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December 01, 2009

Lakewood Rabbis Come Out Against "Toeivah Bill," Still Silent On Sex Abuse

Black Hat Fedora Blocking same sex marriage deemed important enough to take a public stand, while haredi-on-boy sex abuse is not.
Blocking the New Jersey gay marriage bill was a major topic at the Agudath Israel of America convention last week. By contrast, rampant child sexual abuse and domestic violence in haredi communities – including Lakewood – were only an afterthoughts mentioned briefly in the Agudah Executive VP's speech.

Haredi leaders in Lakewood have spent years covering up child sexual abuse and other crimes. Despite one seemingly positive news report to the contrary, they have yet to do anything of significance to stop sexual violence against women and children.

Yet these very same religious leaders now want to claim a moral high ground to fight civil unions of consenting adults.

The AP – apparently unaware of the haredi sex abuse and domestic violence issues, unaware of Agudah's link to them, and unaware of very open haredi involvement in political issues in, say, Brooklyn – wants to tell you the "astonishing" story of Lakewood's rabbis' jump into politics to oppose to the gay marriage bill:

Rabbis, heterosexuals join NJ gay marriage debate

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — The leaders in the local large Orthodox Jewish community go to great lengths to keep out the outside world, discouraging nonbusiness use of the Internet and encouraging strict filters to keep the ungodly out when members must use the Web.

But last month, several rabbis and other elders did something astounding for them: They took a public stand on a political issue, declaring their opposition to same-sex marriage in the state.

"This really hurts us," said Rabbi Osher Lieberman, a key figure in the community in the suburbs about 30 miles east of Trenton. "To say (it's) immoral is not enough."

He said community members are being encouraged to do whatever they can to make sure lawmakers don't vote to recognize gay marriage.

In a state that leans a bit left, the conservative rabbis are one of a handful of groups taking a passionate — and maybe surprising — role in a debate that's likely to be decided by January. The newly political rabbis have joined a coalition including Roman Catholic bishops, evangelicals and some black and Latino leaders.

The other side of the debate, anchored by a well-organized, well-connected gay rights group, is getting a boost from heterosexual liberals.

When Republican Chris Christie unseated Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in the gubernatorial election last month, it gave gay-rights activists more urgency to try to achieve their long-held goal of getting a same-sex marriage bill through the Legislature before Christie takes office Jan. 19.

The reason is simple: Corzine supports the bill. Christie says he would veto it.

If it's not passed by the end of the legislative session, that means the window will close for now on New Jersey joining Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut as the only states to recognize gay marriage.

Democratic lawmakers have been wrangling over whether the matter will get a debate in the Legislature. Most party leaders say they won't bring it up unless it looks as though it will pass.

Gay-rights supporters and social conservatives alike have been lobbying lawmakers, though it's a debate that doesn't seem to be enrapturing the state as a whole. Two polls last month found the public is divided over the issue. One found narrow support, the other narrow opposition.

But the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, which found support, also showed that most residents think the issue is not a big deal.

It is a big deal to Betty Wyka, a museum employee from Parsippany who has long supported same-sex marriage. In February, she started volunteering for Garden State Equality, the state's main gay-rights group. Steven Goldstein, the chairman of the group, says that as a straight woman Wyka is typical of a new volunteer.

Wyka said she joined partly to counter a claim that gay-marriage opponents often make: that allowing gay couples to wed will make society value traditional marriages less.

"I got sick of hearing that same-sex marriage is going to impact my marriage. That's a bunch of hooey," she said. "It's a civil rights issue."

Lakewood's Orthodox community is mostly isolated from the rest of society. The men wear long beards, white shirts, black suits and black hats, and women are not nearly as visible as men. The community was founded in 1942 by a rabbinic leader who fled Poland and the Holocaust. It's now home to some 10,000 Orthodox families and the rabbinical school, which has more than 5,000 students.

Before last month's election, rabbis allowed distribution of a voting guide from the socially conservative New Jersey Family Policy Council. While religious institutions would not be required to marry gay couples, some say their religious freedom could be squeezed by permitting something they say runs against their beliefs.

Orthodox Jews, like many Christians, look to the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which many interpret as saying that homosexuality is immoral.

A group of Lakewood community leaders granted an interview with an Associated Press reporter — a rarity and part of the effort to become involved in the push against gay marriage. The leaders said they're taking their position public because in the Internet age more information about the broader world is flowing into their community.

The large Orthodox community is not the first to speak out against the prospect of gay marriage. Last year, the New York-based Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America made a public statement in favor of California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage there months after a court allowed it.

And leaders in Lakewood say they received political guidance from some in the Orthodox Jewish community in Monsey, N.Y. In New York, the state Assembly already has passed a law to allow gay marriage, and the Senate is considering whether to follow.

Orthodox Jews traditionally have been regular voters who oppose candidates who support abortion rights and gay rights, said Yaakov S. Ariel, a professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"The visible part is what's new," Ariel said. "The opinions and the support of candidates is not new."

What's especially troubling to some in Lakewood is not just that New Jersey might recognize same-sex marriages but that Orthodox Jews would be more likely now than in the past to know about it — and think that it's OK to be gay.

"These type of laws bring an exposure to our community," Rabbi Aaron Sarscher said.

And that's why there's a new voice in the debate.

"I really don't believe in getting involved in government," said another community leader, David Sofer. "But when an issue is so dangerous, you have to stop it."


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at the end of the article the rabbie said we do not like getting involved in government is not true.

They got involved to kill any bill regulating religious schools to report abuse to the authorities

How absolutely absurd. This is the same as berating someone who takes it upon himself to volunteer for, say ChaiLifeline, and does not for breast cancer. Does that mean that he hates women or does not consider the cure for breast cancer important? Because one is silent on an issue does not mean that they are either pro or con on the issue. Is it important that the Lakewood Rabbis take a public stand on all issues? What is their stand on the war in Afghanistan? What about the health care debate? What about global warming?



Harold. I won't even comment, except that you're a moron and not any better from all those rabbis that have been covering up child sex abuse for the past 50 years.

Just looking for clarification before my comment.

Why is it OK for you to call anyone and everyone who disagrees with you an idiot while anyone else gets banned for name calling?

Would you feel better if I called you a hedyiot?

I would like to challenge Shmarya, (informed observer that he is,) to name the primary occupations of any of the Rabbis at this meeting and to back up his assertion that "they" had covered up sex abuse for years with...better let a quote from Shmarya say it all...

Being an IDIOT – which you clearly are – doesn't get you banned.

But it does get you singled out for stupidity.

Now process:

If you want to make claims, back those claims with verifiable facts. Otherwise go away.

Posted by: Shmarya | November 30, 2009 at 02:44 PM

Here's your answer.

For many years, Lakewood rabbis have covered up sexual abuse, led in the endeavor by Matisyahu Salomon.

No rabbi of standing in Lakewood has ever come out against sexual abuse or told haredim to call police.

Salomon ran a beit din for years that "handled" abuse claims without calling police – meaning the abusers were allowed to continue abusing (albeit often in different communities).

Lakewood's haredi community leaders are all subservient to the yeshiva and it's roshei yeshiva, including Salomon.

As any abuse victim from Lakewood will tell you, haredi community leaders were and are well aware of the child sexual abuse (and spousal abuse).

You appear to be making the claim that Lakewood has suddenly sprouted a new crop of community leaders, all of whom have no knowledge of what went on last week let alone last year.

But neither claim is true. There is no new crop of haredi leaders.

Do you mean to claim the abuse never happened?

Do you mean to claim that haredi leaders in Lakewood did not know about the abuse?

Again, both claims would be false – even Matisyahu Salomon has admitted knowing about many abuse claims and 'dealing' with those claims quietly and without police. In fact, he did this at the Agudah Convention in 2006.

So what is it you mean?

Shmarya, those aren't called verifiable facts, what they are are YOUR take on how these things run in Lakewood.

And what exactly do you want? that they should come out and say that child sex abuse is wrong? that is all they are doing here, saying that same-sex marriage is wrong.

And any true informed observer would tell you (in a nice way) that you couldn't be more off base. I know for a fact, (and this is common knowledge in the lakewood hareidi community) that one of the rabbis actually quoted in that article was the halachic authority relied upon for this past summer's alleged sex crime arrest. so you seem to m take a lot of things for granted and then call them facts when challenged by anyone.

C'mon man, hold yourself at least to the same standars that you hold your commenters!

You all don't get it. Homosexual sex with grown men, with hair and muscles and volition, fuy, a toevah, don't bring that exposure to our mikvahs. But sex with little boys , now, there's a tayvo that's understandable.

And what exactly do you want? that they should come out and say that child sex abuse is wrong?

I want them to tell haredim that abuse should be reported to police.

I also want them to institute policies in schools, yeshivot and synagogues that mandate reporting and require criminal background checks for all employees.

I want them to apologize to victims for the years of coverups.

And I want them to set up a fund to pay for therapy for child sex abuse victims.

I also want them to fire any rabbi who covered up sex abuse or domestic violence.

Hey Joey... I saw you in a few of the You Tubes. I hope that you are doing well and have found a group of friends that you can relate to (whether rock n rollers, x-frummers, etc.).

You can always hang out here with us.

therin lies the point.

hareidim aren't saying that homosexuals should be shot or stabbed or anything, they're just taking a stand that homosexual marriage is religiously unacceptable.

I also noticed you completely glossed over the facts in my last comment that you are wrong about, nice move.

Oh, and Shmarya? Get it thru your head. Its not about what YOU arbitrarily think is right...

hareidim aren't saying that homosexuals should be shot or stabbed or anything, they're just taking a stand that homosexual marriage is religiously unacceptable.


Spend 30-plus years covering up child sexual abuse but make a stink about gay marriage?

Past that, your 'facts' are that an unnamed rabbi told people to turn a molester over to police.

I'll assume for the moment that is the truth.

Did he also make a public statement or pesak telling haredim to call police rather than go to rabbis if their kid has been molested? Or does he continue to rule on a case-by-case basis, meaning most child sexual abusers walk free?

The answer is the latter, is it not?

Halachically, is there any difference between a single man who buggers another or a homosexually-married man who does the buggering?? I don't think the frummie ayatollahs of Lakewood can make a credible case to say homoerotic sex within the confines of legalised homosexual marriage is any greater an "avayroh" than such activity committed in the absence of matrimony.

"Dina d'malchuta dina" would not, for the Lakewood folks, trump a mitzvoh m'doraysa, of course, this blog would hardly exist if the Haredi Orthodox world adhered to the principle of fidelity to governing law.

Arguendo, the degree of "toayvah" for what they call the "top" would be greater than the "bottom," because the uppermost person is such a coupling is presumably, though not necessarily, the active one performing the act of lying with a man as woman. The bottom, passive partner, then would be analagous to the woman, who is on the receiving end.

What nice material for a pilpul! "Choyvas gavra" (hehe) will never be the same, nor will its object-oriented partner, the "Choyvas Chefstoh," which sounds outright fetishist!


Jerk, are you implying that the Lakewood Rabbis condone sexual acts of adults with children? I believe that the argument that I presented was a logical one. There was no need to be called an idiot! Just because people don't run and consult with the great Scott or give you an audience, like the late Lubavich Rebbe OB"M didn't, makes them wrong.

The hypocrisy of the Lakewood rabbis is rather tame compared to that of the Agudath Israel of America. The Agudists have consistently fought against any legislation in Albany that would protect our children. They fought against mandatory reporting (Zwiebel commented about this publicly four years ago), mandatory fingerprinting and background checks, and finally, they are "vigorously" fighting against the Child Victims Act. In the meantime, they are also vigorously opposing same sex marriage. These are all FACTS. The article talks about the Lakewood rabbis but the stonger stench is emanating from 42 Broadway.

Jerk, are you implying that the Lakewood Rabbis condone sexual acts of adults with children?

I'm rather clearly saying they coverup for the perpetrators of those acts.

The article talks about the Lakewood rabbis but the stonger stench is emanating from 42 Broadway.

You forget Lakewood rabbis are part of Agudah.

can you tell me which rabbis AT THE MEETING are aguda affilliated? That's right you can't, because they aren't.
And that's just more "world according to Shmarya, Its true if I said so..." stuff that your comments are full of.

And I can predict that you will say something along the lines of "they all are subservient to solomon" (lie) or "everyone knows that hareidis in lakewood follow aguda" (bigger lie) or "my sources tell me that rabbi X who was present strongly encourages gang raape of children" (um... can u figure out what that is?) give it a break Shmarya. You lack consistent credibility...

The answer is the latter, is it not?

Absolutely not.

Why you think that making assertions that have no basis in fact is ok, is beyond anyone with a working brain....

someones awfully quiet...

The so called unnamed Rabbi did not tell the victim to call the police. The parents so outraged at seeing the abuser at theirs childs camp after being told he was going to be removed from the area went directly to the Ocean County Prosecutors Office who then contacted Lakewood Police.

anoyed has no source for that statement...

he made it up.

"These type of laws bring an exposure to our community," Rabbi Aaron Sarscher said.

and I guess taking money from convicted felons does not expose bad behaviors to your community

"These type of laws bring an exposure to our community," Rabbi Aaron Sarscher said.

and I guess taking money from convicted felons does not expose bad behaviors to your community

and I guess taking money from convicted felons does not expose bad behaviors to your community

classic deflection...

To me the issues presented here by Shmarya go to the crux of reason for the resentment and hatred against ultra orthodox (my self included).

Who are we to be dictating the moral and ethical behavior to others when we ourselves are neither moral or ethical?Even if we are moral and ethical what are we doing mixing into politics and forcing our beliefs down the throats of others.

Especially those, such as same sex couples, whose behavior does not do anything to harm anyone else. Especially since the moral and ethical laws we violate hurt other people.

We are supposed to be a light unto the nations, not a stick to beat them down. Why are we more prejudiced against a Homosexual than a non-sabbath observer? Why do welocome crooks and cheats into our homes and shun people with alternate lifestyles? Because we are bigotted hypocrytes.

Here is the Ethics of our Fathers teachings about politics:

Shemayah and Avtalion received the Torah from them. Shemayah said: Love work; hate domination; and seek not undue intimacy with the government.

Be careful in your relations with the government; for they draw no man close to themselves except for their own interests

On another note, from the same source, to those of us who don't know how far away from G-d we truely are, and place ourselves above others:

"Rabbi Shimon used to say: There are three crowns--the crown of the Torah, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of kingship, but the crown of a good name surpasses them all."

"Rabbi Shimon used to say: There are three crowns--the crown of the Torah, the crown of the priesthood, and the crown of kingship, but the crown of a good name surpasses them all."

So basically I can keep Shabboss and restrict my diet to genetically cloned pareve meat, but if I am a shmuck and Mr. Apikorus eats bacon but has good name, I can't touch his level.

(sorry for the awful grammar)


DATE: 14 Kislev, 5770 / December 1, 2009 TO: Agudath Israel of America constituents and friends in New York State

FROM: Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Esq., Executive Vice President


Our information is that the New York State Senate is planning to vote today on a bill that would legalize toeivah marriage. This bill is both morally and legally unacceptable, and could lead to serious negative consequences. The bill has already passed the State Assembly and has the support of the Governor, so if it passes the Senate today it will become law.

We urge you to take a minute right now and:

1. Call Senate Democratic leader John Sampson at 518-455-2788. Tell whoever answers that the Senator should be told that our community is opposed to the passage of the toeivah marriage bill.

2. Call Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos at 518-455-3171. Tell whoever answers that our community is watching closely how every Republican Senator votes on this defining issue, and that we ask Senate Minority Leader Skelos to do all in his power to assure that all Republicans stand firm against this bill.

3. Please then pass this along to as many friends as you can who are likely to make similar calls.

Together, with siyata d’Shmaya, we can help defeat this pernicious legislation.

Damn how simple is thi s..t for people not to see.. Since I grew chasidish there was a different "pashlevil" prohibiting evryting from Lipa to tap water or fighting over a 16th inch piece of rope (Eric). Not once have I seen anything even remotley encouraging parents to go to the police or even that's not allowed.. Keep drinking the kool aid

Eruv I meant

Lots of posts, but no one has made the distinction between what the state permits and what the Rabbi (or other religious leader)permits.
Rabbis do not have to permit or accept forbidden marriage any more than they must accept eating pork or mixing milk and meat. That does not mean EVERYONE should be prohibited from eating pork or mixing milk and meat!
In some sense every Oscar Mayer billboard, every ad for a Big Mac encourages the observant to fall away, but that is the price we pay for living in an open society, a society where Lakewood or Monsey can exist.
As earlier posts on this site have made clear, we don't understand where sexual orientation comes from, but we do not seem to know how to change it. A small percent of the population, but still millions of people, seem much happier when their emotional and sexual lives are shared with members of their own sex. Most of these people are in other ways good citizens. So why must they live in the shadows?
That is the issue.
So why does the organized Haredi community put its energy into harming others?

Its simple:


If they want to fight for legislation to uncover their Litvak toeiviniks they should support legislation to end the statute of limitations. Then the OTD adult victims will let everybody know (because the insiders will still be silent because the shonda still falls on the victims).

I coined the slogan "The war against toeivah begins at home as part of a set of slogans to be used for demonstrations at the Agudah convention, but nobody picked up on it. But the slogans are still good and will still be good for quite a while. Check them out at

I remember when I was in yeshivah and 2 boys were caught Experimenting they were thrown out the yeshivah, but I guess adult on boy they are not MAKPID

I am profoundly distraught by the new turn of events by orthodox Rabbis, why for the first time since the destruction of Israel they decided to espouse intolerance and deny rights to a segment of society, Gay rights is nothing more than a right that the constitution afforded to each individual, no matter how you try to justify this action, you will not find any time in our Jewish history since the Diaspora were our leaders came out in support of denying any human his or her right, and there is a good reason for that, whenever someone tries to curtail someone rights Jews are not far behind. The problem is simple that since the destruction of the European Jews, our orthodox rabbis decided to teach our children a new religion, which is based on extremism, from Israel peace issues, to kashrus, strawberries, and A whole host of issues in between, at the same time this new extremisms fasters, these same Rabbis and leadership impeded again and again the apprehension and convection of the molesters in our midst, but they are busy to line up our communities against Gay marriage, for what purpose? It is only political in nature. I don’t know what we could do to stop the self mutilation, only a reformation might help. Finally I will challenge anybody to show me in one instance all the way from the destruction of the Temple up to the 19th century where our leadership came out against Gay rights in the none Jewish population, and I will donate $1000. to the first persons cause

I personally feel that homosexuality is tragic. They are morally wrong, whatever they say.
I am 150% in favour of all child abusers being reported to secular authorities IMMEDIATELY any report or even suspicion of child abuse occurring.
I do agree that these haredi authorities are hypocrites and enablers.
Because of the low moral state of many heterosexual people, many of us, myself included, are spiritually weakened.
Since for example, I have had sex outside of marriage (before and after I was married), I would be in a very weak position to insist that any child of mine (if I ever have children) wait until they are married.
In the past, practices such as anal sex and fellatio between heterosexual partners were considered reprehensible, and in fact Ibn Ezra states that anal sex is disgusting "it is combining the holy seed with the filth of filth".
However, now many of us heterosexuals are now more "modern" and we don't find such behaviour blameworthy.
Therefore homosexuals use a very astute tactic and say "we're not different from you, you have oral sex so do we, you have anal sex so do we.. why do you not allow us to things that you do..that's discrimination". And they are behaving quite logically.
If I were a rabbi I would issue a takkanah or whatever edict/ ruling stating that anal sex and fellatio are toeivah, forbidden acts to anyone in any context in any kind of relationship at any time.


Chabadnik Attorney

Your Rebbe has a very strong Sicha against a NY bill to give "equal rights" to homosexuals. Do you disagree with him or just not aware of it?
If former how can you call yourself a Chabadnik if later why not go and read it :
Essays: "Rights Or Ills

I read the Essay: Rights or Ills,
and I never thought I would ever agree with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, z'l, but I do agree with what he said, in this case.

Friend: I don't recall whether or not I was familiar with that sicha. I would prefer not to make this a discussion about Rebbe. I do know that the Rebbe was a visionary in the area of understanding children with special needs. Have you read teh sichos on that topic. The work of the friendship is without a doubt giving the abishter (so to speak) Nachas.

Friend: I will say that before I could adequately respond even if I wanted to: I would have to learn the sicha inside in the original text and read the old and new legislation and the legislative history.

I would also have the examine the motives and methods of the Agudah to see if they match those expressed by the Rebbe.

Even after all that I would still have a difficulty as the times have changed and the Rebbe may not have agreed with pushing the agenda under the present times and circumstances.

you mean the rabbis of Lakewood are commenting on what goys can do in New Jersey while ignoring the internal problems of their own community?
isnt this what we accuse Muslims of?
bashing Jews and chrsitiand without first looking at themselves?
A shanda for sure!

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