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Friday, May 25, 2018

...And in the beginning....בְּרֵאשִׁית


An Anonymous Flier (Pashkevil) In Brooklyn
By: Editorial Board  

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It was doubtless inadvertent, but the author of the flier makes our point. Thus, the flier recites that "this mailing should not have been necessary," inasmuch as the target and his employer were warned in advance that if the individual either resigned or was fired, "th[e] mailing would be stopped." And on the Internet, the author has declared to one and all that he is about to "uncover" others if they do not accede to his demands. 

Plainly, this individual is engaged in an effort to fashion a weapon with which to impose his will on Klal Yisrael.

An anonymously written flier mailed recently to many Jewish homes in Brooklyn, containing lurid accusations of improper conduct against an individual in our community and railing against his employer for not firing him, should be taken as a serious warning of a cancer growing in our midst. The flier not only offers no substantiation of the charges themselves, but also reports uncorroborated – and, it turns out, vigorously denied – comments from the employer, which the flier’s unknown author offers as proof of a cover-up.

The mere circulation of the document has caused some, albeit limited, discussion as to the culpability of both the accused individual and the employer – this despite the lack of any evidence or the possibility of any follow-up with the accuser. But if even one person takes this sort of thing seriously, there is cause for concern. Compounding the problem is that the purveyor of this material seems fully at home with the Internet and has spread it anonymously on that medium as well, guaranteeing that it will be seen by all that many more people, both within and without the Jewish community.

Anonymous accusers effectively destroying their targets’ reputations, even before the truthfulness of the accusations are ascertained, cannot be the way of Klal Yisrael – and indeed has never been. Certainly it accords neither with halacha nor with common sense. It is precisely for this reason that for millennia we have invariably insisted that those making claims against another take the accused to a bet din in order to determine the facts and, if necessary, the halacha.

On another level, it is hardly engaging in hyperbole to suggest that if the notion takes root that an anonymous purveyor of unsubstantiated charges can get peoples’ tongues wagging, then none of us can count ourselves safe. It will enable anyone to exercise devastating power at any time and under any circumstances simply by choosing to do so, for whatever motive.

But it is not the excesses of one individual that are of primary concern. As a general proposition, before we even begin thinking about anyone’s having gone astray, we must have more to go on than mere innuendo and accusation flung about by nameless, faceless sources. It is incumbent upon each of us to resolve to give no credence to unproven charges and to urge their being discredited on a community-wide basis. That’s something that certainly should apply to this particular anonymous accuser.

We would also remind readers that President Bush recently signed into law a statute making it illegal for any person to use the Internet to post anonymous accusations designed to inflict pain and suffering on others. In this instance the anonymous accuser should be aware that if identified, he runs the risk of fine and imprisonment for violation of a federal statute.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind...


Israel Needs to Protect Its Borders. By Whatever Means Necessary.

Israelis try to slow the progression of fire in a field near the Kibbutz of Mefallesim, caused by incendiaries tied to kites flown by Palestinian protesters from across the border, on Tuesday
 
TEL AVIV — It is customary to adopt an apologetic tone when scores of people have been killed, as they were this week in Gaza. But I will avoid this sanctimonious instinct and declare coldly: Israel had a clear objective when it was shooting, sometimes to kill, well-organized “demonstrators” near the border. Israel was determined to prevent these people — some of whom are believed to have been armed, most apparently encouraged by their radical government — from crossing the fence separating Israel from Gaza. That objective was achieved.

Of course, the death of humans is never a happy occasion. Still, I feel no need to engage in ingénue mourning. Guarding the border was more important than avoiding killing, and guarding the border is what Israel did successfully.

Why so many thousands of Gazans decided to approach that fence, even though they were warned that such acts would be lethal, is beyond comprehension. Excuses and explanations are many: The event was declared a “march of return,” supposedly an attempt by Palestinian refugees to return to their places of origin within Israel; it was tied in many news reports to the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem; it was explained by referring to undesirable living conditions in Gaza and the lack of prospects for improvement; it was explained as related to intra-Palestinian political conflict and to the need of Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza, to divert the attention from its many failures. All of those things may have some degree of validity, but they don’t explain why people joined these demonstrations.

Obviously, the people of Gaza weren’t seriously thinking that Israel would give them a “right of return” if they only marched in numbers large enough. And they probably realized that United States would not rescind its decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem, either. And they knew that for the economic situation to improve something more systematic must take place than protests.

So why did they march, and why were some of them killed?

They marched because they are desperate and frustrated. Because living in Gaza is not much better than living in hell. They marched against Israel because they dislike Israel, and because they cannot march against anyone else. Israel puts Gaza under siege, bombs it occasionally, and is still remembered as an occupying power and as the country whose establishment made many Palestinians consider themselves refugees to this day. They marched to Israel because the alternative to marching against Israel would be to march against Hamas, a regime whose actions and policies make Gaza suffer. But if people had dared do that, their government would no doubt have killed scores of them without much hesitation.

Israel has a soft belly. Unlike all the other regimes in the Middle East, it accepts basic Western values and thus tries to minimize casualties. It also has an impressive military power, so it’s easy to accuse it of “disproportional response.” And of course, it is the country that could lift the siege on Gaza.
Critics of Israel tend to mix two types of complaints about its actions in recent days. Why did Israel shoot, rather than use other means of preventing people from crossing the border? And why does Israel isolate Gaza, making its economic situation so dire and its population so desperate? These criticisms must be answered separately, as one — the shooting — is tactical, and the other, the isolation, is strategic.

First, let’s begin with undisputed facts: The marches were at least partly orchestrated by Hamas. And according to Hamas, most demonstrators killed by Israel were members of the group. This was not a peaceful act of protest. This was a provocation by an organization known to engage in acts of terrorism. Thus, Israel had no choice but to treat it as an attempt not just to violate its territorial integrity but also to attack it.

Israel had to take precautions against its soldiers and citizens being killed or kidnapped. It had to make sure that thousands of Palestinians did not force a total shutdown of southern Israel until all infiltrators were located and detained. Knowing Hamas and its tactics, Israel assumed — for good reason — that letting the marchers cross the fence and detaining them later would have had worse consequences: Hamas operatives masquerading as demonstrators would hurt Israelis.

Of course, the question of Israel’s larger policy toward Gaza remains. But the answer is hardly a secret: Israel pulled out of Gaza more than a decade ago. All it wants from Gaza is peace and quiet. But what it gets from Gaza is different: It is an attempt by Hamas to build a base for violence against Israel. To prevent this, Gaza must be isolated until its leaders are replaced or until they realize that their war against Israel hurts the population they rule more than it hurts Israel. And yes, this means that people in Gaza suffer more than they should — not because of Israel, because of Hamas.

It would be dishonest for me to pretend that the interests of Palestinians are at the top of the list of my priorities. I want what’s good for Israel and I expect my government to have similar priorities. Nevertheless, I believe Israel’s current policy toward Gaza ultimately benefits not only Israel but also the Palestinians.

Of course, it does not benefit the Palestinians who dream about “returning,” or in other words, about eliminating Israel. But it is the only way forward for those who have more realistic expectations. The people of Gaza are miserable. They deserve sympathy and pity. But looking for Israel to remedy their problems will only exacerbate their misery. Expecting Israel to solve their problem will only lead them to delay what they must do for themselves.

There are two reasons for that. First, denying Hamas any achievement is the only way to ultimately persuade the Palestinians to abandon the futile battle for things they cannot get (“return,” control of Jerusalem, the elimination of Israel) and toward policies that will benefit their people. If Hamas is rewarded for organizing violent events, if the pressure on it is reduced because of the demonstrations, the result will be more demonstrations — and therefore more bloodshed, mostly Palestinian. Second, only an Israel that has the ability to feel secure about its borders could engage in any serious talks with the Palestinians. As Ehud Barak, a former prime minister and a critic of Israel’s current government, put it, “Those who believe in having separation from the Palestinians, getting into a peace agreement, having borders — you have to make clear that borders are respected.”

The Jewish sages had a famous, if not necessarily pleasant, saying that went something like this: Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind. As harsh as this sounds amid the scenes from Gaza, as problematic as this seems to good-intentioned people whose instinct is to sympathize with the weaker side in every conflict, sometimes there is no better choice than being clear, than being firm, than drawing a line that cannot be crossed by those wanting to harm you. By fire, if necessary.



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

To R' Yankel With Love - A UOJ Love Story :-) --- Secretary DeVos joined a class of high school bachurim for an enlightening, hands-on chemistry lesson in the Yeshiva’s state-of-the-art science laboratory --- The delegation then walked across the campus promenade, passing the Yeshiva’s spacious ballfields and magnificent playgrounds, for a brief visit to a room full of precocious children --- The visitors were also introduced to bachurim with physical disabilities who, in classic Darchei fashion, are integrated within the regular Yeshiva framework... !




U.S. Education Secretary Visits

Yeshiva Darchei Torah,

Making History 


Secretary DeVos discussing poetry with fourth graders in the Willens Literacy Library at Yeshiva Darchei Torah. Standing, L-R: Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Rabbi Moshe Bender, Mr. Ronald Lowinger and Rabbi Yaakov Bender.


FAR ROCKAWAY, NY— Yeshiva Darchei Torah was privileged to welcome the Honorable Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education of the United States, for a tour of its campus on Wednesday morning. Ms. DeVos made history as the first-ever head of the federal Department of Education to visit a yeshiva since the cabinet-level post was established in 1980.



Secretary DeVos, a lifelong champion of school choice, was led on a panoramic tour of Yeshiva Darchei Torah’s 9-acre campus that showcased several salient aspects of the Yeshiva’s world-renowned educational experience. Accompanying her were Rabbi Yaakov Bender, rosh hayeshiva; Mr. Ronald Lowinger, president; Rabbi Moshe Bender, associate dean; Rabbi Eli Biegeleisen, director of community engagement; and Rabbis Chaim Dovid Zwiebel and Abba Cohen of Agudath Israel of America.


The first stop was a third-grade classroom, where the rebbi was in the midst of a lesson on the shivas haminim. Using props from plastic fruit to freshly baked cookies, the rebbi ensured that the lesson came to life—and Secretary DeVos clearly enjoyed following along. She was shown the room’s SMART Board, one of many throughout the building, as an example of the Yeshiva’s successful integration of technology in the classroom.



Further down the hallway, Ms. DeVos entered the Yeshiva’s Willens Literacy Library, where she sat down and joined the fourth grade boys in learning about poetry.



The Secretary’s next stop was to one of the crown jewels of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, the Rabenstein Learning Center, where she witnessed some of the 300 students with special-education needs who regularly receive tutoring, therapy and self-contained classroom instruction within the school setting.



After stopping in on a sixth grade class that was studying Gemara, the tour moved across the campus to the Weiss Vocational Center, a trailblazing program where a select cadre of Mesivta students spend part of their afternoons learning trades such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical contracting and home wiring—in addition to a core curriculum that includes math, sciences and language arts. The Secretary was shown a fully-functioning bathroom built from top-to-bottom by the students and watched as a talmid soldered an iron pipe. Another talmid presented her with a gift: a skillfully hand-crafted wooden cutting board with an American flag motif.





Yehuda Reisman demonstrates his skills at the Weiss Vocational Center of Yeshiva Darchei Torah. Looking on, L-R: Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Mr. Ronald Lowinger, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Rabbi Eli Biegeleisen, Rabbi Moshe Lubart and Rabbi Yaakov Bender.


At Mesivta Chaim Shlomo, Secretary DeVos joined a class of high school bachurim for an enlightening, hands-on chemistry lesson in the Yeshiva’s state-of-the-art science laboratory.



Arriving at the Yeshiva’s 5,000-square-foot bais hamedrash during first seder was visibly an eye-opener for the secretary, as the hall reverberated with the sounds of hundreds of bachurim and yungeleit learning together at wooden shtenders. She approached one pair, who happily explained to her the basics of studying Gemara with Rishonim and Acharonim and the efficacy of chavrusa learning. The visitors were also introduced to bachurim with physical disabilities who, in classic Darchei fashion, are integrated within the regular Yeshiva framework.

The delegation then walked across the campus promenade, passing the Yeshiva’s spacious ballfields and magnificent playgrounds, for a brief visit to a room full of precocious children in the Harriet Keilson Early Childhood Center.



The tour was followed by a luncheon meeting with a cross-section of Yeshiva Darchei Torah parents, teachers, alumni and board members, who shared their personal reflections with Secretary DeVos. Among the issues discussed were the success of the Darchei educational model, including the dual curriculum of limudei kodesh and limudei chol; the challenge of tuition affordability; and the need to ensure that programs for children with special needs receive their fair share of government funding. Secretary DeVos listened attentively and offered her own perspective on the need for continued advocacy on behalf of school choice, on both the federal and state levels.



The Secretary of Education was visibly moved by her visit to Yeshiva Darchei Torah. As she made her way back to the waiting motorcade for her return flight to Washington, she commented that the children were amazing and that she had seen some unique things at Darchei Torah that she had not seen at any other school.





*


The visit was widely covered in the mainstream press, which tended to focus on the fact that Ms. DeVos visited only religious schools during this swing through New York.


Her spokeswoman responded that in New York and across the country, “religious education plays an important role in the education landscape. Every child and family has unique education needs, and for some, that means not having to bifurcate religion from education.” The spokeswoman added that the two-day visit to New York yeshiva institutions “gave the secretary an opportunity to see firsthand how that’s working for Orthodox families.”


###



Thursday, May 17, 2018

His objection isn’t to the “occupation” as usually defined by Western liberals, namely Israel’s acquisition of territories following the 1967 Six Day War. It’s to the existence of Israel itself. Sympathize with him all you like, but at least notice that his politics demand the elimination of the Jewish state...

Gaza’s Miseries Have Palestinian Authors



Bret Stephens
Opinion Columnist
Palestinians protesting at the Gaza border on Sunday. The large wooden key the boy is holding symbolizes the Palestinians’ belief in their right of return.
For the third time in two weeks, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have set fire to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which they get medicine, fuel and other humanitarian essentials from Israel. Soon we’ll surely hear a great deal about the misery of Gaza. Try not to forget that the authors of that misery are also the presumptive victims.

There’s a pattern here — harm yourself, blame the other — and it deserves to be highlighted amid the torrent of morally blind, historically illiterate criticism to which Israelis are subjected every time they defend themselves against violent Palestinian attack.

In 1970, Israel set up an industrial zone along the border with Gaza to promote economic cooperation and provide Palestinians with jobs. It had to be shut down in 2004 amid multiple terrorist attacks that left 11 Israelis dead.

In 2005, Jewish-American donors forked over $14 million dollars to pay for greenhouses that had been used by Israeli settlers until the government of Ariel Sharon withdrew from the Strip. 

Palestinians looted dozens of the greenhouses almost immediately upon Israel’s exit.



In 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza in a bloody coup against its rivals in the Fatah faction. Since then, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Strip have fired nearly 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel — all the while denouncing an economic “blockade” that is Israel’s refusal to feed the mouth that bites it. (Egypt and the Palestinian Authority also participate in the same blockade, to zero international censure.)

In 2014 Israel discovered that Hamas had built 32 tunnels under the Gaza border to kidnap or kill Israelis. “The average tunnel requires 350 truckloads of construction supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reported, “enough to build 86 homes, seven mosques, six schools or 19 medical clinics.” Estimated cost of tunnels: $90 million.

Want to understand why Gaza is so poor? See above.

Which brings us to the grotesque spectacle along Gaza’s border over the past several weeks, in which thousands of Palestinians have tried to breach the fence and force their way into Israel, often at the cost of their lives. What is the ostensible purpose of what Palestinians call “the Great Return March”?

That’s no mystery. This week, The Times published an op-ed by Ahmed Abu Artema, one of the organizers of the march. “We are intent on continuing our struggle until Israel recognizes our right to return to our homes and land from which we were expelled,” he writes, referring to homes and land within Israel’s original borders.

His objection isn’t to the “occupation” as usually defined by Western liberals, namely Israel’s acquisition of territories following the 1967 Six Day War. It’s to the existence of Israel itself. Sympathize with him all you like, but at least notice that his politics demand the elimination of the Jewish state.


Notice, also, the old pattern at work: Avow and pursue Israel’s destruction, then plead for pity and aid when your plans lead to ruin.

The world now demands that Jerusalem account for every bullet fired at the demonstrators, without offering a single practical alternative for dealing with the crisis.

But where is the outrage that Hamas kept urging Palestinians to move toward the fence, having been amply forewarned by Israel of the mortal risk? Or that protest organizers encouraged women to lead the charges on the fence because, as The Times’s Declan Walsh reported, “Israeli soldiers might be less likely to fire on women”? Or that Palestinian children as young as 7 were dispatched to try to breach the fence? Or that the protests ended after Israel warned Hamas’s leaders, whose preferred hide-outs include Gaza’s hospital, that their own lives were at risk?

Elsewhere in the world, this sort of behavior would be called reckless endangerment. It would be condemned as self-destructive, cowardly and almost bottomlessly cynical.

The mystery of Middle East politics is why Palestinians have so long been exempted from these ordinary moral judgments. How do so many so-called progressives now find themselves in objective sympathy with the murderers, misogynists and homophobes of Hamas? Why don’t they note that, by Hamas’s own admission, some 50 of the 62 protesters killed on Monday were members of Hamas? 

Why do they begrudge Israel the right to defend itself behind the very borders they’ve been clamoring for years for Israelis to get behind?

Why is nothing expected of Palestinians, and everything forgiven, while everything is expected of Israelis, and nothing forgiven?

That’s a question to which one can easily guess the answer. In the meantime, it’s worth considering the harm Western indulgence has done to Palestinian aspirations.

No decent Palestinian society can emerge from the culture of victimhood, violence and fatalism symbolized by these protests. No worthy Palestinian government can emerge if the international community continues to indulge the corrupt, anti-Semitic autocrats of the Palestinian Authority or fails to condemn and sanction the despotic killers of Hamas. And no Palestinian economy will ever flourish through repeated acts of self-harm and destructive provocation.

If Palestinians want to build a worthy, proud and prosperous nation, they could do worse than try to learn from the one next door. That begins by forswearing forever their attempts to destroy it.



https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/opinion/gaza-palestinians-protests.html
 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Chief Rabbit Lau " Ethiopian Women Don't Tempt Me" -- Rules - Kol Isha Is OK for Himself. Checks His Knees at 2:00 - COURTESY - THE JEWISH ONION

These Holy Men Used Their Influence To Have YouTube Take Down The Video
COURTESY - THE JEWISH ONION

Written by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits of KOF-K Kosher Supervision

There are many inyunim of tznius which people think are permitted when in fact they are not. Our main focus will be on Kol Isha and all the halachos that apply to it.
Chazal say one who is careful with hilchos tznius is kodesh.[1] Fortunate is the person who watches himself from being nichshal in these halachos,[2]  since the sins that one does in these inyunim distance a person from Torah.[3]
Kol Isha – The Voice of a Woman

The Gemorah in Berochos[4] says that the voice of a [married] woman is an ervah,[5] since it may bring a person to certain desires.[6]  According to many poskim this issur is d’rabanan in nature,[7]  and often applies to one’s wife as well.[8] One is not allowed to hear the voice of a woman while she is singing[9] even without specific intent to enjoy her voice. A woman’s non-singing voice is permitted to be heard[10] as long as one is not listening with specific intent to enjoy her voice.[11]

Single Girls

Many poskim say one is also forbidden to hear the singing voice of a single girl.[16] There is a discussion in the poskim as to what age this issur begins. Some poskim say the age starts from three,[17] others say it starts at six,[18] and others say the issur begins at nine years old.[19] Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l[20] says in a pressing situation one can be lenient until the age of eleven.[21]


[1] Refer to Yam Shel Shlomo Kesubos 2:3, Pela Yoetz Kedusha pages 505-507 (new print), Nidchei Yisroel 23:pages 187-193 new print.
[2] Ben Ish Chai Vayichei 2:introduction, Vehatzneh Leches page 28.

[3] Refer to Mesechtas Yoma 39a. These sins also brings one to depression (K’rayna D’igrasa 1:11).

[4] 24a, Mesechtas Kiddushin 70a, see Rivevos Ephraim 5:67:page 45.

[5] Rambam Hilchos Issurei Biah 21:1, Shulchan Aruch 75:3. Refer to Avnei Yushfei 5:11 if one is allowed to listen to a voice if it sounds like a woman but it is not a woman.

[6] Rashi Mesechtas Berochos ibid: “kolech,” Meiri ibid. Refer to the Shir Hashirim 2:14.

[7] Nishmas Adom 4:1, Chelek Levi 37, Mishnah Berurah 17, Aruch Ha’shulchan 560:9, Kaf Ha’chaim 27, Be’er Sarim 1:29:1, Yabea Omer O.C. 1:6:10, see 1:6:8. Refer to Otzer Haposkim E.H. 21:20. See Be’er Sarim ibid who quotes some opinions that it is d’oraisa.

[8] Rama O.C. 75:3, Levush 3, Machtzis Ha’shekel. When one’s wife is impure he may not listen to her singing voice as this brings a closeness which is forbidden during the time that she is impure (Ben Ish Chai Tzav 2:25, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 153:10, Darchei Teshuva 195:35, Aruch Ha’shulchan Y.D. 195:23, Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:75, Divrei Chachumim page 253:footnote 38, Avnei Yushfei 2:5:4, Rivevos Ephraim 1:205, 4:202, Suga B’shoshanim page 205, Opinion of Horav Elyashiv Shlita quoted in Halichos Bas Yisroel 6:8:footnote 16, Badi Ha’shulchan 195:119,  Chut Shuni (Niddah) page 215, Shiurei Shevet Ha’Levi (Niddah) page 264). Refer to Teharas Habayis 2:pages 167-170 who is lenient.
 [9] Shulchan Aruch 75:3, E.H. 21:1, Chai Adom 4:6,  This issur applies even if one is used to hearing a womans voice (Yabea Omer O.C. 1:6:11:pages 21-22). This also applies to parts of davening that she may sing (Refer to Yufei Leleiv 1:75:3). `
[10]  Rashba Mesechtas Berochos 25a,  Bais Yosef O.C. 75, Rama, Levush 3, Elya Rabbah 75:5,  Shulchan Aruch Harav 3, Bais Shmuel E.H. 21:4, Chai Adom 4:6.

[11] Mishnah Berurah 18.
[16] Magen Avraham 75:6, Be’er Heitiv 9, Bais Shmuel E.H. 21:4, Mishnah Berurah 75:17, see Pri Megadim M.Z. 75:2 who is lenient.
[17] Refer to Shulchan Shlomo 75:3, Salmas Chaim 93, Rivevos Ephraim 7:page 246, Ishei Yisroel 55:footntoe 99. Refer to Ben Ish Chai Bo 1:13. The Chazon Ish O.C. 16:8 says there is no set age.
[18] Ben Ish Chai Bo 1:13, see Oz Vehador L’vusha page 47, Laws Of Daily Living 1:pages 84-85:footnote 52.
[19] Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 20:footnote 20, Halichos Bas Yisroel 6:footntoe 1.
[20] Igros Moshe O.C. 1:26, see Biur Halacha 75 “tefach.”
[21] Ohr L’tzyion 2:6:footnote 13. Refer to Mishnah Berurah 75:17 who says besulos who start reaching their time of period are ervahs. Some say this is 12 years old (Divrei Chachumim page 252:36 quoting the opinion of Horav Sheinberg Shlita, Toras Histaklus page 39).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

These cameras were swiftly installed across Boro Park and Midwood, maintained by a private security company related to Agudath Israel, despite the relatively low crime rates in the area, in the aftermath of the horrific death of eight year old Leiby Kletzky in Kensington. His parents had reported him missing to Shomrim, who failed to call it in to the NYPD for more than three hours, until after the child’s family called 911.


Why you should care about the arrest of Shomrim leader Jacob Daskal


In blue: 66th Precinct Community Affairs Sgt. Michael Andreano (L)
 and detective Mike Milici with Shomrim NYPD liaison Jacob Daskal (far left)
 Both Adreano and Milici have since been stripped of their badges following a corruption probe.
 
BORO PARK – Last Thursday the NYPD arrested Jacob Daskal on charges of raping a 16 year old. Besides the obviously horrendous crime, this arrest is a big deal because Daskal is the president of Boro Park Shomrim (“Guards”) – the private, Orthodox Jewish, security force that patrols Borough Park. There are other Shomrim groups that patrol Flatbush, Crown Heights and Williamsburg.  They may easily be mistaken for the NYPD, and to many in the Orthodox Jewish enclaves in Brooklyn they effectively are.

Shomrim have a command centers that look like the NYPD’s, down to the slogan of Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect:



Their shield could easily be mistaken for NYPD at a distance:


Shomrim grew out of a neighborhood watch group known as the “Bakery Boys” in 1990s – young men who delivered bread at night and witnessed lots of car break-ins, but the group has always been controversial. Daskal was a founding member, and has been an intermediary between the NYPD’s 66th Precinct and his Boro Park community ever since.

“Since then, Daskal and the Shomrim have cultivated close ties to the local precinct. A former member of the Shomrim told the Forward in 2016 that Daskal was able to arrange for Orthodox Jews arrested on minor crimes in Boro Park to be released with a ticket ordering them to appear before a judge, rather than being booked through the central system. Daskal denied at the time that he played that role”, Forward wrote on Friday.

“In 2012, Daskal argued against giving police access publicly-funded security cameras installed throughout Boro Park, telling the Forward that it could lead to unwanted police involvement in domestic violence matters. “The camera is very good for the community, but if it’s a private thing,” Daskal told the Forward at the time. “If it’s a public thing it might hurt a person who doesn’t want to arrest her husband for domestic violence.”

These cameras were swiftly installed across Boro Park and Midwood, maintained by a private security company related to Agudath Israel, despite the relatively low crime rates in the area, in the aftermath of the horrific death of eight year old Leiby Kletzky in Kensington. His parents had reported him missing to Shomrim, who failed to call it in to the NYPD for more than three hours, until after the child’s family called 911.

“The Shomrim have helped the police maintain a community that’s mostly free of the shootings in the streets and crimes that usually end up in the media,” Ben Hirsch, a founder of Survivors for Justice, a group that advocates for victims of sexual violence within the Orthodox community told The Village Voice in 2011. “But you do still have some of the terrible social crimes that police would normally be responding to. Instead, within these communities, these crimes are usually reported to Shomrim, and the Shomrim coordinators working together with Orthodox Jewish “community liaisons” cover it up, and it never gets to the cops.”

Such crimes seem to mostly relate to child and domestic abuse. Daskal let it slip in a conversation with the Daily News the aftermath of the Kletzky case that Shomrim kept a list of suspected child molesters that had about 15 people on it that was not shared with the NYPD” because some rabbis oppose civilian police involvement”.

“It’s against Halacha [Jewish law] to go the police without speaking to the rabbis,” Rabbi Joseph Hershkowitz confirmed to the Daily News back in 2011. “We consider Shomrim and Hatzolah [the Jewish ambulance service] family. So you go to family first.”

It seems, however, that this approach results in crimes covered up, or dismissed when brought up for justice.

With crime rates as low as they are, maybe it is time for the NYPD be the only cops in town.

https://bklyner.com/why-you-should-care-about-the-arrest-of-shomrim-leader-jacob-daskal/





Monday, May 14, 2018

How many kids have to die, how many have to become addicted to drugs, how many have to live on the street, how many have to starve themselves, cut themselves, hang themselves, stab themselves, drown themselves, overdose themselves, until you actually help us do something about it?


 by Asher Lovy

NY1's coverage of yesterday's ZA'AKAH's press conference outside of Simcha Felder's district office. Thank you so much to everyone who came, and a special thank you to Rabbi Barry Kornblau for standing with us, and lending your voice to this critical issue. Below is a full text of my statement:

We're here outside Senator Simcha Felder's district office because he is the tiebreaking vote in the New York State senate right now. As evidenced by the recent budget negotiation in the senate, while John Flanagan might be the majority leader, it's Felder's word that for now is literally law. And I know how you feel about the Child Victims Act, Simcha, you told me how you feel about it in 2016. You will not support any bill with a lookback window.

As a former constituent of yours, let me tell you why that position is hurting your constituents, and community. I grew up on 15th avenue and 48th street, in Boro Park, 4 blocks away from your then city council office. I was abused by my mother for years just 4 blocks from your office. The idea, at the time, of reporting was so far out of the realm of possibility, the very thought of it was laughable. I can't count the number of times the police were called to my house, I can't count the number of times they handed me a complaint form and a pen and asked me if I had something to tell them.

What I do remember vividly is my grandmother pleading with me, begging me, not to report. "Think of what the neighbors will say. Think of what will happen when it's time for shidduchim. No one will want to marry you." So I stayed quiet. When I was finally ready to come forward and disclose, she again begged me, "think of your shidduchim." By then I'd given up on the possibility of finding a shidduch through a shadchan. "Ok, but think of your cousins. They're trying to get married now, think of how this would ruin their shidduch chances," she begged. And again, I kept quiet.

I begged my family to intervene. Even though they were literally witness to much of my abuse, they didn't care enough to do anything. They said I was making it up to justify my bad behaviour. I had dropped out of school and gone to work so I could earn enough money to be self-sufficient. I stayed there until three years ago, age 23 because I was worried about my grandmother who by that time was also a victim of my mother. I thought I could protect her.

I can no longer report what happened to me when I was a minor because New York's Statute of limitations won't allow it.

Simcha, you may think we don't remember, you may think that by the time we're 23 we've already gotten over it, but we haven't. Baruch Hashem I was able to run away at age 23, and with the help of some very generous people, build a life for myself. But when I'm alone at night, it comes back to me. All those years of locking myself in my room, terrified of what she'd do to me next, the threats, the horror she made my life, the invasion, the violation of who I was, the times she tried to kill me, the terror she instilled in me. Every time I hear a knock on the door of my new, safe home I jump, because my body remembers what a sudden noise might mean. My body remembers being in constant danger and can't forget.

When I worked at Our Place, on avenue M and east 18th, I met dozens of kids who hadn't been so lucky. Kids who had been abused and had been forced into silence. Kids who dropped out of school, were addicted to drugs, sleeping on the streets, self-harming, depressed, suicidal, kids who did anything and everything they could think of to numb the pain, to make it stop, to just go away, if only for a little while. We were able to save some of them. Some of them we couldn't. Some of them died. We put them on our ever-growing wall, a damning testament to the inaction of our community in the face of sexual predators violating children. 

You may not hear these stories, Simcha, but I do. Every single day from people in this community, people who themselves were abused, people whose children have been abused, people who are too terrified to speak up for fear of ruining their family's shidduchim, of losing their jobs, their homes, of being thrown out of their shuls, of their children being expelled from yeshivas for daring to report, for daring to go against Agudah's psak, and report sexual abuse to the police without first asking a rav for permission.

Sexual abuse is covered up every day in this community, Simcha, and it's made even easier by all the communal pressures we as frum Jews have. Shidduchim, not wanting to be a moiser, daas torah, emunas chachamim, fear of causing a chillul hashem, there are a dozen different leverage points used by the community to keep victims of child sexual abuse silent until they're 23 and it's too late for them to get justice. 

You know what that means, Simcha? It means that hundreds of sexual predators are loose in your district, in the frum community, protected by the law, because their victims who are under 23 are too terrified to report, and the survivors over 23 are barred from reporting by law. That's why we need the lookback window, Simcha. Those survivors deserve their day in court. They deserve the chance to confront their abuser in court and identify them so the community knows who they are and whom to stay away from. A survivor should never hear "I'm sorry, find me someone else who was sexually abused more recently" when they go to the police to report being sexually abused. 

We need to eliminate the civil and criminal statutes of limitation going forward so survivors know that if they're not safe enough to report right now, they'll still have the chance to get justice when they are. We need to open the lookback window so the predators who have thus far remained hidden behind New York State law in our community can be identified, and the institutions that enabled their abuse can be held accountable.

We need the Child Victims Act, Simcha Felder. Children are dying in your community because they were sexually abused and have no access to justice. Do you care enough, do you have the courage to do the right thing for District 17's children?

I know, people are worried about what might happen to yeshivos if this passes. I'm sorry, but I don’t understand what the hand wringing is about. If it we were dealing with an epidemic of murders in the community, committed by yeshiva faculty, and covered up by yeshiva administrations, we’d be up in arms, demanding justice. Somehow with sexual abuse it’s different.

And why? You know as well as I do, Simcha, that abuse is retzicha. You know as well as I do that children die every single year from suicide, eating disorders, and drug overdose, as a direct result of sexual abuse they’ve suffered. You know as well as I do that the effects of sexual abuse include PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, self-harm, addiction, among a host of other problems. Is the difference between sexual abuse and murder that sexual abuse kills them more slowly, or that it’s so darn common that we’ve become desensitized to it?

We talk a lot about crises in the frum community. How is this not something that instills in community members and leaders a sense of crisis? How many kids have to die, how many have to become addicted to drugs, how many have to live on the street, how many have to starve themselves, cut themselves, hang themselves, stab themselves, drown themselves, overdose themselves, until you actually help us do something about it?

If kids were dying every day in yeshivos, would you be so pareve about what should be done, or would you be out on the front lines demanding change and justice? Is it that these kids don’t die in yeshivos themselves, but on the street a few years later after they’ve lost everything and everyone, and kill themselves just to end the pain? Do you no longer recognize them as important at that point because they’re so far gone at that point from the yeshiva that covered up their abuse that you don’t care anymore?

I hope you care, Simcha, and I understand, you’re worried about hypothetical children not being able to get into hypothetically closed yeshovs. Simcha, we have real children, really dying, right now, and we need to change that.

We have a real bill really in front of us, and we’re in real need of real support. Don’t let hypothetical concerns about hypothetical problems blind you, or distract you from the very real, and very present problem of children being abused, and their abusers and enablers hiding behind New York State law to deny them justice. Don’t let yourself be blinded to the fact that more and more kids are dying every day while we sit here and quibble about the degrees to which we should pursue their roitzchim.

I’m sorry if I seem impatient. I don’t have the luxury to be patient. I’ve been fighting for this for 3 years. I was abused for 23 years. I’ve lost I don’t know how many friends to suicide, and I’m sick and tired of waiting.