Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Jewish Press again does to the RCA without a beis din what it claims the RCA cannot do to RMT without a beis din, determine guilt


At 9:30 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

An Inappropriate Process (Part II)
Posted 4/13/2005
By Editorial Board
As we report in detail in this week’s issue, the Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel (Jerusalem district) last week vacated the Rabbinical Council of America`s expulsion from its ranks of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, the prominent spiritual leader of Kehilah New Hempstead, near Monsey, New York. The Bet Din`s ruling was predicated on the failure of the RCA to follow halacha and to proceed by way of din Torah.

As readers will recall, our review of the facts led us to that very same conclusion, as expressed in our lead editorial last week. That editorial explained our view that, based on documents we had seen and interviews we had conducted, there did not appear to be any credible evidence to support the action taken by the RCA, and that the RCA appeared to have acted on double- and triple-tiered hearsay, rank speculation, innuendo — and without benefit of an appropriate adjudicative process.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Over the course of the RCA`s unduly protracted inquiry, articles appeared with disturbing frequency in publications such as The Jewish Week and the Forward reporting on the substance and progress of the RCA`s investigation. These articles invariably invoked unidentified sources variously described as "informed," "close to the investigation," and unnamed persons having access to confidential documents and the process itself. Moreover, those articles conveyed a very negative impression of Rabbi Tendler, along with the notion that he was guilty and that a so-called investigative report would ultimately so conclude.

It was apparent to us, as it was to many others (and we said so in several editorials), that these articles were the product of strategic leaks and were calculated to create the impression of guilt at the outset so that the RCA`s conclusions, even if flawed, would be accepted unquestionably. At no time did the RCA say or do anything to dispel the foreseeable impact of these articles. Lawyers involved in defamation lawsuits often point to conduct of this sort as constituting malice.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

What is most perplexing about these events is that an august rabbinic organization such as the RCA, which boasts a membership of 1,000 rabbis, should have engaged in a process so alien to the halacha and so devoid of fundamental notions of fairness. Perhaps even more disturbing is that in the course of all these events — and despite the size of the RCA’s membership — not a single rabbi or group of rabbis has done anything to protest and protect the primacy of the din Torah process. Even today, as we go to presst, there has been no such protest or outcry, despite the fact that the Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has intervened and proclaimed the invalidity of the RCA`s investigation and conclusion.

It is shocking to us that the RCA would thumb its nose at the Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. And it is clear to us that this shameful episode would never have occurred if the Rav, zt"l, were alive today and acting as the chair of the RCA’s Halacha Commission.

It is sad, very sad....

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The JP is 100% correct on this one.

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Israeli rabbinate has no business in an American matter. It is not in their jurisdiction and they can not 'overturn' an RCA decision.

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>And it is clear to us that this
>shameful episode would never have
>occurred if the Rav, zt"l, were alive
>today and acting as the chair of the
>RCA’s Halacha Commission.

The above statement is absolutely correct. The RCA abandoned the normative halachic process in lieu of a totally corrupt witch-hunt that was devoid of any semblance of the tennents of Yahadus ("Yiddishkeit"). The Rav zt"l would have never abandoned the Torah or the halachic process.

The RCA should be ashamed of themselves. The heads of the RCA should step down in an attempt to restore the reputation that the RCA used to have before this incident.

At 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Israeli rabbinate has no business in an American matter. It is not in their jurisdiction and they can not 'overturn' an RCA decision."

You are incorrect. Bais Din "A" has the authority to overrule Bais Din "B", if Bais Din "A" is greater in chachma (halachic knowledge) or minyan (number of members of the Bais Din). The Rabbinate in Israel is greater than the RCA in both accounts.

Also, the RCA has publicly stated that they consider themselves to be an adjunct component of the Israeli Rabbinate. Thus, the Rabbinate certainly has the ability/right to overrule the RCA.

Regarding your "jurisdiction" comment... There is no such concept as "jurisdiction" in halacha to my knowledge. A Bais Din in one location can hear a case regarding events that occurred in a totally separate location (even when a local Bais Din exists at the location where the events occurred). For example, there are plenty of Dinei Torah that are held in New York regarding events that occured in smaller "out of town" communities, because one of the claimants in the Din Torah was not satisfied that their local Bais Din was sufficient for hearing the case.

At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“A Bais Din in one location can hear a case regarding events that occurred in a totally separate location”

The Beit Din in Israel didn’t hear this case. They didn’t hear testimonies or victims of RMT.

“And it is clear to us that this shameful episode would never have occurred if the Rav, zt"l, were alive today and acting as the chair of the RCA’s Halacha Commission.”

All great Rabbonim are rolling over in their graves that the truth is covered up and you are allowing him to get away with sexual abuse.

What a cover-up male protecting Jewish system you have for abuse of women.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jurisdiction is a constant in halacha.

It arises in halacha at the very beginning: See parshat Yitro when Moshe established different tiers of courts. Then again at 'shoftim v,shotrim teten l'cha bchol sharecha.' And again "8f there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy ***within thy gates***; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose. " And yet again by the eglah arufa.

But we are followers of Torah shbeal peh more: The Gemarah contains discussions on the capacity of local courts, though I lack the sources to cite specifics, and, as I recall, there may be a difference between the Bavli and Yerushalmi on the ability for a single area to have more then one beit din.

In more modern times, see the publications between R' SR Hirsch and R' Bamberger concerning what R' Hirsch saw as R' Bamberger interference in his kehilla available in the Hirsch Collected Writing series.

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are busy arguing over courts, RCA, points of halacha that nobody here really understands or has any true competence in, midwives who supposedly orchestrated this mess, and so on. Let's get real, folks. In the "real world", a corporation for example, this scandal would be enough to topple the guy in charge. Especially an Orthdodox Rabbi, of all people, shouldn't be having these problems. While the little Jews quibble and argue over points of law they know nothing about, a great travesty and Chillul HaShem is shaking the landscape.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger KNHmember said...

The Jewish Said "As readers will recall, our review of the facts led us to that very same conclusion, as expressed in our lead editorial last week. That editorial explained our view that, based on documents we had seen and interviews we had conducted , there did not appear to be any credible evidence to support the action taken by the RCA, and that the RCA appeared to have acted on double- and triple-tiered hearsay, rank speculation, innuendo — and without benefit of an appropriate adjudicative process. "

What a crock. They are guilty of what they are accusing the RCA of. What interviews? What documents did they see? Did they do a 15 month investigation or a 15 minute investigation? If anyone acted on hearsay, its got to be the Jewish Depressed. Who paid off the JP to publish this editorial?

Wanna bet the JP won't print this as a letter to the editor?

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your assessment of the Jewish Press. What empty drivel they have written! They, along with others, have absolutely no credibility.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note that the Jewish Press printed all the assertions of MT's Israeli lawyer together with the "decision
". They could not print the response of the defence since the defendants were not notified about the proceedings.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really think the JWB should immediately delete the spam that MT's supporters are loading up on this blog.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine anyone with a brain taking either the Jewish (Press)[Mess] or Mordechai Tendler's three budies in Yerushalayim seriously.
Regarding his three friends in Yerushalayim: Has anyone actually heard of any of them before this? Who do they think they are? Why is what they say of any relevance- all they know about the case is what that known liar tendler fed them.
tendler is the ultimate "godfather" and he is now calling in all kinds of favors to get some to stand up for him, intimidating others, paying off a few others... Enough of the lie factory!!!

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To read the text of Tendler's letter to the RCA, to go to ""

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't imagine anyone with a brain taking either the Jewish (Press)[Mess] or Mordechai Tendler's three budies in Yerushalayim seriously.
Regarding his three friends in Yerushalayim: Has anyone actually heard of any of them before this? Who do they think they are? Why is what they say of any relevance- all they know about the case is what that known liar tendler fed them."

you are a total fool. the beis din of the rabbanut is the only real beis din that exists in the entire world. every word that they say is rellevant. they are not rambling bloggers such as yourself. they are dayanim who issued a "controvertial" pesak which said "go to beis din anywhere to decide the issue". keep blogging your nonsense- it will keep you from having any real influence on anything of real importance.

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The TFT Guide To: Infidelity

This week a survey claimed that more than one in four women had had an affair. Women aged 30 to 59 were surveyed on behalf of the witless magazine publisher Conde Nast, also revealing that one in 20 claimed to have had sex on a plane, while one in eight described their sex lives as 'kinky'. Which probably means doing it with the light on. But if women are having affairs willy-nilly, what does this mean for relationships?

7 March 2005

1) Find out if your partner is having an affair by relentlessly accusing them of being unfaithful, refusing to let them go out on their own, rummaging through their handbag or jacket pockets, and reading their text messages and diary. This will put your mind at rest and thus guarantee a lasting relationship.

2) Be alert for tell-tale signs of infidelity: a partner may suddenly start working late, they may have credit card receipts for gifts or meals that weren't for you, they may become distant or evasive, and they may say things like 'At least Dave knows how to fuck me!'

3) The worst aspect of infidelity is being the victim: you'll feel rejected, depressed, inadequate and foolish. Thus it's better to be the one committing the infidelity. In any relationship, always be on the look out for a bit on the side, and never pass up an opportunity for an illicit shag. Soon you'll come to regard sex as a emotionless, mechanical ritual between strangers, and Hey Presto! Your heart will never be broken again!

4) If your partner has been unfaithful, ask yourself why and what you can do to put things right. They may feel that some of the excitement has gone out of your relationship, or they may just not like sucking off strangers in a National Trust car park while you watch.

5) If there has been infidelity in a relationship, for God's sake keep your head and NEVER use physical violence against your partner. It's far more satisfying to play evil mind games with them. Why not tell them they've ruined your life? Or that you can't trust people anymore? Or that you're thinking of killing yourself? (The correct way to inform someone you're contemplating suicide is by phoning them at 3am, drunk, thus suggesting there is a distinct possibility of 'doing something silly'. 'I've got the pills/knife right here,' is also a nice touch.)

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After a four-month investigation, Antony Barnett reveals that the Anglican Church is to be hit by a New scandal, as women tell of rape and abuse by priests who practised 'sexual healing'

The Observer

Sonya Brown was sexually abused by her father as a child. She started getting flashbacks three years ago and became severely depressed. She was referred to a psychiatric day hospital, where the chaplain offered her what she believed was the refuge of a spiritual shoulder to cry on. But his support quickly turned into a fresh bout of sexual exploitation, she claims. The clergyman raped her in his office, at home and in the toilet of a cemetery.

As an eight-year-old, Patricia Stevens dreamt of being ordained as a minister. Fifteen years later, as a postgraduate theology student at Cambridge, she was close to fulfilling that ambition. But when she was sent on work experience to preach at a large church in London, she alleges that she was sexually abused and raped by the senior priest supervising her.

Sheila Hennessy used to be a senior school teacher. As a child she was abused by a family friend. When her local priest discovered this, she claims, he zeroed in on her vulnerability and initiated a ritual of sexual abuse that lasted 10 years.

According to Sheila, the vicar was turned on by the idea of menstruation and would ask her for her used tampons, and have her open up the school at weekends so he could collect her pupils' tampons from sanitary bins.

Until this weekend, these women had little in common apart from their beliefs. But a four-month investigation by The Observer reveals they are just three out of dozens who claim they have been sexually abused by churchmen of all denominations.

Many of them, who have told their stories for the first time, remain in a state of deep psychological despair. Several have tried to commit suicide. Yet most of the accused clerics continue to preach after being quietly moved to another parish.

While the Church of England remains in turmoil over the sexuality of its bishops, some believe the mounting catalogue of sexual abuse against women is the real untold scandal of the Church. This particular controversy now threatens to envelop the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who faces questions over his role in helping a priest who sexually assaulted a female vicar to find another job.

Britain's leading investigator of sexual abuse in the Church is Margaret Kennedy, a former social worker who was a pioneer in raising the issue of child abuse in the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches. She described the scandal involving Williams as 'shocking and deplorable'.

Kennedy believes the sexual abuse of adults by clergymen is just as serious as child abuse. She has catalogued more than 120 cases of alleged sexual abuse of women by clergy. In a damning study, yet to be published, she has collected harrowing testimonies from more than 60 victims - 25 concern the Church of England, 25 the Catholic Church, with the rest spread across Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians.

'My fear is that this is just the tip of an iceberg. We know about these cases because these women have moved on to some extent and been able to talk about it,' said Kennedy. 'I believe there are hundreds more frightened women who are too ashamed to deal with the situation they find themselves in. The church authorities must admit their ministers can use their power to sexually exploit or abuse vulnerable adult women.'

The evidence reveals a disturbing picture of how vulnerable women have turned to churchmen for pastoral help, only to be preyed upon. Some victims had been abused as children, others were recovering drug addicts and some were grieving for loved ones or had recently been divorced.

Most have been left in a poor mental state, many of them suicidal, while the clergymen are rebuked privately and moved on. Too often their victims are left isolated in communities unable to face the idea that a man of God could do something so wrong.

Many cases show how the clerics use religion and their position of authority to coerce women into sex, saying things like, 'God wants you to love me,' and 'concubines were biblical'. In one instance, it is claimed that a clergyman told a woman: 'God has made you beautiful so you can sexually fulfil Christian men.' In another, it's alleged that a priest said masturbating his victim - who had been abused as a child - was a 'way the holy spirit could enter her to help the healing process'.

As a student minister, Patricia Stevens firmly believed in not having sex outside marriage. She recalls how the priest told her she would never understand the love of God if she didn't have sex with a man. She alleges that the man, who was married with children, forced her to have sex with him when his wife went to work.

'He told me it was God's will to have sex with me, and when I turned him down, that I wasn't being obedient to God ...He started off trying to kiss me and fondle my breasts ...He told me to stop struggling and then had sexual intercourse with me ...Sometimes I would cry when he wouldn't stop and the more I told him to leave me alone the more he would say it was the right thing to do.

'He would tell me this was our secret and I shouldn't say anything to anyone. This was what God wanted - God would be pleased with me.'

Although the alleged abuse happened a number of years ago, Patricia recently attempted suicide several times because she still cannot come to terms with what happened - or get justice from the church authorities. The priest, who denied rape, was asked to move parishes but allowed to go on preaching.

Patricia claims he boasted to her that she was not the only woman in her parish he had had sex with, and that one of his other conquests had committed suicide.

Kennedy said: 'Nearly all the priests who abuse women are multiple offenders. One problem is that the abuse is not viewed by the church as sexual offending behaviour, and they are allowed to get away with it. The church hierarchy, which still is very patriarchal, believes them when they say, "I'm sorry. I won't do it again". In the US they would treat these priests as sex offenders and send them to treatment centres.'

Even a woman priest can be preyed on. A devastated Dr Tanya Jenkins, the vicar of Llangefni on Anglesey in North Wales, is still off work three years after she was sexually assaulted by Canon Geoffrey Hewitt of Bangor Cathedral.

Hewitt 'stuck his tongue down her throat after Jenkins invited him for a coffee at her home after a funeral.

She reported Hewitt, who had been married for more than 30 years, to the Church in Wales authorities. It emerged that officials had received another complaint from a worker that he had patted her on her bottom and emailed lewd poems to her.

Hewitt admitted both counts of sexual harassment at a Church tribunal, but was allowed to keep his job. However his parishioners refused to have him back and he was forced to seek another parish. The Observer has established that Williams, then head of the Church in Wales, became involved.

As Bishop of Monmouth, Williams had a vacancy in his diocese for a vicar at Rhymney. When Hewitt phoned Williams, who was fully aware of the charges against him, to seek advice about the post, the bishop said he would not stand in his way.

The local press heard that a clergyman with a history of sexually harassing his colleagues was to be the new vicar. An uproar forced Hewitt to withdraw his application. However, he has since emerged as a vicar in Bristol.

Helen Mary Jones, a Welsh Assembly member and former deputy director of the Equal Opportunities Commission, believes the affair reeks of double standards.

'This priest acted in ways that would have led to him being sacked if he had been a social worker or a teacher, yet he is allowed to continue working as a vicar. Williams has staked his reputation around social justice, but in this case he must answer serious questions about his role.'

The dog collar should be a symbol of trust and moral rectitude, but for Sonya Brown it now has an opposite effect.

When Sonya, who had been abused as a child by her father, began visiting a hospital chaplain for counselling she felt secure. 'The collar gave me a feeling of protection and safety,' she said.

But, according to her distressing account, at one meeting, 'I was very, very upset and very depressed. He got off his chair and knelt down before me. He offered me his handkerchief, put his arms round me, cuddled me, kissed me, then touched my breasts and put his hands between my legs. I felt confused, disorientated, upset and left the room in tears.'

Sonya says she continued to see the chaplain, as she desperately depended on his support. One afternoon, however, she claims he visited her at home and they had sex. Sonya, who was married with children, admits that at first she felt special. A week later, however, she realised she had made a terrible mistake. But, in a state of severe depression, she felt powerless.

In March 2000, she claims that the chaplain brutally raped her in a toilet at a cemetery where she had gone to visit her sister's grave. 'I was very upset and went to the toilet in a very distressed state. (He) followed me ... In an instant the door was closed and locked.

'My trousers were pulled down and he was touching me. I said, "No, please get out". He smiled. He turned me round and pushed me against the door. He put his arm across my neck. He raped me. I couldn't scream or shout. I felt sick and confused. I prayed somebody would come into the toilets - somebody, anybody. Nobody did.'

Sonya claims she was then repeatedly raped at her home, but could tell no one.

'He repeatedly told me it was a moving-on process. He told me constantly not to tell anyone, or he could lose his job. He threatened to tell my husband, and most of all that nobody would believe me.

'He kept telling me it was our secret. I was terrified and kept my mouth shut - until the day I felt suicidal and reported the incident to another counsellor.'

The hospital held an internal investigation and the chaplain's ministry was told. But it was the chaplain's word against Sheila's, and the hospital took his. He still works there and is allowed on home visits to other vulnerable women.

According to Kennedy, one of the major problems is that the perpetrator is a male member of the clergy who is seen as above reproach. 'The woman is often seen as the seductress who has tempted the priest into a sexual relationship,' she said.

While the tabloid press feasts on tales of randy vicars and sex-starved women pouncing on priests, the truth is much more complex.

Some victims said they believed they had been 'groomed' by a cleric just as a paedophile prepares his victims.

Sheila, now a senior magistrate, said, 'I now believe I was targeted from the word go, and he drew me in. And I now know there were at least three others. When he learnt I had been abused as a child he used this to put me in a vulnerable position. He used to come round to my house with his dog collar on and get me talking about abuse, and gave me what he called special hugs which he said would help heal me. This meant putting his hands down my pants. He then used to masturbate. It was ritualistic and he made us pray together.'

Sheila felt like a paedophile victim in another way. The Church of England would not take her complaint seriously unless she made it formal, which meant going public.

'I wanted to deal with this informally. They didn't want to help me. That is why I feel terribly betrayed. They wouldn't help me. They seemed more interested in burying the story.'

· The names of the victims have been changed to protect their identities.

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis by Luke Ford, at

The string of accusations by grown women against various rabbis, that said rabbis have used their position to manipulate them into having sex with them, marks a sad trend in the politics of sexuality, as well as the politics of Jewish egalitarianism.

There should be legitimate cases in which women may turn to the law against abusive men of authority. Employers are not permitted to demand sexual favors, or even to use sexual language, under penalty of law. And minors are not even permitted the right to concede to sexual advances. Statutory rape is rape is rape.

But when a grown woman depicts a rabbi's religious position as an argument to absolve her of responsibility for having adulterous sex, it infantilizes her, and sets back the cause of women's egalitarian role in religious society. If women are so helpless that an authoritative gaze from a clergyman, or even concerted pressure, even nasty, abusive pressure, can cause them to succumb and have sex with him, we must conclude that it's too soon to permit women to have regular intercourse (no pun intended) in an open and unrestrictive fashion. We must shoo all our women into the house and bind them in chastity belts, because they're childlike and unable to withstand temptation.

A society of victims, unable to accept responsibility for their messes, is an infantilized society, one incapable of fending for itself spiritually and otherwise. We mustn't give in to the temptation of blaming our troubles on others. It is something only children do. Indeed, children and feeble minded people are entitled to be treated as potential victims. Grownups must account for their failures, even in the bedroom.

Jane (who had a relationship with rabbi Worch) replies (and I've edited down her letter for various temporary reasons):

Yanover's letter sounds all well and good. However, there is still no accounting for those who are in rabbinical positions primarily for the ego-gratification of power-over-others, using their mentoring and supposed 'spiritual' authority as tools of seduction. Has he no concern about those who pervert and abuse Judaism in this manner?

Yanover wants to talk about the so-called 'infantalizing' of women, that's a crock. The minute all the women who've been abused by these cretins...speak up is the minute they stop being infantalized. For more on being infantalized, in fact, he should ask...about... 'Age-Play'.

Of course Yanovers' going to have a "different perspective" on "these issues", when one of his main goals is to get you to remove your Profile page on his friend!

Here's a suggestion for digging a bit deeper as a journalist. When those supporters tell you things like "he's the only rabbi who really understood them", or "the relationship was healing" or "therapeutic" ---dig deeper.

Ask exactly what they mean, why, etc. If you dig deep enough, you'll eventually end up getting similar stories that we who came forward to complain have told--except with a different spin, of course, if they are still currently involved.

Those of us who've come out on the other side, when we hear things like that, the alarm bells go off. It's what we, too, once thought and felt. But manipulation can be a fine art, and in the hands of certain narcissistic craftsmen, even the best of people can be duped for long periods of time.

But do try to get more of his supporters to speak up. And be sure to question/ask them all about the BDSM Kabbala (yes it exists, two women I know have it although I've never seen it), ask them how their experiences of "timed orgasms" from his "voice-control" fits in with his teachings on Judaism, 'k?

Yori Yanover responds:


It's disturbing to argue with an anonymous person, "Jane," while I'm presenting a full name, and my address and phone number are in the White Pages. Why would she fear exposure by having her identity revealed to me? What is the implication about who I am, that this Jane fears criticizing my letter using her full name? What is the implication regarding the veracity and acceptability of her own views when she's not there for an open discussion, but prefers to hide behind a pseudonym? What is the implication when this blog gives equal credence to both views, when one comes from a real man and the other from what could very well be a fictional woman?

"Jane" suggests that it's a bad thing that rabbis "pervert and abuse Judaism" by "using their mentoring and supposed 'spiritual' authority as tools of seduction." I couldn't agree more. But why does that absolve all who sleep with them of personal responsibility? Or, as generations of mothers used to say, "If he told you to jump off the Empire State Building you'd also do it?" Give me a break, barring physical or other violent enforcement, people, men and women, tend to sleep with those they want to sleep with. You slept with your louse of a rabbi it's your fault, unless you are a child or a moron (legally).

"The minute all the women who've been abused by these cretins...speak up is the minute they stop being infantilized," says "Jane." Actually, no, that's when they realize how badly they've messed up and are looking for a way to salvage the life they've ruined by pinning the blame on the guy they just did it with. It's the post-coital cry of Rape, and it don't wash.

And what am I to make of the assertion that "Of course Yanover's going to have a 'different perspective' on 'these issues,' when one of his main goals is to get you to remove your Profile page on his friend!"? Is this a grownup kind of discourse? Is this a rebuttal to anything I wrote, or an attempt to smear me by talking about my supposed intentions rather than my expressed opinion? This "Jane" could just as easily have written, "Of course Yanover has this perspective, because he's overweight, owes money at the grocery store and moonlights as a bouncer at Studio 54," with identical relevance to the discussion at hand.

The only credible proposal "Jane" puts forth is that charismatic manipulation is tantamount to an assault, which would absolve the victim of responsibility for adultery. But what she fails to provide is a single book of laws, Jewish, secular, Muslim, anything, which backs this assertion. She's plain wrong, and her exclamation that those manipulative, charismatic rabbis are perverting Judaism, pales before the kind of damage she and the victim movement is doing to the Jewish idea of responsibility, which is essential to the very Jewish idea of T'shuva. This is why on Yom Kippur own chests and not on the chest of the charismatic rabbi standing next to us.

There's no free lunch, "Jane," no matter how many times you scream that it's the rabbi who made you eat.

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yanover needs to wake up to the fact that when such claims are made repeatedly by NUMEROUS former partners it becomes a clear pattern that can only be dismissed by those who refuse to face facts. His attempts to diminish ALL women as being infantile through this argument simply shows him as being the same sort of mysoginist jerk as his friend and mentor Mr. Worch.

You might want to ask Yanover what exactly he "gets" out of supporting his "rebbe". Does Worch share all his sexual exploits with women 'round the world with him? Does Yanover get off on how Worch has honed his manipulative skills over the years?

Please inform Mr. Yanover that all the various women who have stepped forward to speak out on those who pervert their positions of power---including his friend-----are by no means part of the 'victim movement', but of the 'exposing these damaging frauds' movement. Yes, each individual woman was responsible when they stepped into these relationships-----and each took equal responsibility when they walked out of them. They're hardly victims. The true *victims* are the ones who so foolishly continue to support these charlatans, especially when they are "well aware of their failures as human beings" over the years.

Please inform him we do take consideration of the Jewish idea of responsibility----the responsibility to inform and warn others that there's a fraud in their midst who has no business whatsoever passing themselves off as any kind of 'spiritual' teacher.

At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, we really have to consider it quite pathetic, really, this Yoran Yawnover jumping on to the Tendler bandwagon and trying to blast the Tendler survivors.

Another example of poor Worchie sending out his goons 'cause he's jealous some other pervert is getting all the attention.

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not one of these women is a victim of anything.

quite possibly, they have perpetrated one of the worst libels in modern Jewish history.

alternatively, if they are to be believed, they are quite willing adultresses.

leaving the issue of RMT aside, let us turn our attention to these women and the bizarre manner in which certain groups "protect" their identities as some sort of "victim". By their claims, they were all willing adultresses, both by civil definition and certainly halacha. How did so many ostensibly orthodox women become co-opted into supporting such basic violations of marital fidelity --given your acceptance of their claims without question. You cannot have it both ways, and the article posted at Luke Ford cuts to the core of the issue.

Shame on all of the women who defend wanton lust and adultery over halacha and marital fidelity, then wrap themselves in self-righteous frumkeit.

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You cannot have it both ways, and the article posted at Luke Ford cuts to the core of the issue.

Shame on all of the women who defend wanton lust and adultery over halacha and marital fidelity, then wrap themselves in self-righteous frumkeit."

---------The letter to Ford from Yanover cuts to the core of nothing, it's merely more bullying blowhardiness from someone in deep denial.

Shame on him, for aiding and abetting a predator.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yori Yanover wrote:

"Shame on all of the women who defend wanton lust and adultery over halacha and marital fidelity, then wrap themselves in self-righteous frumkeit."

And you, Yanover, were aware of all your rebbe's adulterous affairs during his marriage.

What does that make you?

At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was SO pleased to see the letter from behind the mechitza, finally breaking open the dam of silence for all of us here in the shul.

I have raised my daughters to be proper frum girls, and they are not stupid at all. That means making certain they understand that if they ever end up on all fours on the carpet of a girlfriend's home (much less the Rebbetzin) with her husband, even once would be 10,000 times too many to claim a lack of judgment. Now you expect me to look these girls in the eye and tell them that married women who were doing it, by their own word, over two years time were "victims"? How dare you try to force us to repeat such drivel and nonsense to our daughters. The Cause does not justify denying the truth, and you fool no one.

I wish the supporters of these women would help a simply Monsey mother with the math: how many times, exactly, need a "frum" married women gets down on all fours for a married man before she is no longer a "victim" but willing participant -- once, ten times? twenty times? please give me a benchmark for use with my girls.

When my eldest comes home from her new apartment on the Upper West Side and tells me that she has been having an affair with one of the senior partners in her Wall Street bank, shall I console her as a "victim" of his authority, because he said he loved her and would leave his wife for her, or smack her across the face? And that presumes she has not yet taken her own matrimony vows under the chuppa! Imagine of this is after years of marriage!

And when I come home early one day next year to find one of these "victims" dancing the horizontal momba with my husband in my bedroom, do I accept her explanation that "life has been particularly tough of late, and she was mesmerized by my husband's authority (as in more wealth and power than her husband) and was a helpless victim that could not help herself? Have you declared open season on my husband and marriage next?

The comment about how we compartmentalize frumkeit and what we see on Sex and the City was perfect.

How DARE you try to co-opt us into blindly and silently supporting your nonsensical support of these women as victims! The are homewreckers and nymphomaniacs! It feels so good to finally be able to say that publicly and openly!

The person JOFA most needs to ask mechila this year, however, will be some poor 11 year old girl molested next year by a teacher or Rabbi she trusted, who has no popular support because of the STUPIDITY of trying to equate her victimhood and suffering with the fallootin' tootin' of a bunch of married women who all knew better but understood that no matter what, they could claim a free pass from any responsiblity to their marriage vows -- or mine!

An Outraged KNH Mother

At 9:17 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Why It's Not an Affair
Rev. Patricia L. Liberty
Rev. Liberty is the Executive Director of Associates in Education and Prevention in Pastoral Practice, PO Box 63, 44 Main Street, North Kingstown, RI 02852 401-295-0698

The issue of sexual contact between clergy and congregants is complex. Whenever a minister is exposed for such behavior the aftermath is traumatic for everyone involved. Churches feel betrayed, victims/survivors are marginalized and misunderstood and the families of all involved suffer greatly. This article is intended as an informational and educational forum to increase understanding about sexual contact between clergy and congregants.

Oftentimes sexual contact between clergy and congregants is dismissed as an "affair" between "consenting adults". This is a misnomer for several reasons. First, the relationship between a clergy person and his/her congregants is professional in nature. That means that clergy have a responsibility to use the special knowledge, skills and gifts of their call for the benefit of those they serve namely their congregants. It also means that clergy have a responsibility to establish healthy professional relationships. Because clergy carry moral and spiritual authority, as well as professional power it is ALWAYS their responsibility to maintain an appropriate professional boundary.

In practical terms this translates into clergy not pursuing or initiating sexual relationships with congregants (regardless of marital status of either party) and not responding to the sexual advances of congregants who may be interested in a relationship with their pastor. It also means that clergy will not engage in sexualized behavior with congregants. Sexualized behavior includes jokes, inappropriate touching, pornography, flirting, inappropriate gift giving, etc.

Since the ministerial relationship is professional in nature, it is inappropriate to call a sexual encounter an affair. Affair is a term used to describe a sexual liaison between peers, or equals. In addition, the term affair focuses attention on the sexual nature of the behavior rather than the professional violation. It also places equal responsibility for the behavior on the congregant. Since clergy have a responsibility to set and maintain appropriate boundaries, those who are violated by clergy's inappropriate sexual behavior are not to be blamed even if they initiated the contact.

This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp. We want to blame the congregant (usually but not always a woman) for the sexually inappropriate behavior of the minister (usually but not always a man). As tempting as this may be, it is wrong because it is always the responsibility of the minister to maintain the integrity of the ministerial relationship. The temptation to blame the congregant is also a reflection of the difficulty people have believing that a person who carries moral and spiritual authority, who is respected and trusted, can also be guilty of misusing the power and authority of the office. That denial and confusion causes tremendous damage to victims who need understanding and support as well as to churches that need clear, ethical, theological and faith based intervention to understand their betrayal. Blaming the congregant also means a failure to call the abusing pastor to genuine accountability. The focus needs to remain on the violation of the ministerial relationship.

The term "consenting adults" also reflects a misunderstanding of sexual behavior between clergy and congregants. It is assumed that because two people are adults that there is consent. In reality, consent is far more complex. In order for two people to give authentic consent to sexual activity there must be equal power. Clergy have more power because of the moral and spiritual authority of the office of pastor. In addition, education, community respect and public image add to the imbalance of power between a clergy person and a congregant. Finally clergy may have the additional power of psychological resources, especially when a congregant seeks pastoral care in the midst of personal or spiritual crisis, life change, illness or death of a loved one. This precludes the possibility of meaningful consent between a congregant and their pastor.

In our work with survivors of clergy abuse we often ask the question, "Would this have happened if he/she was your neighbor and not your pastor." Overwhelmingly the answer is "no". The witness of survivors underscores the truth that the clergy role carries with it a power and authority that make meaningful consent impossible.

When speaking of sexual contact between clergy and congregants, the term professional misconduct or sexual exploitation is more accurate. It keeps the emphasis on the professional relationship and the exploitative nature of sexual behavior rather than placing blame on the victim/survivor. "An affair between consenting adults" is never an appropriate term to use when describing sexual contact between a minister and congregant. Accurate naming of the behavior is an important step to reshaping our thinking about this troubling reality in the church, how we name it reveals our belief about it. Holding clergy accountable with compassion and purpose and providing healing resources to churches and survivors is dependent on an accurate starting point. Only when we name the behavior accurately can we hope to have a healing outcome for all involved.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who are the two midwives?"

Old news.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who are the two midwives?"

Old news.

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke Ford

For anyone who has followed Internet journalism over the past year, his story is eerily familiar:

He is a boyish, self-taught, 32-year-old Web journalist who produces an eponymous one-man news and gossip Web site out of his low-rent bachelor bungalow south of Beverly Hills. He cheerily publishes unchecked and damaging gossip. He is attacked as irresponsible and threatened with lawsuits. Occasionally, he breaks legitimate stories that have a huge impact.

Meet Luke Ford, chronicler of the porn world.

Since February, Ford has broken stories revealing that four porn actresses and one porn actor had tested positive for HIV. The news dropped like a bomb in the Los Angeles region's multibillion-dollar porn industry, where AIDS is everyone's darkest fear. The report was picked up by Adult Video News (AVN), which led to a hastily arranged April meeting of more than 40 film producers, who made an unprecedented agreement to "encourage" the use of condoms on the sets of porn films.

"Luke Ford has been way out front with the HIV porn story," says Nick Ravo, a business writer at the New York Times, who occasionally writes freelance articles about the adult entertainment industry. "[He] is a quirky Matt Drudge character."

Sitting in a tiny, bedless, $400-a-month apartment with little more than a VCR and a floor covered with porn magazines and Jewish theology books, Ford welcomes the comparison.

"We are both eccentric. We're both breaking big stories," says the handsome, casually dressed Australian, speaking in a low tone. "But we've also both made serious mistakes. We both need to work harder on checking our sources. We're both dealing with a lot of gossip and sort of disreputable stuff, except that I cover porn."

Since starting in the summer of 1997, Ford has become the favorite whipping boy of the U.S. porn industry, a self-styled "family" of 500 or so performers, directors, producers, distributors, screenwriters and technicians concentrated almost exclusively in the San Fernando Valley. Ford breaks many of the secretive society's taboos: he posts stars' real names, he discusses the role of the "mafia," and he reveals who has had cosmetic surgery.

"The X-rated industry prefers to be a legendary milieu rather than a fact-oriented milieu," laments Bill "Papa Bear" Margold, a 52-year-old former actor who founded the Protecting Adult Welfare foundation, an industry support group with a 24-hour hotline.

A former reporter for the now defunct Santa Monica Outlook, Margold has become an informal industry spokesman.

"Luke Ford is a creation of his time. He's the journalistic suckerfish on the shark of X. We can't get rid of him, and he goes off and does whatever he wants," says Margold. "He's very interesting in a perverse way. But he's a lazy journalist and brings a lot a misery."

In May, for example, Ford brought misery upon retired porn actress Kaithlyn Ashley when he published an erroneous rumor that she was infected with HIV. Ford's friends, it turned out, had confused her name with a Hungarian HIV-positive actress, Caroline, whose real name is similar to Ashley's. Ford quickly printed a retraction.

A few weeks later, he reported that veteran actor Marc Wallice had tested positive and had likely spread the virus to three actresses, including Caroline. Wallice and industry professionals who monitor performers' HIV tests were furious, and they won a retraction. Then, just one week later, Wallice came up positive in a new test.

"Luke Ford is like a blind pig lost in the forest," Margold says. "The pig might find a lot of worms, poison ivy, but sometimes truffles, also. In the Marc Wallice breakout, he was lucky the rumors winded up being factual."

Tousling his teenage haircut, Ford defended posting the rumors without bothering to call Wallice. "I couldn't get a hold of him," he says. The positive test one week later, he says, was no coincidence.

"Give me a break," he squeaks. "Marc Wallice is known to have faked HIV test results two years ago. He has done gay porn and IV drugs. He was semi-blackballed by some producers in the industry for year. He might have been positive two years ago. It's not clear. When sources tipped me about his status, I knew I had news here."

Ford called his error about Kaithlyn Ashley "very embarrassing," but he claimed that the postings on HIV sparked an overwhelming demand for performers like Wallice to take a proper test. The result, says Ravo, has had a strong impact on the industry.

"If it hadn't been for Luke Ford, [this HIV outbreak] may have not gone public and could have been covered up," Ravo says. "I'm not sure AVN would have gone digging and published it."

AVN reporter Mark Kernes says his magazine considers Ford untrustworthy, and says it waited to publish the news about Wallice until "it would turn from rumor into fact."

Margold, whose foundation helps find health care coverage for performers, says the industry didn't need Ford to act against the spreading of AIDS.

"There's nothing we care about with more seriousness than the health and the lives of 'the kids' in the industry," he says. "Calling Luke Ford the Matt Drudge of porn is giving him way too much credit. The news spread perfectly without him."

Anyone familiar with the porn industry would raise an eyebrow at that assertion, considering the distorted quality of news in this rumor-fueled family of frequently bizarre characters. People traditionally stay informed through casting agencies, friends, or the grapevine, says Jeffrey J. Douglas, an attorney and executive director of the industry's trade association, the Free Speech Coalition.

"Internal information is informal; there is no Hollywood Reporter," says Douglas. AVN, Margold says, is widely seen more as "an advertising orifice" than as an information source.

"I definitely stumbled into a niche there," says Ford. "There was no one doing what I'm doing now, exploring this virgin territory."

As a child, Ford wanted to become a missionary. His father, a strict Seventh Day Adventist evangelist, was a controversial figure in Australia.

"Sexual sins were the biggest sins, therefore I was attracted and used pornography a lot as a teenager for blasphematory release," Ford recalls. When he moved to California in 1977, Ford started writing for his high-school paper, developing a taste for unearthing scandals such as favoritism on the football team. He later worked for the news department of KAHI/KHYL radio in Sacramento.

From ages 21-27, Ford was bedridden with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and as he began recovering, he converted to Judaism. Two years later, he moved to Los Angeles, and soon noticed he couldn't find investigative books about the porn industry.

Intrigued, Ford began doing research for his own book, which he says will be published by Prometheus next spring. The first editions of his crudely designed, mono-color Web site were fueled by leftovers from his research, which he supplemented with reports from film sets, gossip lifted from newsgroups, and essays on breast implants.

The site has links to Ford's other site,, an unauthorized collection of information about the Jewish radio theologian. You can also click on titles such as "Girls" and "Cybererotica," which directly link to commercial porn sites.

"I don't like cheesy banners, I don't want naked girls on my site, so I have discreet links to my advertisers," Ford explains. "I know it's confusing but that's how I make my living."

He says he now makes about $3,000 a month, which will allow him to hire an assistant. He claims the site attracts 50,000 hits a day.

It is not a sophisticated site.

"In terms of design, it's certainly the worst site I've seen in the past three or four years," says Mike Godwin, counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet advocacy group. "It does make Matt Drudge look pretty good."

But Godwin is fascinated by Ford's pack-rat instincts of collecting every transcript of every tape-recorded conversation he has. 'It gives people from the industry and fans a sense of connection," he says.

Readers can feel like they are part of this strange world, and there is something human about how Ford will write about embarrassing situations, like when a beautiful actress vehemently refuses to accept his offer of a kosher cake, or when superagent Jim South tries to kick him out of his office.

"Unlike Matt Drudge, Ford lets people criticize him and posts the criticism on his site," Godwin notes. "No one else would probably do what he does with so much devotion and work… It's a labor of love."

But subjects of his articles don't paint so rosy a picture.

"Luke first seems extremely pleasant in person, but he has a gift to create controversy and bring out malice," says the Free Speech Coalition's Douglas.

"The bio he wrote on me has been exaggerated, taken out of context, and written in a tone to shock and appall the reader," says recently-retired porn actress Asia Carrera, who now makes her money running her own Web site. 'When he came to my house to interview me, he attacked my beliefs, and scoffed at the pain in my past, telling me I needed to 'get over it,' " she says. "Very sensitive journalistic professionalism there."

Brandy Alexandre, a former porn star who says she started the first porn news site in cyberspace in 1993, and whose site has been largely overshadowed by Ford's, says 90% of what Ford posts is erroneous.

"Luke Ford thinks he's more powerful than he really is," Alexandre says. "He can't write, he doesn't have good information. He's an evil little hack."

Adult screenwriter and journalist Martin Brimmer says he uses Ford's site for research and checks it regularly, but takes the information with a grain of salt.

"Luke Ford doesn't stop to apply editorial expertise," Brimmer stresses. "He needs to slow down in that respect. Ninety percent of his content is very good but he needs to corroborate his facts. And he needs to be more respectful towards people in the industry."

Douglas says Ford is not truly useful to the porn community. "Luke is obsessed with the industry, the Jews in the industry, the mafia, which is totally ridiculous, and he's hostile to most of the things he's obsessed with," he says.

"Ford is of no use to anyone," snaps Carrera. "Gossip is of no use to anyone. Ford never chooses to reveal anything positive or enlightening, or even anything remotely close to newsworthy. He's a failed author relegated to the level of yellow journalist."

(This reporter involuntarily experienced Ford's methods when he published an error-filled transcript of an informal conversation we had about the Eastern European porn industry. Ford sent his notes by e-mail and asked for clarifications, but only after he had already posted the imperfect notes on his site. He apologized and quickly retracted the transcript.)

Ford knows his methods make industry people shriek. He's not ashamed of not bothering to call the subject of a story, as in the Marc Wallice case. "People are not good sources on themselves, generally speaking," he retorts. "It's a business built on lies. Most people don't use their real names; this business has been illegal until recently and it's still semi-illegal. It's a business of hoods, gangsters, thugs, mafia, pimps and prostitutes, with few real offices or semi-offices. It's very difficult to nail down what is true and it's an endless task."

He says that when he eventually tracks down people and e-mails them his notes, they usually "go ballistic." "They start screaming that I'm publishing lies. But these people are used to being in their own little world; they are not used to dealing with real journalism," Ford says.

Ford is perfectly aware he causes pain, but only, he says, because he is "usually telling the truth."

"People insult me but they still talk to me," he says. "A lot of people have mixed feelings -- they hate me but they also respect me. Some think they'd better talk to me if they want to get their message out. They figure they can seduce me."

He says actors use his site to learn about directors they don't know. "They can check [a director's] profile on my site and learn if he has a bad reputation for writing bad checks or working for the mafia," he says.

Ford has yet to be served with court papers. "I get threats all the time, never taken into court yet," he says. "Each time I receive [lawsuit threats], I make a copy and paste it on the Web site, because they are so ludicrous."

His site is free for now, but will go to a subscription-based model some time this fall, says Ron Levy, manager of Voice Media, Inc., which has been Ford's main sponsor since January. "We'll add pictures and we'll revamp it," he says. "I think everybody in the industry would want to subscribe."

Ford says he is still ambivalent about his chosen profession, and is not always comfortable with how it has affected his life.

"Sometimes I think it's acceptable, sometimes disgusting. It costs me a lot of social stigma. I was turned out from my favorite synagogue, my family is furious, my friends too," he says. "I'm lucky I got the Sabbath: at least one day a week I don't touch the computer and I don't deal with porn."


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