Rabbi Anonymous Replies


[This article is re-published by kind permission of Life In Israel, where you will find a passionate response by many in the comments section. The reason I believe this article is important is that, after some 18 months of outcry in Ramat Beit Shemesh over the reported mishandling of several cases of child abuse in the community, this is the first direct - tho' anonymous - response from within the community by "the other side" of this debate]

12 Questions For David Morris:

BY: An Anonymous Guest Post

(We'll make it easy---True or False)

1) When your article in the JP first came out , the first claim you made to Rabbi Malinowitz was that you were just a mouthpiece for your Rav, who didn't want his own name on the statements there ( for personal reasons, which you stated , and which were perfectly understandable)True or False?

2)Your second claim ,made a few days later, was that you meant other Rabbonim, not Rav Malinowitz , chas veshalom. True or False?

3)Your third claim, made a few days after that , was that you said nothing wrong, or disrespectful ,or accusatory , in the article. That whoever reads anything like that into the article is just misreading it. True or False?

4)Your next claim, made a few weeks after that, was that there is merely a difference of opinion between Rabbonim about how to deal with the issues discussed, and that's all the article expresses. True or False?

(That's four different interpretations , given within a few weeks of each other)

5) It was patiently explained to you time and time again, by various go-betweens , that what Rav Malinowitz was troubled by--and what he was demanding a retraction of-- was the gist of your article, which was -- RABBIS-BAD, David Morris (and L.A. )--GOOD , (Everyone is invited to see the article and to decide for themselves)

True or False?

6)It was patiently explained to you many times that Rav Malinowitz is only not letting BTYA be used as a public platform for LA to make appeals from (since it would be incongruous to use the "bad guys" as a forum for the "good guys") , but that he is not saying that one should not give money or support to LA . In fact, when people asked him, he would say--"Go give them money, I have no problem with that" .

You , however , continued to state that LA was "banned" in BTYA, and that the Rav was stopping monies from being given to LA because of a personal pique with you. True, or False?

7)When before Rosh HaShana this past year Rav Malinowitz was continuously asked by LA to allow an appeal for them , he refused, saying that that would only happen after a public retraction from the RABBIS--BAD,DAVID MORRIS (and LA)--GOOD article (i.e, nothing had changed). Rabbi HG arranged for a meeting between you and Rav Malinowitz , which took place in Rav Malinowitz's office.

True or False?

8)At that meeting , you suddenly turned to Rav Malinowitz and said "Yes, I am accusing YOU of covering up for child molestors, protecting them,and hampering investigation of them" (or words to that effect)

True or False, David??(Think hard, because Rav Malinowitz spoke to Rabbi HG a few minutes after the meeting.)

9)Sometime after that, the LA Board demanded that you stop speaking about child molestation issues in your blog.True or False?

They also drafted various letters of "apology" , including claims of LA feasance to the doctrine of Da'as Torah ; Rav Malinowitz explained to them that they were missing the point, that there must be a clear explicit public retraction from the RABBIS-BAD,DAVID MORRIS (and LA)-GOOD article, and that Rav Malinowitz doesn't really care all that much if LA claims to follow Da'as Torah or not. There was some back and forth about an apology--Rav Malinowitz recalls, but is not positive, that he was mevatter on an apology, saying that the explicit public retraction would suffice. That never happened, as of today.

True or False?

10) In the present pre-Purim period, Rav Malinowitz was again approached by a few people about allowing an appeal for LA at BTYA. Rav Malinowitz responded to one such e-mail request with an e-mail of his own, sent as "reply to" .So we are not dealing with Rav Malinowitz "re-opening an old issue" , but with a private e-mail response to an individual , in response to repeated requests by LA.

True or False?

11) David Morris went and publicized a private e-mail , which had been sent as a response to a query by an individual. (Make no mistake--Rav Malinowitz stands by every word in the e-mail-------------but how ethical is it to present to the public a private e-mail as if it were written for the public, even one which says "you can show this to whomever you wish"? )

True or False?

12)David Morris used a device plagiarized from Rav Malinowitz himself, though of course in David's case it made absolutely no sense, since it was a private e-mail from Rav Malinowitz that Rav Malinowitz sent a questioner as a response to the questioner's e-mail.

True or False?

You see your problem, David:If you answer correctly,(TRUE to all the questions) , you will be admitting to underhanded unethical conniving behavior. And if you answer even one question as "false" , you will be a bold-faced liar, who therefore should not be trusted with public money. You see the problem that you yourself have created?

Advice: Come clean, apologize (an apology will now probably be necessary) , retract, and a fresh page can start.

P.S. If anyone has any story , or accusation, or complaint, against Rav Malinowitz's handling of any child-abuse case, please stop hiding behind a cloak of anonymity ; give your name, your story, and permission for Rav Malinowitz to answer completely and fully, withholding no information. It can be done through this blog.

Comments

  1. Help me here! Is there a pro-molesting faction. As usual they will deny its happening, or deny it is is frequent, or insist it is being dealt with privately, or go on the offensive and criticize the complainants. In my experience they usually use all of these tactics depending on who they are talking to and how invested they are in their denial.

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  2. What a Great Place to Live22 February 2010 at 00:42

    Yerachmiel,

    Welcome to Ramat Bet Shemesh where the frum world's largest river, Denial, runs through the city center.

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  3. There's One (Kehilla) Born Every Minute22 February 2010 at 07:10

    "P.S. If anyone has any story , or accusation, or complaint, against Rav Malinowitz's handling of any child-abuse case, please stop hiding behind a cloak of anonymity ; give your name, your story, and permission for Rav Malinowitz to answer completely and fully, withholding no information. It can be done through this blog."

    What a crock! He wants to further victimize families by having them go public with names and stories yet he hides himself in a "cloak of anomytity".

    And people actually follow this man?

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  4. I really think the way to deal with abusers is to make them as unwelcome as possible, by slashing tires and making their homes the new garbage dump. This is not a constructive comment at all, but vigilante justice is better than the Rabbinic bureaucracy, which will igve the abuser a slap on the wrist at best.

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  5. Can somebody please explain who this guy is who is playing General Inquisitor here?

    Who does he think he is that David should march to his dumb and patronising beat?

    David - you should walk away. This man is beneath contempt. You owe him nothing. Keep on doing your good work and leave him mouthing his foolishness in the gutters of Beis Tefilla.

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  6. David, Don't Lower Yourself22 February 2010 at 22:02

    Anon of 6:48

    Well said....major ditto!

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  7. agreed.

    Inca dentally, denial does not run down the centre of town. It kind of swerves down running around maor then back up just the other side of shimshon.

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  8. David - Please can you make a list of how you and L'maan Achai have helped to protect the children in this neighborhood! Aside from talk, and therapy, which other organizations also help to provide, can you provide a list of achievements since your involvement. I think we can agree that it’s easy to ride in as a knight in shining honor and to claim the high ground, but let’s rather hear what positive achievements have been made.
    In the Jerusalem post article you are quoted as saying that "the response of the authorities such as the police and social services is slow and bureaucratic, with the accused not being found guilty or exonerated for years".
    If that is the case, how have you helped "the community” any more than the "Rabbi's" that you criticize? Have you quickened the process, did you get convictions - how have you solved the problem? How have you helped the victims? Have you helped to persuade anyone to change their methods? Does insulting the Rabbis help? How have you helped the victims in the abusers own family, his wife and children? Have you protected innocent people from false accusations? Have you helped create a protocol for child abuse prevention and reporting? Let’s hear some positivity!
    We are probably very much on the same page personally about how to deal with this problem but that does not mean that our solutions are the only ones or necessarily better. It’s not like our Rabbis swept this under the carpet as happened in other communities with other people. They certainly tried their best based on the Torah guidelines and as they saw the facts. Maybe they could have done better, and maybe they could have avoided the issue by referring the parents to the police – but would that have been a sure fix? I’m not convinced. For sure they would have avoided criticism and they would have been safer from a PR perspective by handing this over to the ‘professionals’” i.e. the police and the therapists, but in essence we have no positive proof that the victims would be any better off today. There are victims of Police investigations and victims of bad therapy – we don’t live in a perfect world.
    The police also have a hard time with evidence from children and it’s extremely hard to get reliable evidence from children. Maybe the Police also messed up and simply took the easy route of ‘blaming the Rabbi’s!? Maybe the Rabbi’s advice was not followed exactly or did not help or ended up being a negative experience for those involved, but that does not mean the Rabbis in RBS “protect adults over children” or that they ‘favor child abuse’ or that ‘they are covering up for child molesters, protecting them, and hampering investigation of them’. We don’t live in a perfect world and there are no easy solutions for child abuse. Cont’d in next comment..

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  9. Continued from prev comment..
    You have spoken out about the problem – yes, and that is praiseworthy – not many have your guts. It is good that you have raised awareness, but couldn't this have been done without upsetting the leaders of the community? In the short space of 24 hours I have seen such a lot of mudslinging and hatred as a result of your post (as well as contempt for Daas Torah and thereby the Torah and HKB’H by proxy) - a lot of anonymous people who are prepared to comment but not put their name to their posts. People who seem to hold the Rabbis up as being miracle workers and the answers to all their problems, only to be disillusioned when they find out that they should have taken responsibility for their own decisions.
    The issue of child abuse has no simple answer and solving the problems in the community are going to take a lot of diplomacy and RESPECT. I suggest that you continue the fight to protect our children, but take your last two posts off the blogosphere and anything else that destroys the ability to have a useful and RESPECTFUL discussion? I cannot believe that public discussion with heated views filled with hatred and disillusionment will achieve anything but negativity – IT DOES NOT PROVIDE SOLUTIONS!
    You should talk about protecting children but stick to the positive and how things can be improved, not just about mistakes and who is to blame. You should raise awareness, and prevent possible enemies, and help Lemaan Achai to make a difference. You certainly don’t come away with credibility by pulling down others. Please enlighten me and give me reason to hope.
    To all those posting full of hate and disillusionment – think twice before posting inappropriate comments and ask yourself how you are helping the situation, because if you are not helping, you are probably hurting the cause.

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  10. Hillel,

    Your words will come back to mock you. They are filled with anger and hate toward David and Lema'an Achai neither of who have done an avla here.

    You yourself seem to have something out for David and Lema'an Achai when saying:

    "Please can you make a list of how you and L'maan Achai have helped to protect the children in this neighborhood!"

    Like it or not since David made his first comment in the Jerusalem Post there has been more education and awareness than ever.

    The following has been achieved by Lema'an Achai:

    A meeting bewteen the rabbonim and the welfare department to discuss this issue (first time ever here in RBS). This was facilitated by Lema'an Achai

    A presentation to educators and health care professionals from Mr. David Mandel of OHEL

    An open forum and panel for concerned parents (in ccoperation with Limudei Lottie)

    Protocols from other cities are being reviewed and adapted for our community

    Dr. David Pelcowitz, a highly regarded expert with haskomos of Gedolei Yisroel spoke to a group about creating educational programs.

    I would hardly call this "nothing".

    You also charge:
    Does insulting the Rabbis help?

    Hillel..show me one time where David Morris or Lema'an Achai has insulted a rabbi!

    Lema'an Achai met with a group of nine parents whose children were molested and the case was mishandled by Rabbis.

    I am one of the parents and I attended.

    Rabbi Leventhal, the Director of Lema'an Achai, was patient, understanding and extremely helpful.

    There was no agenda and not a single negative word came from Lema'an Achai about rabbaonim. Lema'an Achai was there simply for support and guidance. For us they have probably saved us from leaving frunkeit due to our experience.

    Can you say the same about how some rabbonim in RBS speak about Lema'an Achai?

    Hillel, go back and look at how and what you wrote. The source of hate and strong feelings might surprise you.

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  11. Moshe

    I feel your pain but I believe that is making you misread the point I am trying to make. To say that I hate David Morris Chas Veshalom couldn't be further from the truth. I am a good friend of David, we go to shiurim together, we chat, we disagree sometimes and I love him as I do any Jew.
    I wrote what I said because I genuinely feel that David made an error in publishing this letter on his blog. Its's good that there is more awareness from the JP article , in fact I specifically mention that - what I'm saying is that he could have created this awareness without making any negative statements about the Rabbis. If you read the Jerusalem post article it clearly states "I don't know why the community leaders chose to protect the adults over the children" - that is clearly negative statement and a personal assessment of the situation. How can he know or claim to know that the Rabbis chose the adults over the children. If he did, he would be a mind reader or a prophet. There are other statements in the JP article and also his post of the letter is clearly creating a rift between LA and the Rabbis.
    I'm very pleased to hear of things that Lemaan Achai have done - that was the reason that I wrote what I did - lets keep this positive.
    I still ask David to remove the 'letter' posts from his blog - it's not helpful - and David - it would help the community if you were on good terms with CZM

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  12. Dear Hillel

    I hear your frustration and I know you are well intentioned in every way. As you know from our many conversations, I hold you in the highest respect.

    You are missing two key areas of information, through no fault of your own, but because they are not public knowledge.

    One is the extent and nature of the problem.

    The second is the extent and nature of the solutions. You have indicated some in your mini-essay, and you will be positively surprised by how close to seeing eye-to eye the two of us are.

    I am currently in Turkey - I'll be back Be"H on Thursday. Please contact me by email so we can arrange to meet.

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  13. David - thanks for your comments - looking forward to meeting!
    ;-) Regards
    Hillel

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  14. Hillel, I am the parent of an abused child. You think it can never happen to you, it is hard to describe what it feels like, but its lice ice and fire at the same time. Guilt, sadness and incredible anger. I went to a Rav (nameless)for support and guidance and the Rav phoned the abuser to ask him if he had done this. The abuser said no. The Rav then told us that it couldn't have happened. That was it! The child was seen by specialist psychologists who accertained that the child was telling the truth. i will spare you the details, but my child knew things that no child should have to relive. David and the Lemaan Achai team helped us through the entire process. if we hadn't been in touch for a couple of days someone would call in to see how we were doing. They connected us with experts and friends. We were believed. The Rav gave us nothing but scorn. Even after it was proved that my child's story was true. We felt like liars and vermin in his eyes. A bit like how my child must have felt wih his abuser. I hope you never have to go through this. we are a regular boring Anglo family living inside the "Dolev circle". You probably know us. You probably know the abuser. You certainly know the Rav. I hope its not your kid next.

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  15. Hillel,

    I am another parent of a child who was abused here in RBS. And yes, in the beginning I went to the Rabbis in this community and I would never advise anyone who finds out their child has been abused to speak to a Rabbi here in RBS. They are just not equipped to deal with the situation. I will not go into all the details of what I was told or what was done to my family. It will not help.

    Yes, Lemaan Achai was unbelievable throughout. They gave my family the support, advice and guidance that we needed to get through.

    I personally know quite a few families who were helped in this area by Lemaan Achai. And even if I was the only family that David Morris's organization helped, that's enough. David's organization saved my family. Do I need to say how many neshamos were saved from long term damage.

    And no the Rabbonim were not supportive. They did not offer advice nor did they believe what happened to my child. But experts in this area have authenticated what happened.

    If I had listened to the Rabbis in this community, my child would not have gotten help, My family would have completely fallen apart and we probably would not even be religious today. It is because of someone as amazing as David Morris that my family is okay today. You will never ever know or understand the trauma of what each and every family in this town has been through with the Rabbi's. And I have personally spoken to many families. It is one sad story after the next, the way the Rabbis in this town have treated us. So if you want to know what David Morris has done, I'll tell you. HE HAS SAVED ALL OF OUR FAMILIES AND OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

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  16. Dear Hillel,
    I too am a parent of an abused child - unfortunately there are LOTS OF US here in RBS – should I tell you why? Bec the Rabbi’s help the abusers by protecting them so they can go and abuse again & again & again.
    LA has been absolutely AMAZING! When we were really struggling, aside from the hell that we were going through as parents bec some JERK decided that my kid will be his next victim – but we were struggling even more from the torture that we had to deal with from the Rabbis of this community. Not just Rabbi Chaim Zev Malinowitz but the other chareidi Rabbis in RBS as well . They have done and said the stupidest things to struggling families. They have no clue how to deal with this type of stuff but they jump right in and pretend to be equipped. The result is a community which now harbors loads of child abusers .
    LA HAS the professionalism to deal with these situations. If they don’t know something they go to an expert and get expert advise. What do the Rabbis do if they don’t know something on this topic? They call the next rabbi down the block who also doesn’t know how to deal with this and together they come up with some twisted conclusion on how to deal with the situation. This results in familes who trust their rabbi to guide and lead them and in the end we are “thrown to the dogs”.
    Bottom line is – David and LA are the top org in this community for abuse issues (aside from the fact they are the only org that is willing to deal with it). When asking what LA has done to help –the list goes on, and on, and on.
    Now let me ask you a question – What have the Rabbi’s done to help – one word answer – NOTHING!

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  17. Parents. It's seems like there's a lot of us out there. when David gets back, we should consider him getting us together for mutual support. It sounds like we all have a lot to share.

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  18. I feel your pain deeply. I see that there is a lot of anger, which is understandable. I think anonymous's idea of a support group is wonderful. My point that I was trying to make is that it's not helpful to anyone to spew venom and blame the Rabbis. They may be ill advised and unequipped, but facts are that people look to them for advice, so the modus operandi should be 'lets educate the Rabbis and lets help them at the same time to help others'. Working as an EMT I have seen that people who are ill or have major issues often try to find a scapegoat or someone to blame, for example - if they were paralyzed in a car accident they will take the ambulance company to court and blame them for causing the paralysis - for moving them etc. when in most cases it's totally untrue - it was the car accident. I have heard of people suing others who went out of their way to help, for things that are totally false. It's partly a result of the guilty feelings of the patient and a way of trying to regain control of their life - if I can blame someone, I can feel better.
    Rarely is such a tactic successful in making one feel any better. Anger is a natural part of the healing process and acceptance only comes later, but anger should be directed to the right source.
    In reality the Rabbis are also victims of the child abusers, as they are being drawn by no choice of their own to deal with this extremely difficult subject. I do believe they intend well, and any failings are lack of experience - and yes, we need to get them the message that they should be educated or refer on to the right people. I do know that many Rabbis do make good referrals to the right people for treatment.
    The irony is that the abusers themselves are probably victims of child abuse - it's clear that we need a professional approach and kudus to LA and David for what they have done for the victims. Lets have some Shalom and a return to the status quo.

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  19. Hillel, Don't you think HKB"H can pick better shlichim then those who protect molesters and thereby contribute to the alienation of our youth from Torah and Mesorah (the concepts not the organization.)
    B'tzail HaGra's miChicago

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  20. Hillel,

    We as parents are angry. We are angry at the abusers that have hurt our children. We want to get these abusers away from hurting other children and the Rabbis are stopping us from getting this done. We are not using the Rabbis as scapegoats for our problems. We know that they have the power in the community to remove the abusers from the innocent children. Just referring families to a good therapist is not enough (although if the Rabbis are saying that the child is making the story up so how could they even refer the child for treatment?!) We need to stop the abusers and not protect them in any way whatsoever, which is the path that the Rabbonim have chosen to take.

    Some of the families who have come forth to the Rabbonim and the schools did so to protect other children. It was not out of anger that they tried to get the abusers away from children in a school setting. It was out of their caring that what happened to their own child should never ever happen to another innocent child. Why did the Rabbis push us away and not give our circumstances validity?

    These parents should be awarded by the community of RBS for extending themselves selflessly, while they were trying to deal with the trauma of what happened to their own child. I don't know about you but I want to be aware of the suspected abusers so I can protect my own children.

    I disagree with you that the Rabbis are the victims of this child abuse. They are adults and they should be standing up strong against this kind of stuff. The reason that they are dealing with all the animosity now is that they have never dealt with the situation properly and it is their own fault. They tried to cover things up, protect the abusers and now its all coming back to haunt them. The only victims in this are the innocent children and their families.

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  21. I'm back from Turkey!

    Please contact me off-line, so that I can talk and meet with you all (separately or together) offline.

    david AT scitronix.co.il

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  22. How old is the Rabbi?28 February 2010 at 19:15

    IF Rabbi Malinowitz is the Rabbi who wrote these questions I think that it's an interesting testament to his emotional age. Children tend to think in black and white terms, "good" vs. "bad." Adults who have grown up physically as well as emotionally tend to see the world in more realistic shades of grey. Just because David expresses disagreement with the way some of the Rabbi's in RBS have dealt with child abuse it doesn't mean that he is saying "LA, good, BTYA, bad." The author's (Rabbi's?) interpretation is a black and white one, and displays his own young emotional thinking coming into play here. Even if David Answered True to all of the above questions I see nothing wrong with any of the things the author is claiming that David did. I don't see the first four claims contradicting each other at all.
    I think that you need to ask yourselves what this Rabbi is getting so defensive about. What is he hiding? I think he doth protest a bit too much...What do you know about his past? Who is he protecting?

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  23. How old is the Rabbi?28 February 2010 at 19:25

    Even if David would answer "True" to all of the above, I don't see how that is admitting to "unethical, underhanded, or coniving behavior." Can the author explain his thinking? Unfortunantly just because Rabbi C.M. (Or any other Rabbi) is a talmid chacham that does not automatically make him a moral, ethical, or psychologically healthy person. From what I have seen of this Rabbi's posts and from conversations I have had with him personally, I don't think that he is an emotionally healthy person. The more he speaks on this topic the less he makes sense and the more folks are left scratching their heads.

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  24. When we went through our own sorry tale of child abuse ,yes we are another boring ,normal family in rbs,I went straight to a trusted rebbesten and she referred me on to a local Rabbi who I would say has been in RBS alot longer than Rabbi m .He had our story varified by a psychologist ,who cleverly reported it to the police ,we were in a state of shock and not fit to go ourselves,once varified the Rabbi made sure that all parents who had children in this gan [it was the gannents husband]were warned and then daas Torah was asked of a Godol as to whether we should report to the police the daas Torah left room on either side ie you dont have to go to the police but you should,the local Rabbi offered us his full support ,comfort and told us we could send anyone to him who needed more info, the police brought him in for questioning held in custody opened a tic [file]on him and did their part after alot of heartache the peadephile skipped out of the country ,to a place where a good local outreach Rabbi took it upon himself to notify Rabbis in the country where this man is now residing.

    We went through hell it still haunts us but a clear message was sent to this man that PAEDEPHILES ARE NOT WELCOME HERE FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN THIS NEEDS TO BE OUR RESOUNDING MESSAGE.

    When we brush paedephillia under the carpet we are saying to paedephiles come and live in our community,when we raise awareness and all get on the same page and state the goal of this community is to protect our children we will not stand for it they will leave .

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