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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘weberman’

Transparency and the Honor of the Rabbinate

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

“Most rabbis are either sexual predators or cover-up for those colleagues that are” That is of course one of the most ridiculous and disgusting statements anyone can make about the lofty profession of being a rabbi. And yet if one would read what is being said by some victim’s advocates and many people who comment on the issue, this would be the conclusion. I’m not saying that anyone actually believes that. But that is the impression one gets. The venom I often see spewed at the rabbinate is so over the top that it is almost comical.

The truth of course is nothing of the sort. The vast majority of rabbis are altruistic dedicated people that strive mightily to serve God and His people. Unfortunately there are always the bad apples that ruin it for everybody. This is what happens when one discovers the Lanners, Kolkos, Webermans, Gordons, Mondrowitzes, and Freundels of the world. They have abused their position to one extent or another in order to satisfy their own lust at the expense of others. Sometimes to the point of permanent psychological damage to their victims that occasionally end in suicide! This is not even arguable.

The public is rightly outraged by these miscreants. And their call for change is justified. There have indeed been far too many cases of cover-up. I believe that this is why the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) is reviewing its conversion procedures. I support their doing so, despite the umbrage taken by some of its rabbis.

(Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is one such rabbi. He has resigned as a Dayan (judge)from the conversion court he was involved in because he felt that Halacha as embodied in the RCA’s Gerus Protocol and Standards (GPS) might be tampered with. While I understand his concern, I think he acted too hastily in resigning. The RCA has clearly stated that their review will be geared only toward additional protection of the the convert. It will not tamper with Halacha. At the very least rabbi Pruzansky should have waited to see what would happen before he resigned. But that is neither here nor there with respect to this issue.)

The precipitating event that caused the RCA to convene this committee was the Freundel scandal. As most people know by now, in his capacity as the Rabbi and overseer of conversions in his synagogue, he abused his power in many ways, the most egregious of which was installing cameras in the Mikva so that he could watch and record women utilizing the Mikva undress and immerse.

Converts are required to immerse in a Mikva in order to complete their conversions. They are particularly vulnerable as their conversions are under the complete discretion of the rabbi that brings them to conversion.

One may recall that a while back such vulnerability had caused a rather famous conversion rabbi to take sexual advantage of one of his female converts.

That said, I think it is completely unfair to paint all rabbis as less than idealistic. It is unfair to say that all of them – or even most of them – would abuse or cover-up abuse of their fellow rabbis. That cover-ups happen is not surprising since it is so hard to believe a long time respected colleague would ever do things he is being accused of. But to assume that all or most rabbis would protect their colleagues at the expense of victims is at best a gross exaggeration.

I have to agree with Rabbi Eliyahu Safran’s defense of the honor of the rabbinate. He described it as place where idealistic young men have chosen a career to serve God and His people according to the dictates of the Torah. You don’t go into the rabbinate for the money. It is therefore unfair to paint the rabbinate with a broad brush. The care taken by rabbis at conversions he has been involved with should not be overlooked. I think what he described is more the rule than the exception.

Harry Maryles

Audio: Yiddish Anti-Hynes Rant [audio]

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

The following is an audio recording of an attack ad against Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes which is being spread around in smartphone whatspp groups. The rant, pushing votes for Ken Thompson, attacks Mr. Hynes for prosecuting prominent members within the Orthodox Jewish community, including Nechemya Weberman.

The narrator likens community leaders supporting the reelection of Mr. Hynes to Rabbi Neiderman’s call in 2009 to vote for Mike Bloomberg “because he’s anyway going to win.”

Jacob Kornbluh

The Conundrum of Dealing with Sexual Abuse

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

One of the reasons that the sex abuse issue is so difficult to overcome is that abusers are often great people in every other way. I know that is a contradiction in terms. You can’t be a sex abuser and a great person. But bear with me.

The case of Rabbi Motti Elon is one such case, currently on trial for sexually harassing two 17 year old students when he was the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat HaKotel in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Elon is a Religious Zionist Rabbi who was respected even beyond his own religious Zionist community. I recall the reaction of one young Charedi Rav in Israel who practically worshiped the ground he walked on. When he first heard about the accusations, he was incredulous. This was a man who mentored him. A man he confided in. A wise and gentle man who truly cared about his students. A man you could turn to in times of crisis. The idea that such a man could be accused of such a heinous crime was simply unthinkable… impossible!

This was not only the view of this Charedi individual; it was the view of just about everyone who came in contact with him. With the exception of course of the two people who have accused him of sexual molestation.

Although Rabbi Elon still maintained his innocence (which he still does), the young Charedi Rav believed it, and felt betrayed.It has been 2 years since this story broke. The evidence of sexual harassment was so strong that he was removed from his position at the Yeshiva and from having any contact with young people. Takana, the organization that investigated this case, determined the veracity of the accusations, and made the decision to remove him from his position consisted of some of the biggest rabbinic names in Israel – including Rav Aharon Lichtenstein.

Here is what Rav Lichtenstein said at the time:

In an emotional lecture to his students, often breaking into tears, R’ Aharon Lichtenstein announced that he has received death threats by a student of R’ Motti Elon in retaliation for his participating in the Takana forum which labeled R’ Motti as a “dangerous person.” For his courage in making this condemnation, Rav Lichtenstein was threatened with violence!

Which brings me to the current article in the Times of Israel. It appears that one of the two students who were sexually harassed is not going to testify. According to the subheadline of this article, he was pressured not to do it. Which means that prosecutors will have to drop half their charges.

I suspect that’s probably what happened. If Rav Lichtenstein can be threatened with violence, it should be no surprise that a victim can be threatened into not testifying in the same way.

I suspect that the reason Rabbi Elon gets this kind of support from his ‘fans’ is the same reason that someone like Weberman gets support from his fans; and Charedi magazines like Ami. They know these people by their reputations. Reputations they earned by actaully doing good deeds and being good people in every other way. They work hard at building their name. They do a lot kindnesses for many people. I’m sure that’s true for both Weberman and Elon.

But their abnormal desires are kept hidden from their public. They may even try and fight those desires. But as Woody Alan once said about his adopted daughter that he later married, “The heart wants what it wants.”

When your sex drive is normal the heart can be satisfied in socially acceptable ways. But when those desires are abnormal one must do so clandestinely. The libido is a very strong force that is very hard to overcome. Certainly on a constant basis. Eventually such an individual will find a way to satisfy those abnormal urges.

They might actually believe that they are doing nothing more than expressing love to their victims – so self deluded are they. They will merely say that society does not really understand. This is what they tell their victims while they sexually abuse them. They tell their victims not to tell anyone of the great “love” they are showing to them because people will not understand. Sometimes I think that these people actually believe that. At least at first.

Harry Maryles

Weberman’s Sentence: Justice Has Been Served

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about the length of convicted pedophile Nechemya Weberman’s 103 year prison sentence. According to an article in the Forward comparisons are being made to the sentence given to Leiby Kletzky’s brutal murderer, Levi Aron, of 40 years in prison.

A lot of people are asking where is the justice in that?

I am not one of those people. In essence Weberman got a life sentence. At age 54, 40 years would have pretty much meant the same thing. I have also heard that the appeals court will often reduce the sentence by half.

It should also be noted that the deranged Levi Aron’s sentence was the result of a plea deal, that spared Leiby’s parents and relatives the ordeal of a trial where they would have had to relive every painful moment of that terrible tragedy. And a plea deal saved the state the expense of a trial.

Weberman, on the other hand continues to proclaim his innocence. Pedophiles are gifted liars that can convince their peers, friends and family of their complete innocence. Fortunately his lies did not convince the jury or the judge. But – his community still believes him.

His trial forced the victim to relive all the painful sexual abuse she endured for over four years at the hands of this monster. And the fact is that she too has a life sentence of untold pain from those memories.

So, no I am not particularly bothered by this harsh sentence. He can still say Tehilim in prison, just as he did during the trial. He will not be having nightmares. Unless they put him together with the general population of those prisons. Prisoners have standards too and they don’t take kindly to pedophiles. Weberman may get a taste of his own medicine there. He can still say Tehilim though.

For me – justice has been served for his victim and hopefully all future victims. Pedophiles ought to take a hard look at what happened here. And victims will now know that if they press charges – sometimes good things happen.

Unfortunately this is not the way certain segments of Orthodoxy will see this. This accomplished liar – with his ‘explanation’ of why his accuser brought these ‘false’ charges against him is still believed. He has convinced most of his peers including their leader that these charges are the result of a vendetta by the accuser who is herself immoral and “Off the Derech.” She should therefore not be believed.

They also fully believe that a Chasid cannot get a fair trial in America anymore. And they have some pretty prominent people saying that – pointing to the 27 year prison term Shalom Rubashkin received for a white collar crime they saw as undeserving of such a harsh sentence. A view corroborated by many distinguished Americans.

This is how they see what happened with Weberman. An innocent man has been convicted because of his beard and peyos. They will point to what they will say is an over the top sentence of 103 years to prove their point. Of course if the sentence were only 27 years (like Rubashkin’s sentence) he would still be in prison until he was in his eighties.

I can’t wait to see how Ami Magazine treats this verdict. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if they saw it in the way I just described.

The bottom line for me is that no one should see this sentence as excessively harsh. Instead they should see this as a victory for the abused.

Harry Maryles

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/webermans-sentence-justice-has-been-served/2013/01/24/

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