Volume 31 Number 55
                 Produced: Mon Feb 14  6:23:02 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Chana/Heather Luntz]
Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy
         [David Kaye]
Molesters in frum community
Sexual Abuse in Charedi Community
         [Yisrael Medad]
Sexual Abuse in Frum Community
         [Edward Ehrlich]
Sexual harassment
         [Mark Dratch]
Welcome to my world
         [Jeanette Friedman]


From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 20:34:48 +0000
Subject: Aliyah

In message <20000211040926.5502.qmail@...>, Shoshana L.
Boublil <toramada@...> writes:

>I just love it when people "posit" something that doesn't exist -- and
>then ask you to prove it.
>You can't prove a negative.  I have lived here since 1968.  I have
>travelled all over the country, worked with many people and have never
>experienced sexual harrassment of any kind.  The only stories _I_ know
>of have to do with non-religious women who send out mixed signals: on
>one hand their clothing are extremely revealing and they like to flirt
>-- on the other hand they take it amiss if someone thinks they want
>something more than just to "play the game" of flirting.  As this has
>nothing to do with religious women of any kind -- it has nothing to do
>with halachah or morality vis a vis women in general.

While I do not know whether the new law has had an effect on the
situation (it may have), and while I do not necessarily see the sexual
harressment in Israel as a reason not to make aliyah, I think it is
important, so as not to belittle those who have suffered it, not to
refuse to acknowledge that which exists.

Sexual harressment exists (or at least existed since 1968!) in Israel.
An old flatmate of mine from England, who attempted aliyah in 1996, and
was thrilled to find herself a job in doing muncipal work in Israel(her
training was in the Civil Service here in England) gave up on the idea,
primarily because of the level of sexual harressment she had to endure.
Her stories are pretty hair raising, and I can assure you there are no
mixed messages, revealing clothing or flirting involved.

When I myself was looking at "stage" (articles/training as a lawyer in
Israel post degree, but necessary before one can sit the Bar) in 1995, a
number of people made sure to warn me to I check out the environment I
would be working in carefully, because while there are good people,
there were enough problems that one needed to be careful.  The problem
being that you need to complete "stage" to qualify, so a superior can be
in a pretty powerful position. At least one practice/individual I was
"warned off", but not everybody necessarily had the connections to
provide such warnings.

In addition, I have never been propositioned in any country like I have
been in Israel.  One particular incident at a bus stop in Jerusalem (on
a winter afternoon around 6pm, - I was living in Katamon, but learning
at Nishmat, so a bus change was necessary - was complicated by the fact
that my Hebrew vocabulary is/was decidedly limited in the area in
question, so I wasn't exactly sure, at the time, exactly what I was
being asked, although I most certainly didn't like the way I was being
asked it, and felt the need to move fairly quickly from my seat round
the side of the bus stop.  Luckily a bus then stopped and a large
b'sheitaled woman got off, so I sort of hid behind her and enlisted her
protection (she also confirmed that I was being asked what I thought I
was being asked).

And, the one really dangerous situation I have ever been in occurred in
Jerusalem.  Admittedly it was probably stupid of me, as I was by myself,
to take the walking path up from the road to the Wolfson towers on
returning back from shul on a wintry Friday night (again around 6.30pm),
but, like you, I had been told about the "my daughters go everywhere in
Israel" idea.  Suffice to say that I was followed up the path, and I
fully believe that if I did not have an extremely cool head under
pressure (I kept pretending not to understand his questions and getting
him to repeat them (he was sufficiently behind me that he either needed
me to stop while he talked to me or to have an excuse to run without
causing me to run) while I kept walking, fast, but not running, as he
could clearly outrun me if we both ran, until I was close enough to the
top to make the dash into the road), things would have been a lot worse.

In both cases I was wearing my usual long flowing skirt, not to mention
coat, and in both cases, they started with me.  In addition, another
friend of mine (also frum, tznius dresser, etc) has had a more visual
altercation, again at a bus stop in Jerusalem.

The point I am making is not that one should not go on aliyah, but I am
concerned that people who do go on aliyah (or go for a visit!) should
not make naive assumptions (as I confess I did) about the safety of the
country for women.  Certainly my impression today is that the country is
more dangerous for a woman both in and out of work than Australia or
England (admittedly anecdotal, going on what has happened to me and my
friends) - although I cannot speak for America, as the danger was always
portrayed as so bad (NY and Boston), we were always too terrified to go
anywhere on foot/public transport once dark fell (ie I wouldn't stand at
a bus stop in America by myself in the early hours of the evening, so I
have no idea on the proposition "rate" - whereas I have spent my life
doing that in Australia and England, without ever having a problem).




From: David Kaye <David.Kaye@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 11:08:36 +0100
Subject: Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy

I guess the proverbial cat is out of the bag. Looking at the agenda for
the upcoming Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy one is perplexed by
the number of lecturers and panelists that officially belong to
movements that deny the fundamental truths of Judaism. It needs to
constantly repeated that there are binding doctrines and practices that
define our faith - for simplicity's sake, the ani ma'amin and Shulchan
Aruch - with the corollary that those who have correct beliefs and
practices are in the Torah camp regardless of other differences and
those who do not are outside it. Acceptance of Torah as the revealed
word of Hashem, and acknowledgment of its immutable nature are matters
which are beyond doubt and have profound significance with regards to
every aspect of Jewish life. How shocking to thus see this array of
speakers, including some women with rabbi before their name.

[I took a look at the agenda, and Reb David, you may know these people a
lot better than I do, but most that I can recognize are clearly in the
camp that I would consider as the "Torah Judaism" camp, including such
well known names as Rabbi Saul Berman, Rabbi Shlomo Risken, Rabbi Marc
Angel, and many others. There is one session, clearly labeled as
"Speaking with Our Sisters: An Interdenominational Dialogue on Feminist
Issues" which is the only session that include "some women with rabbi
before their name". In addition, I do recognize a few individuals that
are on (or somewhat over) the boundry that I suspect many of us may set
as the extent of "Torah Judaism". The question of including or excluding
such individuals is a policy issue that many organizations / conferences
may need to deal with. It was my opinion that the focus is sufficiently
in the "Torah Judaism" camp that I will advertise it on mail-jewish, but
also recognize that many may object to it and Reb David's comments
should be taken into account by all. Mod.]


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:46:48 -0600
Subject: Molesters in frum community

In response to Chaim Shapiro's question about the authenticity of the
report in the Chicago Jewish News about the frum child molesters, I can
attest that the story is true, at least regarding the butcher.  I have
been informed by the butcher in the city I currently live that the
Chicago butcher is now out of business.

The butcher, however, did not find his "victims" through his business,
but through an apartment in his house that he and his wife rented to
couples like me and my husband, who had relocated to Chicago and needed
a temporary place to live until we could close on our house. We were
taken in by this warm, grandfatherly man who seemed to have plenty of
time to play with our children.

When we realized what was happening, we spoke to our children and moved
out as soon as possible. But we also learned that he was a well-known
problem in the community but no one wanted to deal with it. Later, when
we learned another couple with young children had rented the apartment,
my husband did speak to a rabbi associated with the Telshe Yeshiva.  We
know that this rabbi spoke to the butcher and threatened to disclose his
activities if he approached the children. But, looking back, there
should have been rabbinic pressure on him to stop renting the
apartment. I don't believe that these kind of sick people are capable of
controlling themselves -- other people have to take action to keep them
from harming our children.

Even now, my current butcher was appalled that the story had been
published. I would assume that his response is typical: it should be
kept secret because the butcher's family is so "nice" and his children
would not be able to make shidduchim. Is this a reason to put other
people's children at risk of permanent psychological damage?

And I believe that the family must have known what was going on and did
nothing to stop him. Especially when I recall some conversations with
his wife, which convinced me that he had also molested his own

I think it took courage for the Jewish News to publish the story, and I
hope that action is taken to protect our children rather than protect
the family of the molester


From: Yisrael Medad <yisraelm@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 21:35:34 +0200
Subject: Sexual Abuse in Charedi Community

Chaim Shapiro  <Dagoobster@...> wrote 
>The second article, translated for me from a Hebrew newspaper in LA
>tells the story behind the Hebrew book "Shtikas Harabanim Silence of the
>Rabbis."  In it, the author alleges that his father, a leading sofer in
>Tzfat is a known child molester who remains a respected Sofer!  He asks,
>if this Sofer ate a non accepted hechsher, you can bet that no one would
>trust his Sofrus ever again!  However, as a known child molester he
>isn't even questioned!
>I cannot verify any of these stories.  But, if they are true, or even
>partially true, what are people thinking?  

Well, at least I can verify that the book exists.  And just two weeks
ago, a Charedi was sentenced to undergo chemical treatment for
repression of sexual urges and his mother was interviewed on television.
Another religious deputy school principal, his picture would indicate a
Mafdal identification, was arrested for abusing shool kids.  The
principal of Netiv Meir, Kopolovicz was found guilty of inappropriate
behavior with his puils.  On the other hand, an acquaintance of mine,
Zev Soltanovicz, was interrogated on suspicion of abusing his male
pupils some several years ago but all those involved seem to be backing
out of the story.

I don't know what everyone is thinking but it can't be good.


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 22:07:27 +0200
Subject: Sexual Abuse in Frum Community

Unfortunately, there was an even more serious case in Israel a few
months ago.  The header of an important National Religious Yeshiva
pleaded guilty to sexual abuse students of the Yeshiva.  A plea bargain
which included a relatively light sentence was reached in order to
prevent the victims of the abuse (who have since graduated from the
Yeshiva) from having to publicly testify.

The above was bad enough, but apparently some very high officials in the
rabbinate knew about the sexual abuse and instead of reporting it to the
authorities merely had the guilty party take an "early retirement".  The
prosecutor decided that it was not in the public interest to file
charges against members of the rabbinate.  I am not an expert on sexual
abuse and maybe the rabbi who committed it was simply a sick individual
who could not control himself or maybe not.  But there is no excuse for
the rabbis who DID know about the sexual abuse and attempted to cover it

By the way, I attended a lecture about child abuse at my child's
Jerusalem elementary school.  The lecturer explained that child abuse is
found among EVERY sector of society, rich and poor, Ashkenazi and
Sephardi, Jewish and Arab, secular, national religious and Haredei.  But
the authorities had particular problems dealing with getting the Haredei
and Arab communities to admit that the problem even exists.  Apparently
there is the same refusal to deal with this problem within parts of the
national religious Yeshiva world also.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Mark Dratch <MSDratch@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 08:59:22 EST
Subject: Re: Sexual harassment

In Vol. 31 #48 Digest, a postert writes:

<< I have lived here since 1968.  I have travelled all over the country, 
worked with many people and have never experienced sexual harrassment of any 
kind.  The only stories _I_ know of have to do with non-religious women who 
send out mixed signals: on one hand their clothing are extremely revealing 
and they like to flirt -- on the other hand they take it amiss if someone 
thinks they want something more than just to "play the game" of flirting.   >>

PLEASE-- since 1968 we here in the States have learned not to blame the 
victim.  Sexual harassment, rape, etc. has little to do with sex and much to 
do with power, control and anger.  

Mark Dratch


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 10:07:39 EST
Subject: Welcome to my world

[It is not my interest to turn this into a listing of all the terrible
things that some people may do. I've put this issue out because I think
there are still quite a few people who think that "this" does not happen
in "our" community. I have no desire to "wash our laundry in public",
that is not my intent. But as long as there are significant portions of
the cummunity that want to hide from this, it is harder for the needed
activities to happen to prevent the continuation of these activities
unchecked. In the subcommunity which Jeanette has come from, these reports
were labeled as "viberishe (women things) mahsehs". It is this that we
need to change, and we need to make our opinions known to the community
leaders that we expect them to take the hard steps needed. To be a
leader is to be able and willing to take the hard steps when they are
the right thing to do. It is their job to understand and deturmine what
is the right thing, but we may need to remind them that with the respect
the community pays them, comes the obligation to be true leaders. Mod.]

Dear Chaim:

Welcome to the world I am used to, the world where three yeshiva boys
who raped a younger boy who later committed suicide were never punished
because "it would ruin 3 lives" and were protected by the community.

Welcome to the world where if you have some standing, financial or
otherwise, in the community, it doesn't matter if you molest your own
daughter. As long as you remain frum and your wife isn't frum anymore,
you get to keep the daughter you love to molest.

Welcome to the world that it took more than 30 years to uncover.

Chaim, I don't know what to tell other than we need males to stand up to
the powers that be along with the women.  As long as these inyonim are
seen as viberishe (women things) mahsehs, we will never deal with the

Jeanette Friedman


End of Volume 31 Issue 55