Newsweek Article on Alleged Hasidic Child Abuse Sparks Brooklyn Yeshiva Protest

March 23, 2016 Comments Off on Newsweek Article on Alleged Hasidic Child Abuse Sparks Brooklyn Yeshiva Protest

Newsweek Article on Alleged Hasidic Child Abuse Sparks Brooklyn Yeshiva Protest By Lucy Westcott  3/18/16

About 40 protesters holding signs and chanting gathered outside the Ohlei Torah yeshiva in Brooklyn on a snowy Sunday evening in response to a Newsweek exposé on the alleged sexual and physical abuse of students by rabbis at the school.

Chaim Levin, the protest organizer whose story of abuse at Oholei Torah was chronicled in the Newsweek article, on Sunday spoke about the physical and sexual abuse he says he and other students at Ohlei were forced to suffer, saying: “It’s unfathomable to me that the people who did this kind of violence are teaching.”….

A statement on the Facebook page for the protest read: “For too long, teachers and principals in this school have ignored children being abused physically and sexually. There is evidence to suggest that in most of these cases the school knew about these crimes and chose not to act.”

“Furthermore, three of the people mentioned in the Newsweek article, people who either abused children themselves or oversaw it, are still employed by the school,” the statement said.

The protesters were demaing an end to child abuse, the replacement of abusive staff and apologies to victims of childhood sexual abuse. Organizers also want victims to be paid compensation “for the damage caused by abuse,” they said in a press release….
http://www.newsweek.com/yeshiva-child-abuse-newsweek-protest-438482

Rabbis’ absolute power: how sex abuse tore apart Australia’s Orthodox Jewish community, Brutal slaying leads to protests over violence against women in Turkey

February 19, 2015 Comments Off on Rabbis’ absolute power: how sex abuse tore apart Australia’s Orthodox Jewish community, Brutal slaying leads to protests over violence against women in Turkey

Rabbis’ absolute power: how sex abuse tore apart Australia’s Orthodox Jewish community

Yeshivah leaders in Sydney and Melbourne chose to preserve the prestige of their faith over the safety of children. A national inquiry that reverberated around the world painted a devastating picture of how individuals were abandoned and ostracised as they fought to end the code of silence

David Marr   Wednesday 18 February 2015

Orthodox Judaism has never been exposed to such scrutiny. From a Melbourne courtroom, the torment of the Chabad rabbis was streamed live to the world as the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse probed the city’s secretive and powerful Yeshivah community.

Sharp divisions in the Jewish world have been exposed. Two rabbis, including one of the nation’s most prominent, have been forced from their posts. Whistleblowers, humiliated and ostracised for years by Yeshivah, have been dramatically vindicated. More victims have come forward. More criminal charges may follow. Yeshivah schools face a nightmare of civil litigation.

The cast is Jewish, yet the bones of this story are familiar to anyone who has followed the scandal of child abuse in Christian schools and parishes. Rabbis and bishops have shown over the years much the same failings when faced with a choice between guarding the prestige of their faiths and the safety of children. This story is about the dangers in any cult of blind obedience to holy men….
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/19/rabbis-absolute-power-how-sex-abuse-tore-apart-australias-orthodox-jewish-community

Manny Waks: I’m the ‘troublemaker’ who blew the whistle on Jewish abuse scandal

Manny Waks is still living with the impact of years of abuse inside Australia’s Yeshivah centres. Before he can reclaim his life, he says, more people must resign in the wake of the child sex abuse royal commission

Melissa Davey  Sunday 15 February 2015

When he was 18 years old, Manny Waks turned his back on life within the Orthodox sect of Judaism known as Chabad. But the effects on his life remain profound.

Now 38, Waks is still unable to read a novel, so dictated was his childhood by religious texts. Until the age of about 29, he believed rubbing his eyes with his fingers after waking up in the morning would cause him to go blind unless he carried out a religious washing ceremony first.

But the most damage has been caused by the repeated sexual abuse he suffered within the umbrella organisation for the movement in Australia, known as Yeshivah….

Since Waks first spoke publicly in 2011 about the abuse he suffered, he has helped to expose the centres, and the schools, synagogues and activities attached to them, as communities within which child sex abuse was covered-up, denied or ignored.

The rabbinic law of mesirah – the prohibition of a Jew informing on a fellow Jew to secular authorities – was used by leaders to keep victims silent, the commission heard. When victims did go to police, they were labelled mosers, or “informers”, a charge so serious they were threatened with exclusion so severe it was akin to being excommunication, which would mean being ripped away from a culture, identity, religion and community. It meant everything from marriage prospects to opportunities for religious honours would be forever taken away….

It does not matter that peak Jewish bodies have publicly said the concept of mesirah does not, and should never, apply to cases of child sexual abuse. Even today, Waks says, victims remain fearful of being shunned.

“The fact that to this day I am the only victim who has been willing to be named should say plenty,” Waks says.

“It is easier for me than for other victims, because I am no longer in that world. Most child sex abuse victims prefer anonymity because of a range of taboos and stigmas attached to them. It’s very sensitive.

“But within the Yeshivah community, those issues and barriers are multiplied tenfold, and by speaking out against them, your life will potentially be over. You will feel the consequences, you will be damaged goods.”

In 1988, when he was 11 years old, Waks was abused by a member of the Yeshivah centre known only to the commission as AVP because he left the country before he could be charged.

The man abused Waks multiple times….

Waks confided in a classmate at the Yeshivah college, who told other children. Soon, Waks felt like everyone knew about what was happening to him, and he faced daily taunts and bullying – including being called “gay” because he had been abused by a man….

Waks says Chabad has “all the hallmarks” of a cult – “every waking moment was dictated for us”, he said. He still has difficulty reading books or watching movies for pleasure, so heavily was his studying of religious texts and documentaries. He did not know what his secular birthday was until he was 15. His relationship with his father, who used a disciplinary approach to ensure his children adhered to Yeshivah values, is fractured….

Manny Waks believes the past two weeks of evidence means resignations now need to happen. Some of the rabbis were involved in malicious attacks against him and his family, it was revealed. They were so brutal that Waks relocated his wife and three children to Europe.

“Where was anyone at the time we were being abused, when we were going to the police?” he asks. Waks is now establishing a global organisation to investigate child sex abuse within the Jewish community.

“These leaders, these people, are the ones who are the biggest miscarriages of justice. They will do anything to protect themselves, their reputation and their institution, and that’s what’s so astounding and so offensive to the core….
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/feb/16/manny-waks-i-was-the-yeshivah-troublemaker-i-hope-now-everyone-can-see-why

Brutal slaying leads to protests over violence against women in Turkey

By Glen Johnson  February 14, 2015  Reporting from Ankara, Turkey

The slaying of a young Turkish woman during an alleged attempted rape has prompted angry street protests across Turkey and demands that the government do more to combat violence against women.

Police on Friday discovered the charred corpse of Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old psychology student, in a riverbed in southern Mersin province. She was killed while fighting back a sexual assault by the driver of a minibus she took to go home, authorities say.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the slaying, including the driver, authorities told local media. Protesters took to streets of major cities in Turkey on Saturday, as the victim was buried in her hometown.

Women’s rights activists argue that the Islamist ruling party, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is not doing enough to halt such violence—or to ensure those guilty of crimes against women receive adequate punishment. Many argue that Turkey’s judicial system is sympathetic to perpetrators of such crimes.

The number of gender-related homicides of Turkish women has soared in recent years. Authorities reported fewer than 100 in 2002, compared to almost 300 in 2014….
http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-slaying-of-turkish-woman-leads-to-street-protests-over-womens-rights-20150214-story.html

Jewish Communities – Child Sex Scandals, Agencies Failed to Rescue Lilly Manning

August 2, 2011 Comments Off on Jewish Communities – Child Sex Scandals, Agencies Failed to Rescue Lilly Manning

Tempest in the Temple – Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals
Amy Neustein, ed.

Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life
Brandeis University Press
2009 Sociology / Jewish Studies 978-1-58465-671-5

Tempest in the Temple brings together fifteen practicing rabbis, educators, pastoral counselors, sociologists, mental health professionals, and legal advocates for abuse victims, each of whom offer insights into different facets of the problem.

This book is divided into three sections. The first section, “When the Vow Breaks,” describes rabbis who break their “vows” through active pedophilia. The second section, “Sacrificing Victims,” illuminates the community dynamics surrounding abuse: how a community unwittingly contributes to the cover-up of abuse; why victims of abuse are all too often ignored or cast off by their religious communities; and the mechanisms by which powerful religious institutions protect their own. The third section, “Let Me Know the Way,” addresses how Jewish communities can overcome the ignorance, bias, and corruption associated with clergy sexual abuse. Solutions—some already successful, others yet to be tried—are explored here.
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~upne/1-58465-671-9.html

describes severe abuse

California, Texas agencies all failed to rescue Lilly Manning
By Marjie Lundstrom Jul. 31, 2011

Lilly Manning was 15 when she escaped from a cramped closet in south Sacramento, after being stabbed and beaten and shoved into the darkness.
This time, she said, she knew she would have to save herself.

Government documents confirm she was right. Four different agencies visited the family at least 11 times on reports of suspected abuse or neglect in a five-year period but did not move to protect her or her siblings, according to confidential records obtained by The Bee.

“They came, they looked, they left,” said Lilly, now 19, reflecting on the parade of visitors from law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the schools, some of whom she had secretly called. “We just gave up.” Today, Lilly Manning lives with more than 100 scars etching her 5-foot-3 body, physical reminders of the hammer attacks, beatings, burns and strikes to the head with a 2-by-4 and a padlock swinging from a cord. Earlier this month, her adoptive mother and great-aunt, Lillian Manning-Horvath, was sentenced to up to six years in a mental health facility, followed by consecutive life terms in state prison.

The woman’s husband, Joseph Horvath, was convicted by a jury in 2009 and also sentenced to multiple life terms. Documents and interviews with family members also reveal how a domineering matriarch terrified people who witnessed and endured years of her verbal tirades and physical abuse….

Authorities swept in, and the rest of the children were taken into protective custody in the early morning hours of Nov. 6, 2007. The children would never go home again. Help that didn’t come

Lilly says she does not remember much about those chaotic first days and has “lots of blank spots” about her childhood. She knows that she and her four siblings were removed from their biological mother in the early 1990s and placed with their great-aunt Lillian, who later adopted them. In 2002, their adoptive mom married Horvath, a felon 18 years her junior.
Lilly wants to know more. She recently sought and received nearly 700 pages of documents from the Sacramento Juvenile Dependency Court, which detail the many missteps among government agencies. She shared those records with The Bee. CPS also is preparing to give her her file….

Ann Edwards, director of Sacramento County’s Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CPS, said she could not legally comment on Lilly’s case for confidentiality reasons. However, she agreed to talk in general terms about issues raised by the case.
“It’s not uncommon for siblings to want to remain together,” said Edwards. “And it’s not uncommon for children to be afraid of the unknown.

“It’s quite remarkable that even children who are horribly abused typically still love their parents, or the people who are abusing them.”
Lilly says today that their adoptive mom often manipulated the kids into keeping quiet or lying, promising she would stop the abuse.
http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/31/3806037/california-texas-agencies-all.html

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with rabbis at Eassurvey's Weblog.