Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stop Bullying Monica Lewinsky!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Talk Radio Show - Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 968

Talk Radio Show - Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 968
Bill Murray - November 24, 2014

Tonight's special guest is Vicki Polin, MA, LPCC, LCPC, from the Dancing Tree Wellness Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) with over 30 years of experience working in the trauma field in various capacities, Vicki has worked with individuals who want to learn how to empower themselves, along with working with couples and families. Her experience includes working with adults who are looking to over come a full array of issues, such as overcoming traumatic events from childhood and also as adults. Over the years Vicki has provided assistance to survivors of sexual violence (both male and female survivors), domestic violence, political torture, bullying, life transitions and those experiencing health issues. She's also provided counseling to professionals experiencing burn-out, compassion fatigue and vicarious victimization. 

Vicki is forming a new FREE Networking Group for adult survivors of childhood trauma. This group is open to adult survivors of childhood trauma (emotional, psychological, physical and sexual abuse). The NETWORK offers survivors a place to share ideas, connect with others and learn new skills. The Networking Group will begin December 1, 2014. 

My goal as a psychotherapist is to work with individuals, couples and families who are having difficulty adjusting, experiencing depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and or dissociation, in response to life changing events." Vicki explains. "As a therapist I do my best to assist my clients on their journey to discover healthy coping mechanisms so that they are able to overcome obstacles -- making it possible for them to live happy, productive and fulfilling lives."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Four hasidic sex abuse survivors died in the last month

Baruch Dayan Ha'emet - In Memory of Joey Diangelo
Joe Diangelo was the fourth hasidic survivor of child sexual abuse who lost their life to either suicide or an accidental drug overdoes in the course of the last month.

We all wish there was something we could do to turn all of this around, yet as long as there is a culture in which children are not believed (including adult survivors), the number of individuals who commit suicide or die from accidental drug overdoses will continue.

What happens in New York, also occurs in other insulated orthodox communities globally, such as in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles -- and including far away places as Canada, Israel; Australia and South Africa

It sickens many of us greatly that to many Jewish leaders in both the hasidic and yeshivish worlds (worldwide) refuse to allow their followers to get legitimate help from licensed mental health professionals, who actually have the correct education and training to work with survivors of sexual trauma. Another major problem in these types of insulated communities is that it is common practice for survivors who wish to enter into psychotherapy to ask permission from their rabbi to do so. Once the rabbi agrees, the rabbi will instruct the individual which therapist to see. This type of approval in many communities is mandatory. 

Unfortunately, the mental health professionals (licensed and non-licensed) who the rabbis refer their congregants to, have a habit of violating confidentialities. 

Several hasidic and or yeshivish "professionals" believe they are required to share private information disclosed by their clients with the client's rabbi -- even though this type of information violates HIPPA or any other type of legally binding secular law. 

All too often the rabbonim from these communities will say that it is much better for survivors to speak with a rabbi or mental health professionals from within their own communities for cultural reasons -- with the belief the outside world would try to change their way of thinking, customs or religious beliefs. What the rabbis don’t broadcast is that they are aware that outside professionals are not under their control and would not violate the client / professional rules of confidentiality.

When a survivor goes outside the community for help, they are violating the rules and regulations of their community, which often leads to the survivor and or their family members being shunned -- meaning, they no longer are allowed to attend Jewish schools, synagogues or gatherings for other community members. If the survivor or their parents own a business, the rabbonim have the option of banning other community members from shopping or doing business with them.

Another custom appears to be that when it is learned that a adolescent or young adult survivor seeks help outside the community, and the survivor refuses to adhere to the rules of the rabbonim, the parents are often instructed to kick their children them out on to the streets -- which leads the growing population of homeless hasidic or yeshivish teens and young adults.

When an individual grows up in or joins an insulated community they don't have the same resources available to them as those who live in the secular world. They are taught not to trust outsiders. They are unaware of the resources available to them, and if they do reach out to the secular world for help, they are taught that outsiders will harm or kill them. The problem is about cult like practices that mimic mind control, and not about religion or faith.

Considering these disastrous traditions, we all must be made aware once again that blaming individuals who have been victimized is WRONG and all too often turns into a deadly mess.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Twenty years on, the real and radical legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

By Maayan Jaffe - August 25, 2014

“He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy.” This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s “The Soul of Jerusalem” hit the shelves.

But even the authors will admit that this larger-than-life, soul-hugging rabbi’s legacy cannot be fully captured in black-and-white pages. 

“Shlomo did not seem to fit any restrictive, defining label,” Ophir told “Reb Shlomo was… a charismatic teacher who combined storytelling, sermonic exegesis, and inspirational insights into creating a new form of heartfelt, soulful Judaism filled with a love for all human beings.”

Carlebach—born in Germany, from where his family fled following the Nazi invasion—in March 1939 immigrated to New York from Lithuania, just six months before the Nazis invaded that country. In 1945, the family moved to Manhattan so his father, Rabbi Naphtali Carlebach, could take over Congregation Kehilath Jacob on W. 79th Street. After his father’s passing, Carlebach assumed leadership of the synagogue, today known as “The Carlebach Shul.”

It was from his home base at The Carlebach Shul that Shlomo Carlebach set up the first known Hassidic outreach program, Taste and See God is Good (T.S.G.G.). According to Ophir, the organization was based on the idea that, as Carlebach said, “You cannot begin to talk to people about God unless you have first given them a taste of God is good.”

In 1968, Carlebach established the House of Love and Prayer in San Francisco, the first Jewish commune. 

“His empathetic approach toward the spiritual imports from the Far East was radical for an Orthodox rabbi,” said Ophir.

Everything Carlebach did was radical. He traveled to Germany in the 1960s to teach people whose parents had murdered scores of Jewish people that the time for peace and forgiveness had come, recalled Ben-Zion Solomon, whose home is next door to the late Carlebach’s in the central Israeli community of Moshav Mevo Modi’in, also known as the “Carlebach moshav.”

Carlebach was a scholar in his own right, studying at some of the most renowned American yeshivot. He later connected with the Lubavitch movement, whose leader at the time, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, encouraged him to go into outreach. This mandate was the start of what became his calling, serving as the rabbi of the hippie movement. 

He had followers around the globe. Many young Jews returned to a Torah lifestyle as a result of their relationship with Carlebach.

In 1963, philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, founder of Birthright Israel, set up a company called The Shabbos Express to help Shlomo channel his talents in a business-like manner. Steinhardt told Ophir, “I knew Shlomo quite well and I was perfectly prepared to accept his eccentricities. … Shlomo, however, continued to travel the globe in altruistic style in disregard of conventional time and business.”

Daughter Dari Carlebach said in a previous interview that her father was caught between two worlds—the religious/yeshiva world and the hippie world. She said her father had a huge desire “to love and heal the world,” and he did it with “such heart and grace and empathy.” 

Shlomo Carlebach’s unbridled passion might account for why it has taken this long to begin to canonize his legacy. Solomon recounts the way that his rebbe could focus on whoever needed him at the time, that “whoever he was talking to, he became their best friend.” 

Solomon and wife Dina met Carlebach in California. Carlebach encouraged Solomon to learn in Israel and eventually to make aliyah, and then handpicked his family to live on the Carlebach moshav. 

Solomon recalled that when he arrived in Israel he was told by the Orthodox-affiliated Diaspora Yeshiva that his wedding to Dina was not valid, as they did not have a ketubah (Jewish marriage contract). He called Carlebach in a panic. The rabbi told him to get some wine and cake and meet him at the Shabbos House in Jerusalem at 1 a.m.

“We’re waiting for Shlomo and then we see him coming down the block with 300 people. … We were singing and dancing until daylight,” Solomon told

Carlebach is best known for his Jewish music. “He’s universally accepted as the father of Jewish music,” said Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman of Mevo Modi’in.

Leslie Pomerantz and Michael Hoffman are both Jewish song leaders. Pomerantz told that Carlebach made Jewish music “accessible” and taught song leaders the value of using music for engagement.

“For him, it was not a performance, but an inclusive process,” Pomerantz said.

Hoffman said he was raised at Jewish summer camp, and when he became a song leader he envisioned Carlebach to be another Debbie Friedman, whose music had a significant influence on the liturgies of Reform and Conservative Judaism. He recalled that when saw a picture of the late rabbi, “I was like, ‘Wow!’”

Hoffman described Carlebach’s music as “timeless” and noted how people have forgotten that many immensely popular niggunim (tunes or melodies) were in fact composed by Carlebach. For example, it was Carlebach who in 1965 invented “Am Yisrael Chai” for the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry movement, which was later adopted for Jewish causes as a theme of resilience and perseverance. Other famed Carlebach compositions include “David Melech Yisrael,” “Od Yeshoma,” and “Esa Einai.”
Recent books work to shed light on Carlebach’s Torah teachings, which followers say were the basis for his tunes. 
“It wasn’t music for music’s sake. It was a part of a bigger Torah vision he wanted to share with the world,” said Trugman.

Author Shlomo Katz told he first connected with Carlebach’s teachings at the age of 14 when a classmate shared his headphones during recess. 

“I put on the earphones and I was transported instantly,” Katz recalled regarding the music and teaching he heard. “I knew my whole world was about to change because my neshama (soul) was more alive than ever at that moment—and it never stopped.”

Katz has devoted his professional life to collecting, transcribing, and teaching Carlebach’s Torah teachings, which can be found on tens of thousands of tapes and in hundreds of journals across the world. 
Solomon said he used to learn Talmud with Carlebach every morning at 5 a.m.

“He said things a gaon (genius) would say,” said Solomon. “Those special mornings taught me a whole other aspect of learning Torah.” 

But Carlebach’s legacy is not without controversy. He faced allegations that became public in a 1998 Lilith magazine article, claiming he routinely made sexually suggestive late-night phone calls to female acquaintances and that he physically molested numerous women over the course of decades. Such accusations naturally provoked fierce controversy about how to remember a man many considered a saint.

“Can you imagine, in a period of a month, after one of his yahrzeits (anniversary of death), getting 50 phone calls about the same person from all over the world? He has victims in Israel, the U.S., Australia, South Africa—any place he went, he had victims,” said Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center, a non-profit with the mission of ending sexual violence in the Jewish community. “He did a lot of kiruv (outreach), but what about those who converted to other faiths—walked away completely—because of this assault?”

Carlebach’s followers have rejected those allegations. And this generation, said Katz, is hungrier than ever for his message.
“Today’s youth won’t compromise for anything less than something that touches the depths of their own souls, which is really what [Carlebach] does through his teachings—so mind-blowing and deep, but in the same instance… he puts the sweet inside, so it goes down in a way that resonates,” Katz said.
Nechama Silver recalled meeting Carlebach in the 1970s at a coffee shop concert in Pennsylvania. She said he “turned me on to yiddishkeit (Jewishness).”

“I remember saying, ‘Is this guy for real?’” she said. “He is the realest thing you will ever meet.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Former Vic teacher to be extradited from Israel on sex assault charges

The Australian News - August 18, 2014

Malka Leifer
THE former principal of a Melbourne Jewish girls’ school who fled Australia in 2008 after being accused of sexual assault has been arrested in Israel and is facing extradition.

The federal Attorney-General’s Department has confirmed Malka Leifer was taken into custody in Israel after an extradition request from Australian authorities.

The mother of eight left Australia six years ago after she was sacked as principal of the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel School Elsternwick following allegations of improper conduct with students between 2001 — 2008.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department said Ms Leifer was wanted to face prosecution in Victoria for alleged sexual assault offences.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said an investigation continued into complaints of historic sex offences at an Elsternwick school. Both the department and police said it would be inappropriate to comment further, given the matter was now before the courts.

Adass Israel school, which has around 50 pupils, caters to the ultra-orthodox Adass Israel Community in the Melbourne suburbs of Elsternwick and Ripponlea.

Manny Waks, founder of Tzedek, a support group for Jewish victims of child sexual abuse, said he welcomed the development.

“It should be seen in the greater context of the ongoing child sexual abuse scandal that has been plaguing the Australian Jewish community in recent years,” he added.

“Many victims are no longer willing to remain silent, and neither is the community.”

He added: “I hope and expect that the Adass Israel School will co-operate fully with the police.”

The arrest is one of a string of scandals within the Jewish community. In 2008 David Kramer, a former teacher at Yeshiva College in Caulfield, Vic, was jailed on child sexual assault charges in the US.

Allegations were made in the 1990s that Kramer, now 53, had abused boys while teaching at Yeshiva but the alleged incidents were not reported to the police.

Kramer was dismissed by the school and reportedly was asked to leave the country.

Vicki Polin, of the US-based International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault, said at the time of his arrest in the US that she had been contacted by several former pupils and parents of the school.

“I have been told that Kramer abused over 30 boys in his time at Yeshiva,” Ms Polin said.
She said when parents complained to the school, Yeshiva Centre head, Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner — who died in July — told Kramer to leave.

“He paid for him to leave — he gave him a ticket,” Ms Polin said.

After Leifer’s arrest, Adass Israel school principal Professor Israel Herszberg said in a statement: “The school has and will continue to co-operate fully with the authorities but otherwise is unable to comment further where the matters involving Mrs Leifer are before the courts.”

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rabbi takes up the battle against / Rabbiner tager Kampen op mod

Rabbi takes up the battle against 
Pedophilia : After sex offenders in the Catholic Church the turn of the ultra- Orthodox Jews . A rabbi in New York has made it his mission to expose pedophiles.
By Jorgen Ullerup
Jyllands-Posten - March 9, 2014

(Translation from Dutch to English by Google.)  

NEW YORK –– Nuchem Rosenberg meets with us in kosher restaurant Manhattan near the Williamsburg Bridge.  He dare not meet us on the other side.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn is home to a large part of New York City's 250,000 ultra-orthodox Jews.  This hasidic rabbi (Nuchem Rosenberg) is ostracized by his religion and is banned in all the district's synagogues and religious schools.  

Since the beginning of the new millennium, Rabbi Rosenberg's war against widespread pedophilia (in the hasidic world) began, particularly in religious schools and ritual baths, called mikvah.  Rosenberg is a tall man dressed in black and white, with an unruly, gray beard.  He has receives death threats, and on one occasion even shot, when a bullet grazed his forehead.

"Last year, a man tapped me on the shoulder and threw a glass filled with bleach in my eyes.  They trained and behave like dogs."

"The attack took place shortly after conviction of Nechemya Weberman, who was a prominent ultra-orthodox Jew, who worked as an unlicensed school psychologist.  Back in January, 2013, Weberman was sentenced to 103 years prison, for abusing 12-year-old girl who came to him for spiritual counseling.

The Weberman survivor who is now married and was one of the few who dared to come forward.  Most others prefer to remain silent then to sacrifice their children to life where they would be seen as pariahs. So effective are some of the ultra-Orthodox community leaders attempts to intimidate victims from testifying, Brooklyn's now former District Attorney, Charles Hynes compared them with gangsters in the urban criminal underworld .

According to Rosenberg, the case against Weberman was just one of the many symptoms that his campaign to end sexual abuse in his community is starting to work.  But also showed that the religious leaders of the insulated community is still cohesive enough that they prefer to pay expensive lawyers to protect alleged sex offenders, instead of helping the victims. Rosenberg describes a mafia like system in which rabbis make money on pedophilia.  Community members are told to go to their local rabbi, when they suspect there's a pedophile, instead of going to the police so that way charges are not pressed against them.  Instead the alleged offender is pushed to pay compensation, often in excess of $100,000 to the rabbi. 

Due to statute of limitation issues, criminal charges and civil suits will become outdate.  Instead of the criminal justice system being involved, members of an internal religious police get involved, whose task is to defend morality of the hasidic lifestyle. 

The money collected from the alleged offender goes to the rabbis and not to the victim, with whom are threatened into silence.

"It 's all about money.  My goal is to destroyed their business and their reputation. That is why  I was excluded by a council of 38 rabbis, of which 11 are known as top pediophile, "
says Rosenberg .

Rosenberg will save boys like Joel Engelman.   The now 28-year-old youngest member of a family of seven children, left religion and moved away from Williamsburg eight years ago.    Engelman was sexually abused by the inspector his school . Shame and guilt caused him to be quiet, until he was 18 years old, when told his parents about the abuse.  In particular, received support from his mother. When he age of 22 complained to school.  When he negotiated to get the pedophile teacher removed from his school.  "But only for two months.  As I turned 23 years old, and my case was barred under the laws of the state of New York, and then he was rehired . So I was disappointed and regret that I did not go to the police," says Engelman . "I know for sure that he has abused other children . But it is not unusual that he has not been convicted.   I believe it's only 1 per cent of sexual predators are convicted in closed communities, where community leaders will make do everything possible to avoid sex offender from being reported to the police.'

While Engelman is convinced that the ultra-Orthodox Jews still lags far behind for other religious communities in the fight against pedophilia, describes Rabbi Rosenberg scandals in the Catholic church as a catalyst for the information about the problem.

Several cases in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community are reported.  Today, the police and the media about the problem maintains pressure on the rabbis.  Although Rosenberg has created a hotline , which is heard by thousands of listeners.

"It is slow, but we winner.  We receive 3 to 4 new complaints per month.  Over 20 pedophile has been convicted in the past year and a half, at least hundred other defendants are waiting their judgment , "he said. 

There are no precise statistics on the extent problem in the ultra-orthodox world, but according to the psychotherapist Vicki Polin shows all the science that figures similar to those of the rest of the society.

"Pedophilia has no religion.  It is not much different among ultra-Orthodox Jews than in the Catholic Church, amongst Mormons, Amish or any other faith based group, "says Vicki Polin .

Polin established The Awareness Center 15 years ago, to focus on pedophilia in Jewish Communities. The organization's website includes a sex offender registry of alleged and convicted sex offenders, which includes names and photographs.

As a non-practicing Jew, Polin often is blamed for spread anti-Semitism with her work.  It is of course a risk , she recognizes, but it can not be a reason for to close your eyes . "I lived within the ultra-orthodox Jewish community of Baltimore for just under 10 years, where there was also a huge problem with sexual abuse.  

Because of the nature of my work, I was threatened, people spit on me, spat on me and once had someone brake into my office to steal files, along with having death threats.

For nearly a two year period, approximately every six months, I was involved in serious car accident.   In the end I realized it was just too dangerous, so four years ago I moved back home to Chicago, " she says.  

Sexual abuse leaves a wake of suicide and drug use among victims. Many are turning their backs to religion, because the price of making accusations is an enormous.
"If a female survivor comes forward with a complaints, the retaliation against her is much more severe, not only does her family face being excommunicated, she will have extreme difficulties finding a suitable marriage partner.  This is a major issue for a young women where your status as an adult depends on their husband," says Polin 

Rosenberg says that quietly, more and more rabbis are supporting.  

The RCA (Rabbinical Council of America), the world's largest organization of Orthodox rabbis , has called on all Jews to cooperate with police in cases of sexual abuse .

The problem is that they do not have influence on the hasidic rabbis in Williamsburg.   Rabbi David Zwiebel, vice president of the ultra-Orthodox organization Agudath Israel of America, says the problem taken seriously and that rules have been tightened for schools and camps.  In a written response he must accompany a declaration with guidance as to when ultra-orthodox Jews can go to the police.  

"Where there is reason to believe that a child has been abused, it must be reported to the authorities," says that in the guideline, but with an addition of, that in the end, it is up to the rabbis to define "a good reason". "It is a total nonsense. They destroy our religion and distorts Torah are in the same way as Islamists distort the Koran," corresponds Nuchem Rosenberg .
Victim of child abuse Abe Weiss left the orthodox Judaism after being sexual abuse as a child.   Recently his girlfriend committed suicide.
First there was the pain, blood and shame.  It was nothing compared to the reaction of the family.

When Abe Weiss first told his father about the repeated rapes as a boy, the response was a slap and a message to never talk about it again.  It was the worst day of Abe's life.  He knew that he was alone, and that nobody would protect him.

"I was 12 years old, the oldest of seven children and went in a ultra-Orthodox school in Williamsburg.

I was often beatings of my teacher and I thought that he probably knew best. Physical punishment was normal in my school, and I had certainly earned it," says Abe Weiss.

"But one day he took me into the school's boiler room, took off our trousers down, on both himself and me and began raping me. When he was finished, he went back to class." 

I was repeatedly assaulted six to seven times during the rest of that school year.  

As an adult, Abe Weiss discovered that the teacher still taught little boys, so he asked for a meeting with the chief rabbi of New Square, and shared his abuse history.  

"He is a shaigetz," replied rabbi (a derogatory word for a non- jew), "get him out of here." 

Abe Weiss turned his back on his Judaism, he left his family and moved to New Jersey.  He is now 39-years-old and has not had any contact with his family over 20 years.

"Sexual assault on children is a huge problem in Williamsburg and far worse than the statistics", says Weiss.  "The majority of my friends were abused  but no one in the our community talking about it."

There has been little improvements, yet  still there are no background checks made on teachers or others who have contact with children, needless to say sex offenders have free rein. "

Girlfriend committed suicide
All the demons from the nightmare returned,  Abe said as he began to talk about his case
for two or three years ago.  Together with other young adult renegades, all of whom are former Orthodox Jews have come together in organizations as Footsteps.  Within that group Weiss was a group of people who tried to organize protests .

But it was so overwhelming that he himself attempted to commit suicide.

"I have several friends who have tried to commit suicide, or who are now dead.  They could not live with what has happened, and the Community supports sex offenders instead of victim."

Tragedy struck again Abe Weiss on September 27, 2013, when his girlfriend, Deborah Tambor , committed suicide.   Tambor grew up in the ultra-Orthodox New Square, which is located in northern New York

The cult-like Jewish village is one of the most closed societies in the United States .  Women and men use separate sidewalks, and women are ordered not to drive cars, by order of the chief rabbi. 

According to Abe Weiss, Deborah was sexually abused by one of her uncles, but the matter was hushed up .  

Tambor was married and had two children, but when she later divorced , she was denied access to his children, and that's what struck her out

When Abe Weiss and 40 others former members of the ultra-orthodox sect met up to the funeral, they were rejected.  In shame that it was a suicide, buried family Deborah in a cemetery far from the village.

"People in this community live in a reign of terror, where the children victims, this is also for this same reason the abuse can continue.  To leave this community means you will loose custody of your children", says Abe Weiss.
According to the 2012 censes bureau, there are 5,425,000 Jews in United States.  Around 1.75 million Jews in the New York area and 250,000 are considered ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews, which is considered to be largest ultra-Orthodox concentration outside Israel.  They live by the age-old traditions and protect themselves against external influences.

Headed by rabbis, which many retains an old prohibition of "mesirah" that specify that a jew not allowed to go to non-Jewish authority.

The sexes in the ultra- Orthodox communities are separated and discussion of sex or sexual learning is taboo.