Friday, November 17, 2017

The American Jewish community encourages us to go to Israel and connect to our “roots” without acknowledging that we are targets. They have no resources for us, nor do they even acknowledge the problem. I for one, will not be silent anymore....

Nice Jewish Girls Raped in Israel #MeToo

Advertisement from Taglit Birthright Israel. Words say “Let’s Go #HelloIsrael.” Photo background is a group of people in swimsuits standing in water with their hands up.

I was raped by a Jewish Israeli man. I was 21. He was a friend that I met on an organized trip for young American Jews to volunteer their time in Israel. When I went to the Israeli police to report it, the officer accused me of lying, saying why should they believe a foreigner like me over the Israeli solider who raped me.

Rape is not uncommon for American Jewish women like me when visiting Israel. There are countless stories like this and this, and so many more cases of women that have not shared their story publicly. The American Jewish community encourages us to go to Israel and connect to our “roots” without acknowledging that we are targets. They have no resources for us, nor do they even acknowledge the problem. I for one, will not be silent anymore.

Targets for Rape


Foreign women in Israeli media are often portrayed as easy, especially blonde Americans like me. It is no wonder that when Israeli men meet us, they may think that we are interested in a sexual encounter.

The program I participated in used Jewish women volunteers to “raise the morale” of young Israeli men soldiers according to the madricha (or guide leader) of my trip. I was often assigned to make coffee and tea, and when I requested real work to do, that’s when she explained my role, inviting me to just hang out with the men.

When Jewish women are brought for trips to Israel by Jewish organizations, never is any training provided on sexual assault. Safety is discussed solely in terms of terrorism. We are told that the only danger comes from Palestinians and that Israelis, especially soldiers are there to protect us. Often, we are told that Israel is safer than the United States because everyone is Jewish. You can go out, you can buy alcohol legally at age 18. We aren’t even taught about cultural differences like when an Israeli man invites you for coffee, he means sex.

In these ways, Jewish women are set up to be raped by programs like Birthright Israel that bring diaspora Jews to Israel.

Take Action to Reduce Assault

Logo of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers

Jewish organizations that run Israel trips should talk about sexual assault. Participants should be given resources in case anything happens to them, including the Israeli rape crisis hotline number 1202 and in the United States (800) 656-HOPE.

Rape is an issue in the Jewish community, as it is in every community. To be silent, is to be complacent in the sexual assault of Jewish women. All Jewish organizations should talk about sexual assault, and not just those organizing trips to Israel. Jewish organizations in the U.S. and around the world should support the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel. I hope that my coming forward will give space for other survivors to share their stories and encourage people to believe survivors when they come forward. I hope this starts a conversation in my community about sexual assault.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Orthodox Rabbi $tands With Pervert! Belsky Dead - Leiter Lives!

More from the fuming, delusional hatred department. Noson Leiter, of the rather unappealingly named Torah Jews for Decency, is apparently one of the Religious Right’s favorite rabbis, and has appeared at Tea Party conferences along with luminaries like Rick Scarborough. Leiter rose to a modicum of fame when he blamed Hurricane Sandy on New York’s marriage equality law. He was, of course, not the only dingbat to do so, but might have been the only one to point out the appearance of a double rainbow after the storm as evidence that Hurricane Sandy was a sequel to the Flood (which God, according to the Bible, explicitly promised never to do again). Leiter had previously worked with Liberty Counsel and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms in an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn said law. Not everyone was impressed with Leiter’s observations.

Leiter has also asserted that the “end game” of the gay rights movement is “child molestation.” (No, he has no decency, which is presumably why he feels the need to put “decency” in the name of his organization.) “They are after our kids,” says Leiter; “they are after the bibles and guns that Americans cling to but they are also after us and after our kids.” He also warned that gay rights advocates “will not rest until all of their opposition is totally eliminated,” but fortunately assured us that they will ultimately lose, because “the Lord will vanquish evil.” Apparently, this is a recurring theme; also in connection with blaiming Hurricane Sandy on the gays, Leiter said that the “LGBT radical homosexualist movement” will increase child abuse by giving molesters a “license to victimize” children and even “a certain degree of diplomatic immunity.”

Rabbi calls Hurricane Sandy 'divine justice' for New York gay marriage

A Jewish Rabbi compares devastating floods in Manhattan to biblical disasters, claiming it is a message from God

Rabbi calls Hurricane Sandy 'divine justice' for New York gay marriage

I have not been to services in years because the tunes sung on Shabbat remind me so much of him.... But how could I continue to make myself care about such details when it became clear that the man who taught them to me valued knowing the blessing for a specific food group over behaving like a decent human being?

"When someone like Barry Freundel violates you, you aren’t just robbed of your dignity and your safety. You are also robbed of your faith and, very often, of your religious community, which can view you as the real betrayer of the faith for speaking out."


Roy Moore Reminds Me of My Rabbi

Rabbi Barry Freundel leaving a Washington courthouse in 2015 after pleading guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism

In 2014, on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Rabbi Barry Freundel led the congregation of his Washington synagogue in pursuit of humble repentance before God. Ten days later, he was arrested and charged with dozens of counts of voyeurism. Ultimately, the rabbi was accused of having surreptitiously videotaped more than 150 women on hidden cameras in the bathroom of the mikvah, the ritual bath.

I was one of them.

That bath, adjacent to the synagogue, was where I immersed myself upon completing my conversion to Orthodox Judaism in 2010. It turned out that this clergyman I trusted had set up a camera inside a clock radio that taped me and other women as we undressed. His fall became one of the biggest stories in the Jewish world that year.

In the past few days, in the wake of the accusations that Roy Moore, the ostentatiously religious Republican running for Senate in Alabama, sexually assaulted teenage girls, the case of Barry Freundel is all I can think about.

There is something particularly insidious about being victimized by a man who claims to be righteous. When someone like Barry Freundel violates you, you aren’t just robbed of your dignity and your safety. You are also robbed of your faith and, very often, of your religious community, which can view you as the real betrayer of the faith for speaking out.

At least that’s what happened to me.

When I was introduced to Rabbi Freundel in 2009, I was 23 and eager to become officially Jewish. He was one of the most prominent modern Orthodox rabbis in the country, in large part because he had settled a turf war between the Israeli rabbinate and diaspora authorities over the validity of American conversions. He was the gatekeeper for conversions nationally and had a monopoly on conversions in Washington.

One morning several years after my conversion had been completed, a friend emailed with a short news item that my rabbi — whose name was still on my holiday card list — had been arrested. In an instant, all of the strangest moments of my conversion experience made sense.

I was one of only four women to come forward and tell their stories, and because of my public role as a writer, I became his most well-known victim. I drove from my home in New Jersey with my toddler and newborn to speak at his sentencing hearing in 2015 in Washington, where he was sent to more than six years in prison.

It’s hard to describe the depth of my feeling of betrayal. As a convert, I wasn’t just another student of Rabbi Freundel. My faith and practice — my Judaism — was shaped by his words, deeds and thought. For those of us victimized by trusted religious leaders, every day is a struggle to disentangle our negative associations of beautiful rituals from the ugly abusers who taught us about their meaning.

An Orthodox Jew, Rabbi Freundel was fixated on the minutiae of Jewish law. He drilled his converts in the proper blessings to say over a banana or a pretzel, and the order in which they should be recited should we happen to eat both at the same meal. This kind of knowledge was the bedrock of my conversion experience. But how could I continue to make myself care about such details when it became clear that the man who taught them to me valued knowing the blessing for a specific food group over behaving like a decent human being?

Despite having grown up as a Jew (my father was Jewish, but according to Orthodox law only the children of Jewish mothers are Jewish), there were many aspects of observant Jewish life that were new to me until the year I spent converting. The foundation of so much of my religious practice is inextricably tied to that period of my life, and thus, to Rabbi Freundel. I have not been to services in years because the tunes sung on Shabbat remind me so much of him.

Every public victim of a famous sexual predator must endure uncomfortable conversations with strangers and, thanks to the internet, never knowing if the person you’ve just met already knows your story. But when you accuse a religious figure, there’s a whole other kind of discomfort, one that comes from the friends, family members and other religious leaders who consider speaking out about a religious crime as airing dirty laundry for the entire world to see.

While Rabbi Freundel had few defenders in the Jewish community after his fall, there were plenty of people — fellow rabbis included — who very quickly made light of him, made him into a punch line, in the process minimizing his crime. Others thought his prison sentence was overkill — after all, we hadn’t been physically assaulted.

A significant number of friends, relatives and religious leaders have never once mentioned the case to me, despite my role as its most public victim. Orthodox Jews already face an uphill battle in the modern world, they say, and drawing attention to these sordid stories makes that hill that much steeper. These people also prefer not acknowledging what happened to me and so many other women because it’s more comfortable to pretend it never happened.

I too once felt that way. I preferred not to see the abuses in the community I had voluntarily joined as an adult because witnessing my community’s willful blindness to those abuses could send me over the edge. Being the victim of a sexual crime stripped me of that luxury.

In a strange way, having the crime committed against me captured on tape was a blessing: Prosecutors noted that Rabbi Freundel could clearly be seen setting up the camera and taking it down. Nobody could attach the qualifier “if true” to my charges. The evidence unearthed by the police was irrefutable.

For Roy Moore’s accusers, who say they were preyed upon 40 years ago when they were 14 to 18 years old, hard evidence like this does not exist, and so they face the pain not only of coming forward, but also of being disbelieved and disparaged. Mr. Moore says he doesn’t even know Beverly Young Nelson, who accused him on Monday of assaulting her when she was 16, never mind the fact that it appears he signed her yearbook.

In the meantime, Mr. Moore’s wife has posted a letter signed by 50 pastors, written during the primary season. (Though some of those pastors are saying that they do not, in fact, support Mr. Moore.) “We are ready to join the fight and send a bold message to Washington: dishonesty, fear of man and immorality are an affront to our convictions and our Savior and we won’t put up with it any longer,” the letter says. “We urge you to join us at the polls to cast your vote for Roy Moore.”

For these believers, losing Mr. Moore means losing an outspoken voice for traditional Christian values. He rose to prominence in the evangelical world for giving up his bench as a judge not once, but twice, for placing his religious beliefs ahead of his judicial duties. Last month The Washington Post reported on a poem Mr. Moore recited at a rally at a Baptist Church: “You think that God’s not angry that this land is a moral slum? How much longer will it be before his judgment comes?”
His defenders argue that not voting for Mr. Moore, and therefore losing a Republican Senate seat and possibly control of the Senate, could lead to worse outcomes for Christians than simply holding their noses and electing him to office.

They could not be more mistaken. The damage that will be done to the Republican brand and those Christians who watch their religious leaders stand by Mr. Moore will be irreversible. If he wins, the Republicans may have a reliably conservative vote in the Senate, but one thing is guaranteed: Religious leaders who defend him risk their flock being infected with the same disenchantment I was after the arrest of my rabbi.

Religious leaders often fret that such creeping faithlessness puts society at risk more than any political ideology. As prominent evangelical put it in a 2006 Washington Times column: “Our peace and happiness as well as our prosperity depend not on any political party or any great leader, but rather upon our return as a nation to faith in Almighty God.”

It’s a lovely message, but one that’s too often discredited by its messengers. The man who wrote that column? Roy Moore.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

From Milwaukee to Kiryas Joel: Following Medicaid millions made on urine tests - Piss Poor In Kiryas Joel......

From Milwaukee to Kiryas Joel: Following Medicaid millions made on urine tests


KIRYAS JOEL, N.Y. — Abe Freund's home on Acres Road in Kiryas Joel, New York, doesn't seem much different, at first glance, from a number of other houses on the street. It has tan siding, like many of the other residences, and a children's play set out front.

Then you notice the nice extension to the side of the house, with the good-looking windows and high trees at the property line. It's a spacious home, but it's dwarfed by the mansion where Abe's son, Isaac, lives on Schunnemunk Road in Kiryas Joel.

Kiryas Joel is considered one of the poorest communities in the nation, with one-income households and large numbers of children, per family.

The community was created in 1977 by the former grand rebbe of the Satmar Hasidic Orthodox Jewish sect, Rabbi Joel Teitelbaum. More than 40 percent of the families rely on the federal government for food stamps.

But the U.S. government says Abe Freund is rich, in part, because of an alleged Medicaid scheme he carried out 885 miles away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Court papers filed by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Wisconsin said Abe Freund made more than $7 million dollars in Medicaid reimbursements, between 2011 and 2014, on the backs of substance abusers who came to his Acacia Mental Health clinic in Milwaukee for counseling.

Most of that money was made on unnecessary urine tests, the government said, with Freund accused of raking in $230 per screening instead of the customary $20. The reimbursements went as high $474.66 per test, after Freund's lab affiliate invested in a new machine.

Prosecutors said Freund's clinic also charged Medicaid hundreds of thousands of dollars for psychiatric services performed by doctors based in Israel, via teleconferencing.

Freund denied the charges in papers filed in April 2017.

Yet he closed the clinic in June 2017.

And that's where WITI — PIX11's sister station in Milwaukee — came in.

One of Freund's former employees at the clinic contacted investigative reporter, Bryan Polcyn, and said she was concerned a new clinic opened at the site — Achievement Associates — was being run by many of the same people that worked under Freund.

"They're doing exactly the same thing," the woman said, asking that her identity be masked. "They have the same clients."

Polcyn's team photographed a meeting, shortly after the clinic closed, between Abe Freund and Dr. Neena Florsheim, who had been administrator at some Achievement Associates clinics. She later told Polcyn she had sold her interest in the site on Fond du Lac Avenue to Netanel Friedman. He's listed as the new owner of the new clinic. Friedman also lives up the street from Abe Freund — on Acres Road — in Kiryas Joel, New York.

The new clinic also houses a urine testing lab called Care Tox, Inc., which is owned by Isaac Freund of Kiryas Joel, New York, Abe's son.

PIX11 paid three visits to Kiryas Joel, and we didn't see Abe Freund's Jeep Cherokee parked in his driveway, even before Friday Sabbath. When we knocked on the door, which was open, an angry man came running through the large dining room, yelling about our camera, "What are you doing? Shut it off!"

We also saw the palatial home, built in 2014, where Abe's son, Isaac, lives on Schunnemunk Road.
The massive property is 11,500 square feet and the real estate site, Zillow, said it has 11 bedrooms and nine bathrooms. There's a long, impressive walkway, with a beautiful, French-style door leading to a second floor balcony. The mansion has many large windows on all sides of it.

PIX11 was told we could find Isaac Freund's family by ringing a rear buzzer. A woman who answered told us "No cameras," and closed the door when we said we wanted to ask Isaac Freund about the Care Tox lab in Milwaukee.

An Orthodox man who told us he works in an office at Isaac's home remarked, "Do you think I care about other people's money? I care about myself and my money."

There are precedents for federal prosecutors trying to retrieve Medicaid money. One of the nation's largest labs — Millenium in San Diego, California — agreed to pay the government $256 million under the False Claims Act, to settle a government lawsuit that accused Millenium of drug screening fraud, among other abuses.

The former Acacia Mental Health clinic employee in Milwaukee said many of the clients seeking services there were taking Suboxone to combat a heroin addiction.

Federal prosecutors said Freund's clinic was getting 99 percent of the Medicaid reimbursements in Wisconsin for substance abuse and mental health services.

"He saw an opportunity here in Milwaukee, and he cornered it," the ex-employee said. "At the end of the day, these people are being taken advantage of and the taxpayers are paying for it, as well."

Neither Abe Freund nor his lawyers returned our calls seeking comment.


Why Are Jews Never Ever Troubled by Child Rapists In Their Communities? No Matter How Long The Credible Stories Exist -- The Rapists Go On To be Rabbis, Teach In Their Yeshivas And Girls Schools! "Chosen People" For What? Fress Turkey at Agudah Conventions?

Locals Were Troubled by Roy Moore’s Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall
Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate and former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was born in Gadsden, a small city flanked by Interstate 59 and the Coosa River, an hour northeast of Birmingham. Gadsden is hilly, woodsy, blue-collar, and religious. “LEGAL OR NOT, SIN IS SIN,” a sign in front of a church announced yesterday. I saw it as I drove around, crisscrossing George Wallace Drive. I also saw Trump posters, Confederate flags, and dozens of signs for Doug Jones, the Democrat tied with Moore in recent Senate-race polls. Gadsden is the seat of Etowah County, which is a conservative place; Donald Trump received three times as many votes in the county as Hillary Clinton did. (Statewide, he received twice as many.) But I didn’t, in all my driving, see a single yard sign for Moore, the home-town son. Even the parking lot of the one mall in town had more bumper stickers for Luther Strange (four), Moore’s opponent in the Republican primary, than for Moore himself (one).

The Gadsden Mall opened in 1974. It has two department stores, Belk and Sears, one on each end. Between them, on Sunday night, I walked past Books-A-Million, Cellular Solutions, a Japanese steak house, Great American Cookies, Blacklight Mini-Golf, KnockerBall Gadsden, an eyebrow-styling kiosk, and a clothing store for young girls, called Justice. A diverse assortment of families wandered around the place, which felt trapped in time. Two young security guards made their rounds. “It gets rough in here on Saturday nights,” one of them told me, mentioning fighting, stealing, and gun-toting. “We still have an active ban list,” the other said, referencing a list of chronic rule-breakers not allowed on mall property. “But it doesn’t go back that far.”

He meant back to the early eighties, when Roy Moore was, many people say, a regular visitor to the mall. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that, when Moore was a thirty-two-year-old assistant district attorney in Etowah County, he brought Leigh Corfman, who was fourteen years old at the time, to his home and sexually molested her. Three additional women told the Post that Moore had pursued them when they were in their teens and he was in his early thirties. (On Monday, another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, said that Moore assaulted her when she was sixteen years old. At a press conference, she held up a high-school yearbook that she said Moore signed before the alleged assault.) Two of the women say that they first met Moore at the Gadsden Mall, and the Post reports that several other women who used to work there remembered Moore’s frequent presence—“usually alone” and “well-dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt.”

Beverly Young Nelson, who has accused Roy Moore of sexual assault, holds up a high-school yearbook that she says Moore signed when he was in his thirties.

This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen people—including a major political figure in the state—who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls. Some say that they heard this at the time, others in the years since. These people include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees. (A request for comment from the Moore campaign was not answered.) Several of them asked that I leave their names out of this piece. The stories that they say they’ve heard for years have been swirling online in the days since the Post published its report. “Sources tell me Moore was actually banned from the Gadsden Mall and the YMCA for his inappropriate behavior of soliciting sex from young girls,” the independent Alabama journalist Glynn Wilson wrote on his Web site on Sunday. (Wilson declined to divulge his sources.) Teresa Jones, a deputy district attorney for Etowah County in the early eighties, told CNN last week that “it was common knowledge that Roy dated high-school girls.” Jones told me that she couldn’t confirm the alleged mall banning, but said, “It’s a rumor I’ve heard for years.”

Greg Legat, who is now fifty-nine and living in East Gadsden, was, from 1981 to 1985, an employee at the Record Bar, a store that was in the Gadsden Mall. By the early eighties, Legat told me, the mall was “the place to be. There were no empty stores. And lots of kids came around. Lots of teen-agers. You went there to see and be seen.” Legat met his wife, Jo Anne, there. She worked at a restaurant called Orange Bowl. Legat remembers that parents dropped their kids off at the mall, typically unchaperoned. Teens filled the place.

Legat says that he saw Moore there a few times, even though his understanding then was that he had already been banned. “It started around 1979, I think,” Legat said. “I know the ban was still in place when I got there.” Legat recalled a Gadsden police officer named J. D. Thomas, now retired, who worked security at the mall. “J. D. was a fixture there, when I was working at the store,” Legat said. “He really looked after the kids there. He was a good guy. J. D. told me, ‘If you see Roy, let me know. He’s banned from the mall.’ ” Legat recalled Thomas telling him, “If you see Moore here, tell me. I’ll take care of him.’ ” Legat said that his boss, Eddie Hill, also told him to look for Moore. A phone call to Hill’s number was not returned.

Reached by phone on Saturday, Thomas, who lives in the nearby town of Southside, declined to discuss the existence of a ban on Moore at the Gadsden Mall. “I don’t have anything to say about that,” he said. A former manager of the mall, who began working there in the late eighties, confirmed the existence of a ban list, but did not recall Moore being on the list during the manager’s tenure there. Barnes Boyle, who is eighty-six, also managed the mall, from 1981 to 1998. His wife, Brenda, told me that Moore was a longtime acquaintance of his—they went to the Y.M.C.A. together often—and that he planned to vote for him. The recent allegations against Moore, the Boyles thought, are likely liberal propaganda and, as Brenda put it, “a sign of the times.”

Jason Nelms, an I.T. worker who grew up in nearby Southside and now lives in Tennessee, regularly visited the Gadsden Mall as a teen-ager, in the early eighties. “It was a joke from one of the managers/assistant managers that they couldn’t keep an eye on their theater and an eye on the kids outside,” he explained to me via Facebook Messenger. “Us kids would congregate outside on the sidewalk near the theater after the mall closed on Friday and Saturday nights. Anyway, when asked why they had to keep an eye outside, they said that some older guy had been trying to pick up younger girls. They didn’t go beyond that but one of the concession workers whispered to us later that it was Roy Moore he was talking about.”

Gadsden’s current law-enforcement community could not confirm the existence of a mall ban on Moore. But two officers I spoke to this weekend, both of whom asked to remain unnamed, told me that they have long heard stories about Moore and the mall. “The general knowledge at the time when I moved here was that this guy is a lawyer cruising the mall for high-school dates,” one of the officers said. The legal age of consent in Alabama is sixteen, so it would not be illegal there for a man in his early thirties to date a girl who was, say, a senior in high school. But these officers, along with the other people I spoke to, said that Moore’s presence at the mall was regarded as a problem. “I was told by a girl who worked at the mall that he’d been run off from there, from a number of stores. Maybe not legally banned, but run off,” one officer told me. He also said, “I heard from one girl who had to tell the manager of a store at the mall to get Moore to leave her alone.”

The second officer went further. “A friend of mine told me he was banned from there,” he said. He added, “I actually voted for Moore. I liked him at one time. But I’m basically disgusted now, to be honest with you. Some of the things he’s said recently, I’ve changed my tune completely about this guy.” He went on, explaining why Moore no longer appeals to him. “When I heard what he said on ‘Hannity’ the other night,” he said, referring to an appearance Moore made on Sean Hannity’s radio show last Friday, “I almost stood straight up. The thing about how he’s never dated anybody without their mother’s permission, that appalled me. That made me want to throw up. Why would you need someone’s permission to date somebody? I’m probably gonna write in Luther Strange.”

Moore has mounted various defenses since the Post story appeared. Among these is his “special concern for the protection of young ladies,” as he put it to Hannity. The Fox News host pressed for specifics. “I don’t know Ms. Corfman from anybody,” Moore went on. “I never talked to her, never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false. I believe they are politically motivated. I believe they are brought only to stop a very successful campaign, and that’s what they are doing. I’ve never known this woman.” When questioned about the other women cited in the Post story, he said that he couldn’t be expected to remember every woman he’d ever dated. “After my return from the military,” he said, “I dated a lot of young ladies.”

  • Charles Bethea is a contributing writer for newyorker.com, and has written for The New Yorker since 2008.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

This was what my world had come to. The truth is I knew that besides for a few select people, my world would be rocked by the news of my suicide...

Guest Post – Nobody Knew How Badly I wanted to Kill Myself and How Close I Came to Doing It

 Posted by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg (link to his blog is at the bottom)
Last week, we hosted an event on the growing drug issue in the Jewish community.  A few hours before the event, a young man I know, or thought I knew well, sent the letter below to me.  He asked that I share it with the hope his story can help others and I began the program by reading it.  When I first opened it, I was reminded of a quote I find very meaningful: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”  I have great admiration for his courage in reaching out and for his desire to make himself vulnerable in an effort to be there for others. If you are feeling the way he describes, you are not alone. Reach out and it can and will get better.  May Hashem bless him and all those struggling with similar issues with only strength, happiness and success.
Standing on the roof of my yeshiva overlooking one of the holiest cities in Israel, I stared at the graves of my fore-bearers and dreamed of meeting them. I had just returned from yeshiva after a three week bender and I was so filled with self loathing and pity I couldn’t stop thinking of ending my life. It would be so simple I told myself, one jump, 10-15 seconds and it would all be over. The pain, the anger, the sadness. All gone. I even had the perfect plan, it was still Yom tov in America so I could text every member of my family explaining my choice and begging their forgiveness, but they would only see the messages long after I was gone.

This was what my world had come to. The truth is I knew that besides for a few select people, my world would be rocked by the news of my suicide.

I had meticulously maintained an image of confidence and happiness that most people bought into hook line and sinker. 

The image I cultivated was one of a smart confident young man who simply enjoyed having a good time. However; the truth was that behind that carefully crafted image was nothing. A singularity to match that of the largest black hole in existence. I was hopelessly empty.

 I had spent my life convinced that an endless supply of designer clothing and joints would be enough to keep me satisfied. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t. I had reached my end. The yeshiva was completely empty, I was all alone, with no way out, and no weed or alcohol to numb the pain of simply being alive.

Now this desire to end my life did not simply appear one day, it had been festering in my head for years; however, I never mentioned it to anyone in fear of shattering my precious image, my immaculate persona. I couldn’t let real emotions ruin people’s ideas of me, perish the very thought. So I allowed that voice to remain dormant in the back of my head, always there but never acknowledged. I thought of different ways I would do it, always hypotheticals I told myself. Just “what ifs” I even came up with the perfect suicide. I would put a hose in my exhaust pipe and attach the other end to the window of my car, turn the car on, wash down two Xanax with some scotch, smoke a joint, and simply never wake up. Painless. The perfect way to go out. But I of course never acted on it, or told anyone how I was really feeling.

Then it started getting worse, my first year in yeshiva, while davening not 100 feet from the kotel on rosh hashana, watching everyone around me crying out to HaShem to grant them life for the year, I davened for the opposite. I davened for an easy way out. I begged God to end my life that year. I asked to be hit by a bus, or to even be involved in a terror attack. I knew I couldn’t do it myself, not out of self preservation, I simply wasn’t that selfish. I couldn’t subject my family to any more torment at my hands, although I often thought I’d be sparing them endless pain by simply taking myself out of the equation. For months during that year I would go to sleep every night hoping and praying I simply wouldn’t wake up the next morning, and every morning I would open my eyes and feel the crushing disappointment of having to endure another day. Modeh Ani seemed to be mocking me.

Until one night in my Shana bet, after enduring as much as I could I decided it was time. As I sat there taking in what were surely my last few moments I began to cry. Once my tears started they wouldn’t stop, hot and thick they poured down my face as I realized that I would rather die than simply admit that I wanted to. I would rather destroy my actual self than the one I had been projecting all these years. Tears still flowing I called my father, knowing as an ER physician his cell phone would be on during Yom Tov. He answered the phone on the third ring immediately asking “what’s wrong”?

Choking back sobs I began to tell him everything. For the first time I broke down my image. I told him how much I hated being alive. How for the last few years my biggest wish was that an asteroid would collide with the earth, allowing me to die without hurting anyone else. When I finished speaking my father explained to me that I was sick. Much like someone who has strep throat, and much like strep if untreated my sickness would get worse and worse. 

He made me go in for a psychiatric evaluation where I was almost immediately diagnosed with clinical depression and put on antidepressants. I keep thinking how different my life might be had I broken down my image in 12th grade, or even last year, but I was too afraid. Too scared of what people would think of me knowing that I wanted to kill myself. As it turns out no one thought anything less of me. People understood.

I finally gathered the courage to tell one of my closest friends  and his response was that we have friends so that we can tell people about these things. His response was one of love not judgment. I didn’t feel weird or different when telling him, on the contrary I felt liberated and free. Someone would actually understand me, understand the feelings I had been suppressing for years. I really never felt better. I write this now as I start a new chapter of my life, one of honesty not of farces. Of truth not lies. Of sobriety not drug dependence. I write this free of the burden of pretending to be something I’m not. I write this not in the hopes of garnering pity or sympathy, I write this in the hopes that even one person who has felt the way I have felt, and is scared to talk about it will read this and understand how much better their life can become by simply confiding in those they trust.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Police arrested David Teitelbaum late Sunday, but the victim’s parents have stopped cooperating with police, fearful of the shame the incident will cause the family, according to a source familiar with the case....

Brooklyn man busted for repeatedly raping pre-teen member of extended family

Not Released (NR)

The pre-teen's therapist notified the NYPD and and the Child Abuse Squad launched an investigation.

An 18-year-old Brooklyn man repeatedly raped a pre-teen member of his extended family, police sources said Monday.

Police arrested David Teitelbaum late Sunday, but the victim’s parents have stopped cooperating with police, fearful of the shame the incident will cause the family, according to a source familiar with the case.

“The guy rapes their daughter and they’re protecting him — unbelievable” said the source. “I can’t even imagine how angry I’d be if it was my daughter.”

The girl, whose age and relationship to the victim are being withheld to protect her identity, was attacked several times over the course of a week during October inside the suspect’s Williamsburg apartment, sources said.

At some point the girl told her mother the suspect had touched her inappropriately, sources said.

The mother and father sent the child to therapy, sources said. During a talk with her therapist she revealed that she had been raped.

The therapist notified the NYPD and and the Child Abuse Squad launched an investigation.

Teitelbaum, who has no previous arrest record, was charged with rape, sex abuse and acting in a manner injurious to a child younger than 17.

He was awaiting arraignment Monday.


It’s time to start calling childhood sexual abuse what it is. To do less is to make invisible the trauma of our children—allowing child sexual predators to minimize their behavior and continue to offend and abuse. ...

Call It What It Is: Child Sexual Abuse

The recent allegations about a 1979 incident involving then 32-year old Alabama Assistant District Attorney Roy Moore illustrate, once again, that we are woefully misinformed and misguided about the reality of childhood sexual abuse and assault.

When an adult—whether a teacher, clergy member, coach, or in this case a prosecutor in a courthouse—initiates a sexual conversation or has sexual contact with a minor child, the incident is child sexual abuse, period.

The most commonly used terms to describe adult sexual contact with a person under the age of 18 include:
  • Sexual encounter
  • Relationship
  • Sexual relations
  • Sexual relationship
  • Dating, or “He asked her on a date”
A minor child does not have the ability to give consent for sexual contact with an adult. That is why consent laws exist, and why an adult who has sexual contact with a minor child is guilty of a criminal act.

An adult, no matter what his/her status, is in an authority role over a minor child. A child does not freely—without direct or indirect coercion—enter into a relationship, sexual relationship, sexual relations, or “date” an adult. In fact, adults have a duty to protect children from such coercion and exploitation.

Some Moore apologists have argued that because the age of consent in Alabama is 16, Moore’s other accusers who were older—but still teenagers—are in a separate category from the 14-year old victim, Ms. Corfman. At the time of the alleged abuse, the age of consent in Alabama was three years younger than the legal drinking age. Today, the legal drinking age in Alabama is 21, yet the age of consent remains 16.

Regardless of what you believe is the appropriate age of consent, there is no rational basis for requiring a person to be 21 years old to consume alcohol, yet maintaining that they have the maturity to consent to sexual contact five years sooner. 

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse—especially women who were abused as teenagers by a respected authority figure such as a teacher or a coach—feel a toxic stew of emotions including , shame, guilt, and affection as a result of their abuse. They wonder, “Did I bring this on myself? Was it really abuse if I felt flattered, special, or ‘in love’?”

One of Moore’s alleged victims, Ms. Corfman, describes how Moore’s actions impacted her:

“I felt responsible,” she says. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.” 


(Washington Post, November 9, 2017)
When the abuse continues for months or even years, the victim often feels as though she/he is in love with the perpetrator. The impact of childhood sexual abuse creates deeply confusing and ambivalent feelings about the abuse and the perpetrator that may persist for years—or even decades.
If Ms. Corfman’s allegations about Moore’s conduct are true—and there is no reason to believe that they are not—she is likely one of many more victims beyond the three others identified in the
Washington Post report.
The description of Moore approaching Ms. Corfman and her mother in that Alabama courthouse in 1979 posing as their protector is classic—and practiced—predatory behavior. The proper term for his alleged behavior is “grooming,” and its purpose is to lay the groundwork for sexually abusing the predator’s target in the future.

It’s time to start calling childhood sexual abuse what it is. To do less is to make invisible the trauma of our children—allowing child sexual predators to minimize their behavior and continue to offend and abuse.

Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW, CSAT is a relational trauma expert specializing in infidelity and betrayal trauma. She is the author of Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution for Partners of Sex Addicts. For more information please visit her website: vickitidwellpalmer.com, or follow her on Twitter @vtidwellpalmer

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sounds Like A Yeshiva...

Yeshiva Torah Temima

They Quietly Left the Church, but the Sexual Abuse Continued

The Diocese of Brooklyn on Thursday released the names of eight former priests who had been quietly removed from the church for sexual abuse of children; several of those men went on to commit sex crimes after they left the diocese.

After leaving active ministry in 2002 as a priest in Brooklyn, Stephen Placa got his pilot’s license and founded a flight school in Ronkonkoma, Long Island, the Heritage Flight Academy. Seven years later, he was convicted in Suffolk County of the sexual abuse of two boys, ages 8 and 10.

In 1987, the Rev. Thomas O. Morrow went on an indefinite leave of absence from the Diocese of Brooklyn and began working as a psychologist in Forest Hills. He was still officially a priest when he was indicted in 1996 on charges that he sodomized a 15-year-old boy he was hired to counsel, took nude photographs of him and gave him crack to smoke. The diocese said at the time it had never gotten any complaints of abuse. Eventually, it defrocked him.

The two men are among the eight priests who the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn revealed on Thursday had been laicized, or defrocked, by the Vatican for the sexual abuse of children since 2002. Of those eight, four went on to be arrested and convicted on child sex abuse charges after they left active ministry in Brooklyn. The other four do not appear to have been arrested, though whether they reoffended is unknown.

The public disclosure of eight of the likely dozens of priests who have sexually abused children in the Brooklyn diocese over the decades was met with a mixture of praise and frustration from victims and their advocates on Friday. While they were gratified that the disclosures would probably protect additional children, they noted that this was nowhere near a full accounting of clergy sex abuse in the diocese.

“I’m encouraged by the release of eight names — I do think it’s good,” said Michael Reck, a lawyer who is representing two of the victims of Romano J. Ferraro, among the eight former priests named on Thursday. “But this is a trickle compared to the flood that they are holding back.”
Carolyn Erstad, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said Friday that it had chosen to release the names of living priests who had been formally defrocked by the Vatican because they could still be a danger to children. She said it was not releasing the names of dead priests who had been defrocked because they were no longer a threat.

She did not address why the diocese was withholding the names of abusers who had been named by victims in successful abuse settlements, but who had not been formally laicized. Not all abusive priests are laicized; that process at the Vatican is long and does not always result in the loss of a clerical state.

“This is about releasing the names of people who may have access to children,” she said, adding that the diocese anticipated more names would added to the list next week.
She noted that the diocese now routinely shares all allegations of abuse with law enforcement, and that it had done so since 2002, when reforms were passed nationally in the Roman Catholic Church to protect children. Before that, it was common to withhold allegations of abuse from law enforcement. She also noted that the diocese had previously publicly acknowledged substantiated allegations against priests.

Of the eight men named Thursday, the most notorious was Mr. Ferraro, who is believed to have been one of the most prolific priest pedophiles on the Eastern Seaboard, and one of whom the most is known.

His past in the church was divulged by the Diocese of Brooklyn, which, after a four-year battle, was required to disclose some 1,200 pages of information from his personnel file for a civil suit in Miami relating to his abuse of a boy in Key West in 1969. The papers show that church officials in Brooklyn knew as early as 1973 that he had abused boys, and that they helped him to get jobs in other dioceses around the country when they no longer wanted him in Brooklyn. He was said to have revealed his attraction to young boys in the seminary.

In 1981, Anthony Bevilacqua, then a high-ranking Brooklyn chancery official, who later became the cardinal archbishop of Philadelphia, facilitated Mr. Ferraro’s move to a Missouri parish, where he was later accused of molesting children. He also allegedly abused boys in the dioceses of Rockville Centre and Metuchen, N.J.

He was formally removed from ministry in 1988, and in 2004, was convicted of child sexual assault for raping a Massachusetts boy in the 1970s. He is now serving a life sentence in a medium-security prison in Bridgewater, Mass. Throughout his career, from 1960 to 1988, he was officially a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Although the diocese identified the eight former priests, it is impossible to know in most of the cases when the diocese knew about the abuse and what it did about it. The church’s brief statement only says what years they served as active priests, and not when the laicizations took place, or when the first allegations came in.

Of the priests, several had never been publicly named as sex abusers, including James Lara, who lost his job as a professor at Arizona State University on Thursday after his name was posted.

Charles M. Mangini went on to live in Old Bridge, N.J. after his removal from ministry in 1993. 

Reached at home on Thursday, the 79-year-old affirmed in a cheery voice that he had been a priest in Brooklyn. He quickly changed his tone when told why the diocese had just posted his name.

Christopher Lee Coleman, now 61, who was removed from ministry in 2011, still maintains a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page that makes it seem as if he is a priest. “I live a vowed life. Ordained 21 May 1994, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn,” it says.

The LinkedIn page says he got a doctorate in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center, and since 2013 he has been a hermit and counselor, at the Hermitage of Peace. His address is given as the Queen of All Saints Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Anthony Hughes, 42, a clergy sex abuse victim from the diocese who regularly participates in activities it holds for abuse survivors, said Friday that it was a “fabulous idea” that the names were being released, and that he hoped there would be more. When told that the diocese was not planning on releasing the names of deceased priests, he then volunteered the name of the deceased priest who abused him.

Father Robert Titone,” he said, “at St. Anthony - St. Alphonsus in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.” Mr. Hughes, who recently received a settlement for the abuse, said he was 11 when the abuse started and from a poor family. He recalled the priest as generous. “He was the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Mr. Hughes said, “and then the sickness came out in him.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

The OU cannot — dare not — allow any of its executives to kosher and legitimize countries like Qatar. Only the emir himself can do that, by immediately ceasing all funding of terror against Jews...

Message to the Orthodox Union: Blood Is Never Kosher

Doha, Qatar.

America is having another bad week.

On Sunday, yet another mass shooting struck the United States, this time in a house of worship where 26 of the faithful were shot as they crawled out from behind their pews. Then we watched as the Middle East teetered ever closer to the brink, with political waves rocking Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Lebanon. Then came the release of the “Paradise Papers” by The New York Times, with yet more blatant financial corruption laid bare for all to see. This, all in addition to the endless scandals that plague our political and cultural spheres.

One would expect that in such times as these, rabbis and other religious leaders would stand tall as beacons of hope of moral clarity within which our hearts could find some much needed refuge.
Yet on Monday, The Jerusalem Post reported that a coalition of prominent rabbis led by Rabbi Menachem Genack of Englewood, New Jersey had traveled to Qatar to meet with its emir.

Following the recent successes of the Russian military forces in Syria, there are renewed indications that Moscow is seeking some...
Qatar isn’t any Arab state. It’s the world’s number one funder of Hamas, an organization dedicated not only to the annihilation of Israel, but to the murder of all Jews — “wheresoever they may be found,” to quote Hamas’ founding charter.

In 2012, the nation of Qatar pledged four hundred million dollars to the terror group. Apparently pleased to see Hamas had used this money to launch over 5,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, Qatar would ratchet up its commitment by promising another billion dollars to the blood-thirsty leadership of Gaza in 2014.

As if their anti-Semitism couldn’t be more clear, Qatar hosts not just the Hamas leadership, but the man who may be described as the world’s foremost Jew hater: Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Worse than denying the Holocaust, Qaradawi has praised Hitler for his slaughter of European Jews and prayed that Allah help him finish the job. “Oh Allah,” he cried in a sermon, “take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people…count their numbers, and kill them down to the very last one!” The nation of Qatar didn’t just tolerate that kind of genocidal hate-speech, it actually broadcast it on its own Al Jazeera network.

Moreover, Rabbi Genack, whom I consider a friend, isn’t just any American rabbi. He’s one of America’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish voices, known for his close friendship with former President Bill Clinton. And just to make these efforts to kosher Qatar (intentionally or not) even more ironic, Rabbi Genack is actually the head of the Orthodox Union’s global kosher authority.

The man responsible for the koshering of crackers, cheese and steaks has now been brought in to “kosher” the emir of Qatar who finances tunnels meant to kidnap Jewish children from southern kibbutzim; to “kosher” Qatar’s funding of rockets meant to dismember elderly men and women who can’t run fast enough toward the nearest shelter; to “kosher” Qatar’s financing of the murder of sixty-seven soldiers and six Israeli civilians during Operation Protective Edge.

But the Bible is clear: Blood can never be kosher (Leviticus 17:13-14).

A few weeks ago, I was myself invited to meet the emir by the man organizing the whitewashing effort. Our organization, The World Values Network, responded with two full-page ads in The New York Times declaring “If Qatar Wants a PR Makeover, Stop Funding Terror.” On the bottom of the ad, we added the headline: “Meeting with Qatar Condones Murder.”

Why? Because Qatar is only hiring Jewish PR agencies and arranging meetings with American Jews in order to prove its legitimacy. After all, it could now tell the American people and the rest of the world: “How bad could we be? Look how many rabbis and Jewish leaders have come to meet with us.” And thus, it gets to fund the murder of Jews without paying a price. Enabling a Qatari makeover allows it to get away with murder.

Qatar can repent. If the emir to be brought back into the community of nations, all he needs to do is announce the immediate cessation of all funding of Hamas. He should immediately expel Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and Hamas terror masterminds Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal. And he should stop the daily demonization of Israel that takes place on Al Jazeera, a veritable glut of anti-Semitic poison designed to make the world hate the Jewish state. But until such steps are taken, Qatar cannot be allowed to whitewash its crimes.

This is not the first time Rabbi Genack and I have clashed over Israel. When my close friend, Senator Cory Booker, whom I introduced to Rabbi Genack at my home, shocked and shattered American Jewish hearts by voting for the Iran nuclear deal despite the rogue state’s daily threats of a second Holocaust of the Jews, Rabbi Genack was one of the Jewish leaders who worked to protect Cory’s reputation among American Jews and help him hold on to his quickly vanishing Jewish support.
This led to serious pain in my relationship with Rabbi Genack. It was just beginning to heal when I suddenly saw this shocking story about Qatar.

I do not doubt that Rabbi Genack is a very good man, a great scholar and utterly dedicated to the welfare of the Jewish people. No doubt in his mind he believes that he can change the emir. But far more likely is that Qatar is using him to show it’s kosher, and Rabbi Genack should judge the Qatari government by its actions, not its hospitality. Respectfully, we owe it to all the Jews that have been murdered by Hamas to never allow its paymasters off the hook.

The Orthodox Union put out a puzzling statement that “Rabbi Genack is traveling [to Qatar] in his personal capacity as a private individual and this trip is not under the auspices of the OU.”

But you cannot have a top executive of the most important Orthodox Jewish organization in the United States playing global diplomat with terror financiers noted for their hatred of Jews. So long as he occupies one of the OU’s most senior positions, Genack’s actions will reflect on the organization itself.

The concept of kosher is more than just an examination of body parts and mixing milk and meat. It communicates a vital idea of taking something as mundane as meat and elevating it into the realm of holiness. It conveys the human capacity to live a sacred life in accordance with God’s will.

The OU cannot — dare not — allow any of its executives to kosher and legitimize countries like Qatar. Only the emir himself can do that, by immediately ceasing all funding of terror against Jews.

Until then, let us not forget, blood is never kosher.