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This Isn’t “Dirty Laundry”

Op-Ed: The argument that talking about indecent abuse will give the community a "bad name" does not supersede the obligation to protect the innocent from being hurt. Full Story

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taken from the Sovri website
March 6, 2011 3:26 pm

Frequently Asked Questions Who are we? We are an emotional support helpline for Orthodox Jewish survivors of ______ abuse. We help, support, listen, and provide resources to any person who chooses to call us. We are anonymous, confidential, and don’t have caller-ID. The helpline is open Monday-Thursday 9:30am-5:30pm and Friday 9:30am-1:30pm. The phone number is 212.844.1495. We are under the auspices of the Victims Services Program of Beth Israel Medical Center. Who answers the phone? The helpline is answered by trained volunteers. Our volunteers have gone through a 40+ hour training program focused on the dynamics of *l abuse in… Read more »

Friendly Fire is Right
March 6, 2011 2:45 pm

We should have nothing to prove to the secular world. The way we perceive ourselves and care about our community should be enough of a reason to do something!

To # 60
March 6, 2011 11:26 am

are there any other resources available to “Orthodox Jewish survivors of abuse”?

March 6, 2011 1:21 am

The SOVRI Helpline is an anonymous and confidential helpline that provides information, support, and referrals to Orthodox Jewish survivors of abuse. The helpline is open Mon-Thurs 9:30am-5:30pm and Fri 9:30am-1:30pm. The number is 212.844.1495.

It is a project of Beth Israel Hospital

Kol hakovod to Eli Federman
March 5, 2011 10:35 pm

Thank you for helping a most vital issue to the forfront! I hope you do not mind some ‘friendly fire’ I agree with all that you wrote, but I take exception to this pargraph: “This seminar will be a tremendous Kidush Hashem because it will show the secular world that we are not afraid to confront the challenges that our community faces – and in fact every community faces” Permit me to rewrite it This seminar will be a tremendous Kidush Hashem because {we are}finally{going to} confront the challenges that our community faces “showing the secular world that we are… Read more »

To Rishe
March 3, 2011 4:16 pm

I would like to state that it’s not only the hours the Mrs.Shaeffer puts in to organize these amazing events but it’s also the heart that she puts in when she helps somebody. She was my kallah teacher and it was amazing how easy it was to disclose to her so much painful things from teh past. She treated me like her own child and helped me find a specialist in abuse. I can actually say that because of her my husband and me have a wonderful relationship in ‘every’ single way. When I started to learn kallah classes I… Read more »

Jeff to #52... Sense of humor
March 3, 2011 4:12 pm

🙂 I appreciate your sense of humor. “Rebbitzman” is another one… comes with the territory:) When people ask, “What are you, if your wife’s a rabbi?” I just say, “Lucky!” (…my kallah came up with that:)). Lucky, indeed… before her, I was in my mid-30’s, living in a place called, Norcross, GA – where Yiddishkite is gornisht (please give tzedakah/support to shaliach, Rabbi Lerman in his monumental efforts there). In my personal life, even after much exposure from generous shluchim, I knew and practiced nothing – for example, I still didn’t know basics such as birkat hamazon, asher yatzer, kashrut,… Read more »

To #55
March 3, 2011 1:14 pm

Thank you!

What The Rav says about the MITZVAH of Mesira against a Pedophile
March 3, 2011 8:55 am

#47 indicated what Halacha says about a Moser: Question: May we or must we report a Pedophile to Police? ANSWER: Halacha not only permits but MANDATES that we MUST Masser upon someone who is himself already a Moser. see comment # 47 item # 6 paragraph 4 The reason we may kill or maser on someone who is a Moser is because he has a din Rodef. The facts are that all Pedophiles are all repeat offenders and what they do is constant perpetual abuse and there is no way to stop them except by locking them up or else… Read more »

Reporting Molesters to Police is not Mesira
March 3, 2011 8:39 am

#47 talk about Mesira: His talk about Mesira is a non-issue as proven by his own words. In his own words, someone who hits and is violent and there is no way to stop him you may Moser him according to Shulchan Aruch. All Pedophiles are 100% unstoppable. It’s a proven established fact. All Pedophiles are SICK IN TH HEAD and there is no cure this mental illness. It is 100% for sure that they will continue their immoral “hitting” (abuse) and hurting children in a way which is worse than killing children. Throwing them in jail does not cure… Read more »

Any survivors?
March 3, 2011 7:41 am

If any survivor is willing to speak publicly about their abuse please contact the organizers. It would he a tremendous kidush hashem and a way to empower others and reduce the stigma unfortunately attached to survivors.

March 3, 2011 6:42 am

1) hi Jeff I think I recognize your voice- didn’t you write for the N’shei Chabad Newsletter once?
2) Bronya, you are impressive. The sheer number of hours you have put in to organizing these events to enlighten the community and protect the children!
3) IYH all these comments make me think there is going to be a magnificent turnout. That is exciting B”H

I will be there iy"h
March 2, 2011 8:23 pm

Can we the parents demand that our Rebbies and principals attend too???????

To #49
March 2, 2011 4:08 pm

Very well said!

Halachos of Mesira
March 2, 2011 2:42 pm

Thank you for the text…this is academic. In any and every given situation, a rav paskens the halacha. Most rabbonim today, including Lubavithcer rabbonim, will NOT condone protection of a molester from the law. Do some research, not just text study. Halacha is very clear, but application of the halacha absolutely requires a posek. It’s ludicrous to think that one should protect a molester from a legal system, while allowing children to be harmed by him! It’s this kind of thinking that t hese program are addressing. By posting this block of text you continue the aveira of protecting a… Read more »

To #46
March 2, 2011 10:27 am

Very well said! That is the core issue….

Halochos Of Mesira
March 2, 2011 3:22 am

Shulchan Aruch Code Of The Jewish Law By Rabbi Shneur Zalman Of Liadi Laws of Money Damages – (Laws of Messira) [Chosen Mishpot – Kehot Printing –Safer Vov- Page Kof-Chof] For Original Hebrew Print – Click Here [Free Translation] (6) It is forbidden to Masser a Jew in to the hands of a Goy (Gentile), it makes no difference if its his body (גוף) or money (ממון), even ממון קל, which means even if it’s a “light” (small) amount of money., This prohibition (אסור) applies by דיבור, which means outright Messira through speech, Or even revealing what a fellow Jew… Read more »

Largely Unaddressed
March 1, 2011 10:09 pm

As someone who works with Orthodox Survivors of Childhood Abuse, I would confirm that the issue is still largely unaddressed. I see people who have kept a secret from the age the abuse happened as a child…well into their adult life, and only went for help, when their life became unbearable, often well into their adulthood, after suffering in silence for decades. The stigma in our community associated with being a victim, often prevents children from coming forward, and even families, if they do find out about it, from dealing with it head-on, which makes out community a very safe… Read more »

To #40 from #24 - Tznius and addressing abuse
March 1, 2011 7:35 pm

My fellow Jew, I come from and live in the “non-Charadi world” you mention. I am a baal teshuvah. My wife is a Conservative rabbi (sure, call me “rebbetzin”:)). I daven Chabad. I will “change diapers, wipe runny noses, and speak about body parts” (which you mention in the last sentence of comment #40). Having been on both “sides of the fence,” I recognize the worth/value in the concepts such as tzniut (that pervade all areas of our lives – not just in appearances and intimacy, but in speech, as well as in many other applications). Also, while reading comment… Read more »

Moms - Go. Really. For the sake of your kids.
March 1, 2011 6:58 pm

i was by the first event and all i kept thinking was “Where were the other 25 mothers from the class? Don’t they care as much as I do about their sons?”
Moms – Go. Really. For the sake of your kids.

To #41
March 1, 2011 6:57 pm

To date there has not yet been even 1 Menahel in all of CH who has reported even 1 Pedophile to the Police, every yet in the past 60 Years in CH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I assume this means the CH is the only community in the entire world which is immune to ever having had any pedophile in our midst ever yet. What a Miracle! We in CH are safe! We in CH can all go to sleep rest assured that Menahalim have never ever yet had anyone arrested because of this miracle that CH is the only community in the entire… Read more »

March 1, 2011 4:34 pm

read the article completely and understand it before you make your stupid comments!!

The bedrock issue
March 1, 2011 3:42 pm

Jews must report child abuse to the police. We know how “the community” deals with it. Molesters are quietly moved around. The witnesses are silenced. The children and their families are coerced into silence. The criminals go on to violate again, and again and again, generally in a community where nobody knows about their crimes. Their victims feel angry at the communities, betrayed by their leaders and bitter and resentful towards Judaism. These feelings are perfectly justified. Rabbis are not qualified to do criminal investigations. Neither are Beis Din. They aren’t detectives or forensic psychologists. They simply don’t have any… Read more »

To Jeff in Comment 20
March 1, 2011 3:33 pm

You can’t begin to solve the problem until you’re willing to look at it and shine light on it. That means being frank, even blunt. The excuse that this violates “tznius” is balderdash. Nobody’s going to run out and commit adultery because they know the facts about child abuse. But as long as you hide behind it I can guarantee you will make life easier for the monsters who harm our children. The non-Charedi world has learned how to teach children about child abuse. You can make things clear to them without being too graphic. Most of all they have… Read more »

Point Proven in a Mechanech's Words
March 1, 2011 3:18 pm

Dear #31 (The Mechanech), Let us analyze your words to determine if you agree with me that the number is much less than half of the population of Lubavitch youth, or if it is half, or even close to half. You said: “… a vast majority of heavily troubled children (both boys and girls) within the Lubavitcher educational system have been intimately abused.” Breaking that down, you assert that it is 1) a “vast majority” of the 2) “heavily troubled children” 3) “within the Lubavitcher education system.” Giving you the benefit of the assumption that you are not exaggerating by… Read more »

The rate is about 25% according to the studies
March 1, 2011 1:45 pm

+ Although child indecent abuse is reported almost 90,000 times a year, the numbers of unreported abuse is far greater because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2004). + It is estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will have experienced an episode of abuse while younger than 18 years. The numbers of boys affected may be falsely low because of reporting techniques (Botash, Ann, MD, Pediatric Annual, May, 1997). + Sixty-seven percent of all… Read more »

shouldn't the title for this be...
March 1, 2011 11:21 am


That way everyone will read it and hopefully attend, as opposed to many skipping over what might be just another op-ed article.

I see COLLive took my advice
March 1, 2011 11:13 am

a few weeks ago there was an op-ed article about some shidduchim event that (should of had more, but) had very poor attendance. So I commented saying, that had the op-ed been posted PRIOR to the event, then all those reading it now would have actually attended. People these days don`t blink an eye to an advertisement, but as soon as they see an “op-ed” they make sure to read it from head to toe! Kudos to COLLive for playing it smarter this time!

March 1, 2011 10:38 am

I think part of the problem, which absolutely needs to be addressed, and without it, we are losing an important weapon against abuse. MOSER! how many times is this epithet thrown indiscriminately at people who care and try to make a difference. yes there is a concept of not being moser, but it is NOT a blanket issur. there definitely times when being moser helps not only victims, but even perpetrators. when criminals in the frum community know that they will have the backing of the community against the evil non-jewish justice system, it encourages bad behavior. we NEED to… Read more »

Largely unAddressed??!
March 1, 2011 9:39 am

How many speeches and articles would it take to make it “addressed”?! the N’shei Chabad Newsletter has been carrying articles and letters on this topic since September of 2006. There have been numerous community events (two by Rubashkin, two by Shaffer, one in JCM, one in Bais Rivkah at 310, one in Mosdoth for staff, and several parents’ workshops in parents’ homes). Every single Rov and Menahel in this community has met with Dr. Pelcovitz at least once – many have met with him several times. Give us some credit, please! people are eager to learn and to protect their… Read more »

What Manis Friedman actually said
March 1, 2011 9:29 am

From his article:

“We hear a lot about child abuse. It seems that half the people we meet have been abused as children. ”

It’s quite obvious from the context that he was making a sweeping general observation which was obviously somewhat exaggerated, not offering a statistic based on his actual experience.

to 20
March 1, 2011 9:22 am

Your point is well taken but is misguided.

There are numerous instructions from the rebbe not to use the common used term, but rather to use a tzinusdiker term.

Yanky: Take your head out of the sand
March 1, 2011 9:19 am

As a mechanech for over a decade and someone who deals on a regular basis with “at risk” children, I can unfortunately attest to the fact that a vast majority of heavily troubled children (both boys and girls) within the Lubavitcher educational system have been intimately abused. This is a fact that stands true for every segment in our population, including EVERY segment of the frum community.

Working on preventing this trauma and treating children (and adults) who have unfortunately gone through such a harrowing trauma is HATZOLAS NEFOSHOS MAMOSH!

After all the att. Yanky N's. Now att. Sam
March 1, 2011 8:21 am

You are rofl?!
Interesting reaction to this issue.
Plus, as collive responded, we are Frum Jews, and the other terminology is explicit-sounding. Finally, a Frum, Lubavitch forum on the subject, coming from our prespective of Chassidishe, Yiddishe, and moral values.

Yet Another Example of Community Sensationalism
March 1, 2011 7:58 am

Dear #11, My comment was directed at Mr. Federman. As a colleague of Mr. Federman, I gave him professional criticism (see R’ Matis Kantor’s postscript above in comment 18 for the problem with the language). Notwithstanding no mention in my comment of Mrs. Shaffer, you launched into a tirade and called me Amalek for a supposed attack on Mrs. Shaffer. I did not direct my comment at Mrs. Shaffer, nor did it refer to her backhandedly. Neither was my comment directed at the event or the underlying problem of child abuse. There is simply no way to conclude from my… Read more »

March 1, 2011 7:54 am

thye 25% stat is greatly overblown. Its all about funds. And yes this is part of the womens lib movement too. And it refers to all segments of society. Jewish abuse does exist but is much lower. http://www.amazon.com/Child-Abuse-Industry-Outrageous-Rebellions/dp/0891074015

To Sam (20)
March 1, 2011 5:44 am

If you didn’t read the previous comments, the term used is based on a mashpia’s suggestion, not on a babyish whim. I would guess the reason, besides not using unclean language as the Torah does, (” And all the animals that are not clean” instead of ‘impure’) it might be that this site is visited not only by adults, but by children, and exposing them to such terms would damage their innocence.

A Victom
March 1, 2011 4:40 am

Baruch Hashem

Kol Hakavod!

March 1, 2011 3:19 am

#20 of course a mature candid discussion is in order. BUT NOT ON COL! As they have already said, the mashpia advised them to use the word indecent on this most public of forums! I’m sure at the event itself, people will be as open as they want!

To 20 Sam
March 1, 2011 3:11 am

It’s called, “modesty”/tznitus and overall sensitivity and respect for those of us who wish not to be exposed to associations with graphic details (which, perhaps in your experience, you may be have had multiple exposures to – resulting, possibly, in you becoming desensitized to their impact over time).

Candid conversation in this forum is being accomplished – with modest words (as best as possible). This is not a matter to be taken lightly – “worlds” are created and destroyed by speech. Thank you for understanding a way different from yours.


To #2 Yanky N.
March 1, 2011 2:46 am

Good faith…works both ways. Please trust/have emunah in the good offering/gift/contribution of Rabbi Friedman and Mr. Federman and their loving efforts. As well, let’s have good faith in the greater community (beyond the numbers) to be able to discern “sensation”/”hyperbole”/exaggeration from the everyday reality of the issues occurring “in the trenches.” Let’s give people credit that they notice what’s going on in their own “backyards.” The community doesn’t need to see exact numbers to alert us that we have a problem with issues such as child abuse. More importantly, we first need to communicate about and address them, giving them… Read more »

to Yanky
March 1, 2011 1:57 am

I actually agree with you.

This is an important topic and doesn’t need to be “sensationalized”. From the way the author wrote it, it did not come across the way he explained it in comment 11.

Yasher Koach to all involved.

March 1, 2011 1:38 am

To Mattis Kantor. Would you mind to disclose your professional credentials, please. Much appreciated.

March 1, 2011 12:26 am

How are we supposed to have a mature, candid conversation about this serious issue when among adults we have to tiptoe around calling it child “indecent” abuse? ROFL

to Yanky N
March 1, 2011 12:03 am

I don’t see anywhere that it refers to rabbi friedman I saying that 50 percent of the children in the educational system Has it been abused. It does say that he commented that 50 percent of the people he met have been abused. Assuming that is referring to people he has met with, that does not seem surprising at all. Many of the people who come to speak to Rabbi Friedman do so because they are trying to work through challenges and traumas they have experienced. 50% would actually seem low in that case.

Pidyon Shevuyim
February 28, 2011 11:57 pm

This well presented introduction to the issue is welcome (as is the planned event itself, although one wonders whether and where the publicity should appear.) On a deeper dimension, adding a flavor of a Halacha nature, adds importance to the issue. Anyone, whether child or adult (yes, adult, as in abused women who have frequented my doorstep); anyone who is the subject of abuse etc. is in fact a prisoner to the “reality” within which they live. They are the most tragic “shevuyim” one can imagine. Captive to a persons shielded by their respectable status. Sometimes by the aura of… Read more »

to Yanky N
February 28, 2011 11:55 pm

I don’t see anywhere it refers to rabbi friedman as saying 50% of children in our educational system have been abused. The comment refers to people he has met and I assume that means people he’s met WITH. Since it’s pretty common for people to meet with rabbi friedman to discuss

The Protected Child
February 28, 2011 11:40 pm

Rabbi Levi Kaplan, menahel of JTVS, was a featured speaker at the recent The Protected Child event, and the first menahel to endorse next week’s event…in his words: “It is an honor to be listed among those endorsing the program.”

Bronya Shaffer

February 28, 2011 11:24 pm

As opposed to “decent” abuse?? NO abuse is to be tolerated. Yasher Koach to this group that is facing the issue and helping those that are victims or know someone who is a victim express themselves and get help.

COLlive response:

We are using the word “indecent abuse” by the suggestion of a mashpia as a clean alternative to the otherwise explicit-sounding term.

Silence is support. Their blood is on your hands
February 28, 2011 11:17 pm

Pedophiles commit their terrible acts until they are caught. It’s settled. We know this. Hiding the crimes or transferring the criminal to another yeshiva or silencing the victims allows them to continue. As long as they can get away with it, they will violate little children. Opportunities they can provide. Victims they can find and groom and vent their unnatural desires. The one thing they require from you is your protection. Every time you silence a child who has the heroic courage to come forward you destroy an innocent life. Every time you tell the rabbi instead of the police… Read more »

abuse is important to discuss
February 28, 2011 11:16 pm

and it is great to see that a seminar is being prepared on this issue.

I can see how emotion can get to people, but we have to stay away from hyperbole – like the 50% quote with R’ Manis Friedman…

To #2
February 28, 2011 11:16 pm

Dear Yanky, I appreciate your perspective but strongly disagree with your characterization of my statements. First, my statement was based on Rabbi Friedman’s discussions with me and his published article on Chabad.org not any sort of independent double-blind study. Furthermore, I never claimed nor did Friedman claim that “half the children in the system were abused” but rather that half the children he has met were abused. There is a huge difference because he is more likely to meet children who were abused. Lastly, the statistics I actually cite is 25%. That figure is clearly supported by national survey averages.… Read more »

Dear Yanky. (2)
February 28, 2011 11:14 pm

Dear Yanky, thank you for being the amolak and throwing cold water, all that was needed to confirm how important an event this was, was some opposition, so yasher koach. but I’m sorry for you that it had to come from you. You would be well advised to contact Mrs. Shaffer, to get educated , and than once you’re a bit more informed, you could make the sincere apology you so desperately owe her. Mrs. Shaffer is one of the most honest and dedicated members of this community, looking out for its wellbeing in ways that you can’t even imagine.… Read more »

Att. Yanky N.
February 28, 2011 11:02 pm

Perhaps Rabbi M Friedman was referring to all the Beis Chana women, who obviously don’t all come from Chabad homes.
Nevertheless, pouring cold water on this issue due to a technicality is wrong. Better that parents should be overzealous in protecting their children b/c they think it’s 50%, then them being lax about it Ch”vm

video of last event
February 28, 2011 11:00 pm

the video of the last event can be seen at: http://www.vimeo.com/18144457

see first line of article, number four:
February 28, 2011 11:00 pm

As part of a series on protecting children, an educational seminar to take place March 8th, 2011, at 8:00 PM, at Bais Rivka, 310 Crown Street, Brooklyn, is going to revolve around identifying, reporting and preventing child indecent abuse – a largely unaddressed issue in our community.

February 28, 2011 10:58 pm

come to this lecture! show you care!

why do you call it "largely unaddressed"?
February 28, 2011 10:57 pm

“largely unaddressed” — hmmmm… how many speeches and articles would it take to make it “addressed”? the N’shei Chabad Newsletter has been carrying articles and letters on this topic since September of 2006. There have been numerous community events (two by Rubashkin, two by Shaffer, one in JCM, one in Bais Rivkah at 310, one in Mosdoth for staff, and several parents’ workshops in parents’ homes). Every single Rov and Menahel in this community has met with Dr. Pelcovitz at least once – many have met with him several times. Give us some credit, please! This is not to say… Read more »

pass it on
February 28, 2011 10:54 pm

Last time, many people I spoke to said that they had not heard of the event till afterward, such a shame. Please pass this on to everyone you know who has children.

when and where
February 28, 2011 9:59 pm

when and where is this seminar?
is it open for the public?

Yash Koach
February 28, 2011 9:36 pm

Of course it is obligatory to attend! Eli, thank you for helping to bring this issue to light.

Enough Sensationalism; Tackle Community Issues in Good Faith
February 28, 2011 9:29 pm

Dear Mr. Federman, Don’t you think that R’ Manis Friedman, whom you cited for the proposition that half the children in the our education system have been abused, was exaggerating? Do you in good faith take R’ Friedman at his word that half of the people he meets were indecently abused as children? It delegitimizes advocates against problems of “indecent child abuse” (as opposed to “decent” abuse?) when they use sensationalism. I do not mean to belittle your work. However, you, as a professional, should rise above hyperbole by finding verifiable statistics to demonstrate how widespread the problem is (surely… Read more »

It Happens Everywhere
February 28, 2011 9:05 pm

It is not about IF it happens but how you handle it that shows what type of community you are. To many children, for to long, have had to endure terrible things because the administrations and rabbonim where unwilling to address the issue (and in many cases actively suppressed it making it worse). Yasher Koch to everyone involved in bringing this to light.