Ha'aretz fixed the codong error that was truncating the second half of Aviva Lori's report on Avrohom Mondrowitz. It opens with a survivor who planned to murder Mondrowitz but couldn't find him alone. It goes on to discuss two brothers who were abused by Mondrowitz. The second brother committed suicide after years of suffering. Here's part of what this victim's mother told Ha'aretz:
"[Mondrowitz] was so popular, everyone recommended him," B. relates. "I heard him on his radio program and was impressed by the advice he gave. I was sure that I was helping my children. You don't expect a rabbi to do things like that. Now it turns out he was not a rabbi at all, that everything he told about himself was untrue. That man persuaded me to leave my children alone with him. That way, he said, he could help them more. But one day M. broke down and told me everything. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock. I hugged him and we both sat down and cried and cried without end. I told him, 'Don't ever dare look at that man again, ever. I will see to it that he pays for what he did.' But by the time I figured out what to do, he had already escaped to Israel."
In other words, this woman did not call police. Instead, she waited, unsure of what to do. If she had called the police, would it have made a difference? Perhaps. We'll never know.
What I do know is with uniformity Jewish victims and their families did not do the right thing because their rabbis told them not to go to police and not to go to the media.
I realized today that many of these parents are either Holocaust survivors or children of survivors born shortly after the war. The rabbis message to them was that your child is wrong, you are wrong, and you cannot go to police because it is wrong and will cause evil to happen, both to the "innocent" rabbi and to the community. Holocaust survivors are survivors of torture and abuse. Further, Judaism teaches that bad comes to the world because of sin. Of course, who is free from sin? Holocaust survivors are prone to view themselves as somehow responsible, as if their private sins – or their lack of foresight – caused the Holocaust. Further, many Holocaust survivors have Survivor Guilt – why did I survive when others, far better, far kinder, far more good, perish? These people know rationally that they did not cause the Holocaust and are not responsible for it in any way. But on a irrational, mystical level, they tend to hold guilt, as if a missed blessing or a stolen kiss brought God's wrath down on all Jews.
All that, combined with an understandable ambivalence toward non-Jewish authority, along with their religious leadership's orders to stay quiet, makes these families' actions a bit more understandable. That said, their silence hurt their own children and the children of others. It ruined many lives and it took life. It still ruins lives today.
The same holds true for those few community activists who tried, within the haredi system, not outside it, to bring rabbis who rape and sexually abuse children to justice. These activists know which rabbis forbade calling police, which ones threatened victims and families, and often why these rabbis acted to protect child rapists. They know who made the decision to let Rabbi Kolko walk free and why that decision was made – to protect several haredi organizations, including Torah U'Mesorah, the national day school and yeshiva umbrella organization, and Agudath Israel of America. They know why Avrohom Mondrowitz was allowed to escape and which haredi organizations and rabbis acted to save themselves from lawsuits and possible criminal charges. Ohel, I'm told, figures prominently in this.
But if these activists remain silent perhaps nothing will change. The same rabbis will continue to cover up child rape and abuse. As you all too well know, Kolko and Mondrowitz are not the only rabbis out there diddling children.
Activists use the same excuses victims' parents use – the need to protect the rest of their children (in this case, all of their children) from harassment, bad or no shidduchim, expulsion from schools, etc. In other words, they are protecting their own children from what is, in relation to anal rape and years of sexual abuse, minor damage. Children will be raped and abused by rabbis as a result of these activists' reluctance to come forward.
Don't get me wrong. These are basically good men, some of whom have worked behind the scenes for years trying to bring Kolko and Mondrowitz and others to justice. But their efforts, as important as they are, will not do what is necessary. The rabbinic coverup must be exposed. That is the only chance we have to stop the cycle of abuse and protect children – it is our best shot at saving lives.
Listen to the words of the mother of the Mondrowitz victim who committed suicide after years of tortured existence, years that these rabbis could have prevented but instead chose not to, years of torture one phone call from any of these activists placed to Brooklyn police or even the FBI could have prevented:
[She] says she does not understand why the other rabbis kept silent and did nothing. "It is very hard for me to understand why they protected him. Now I understand that there were too many rabbis who did the same thing. It destroyed the children; even those who remained alive are not really living. It is hard for me to believe that he didn't do it to children in Israel, too, because it's a sickness. Why didn't the police arrest him long ago? Never in my life have I had such a strong urge to kill someone as with this man. The only way to deal with him is by cutting off you know what, and do it very slowly. Let it hurt him, let him suffer like the gentle and pure children whose lives he destroyed. That is the pain I want him to feel."
In order to prevent more Mondrowitzs and more Kolkos, we need to take this to a higher level, we need to take the next step, we need to make sure the rabbis who initiated criminal conspiracies to intimidate victims and witnesses are brought to justice.
There are readers of this blog who can do this, who can make this happen. All you have to do is call the FBI, call the Brooklyn DA, and say, "My name is _______, and in ________ I witnessed these rabbis cover up child rape and intimidate victims and witnesses. I saw it, I was there. And I will testify to it in court. Then do the same with media like the New York Post and/or Daily News and add one more sentence:"And you can use my name in your report."
It won't be easy. Your life may change. But you will save the lives of children with your actions.
You know the Talmud equates saving one life with saving an entire world. This is in part is because when you save a person, you also save his descendants yet unborn. Child rape and abuse is this process in reverse. One act destroys the life of the victim and often of his future children and grandchildren, as well. Think about this – you can save worlds with one or two phone calls, you can reverse the process of destruction put into motion by rabbi rapists and their rabbi protectors.
Please do it today.