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March 20, 2012


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@abracadabra Thanks for mentioning http://supportthesurvivors.proboards.com.

@survivor it sounds like you are quite a brave person! Please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to help you figure out resources and lend support !

Survivor of sexual abuse

Abracadabra: thank you thank you thank you. I really appreciate your words of advice. I'm safe now. I can do this. Thanks for beileving in me.


Joe, Jeff, jancs, Ask, anchell, Abracadabra, YL, Survivor..... mensches one and all.


Survivor of sexual abuse-Yes i understand you but still how is it that you went and got help but not youre sibling maybee in that way this whole mess would of been averted,i mean youre parents did not get youre sibling to go for help why is that only you had this privilidge to get help.


Survivor of sexual abuse -

I am so sorry for what you are going through now, and what you have been through. It is incredibly painful to have to make a decision like this, especially when it comes to your family.

Please know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are other people who have been through what you have, and the first thing you might want to do is find them, because you need to take care of YOURSELF. If you were a victim of sexual abuse by a family member, you were hurt, and you are surely still are hurting. Please get the support you need. Here are some websites that have resources for you. Please go to those websites and look under their "Resources" or "Links" pages for help. You do not have to do this alone. There is real help and support out there for you.


Each website will lead you to others.

It is very easy for us to sit here and tell you that you must report your sibling to the police. But you know how much pain it will cause everyone in your family, and how difficult it will be if your family is going to be broken apart. Please know that although it will be difficult at first, eventually it will get better. The first thing you need to do is to take care of yourself. Make sure that you are in a safe place. Make sure you have people who will stand by you and be there for you in case your family rejects you. Make sure you have a place to live and food to eat and that you do not have to be dependent on your abuser.

It will be simpler to report your abuser to the authorities from a place of strength, once you are in a physically and emotionally safe environment.

Whatever you decide to do, please know that you do not have to go on this journey alone. Find others who have been through what you have, they will understand you, stand by you, and give you the strength you need to get through doing this very difficult thing of reporting your sibling to the authorities. They are out there, find them, they will stand by you.

YOU ARE A HERO because you survived. And when you report your abuser so that he/she will be prevented from hurting others, you will no longer be a victim, but will then be a true survivor and a true hero because you will have prevented him from hurting others.

Please stay strong.

If anyone else has resources to share with "Survivor of sexual abuse" please post them.

Survivor of sexual abuse

@jancibaks. Let me clarify my situation because I wasn't very clear. I haven't been abused for a couple of years now. In this time I went to therapy and got help for everything. My parents are very much aware of what happened to me but of course like every other religious Jewish parents they did not go to the police. Two reasons: because one, it's thier child and two: same reason as everybody else. Now, I want to convict my sibling for the same reasons as Joe field said. If I tell my parents about what I want to do of course they wont agree. Disown me At worst. Thiell go to the closest rabbi and have this whole situation made into a bigger mess than it is. Do u get my drift?


Survivor, you are a true Jewish hero.

Posted by: dh | March 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM

Seconded. Kol Hakavod.

Survivor of sexual abuse

@DH. Your words is what Makes this whole thing a little bit easier to bear. Thank you.

Joe Field

Posted by: Survivor of sexual abuse | March 20, 2012 at 03:31 PM

I understand your dilemma, I was in the same exact spot I didn’t report it because I felt that I was a participant and enjoyed the act, and I was hoping that this was only sexual experimentation by us. Years later it became apparent that he molested his own daughter, and numerous nieces and nephews. You need to understand that if you don’t report him, he will go on to molest the next generation. Eventually it will become public, but today, you have the power in your hand to stop him, how would you feel when you find out that he continued with his preying on children and you could have stop it.

Stay strong, and do what is right.


Survivor of sexual abuse -If its youre sibling why in the world cant you tell youre parents are you so afraid of them, to me it doesnt make any sense what youre writing or if you did tell them why arent they doing anything about it .


Survivor, you are a true Jewish hero.

Survivor of sexual abuse

@ dh, And everyone else. Thanks for this crucial information.
, the biggest problem that I didn't mention here is that my perpetrator is my sibling. Going to the police means that I'm breacking up the family. My family is more likely to hate me than admire my courage. But @ doing this because what you said is right. If I don't stand up to this I will always be the victim. all the people I love, have been molested. None of them are willing to speack up. None of them are willing to report. I don't want to be the bystander that watches while they get hurt anymore.

Yerachmiel Lopin

See here for laws governing covert recordings of telephone conversations when you are a party to a conversation.


In short it is legal to do it in all states, except: California[11]
Illinois (debated, see next section)
Montana [14] (requires notification only)
New Hampshire

In michigan it is legal for you to do it but not for someone to act as your agent.

Keep in mind that things get legally hairy when the conversation is across state lines and the other state does not allow such recording.

Most important for haredim, it is legal in NY and NJ.


All sexual expression is mechanistically a 'hard drive' function. At it's core is a power center or eros which is fueled and sustained by positive or negative emotional vibrations. This hard driven mechanism is intrinsic but not limited to reproduction, pleasuring and the ventilation of subverted pain. A kind of spiritual wounding. This pain is a key element to the continuous transgression of individuals in positions of power, over those who are vulnerable to such abuses.

Reaching a solution rests in understanding the balance and emotional stability of the transgressing party. Be they your rabbi, cleric, teacher, uncle/aunt etc., none are impervious to the eros's power of attracting. Specifically as such pain manifests and resides within the cusp of each individual's emotional well being and maturity.

Mechanistically, each act serves as an kind of transference from deficit to surplus back to deficit. In addition, it is a cyclical process, learnt and repeated but rarely spoken of, a classic conditioned response.

While excuses are unacceptable for the victims of such abuses, what we learn about ourselves because of such abuses with truth and honesty will undoubtedly settle us into better human beings. And while as a consequence the victim will often herself become the inadvertant perpetrator, there is always the potential for better. If their is one consoling factor it is that 'Healing' begins with understanding.

Joe Field

Posted by: Survivor of sexual abuse | March 20, 2012 at 01:20 PM

I cannot say that you will not be harassed; you will probably encounter some idiot who would say something derogatory. Nevertheless, if you know the truth and you say the truth, which by itself should free you from the pain.

Every expert who works in this field will tell you that confronting your abuser is one of the first things you need to do to start healing. And the only way you could legally confront him is via the ADA office. They will help you in case you are confronted by anybody and they might charge that person with obstruction of justices.

Finally, understand that we survivors are the good guys/girls and you need to report the abuse because you need to protect future victims. It is a fact that if someone molest a child they will continue to molest other children. You need to stop him or her.

Be strong and hold your head high.


Survivor, at the top of this page click "CONTACT AND ABOUT ". Read the three lines under Shmarya's "One-Line Bio ".

Make a plan first. In some states it may be a crime to audio record without both party's consent.


what if someone comes after me from the community and threatens me because im reporting?

Posted by: Survivor of sexual abuse | March 20, 2012 at 01:20 PM

Keep a tape recorder with you. If threatened, record it and bring it to the police.


Survivor, are you willing to leave your community for the well being of your family and all the other potential victims, to fight for justice? That's leave your community, not leave your beliefs. Then you truly will be a survivor. Otherwise, you will always be a victim and your family will learn from you. Instead let them learn from you about bravery, self respect and love of family.

Let us know how you are doing. Be strong.

MdCrimDefAtty None

One of the men who did all these horrible things today works in a market in the Baltimore area. He refused to plead guilty, refused to accept any punishment. He was totally let off the hook after abusing many, many boys, simply by admitting that if tried he might be found guilty.

This is justice?

Posted by: Litvish | March 20, 2012 at 03:49 AM

totally let off ... simply by admitting that if tried he might be found guilty.

I don't get it.

Posted by: Just Curious | March 20, 2012 at 06:33 AM

He was not "totally let off"...he was convicted of child abuse of a minor and 3rd degree sex offence, placed on 5 years of probation (which is consistent with sentencing guidelines of similar cases)and is a lifetime registrant on the Sex offender database. He also was ordered to pay (and had a judgment entered against him) $10,800 in restitution to one of the victims.

This does not minimize his actions in any way, nor am I condoning or defending him; but it is hardly being "totally let off." Whether his punishment was insufficiently severe is another matter entirely...

Survivor of sexual abuse

@joe field. Thanks for the advice. I appreciate that you care.
My issue this whole thing is this: what if someone comes after me from the community and threatens me because im reporting?

Joe Field

Posted by: Survivor of sexual abuse | March 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

If this happened when you were a child, every state has a team of experts exclusively dedicated to sexual crimes against children, you need to find out from your DA office how you could get in touch with this unit. They will work with you and help you and most importantly they will show respect and understanding. May you get better and if you need, go get help. Don’t be ashamed you didn’t do anything wrong.


A documentary. What a great idea!


You need to tell someone. Its more important that you protect yourself than protect this horrible person! If he's abusing you he's probably abusing others as well... protect them too! Call ohel or sovri hotline and get help before this person harms you more! It is confidential.

Survivor of sexual abuse

I know this is a little off toPic, but I need some help. I'm a victim of sexual abuse And I want to convict the person who did it. I'm terrified. I know I need to do this because my perpetrator can't get away with this but what if someone comes after me. What if someone threatens my family and throws them out if town. I can't do this alone.


Posted by: Litvish | March 20, 2012 at 07:09 AM



final part of article:

Recently, Yacov’s father watched “Standing Silent” at a Shofar Coalition screening. “When he told me about his sexual abuse, I didn’t react to Yacov at all. I thought he was making mountains out of molehills,” said Mordecai Zev Margolese. “The film really opened my eyes. I really cried a lot. Now, at least, he’s standing up for what he believes, and I’m proud of him. It takes a lot of guts.”
‘A lonely voice’
After the publication of “Today, Steve is 25,” Jacobs says his phone suddenly became the “hotline for victims of molestation in the Orthodox Jewish community.”
He was especially shocked to receive half a dozen calls accusing Rabbi Jacob Max, the man who had officiated at his wedding, of molesting women. (In April 2009, Max, 85, was convicted of sexually molesting a 44-year-old woman. He was sentenced to one year of incarceration, which was suspended, and one year of court-ordered unsupervised probation; he died in August.)
One scene in the documentary captures Jacobs immediately before calling Rabbi Max to ask about the allegations. “I’m very nervous. I’m throw-up nervous,” Jacobs says to his editor, adding, “If this was easy, I would be very worried about myself.”
Criticism of Jacobs intensified when he began writing stories about three men who said they had been sexually abused by a religious figure, a deceased member of Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community.
“The Orthodox community was thunderstruck by the suggestion that people who we entrust in such religious bastions could do this,” said Rabbi Emeritus Chaim Landau, with the Ner Tamid Congregation in Pikesville. “People felt the [Jewish Times] was exposing dirty laundry.”
Calls and e-mails from victims kept coming, and Jacobs felt compelled to keep investigating reports of abuse. “I didn’t go looking for them,” he said. “They kept coming to me.”
Many people accused him of lashon hora, the Hebrew term for negative speech that harms another, and that is considered a sin. He was criticized on Web sites and received hate mail, with one blogger even writing that he hoped Jacobs’s two daughters would be barren. Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, head of Star-K, a Baltimore kosher certifying agency, who also works with the Agudath Israel of Baltimore, called for a ban on the Baltimore Jewish Times, posting a letter in his synagogue that read, “It is totally inappropriate for this publication to be found in any Jewish home.” Heinemann could not be reached for comment but earlier defended his letter in interviews with victims’ groups, saying he felt the paper was “orthodox bashing.”
“So it was ‘Kill the messenger.’ I know Phil’s is a lonely voice at times, which makes it all the more important that it be heard,” said former Baltimore Jewish Times editor Gary Rosenblatt, now editor and publisher of the New York Jewish Week.
“Standing Silent” pays tribute to that messenger — and makes sure his message continues to be heard.
“There have been a number of documentaries around sex abuse in the Catholic Church, but the thing that stands out about this is that it locates this problem in an entirely different context,” said Thom Powers, artistic director at DOC NYC, a New York-based documentary festival. “And I think the filmmakers’ closeness to the subject is a big part of the power of this film. What you really see is an unusual level of trust and access and a great deal of sensitivity.”


The story took over Jacobs’s career in a way that surprised him. Tall and lanky with a softspoken manner, Jacobs, 58, still lives in Baltimore and is still married to his high school sweetheart. The Baltimore native and University of Maryland alumnus had worked for the Jewish Times company for 30 years, and while he “never wanted to cover Bubbie and Zaidy at the Gefilte Fish Ball,” he says from his new Rockville office at Washington Jewish Week, where he became editor in chief last summer, “I also didn’t expect this.”
“Standing Silent” depicts a community struggling to come to terms with a problem that, Jacobs says, has remained underreported for years and seems only recently to have attracted the attention of advocates and lawmakers.
There are no hard numbers to document the extent of the problem, but Elaine Witman, director of the Shofar Coalition, a nonprofit agency that provides services for victims of sexual and other abuse in the Baltimore area’s Jewish community, says the center is seeing an increase in the number of Jews coming forward to report abuse. In 2010, 67 people requested help for childhood sexual abuse from the coalition. That number nearly doubled in 2011, to 132 people, said Witman, who attributes the increase to Jacobs’s articles and the coalition’s efforts toreduce the shame that has kept the issue quiet for so long.
Jacobs says he was haunted by the abuse he says he suffered as a child but that ”it was 1967 and no one talked about things like that, and I didn’t have the words to describe it.”
There are also cultural reasons for silence, stemming at least in part from a Jewish law known as “mesirah,” which forbids informing on a fellow Jew to secular authorities. The law is integral to a culture of self-protection rooted in centuries of anti-Semitism, according to Rabbi Yosef Blau, spiritual adviser of Yeshiva University in New York.
Reporting sexual abuse first to a rabbi is the recommended protocol of Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox umbrella group with an affiliated synagogue in Pikesville. The organization — whose influence in some Orthodox communities is similar to that of the Vatican among some Catholics, Blau says — issues opinions on policy matters.
Blau, whose efforts to hold the community accountable for sexual abuse are highlighted in the documentary, says the protocol endangers children. He draws a parallel with the Roman Catholic Church, where a pervasive culture of silence and denial made clergy unlikely to pass abuse accusations along to police.
“Why go to a rabbi? Are these rabbis qualified? Do you call the police if you want to find out if food is kosher?” said Blau. “The problem is the community doesn’t want to bring a shame on Orthodox Judaism if these crimes get reported. But I would argue that we have an obligation to protect our children first.”
The documentary’s release comes as elected officials across the country are pushing for tougher reporting laws, partly in response to allegations of abuse in another tight-knit community — the football program at Penn State.
Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) has introduced a bill that would withhold federal funds from states that fail to enact laws requiring all adults to report abuse to police. Maryland state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, (R-Harford) introduced a bill recently that could make failing to report sexual abuse a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. And in New York, State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey is promoting a bill that would extend the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims, both for criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.
Speaking out
What emerges most clearly from “Standing Silent” are the costs of failing to report abuse, told largely through the experience of the man who organized the original Pikesville meeting that Jacobs attended, Yacov Margolese.
You only need to hear Margolese’s story, Jacobs explains, to understand how corrosive keeping quiet can be. These days, though, Margolese tells it more openly.
The oldest of nine children, Margolese moved to the Baltimore suburb in 1987 from Far Rockaway in Queens. He remembers as a 13-year-old wanting to increase his level of religious observance, to learn the skills required to sing the Torah like so many of his new neighbors had. So, Margolese says, his parents hired Israel Shapiro, a burly, jovial man known for having a way with children, as a Torah tutor. Margolese alleges that Shapiro soon began fondling him during the lessons. Margolese says he told a rabbi about the abuse and that the rabbi advised him to tell Shapiro he wanted to focus on his studies. He did so, but the abuse continued, he said, and after a few months, he told his parents he had learned enough.
For years afterward, Margolese says, he suffered from suicidal depression. He felt like he needed to cleanse himself, become more religious. “But as I grew up, I couldn’t reconcile the hypocrisy,” Margolese says.
“To me, it wasn’t just sexual abuse,” Margolese says in “Standing Silent.” “It was spiritual abuse.”
He survived, but his faith did not. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Margolese joined the Army and was posted to Baghdad. When he came home in 2004, he started a construction business with his brother. His efforts to talk about his abuse were almost always met with denial by family and community members, he says. “It’s like a victim was standing in front of them covered in blood and wounds,” he said. “They would say, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.’ ”
It wasn’t until 2007 that Margolese — galvanized by the out-of-state arrest of a former member of Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community for child sexual abuse — reported Shapiro’s actions to the police and convened the Pikes­ville meeting. “It was the beginning of an awakening in Baltimore,” Margolese says.
After it became known that he had gone to the police, Margolese says, members of Baltimore’s Orthodox community urged him to drop the matter — “Stop your crusade to destroy people and leave it,” he remembers one person said. His father, Mordecai Zev Margolese, 61, said his son received anonymous death threats over the telephone.
In March 2008, Shapiro received a five-year suspended sentence after filing an Alford plea, which means the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him. Shapiro’s name is now on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry. He works at a kosher butcher shop in Pikesville and declined to comment for this story.
Recently, Yacov’s father watched “Standing Silent” at a Shofar Coalition screening. “When he told me about his sexual abuse, I didn’t react to Yacov at all. I thought he was making mountains out of molehills,” said Mordecai Zev Margolese. “The film really opened my eyes. I really cried a lot. Now, at least, he’s standing up for what he believes, and I’m proud of him. It


Here is the complete article in three comments:

‘Standing Silent’ follows uncovering of sexual abuse in Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community
By Emily Wax, Published: March 19
One by one the victims stood and described their alleged molesters: the Torah teacher, the rabbi, the ice cream truck driver, the man at the mikvah.
That meeting, held nearly six years ago in a small room in a synagogue in Pikes­ville, just outside Baltimore, went on for four hours. Seated in a circle with the other victims was Phil Jacobs, a Baltimore Jewish Times journalist. He was not there as a reporter. He was there because he, too, had experienced sexual abuse.
But after the meeting, a young man who knew Jacobs was a journalist approached and asked to be interviewed, to have his story told. That was the beginning of Jacobs’s effort to document sexual abuse in Baltimore’s Orthodox Jewish community, bringing the harrowing experiences shared by the 18 victims in that room out into the open.
The first of his stories, “Today, Steve is 25” was published in February 2007, 10 months after the Pikes­ville meeting.
That process of reporting and writing has been made into a documentary film, “Standing Silent,” directed by Scott Rosenfelt and now being shown at film festivals across the country. Partially funded by a Sundance Institute grant, it details how Jacobs, an Orthodox Jew himself, has been credited with — and criticized for — uncovering a painful secret in Baltimore’s Orthodox community.
“I saw a narrative character that was in great conflict between protecting his faith and his community and protecting children and humanity,” says Rosenfelt, who is an established producer (“Home Alone,” “Mystic Pizza”) as well as a family friend of Jacobs. “To me it was bigger than an action film. Phil’s journey is a classic hero’s journey — it has all the makings of a great movie.”
“Standing Silent” was filmed between 2007 and 2010, with a three-person crew that traveled with Jacobs through Baltimore’s suburbs and to Israel, eventually recording more than 125 hours of video, much of it interviews with victims and alleged perpetrators.

Just Curious

One of the men who did all these horrible things today works in a market in the Baltimore area. He refused to plead guilty, refused to accept any punishment. He was totally let off the hook after abusing many, many boys, simply by admitting that if tried he might be found guilty.

This is justice?

totally let off ... simply by admitting that if tried he might be found guilty.

I don't get it.


Maybe someone can cut-n-paste the entire article and post it here?


Extremely well stated, Abracadabra. I agree entirely.

Except that maybe this mentality did exist historically, through the Dark Ages, etc.


if any of the victims are reading this..
you have a lot of people supporting you.
you did nothing wrong.
someone hurt you.
you didn't hurt them.
i hug you all.


Read the entire article. I hope that shmarya will post it here since it is very well done and worth reading.

The reporter received death threats for publishing his article in the local Baltimore Jewish paper. Heinemann, one of the heads of Star-K in Baltimore, banned the paper! He said that it was forbidden to have it in any Jewish home.

The frumiks are circling the wagons. When threatened they yell misira, use all sorts of defenses ( think of the community, you will just play into the hands of our enemies,+) but ultimately they know that they,too, are humans who are like the rest of us. They make mistakes and they can't stand to admit that.

One of the men who did all these horrible things today works in a market in the Baltimore area. He refused to plead guilty, refused to accept any punishment. He was totally let off the hook after abusing many, many boys, simply by admitting that if tried he might be found guilty.

This is justice?


Good article. It looks like an Excellent film. Finally, someone is shedding some light into the dark corners and exposing the shameful hidden elements of frum (religious) life. The Orthodox world is a breeding ground for abuse - sexual, physical, emotional. The Agudah "Gedolim" say you have to go to a rabbi to get permission before going to the police. And the rabbis NEVER tell anyone to go to the police. With the rabbi-worship (otherwise known as "ask a gadol") and the belief that keeping abuse a secret is a mitzvah and exposing abuse is shameful and will hurt the whole family, the frum world is a paradise for abusers.

A family which reports abuse to the police is ostracized and run out of the community. Keeping up the image that frumkeit and frum life "is so beautiful" is more important than the lives of those who are destroyed because they are not protected from abuse. They are considered collateral damage, or are not considered at all. Only the survival of "frumkeit" or "Torah True Judaism" is important to the rabbis.

And the unaffiliated, Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox are still enamoured with the Ultra-Orthodox, thinking that because the Ultras are willing to dress funny, and speak in yiddish and Hebrew, they somehow retain the "lost Judaism of old". Well, they don't. They have innovated and morphed into a Judaism and a cult that would be unrecognizable to anyone from Europe. They might look similar, they might speak some Yiddish and Hebrew, but that's all they have in common. Even though it looks archaic, what they practice is a new Torah, a new Judaism which is not the one your grandparents practiced or valued. It is now a cult which is trying desperately to survive, and will do anything to silence any critics, even sacrifice their own children in the name of their version of the religion. That is a cult. It is not Torah.

Joe Field

Posted by: Nigritude Ultramarine | March 20, 2012 at 12:14 AM

Thank you for the link.


You can get to the Washington Post via Google. Just cut and paste a few lines from the article into the search bar, and click on the link.

Steven W


You are correct that you need to log into the Post's website on your computer but I was able to read it on my Android phone via the Post's mobile website. I did not try their dedicated smartphone app.

The mobile website does not have as many pictures and has no comments. If you use the Google News app and find any article from the Post, it takes you to the non-mobile website and lets you see the pictures and comments.

The article is in the Lifestyle section but you have to keep clicking to show more articles. And by the way, there is also an article, which may have been a sidebar in the print edition, entitled "Abuse victims' advocates are taking to the internet" by Emily Wax. One of the cited internet sites is one called failedmessiah.com.

Nigritude Ultramarine

Is it possible to include the entire article in your post?

Try this.

A. Nuran

If anyone is doing God's work on Earth it's Phil Jacobs. All the Hebrew incantations and OCD ritual observance are as nothing compared to this.


You must sign up to log into the Washington Post website. Is it possible to include the entire article in your post?

The comments to this entry are closed.

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