendous crimes of abuse and well-being of community members.
(2/8/2019 9:29:24 AM)
70
@#29
I'm old school too.
Certain this our young adults do make me cringe. Especially revealing with tight clothing what they call the baby bump, and inviting even strangers to feel the baby inside.
These things should be 100% private. Remember waiting 5 months before telling your friends you were expecting?
Yes certain things must remain private.
However child sexual abuse must be made public because it is the only way to prevent other children from being abused. This travesty must come to an end.
(2/8/2019 9:42:26 AM)
71
To #18 and #20
No, yemach shemoh is not appropriate. Far better would be to widely publicize shemoh. All abusers, no matter who, what, where, or when, need to be very publicly outed. Abuse thrives in secrecy. Publicity is the only way to safeguard against future victims.
(2/8/2019 11:15:41 AM)
72
"Old School" perpetuates the problem
I have immense respect for Rabbi Zippel, his wife and his family, who I pray will stand behind him now and also down the road, even when people like "old school" might plant a seed of doubt if this was the right thing to do.
I wholeheartedly believe it is. I t is the only way to break a destructive cycle that creates either broken people or abusers who in the past were victims themselves.
Truth and openness is the only way out of pervasive shame. Truth and openness is the only way we can further protect our children.
Thank you Rabbi Zippel for speaking your truth. You are beyond courageous. I wish you healing and lightness in your soul, now that you have been able to put down the massive burden that you carried for so many years.
(2/8/2019 11:39:34 AM)
73
#28 #61 "Old school"
I consider myself old school when it comes to aidelkeit, tzius, chinuch matters etc. However, the buck COMPLETELY STOPS at ABUSE! Be it Sexual, Emotional or Psychological.

The damage of a communal power & control operating system that allows predators to thrive and have cover is incomparably more damaging... What Avremi has done will save countless lives and show the thousands of ppl struggling with yiddishkeit because of similar experiences that shame and cover up is not "old school yiddishkeit" but "old school authoritarianism".

Your words convey a deep lack of empathy and understanding of the psychological trauma victims deal with.

FYI, this machlo is probably the biggest reason for young ppl leaving yiddishkeit... And every enabler or "old school" farshteyer carries the responsibility.
(2/8/2019 11:46:03 AM)
74
to 28
Yes, its uncomfortable. but it will bring awareness. The era that you are proud to be part of, is partially responsible for the amount of abuse happening today. By not talking about it and making it a discussion, by sweeping it under the rug, you allowed the issue to fester and become rampant. And now, so many suffer.
(2/8/2019 1:36:56 PM)
75
Thank you
Thank you for bringing awareness. It could not have been easy. Very brave of you to tell your story.
(2/8/2019 1:56:34 PM)
76
A thought
This young Rabbi is an inspiration and has truly shown bravery coming forward.
After reading the article in its entirety (via link from comment #7), a thought crossed my mind:
We want victims of abuse to report the abuse right away. What would have been the outcome had Avremi brought this situation to light earlier? (Say, when he was 20 and saw that episode of law and order.) I'm not so sure the outcome would be the same...even his wife said "it was almost like I had to rethink everything about my life," when the abuse was revealed. Would she have even gone out with him? He, b'h, seems to have a beautiful family and shlichus now. Would he have been robbed of it had he come out earlier about the abuse? Things may have looked a lot different for him.
It's a problem for young victims in the community. They are encouraged to hide these things because it can ruin their prospects of a shidduch, tarnish their name, etc.
Hopefully, Rabbi Avremie's story can inspire other victims to step forward and have the same courage.
(2/8/2019 2:38:48 PM)
77
A Pioneer
A Pioneer,
You will now see hundreds of people opening up about abuse in the past. He is a true hero and should be the keynote speaker at the next Kinus Hashluhim.
(2/8/2019 3:25:44 PM)
78
Thank you
It’s so comforting as a victim to hear a shliach unapologetically come out. It’s validating. It’s so common and we’re normal people.
Re:#speaking at the kinus banquet is unrelated to being a hero of shliach
(2/9/2019 4:41:17 PM)
79
kol hakavod
brave shliach!
(2/12/2019 11:23:18 PM)
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