Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
Four years ago, when I began writing about the topic of child molestation, our community had not yet been slammed by the high-profile abuse cases that drew the attention of the local and national media. Thus, the overwhelming reaction by those who discussed the columns with me was sheer disbelief. “Come on, Yankie, aren’t you overdoing it?” they would ask. Others were furious at me for “washing our dirty laundry” in public and for creating a chilul Hashem by writing about these sordid matters in The Jewish Press. Others – even to this day – question the practical value of shining the light of day on these dark corners. “All you do is write these articles. Tachlis! What are you really doing about it?” they ask.
My response has always been – and continues to be – that these essays, painful as they are to write, publish and read, save lives by raising awareness. It is that simple. The more information people have about the dangers and prevalence of abuse, the greater the likelihood that it can be prevented or interrupted – or at least treated very early on when the damage is not as great.
Two phone calls that I took back-to-back one evening last week are proof positive that awareness does, in fact, save lives. The first was from a heimishe young married man who was molested badly over a period of time by a family member. He called to ask what he could do to help him deal with the pain and confusion of the abuse he suffered in his childhood years.
The second was from a frum woman who called regarding her six-year-old son who was repeatedly and inappropriately touching the private parts of the three-year-old child of her friend. She suspected that her son was molested previously and was sadly repeating the behavior.
What both callers had in common was that they read my recent essay, Could it Be True?, about the arrest by federal law enforcement officials of a heimishe man in my hometown of Monsey for allegedly perpetrating horrible abuse on a close family member over a period of 10 years. They had also carefully reviewed my other columns on this subject that The Jewish Press published over the past few months. Armed with the information, they were knowledgeable enough to reach out for help. (I gave both of them referrals to mental health professionals who are trained in the treatment of abuse victims, and they both promised to go for help immediately.)
Hopefully the therapists can help this young man overcome the trauma of the abuse he suffered, and help his marriage evolve from its current precarious state into a healthy and happy one. The guidance of trained mental health professionals will hopefully assist the mother of the six-year-old to break the all-too-common hideous cycle of untreated abuse victims becoming abusers. It is precisely this domino effect that is causing such misery, destroyed lives, drug addiction and even suicides among our beloved children.
Two weeks ago at a social function, I was introduced to – and spent some time with – a handsome, frum bachur who recently returned from an extended stay in a drug rehab facility. He was “clean” for a while, but is starting to slip back to his old habits. In my first conversation with him, I asked him how old he was when he was molested. He asked, “How did you know, Rabbi?” I didn’t respond, just looking at him with knowing eyes. He then informed me that he was repeatedly abused by an adult in his neighborhood when he was eight years old. (With my encouragement, the young man is now working with his parents to report the perpetrator to the authorities.)
The bachur and I spent some time discussing strategies to help him from “falling off the wagon” again and resuming his drug use. In the midst of our conversation, he looked at me with haunted eyes and said, “Rabbi, you know how it is. It [the drugs] is the only thing that really makes the pain go away.”
If the abuse columns I write and disseminate can save even one child from this Gehennom.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
Brooklyn resident David Siller, currently studying in Israel at Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah in Beit Shemesh, was awarded a trophy for finishing 3rd in his age group (14-18) in a 5-kilometer race for the benefit of the Benjamin Children’s Library of Beit Shemesh.
Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/why-i-write-about-abuse/2008/12/10/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: