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New York - Project YES Launches "Keep Our Children Safe" Initiative‏

Published on: June 5, 2011 11:03 AM
By: VIN News Staff
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New York - Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director of Project YES and a longtime advocate for victims of child abuse, is giving parenting classes designed to help parents speak to their children about abuse prevention before the start of the summer season.

Four lectures will be given during the week following Shavuos—in Baltimore, Queens, Monsey and Brooklyn. As a public service, Project YES is offering these classes free of charge to the public.

Here is the text of a letter Rabbi Horowitz posted  on his website, ........

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to inform you of a Project YES, “Keep Our Children Safe” initiative designed to raise awareness among parents in our community about the importance of speaking to your children about safety and personal space—in order to protect them from child abuse and molestation.

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The workshops will be practical in nature and will guide parents in how to have these discussions in a tzanuah manner that is congruent with our Torah values.

I will be conducting these workshops as a public service of Project YES and there will be no charge for attending. Here is a list of the venues:

Baltimore: Motzoei Shabbos, June 11th - 10:15 p.m.
Congregation Shaarei Zion
6602 Park Heights Ave.

Queens: Monday, June 13th - 8:30 p.m.
Congregation Ahavas Yisroel
147-02 73rd Ave, Kew Gardens Hills

Monsey: Tuesday evening, June 14th - 8:00 p.m.
Yeshiva Darchei Noam
259 Grandview Ave.

Brooklyn: Wednesday evening, June 15th - 9:15 p.m.(following Maariv,at 9:00 p.m.)
Young Israel of Midwood
1694 Ocean Avenue

On a personal note, I plead with each and every parent to educate yourselves regarding best practices of conveying these crucial messages to your children. You have no more sacred obligation to your children than to keep them safe from predators.

The danger is so great and the education is so simple.

L’maan Hashem, please take this matter seriously and take the steps necessary to give your children the very best chance at remaining safe and secure.

Worded differently, I ask you to be the ones to educate your children about their bodies and personal space—so that the predator is not the one to teach them these lessons.

Yakov Horowitz - Director, Project YES



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Read Comments (23)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:34 AM Upset Says:

Why does this great man have to lecture parents and work alone? Where are the Rosh Ha'Yeshivas? Don't they care about our youth? Our yeshivah's are too busy doing everything but giving our youth the tools they need to survive in this world. There is a lack of the proper role models in our schools which can guide our youth to have Derech Eretz, there is no job training, work is looked down upon and discouraged, there isn't much joy conveyed in our Yeshivah's about being a honest Jew who loves to serve Hashem and do mitzvahs. All they do is impose long boring hours upon our youth. The Rebbes are never home for their own families. More hours in school does not mean more learning. Most Rebbes and teachers do not have a highschool diploma and often do not have any training on how to be a good teacher or Rebbe. Most principals in Yeshivas have no idea how do deal with children's problems other than punish severly. It is about time we hired highly trained and knowledgable teachers and Rebbes. Yeshivas should run or become partners and invest in businesses so they can afford to pay for great teachers and instead of being beggars . Stop nepatism. No relatives allowed please.

2

 Jun 05, 2011 at 12:10 PM Gregaaron Says:

First of all, Mr. "Most Rebbes and teachers do not have a highschool diploma" (which is not true, by the way), your spelling and grammar ain't too pretty either. Not that I care in the slightest, but you might not want to decry the lack of skills that you yourself don't either have. (For example, the word is "nepotism". Just sayin'...)

Anyway, your comment is not relevant to the article. Rabbi Horowitz is speaking about one specific issue, which, despite what self-hating bloggers would have you believe, has not been ignored by the Gedolei Torah and Roshei Yeshivos. The fact that they choose not to share every detail with the rest of us does not mean that they don't know what is going on. You are correct that there is a lack of Derech Eretz, but that is just as much the fault of the parents as it is of the Yeshivos.

Oh, and about your brilliant idea that "Yeshivas should run or become partners and invest in businesses so they can afford to pay for great teachers and instead of being beggars" - are you a multi millionaire that you can advise the Yeshivos how to go about doing this while still providing a quality Chinuch for the next generation?

3

 Jun 05, 2011 at 02:14 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Until that advice includes "Go to the police" rather than "Let the Bet Din bury the crime" nothing will change.

4

 Jun 05, 2011 at 03:01 PM longtimeresident Says:

#1, you are a very angry person, at so many people and issues!! be grateful, one issue is being addressed, and work on the others. but , calm down!

5

 Jun 05, 2011 at 03:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Until that advice includes "Go to the police" rather than "Let the Bet Din bury the crime" nothing will change.

This particular program as well as Rabbi Horowitz espouse the idea of going to the police. That is part of the point of this safety campaign.

6

 Jun 05, 2011 at 05:18 PM Teacher Says:

Reply to #2 & 4 - (#1 is right)
I teach in yeshiva and our children do not have time to wait for our terrible schools to acknowledge these problems. Our youth are being lost by the dozens every year. We need a massive effort to fix the problems now. Our youth can not wait. Are you aware of what is happening in our schools? The system is broken and needs help by expert professionals. I often see good kids go off the derech. Students do not know or understand what the Torah requires of them. Often, students sit in class day dreaming or getting into trouble. School has become a storage bin. Yes, some learning does take place. However, the hours spent in school are not being used effectively and does not produce the kind of adults we need. Look at all of the scandals in our communities, look at our unemployed young adults, look at the gross ignorance of many of our graduates. There is no time to waste we must confront these issues or we will lose many of our kids. Getting A's in a substandard educational system does not mean a child is succeeding. What about the things that cannot be graded like "yiras shamayim", "derech eretz", "yosher" ahavas Hashem" etc.?

7

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:17 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

This particular program as well as Rabbi Horowitz espouse the idea of going to the police. That is part of the point of this safety campaign.

That is wonderful news. I wish him every success. His work could save countless Jews from lifetimes of misery.

8

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:28 PM Oversight Says:

I agree #1 and # 7 are correct
We must set an oversight board that governs how our Yeshivas are run. In Europe, they had the Vaad Ha'Yeshivos headed by the Chofetz Chaim. We need something like that today. We cannot trust our youth to out of touch and ineffective school leaders. The community must hire educational experts who can oversee what our institutions are doing or rather not doing. Just because someone can learn a Blatt Gemora doesn't make him a qualified teacher. We need action now!

9

 Jun 05, 2011 at 06:34 PM Insights Says:

Reply to # 2
I respectfully ask if what you say is true that our Rosh Yeshivas know what is going on and they know how to handle today's problems so why do we have so many of our precious youth going off the derech and getting into troubles that we never experienced before? It seems they have failed us and our youth and if they had any concern for our youth they would do something constructive about it. If you have any insights about why so many of our youth are drowning I would like to know.

10

 Jun 05, 2011 at 07:37 PM Help the KIDs Says:

reply to #2
We have "Our Place", Priority-1, Project Yes, Ohr Nava and other organizations that deal with thousands of our yeshiva youth who our yeshivas have failed. According to you these groups should not exist because our Rosh Yeshivas know what they are doing and how to raise good Torah youth.

11

 Jun 05, 2011 at 08:32 PM esther Says:

Reply to #4  
longtimeresident Says:

#1, you are a very angry person, at so many people and issues!! be grateful, one issue is being addressed, and work on the others. but , calm down!

listen,whatever else,upset is 100% right about the nepotism. 2 of my children,and other children in the same schools, needlessly suffered.one was in a boy's yeshiva and one in a girls highschool.both were being run by son-in-laws of the guys in chareg and both had absolutely no idea what they were doing!

13

 Jun 05, 2011 at 09:42 PM Anonymous Says:

First of all, if you have knowledge and proof that he is an abuser, you must publicize the name of the Rebbe and the Yeshiva he teaches in. A child molester is a 'rodef' and if you care for other people's innocent children you must do this. Once this becomes common knowledge, the parent body should get together and as a group demand that this Rebbe be fired or they will cease to pay tuition, or better, remove their children from that yeshiva.
Take the first step and be an advocate for the innocent! It is up to the parents to step in and protect our youngsters!

14

 Jun 05, 2011 at 10:07 PM Anonymous Says:

First and foremost, I am so terribly sorry that your kids- anybody's kids- have been hurt and scarred. You need to tell the cops, plain and simple. You need to do it for your kids, and every child he has and will touch if he's not reported. Pedophilia is NOT treatable, its recidivism rate is HIGH, and it is a disease that NEVER goes away. There is no "teshuva," there is no pedophile who is a "good guy." It'll take guts but you HAVE TO do this for the safety of your kids. You better believe that he's grooming kids in the bathroom, and the hallways, and eating up the support he gets from those who believe his act. I applaud you for reaching out, for not sweeping this under the rug, and for knowing that however unpopular you may be, this is what must be done. How sad that we actually have to *teach* adults that pedophilia is wrong. Its sick, its disgraceful, its as unG-dly as it gets. Nothing should EVER stand in the way of protecting our kids... NOTHING. And anyone who thinks someone's rep is more important than a child's mental, physical, and sexual health needs more help than they know....

15

 Jun 05, 2011 at 10:11 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Talk to your local prosecutor. Talk to Rabbi Rosenberg who has a hotline for this sort of thing. Talk to the organization which is the subject of the article. They deal directly with the issues every day and can give you appropriate guidance.

16

 Jun 05, 2011 at 10:41 PM UseYourHead Says:

Tell me one thing - which city?

17

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:05 PM Gregaaron Says:

Reply to #9  
Insights Says:

Reply to # 2
I respectfully ask if what you say is true that our Rosh Yeshivas know what is going on and they know how to handle today's problems so why do we have so many of our precious youth going off the derech and getting into troubles that we never experienced before? It seems they have failed us and our youth and if they had any concern for our youth they would do something constructive about it. If you have any insights about why so many of our youth are drowning I would like to know.

Thanks for the response.

I'm not saying that they're perfect; I see firsthand (working in Yeshivos) that there are many in Chinuch who don't belong there. I do think, however, that the Yeshivos are often taking an unfairly large part of the blame. Obviously, something needs to be done about the fact that not all kids are interested or cut out to have as much intensity forced upon them as there is, but even the so-called "modern" schools have the same problems that we do. Besides, kids have r"l been going off the derech since the days of the Haskalah, it's just that we hear about everything nowadays. Every kid that goes off is a tragedy, but unfortunately, it's not a new phenomenom.

I am privileged to work for some of the greatest names in American Chinuch (for confidentiality purposes - both mine and theirs - I will not name them). But they can't be in the classroom all the time. When you have a class full of kids who have no respect for authority - and not all of the blame can be placed on the Yeshiva - it becomes exponentially harder to give each kid the individual attention they need. Additionally, the fact that Rabbeim are paid diddly squat also drives many potentially great Mechanchim away from the classroom. (And the fact that if a Rebbi tries to get a close shaychus with a kid he is immediately suspected as a child molester doesn't help much, either.)

I don't have the answers. But pointing fingers helps no one.

18

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:08 PM Gregaaron Says:

Something's fishy here. If he has truly been molesting kids, and it's a known thing, I find it hard to believe that there is not a single influential person in the community who is moving heaven and earth to remove him from the classroom. I am the first one to accept Teshuva, but that doesn't mean that he needs to be given every opportunity to relapse. In other words, he may not need to be ostracized from the communtiy, but he CANNOT be in a school.

What does his new school say about this?

19

 Jun 05, 2011 at 11:30 PM Gregaaron Says:

Reply to #14  
Anonymous Says:

First and foremost, I am so terribly sorry that your kids- anybody's kids- have been hurt and scarred. You need to tell the cops, plain and simple. You need to do it for your kids, and every child he has and will touch if he's not reported. Pedophilia is NOT treatable, its recidivism rate is HIGH, and it is a disease that NEVER goes away. There is no "teshuva," there is no pedophile who is a "good guy." It'll take guts but you HAVE TO do this for the safety of your kids. You better believe that he's grooming kids in the bathroom, and the hallways, and eating up the support he gets from those who believe his act. I applaud you for reaching out, for not sweeping this under the rug, and for knowing that however unpopular you may be, this is what must be done. How sad that we actually have to *teach* adults that pedophilia is wrong. Its sick, its disgraceful, its as unG-dly as it gets. Nothing should EVER stand in the way of protecting our kids... NOTHING. And anyone who thinks someone's rep is more important than a child's mental, physical, and sexual health needs more help than they know....

"Pedophilia is not treatable" - true.
"Its recidivism rate is high" - true.
"It's a disease that never goes away" - true.
"There is no teshuva" - patently false.

In our religion, there is no such thing as no Teshuva. Is it tough? You bet. Besides the fact that the abuser needs to do whatever he can to help the victim, he needs to never do it again. Those are the key words - never do it again. All that we know from the scientific community is that the desire will not go away. But no one ever has a nisayon that he cannot overcome, and having ta'yvos for the wrong thing is not punishable - especially not by us humans. Acting on these unnatural ta'yvos is what the problem is, and every frum pedophile has the ability to not act on the desires. Of course, as I said in an earlier post, he must be kept away from kids. But there's no reason to mark someone as "un-Teshuva-able".

20

 Jun 06, 2011 at 12:08 AM LCSW Says:

While this program is excellent for educating parents about predators lurking in their midst, t doesn't help most victims, whose abuse are at the hands of their own parents or siblings. There are many more such stories of incestual trauma than victims at the hands of a rebbi/counselor situation.

21

 Jun 06, 2011 at 10:57 AM esther Says:

Reply to #19  
Gregaaron Says:

"Pedophilia is not treatable" - true.
"Its recidivism rate is high" - true.
"It's a disease that never goes away" - true.
"There is no teshuva" - patently false.

In our religion, there is no such thing as no Teshuva. Is it tough? You bet. Besides the fact that the abuser needs to do whatever he can to help the victim, he needs to never do it again. Those are the key words - never do it again. All that we know from the scientific community is that the desire will not go away. But no one ever has a nisayon that he cannot overcome, and having ta'yvos for the wrong thing is not punishable - especially not by us humans. Acting on these unnatural ta'yvos is what the problem is, and every frum pedophile has the ability to not act on the desires. Of course, as I said in an earlier post, he must be kept away from kids. But there's no reason to mark someone as "un-Teshuva-able".

of course your basic premise on tshuva is correct but i'm not sure it can apply in most of these cases.i'm not a health professional but i do work in chinuch and from my experience pedophiles never really come to terms with their issue and any tshuva is false.

22

 Jun 06, 2011 at 10:57 AM esther Says:

Reply to #20  
LCSW Says:

While this program is excellent for educating parents about predators lurking in their midst, t doesn't help most victims, whose abuse are at the hands of their own parents or siblings. There are many more such stories of incestual trauma than victims at the hands of a rebbi/counselor situation.

so what do you suggest for that?

23

 Jun 06, 2011 at 02:10 PM Please Help Says:

First of all, thank you to all those who posted responses to my plea for help. I will try to answer some questions that
were raised.

The parents DID get together. The molester WAS removed from the school. The problem is that no charges were ever pressed. Consequently he went on to work at another school. The children and grandchildren of the "influential" members of this community do not attend the school that hired the molester. So they've passed the poison along to someone else's kids. They're just happy he's not hurting their children. That's the sad, hard truth. It's a sad commentary on our values.
As far as the police: they won't step in if no one comes forward to press charges. As was explained to my husband by the officer with whom he spoke: "We can't go on a witch hunt." They will not start interviewing the victims or their parents because no one has stepped forward. And none have stepped forward due to intimidation tactics on the part of the yeshiva. And community rabbis who clearly are in the pockets of certain board members of the school. And the stigma factor.

My husband grew up in this city. I did not. He tells me that years ago another molester who taught at the school and headed its camp was caught molesting children and fired. Because he was from a prominent family in the city, no charges were ever filed. Deals were made. They tried to hush it up, but too many people knew. His wife divorced him and moved away with her kids. According to my husband, this predator had many. many victims. Some even committed suicide. He still hangs around young people today, even though he's seventyish. He is a lively and charismatic man. He tried to lead a Pirchei group at the shul, but finally some alert parents objected. So much for "teshuva." And there are lots of people, other parents included, who foolishly bury their heads in the sand. They refuse to believe the ugly truth. Some are naïve, some refuse to be educated about the dangers that their children face. They live in denial, while their children pay the ultimate price.

To #15: Who is Rabbi Rosenberg and how do I contact him? Which city is he in?

I must go now, but will stay posted to this page for further comments and ideas. Thank you, again, to all who take the time to respond, and to all who care.

24

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