Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Letters to the Editor - Kudos For Courage

Letters to the Editor
Kudos For Courage
Baltimore Jewish Times - May 25, 2005
I thank Editor Phil Jacobs and the Baltimore Jewish Times for the courage it took to publish the recent articles regarding Judge Robert I. Hammerman.
My heart goes out to "Barry" and the others who had the experience of feeling sexually victimized by a man who had so much power and control. It saddens me a great deal to see how badly our community needs to be educated on the symptoms and ramifications sexual violence plays on both children and adults.
My hope is that our community will be more open to offering support to those who have been violated, and do what it can to help those who offend to stop.
It's important to realize that even if an alleged offender has passed away, the violence he caused others will live on. To discredit someone who has been violated is a shameful thing.
Vicki Polin
The Awareness Center, Inc.
Baltimore, MD

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Letter to the Editor - Errors regarding the case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler

Letter to the Editor - Errors regarding the case of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
Jewish Press - May 4, 2005
Dear Editor,
I wanted to start off by informing you of the many errors I've found in your recent articles relating to the allegations of rabbinical sexual misconduct by Rabbi Mordecai Tendler. In this letter I am only going to address the many errors that I found that are directly related to The Awareness Center. Please feel free to call me to discuss these issues. I can be reached at 443-857-5560.

1. The Awareness Center is more then just a "website". We are a (Sexual Violence) Victims Rights Advocacy organization. Our organization offers a clearinghouse of information on various issues pertaining to the topic of sexual violence. As of today, The Awareness Center is the only Jewish organization that focuses purely on helping survivors of incest, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment and rabbinical sexual misconduct.

Only a small part of our time and web page focuses on listing the names of alleged and convicted sex offenders. I think it's important to mention that for years there has been an ongoing trend for alleged and convicted offenders to move from one community to the next, leaving a trail of survivors behind. There have been several incidents where the alleged and also convicted offenders will move from city, state or even country to another, to avoid prosecution and or because they were chased out of town. There has also been a trend that they will change their names from their English names to Hebrew names. The Awareness Center tracks these occurrences the best we can as a way to prevent any future victims. The Awareness Center also offers resources for those who do offend and are seeking help, and also for family members of alleged and convicted sex offenders. For more information go to: and

2. Rabbi Mark Dratch resigned from the Advisory Board of The Awareness Center quite awhile ago. Rabbi Dratch has never been a member of our Board of Directors. He never had a decision making role in our organization. In your article "An Inappropriate Process (Part IV) dated April 28, 2005, you stated Rabbi Mark Dratch is currently on our board of directors. He is not. You can easily verify this information by going to our web page:

3. The Awareness Center is NOT an investigator organization. We are a clearinghouse of information. We have policies in place of what goes up on our list of alleged and convicted offenders. To view our policies go to:

4. The Awareness Center had nothing to do with the way the Vaad Hakavod operated. I personally wish we had been able to, yet that has never been the role of our organization. Please remember we are an educational and advocacy organization. The role our organization usually plays in any case has been to provide information and resources to those who have stated they had been sexual victimized. We have also supplied information and resources to those in supportive roles to survivors, to family members of alleged and convicted offenders, and also to alleged and convicted offenders.

Considering all of the information provided above that is readily available to anyone on our web page, I find it amazing that there have been so many errors in your articles. I am also surprised that no one from your paper has ever contacted The Awareness Center.

On another note, I felt that it was important to thank you for calling The Awareness Center "notorious." I had no idea that an organization that is supported purely by volunteers and which has very little funding could have such an impact in the orthodox world. I'm amazed that it would be considered "notorious."

It makes one have to stop and wonder, why you feel it is so threatening for an organization to advocate to those who have felt they have been sexually violated.

Vicki Polin, Executive Director
The Awareness Center