In Brooklyn, Yehuda Kolko was arrested yet again recently for harassing one of his young victims. He continues to be welcomed in the Flatbush shul of Rabbi Weinfeld, where until last year he was honored by being the Baal Tkiah, or the one who performs the mitzvah of blowing the shofar for the congregation even though he had pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child.
Between Mudslinging and Exposing Cover-Ups
Asher Lipner, PhD • Special to FailedMesiah.com
Ami Magazine recently published an op-ed attacking my essay on Failed Messiah that pointed out the hypocrisy of Orthodox rabbis who pay lip service to the idea of reporting molesters to the authorities while simultaneously actively covering up for many molesters known to them. Ami’s article clearly reflected the sentiments of the editors and the rabbis that they claim to follow. In it the magazine made some truly remarkable statements that shed light on the attitude and mentality of the rabbinic leaders for whom the magazine speaks.
While never denying in any way shape or form the disgraceful and criminal cover-ups of serial molesters of Jewish children perpetrated by the gedolim of Agudath Israel of America, Ami calls my attempt to expose and publicize the crimes “mudslinging,” and claims that the list of cases of cover up that I chose out of dozens that are currently being covered up are all cases from “the past” and states that “much has changed.” Ami quotes an “expert” as saying that by calling on the rabbis to come clean and tell the truth and protect children from these molesters, I am “chewing old, chewed-up gum”. While survivors of abuse are used to being treated as such by rabbis and community leaders, this marks the first time I have heard anyone from the Orthodox community or even the Catholic Church publicly label the pain of past and future victims in such a disparaging way.
Let us review, case by case.
This Yom Kippur, serial child molester, Rabbi Moshe Eisemann davened on the “mizrach vont,” the honored Eastern Wall of the Ner Yisroel Beis Medrash, where he was seated together with Rabbi Yissochor Frand, Rabbi Tzvi Berkovitz, Rosh Yeshiva Aharon Feldman, High School principal and Eisemann defender Rabbi Yosef Tendler, and yeshiva owners Rabbis Sheftel Neuberger and Berel Weisbord. The Yeshiva bochurim all lined up to shake Eisemann’s hand and wish him a good year (little do they know what a good year means for this pedophile). Aside from the incredible hypocrisy of choosing such a person to be honored on the holiest day of the year, the pain that it causes his victims is something they live with each and every day. Only a few months ago I was consulted by a colleague about a young man who suffered a psychotic breakdown that required hospitalization after he disclosed to his therapist that Rabbi Eisemann had masturbated him on several occasions between the years of 2005-2008. For his part, Eisemann himself admitted to me in 2009 that he was touching boys up until “a few years ago.” He refused my request to take a lie detector test to see if he has ever really stopped.
In Monsey, Rabbi Chaim Abramson was fired from his job at Yeshiva of Spring Valley due to allegations that he molested children for years. But as of Rosh Hashanah he continued to live in close proximity to the Manny Weldler Park (Viola), where many Jewish and non Jewish children frolic, unknowingly under the watchful eye of a man who has been reported to the rabbis as being a predator. Those children who are being put at risk by Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky who advised the school that they need not call the police about Abramson, are not chewed up gum, no matter how much Abramson, Reb Shmuel and Ami magazine view them that way.
Rabbi Aron Tendler, an alleged molester, is still being protected by his uncles Rabbi Dovid Feinstein and Rabbi Reuvain Feinstein and by all the rabbis in Los Angeles and in Baltimore. Not long ago, an Orthodox woman was shopping at Seven Mile Market (the local Baltimore kosher store) and had an extreme PTSD related panic attack when she bumped into Tendler who she said molested her when she was a young girl. More chewed up gum?
In Brooklyn, Yehuda Kolko was arrested yet again recently for harassing one of his young victims. He continues to be welcomed in the Flatbush shul of Rabbi Weinfeld, where until last year he was honored by being the Baal Tkiah, or the one who performs the mitzvah of blowing the shofar for the congregation [even though he had pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child]. Is it any wonder that many parents still trust their children around him and refuse to believe what the Agudah Gedolim refuse to admit, that he molested children in Camp Agudah and in Yeshiva Torah Temima for decades?
Meanwhile, the family of the boy who reported to the police that he was molested by Kolko’s nephew, Yosef (Yossie) Kolko, spent their first Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur in a new out-of-town community after they were chased out of Lakewood by the Roshei Yeshiva and rabbis. The father of the victim used to lead his own synagogue in Lakewood as a respected rabbi until this year when he was exiled for going against the wishes of the Agudah Gadol Rabbi Malkiel Kotler and reporting his child’s molestation to the police. And Rivkah Finkelstien’s house is still in ashes in this year of 5772, after being burned down because she dared to publicize that her beloved son Shua, who is still dead from a drug overdose, had been molested as a child by somebody in the Lakewood community. It is hard to fathom the cruelty of referring to her tragic situation as “chewed up gum.” As we “go to press,” Agudah Rabbi Mattisyahu Salamon and all the other rabbis in Lakewood have still not cooperated with the police investigation into the arson.
The Ami op ed says that change in the way the Charedi rabbinic establishment deals with molesters is “well underway.” Not a single example is cited of any of the Agudah rabbis reporting a molester to the police. As Rabbi Yosef Blau said regarding Ohel’s recent lip service shift in policy, “You will know there’s change when they start reporting.”
The op-ed Asher Lipner is referring to was written by Pinny Taub with considerable help from Ami Magazine's editors.
Taub is a survivor of child sex abuse and t's generally taboo to attack survivors.
But Pinny Taub crossed a line.
The blogs and activists he attacks helped force the little change that exists, the change he relies on in order to attack those very same blogs and activists.
And many of these bloggers and activists did what they did at great personal risk, and sometimes at great financial cost, as well.
But Pinny Taub doesn't care about any of that, nor does he sem to care about the cases Asher Lipner mentions above.
All Pinny Taub seems to care about is being accepted by his 'gedolim" and being an honored member of his haredi community – even though that community is still actively involved in covering up child sex abuse and other crimes.
So Pinny Taub attacks the people who actually helped him and other survivors to gain the favor of the rabbis whose policies hurt Taub and other survivors and caused more children to be sexually abused.
Look up Stockholm Syndrome, Pinny.
And then go get exit counseling or therapy.
Lord knows, you certainly need it.
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