« Hasidic Child Sex Abuse, Rape, Polygamy Cult Busted | Main | Video: Kiryas Joel Arrests »

August 02, 2011

Author Of Anonymous Book On Haredi Child Sex Abuse Outs Herself

Hush book cover,jpg "Eishes Chayil" is Judy Brown, the daughter of Ruthie Lichtenstein, the publisher of Hamodia, the large hasidic-owned ultra-Orthodox daily newspaper based in Brooklyn.

Hush book cover,jpg

From the Huffington Post:

…When I first tried to write about abuse in our community, to use the words needed to describe what was happening to so many children, I was firmly told not to.

Some subjects are better left in silence, the rabbis said. Orthodox Jews did not need such words. Those were words for gentiles. We had built walls and had built them high; the outside world could never enter. But as the walls grew higher and wider, we forgot look inside, to see that the most dangerous enemy always grows from within.

The abusers, trusted men wearing traditional garb, had not killed their victims, after all. But they did not need to. Some victims, driven to despair by years of enforced silence and secret shame, killed themselves.

"What will it take for them to listen?" one young man, a victim of horrific abuse, once asked me. "What will it take for them to finally realize what they're doing to their own children?"

It took something unspeakable, something none of us even knew could happen: a murder so brutal, so uncomprehending, we still wake up each morning wondering that life dares go on. What do we teach our children now? How had our walls failed to protect us?

But things haven't come to this. They have always been like this because of that misplaced blind trust. Perhaps now it is time to see it, to crack wide open the secret box of words and give them to our children as weapons, as a promise that they will always know what is happening to them, and be able to describe it so they can ask for help. A world without words is not a safe and warm place; it is a dangerous one, where children become mute victims of torture.

Six months after my book, "Hush," came out, my publisher and I began receiving threats in the mail intended to intimidate us for daring to expose these unspeakable truths about my beloved community. The message was clear: I had violated the rule that said victims must protect the community from their own crimes. Now, I would pay.

For too long we have tiptoed around our flaws with fear and caution, pushing them into the shadows in hopes they will disappear. For too long, victims have been made to be the villains, and abuse was called loshon harah, evil talk. For too long, we have refused to honestly discuss the horrific possibilities, and in doing so allowed our children to fall victim to them. And for too long, I have allowed my own fear to make me part of a wall of silence -- guilty for what I had seen, guilty for what I had written.

I refuse to continue to allow that fear to force me into hiding over a book that should have been written long ago. I no longer want to be known only as Eishes Chayil when my name is Judy Brown. I must find the courage to stand with the victims who carry the burden of our silence for the rest of their lives.

I originally wrote my book under a pseudonym to protect my family and friends from community retribution, but so far we have only hurt ourselves. Maybe now, because of Leiby's tragedy, things will change. Maybe now, we will finally teach our children what we should have taught them years ago: morality has no garb.…

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I hope for her sake that her mother isn't fired. I'm sure that is what Hamodia would want to do to "distance" their newspaper business from anything "questionable".

only problem is that Leibie wasnt sexually abused, so what the hell is the connection to Leiby that drove her to "come clean" now???-Leiby's killer had no history of criminality, outside of the kidnap attempt on the kid down the street that the selfish mother reported to no one,(may she suffer for her negligent silence) so what is the connection between the two stories???-

Her mother can't be fired. Ruth Lichtenstein owns Hamodia.

Judy Brown is indeed a paradigm of the Eishes Chayil and a true woman of courage.I read her book and recommended to all my family and friends.Instead of threats to her life, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ms. Brown and stand up for the truth. the world is always with us, sometimes for the good and many times for the bad. We need to be realistic rather than blind and build a better world, one with only walls of truth and true yirat shamayim.

She is a true Eishes Chayil.

Yashir Koach to Judy Brown, a true Eishes Chayil. You should legally change your name to Eishes Chayil,as it really describes you. You are a real general like Yehudis.

We need more Judy Browns.

the daughter of Ruthie Lichtenstein, the publisher of Hamodia, the large hasidic-owned ultra-Orthodox daily newspaper based in Brooklyn.

I had no idea that Hamodia, a chassidic paper, had as its publisher a woman. I thought that chassidim kept their woman at home, some not even allowing their wives to drive a car. To learn that a woman has such power over the content of what so many chassidic men read.

Way to go Ruthie! An accomplished woman with an accomplished daughter.

I had no idea that Hamodia, a chassidic paper, had as its publisher a woman. I thought that chassidim kept their woman at home, some not even allowing their wives to drive a car. To learn that a woman has such power over the content of what so many chassidic men read.

Way to go Ruthie! An accomplished woman with an accomplished daughter.

You never fail to amaze me.

You are either completely ignorant or a troll.

In the hasidic world, newspapers are for girls. Real men learn Torah and, if they must read a paper, it is in Yiddish or Hebrew-Yiddish.

Working at or for a newspaper is women's work – like cooking and cleaning and washing and other menial tasks.

^That's definitely not true. The readership of the newspapers absolutely is mostly men.

^That's definitely not true. The readership of the newspapers absolutely is mostly men.

Posted by: Jon_Brooklyn | August 02, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Read what I wrote again.

If you have trouble understanding it, ask someone.

that's it. hamodia's in cherem.

One can only hope that Shafran will read (possible) and comprehend (unlikely) the above article and retract (very unlikely) his recent criticism of the blogosphere and the Jewish Week as it appears to apply to Ms. Brown's interview claims as well, since she links sexual abuse and the murder of Leiby.

Shafran:
1) http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/08/02/hearing-voices/
It’s wrenching to write, but the reaction of some Jews in the polluted realm of Blogistan, was, to put it mildly, less impressive. They sought to exploit the death of an innocent child, amazingly, to promote their rabid anti-rabbi agenda.

2) http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/07/29/blasting-the-borough-park-shomrim/
...
The article’s abrupt digression into the halachic realm of mesira, or informing, on suspected pedophiles— especially with the dearth of any evidence thus far that Leiby’s confessed killer was known to be one or even was one, presents another reportorial lapse. It seemed a gratuitous seizing of an opportunity (a heinous murder, no less) to try to present a halachic decision in a negative light.
...
The writer, of course, is entitled if she wishes to accept the judgment of dropouts from Orthodoxy, even against the feelings of the vast majority of “strictly Orthodox” Jews who exult in observance and who live joyous, fulfilled lives.
...

^That's definitely not true. The readership of the newspapers absolutely is mostly men.

Posted by: Jon_Brooklyn | August 02, 2011 at 12:41 PM

I have seen the paper for sale but never bought or read it. I assume that the gender of the readership would be reflected in its ads. Maybe I will pick up a copy this week and see if I can figure out the makeup its readership.

I would assume that there would be a section with recopies, ads for children clothing, food shopping specials etc.

I do this only because I do not like to be arbitrarily called an idiot. Chassidim and haradim are for the most part live without TV and the internet so it is quite logical that they will read what they can. To believe that they would ignore a paper like Hamodia, assuming that it was brought in their home, only because it is written in English and therefore for women only is a little too hard to believe. Shmarya you may be right, but I will have to call you on this one and see for myself. No disrespect intended.

Thanks Shmarya for this article and your 'naughty' comments. I wish there was a way to poll the older generation, those who remained silent about abuse and abusers, just to understand how deep this wound really is.
And for the person who wrote, Leiby was not sexually abused, you and I will never know what was done to that boy, only his murderer and G-d know.

Shmarya,

As a hassidic guy, I enjoy your blog immensely!

It's hysterical how you over generalize everyone in our community to support your viewpoint.

Rochel- I've said it before, I'm saying it again - you do not know if Leiby was abused, nobody does. Only the most extreme sexual abuse leaves physical signs, most leaves no external mark at all.

does anyone know if Judy Brown is married? I would like to date her?

That is DR Ruth Lichtenstein.

Thank you Judy Brown. Thank you Thank you Thank you for breaking open this dialog. Thank you for doing it for the children. Those of us who have been through it will continue to heal throughout our lives (Please G-d) but to know that your courage may protect even one child from having to go through such an attack on his soul makes my healing process so much easier.

Everyone knew it was Judy Brown way back. See the following article, and scroll down to the comments on Feb 1, 2011, where you'll see that already back in February people knew it was Judy Brown.

http://www.frumsatire.net/2010/11/26/hush-book-review/

I happen to like the book, but to put things in perspective, Judy Brown hates the Hasidic religion more than Shmarya.

"Working at or for a newspaper is women's work – like cooking and cleaning and washing and other menial tasks."

Women's work? I am sure the pay is much better.

"Maybe now, because of Leiby's tragedy, things will change."

Don't hold your breath.

Oh oh, now there are two Rochels. I am not the Rochel who posted above with the link to "http://cominghomebh.blogspot.com/" - my posts are without a link.

Shmatya,

Please parse or spin this sentence for your audience:

"In the hasidic world, newspapers are for girls. Real men learn Torah and, if they must read a paper, it is in Yiddish or Hebrew-Yiddish."

Afterward, you should apologize to Leah who is unfailingly well-spoken with her comments while, in stark contrast, yours are frequently not. Go ahead and try it. It won't hurt too much and you just might learn how to behave in polite society which then might gain you freedom from that cramped space below yonder bridge.

Shmatya,

Please parse or spin this sentence for your audience:

"In the hasidic world, newspapers are for girls. Real men learn Torah and, if they must read a paper, it is in Yiddish or Hebrew-Yiddish."

Afterward, you should apologize to Leah who is unfailingly well-spoken with her comments while, in stark contrast, yours are frequently not. Go ahead and try it. It won't hurt too much and you just might learn how to behave in polite society which then might gain you freedom from that cramped space below yonder bridge.

Posted by: Alex | August 02, 2011 at 05:00 PM

It means, little man, exactly what it says.

That you don't understand it isn't anyone's problem.

Guest- the hassidim hate themselfs to be clothed the way they are in 95 degrees is masochism nothing less with a yaemulka under their hat in the 90 degrees this is true masochism they are a bunch of shotes as the saying goes shoite anoi margish a fools doesnt feel heat or cold like a normal human being.

But he was abused by the adult taking him to his home. just that alone is abuse.
I am pretty certain Hamodia will be put in cherem.

I agree with her courage of breaking the silence against abuse towards a vulnerable child.does she donate the money towards a survival group or does she use the money for her own personal gain.

Many if not Most of the haredi newspaper writers are women however their gender is kept hidden- their articles are published by a pseudonym or a first initial. Most people know that R. Lichtenstein is the publisher of Hamodia; few are aware that R. is Ruth.

Some newspapers will print a woman's name on a "vybishe" article but not on hard news, and in some, the times they are a changing, some women are publishing under their own name after many years under wraps.

Shmat,

Be a mensch, and apologize. It is indeed a very small man who won't admit when he's wrong.

I'm not wrong – you're ignorant.

No self-respecting lamden or teacher in yeshiva would be caught in public reading HaModia or any other haredi paper – or any newspaper, for that matter.

The more learned you are, the higher up on the hasidic social ladder you are, the less you will read or be seen with a newspaper.

That you don't know this is not my problem.

Shmsrya, In Texas real men drink beer, eat BBQ, ride a pick up truck or a Harley and are Cowboys fans. Oh, I forgot the NRA thingy too.

Much more entertaining that reading a paper in Yiddish and learning Torah and not being able to apply it in real life or getting stuck in the 1600's.

Shmarya,
Perhaps you find reading HaModia, or any other haredi paper or newspaper beneath you as a "...self-respecting lamden or teacher in yeshiva..." but protecting yourself from "evils" by insulating and limiting your exposure and interactions with the secular world and promoting yourself as a learned hasid, is ludicrous. A learned person does not learn with blinders and is not a one-dimensional person, but is open to read other media in addition to Torah and text. Judy Brown and her mother, Ruth Lichtenstein, are true women of valor to be commended for their honesty and integrity and will reach far higher on the hasadic social ladder than your single-mindedness will ever allow you to reach. Futher, that you don't know this is not anyone's problem!

Posted by: Janice Gelfand Weinstein | August 02, 2011 at 11:39 PM

1. I'm NOT a hasid.

2. I report the facts as they are.

3. Seeing that I do things like write posts about David Assaf's work and interview people like Meirav Michaeli, your characterization of me is quite foolish.

@ Leah,

Nobody likes to be arbitrarily called an idiot, besides anyone who does call someone else an idiot is somehow projecting their insecurities, that is psychology 001, from the so called "secular" school.

"Chassidim and haradim are for the most part live without TV and the internet so it is quite logical that they will read what they can."

You see this is where I have the problem, I consider myself modern orthodox, I see a great benefit to use technology as a learning tool, T.V. included. We, as humans, cannot and should not afford to seclude ourselves in a bubble, unfortunately that creates severe ignorance.

The world is huge yet small compared with the universe and with other planets in our same solar system. The world and the universe is not exactly as described in Torah. We have learned this thanks to technology, science, and we have managed to share this information thanks to radio, TV , MEDIA, INTERNT, ETC.

By us refusing to learn more about our world and universe, and expanding our horizons, is by far a bigger slap in the face to our own Creator who definitely longs for us to learn about such things and acquire such knowledge. Do you believe G-d wants us to live in total obscurity and ignorance? Why you think we have been able to send men to space? Why you think we managed to crack the gene code? Why you think we can perform organ transplants, save limbs after being accidentally amputated? After all, weren't we created on His own Image?

Shmarya with all due respect, you really should "suffer the fools." You are now becoming more and more relevant as a credible news source for stories that no one else will publish. Your undiplomatic way of speaking is counterproductive and makes you look like an infant who suffers from fits of histrionics. Which any unbiased observer knows is simply not the case. I really am in awe of what you have accomplished, keep up the great work!

"Shmsrya, In Texas real men drink beer, eat BBQ, ride a pick up truck or a Harley and are Cowboys fans. Oh, I forgot the NRA thingy too.

Much more entertaining that reading a paper in Yiddish and learning Torah and not being able to apply it in real life or getting stuck in the 1600's.

Posted by: ronininja | August 02, 2011 at 11:37 PM"

As a Texan who values Torah, I have to disagree with you on that.

Interesting to note:
1) Hamodiah does not publish bylines with women's names -- women must remain hushed and silent. So Judy Brown was just following in the path her mother set for her by writing under a pseudonym.

2) There is no proof that Leiby was sexually abused. But the sick murderer Aron had a sister who reportedly committed suicide and was at some point under mental health care of Ohel. Ohel was not responsible and there was at least one home visit when the counselor in training visited and said she was way out of her league and it appeared to her this "sister" was behaving in a way as if she was molested by someone in that house.

3) Or one might wonder if Judy Brown was speaking out from personal experience-- being she is from a strict Ger family, and is einikels from Ger Rebbe. And there have been rumors about someone in her own household exhibiting some sort of problems... Maybe only due to Ger repression.

Darling deluded admirers of this chronicle of one truth amidst many lies -the book Hush:
When will you people allow yourselves to look objectively at what you are presented with? To sift through the well-written and discover the sensationalism that is its base?
The one truth: the silence. It is a source of deep shame, the silence that the abused are forced through. It is not an expression of malice on the part of the community, but rather a denial, a fear of the shame that we did not meet our own moral expectations.
However, this DOES NOT JUSTIFY the lies that pervade the underlying tone of the book: one of condescension. Chassidim were completely misrepresented in their perception of Gd, of life, of Truth, and of intellectual capacity. See the review by jewishmom for more details - the point is that it is so utterly be pathetically sad that today's so-called "intellectual" society could be so deeply misled by lies whose mere virtue is that they are well-written. It is a shame that people mistake the one truth for the whole book; that before they make their assumptions on the truth of Chassidim they do no external research other than read this book and get passionately enraged on valid and non-valid issues.
WHY DO YOU NOT THINK

I just read the book nad mentioned it to a Satmar neighbor of close to 30 years - the response - not much hidden

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------

----------------

Please Scroll Down Toward The Bottom Of This Page For More Search Options And For A List Of Recent Posts

Recent Posts

Audio: Rabbi Eliezer Silver on Child Sexual Abuse.

Do you need help leaving an ultra-Orthodox community or navigating life outside one? Call Footsteps.

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar
Jibbadgefinalist

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

Comment Rules

  • 1. No anonymous comments.

    2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.

    3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.

    4. Do not sockpuppet.

    5. Try to argue using facts and logic.

    6. Do not lie.

    7. No name-calling, please.

    8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.

    ***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Rubashkin Protest Gear

  • Rubashkin_parody_1

    Buy one of these and wear it to shul. Other Rubashkin gear as well. Protest!
  • Rubashkin_label_parody_1

    Wear this amazing T-shirt to your local supermarket. Better yet, buy a dozen and bring your friends – with signs! Available here!

Older Posts Complete Archives

Search FailedMessiah

Lijit Search

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com is a reader supported website.

Thank you for your generous support!

----------------------

----------------------

----------------------

FailedMessiah.com in the Media

Tip Jar

Gelt Is Good!

Tip Jar

RSS Feed

Blog Widget by LinkWithin