Friday, April 29, 2005

Jewish Press letters on Rabbi Mordechai Tendler/RCA/Awareness Center

16 Comments:

At 5:56 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.thejewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=4936

Letters To The Editor:
Posted 4/28/2005
By Jewish Press Readers
...
1)
Echoes Of McCarthy

The RCA’s actions in the Rabbi Mordecai Tendler case remind me of the tactics employed by Senator Joseph McCarthy in his anti-Communist crusade of the 1950`s. The question of whether or not there were subversives operating in key positions in the U.S. government was overshadowed by McCarthy’s practice of making public accusations against certain individuals, claiming to have evidence against them — evidence that somehow was never forthcoming.

In the course of the Army/McCarthy hearings of 1954, the Army’s chief counsel, Joseph Welch, made a statement that has become part of American folklore. Unfortunately, it now seems relevant to the RCA/Tendler matter. McCarthy had launched an irrelevant attack on a young lawyer who worked in Welch’s law firm, and Welch responded with: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?” McCarthy’s reputation never recovered.

I just do not understand why the RCA refuses to convene a bet din and present its charges in the time-honored and halachic way.

Michoel Glassberg

New York, NY

2)
Guilty Until

Proven Innocent?

I followed up reader David Pollack’s letter to the editor last week and visited the Awareness Center’s website. I was astounded by what I found. In a section called “Cases of Clergy Abuse and Other Trusted Officials,” there are more than two hundred individuals listed — but relatively few of them, by the Awareness Center’s own record-keeping, have been convicted of any crime! Most of the people on that list are the subjects of unproven allegations and charges.

Not only should the RCA have nothing to do with the Awareness Center, it should be in the forefront of efforts to discredit this font of lashon hora and motzi shem rah. And I’m terribly disappointed to learn of Rabbi Yosef Blau’s involvement with such an outfit. What are we coming to in the frum community when even our enlightened Orthodox leaders get caught up in such hysteria?

Suri Levitt

 
At 5:57 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Echoes Of McCarthy

?????

There was a full independent investigation that took over a year.

http://www.rabbis.org/news/article.cfm?id=100587

"3. The accused was given repeated opportunities prior to the issuance of the decision to respond to the charges as shared with him, as well as to appear in an appropriate hearing and face his accusers. However he, through his legal counsel, as well as through his wife, clearly and unambiguously turned down in writing such invitations to appear before the Vaad Hakavod. He requested instead that we rely on his written submissions, which we did, in addition to statements made by him in an interview by an independent investigator commissioned by the Vaad Hakavod. Only after the decision was communicated to him, did he offer to appear before the Vaad Hakavod."

 
At 6:10 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>I was astounded by what I found.
>In a section called “Cases of
>Clergy Abuse and Other Trusted
>Officials,” there are more than
>two hundred individuals listed —
>but relatively few of them, by
>the Awareness Center’s own
>record-keeping, have been
>convicted of any crime! Most of
>the people on that list are the
>subjects of unproven allegations
>and charges.

Convictions are irrelevant. The nature of crimes committed in private without witnesses combined with severe Statute of Limitations makes it difficult to get criminal convictions. The Catholic priest databases contain several thousand names and only a mere couple of dozen have convictions.

Should Jewish women and children have fewer protections than the Catholic community? I say no.

http://www.survivorsfirst.org/
http://www.survivorsfirst.org/list_notes.html

>Not only should the RCA have
>nothing to do with the Awareness
>Center,

They don't.

>it should be in the forefront of
>efforts to discredit this font
>of lashon hora and motzi shem
>rah.

It might be easier going after those who help survivors/victims than dealing with the sexual predators and enablers that abuse them. The RCA has been fairly ineffective in dealing with in the past decades:

1) Rabbi Baruch Lanner
2) Rabbi Ephraim Bryks
3) Rabbi Israel Kestenbaum
4) Rabbi Matis Weinberg
5) Rabbi Mordechai Tendler
6) Rabbi Aron Tendler (the Hollywood one)

>And I’m terribly disappointed to
>learn of Rabbi Yosef Blau’s
>involvement with such an outfit.
>What are we coming to in the
>frum community when even our
>enlightened Orthodox leaders get
>caught up in such hysteria?

Hysteria? Sounds like the denial that has prevaded the Jewish community for years.

The same sort of deniers in the Catholic community that wanted this website removed:

http://www.survivorsfirst.org/

The arguments are certainly the same.

If the leadership of the Jewish community does not protect women, children and even men from sexual predators in its midst, they create a void that others will fill. Whether that be the Awareness Center or others, that void will be filled.

That's a guarantee.

 
At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget about two more very important cases that Luke Ford uncovered:

Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Rabbi Elizer Eisgrau.

None of the Jewish papers had the courage to publish those stories. The problem isn't with The Awareness Center, Rabbi Mark Dratch or Rabbi Yosef Blau, the problem is with individuals who have a lot of power and control who can influence the Jewish news media in NOT publishing the truth. Everyone is afraid of loosing funding.

I say B'H' to Jewish Whistleblower The Awareness Center and Luke Ford.

 
At 8:38 AM, Anonymous JWB-blows-more-than-whistles said...

"There was a full independent investigation that took over a year."

McCarthy took more than a year, and spent massive amounts of taxpayer money in the process.

Neither the length of time nor the amount of money spent gives credence to a flawed investigation.

JWB is Clueless.

 
At 8:44 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Next you'll be comparing it to the Joel Commission.

>McCarthy took more than a year,
>and spent massive amounts of
>taxpayer money in the process.

But he ran and controlled every aspect of the investigations.

Praesidium was independent of th RCA.

>Neither the length of time nor >the amount of money spent gives
>credence to a flawed
>investigation.

Flawed because you say so?

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CLEARLY ANOTHER DEFENDER OF MT WHO DOESN'T KNOW HALACHAH, DOESN'T CARE ABOUT IT (EXCEPT AS IT SUITES THEIR WISHES) OR BOTH/ ANYONE WHO HAS LEARNED HILCHOS DAYANIM IN CHOSHEN MISHPAT (THAT LEAVES OUT ANYONE WHO HAS NOT YET LEFT KNH, I BELIEVE) KNOWS THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEEDING A B"D OR NOT IS THAT YOU ONLY NEED A B"D FOR AUTHORITY NOT FOR CLARIFICATION OF HALACHAH. THAT IS TO SAY I CAN GO TO MY RAV AND ASK HIM WHETHER- BASED ON THE FACTS AND HALACHAH- I SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT DO SOMETHING IN DINIE MOMENOS, OR WHTHER I HAVE TO PAY SOMEONE DAMAGES, REPAY A LOAN OR NOT ETC. I DO NOT NEED TO GO TO A B"D. THAT IS ONLY NECC. IN ORDER FOR THE PESAK TO BE BINDING ON OTHERS. WHAT THE RCA ARE CORRECTLY SAYING IS THAT THEY CLAIM NO AUTHORITY OVER KNH, YU, 5 RABBIS ETC/ ETC. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE. YU HAD A MEETING AND DECIDED TO DO THE RIGHT THING BASED ON THE RCA DECISION- KOL HAKAVOD!!!! THE RABBIS WALKED- AGAIN BECAUSE THEY WERE MORAL, ETHICAL PEOPLE WHO KNEW THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE INVESTIGATION AND ITS RESULTS. THEY KNEW THAT TENDLER'E DEFENCE WAS RIDDLED WITH LIES AND SPECIIOUS ARGUMENTS AND REJECTED IT. THAT WAS THEIR RIGHT AND IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO- IT WASN'T BECAUSE THEY WERE FORCED BY A COURT DECISION. KNH HAS FAILED TO DO THE RIGHT THING- AND THE RCA IS DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT, NOR CAN THEY UNFORTUNATLEY FOR THE COMMUNITY AND KLALLL YISRAEL. NOT THAT KNH MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT WAKE UP TO REALITY (THE FAKE PESAKIM AND THE LIES, THE ARROGANCE AND THE INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR OF TENDLER...); BUT THAT THEY WILL DO SO AT THEIR DISCRECION, NOT BECAUSE OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE RCA WITHOUT A B"D! THAT IS THE POINT! SORRY IF THE AM 'ARATZIM DON'T GET IT OR THE WEASELS DEFENDING TENDLER DON'T WANT TO GET IT!
OF COURSE THE FACT THAT VERY CREDIBLE PEPLE OF THE RCA INVESTIGATED FOR A YEAR, BASED ON A PROCESS APPROAVED BY AND INCLUDING SOME OF THE FOREMOST POSKIM OF THE US, IS RELEVENT TO DECISIONS THAT ALL OF US HAVE TO MAKE ABOUT TENDLER AND WHETHER HE IS FIT TO BE A RABBI. THAT IN NO WAY MEANS THAT THE RCA WAS PRETENDING TO DO THE WORK OF A B"D WITHOUT ONE! LET'S STOP EITHER BEING- OR PRETENDING TO BE IGNORANT AND STUPID HERE!!!

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"flawed"-
the only thing flawed is how anyone can attend KNH when a lying (and that is a publically established fact! he said at the meeting that he didn't meet w/ women behind closed doors which many many people in NH know to be a lie etc etc etc)
dangerous am haaretz like tendler be "rabbi"- what a sick sick joke!!!

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At 7:31 AM, Anonymous said...

Don't forget about two more very important cases that Luke Ford uncovered:

Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Rabbi Elizer Eisgrau."

What cases? Did you read what they wrote?

No facts. Nothing but rumor and innuendo.

What a joke!

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These spinners are unbelievable. I hope Danny Boy is at least getting a bundle in olam hazeh to make what he will pay for all of this in olam habbah worthwhile! "macarthyism"???
boy do you have the wrong analogy! try Nixon and Clinton on for size and you will be alot closer to the tendler affair!!!

 
At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB:

You've erased most of the posting on the next blog concerning the Jewish Press publishing the second opinion of the Bet Din. And, we are no longer able to post.

What's up with that ?

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>JWB:
>
>You've erased most of the
>posting on the next blog
>concerning the Jewish Press
>publishing the second opinion of
>the Bet Din. And, we are no
>longer able to post.
>
>What's up with that ?

1) I only erased spam and a fake post in my name.
2) Blogger technical difficulties, try back shortly or post here.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Appears to be working now.

What's up with that ?

 
At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 7:00 PM, Ex President said...

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous said...
"......... Yes, a person who was anti-Tendler was intimidated into staying...taken behind closed doors by Esformes and when he emerged from the famous office, lo and behold he was no pro-Tendler. Yes, quite clearly, people are being intimidated into staying!!!! There is fear in New Hempstead!!!!!"

I'm not even sure when this post was made, but since I recently read what was written above I wanted to set the record straight in response to the post. Since I, Fred B, was the one that Rabbi Esformes asked to speak to privately, not "taken behind closed doors", and at my suggestion we went into Rabbi Tendler's office, let me state for the record that Rabbi Esformes never attempted to intimidate me in any way during our conversation nor did he threaten me, etc. He was simply questioning the reason's for my position and what others felt about the situation. He was respectful and quite concerned over what was going on at KNH. My decision and reversal of opinion on the matter came as a result of my conversation with both Michelle and Rabbi Tendler in their home after the Shul meeting that Sunday night. I realized, just as many others have come to realize, that the Tendler's are being erroneously maligned and that Rabbi Tendler deserves his kehilla's and friend's support. No one is attempting to intimidate anyone at KNH. I would hope that everyone who is in some way connected to this matter are continuing to seek the truth and not the sheker and other distorted comments that are overwhelmingly written on JWB's blog site.

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This week's Jewish Press - JWB is getting slow...


Taking Stock Of The RCA`s Tendler Debacle
Posted 5/4/2005
By Editorial Board

In a series of editorials these past few weeks, The Jewish Press has explored the unfolding story of the Rabbinical Council of America`s expulsion of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler following an investigation conducted under the auspices of the RCA`s Vaad Hakavod.

Significantly, the Jerusalem Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, where Rabbi Tendler had commenced a case against the RCA for its decision to expel him, has twice denounced any action taken against a rabbi that can have adverse affects on the rabbi`s future when it is not the result of the ruling of a bet din. In its first decision the Jerusalem Bet Din said that the defendants, including the RCA and several others named, "are prohibited from damaging or in any way affecting any services provided by, or any status or position of, the Plaintiff [Rabbi Tendler] unless and until the Defendants summon the Plaintiff to a din Torah, in any location in the world, before an official rabbinical bet din or before a bet din constituted through the process of "zablah." In its second decision the Jerusalem Bet Din reaffirmed, explaining,



[I]t is prohibited to take any action which can cause or bring about the dismissal of a rabbi in the Jewish community. Any action which may have such an effect, if such action will be taken, may only be taken through an independent and impartial Bet Din or through the "zablah" process, and not through any investigative committee of the organization wherein the complainants and the individual about whom complainants were made are members:



The RCA`s responses to the Jerusalem Bet Din have been nothing short of stunning. Though the Jerusalem Bet Din twice directly addressed the issue of its jurisdiction, the RCA twice denied that the Jerusalem Bet Din had jurisdiction in the matter. Despite the fact that the Jerusalem Bet Din twice ruled that only a bet din could take any action that can adversely affect the future of a rabbi, the RCA twice asserted that its expulsion of Rabbi Tendler addressed only the issue of his membership, not his future as a rabbi, and that therefore the RCA is, at all events, in compliance with the rulings of the Jerusalem Bet Din. As we demonstrated last week, however, this position of the RCA is patently absurd.

In this connection, we cited a statement of the RCA`s executive vice president, Rabbi Basil Herring, to the effect that loss of RCA membership is important to a rabbi`s future — and therein lies the tale of a disturbing twist to an already unfortunate situation. Rabbi Herring`s quote was part of an article that appeared in the March 25, 2005 print and website editions of The New York Jewish Week and was reported as follows:



While Orthodox synagogues are not required to hire rabbis who are members of the denominations` allied rabbinical groups, being barred from the RCA will make it difficult for him to find work as a congregational rabbi elsewhere, some officials said.

"It`s a serious step for someone`s career," said Rabbi Basil Herring, the RCA`s executive vice president. "The RCA imprimatur is valuable."



Surely, Rabbi Herring`s comment qualified as a "smoking gun" given the official statement of his organization that its expulsion of Rabbi Tendler should properly be viewed only in the context of his membership in their organization. Yet it turns out that Rabbi Herring`s statement was deleted from the piece sometime after the fact — and is conspicuously absent from the article as it now appears on The Jewish Week`s website.

In sum, the RCA persists in defying the Jerusalem Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate by unilaterally rejecting the latter`s jurisdiction and by not proceeding by way of a bet din in the Tendler matter. It also persists in its attempts to write the history of this debacle, as witness its transparent prevarications in trying to get around the rulings of the Jerusalem Bet Din. Most recently, it has, with the apparent complicity of The Jewish Week, attempted to rewrite history as well.

* * *

In the course of our several editorials on the Tendler matter, we expressed our dismay, based upon information we received, over the reported role played by Rabbi Yosef Blau, given his deep involvement with the by now notorious Awareness Center. Last Friday we received an e-mail and telephone message from Rabbi Blau who was in Israel at the time. In both, Rabbi Blau narrowly stated that he has never been a member of the RCA`s Vaad Hakavod and that he “did not participate in the investigation of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and was not part of the decision process." This of course gives rise to a whole host of questions as to his involvement in the process as a whole through others. As of Tuesday afternoon we were unable to reach Rabbi Blau for a follow-up. We hope to have more on this next week.

 
At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous said...
This week's Jewish Press - JWB is getting slow...


Taking Stock Of The RCA`s Tendler Debacle
Posted 5/4/2005
By Editorial Board

In a series of editorials these past few weeks, The Jewish Press has explored the unfolding story of the Rabbinical Council of America`s expulsion of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler following an investigation conducted under the auspices of the RCA`s Vaad Hakavod.

Significantly, the Jerusalem Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, where Rabbi Tendler had commenced a case against the RCA for its decision to expel him, has twice denounced any action taken against a rabbi that can have adverse affects on the rabbi`s future when it is not the result of the ruling of a bet din. In its first decision the Jerusalem Bet Din said that the defendants, including the RCA and several others named, "are prohibited from damaging or in any way affecting any services provided by, or any status or position of, the Plaintiff [Rabbi Tendler] unless and until the Defendants summon the Plaintiff to a din Torah, in any location in the world, before an official rabbinical bet din or before a bet din constituted through the process of "zablah." In its second decision the Jerusalem Bet Din reaffirmed, explaining,



[I]t is prohibited to take any action which can cause or bring about the dismissal of a rabbi in the Jewish community. Any action which may have such an effect, if such action will be taken, may only be taken through an independent and impartial Bet Din or through the "zablah" process, and not through any investigative committee of the organization wherein the complainants and the individual about whom complainants were made are members:



The RCA`s responses to the Jerusalem Bet Din have been nothing short of stunning. Though the Jerusalem Bet Din twice directly addressed the issue of its jurisdiction, the RCA twice denied that the Jerusalem Bet Din had jurisdiction in the matter. Despite the fact that the Jerusalem Bet Din twice ruled that only a bet din could take any action that can adversely affect the future of a rabbi, the RCA twice asserted that its expulsion of Rabbi Tendler addressed only the issue of his membership, not his future as a rabbi, and that therefore the RCA is, at all events, in compliance with the rulings of the Jerusalem Bet Din. As we demonstrated last week, however, this position of the RCA is patently absurd.

In this connection, we cited a statement of the RCA`s executive vice president, Rabbi Basil Herring, to the effect that loss of RCA membership is important to a rabbi`s future — and therein lies the tale of a disturbing twist to an already unfortunate situation. Rabbi Herring`s quote was part of an article that appeared in the March 25, 2005 print and website editions of The New York Jewish Week and was reported as follows:



While Orthodox synagogues are not required to hire rabbis who are members of the denominations` allied rabbinical groups, being barred from the RCA will make it difficult for him to find work as a congregational rabbi elsewhere, some officials said.

"It`s a serious step for someone`s career," said Rabbi Basil Herring, the RCA`s executive vice president. "The RCA imprimatur is valuable."



Surely, Rabbi Herring`s comment qualified as a "smoking gun" given the official statement of his organization that its expulsion of Rabbi Tendler should properly be viewed only in the context of his membership in their organization. Yet it turns out that Rabbi Herring`s statement was deleted from the piece sometime after the fact — and is conspicuously absent from the article as it now appears on The Jewish Week`s website.

In sum, the RCA persists in defying the Jerusalem Bet Din of the Chief Rabbinate by unilaterally rejecting the latter`s jurisdiction and by not proceeding by way of a bet din in the Tendler matter. It also persists in its attempts to write the history of this debacle, as witness its transparent prevarications in trying to get around the rulings of the Jerusalem Bet Din. Most recently, it has, with the apparent complicity of The Jewish Week, attempted to rewrite history as well.

* * *

In the course of our several editorials on the Tendler matter, we expressed our dismay, based upon information we received, over the reported role played by Rabbi Yosef Blau, given his deep involvement with the by now notorious Awareness Center. Last Friday we received an e-mail and telephone message from Rabbi Blau who was in Israel at the time. In both, Rabbi Blau narrowly stated that he has never been a member of the RCA`s Vaad Hakavod and that he “did not participate in the investigation of Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and was not part of the decision process." This of course gives rise to a whole host of questions as to his involvement in the process as a whole through others. As of Tuesday afternoon we were unable to reach Rabbi Blau for a follow-up. We hope to have more on this next week.

 

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