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Brooklyn, NY - Child Abuse Prevention Takes Center Stage at Crown Heights Seminar

Published on: June 11, 2012 12:01 PM
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Brooklyn, NY - Approximately One hundred people gathered yesterday in Crown Heights for a town hall style meeting addressing the subject of child abuse within the Jewish community.

The meeting, which took place at the Ohel Nosson synagogue on Crown Street, was moderated by child abuse activist Tzvi Gluck of Our Place and featured a panel of speakers including Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, Rabbi Yosef Blau, senior spiritual guidance counselor at Yeshiva University, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, clergy abuse attorney Irwin Zalkin, Crown Heights activist Eli Federman and Mordechai Feinstein, a nineteen year old former abuse victim.

Emotions ran high as angry participants exchanged heated remarks with Hynes about his office’s refusal to disclose names of abusers in an effort to protect victims from possible threats and intimidation.  While Hynes defended his office’s record in prosecuting abusers within the Jewish community, saying that over one hundred and thirty victims have contacted his office since the Kol Tzedek program went into effect three years ago, one member of the audience shouted out “Not true, not true!  Your policy is failing!” to which Hynes retorted angrily “My policy is succeeding!”, according to reports in the New York Post.


Hynes pledged to continue his assault against would be intimidators, with his newly established task force dedicated to the prosecution of anyone who threatens or otherwise intimidates abuse victims who seek legal recourse, likening the intimidation that goes on in the Orthodox community to that of the Mafia.  The district attorney also praised the Crown Heights community, citing a rabbinical ruling issued last year saying that all cases of child sexual abuse must be reported to the authorities and expressed hope that other Jewish communities might follow suit with similar rulings.

Rabbi Blau called upon community members to support abuse victims, saying that it is vital to contact the authorities, not rabbis, in cases of suspected child abuse, adding that while some consider it to be a Chilul Hashem to contact the secular authorities, having the District Attorney say that the Jewish community is worse than the mafia is a far greater problem.

Feinstein, a former Crown Heights resident who relocated to Miami, spoke about his personal experience with an abuser four years, telling attendees that the first line of defense against child abuse is good parenting and urged all those present to confront abuse instead of pretending that the problem does not exist.

Gluck called the meeting a success, yet acknowledged that the threat of backlash against those who speak up against child abuse is very real, saying that the individuals who set up the meeting chose to remain anonymous, concerned about possible retribution from forces who prefer that the issue of child abuse continue to remain a subject that is off limits.

“The point of this forum was to bring awareness of these issues to the forefront and give parents both knowledge of what is going on and the tools they need to deal with the realities of this situation,” Gluck told VIN News.

Gluck gave concrete suggestions to participants on how to keep children safe from abusers, recommending the Project YES/Artscroll book, Let’s Stay Safe, which deals with child safety issues and calling on parents to stand together and demand that schools create policies and guidelines for dealing with abuse, which will protect not only students but teachers and schools as well.

A meeting to be held at 8:30 tonight by Magen will further address child safety issues at the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, 150-05 70th Road.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg protest outside Crown Heights Ohel Nosson Shul on Sunday, June 10, 2012 holds a sign decrying Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes for his controversial policy of withholding the names of accused and convicted pedophiles from Orthodox Jewish communities across Brooklyn. (DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp)Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg protest outside Crown Heights Ohel Nosson Shul on Sunday, June 10, 2012 holds a sign decrying Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes for his controversial policy of withholding the names of accused and convicted pedophiles from Orthodox Jewish communities across Brooklyn. (DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp)

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Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »


 Jun 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM concerned_Jew Says:

I think we need stiffer penalties for repeat offenders. How about executing them?


 Jun 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM Liepa Says:

As the pictures tell, there were almost zero representation from the local Crown Heights community. Simply, this event although a worthy cause, was unadvertised locally, for political reasons, that are known only to the event organizer's. Otherwise, they might have had a large turnout.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM neitraler Says:

Finally some progress in this issue, and lets hope that such meetings will now take place in Williamsburg, Boro park as well


 Jun 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Why is the guy in the last pic holding a sign saying "all Jewish teachers". Is he implying they're all child abusers?


 Jun 11, 2012 at 01:14 PM Anonymous Says:

The lack of attendance my the main stream Chasidim speaks volumes. They still have their heads in the sand.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM Magen Opponent Says:

Magen speaking tonight? They teach mandated reporters to first call a rabbi for permission before calling the government. That is illegal.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM esq Says:

There were alot of events in CH on SUnday including an all day expo by Homeland Security and the FBI at the Jewish Museum. It is a little disheartening that more ppl didnt show up, only because it gives the appearance we dont care. Nothing could be further from the truth. If someone told me not to report child abuse - or to report it to a rabbit first - I would simply ignore them. A parent had to do what is best for their child - not what is best for the community. And if someone molested my kid Chas v shalom, I might just take the matter into my own hands. Why waste taxpayer money prosecuting.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 03:22 PM yosef Says:

I live in crown heights and i could assure you that this thing was not advertised at all. I only found out about it this morning when i went on line. if i would have known i would have went.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 05:57 PM Where are the CH Rabbonim? Says:

The official elected Beis Din of CH gave out a Psak din (shortly before the Kletzki incident) that any time that someone has a Molestation case they should take it directly to the Police and not go to Rabbonim first. However the Beis Din did not show up to this event and had they shown up they should have been at the head table or at least they should have been invited to speak.

Unfortunately the Posek Achron is always politics.

Either the Rabbonim didn't approve of the organizers or the organizers didn't approve of the Rabbonim. The losers in the Battle are the children who keep on getting molested with no end in sight..

CH has a special web site where "someone with a pony tail", post names of alleged molesters. The Beis Din of CH told him to take it down but the "pny tail man" refuses to listen. But the Rabbonim are equally as guilty because they know who runs the web site yet (the fellow with the pony tail), yet they refuse to publicly protest against the owner of the ch web site which posts names of whomever they think, might be a molester, with no proof presented.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 10:05 PM oyvay Says:

The reason there was a low turn out, is that there were several other events going on in CH.


 Jun 11, 2012 at 10:37 PM to#9 Jack in Jeans Says:

U sound lame

Just for the record the pony tail guy has a pony tale b/c of molestation. He at least had the baitzim to go a do more for the kids today past present and future than most anyone else - at least in CH!!

Every single perv on that site is guilty as hell and you know it and everyone else in CH for sure. That comment makes me think you are proctecting someone!!

No name goes on that site unless its is grilled thru and thru, and cross referenced (s0metime for mos)plus lie detectors and other items that are confidential - but at least he put his $ were his mouth is unlike others and is helping ROOT out the perps.

Life is beginning to be a little easier for the kindelach and will get better as we move along.

That said I too would have like to attend and had NO CLUE this event was taking place. How odd! I don't get it either!


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