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Posts Tagged ‘Leiby Kletzky’

Police?…Or Shomrim?

Monday, August 13th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/police-or-shomrim.html

This is why I have problems with the Shomrim. I realize that they are very popular in the communities which they are located. But when they start protecting abusive husbands, it should give pause to even those who support them.

The issue in question is surveillance cameras that are being installed in the Boro Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. This publically funded safety project was initiated after the Leiby Kletzky murder. It will give police a far greater ability to prevent that kind of thing from happening again.  That should be obvious.

But Jacob Daskal, coordinator of the Boro Park Shomrim opposes police access to these cameras. He only likes the idea if his people have access to them without the police. From a Forward article:

“The camera is very good for the community, but if it’s a private thing,” Daskal said. “If it’s a public thing it might hurt a person who doesn’t want to arrest her husband for domestic violence.”

Daskal was referring to a hypothetical situation in which a wife sought to protect her husband by telling police that a reported domestic violence incident had not actually occurred. If a centralized system of cameras easily accessible to the police existed and the incident were recorded, police would arrest the husband regardless of his spouse’s wish. On the other hand, police would need a court order to obtain tape from a camera under private control, and an abusive husband could be kept out of jail if the police failed to pursue the case to that step.

Unfortunately Mr. Daskal seems to feel that as long as battered wife is willing to keep being battered, then it’s none of our business.

Does he not know that – as bad as it is to get beat up by an abusive husband – many battered wives prefer that to being without a husband altogether? And as a result allow the abuse to continue and even grow worse? Does he not realize that they will mistakenly blame themselves for the violence perpetrated by their husbands with phrases like “I deserved it”?  …that they will say that he is normally a wonderful husband but was provoked by her unfairly? …that he couldn’t control himself this one time? …or that he only gets that way when his is drunk? …or that he had such a bad day at work he couldn’t help himself? …that he is a loving husband and great father most of the time?

Does he not realize that battered wives often simply fear retribution from a husband who feels his wife betrayed him by allowing him to be arrested? And that they fear losing the financial support the husband provides.

Does he not know that sometimes the violence is so bad that wives have been seriously injured, hospitalized, and even killed in an out of control rage by a husband ? Or that the husband himself might finally be killed by the wife who knows no way out – fearing for her life if she doesn’t kill him first?

Has he never heard of “Battered Wife Syndrome”?

And yet what does Mr. Daskal worry about? The abusive husband being arrested against a battered wife’s wishes!

Let me make one thing clear. There is never any excuse to beat your wife. There is no excuse for it. There is no explaining it away or being Dan L’Kaf Zechus. Protecting an abuser from the police is tantamount to aiding and abetting him in his next and possibly more violent rage.

Mr. Daskal’s request shows that the Shomrim consider themselves better equipped to handle domestic violence than the police.

Really? Do all the Shomrim volunteers have the education and training to decide whether an  abusive husband should be arrested? Do they have the same experience with domestic abuse that the police do?

Shomrim can – and should be – an effective tool in aiding the police who are often too short staffed to be as effective as they’d like to be. Shomrim really  are – or should be nothing more than watch groups.

Those who volunteer to protect their neighbors by patrolling the streets give up their free time to do so. They ought to be respected and even praised for that. But once they start thinking they are better than the police, they end up hurting their cause instead of helping it.

Technology Can Save Lives, Even in Borough Park

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I, for one, was glad to read the distinction the Asifa organizers were making, between “good” and “bad” technology, meaning, of course, that there’s no such thing as an inherently wicked technology, only wicked people who take it to dark corners.

That was a sober and responsible approach to the issue, and I was impressed by the quickness with which the organizers responded to the potential pitfalls of being portrayed as Luddites, which does not befit a nation of scholars and questioners.

A story in Sunday’s NY Daily News reveals an altogether different angle of the same issue. Apparently, modern technology may end up saving a Haredi neighborhood from some of the internal conflicts it has been slow to resolve by itself.

Leiby Kletzky, a Hasidic Jewish boy, was kidnapped in 2011 on his way home from day camp in Borough Park, Brooklyn. Part of his body was found in the Kensington, Brooklyn, apartment of one Levi Aron, 35.

Now, according to the News, New York State will give $1 million to a Jewish nonprofit organization which will install 150 high-tech security cameras around Borough Park and Midwood, as part of the Leiby Kletzky Security Initiative.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) said, “We can’t bring Leiby back, but we can make sure there are no other Leibys with God’s help.”

I believe this is a way in which technology will compensate for the Haredi community’s inner conflict regarding the issue of informing on “unzere menchen,” our own people, to the authorities. There’s no need to debate this issue any longer, when the cops already have the whole thing on tape, thank you very much.

It’s the biggest mass installation of cameras outside Manhattan, officials contend. That’s a lot of barn doors being closed well after the horses have left, but I don’t knock it. Better late than never.

It’s probably going to make life in Borough Park a whole lot more stressful, I suspect. Folks are going to be extra stiff around businesses, synagogues and schools, where those 150 cameras will be positioned.

It’s not Divine Supervision, but, it gets pretty close.

In the end, I think it was courageous on the part of the people of Borough Park and Assemblyman Hikind, to accept that their neighborhood deserved to be protected, even at the price of suffering a little ridicule.

And that was the positive spirit of last night’s Asifa in a nutshell.

Jews Weren’t The Only Ones Who Heard Leiby’s Cry

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

In my last column I wrote about Leiby Kletzky and what I experienced when I made a shiva call to his family. My plan was to continue writing about this tragedy and focus on what we must learn from it and do. In the interim, I received a letter from a non-Jewish reader and felt I should share it.

Tragically, the world is once again turning against us, but we know that nothing happens randomly – that G-d is always watching us. If our world is becoming darker with every passing moment, it is pointless for us to curse the darkness, for we Jews know we have to search our souls to “find the light” that will illuminate the world with the light of G-d, for that is the only way we, who sealed a covenant with G-d at Sinai and heard the command “You shall be a light unto the nations,” can banish the darkness that becomes more menacing with every passing moment.

Next week, b’ezras Hashem, I hope to spell out what, exactly, that demands of us as individuals and as a nation. Meanwhile, the following is a somewhat shortened version of the letter alluded to above.

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

Your latest column was very moving, and I look forward to the continuation. The gruesome murder of this child is, like murder in general, nearly beyond belief. Nearly, in that we have seen such horrors before. Rebbetzin, please know I hold you in deepest respect and admiration, but feel I must offer an opinion. I mean no disrespect or insult, so please bear with me.

With no disrespect, I don’t believe Jews are better than other people (I mean this as to people as a whole, not individuals). However, I was always taught that the Jewish people were chosen by G-d to live the Torah life and to bring the rest of the world to Torah. As you would say, this is an awesome responsibility.

We see throughout the pages of Torah and in life itself that there are always those who transgress, some in horrible ways. We are appalled to see people, many wearing religious garb (priests, ministers, rabbis, cantors) performing terrible deeds. The Catholic Church has, for me, lost all credibility in its sinful handling of years of systematized pedophilia and sexual deviance. Jews have succeeded in bringing Torah and G-d to the world. There will always be individual exceptions, but you and your people have completed a great mission.

On the morning I learned of little Leiby’s death, I was, of course, greatly saddened. I was even more saddened to hear that one of his own people, in a neighborhood in which Leiby knew no fear, had murdered him. The thing that made me cry, however, was the revelation that Leiby had been petitioning his parents for some time to be able to walk home from camp, and this was the first day he was to do so.

He pleaded and cajoled, and when they consented, they embarked on relentless instruction and dry runs. Of course parents are nervous and anxious – this is a big step – and their little boy was exhibiting the first signs of autonomy, of steps away from the parents and of younger childhood. He was doing what normal kids do.

What could really go wrong? He would be walking a few blocks in a neighborhood where he’d lived his whole life and from which he’d rarely ventured. With normal parental trepidation, they sent him out that morning, with the expectation they would meet him that afternoon at the end of their well-planned route.

My first thoughts on learning of his disappearance were that he, like many an 8-year-old child, boys in particular and no matter how well instructed, had become intrigued with something (or someone) that took him out of his way. I don’t know the parameters of his neighborhood, but I was fully expecting to hear he had experienced some sort of accident. To learn he had been murdered so horribly was a shock.

We will never know what happened, as the circumstances of his death don’t seem to add up and the defendant is unreliable. This little boy had no reason to fear this person who, though personally unknown to him, was obviously a member of his community.

Certainly the sketchy existence of the defendant warrants a closer look. What were we (I include those outside of his community and non-Jews, in that the murderer traveled a great deal and had much contact outside the community) all missing?

What does it take for us to pay attention to one another? What has to happen for us to wake up and realize we are responsible one for the other?

I converted to Catholicism from Protestantism many years ago. (I cannot relay the reasons for this as it’s a long story, and I’m fuzzy as to my own reasoning or lack thereof.) Anyway, I’m no longer affiliated, for many reasons, but that’s not important. One morning, the priest at my local church gave a sermon that spoke of people crying out to G-d to end their afflictions, to heal the world and to end war and suffering. I went up to him after the Mass and we spoke. I said, Father, ending suffering and war is not G-d’s job. It’s ours. He agreed, acknowledging the Torah.

I had learned that message from you, Rebbetzin.

I never knew little Leiby, yet I cannot believe he’s gone. I grieve for his family and am so glad they kept away from the press. I was also glad to read that you visited them, as I knew you would.

This is not the last horrible thing that will happen to a child, or to anybody. Sometimes it’s difficult to get up and go on when you know of all the terrible things that happen in the world, or that may happen to your loved ones or yourself. We cannot, however, do otherwise than to get up and go about our lives.

It’s just a shame more of us of us can’t take a bit more time to read and interpret the needs and fears and aspirations of people other than ourselves.

Whether one is a Jew or not, believer or non-believer, living a Torah life seems to me to be the only reasonable choice.

Thank you, once again, for your wonderful columns.

Leslie Weeden

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/jews-werent-the-only-ones-who-heard-leibys-cry/2011/08/03/

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