Showing posts from August, 2013

Syrian War?


How You Can Have A Safe New Year

In studies, only one in ten cases of child abuse are ever reported.  Reporting of child abuse in Beit Shemesh is just half the national average. In other words, for every case which is reported, a further 19 remain hidden. The victims remain at risk, unprotected and untreated, and the perpetrators continue to operate without consequence.. The problem of child abuse in our community is now being effectively & responsibly addressed by "Magen", the Beit Shemesh Child Protection Organization. In this past year, calls for help to Magen have DOUBLED. Over 70% of these calls are from Anglos - from every sector of the community. Hareidi, Dati-Leumi and Secular. Magen's free services have had a remarkable impact on the awareness of child abuse/protection in our community,and the ability for those effected to step forward discretely, and for victims/survivors to receive the help they need. Many child abuse perpetrators can no longer operate with

You Too Can Be A Whistle-Blower

This video is well worth a few minutes of your time. Hopefully, it will validate your right to have concerns, encourage you to speak them out, and to direct your energies to improving the world around you. Even to become a whistle-blower. Even working against powerful people who oppose you, those who are, or are leading, the willfully blind. I have been through this process, when I saw how frequent cases of child abuse were, even in the frum/orthodox community. I spoke up about it. I got flack, and still get flack, from the wilfully blind. However, I have been able to establish Magen, an organization which has successfully helped hundreds of victims/survivors of child abuse, and made our community safer for our children.   For those who believe their kids may have been abused, or you yourself are a victim/survivor of child abuse, you are invited to contact Magen. Call: (Israel - 972) 02-9999.678 After hours: 050-8489001.   If you feel st

Booze: Taxing The Poor; Pampering The Rich

I recently popped into the excellent Cellar 18 booze shop in Ramat Beit Shemesh. Proprietor Gedalya Persky told me that, due to the new budget passed in Israel, there have been big price changes in the spirits department. Waving to the well stocked shelves behind him, Gedalya showed me that the 'cheap' drinks, such as Vodka and Arak, have almost doubled in price. Arak, for example, which sold for 35 NIS a bottle, is now around 60 NIS. These are the drinks that hard-up Israelis (and Russians) enjoy. On the other hand, if you rather fancy a 15 year old single malt whisky, or a vintage Drambuie, or suchlike treats for deep-pocketed connoisseurs, then the budget is great news. Gedalya explained that the top-quality spirits have come down in price, apparently justified by the competition for these products from duty free. Cellar 18's finest whiskies have come down from around 300 NIS a bottle to around 200 NIS. So, rather than head to the airport & to fore

The Beit Shemesh Primaries Experiment

A few weeks ago I wrote about an innovative and progressive approach to politics in Beit Shemesh. Here's an update about how that process went. Appreciating the self-defeating results of a split vote, the five contenders against incumbent mayor Moshe Abutbul, agreed to hold a telephone poll. The strongest candidate in the poll would be the sole candidate to face Abutbul in the municipal elections on 22nd October. Phase One of the project went fairly smoothly, with most of the candidates linking up behind either Eli Cohen or the relatively late-entry Aliza Bloch. The sole exception was Meir Balayish, who broke ranks and continues to run as a candidate for mayor. Eli Cohen was running as an independent, stressing 'professionalism' and his impressive management CV. Aliza had the backing of the political parties, including Bayit Hayehudi, Likud and Yesh Atid - the same triumvirate which is the ruling coalition in Israel. On to Phase Two. The poll. The public

Magen on Israel's Russian-language TV

I was interviewed on behalf of Magen last week for Channel 9, Israel's Russian TV station. The subject was child protection and the interview took place at Magen in Beit Shemesh. The trigger was the Rav Motti Elon's conviction last week of two counts of child sexual abuse. You need to speak Russian to follow the details - I've no idea if what they said I said, is really what I said!!

Rav Motty Elon: Not Too Big To Fail

Rabbi Motty Elon was the poster-rabbi of the National Religious in Israel. His weekly classes on the torah portion were standing-room only, and broadcast live on radio; on Friday afternoons Rabbi Elon had his own TV national show. Rabbi Elon was head of the prestigious Yeshivat Hakotel and of Horev Schools. The conviction of Rabbi Motty Elon on two counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the Jerusalem District Court, was a dramatic development in a saga going back at least three years. "Forum Takana" had been established by a group of religious leaders, together with mental health and legal experts, with the mission of obtaining and investigating reports of alleged sexual abuse by VIPs, such as rabbis and teachers, in national religious ("dati-leumi") institutions. Most of Takana's work was carried out quietly and discretely. They apparently received several reports from alleged victims of inappropriate sexual behaviour by Rabbi Motty Elon. In sho

The Drums of Peace

"Peace" sounds as universally positive as apple pie and motherhood. However, in our corner of the Middle East "Peace" has become associated with terror, national humiliation, and thousands of dead. The Oslo years brought exciting hopes of improving life for Israelis, Palestinians, and our whole region. However, after two intifadas, and over 1000 Israeli civilians murdered, in cafes, on buses and in their beds, in what the Government of the day called "the Price of Peace", "The Oslo Peace Process" had clearly become Orwellian double-speak for "mass murder of innocent Israelis". Israel handed over control of the Palestinian population centers to the PLO - which then became a direct threat to Israel, as the launching pads for dozens of suicide bombers. Israel finally struck back with Operation Defensive Shield and regained some security control. The humiliating style of Israel's subsequent hasty withdrawal from Lebanon, as

MK Dov Lipman To Help Combat Child Abuse

MK Rabbi Dov Lipman with Magen's CEO, David Morris MK Rabbi Dov Lipman of Yesh Atid visited the "Magen" Child Protection Organization in Beit Shemesh on Sunday 28 th July, 2013. Many of the families who turn to Magen for help are new immigrants, particularly from English speaking countries; over 70% describe themselves as ultra-orthodox. Lipman is himself originally from the  USA  and has rabbinical smicha/certification from the ultra-orthodox yeshiva Ner Yisrael,  Baltimore . Magen's CEO, David Morris, explained to Dov Lipman how new immigrants and ultra-orthodox residents are at-risk populations who are doubly vulnerable to child abuse. New immigrants are often isolated from their support network; they lack the language and cultural skills to communicate these delicate issues effectively to the correct parties; they are unacquainted with and tend to be nervous of dealing with "the system" – such as the social services, the police, and t