Thursday, April 14, 2005

Jewish Voice and Opinion extensive Rabbi Mordechai Tendler coverage: Part of the RMT "spin machine"

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At 8:39 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://jewishvoiceandopinion.com/a/Tendler1.htm

The April 2005 Issue

1)Israeli Chief Rabbinate Tells RCA: Reinstate Rabbi Tender A Tale of Lies and Midwives

By Susan L. Rosenbluth, The Jewish Voice and Opinion

On April 5, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate ordered the Rabbinical Council of America to reinstate Rabbi Mordecai Tendler unless or until the RCA takes its case against him to either an official “sitting” beit din or a beit din constituted through the process of “zablah,” a court consisting of a rabbinic representative for the plaintiff, one for the defendant, and a third rabbi chosen by the first two.

On March 18, the RCA expelled Rabbi Tendler, a scion of one of the most respected rabbinic families in the Orthodox world, claiming he had refused to cooperate with the rabbinic organization’s “Vaad Hakavod,” which was investigating charges against him of abuse, and had refused to appear at a hearing. Further, the RCA said, he had “engaged in conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi.”

At an open meeting held at his synagogue, Kehilat New Hempstead (KNH), on March 27, Rabbi Tendler denied all the charges, saying not only that he was innocent of any wrongdoing, but that he had fully cooperated with the RCA and had looked forward to a hearing at which he could have heard the charges against him and confronted his accusers, a right guaranteed him in the RCA’s bylaws as well as in Jewish and American secular law.

He was joined at the meeting by his wife, Michelle, who has been his staunchest supporter, as well as his father, Rabbi Moshe Tendler, and his uncle, Rabbi David Feinstein.

Rabbi and Mrs. Mordecai Tendler are the parents of eight children.

From Zion
In its ruling, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s Jerusalem Regional Beit Din agreed with Rabbi Tendler’s request and prohibited the RCA from “damaging or in any way affecting any services provided by, or any status or position of” Rabbi Tendler before taking him to a beit din.

According to the document released by the beit din, the Israeli rabbinic court was a suitable arbiter for this matter because “there is no rabbinic authority in the US to which the RCA is subjugated.”

Further, the Israeli rabbis said, “All rabbis of the Diaspora are subjugated to the Batei Din of the State of Israel because “From Zion, shall Torah go forth.”

The rabbis of the Jerusalem Beit Din—Matityahu Shrem, Chaim Rosenthal, and C.Y. Rabinovitz—said this applied particularly to the RCA because “the RCA has stated publicly that the organization stands behind the decisions of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and considers itself as partner with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.”

Asked if the RCA would adhere to the beit din’s order or even comment on it, Rabbi Basil Herring, the relatively new executive vice president of the RCA, said, “No comment.”

He had the same response when asked if the Beit Din of American was involved in the case against Rabbi Tendler. There seems to be some confusion over the relationship between the RCA and the Beit Din of America. Some say they are associated; others say the RCA endorses the beit din, but that the two are separate entities.

“Strict Confidence”

The RCA’s case against Rabbi Tendler dates back to March 2004, when he received a letter from Rabbi Herring, telling him that he had been charged by unnamed accusers of “having committed an act of a public or private nature unbecoming a rabbi.”

In his letter, Rabbi Herring promised Rabbi Tendler a full and thorough investigation with “full and fair opportunity to defend yourself against these charges.”

He also told Rabbi Tendler that the matter was being kept “in strict confidence” and that even the members of the committee conducting the investigation had not been given his name.

In the letter, Rabbi Herring made clear that the hearing would be conducted by a halachic beit din, a point that he emphasized by enclosing a copy of the RCA’s constitution stating that policy.

Accepting the Decision

According to a source close to the Tendler family, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Rabbi Tendler responded to Rabbi Herring’s letter a few days later, telling the RCA executive that he would meet with the committee on two conditions that are normative for any halachic beit din: first, that he be given the opportunity to face his accusers (and learn what the charges were), and, second, that those bringing the charges commit to accepting the decision of the Vaad as “final and binding, and they desist from further harassment.”

According to the source, Rabbi Tendler had reason to suspect that he knew who was making the charges and why. As a revered spiritual leader, whose power is based on the high regard in which he is held by his congregants and community, he has often been called upon to adjudicate issues in which, by their very nature, there is a winner and a loser. As in secular courts, the losers frequently want to get even.

In Rabbi Tendler’s case, the problem may be compounded by some of the congregants he attracts. Over the years, the rabbi has developed a reputation as a tzaddik, a righteous humanitarian who seeks tirelessly to help those who ask for his help. And many of them come with backgrounds that are not considered usual in most Orthodox synagogues.

He has been hailed by Orthodox feminists for his attempts to raise the status of women in the Orthodox community and for his efforts on behalf of agunot, women who are separated from their husbands but who cannot persuade them to grant a religious writ of divorce. He is the author of the most popular prayer in use today for agunot, one that is often recited by brides before they go under the chupah.

“Sometimes I think that Rav Tendler is too compassionate,” said one of his supporters. “He opens his heart and his home to literally everyone. Some of those people never had anyone express genuine caring and ahavat yisrael before Rav Tendler. Perhaps they mistook his compassion for something inappropriate.”

“Clinical Aesthetician”

A case in point is Batya Siegel, one of his accusers who went to the press soon after the investigation began. A “clinical aesthetician,” Ms. Siegel told journalists that more than 12 years before the investigation began, Rabbi Tendler “propositioned” her while he adjudicated her divorce as well as a rent dispute with her landlord.

According to press reports, Ms. Siegel, who now goes by another name, first became Orthodox in 1976. Five years later, she moved to Monsey with her new husband and her children from a previous marriage. She said she relocated to Rockland County specifically because she wanted to join Rabbi Tendler’s shul.

Several years later, she decided to divorce her husband, and, at the same time, she said, she faced eviction from her apartment because she could not pay her rent. Ms. Siegel told journalists her landlord summoned her to a beit din in Rabbi Tendler’s synagogue. According to Ms. Siegel, Rabbi Tendler was also part of the beit din handling her divorce.

“I figured it probably didn’t matter if you had the same rabbi in two separate beit dins,” she told journalists.

Running Rabbi

She explained that, at the rent-dispute beit din, she was given another month or two to vacate the apartment, but, she said, as soon as the proceedings were over and everyone else had left the premises, Rabbi Tendler “propositioned” her.

She said she feared the power he wielded over her because, she said, he could control whether or not she would receive a Jewish writ of divorce. Nevertheless, she said, she held him at bay by promising him that “after the divorce, we’ll talk about it.”

She told journalists that as soon as she received her get, she ran out of the “house,” followed by Rabbi Tendler, who ran after her reminding her of her promise. According to Ms. Siegel, she responded with “some choice words” and drove off. Rabbi Tendler, she said, never called her again.

Lies

The problem is that every verifiable fact in her story has proven to be untrue. Her former landlord, Suri Horowitz, has submitted a signed letter maintaining that Ms. Siegel and her husband “never attended a Din Torah with Rabbi Mordecai Tendler regarding their eviction.”

Further, from all evidence, Rabbi Tendler had nothing to do with her divorce beit din either. Hers was case number #500 of the Kollel Harabonim of Monsey. According to the records, which list everyone present at the proceedings, the rabbis adjudicating the case were Leib Landesman, Naftali Hertzka, and Eliyahu Friedman.

The beit din was held at the North Metropolitan Nursing Home in Monsey, not at a house, as Ms. Siegel told reporters.

“And Rabbi Tendler couldn’t have run after her, because he wasn’t present,” said the source who is close to the Tendlers.

Molesting?

This information was given to the RCA along with a letter from Ms. Horowitz, in which she details an incident which the source thinks is telling.

In her letter, Ms. Horowitz recalls that, while Ms. Siegel was her tenant, a carpenter was called to do some repair work. Before he was finished, the carpenter called Ms. Horowitz to say he was leaving the job because “Mrs. Siegel was crazy and was making up stories that he had molested her three year old,”

When the Horowitzes spoke to Ms. Siegel, she first said, yes, he had molested her daughter, and then she changed her mind, telling the landlord, no, she didn’t see the carpenter do anything.

Ms. Horowitz quoted Ms. Siegel as saying, “But you have to be careful with workmen. He could have done it.”

Ms. Siegel told reporters her experience with Rabbi Tendler caused her to leave Orthodoxy. She is reportedly married to her third husband, an African-American Muslim.

The Midwives

While the source characterized Ms. Siegel as simply “a false witness,” there were other words—“vindictive and evil”—for the case of the “two midwives.” The source preferred not to name them, and, thus, referred to them as Midwife I and Midwife II, when they were not being called Shifra and Puah.

In 2001, Midwife I had a dispute with her neighbor, whose home abutted the Tendler’s backyard. Midwife I and the neighbor had young daughters in junior high school who were very close friends, but the neighbor, for a variety of reasons, decided Midwife I’s child was not a suitable companion and, therefore, sought to end the friendship.

Midwife I was furious, leaving the neighbor in a quandary. She brought the issue to Rabbi Tendler, who asked both sets of parents to come to his office to discuss the matter. After hearing them out, Rabbi Tendler decided the neighbor had the right to intervene in her young daughter’s choices, and, over the objections of Midwife I, the neighbor gradually put an end to the friendship.

Moving

Not that it was easy. According to the source, Midwife I tried to subvert the neighbor’s intentions, encouraging the girls to see each other secretly and to email each other.

Eventually, however, the neighbor convinced her daughter, and the friendship withered.

Furious, Midwife I put her house up for sale, moved, and told anyone who would listen that she had been driven out of the neighborhood by Rabbi Tendler.

Midwife I’s chief supporter was her partner, Midwife II, a former member of KNH. The source described Midwives I and II as “extremely close, almost like sisters.”

Stress?

Several months later, Midwife I’s daughter was diagnosed with a rather serious chronic disease, which kept her out of school for almost the entire year.

A strong believer in holistic-natural medicine, Midwife I was convinced the illness was caused by her daughter’s mental stress at being separated from her friend. She reportedly called the neighbor, begging her to allow the girls to resume their friendship, but the neighbor was adamant.

The neighbor told Midwife I that she trusted the authority of Rabbi Tendler who had said the relationship was not good for her daughter.

Anonymous Letters

In May 2003, Rabbi Tendler received an anonymous letter which, at the time, according to the source, no one connected to the midwives. The letter, which was typed, came in a hand-written envelope with a false return address.

The letter spewed venom about Rabbi Tendler’s alleged sexual involvement with women, although no one in particular was named.

About a month later, the neighbor received a similar letter, which, like the one to Rabbi Tendler, was typed and came in a handwritten envelope. This letter included advice to avoid involvement “in this toxic situation,” which, in retrospect, according to the source, the neighbor assumed referred to her close proximity to Rabbi Tendler. Again, the return address on the envelope was false.

Warning

In July 2003, the neighbor received a second letter. The envelope was handwritten, but there was no return address.

The letter, which claims to be written by “a group of rabbis, mental health professionals, and physicians coming from a wide range of religious observance within the Orthodox world,” contains a “warn[ing] to protect your daughters, wives, and other vulnerable women in the community from a very dangerous rabbi.”

Naming Rabbi Tendler, the letter says it seeks to protect the women of the community “from the sick and evil behavior of this man who is himself a rabbi.”

Two weeks later, 700 copies of the same letter were mailed to members of KNH and other residents throughout Monsey. The letters and the envelopes were typed, and the return address was that of KNH.

According to the source, the attorney representing KNH is convinced using the shul’s return address to defame someone constitutes a federal criminal offense, because it makes use of the US mail.

Denial

A few people in the neighborhood suggested to the Tendlers that the culprit may have been Midwife II, who, it was thought, may have been trying to seek vengeance for her partner and close friend.

When Mrs. Tendler wrote to Midwife II, asking her outright if she was involved in the affair, Midwife II sent back a handwritten letter, expressing sorrow at the Tendlers’ suffering and denying any culpability or knowledge of the perpetrator.

Before suggesting there be no further correspondence between them, Midwife II said she wanted nothing further to do with “this toxic situation,” the same phrase used in one of the letters received by the neighbor.

According to the source, the Tendlers’ first thought was to see if fingerprints from any of the letters matched each other. An expert was found, but he told the Tendlers he had nothing conclusive.

Rabbinic Abuse

In December 2003, the New York Jewish Week sponsored a forum on “rabbinic abuse” in Manhattan. According to the paper, “several female health-care professionals in the audience spoke with passion and frustration about a well-known rabbi in their local community whose affairs with women in his office, they said, have gone on for years.”

According to the report, the women said they felt “stymied as to how to take action against the unnamed rabbi, who is highly respected, and help the women involved, who are too embarrassed to speak out.”

According to the source, friends of the Tendlers felt certain the “heath-care professionals” were Midwives I and II.

Later reports revealed that, after the forum, the women approached some of the speakers, including Rabbi Yosef Blau, who directed them to the RCA.

Agonizing Wait

By March, 2004, Rabbi Tendler received his notice that the RCA was undertaking an investigation against him.

After telling Rabbi Herring his conditions for meeting with the vaad, Rabbi Tendler heard again from the RCA. In this second letter, Rabbi Herring seemed to ignore Rabbi Tendler’s request for a chance to face his accusers, telling him only that he would be hearing from the vaad “in the next several weeks.”

After an agonizing three months, Rabbi Tendler received a phone call from Rabbi Herring, informing him that the RCA had hired the Texas-based firm, Praesidium, a risk-management company that was also used by the Catholic Church to investigate its priest-sex scandals.

Rabbi Tendler told him that did not sound like a beit din that he had been promised would adjudicate the issue, but, said the source, Rabbi Herring advised him to cooperate with Dr. Jane Hickerson, Praesidium’s vice president of social services, who would be handling the investigation.

Making the Paper

Aside from one call in July and another in August to tell him she had not forgotten about him but was still busy interviewing “the other side,” Rabbi Tendler heard nothing from Dr. Hickerson.

He did, however, hear from The Forward, which ran an article on the issue in late August. Despite Rabbi Herring’s promises of confidentiality, Rabbi Tendler was named in the piece, and Rabbi Kenneth Auman, president of the RCA commented on the case, saying, “We take all these allegations very seriously and certainly don’t want to whitewash it.” For the accused, he simply wanted “protection.”

The piece mentioned Ms. Siegel and her accusations, but while it mentioned the landlady’s statement that Rabbi Tendler had nothing to do with her eviction beit din, it said nothing about the fact that he was not part of her divorce beit din either.

Fearing Publicity

At the end of the summer, Dr. Hickerson called Rabbi Tendler and told him the only time she could meet with him would be four days before Rosh Hashana. Although she had sufficed with telephone meetings for the accusers, she insisted on a face-to-face with Rabbi Tendler.

The Tendlers consulted with one of the most respected Constitutional lawyers in the country, an Orthodox Jew, who advised Rabbi Tendler not to meet with Dr. Hickerson and to hold out for his original demand for a beit din. But another attorney told them that, should he refuse to meet with her, the publicity would be awful for the Tendlers and KNH.

Reluctantly, Rabbi Tendler told Dr. Hickerson he would meet her in his lawyer’s office, and he gained permission from her to tape the proceedings.

While Rabbi Tendler and his attorney prepared as best they could under the circumstances—they still had no idea what the charges were or who had made them—the interview was quite benign. According to the source, Dr. Hickerson asked how he conducted himself during counseling sessions and what he thought it would take for a rabbi to be considered “powerful.”

When Dr. Hickerson wrote up her report, however, the source said the Tendlers were shocked to find that it was “completely at variance with the actual interview” as documented by the tape.

“Dr. Hickerson either didn’t understand or deliberately altered the interview,” said the source.

Handwriting

Shortly after the interview, Mrs. Tendler had another idea. According to the source, she realized that while the anonymous letters had been unsuccessfully checked for fingerprints, they had not been seen by an analyst who could check the handwriting. Mrs. Tendler had in her possession not only the handwritten envelopes that had contained the anonymous letters; she also had the signed handwritten letter she had been sent by Midwife II.

Judith Housley, an Edgewood, New Mexico-based certified forensic document examiner, confirmed that Midwife II was responsible for all the letters.

“She obviously thought she was coming to the defense of her partner to gain vengeance for her daughter’s illness,” said the source.

Armed with this powerful documentation, Mrs. Tendler compiled a packet to be sent to Dr. Hickerson and to the RCA. The packet included the neighbor’s letter detailing the full history of the dispute between the her and Midwife I (and Rabbi Tendler’s role in it), the envelopes and letters written by Midwife II, and Ms. Houseley’s certification that Midwife II was indeed the culprit.

Hand-Delivered

Rabbi Tendler’s attorney had the packet hand-delivered to the RCA’s attorney, and a week later the RCA’s attorney acknowledged receipt, saying he had passed it on to the Vaad for its consideration.

In November 2004, Rabbi Tendler heard from Rabbi Hershel Billet, chairman of the Vaad Hakovod, informing him that the committee would be holding meetings on the case. Rabbi Tendler asked to proceed with all due haste because, he told Rabbi Billet, KNH was ready to press charges against Midwife II for having used the postal system to spread slander, using the synagogue’s address on the envelopes.

Rabbi Billet told Rabbi Tendler he had no idea what he was talking about. Rabbi Tendler asked him if he had received the packet, and Rabbi Billet told him, no.

“That packet showed the Midwives’ motive and what they had done, and it was never forwarded to the committee,” said the source.

Three-Week Delay

According to the source, Rabbi Tendler soon discovered that Rabbi Herring had held the packet for three weeks, passing it on to the committee only when forced to do so. It was released when an officer of the Orthodox Union, called Rabbi Herring to ask where the packet was.

“When the OU official told Herring that Mrs. Tendler had mailed the packet herself, Herring told him, ‘Tell Michelle Tendler to butt out of this case,’” said the source.

When Dr. Hickerson’s report was given to the RCA, it contained no mention of any of the Tendlers’ information. The material contained in the packet was included only in the appendix.

“She had obviously already written her report when she received the information and wasn’t going to bother changing it. It was only a man’s life,” said the source.

Supplied All Names

On page one of the report, the source said, Dr. Hickerson wrote about her interview with Midwives I and II, explaining that they furnished all the names of the women who would accuse Rabbi Tendler of improprieties ranging from delivering a drasha discussing the evils of non-Jewish meditation to touching a woman’s hand in the course of learning a section of mussar that the woman’s husband felt would help heal their marriage.

The report explains that the midwives sent Ms. Siegel a certified letter urging her to tell her story to the RCA.

During their interview with Dr. Hickerson, both women were on the phone on different extensions.

The report contains the names of nine women who made accusations. According to the source, the one man who is cited was a leader of a KNH “breakaway” shul who told Dr. Hickerson that Rabbi Tendler was “powerful.”

Everyone a Story

When the report was issued, it raised a firestorm because, for the first time, Rabbi Tendler was able to learn who his accusers were. For some reason, the press and victims’ monitoring groups considered releasing the names to Rabbi Tendler a major blunder on the RCA’s part.

The source said all the women named in the report were known to various members of the synagogue, and that each had a “story.”

One of the women, for example, was identified as an objective psychologist who was sought by the women to act as a source of support for them. According to the source, however, the psychologist had been married to a member of KNH. They had one child when they were divorced, and the psychologist accused Rabbi Tendler of favoring her husband in their settlement.

After the divorce, the husband remarried and had another child. The husband died young and named Rabbi Tendler as executor of his will. The psychologist is still in court trying to vacate that position.

“It seems the midwives dug up anyone who might have a vendetta against Rabbi Tendler,” said the source.

June and December

Some of the women have stories that are truly bizarre, such as the 41-year-old divorced therapist who accused Rabbi Tendler of ruining her shidduch. What this woman, who became one of the prime instigators of the case against Rabbi Tendler, neglected to say is that her intended was the 19-year-old son of members of the shul.

According to the source, the young boy was sent to the therapist when he began acting out in the wake of his parents’ marital difficulties. Not long after, the parents came frantically to seek Rabbi Tendler’s advice because, they said, the therapist had fallen in love with the boy and he had moved in with her.

Rabbi Tendler suggested the boy go to a yeshiva in Israel, and he helped them make arrangements. They felt it was a good solution because their older son was also studying in a yeshiva in Israel and while they would be attending different schools, at least they would be close.

Mixing In

One day, a few weeks after the 19-year-old arrived in Israel, the older brother ran to his own rosh yeshiva, telling him that his brother had disappeared from the yeshiva and was living in a hotel with the therapist, who had left her children behind in the US and come to see him. The older brother told the rosh yeshiva that they were planning on getting married.

Discovering that Rabbi Tendler happened to be in Israel for a conference, the rosh yeshiva called him and apprised him of the situation. The rosh yeshiva said he and his wife would be going to the hotel to attempt to “save” the boy, and he asked Rabbi Tendler to join them.

At the hotel, the rabbis managed to convince the young man to fly back to the US, leaving the therapist screaming at them, “Don’t mix in.”

Staying Away

One week later, the therapist, too, returned to the US and tried to contact the young man. When his parents reached out to Rabbi Tendler, he suggested they all come to his office to talk, including the therapist. At that meeting, the rabbi told the therapist she must stay away from the young man.

Although the therapist agreed, two days later, she tried to commit suicide and was hospitalized for a month.

When she was released, another source, who is very involved in Rockland County civic and religious activities, heard the therapist say, “I’m going to bring down Rabbi Tendler.”

“From that point on, she has been actively involved in arranging meetings with people who she thinks might have a vendetta against Rabbi Tendler. It’s not surprising that she found the midwives,” said the source, who said she did everything possible to get this piece of information to the RCA..

Jamaican Housekeeper

But perhaps no story is quite as chilling as the one surrounding Joanne, described in the report and in several newspaper accounts as “the Jamaican housekeeper.”

A day worker who has several employers, Joanne told Dr. Hickerson that she worked once for Rabbi Tendler as well as other people in the area. Although Joanne did not mention it to Dr. Hickerson, three of her employees were: the source, Midwife II, and Midwife II’s next-door neighbor.

Joanne told Dr. Hickerson that one of her employers (the neighbor) was having an affair with Rabbi Tendler. Joanne discussed seeing explicit faxes allegedly from Rabbi Tendler to his paramour, and, she said, she had seen Rabbi Tendler leaving her employer’s house at all hours.

Not a Liar

The source had reason to be suspicious. She knew Joanne had never worked for Rabbi Tendler, but she also knew Joanne was not a liar.

In early January, the source asked Joanne if she would accompany her to Rabbi Tendler’s home, and Joanne agreed, but when they pulled up in front of the house, Joanne said, “This isn’t the house I cleaned.”

When she met Rabbi Tendler, Joanne seemed shocked. He wasn’t the man she had seen leaving her employer’s home.

“Their body types are completely different,” she told the source.

The source asked her to look at Rabbi Tendler’s handwriting, which most observers say is almost frustratingly unique. With one glance, Joanne said it did not resemble in any way the faxes she had been told came from Rabbi Tendler to her employer.

Midwife II

Asked to explain who had told her the employer’s gentleman caller was Rabbi Tendler, Joanne fingered Midwife II. Midwife II had also shown her the bogus faxes and told her the house she cleaned was Rabbi Tendler’s, she said.

According to a sworn statement, Joanne said Midwife II had urged her to cooperate with the RCA’s investigation, explaining that Rabbi Tendler was causing a great deal of harm not only to the employer next door but also to others.

According to the source, after Joanne, a devout Christian, learned the truth, she was eager to pass it on to the RCA, which she did in a letter.

“She wrote as a good Christian woman. Her conscience demanded that she rectify the mistake of having maligned—however innocently—a guiltless man,” said the source.

For a little while after the letter was sent, it seemed as if the entire issue would be wrapped up.

“Live”

Indirectly, the RCA informed Rabbi Tendler that the Vaad Hakovod wanted to hear the information from the source and Joanne “live.” They would be holding a meeting in February 2005, he was told, and they wanted the two women to attend.

The problem was that, in February, the source was scheduled to go to Israel, and Joanne had plans to go to Florida. The source called Rabbi Billet and asked him if they could testify in January for the committee.

For some reason, Rabbi Billet told her, “My hands are tied. You can’t give it now.”

Intimidating Phone Call

A few days later, Joanne reported that Rabbi Herring called her in what the cleaning woman described as “an intimidating phone call.” According to Joanne, he demanded to know why she had changed her story.

While he was more polite to the source, he seemed dismissive, telling her that, if the committee needed her, they would call.

The source then sent an email to Rabbi Billet in which she made clear that if the Vaad did not hear their information in January, she and Joanne would give it to another beit din, which they did.

Clarifying

The source arranged for a beit din consisting of Rabbis Avrohom Cohen, Ben Zion Kokis, and Leib Landesman. To attest to Joanne’s veracity, the rabbis asked Dr. Yisroel Susskind, a clinical psychologist and adviser to the beit din, to attend.

The court made clear that it was not adjudicating the case against Rabbi Tendler, but, rather, permitting a non-Jewish woman “to clarify the statements she had made to previous investigators.” The rabbis testified that they found Joanne to be “rational and credible.”

Covering her bases, the source took Joanne from the beit din to a criminal attorney, where she had the housekeeper give another sworn statement.

Ignoring the Facts

When Rabbi Cohen sent the beit din’s report to Rabbi Auman, according to the source, the RCA president responded that if they needed something like this, “we’ll do it ourselves.”

Despite Joanne’s testimony, the Forward and the Jewish Week ran stories suggesting Rabbi Tendler had “paid off” the Jamaican housekeeper, and thus tampered with witnesses. Writing in the Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt said, “The woman was led to believe that she was summoned as part of the RCA investigation, which was not the case.”

In fact, aside from meeting Joanne when the source brought her to his home, Rabbi Tendler had nothing to do with the beit din or the sworn statement given to the attorney.

“I orchestrated everything,” said the source.

The source believes rabbis at the RCA told the midwives about the documents they had received, giving them the motive and opportunity to call the papers and give the stories this new “spin.”

“Murder”

In February, Mrs. Tendler traveled to Israel to meet with an assistant to Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered by many to be the preeminent arbiter of Jewish law in the world. According to the source, Rabbi Elyashiv’s assistant reviewed her files and declared, “It is murder every minute that the RCA is not vindicating him.”

However, said the source, the assistant warned Mrs. Tendler that he feared the RCA may have its own “agenda” and he advised her to arrange her own beit din to adjudicate the matter.

Shortly after her return to the US, the Tendlers’ attorney called, informing them that the RCA’s attorney has summoned them to a plenary hearing. The Tendlers’ attorney responded that his client had already heard from the committee, telling him that there was no necessity for him to attend.

Rabbi Tendler authorized his attorney to inform Rabbi Herring and the RCA that he agreed with the committee’s decision that his presence was unnecessary. Besides, neither the RCA nor the committee had yet responded to the wealth of material Rabbi Tendler had already sent them

“Rabbi Tendler never had a problem attending a fair hearing governed by halacha. Throughout his ordeal, he cooperated with the RCA beyond whatever was humanly possible,” said the source..

Next Step

Nevertheless, when the RCA expelled him two weeks later, one of the reasons the group gave was that he had failed to cooperate with them or attend their hearing..

In short order, Yeshiva University, where Rabbi Tendler had been giving a weekly shiur, told him that because of the RCA ruling, his services would no longer be welcome.

A bright spot for the Tendlers has been the support given to them by their community and the shul.

“But they still are going to want to clear his name,” said the source.

While the source did not know exactly what their next step would be, it’s a safe bet to assume they will insist on following the order laid out by the beit din of the Chief Rabbinate.

“The Tendlers are vigorously pursuing his total vindication, and they expect to be completely successful,” said the source.

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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:

Luke,

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 we clap on our 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.

Luke Ford, at www.lukeford.net

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

http://jewishvoiceandopinion.com/a/Tendler2.htm

2)The Tendler Nine

By Susan L. Rosenbluth, The Jewish Voice and Opinion

1. Midwife I
2. Midwife II
3. Batya Siegel
4. The psychologist who is challenging Rabbi Tendler’s position as executor of her late ex-husband’s will
5. A woman whose congregant husband told Rabbi Tendler he suspected the wife was having an affair and wondered if marital relations were allowed in that case. Rabbi Tendler said he would endeavor to find out, but when he asked the woman about personal matters, she said she thought it was unusual for him to ask..
6. A woman who lost custody of four young children seven years ago during a divorce case and accused Rabbi Tendler of siding with her ex-husband. There is a police record of the woman barging into the rabbi’s home to tear up a letter that had been given to him by the husband who worried that the woman might try to harm the children.
7. A congregant who, though born Jewish, had become a Sufi Muslim. She was rescued by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and, after she married, moved with her husband to Monsey to attend Rabbi Tendler’s shul. In 2002, the husband came to Rabbi Tendler, worrying that his wife was about to rejoin the Sufis. In response, Rabbi Tendler gave a drasha about the dangers of non-Jewish meditation. The woman complained strongly that, in so doing, he had “aired her dirty linen in public.” When, at the husband’s request, Rabbi Tendler tried to learn some relevant mussar with her, she accused the rabbi of touching her hand.
8. A congregant who came to see Rabbi Tendler because her husband had just left her. Trying to be kind to the woman, Rabbi Tendler made sure she was sent flowers by the shul, but the woman accused Rabbi Tendler of sending them on his own behalf.
9. Joanne, the Jamaican housekeeper
The One That Got Away

One of Rabbi Tendler’s congregants told the following story: The congregant’s wife was asked by Midwife II to join the suit against Rabbi Tendler. When Midwife II came to their home, the wife told her that the rabbi “had made some strange motions with his hands, putting them close together and then putting them down to emphasize a point of discussion.”

Midwife II told the woman that the hand motions were “some form of sexual harassment that the rabbi was inflicting” on her.

The woman never pressed the absurd charge, and her husband wrote about the incident in a letter that was sent to the RCA..

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://jewishvoiceandopinion.com/a/Tendler3.htm

3) Editorial: Fathers, Sons, and DNA: Why Did the RCA Go after Rabbi Tendler?

By Susan L. Rosenbluth, The Jewish Voice and Opinion

While it is very hard to read minds and determine why and when some issues spur people to action, there are several theories as to the motivation behind the RCA leadership’s seeming-obsession with the charges against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler.

Looming above the entire issue is the case of Rabbi Baruch Lanner, a top leader of the Orthodox Union’s National Council of Synagogue Youth, who was accused in 1989 of, if not sexual abuse, then certainly “conduct inappropriate for an Orthodox rabbi.”

At that time, the Orthodox world, led by its rabbis, pulled the wagon train around Rabbi Lanner and protected him from any exposure. Bullying tactics were used to prevent young people from testifying against him at a beit din organized at Yeshiva University, and The Jewish Voice and Opinion was told that if an article were published on the issue, food stores which depend on the local rabbinate for their hechsher would be forbidden to advertise in the magazine.

The charges against Rabbi Tendler represent the first of its kind since Rabbi Lanner was tried in secular court in New Jersey in 2002.

Most of Rabbi Tendler’s supporters believe the RCA’s behavior towards him was an overreaction simply because leaders of the Modern-Orthodox rabbinate did not want, once again, to be in position in which there might be allegations that victims’ complaints went unheeded.

But whereas in the Lanner case, the rabbis were protective and it was left to the secular courts to prosecute him; in the matter of Rabbi Tendler, the secular courts, in the form of the Rockland County District Attorney’s office, has said there is no case, but the rabbinic organization leveled the worst punishment it had at its disposal.

In 1989, Rabbi Yosef Blau, mashgiach ruchani, or spiritual overseer, of Yeshiva University, sat on the beit din that was supposed to investigate the charges against Rabbi Lanner. Rabbi Blau has been the first to admit that he erred, believing that what he hoped was repentance was sufficient to negate repetition.

Many observers have noted that perhaps unease at the way he handled the Lanner issue prompted Rabbi Blau to side against Rabbi Tendler.

Or perhaps for the RCA, in general, there was a desire to “run” with what has become, thanks to the Catholic Church, a hot item.

But it is unclear if a simple desire for “political correctness,” at least in terms of the issue of abuse, is all that has been at work here. Could that suffice to explain why Rabbi Basil Herring sat on a packet of potentially exonerating material from Rabbi Tendler for three weeks while the Vaad HaKovod knew nothing about it?

No one knows why Dr. Jane Hickerson of Praesidium, the company hired by the RCA to investigate the charges, did not include Rabbi Tendler’s material in the body of her report and did not interview a single witness whom he suggested. There is speculation that the report may have been completed when she received the packet, and, unwilling to revisit it, she simply stuck the information into an appendix.

And what did the RCA need Praesidium for in the first place? Since when is an honest, fair beit din insufficient for our needs, especially in a case like this?

After the ruling against Rabbi Tendler was made public, Rabbi Saul Zucker, rosh mesivta of the Mesivta of North Jersey and president of the Yeshiva High School Principals’ Council, told Rabbi Yonah Reiss of the Beit Din of America that, as president of the principals’ council, he was suspending the group’s contact with BDA over “the shameful and appalling treatment of Rabbi Tendler by the RCA.”

When Rabbi Reiss suggested that Rabbi Zucker contact Rabbi Herring directly on that matter, he did so, and, according to Rabbi Zucker, the following dialogue ensued:

Rabbi Herring: “Rabbi Zucker, if I told you that I had positive DNA evidence, would you change your position on this matter?”

Rabbi Zucker: “If that were the case, then, yes, I would change my position.”

After a brief pause, Rabbi Zucker rose to the challenge: “Are you saying that positive DNA evidence exists?” he asked.

Rabbi Herring: “No.”

Rabbi Zucker, who resides in Teaneck, admitted he is neither a mind reader nor a detective charged with determining people’s agendas and motives. “However, I quickly realized that the effect of Herring’s first question was to leave the listener with the implied message that DNA evidence does exist. Had I not challenged him with my question, one could readily infer that the RCA is holding such evidence, when, in fact—as soon as he was overtly challenged on this point—he had to admit this was not the case. The idea of defaming anyone based on false innuendo and less-than-honest implication is, in my opinion, a gross violation of geneivas da’as, motzi shem ra, and ve-ahavta lereiacha,” he said.

Nor it seems was the conversation with Rabbi Zucker an isolated incident. Two women in Woodmere, where Rabbi Herring resides, have said that they had similar conversations with him on this issue. One woman reported that after Rabbi Herring mentioned DNA, and she asked, “Is that true?” he responded, “No, but we might get some.”

When asked about these conversations, Rabbi Herring flatly denied having said anything about DNA. When asked by a reporter if there was any DNA evidence if the offing, he refused to comment.

Ever since the ruling against Rabbi Tendler was made public, his supporters say there have been innuendos that, should he decide to fight the expulsion—say, for instance, by going to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate or summoning the RCA to a zabla beit din where they and he will bring rabbinic representatives who will then choose a third one—the RCA will retaliate by presenting DNA samples or ferreting out other accusers.

The fact that the Tendlers responded by going to the Chief Rabbinate and now are considering further action, should stand as their response to that threat.

But is it possible that there is something else behind Rabbi Herring’s actions besides a simple desire to see what he considers a bad man punished? Like Rabbi Zucker, we are certainly not mind readers, but we will throw this out for your consideration:

Almost ten years ago, not long after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, we had occasion to speak to Rabbi Herring who was, at that time, serving as director of the Orthodox Caucus, a somewhat left-wing organization that believed, in the wake of the assassination, that Orthodox Jews needed to be taught something about values.

At some point in the conversation, we cited something that had been said by Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler, Rabbi Mordecai Tendler’s father and one of the world’s leading poskim, especially on matters of bioethics. Rabbi Moshe Tendler had, at that time, established himself as one of the staunchest voices against the Oslo Accords, a position opposed by the Orthodox Caucus.

When Moshe Tendler’s name was mentioned, Rabbi Herring said, “He’s one of those responsible for the assassination.”

It was not an unusual accusation in those days, and it would be chilling to think that such political hatred for the father could be played out in action against the son, but there is reason to believe that a similar action is also coming from the hareidi right in Monsey. There have been rumors that a hareidi group in Rockland County is planning to mount a campaign against Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, citing not the RCA ruling—the hareidim are not much interested in what Modern Orthodox rabbis have to say—but, rather, his own somewhat liberal dictums dealing with conversions and helping agunot. When asked directly, the hareidi groups in question admitted their real goal is to pay back Rabbi Moshe Tendler for his position against metzizeh bi peh during brit milah.

When an enemy wants to hurt, it’s clear that the most damaging blow is the one that hits not the parent, but his child. A wise friend once told us: “Parents are only as happy as their least happy child.”

In its desire to punish Rabbi Tendler, the RCA seems not only to have stood the Lanner case on its ear, it has jeopardized the potential for real cases of abuse to be believed.

“Just as the RCA failed to protect defenseless children from Rabbi Lanner, now they are failing to protect the rights of one of its most prominent leaders,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for Rabbi Tendler.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

It's clear that Susan L. Rosenbluth does not know what she is talking about. She clearly is not privy to what was in the Praesidium report. This is simply material fed to her by the RMT "spin machine".

See the parts of the Praesidium report that I could post at:
http://jewishwhistleblower.blogspot.com/2005/03/new-summary-of-rabbi-mordechai-tendler.html

Remember, Susan L. Rosenbluth, killed her story on Rabbi Baruch Lanner's abuses in 1989. Her direct silence allowed more children to be victimized. She has proven that her integrity can be bought for the price of a few mere ads. She too was and is a part of the problem.


Rabbis accused of coverup in sex case
By MITCHEL MADDUX
Bergen Record - Wednesday, July 19, 2000

After interviewing a half-dozen teenage boys in 1989 who said they had been physically abused by a local rabbi, weekly newspaper editor Susan Rosenbluth said she contacted members of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County, expecting that the Orthodox organization would intervene.

But instead of showing concern about the alleged misdeeds of Rabbi Baruch Lanner, Rosenbluth claimed, three of the council members tried to protect him.

"One called me and said, 'If this gets into print, we will see to it that no stores under the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County can advertise in your newspaper,' " Rosenbluth charged in an interview.

"It was made clear to me by the rabbis who spoke to me that this was an RCBC decision," she said, declining to name the rabbis. "I said, 'You're kidding me. Is this real?' "

A spokesman for the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County vehemently rejected Rosenbluth's charges Tuesday. "We categorically deny that the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County made such threats to Ms. Rosenbluth. We simply do not operate in this fashion," said Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, a council member and rabbi of the Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood.

Over the last month, some of Lanner's former students have accused leaders of the 1,000-synagogue Orthodox Union, the largest Orthodox organization in the nation, of ignoring allegations that he had fondled and kissed a number of teenage girls and had kneed boys in the groin in the 1970s and 1980s. The Orthodox Union, where Lanner was an officer of its educational youth arm, has empaneled a tribunal to investigate the charges.

Rosenbluth's claims, however, represent the first accusations that local religious leaders engaged in an active cover-up.

Goldin declined to comment Tuesday on whether council members had spoken directly with Rosenbluth about Lanner. Rosenbluth ultimately did not publish any article about the accusations against Lanner in 1989.

"There were discussions at the time with various people concerning one specific allegation, and the matter was referred in responsible fashion to the Bet Din," Goldin said, referring to a Yeshiva University investigative tribunal that heard a dispute involving Lanner in 1989.

Meanwhile, Jewish leaders from throughout the state met behind closed doors in Springfield on Tuesday night to express their concern.

More than 10 people have accused Lanner in published reports of inappropriate behavior, including alleged incidents of fondling, making sexual remarks to teenage girls, and kneeing some boys. Most of the allegations involve Lanner's tenure as an officer of the National Council of Synagogue Youth, a respected Orthodox Union educational group.

In addition, prosecutors in Monmouth County are investigating a new complaint that Lanner behaved inappropriately with a female student when he was principal at the Hillel School in Ocean Township. Prosecutors in Bergen County have said they will review the allegations against Lanner with an eye toward a possible criminal investigation. Lanner also taught at The Frisch School in Paramus, and one former student there has told The Record that the rabbi improperly rubbed up against her on several occasions.

Lanner, who is currently living in Fair Lawn but is not working as a rabbi, has denied mistreating the teenagers, although he said he may have made inappropriate jokes when he was much younger.

"I've made plenty of errors and poor judgment in my early years, when I was in my 20s," Lanner, who is now 50, said in an interview last week. "In my younger years, I must have permitted some errors of judgment, and I must have somehow hurt people. But I never hurt anybody intentionally. And I did not fondle anyone, even before I was a rabbi."

Rosenbluth began writing and publishing The Jewish Voice and Opinion, a small weekly newspaper, in 1986 in the Englewood home she shares with her husband, Richard, who is the chief of oncology at Hackensack University Medical Center. She called herself a watchdog who occasionally clashed on issues with some members of the Bergen County Rabbinical Council.

But in 1989, she said, the issue went beyond ideological differences.

"Kids were being hurt," said Rosenbluth, 53. "There was inappropriate stuff going on, and it should have been stopped by the rabbis in charge."

"It was clear that they were not going to allow this story to come out. I think they shortchanged their congregations, and I think they shortchanged our children."

In addition to offering educational programs, the Rabbinical Council -- on which all of the county's Orthodox pulpit rabbis sit -- is responsible for certifying products in Bergen County as kosher.

Because Rosenbluth's 15,000-circulation newspaper receives roughly 90 percent of its operating revenue from advertising by Bergen County firms selling kosher products, Rosenbluth said she took the alleged threat seriously.

Rosenbluth said she believed the council could have killed her paper by cutting off its principal source of revenue. So she opted not to write the article she was preparing, which she said had been based on interviews with six teenage boys who told her they had been kneed in the groin.

She said she feels guilty about that.

"If there have been children hurt in the past 11 years, you can bring them to my doorstep, because I didn't print what I should have," Rosenbluth said.

Rosenbluth said she was also threatened with a loss of business by two high-ranking officers of the Orthodox Union. She declined to identify the two rabbis.

Mandell I. Ganchrow, president of the Orthodox Union, declined Tuesday to comment on Rosenbluth's accusations.

"All matters and allegations that are being brought to our attention will be referred to the NCSY special commission for full review," he said. "I urge all those who have information that has bearing on these issues to contact the commission as soon as possible."

Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, a New York-based international association of 850 synagogues in North America, has written that a society that silently tolerated Lanner's alleged misconduct is responsible for the current crisis. His comments were published in The New York Jewish Week, which first reported the allegations last month.

But if religious leaders actually engaged in a cover-up, as Rosenbluth claims, it would be "unconscionable," he said in an interview.

"Society cannot permit this type of behavior to go unchecked. And that doesn't mean every allegation is true. But it certainly deserves careful checking," he said.

Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg, an Orthodox rabbi from Edison and a former officer of the National Council of Synagogue Youth, said he has recently received more than 30 calls from young people with some type of complaint against Lanner.

Rosenberg said he is concerned that there may have been a concerted effort by religious leaders to paper over the Lanner problem.

"It seems as if there was knowledge of his actions -- and that's what I'm concerned [about] -- he should have been stopped and should not have worked with teenagers."

Goldin, who served on the Rabbinical Council in 1989, insisted the Lanner issue was of great concern to the Orthodox community.

"It goes without saying that we are deeply saddened and pained by the whole series of events surrounding the allegations raised against Rabbi Lanner," Goldin said. "In retrospect, it seems clear that national and local Jewish leadership must learn to be more vigilant and responsive. We can all certainly learn from our mistakes."


Staff Writer Mitchel Maddux's e-mail address is maddux@bergen.com

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you see no difference between a rabbi havng sex with under-aged boys and a rabbi having sex with a grown woman, in terms of responsibility?

If you do not, then we truly do not worship in the same synagogue.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In othern words, we all know he did it, the poeple who continue to attend KNH and support him just think its ok to have a Rabbi who is sexually imorl and a liar.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, in other words the entire set of accusations is collapsing under the weight of anonymity and lack of spcificity, and the community has finally awakened to the obvious fact that, at worst, every one of these women was a very, very voluntary participant in adultery...that is a world apart from Lanner or any catholic bishop case involving minors

Ladies, why so silent on so obvious a point? Does anyone dare suggest that, at worst case, every one of these women was decidedly and knowingly involved in extramarital affairs?

Why should they be provided anonymity? They are not victims at all

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Israeli Chief Rabbinate oerdered the Rabbinical Council of Ameria to reinstatement Rabbi Mordechai Tendler" quote. Would anyone care to call the office of the chief rabbinate and ask if they will agree with that statement. This is based on a regional Beis din that issued an injunction without informing the defendants that there was a case The Jewish Press prints the statement of RMT's Israeli lawyer as if it is part of the decision.
Next step in the misinformation campain is an investigative report by a reporter whose investigation consisted in speaking to a "source close to the Tendlers."

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess you were wrong jwb. peace be with you

 
At 12:25 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 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jewish Voice and Opinion article would have more credibility if they worked with sources from the RCA, etc. They apparently only worked with the Tendler side. That is not journalism, it is advertising.

 
At 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ladies, why so silent on so obvious a point? Does anyone dare suggest that, at worst case, every one of these women was decidedly and knowingly involved in extramarital affairs?

Why should they be provided anonymity? They are not victims at all"

May I point out this is a quite excellent example of "blame the victim".

The question you should be asking is, What the hell is that rabbi doing committing adultery with not one, but many women?

To all the women out there --- stay strong. This is what an attorney refers to as "psychological warfare". If it hasn't happened yet, be assured that one day, there WILL be many people thanking you for your courage.

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer to the question about anonymity and lack of specificity is obvious, as if you didn't already know: Everyone knows that tendler is a thug who uses all kinds of means for intimidation and revenge against his accusors and critics.

 
At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only actual hard evidence that exists anywhere in this case is the handwriting analysis that proves that a particular midwife was the source of threatening letters against RMT.

There is not one shred of factual evidence against RMT whatsoever. Empty threats of exposing true evidence by the midwives (and their "PR consultants" JWB and Luke Ford) have now proven to be total lies. There is no DNA. There are no video tapes. There are no audio tapes. Etc, Etc, Etc, Etc.

It looks to me like a particular midwife is in deep water, and should learn to never send threatening letters in her own handwriting. Federal mail crimes are not hard to prove and have pretty severe penalties.

 
At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard that Midwife II was hit by a car a few years ago and suffered a broken arm when walking to the mikvah on a Friday night along the side of an unlit road.

I believe that this unfortunate incident occurred at approximately the same time that she was beginning to recruit women to lie against RMT.

Perhaps she should have understood the broken arm as a Divine message and "quit while she was ahead".

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2005 Sex Libel

I am beginning to believe that we are dealing with a Christian sex- libel to make Jews look bad.

Luke Ford's bio indicates a proclivity towards rabid Jew hatred.

All in my opinion, of course. I have no factual basis for my claims.

But I smell an "antisemtic rat."

 
At 1:54 PM, Blogger Yori Yanover said...

Someone copied and pasted my letter to Luke Ford on this board. I have no interest in entering a discussion with anyone or anything who publishes here. As far as I'm concerned, this blog is Makom Sakana, and the persons running it are in the geder of rodfim and mosrim.

Yori Yanover

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Yori Yanover said...

So get lost.

After your despicable bizarre anonymous postings on protocols and here, why would I care what you think? Go to Turkey with your Turkey of a Rabbi.


Seriously, get lost.

 
At 2:02 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

This is Yoram's Rebbe:

http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/JHershyWorch.htm

 
At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
2005 Sex Libel

I am beginning to believe that we are dealing with a Christian sex- libel to make Jews look bad.
Luke Ford's bio indicates a proclivity towards rabid Jew hatred.
All in my opinion, of course. I have no factual basis for my claims.
But I smell an "antisemtic rat."

----------Oh puh-leeeeze. And I smell do-anything-to-kill-the-messenger.

What are anti-semites called who are Jewish Misogynists? Hatred of Jewish Women?
Hmmmmmm......

 
At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWB:

Word has it that Worch has been banned by the Chief Rabbinate of Turkey from ever being hired as a pulpit rabbi there.
Someone should try to find out where, exactly, he is trying to set up his "school":

http://www.rebhershy.com/aterettzvisyllabus.htm

What do you expect a S’micha from Worch would be worth?

 
At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Tendler and his mafia,
you ought to be ashamed of yourselves!! how low and evil will you go? how many more lies will you write? how many more lives will you destroy? how much more disgrace and desicration of G-d's name, His people and His Torah will you bring onto our community???
i know the midwives you blame everything on, and i know them well, and for a long time. i know their families and their children. they are solid, good, truthful people with a great deal of integrity, morality and concern for others. you write lies and are ignorant of the facts. how dare you involve sick children!!! do you have a conscience??? any pain caused by the breaking up of a friendship was between the two families and had nothing to do with mordechai tendler.
has anyone ever asked them how the midwives got involved in this terrible situation?? not by choice or "revenge" as you say; but because so many women had come to them complaining of past or ongoing sexual, physical and emotional abuse by "rabbi" mordechai tendler, women whom he had threatened if they revealed these truths, devastated women whose lives he had ruined, women who tried seeking help from the local rabbis who were unable to do anything for them. i am grateful to them that they listened and cared, and were brave enough to try to help the women and encourage the women to tell their stories to the RCA.

 
At 2:48 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 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"has anyone ever asked them how the midwives got involved in this terrible situation?? not by choice or "revenge" as you say; but because so many women had come to them complaining of past or ongoing sexual, physical and emotional abuse by "rabbi" mordechai tendler, women whom he had threatened if they revealed these truths, devastated women whose lives he had ruined, women who tried seeking help from the local rabbis who were unable to do anything for them."

If the women told their therapists or psychologists (heck, even their hairdressers!), I could see it. Is it normal for women to discuss their sexual activity with their midwife (presumably they are seeing her because they are pregnant)? What about their OB/GYN? I've known many doctors, including OB/GYNs and none ever indicated that women just open up and tell them about who they are sleeping with. Very strange.

 
At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yori Yanovers' fake indignation over Luke Fords' history of writing about the porn industry is akin to the patron of the Marquis de Sade being all a-twitter over the raciness of 'The Thorn Birds'.

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>Yori Yanovers' fake indignation
>over Luke Fords' history of
>writing about the porn industry
>is akin to the patron of the
>Marquis de Sade being all a-
>twitter over the raciness
>of 'The Thorn Birds'.

Seriously.

Yoram's Rebbe = Moonish = Rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch

And here's a link to Worch's creepy pornographic stories that he writes and distributes on the internet.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040209153202/http://www.asstr.org/~mcstories/Authors/Moonish-Lunar.html

 
At 7:09 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 7:17 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

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

Shame on those who tolerate the explotation and abuse of women and agunot.

 
At 7:22 PM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

I posted this case which illustrates a similar sexual predator that also preyed on the financial vulnerabilities of women like the ones RMT preyed on (agunot).

http://jewishwhistleblower.blogspot.com/2005/04/israeli-public-housing-official-yaakov.html#comments

 
At 9:13 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 2:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

rabbis as are entitled to err in extramarital affairs as much as any other professional...thinking them somehow exempt is simply childish and foolhardy....it does NOT exempt these women from what is due them as punishment according to all halacha...and this is if we believe them...if they are FALSE in their accusations, they will be subject to far more than simply requirement of divorce from their cuckolded husbands and sherem from the orthodox community...the issue really IS NOT whether a Rabbi has affairs with these women,althoug if accurate he TOO should be subject to similar consequences -- no one is letting him off if accusations are accurate...but he has not mesmoerized these women, they are well above the age of consent and knowledge of right and wrong, and if taken at their own words need be divorced and placed in cherem at once.

Where are the orthodox women willing to uphold this most basic halachic concept protecting the sanctity of Jewish marriage? Do NONE of you follow basic halacha anymore?

 
At 4:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don;t think any of us who have been discussing the obvious halachic problem now posed by these voluntary adultresses within the community will ever be confused with Tendler apologists. If he did something, and it is halachically proven, he will pay the price. But these women have VOLUNTARILY admitted to acts of cherem that require, by all halacha, divorce from their cuckolded husbands. Black and white, no room for debate. Where are the orthodox feminists in defending the halacha and administering the responsible action of the community?

Do not dismiss any of us as Tendler apologists. We just don;t care about that aspect of the issue, at least for now where no facts are finalized. What IS finalized is the actions of these women...where is the KNH community to perform its required, halachic responsibilites? Do the women of KNH serious employ halacha only partially and as it suits their interests?

 
At 4:22 AM, 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."

No, he didn't. But the tactic of using smear where logical argument fails you is alive and well.

Yanover is a kind man who wouldn't dream of writing that kind of garbage.

 
At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....we are discussing married women responsible for their actions...they must be put in cherem at once and divorced from their husbands as willing participants..."

A person in a position of power and authority, taking advantage of women who go to him for counsel, is a predator and abuser, period. No matter how many comments you leave trying to shift the blame, you can not escape that fact.

I wonder if Tendler presented 'love' and 'healing' via physical intimacy as 'therapeutic', as YOUR rebbe does?

Shame on you, for taking your frustration over the SELF-DOWNFALL of your own rebbe and using it to attack these women.

Go, and crawl back into the slimy pit from which you emerged.

 
At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the name of the law for dealing with those who enable, aid and abet sexual predators?

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the law is probably called "the second party in a willing extramarital affair" by a very willing and able woman cuckolding her husband. You are correct, after divorcing his wife, the husband can sue the second party as well -- but certainly, first, go after the adultress!!!

 
At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yanover is a kind man who wouldn't dream of writing that kind of garbage."


In your dreams.

He willingly and knowingly financially supports a sexual predator, whom he knew about all his extramarital affairs during his marriage.

 
At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so, he desrves to have lies posted as his quotes on the internet? Nice logic.

 
At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.imamidwives.com/team/

 
At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you keep trying to combine willing adult adultresses with minor children. There is no comparison at all to Lanner, Weinberg or the other cases. These were adult women who knew exactly what they were doing, and are responsible for their actions under law and halacha. Run the rabbi out of town for having extramarital affairs if proven -- no one has a problem with that.

Irrespective, however, these women are REQUIRED to be put in cherem as willing adultresses, divorced at once and denied custody of their children. No choice, unless you are willing to state that your orthodoxy is only present for ritual convenience when it conforms to American cultural standards. Based upon what all of you CLAIM these women admit to, how can any of you protect them for a second? They are not 15 years old, they are not victims of any kind --they are brazen adultresses, who cuckolded their hsubands in extramarital affrairs. Who cares if it was with the rabbi or the richest guy in town -- in dealing with THE ADULTRESSES, there is no relevance in any of these defenses.

Run them out of town tonight! IN cherem forever, evil women who desrtoy the basis of the Jewish household! Where are the Bnos Yisrael to openly defend the sanctity of the marriage and household, and deal according to all Halacha with the WILLING ADULTRESSES?

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tendler committed an abuse of power and spiritual authority in seducing women in the format of 'counseling'.

It's an abuse of power, period.

Deal with it.

 
At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When one party is in a position of power and uses that power with moral questionability, the relationship is never "consensual", regardless of age. It is considered ipso facto abusive.


Deal with it.

 
At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There can be no role in a halachic community for adultresses. Period."


How do you explain your own role in supporting a rabbi who is an ADULTERER then?

Just because he shares details of his sexual exploits with you doesn't count.

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tendler had no power over these women; that is a nonsensical discussion regarding women in their 30's and 40's. He had extramarital affairs with willing partners, if one accepts their stories. As a rabbi, that will be dealt with by the community.

These women, however, are not victims by any definition. They chose to sleep with the local Alpha Male, period, rather than maintain their marriage vows to their husbands. At the country club, that would be the richest guy; here in Monsey that means the rabbi.

I agree, this is a very problematic situation, and much more serious than whatever Tendler did as a rabbi. How are the women of the community keeping quiet rather than putting these women in the worst cherem possible?

I liked the comment about the Bnos Yisrael...where are our women in publicly defending our marriages. I am very disturbed by this lack of intelliectual honesty, and excuse making for black-and-white halacha.

A Monsey Husband

 
At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

first time poster, so bear with me please.

As a husband, I agree completely with the arguments made by other men here reagrding these women. It is very disconcerting to keep seeing "15 year old" assertions when dealing with 40 year old women in the community.

These women were under no pressure, they were bored suburban housewives looking for trouble, and found it with a very willing rabbi of dubious judgment. A plague on all of them.

And if he told them in therapy, to jump off the Empire State Building, as someone said, THAT they could reason as false, but getting into a shower with a man other than your husband is NOT consentual? Please!

They shtupped the Alpha Male, repeatedly and willingly, as someone posted. That violated every aspect of Judaism. No excuses. How can they be permitted to remain in our community at all?

How come all of our wives are silent on this matter? Is it really the true attitude of the women in KNH, that it is ok to sleep around on the sly and then claim post-coital "victimhood" when the truth comes out? How are they being permitted to continue in the community?

Where, indeed, are our Bnos Yisroel, as someone wrote?

A KNH Husband

 
At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A person in a position of power and authority, taking advantage of women who go to him for counsel, is a predator and abuser, period. No matter how many comments you leave trying to shift the blame, you can not escape that fact."

A pulpit Rabbi holds no position of power and authority over anybody as anybody can leave any time they want. They have no financial power either as opposed to CEOs who are forced to step down for having flings with employees (this has led to the sexual harassment statutes currently on the books). To claim that RMT had power and control over anybody is simply false.

 
At 9:42 AM, Anonymous i.a.n.a.l. but said...

This round has to be given to the RMT camp. Not a knockout blow, but clearly the RCA camp is reeling and on the ropes. the RMT camp successfully cast RMT as a victim of an unfair process, got Rav Dovid Feinstein to back them up, and got a psak beis din to boot. The RCA may need to hire themselves their own hotshot lawyer and p.r. wiz.

 
At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Run the women out of town, put them in cherem...? Is this a sick joke?! There is nothing tooo low for the tendler camp to use in tryinto cover this up. Sorry, it will not work!

 
At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

> This round has to be given to the
> RMT camp. Not a knockout blow, but
> clearly the RCA camp is reeling and
> on the ropes.

The RCA's "situation" is only going to get worse. The list of organizations, newspapers and gedolim who are preparing written statements supporting RMT is long and growing. As the details of this case slowly become public, fewer people believe the charges against RMT. After all, if there was one shred of evidence (DNA, tapes, etc), it would have been leaked to the Forward and Jewish Week long ago.

Unfortunately for JWB and the midwives, rumors and lies do not hold up under scrutiny of any sane person (which excludes JWB and the midwives, of course).

 
At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A pulpit Rabbi holds no position of power and authority over anybody as anybody can leave any time they want. They have no financial power either as opposed to CEOs who are forced to step down for having flings with employees (this has led to the sexual harassment statutes currently on the books). To claim that RMT had power and control over anybody is simply false."


A pulpit rabbi is an authority figure, a teacher, counselor, spiritual leader.

It is an abuse of a position of authority.

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

Based on the investigative reporting done by the Jewish Voice, the allegations made by the accusing women seem to be falling apart. Of course everyone (how many different people against Tendler ARE there here anyway) on this blog will shriek and wail, but out in the real world, RMT is well on the road to vindication. The RCA will have to "put up or shut up" and either show up to beis din, and prove their words, or defy the Chief Rabbinate Beis Din's psak, refuse to go to a beis din with RMT, and lose all credibility (whatever they have left in their own rabbinic circles) which would also render their decisions worthless. Either way, the accusing women and the RCA better come up with some proof fast, or they are going to be laughed out of the news.

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger KNHmember said...

Based on the investigative reporting done by the Jewish Voice, the allegations made by the accusing women seem to be falling apart.

You got to be kidding! One women working out of her kitchen in Teaneck did investigative reporting? BullDinky. She printed what she was told. She did not speak to anyone in New Hempstead

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a grown woman who took a man ito the shower while her husband was at work is clearly "misasek", and need be placed in cherem at once

a grown woman who stripped for a man other than her husband and then consummated the tryst repeatedly is clearly "misasek"

a grown woman whose explanation is that her mother was dying and her husband worked long hours,, and she was depressed and lonely and vulnerable, defines the term adultress, and is clearly "misasek"

a grown woman complaining that "he said he loved me and would leave his wife for me" is almost every NFL cheerleader, most secretaries in my law firm (3 just last year), and any other woman who went after the Big Man on Campus however defined, knowing it was forbidden fruit, and got burned

There is a clear problem in KNH in these women taking post-coital responsibility for their adultery -- and NO ONE is apologizing for Tendler, who clearly goes along with them for conduct unbecoming a Rabbi.

But everyone of these women may never set foot in shul again, must divorce their husbands at once, and should have their children DNA checked for mamzerus immediately.

We are clearly at an crossroads between whether the community is Modern or Orthodox. After discussions this shabbos, I am pleased that the overwhelming silent majority comprehends halacha and is simple appalled at these women and their handlers,and that the 2-3 repeated voices here represent anonymous and dubious feminists with no foundation in halacha.

I love and respect my wife dearly, and rely upon her perspectives no end. No one is more outraged at the "vicitimizing" of these adultresses than my wife and her girl friends in the shul --our true Bnos Yisrael upholding our moral standards.

This is now the post-Tendler discussion, and one of far greater consequences. Is there an "O" anywhere in JOFA, or is halacha simply a convenience for espousing American (alien) feminist culture within our community?

A Very Proud (of his Eshet Chayil and daughters) KNH Father and Husband

 
At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You got to be kidding! One women working out of her kitchen in Teaneck did investigative reporting? BullDinky. She printed what she was told. She did not speak to anyone in New Hempstead"

OK, if you dispute the facts laid out in the article, back up your assertions and dipsute the acrticle, point by point.

 
At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these Midwives 1 and Midwives 2?

http://imamidwives.com/team/

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

A Word from Behind the Mechitza at KNH:

As awkward as it may be to break from the "sisterhood", your continued harping on Rabbi Tendler as a "deviant" of some sorts is simply false...he was a willing participant in adultry with grown woman/women. That violates halacha, and will cost him his position as a Rabbi, but the women are equally culpable if not outright seductresses.

You seem no longer capable of distinguishing between any improper relationship and being a sexual predator --by your words, the minute an improper sexual relationship comes to light, the man is a predator and deviant, yet the woman is a victim. There lies your lack of credibility -- you cannot distinguish anymore between amourous trysts between consenting adults in violation of their marriage vows and molesting a 9 year old girl. No matter what, the equation for you seems to be All Men Bad, All Women Victims.

The Tendler case is going to harm the orthodox feminist movement for years to come precisely because of this failure in credibility. He needs to go because, as the RCA rightly pointed out, he engaged in conduct improper for an orthodox rabbi -- he had an extramarital affair with very willing partner/s, and possibly seductress/es. You have destroyed, however, all of the rightful momentum that developed from the NCSY case by mislabeling this case as predator/victim because of an inability to acknowledge that the women were equally culpable, if not more so.

Those of us behind the mechitza know the real facts, and this case has been badly misrepresented for feminist political motivation. I grieve for the lost opportunity, and for the misrepresentation of our community.

We women are much more caught up in the vise between American culture and yiddishleit than the men. Halacha asks almost nothing of us, save for dressing like the clique and preparing lavish social affairs for company every shabbat. We claim that watching Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives does not effect us, and that we can compartmentalize the values of America from our own homes and families. Wrong. Time to accept that bitter truth and accept its consequences.

These women need go immediately, as quickly as the Rabbi, not as heroes but as harlots.

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, on this side of the mechitza has anything emotion other than utter revulsion for these women. They are, indeed, adultresses, and we all look forward to the men performing the distasteful tasks necessary halachically and civicly in weeding their imoral influences from our shul and community.

All the purported sympathy posted on your blog comes from out-of-town feminists employing our local crisis for their own benefit and cause.

There are so many important cases of abuse that demand not only publicity but credibility. The less said about the unfortunate events in our shul, from the perspective of the orthodox feminist cause, the better.

A KNH Mother and Wife, for the Silent Majority of Eshet Chayil in the KNH Community

 
At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attn KNH Mother and KNH Husband:
Your posts refelect the lie that RMT is guilty. If you think he is guilty, can we please see some proof? Have you read the Jewish Voice and Opinion or read the Jewish Press? Prove it or lose it.

 
At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A pulpit rabbi is an authority figure, a teacher, counselor, spiritual leader.

It is an abuse of a position of authority."

Absolutely not! A pulpit Rabbi may be somebody you ask a shayla from but he has NO authority over baalei batim. The only way he has "authority" is if the individual(s) give him authority. He has authority over what takes place in the shul but that is where it stops. This is NOTHING like CEO, managers, etc. exerting their position in the workplace over their subordinates, e.g. Clinton (who got away with it). Baalei batim can leave at any time they desire with no negative consequences whatsoever. What will happen? The shul will up your membership dues if don't give in? Or, you'll get a negative recommendation if you leave shuls? Give me a break! RMT holds no power and authority over any individual in any way.

 
At 2:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

were the people who gave Shabbtai Tsvi authority perpetrators or victims? They were adults. Surely if he seduced them, the fault was theirs?
Every one of them was a rasha.
No?

 
At 2:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a lone woman writing a newspaper for the record with attribution and resposibility is 10,000 times more credible than JWB, who hides behind anonymity and permits anyone and everyone (or perhaps it really is only himself and 2 friends all the time) to post any loshon hora with no investigation

look who is calling the kettle black!

 
At 4:33 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 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Word from Behind the Mechitza at KNH:

As awkward as it may be to break from the "sisterhood", your continued harping on Rabbi Tendler as a "deviant" of some sorts is simply false...he was a willing participant in adultry with grown woman/women. That violates halacha, and will cost him his position as a Rabbi, but the women are equally culpable if not outright seductresses.

You seem no longer capable of distinguishing between any improper relationship and being a sexual predator --by your words, the minute an improper sexual relationship comes to light, the man is a predator and deviant, yet the woman is a victim. There lies your lack of credibility -- you cannot distinguish anymore between amourous trysts between consenting adults in violation of their marriage vows and molesting a 9 year old girl. No matter what, the equation for you seems to be All Men Bad, All Women Victims.

The Tendler case is going to harm the orthodox feminist movement for years to come precisely because of this failure in credibility. He needs to go because, as the RCA rightly pointed out, he engaged in conduct improper for an orthodox rabbi -- he had an extramarital affair with very willing partner/s, and possibly seductress/es. You have destroyed, however, all of the rightful momentum that developed from the NCSY case by mislabeling this case as predator/victim because of an inability to acknowledge that the women were equally culpable, if not more so.

Those of us behind the mechitza know the real facts, and this case has been badly misrepresented for feminist political motivation. I grieve for the lost opportunity, and for the misrepresentation of our community.

We women are much more caught up in the vise between American culture and yiddishleit than the men. Halacha asks almost nothing of us, save for dressing like the clique and preparing lavish social affairs for company every shabbat. We claim that watching Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives does not effect us, and that we can compartmentalize the values of America from our own homes and families. Wrong. Time to accept that bitter truth and accept its consequences.

These women need go immediately, as quickly as the Rabbi, not as heroes but as harlots.

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, on this side of the mechitza has anything emotion other than utter revulsion for these women. They are, indeed, adultresses, and we all look forward to the men performing the distasteful tasks necessary halachically and civicly in weeding their imoral influences from our shul and community.

All the purported sympathy posted on your blog comes from out-of-town feminists employing our local crisis for their own benefit and cause.

There are so many important cases of abuse that demand not only publicity but credibility. The less said about the unfortunate events in our shul, from the perspective of the orthodox feminist cause, the better.

A KNH Mother and Wife, for the Silent Majority of Eshet Chayil in the KNH Community

 
At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>a lone woman writing a newspaper for
>the record with attribution and
>resposibility is 10,000 times more
>credible than JWB, who hides behind
>anonymity and permits anyone and
>everyone (or perhaps it really is
>only himself and 2 friends all the
>time) to post any loshon hora with no
>investigation

I agree 100%, and I suspect that most of the posts on this blog are from the same one or two people (primarily GP a/k/a JWB).

 
At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"prove it..." ok here is #1 He publically stood up and denied meeting with women behind ckosed doors. Ask around, there are hundreds of people who know that this is a lie. They should also know that it is halachikally prohibited.
KNH what are your standards for a Rabbi? Are there any?
Is the Rabbi accountable to anyone? What about a board that is defined as being only those who whitewash and coverup, and all others are ousted or silenced? Just a few things to think about!

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sick of hearing about "loshon harah" and the like from the tender supporters! Enough of the hypocracy! He has always used this a pretex for silencing very legitimiate criticism of himself, while spreading lies about others both publicly and privately and being the worst offender ever! Enough of his phoney piety! Enough of his abuse of Torah! Does anyone in KNH really care about torah (as opposed to caring for tendler? Well show it for a change!!!

 
At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How "courageous" of Susan Rosenbluth to publish under her own name!
Of course, it is easier to go public when you are defending dangerous thugs than when you are exposing them. A small disadvantage to those trying to rid the Jewish world of the cancer that is tendler!

 
At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those asking for proof: After the RCA investigated for over a year, in a process agreed on by tendler and headed by someone chosen by him because he was a friend ofhis father's, and for a year tendler said wait and see they will show I was innocent! Now the process was invalid from the start? Do you people out there have a brain- then use it! don't be duped by the tendler spinners!
tendler can't open his mouth without being caught in a lie that is public knoledge- how is anyone taking his word over the RCA? Shame on every single lay person and Rabbi (and I include the big and the small, relatives and buddies alike)!!

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

http://www.advocateweb.org/hope/notanaffair.asp

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 AEPPP@aol.com 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 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok now I get it! it's a power and authority thing that removes all adult responsibility from these women.

mordechai tendler is a dime a dozen as a rabbi, but my husband truly is all that stands between his patients and the angel of death

so next year when I come home midday and find one of these women spreadeagled across my living room sofa with my husband, it is only because he is famous doctor and her mother needs therapy...this would be a new form of medical insurance, I guess...sort of pay as you go

perhaps you would suggest I extend true hachnosas orchim and have my daughter serve up some iced tea after the poor dear worked up such a sweat with my husband the authority figure...always one to help out the victims, you know...my "sisters" in the feminist cause all assured me

I agree these women must be out of the shul, out of our homes and out of our community

APPALLED KNH Mother and Wife

 
At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally know both the midwives and RMT quite well. There is no doubt that those two women have been trying for years to frame RMT because he did not side with them on various issues (both personal and professional/healthcare).

I feel bad for Midwife II's husband and kids. The husband is a nice, normal guy. It is a shame that his wife has ruined their family reputation. I know personally that the yeshiva that their son attends (a very prominent yeshiva in Monsey) has discussed taking precautions to avoid becoming the targets of Midwife II's attacks.

 
At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, the MT side is claiming that anyone who accuses him is crazy, or is out to get him. Everyone who accuses is meligned, intimidated, baught off, threatened, discredited- and then they ask "where is the proof?". What a bunch of weasels!

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Ann Leah Marigonelli said...

A Tale of Lies and Midwives from the The Jewish Voice and Opinion

http://jewishvoiceandopinion.com/a/Tendler1.htm

 
At 7:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thousands of patients (mostly women) in the United States have undergone or are undergoing attempted treatment by psychotherapists for a non- existent memory disorder. As a result, these same therapists have unwittingly promoted the development of a real memory disorder: False Memory Syndrome. To make sense of this unfortunate situation, I need to offer a few definitions.
Some psychotherapists believe that childhood sexual abuse is the specific cause of numerous physical and mental ills later in life. Some term this Incest Survivor Syndrome (ISS). There is no firm evidence that this is the case, since even where there has been documented sexual abuse during childhood, there are numerous other factors that can explain physical or emotional complaints that appear years later in an adult.

These therapists believe that the children immediately repress all memory of sexual abuse shortly after it occurs, causing it to vanish from recollection without a trace. The price for having repressed memories is said to be the eventual development of ISS.

Therapists attempt to "cure" ISS by engaging patients in recovered memory therapy (RMT), a hodge-podge of techniques varying with each therapist. The purpose of RMT is to enable the patient to recover into consciousness not only wholly accurate recollections of ancient sexual traumas, but also repressed body memories (such as physical pains) that occurred at the time of the traumas.

In actuality, RMT produces disturbing fantasies which are misperceived by the patient and misinterpreted by the therapist as memories. Mislabeled by the therapist and patient as recovered memories, they are actually false memories.

The vast majority of false memory cases developing from RMT are in women, which is why this article assumes patients to be female.

Initiation of Patients into RMT
A woman consults a psychotherapist for relief of various emotional complaints. The therapist informs her that she may have been molested as a child and does not know it, and this could explain her symptoms. Some patients think this idea is absurd and go to another therapist; others accept the therapist's suggestions and stay on. More than a few women have heard about repressed memories from talk shows or tabloids even prior to coming to the therapists office, and may even make the appointment believing they too could be "victims."
Though the patient has no memories of abuse, she becomes motivated for "memory recovery" since she is told this will cure her symptoms. The therapist will offer encouragement that "memories" will return. Suggestive dreams or new pains are interpreted by the therapist as proof that repressed memories are lurking.

The therapist may refer the patient to a "survivor recovery group." There she will meet women who further encourage her to keep trying to remember. Attendance at these support groups, as well as assigned reading in self-help books, surrounds the patient with validation for the therapist's theories.

The vast majority of women with FMS are white, middle class, and above average in education. This corresponds to the profile of a typical woman who enters long term psychotherapy, and who perceives such activity as an important way to solve life's problems.

Generating False Memories
Unlike courts of law which obtain objective evidence where allegations of evil-doing are made, RMT solely directs the patient to attend toward her inner world for "proof" she was sexually abused. Such RMT techniques may include:
Meditation on fantasy production, such as pictures drawn in "art therapy," dreams, or stream of consciousness journal writing.
Hearing or reading about the "recovered memories" of other women which can serve as inspirations.
Amytal interviews ("truth serum") and/or hypnosis (including "age regression" where the patient is told she is temporarily being transformed into the way she was when she was five years old).
Telling the patient to review family albums; if she looks sad in some of her childhood photos, she is told this is further confirmation that abuse occurred.
The Dark Side of "Recovery"
Patients start out RMT with the hope that things will be better once they recover their repressed memories. But usually life becomes far more complicated.
The FMS patient will often become estranged from the "perpetrator" (most often her father). If the patient has small children, they will be off limits to "perpetrators" as well. Relationships with other family members becomes contingent on their not challenging the patient's beliefs.

Therapists may urge parents to come for a "family conference" in order to allow the patient to surprise the "perpetrator" with a rehearsed confrontation. Family members are usually too shocked and disorganized to coherently respond to accusations. The rationale for this scenario is that since "survivors" feel powerless, they need "empowerment."

FMS patients may file belated crime reports with local law enforcement agencies and may go on to sue "perpetrators." Such lawsuits demand compensation for bills from psychotherapists and possibly other doctors who treated adult medical problems that therapists somehow link to childhood traumas. Of course, there may be demands for "punitive damages." Spouses of "perpetrators" (usually the patient's mother) may be sued as well for being negligent, thus making householder's insurance into a courtroom piggy bank. Since FMS patients sincerely believe they have been victimized, more than a few juries have given verdicts sympathetic to them.

Preoccupied with the continuing chores of "memory recovery," the FMS patient may come to ignore more pressing problems with her marriage, family, schooling, or career. Often the time demands and expense of the therapy itself become a major life disruption.

Some patients during the course of RMT develop "multiple personality disorder" (MPD). RMT therapists have claimed that they need to not only recover repressed memories, but also to uncover repressed personality fragments; some women come to believe they are repositories of dozens of hidden personalities ("alters"). "Alters" have their own names and characteristics, and may identify themselves as men or even animals. An increasing number of psychiatrists and psychologists are coming to view MPD as a product of environmental suggestion and reinforcement, since the diagnosis was hardly made prior to ten years ago. One area where there is no controversy: once MPD is diagnosed, therapy bills become astronomical.

Some FMS patients become convinced that their abuse was actually "satanic ritual abuse" (SRA), due to participation by relatives in a secret satanic cult. Some therapists believe SRA is the work of a vast underground cult network in these United States. No evidence beyond "recovered memories" has ever been offered as proof that satanic cults exist at this claimed level of frequency. Therapists who lecture on the topic have explained away the lack of evidence that such cults exist by claiming that no defectors speak out due to iron-clad secrecy via brainwashing and terror.

The Care and Maintenance of False Memories
FMS involves a combination of mistaken perceptions and false beliefs. The fledgling FMS patient is encouraged to "connect" with an environment that will reinforce the FMS state, and is encouraged to "disconnect" from people or information that might lead her to question the results of RMT.
The FMS subculture is victim-oriented. Even though they have not undergone anticancer chemotherapy or walked away from airplane crashes, FMS patients are told they too are "survivors." This becomes a kind of new identity, giving FMS patients the feeling of a strong bond with other "survivors" of abuse. Patients will often start attending "survivor" support groups, subscribe to "survivor" newsletters, or even attend "survivor" conventions (sometimes with their therapists).

They will read books found in "recovery" sections of bookstores. The best known book, The Courage to Heal, is weighty, literate, and thus appears authoritative. Authors Laura Davis and Ellen Bass have no formal training in psychology, psychiatry, or memory. This paperback, modestly priced at $20, has sold over 700,000 copies.

Patients are told to shy away from dialogue with skeptical friends or relatives, since this will hinder their "recovery." "Perpetrators" who proclaim their innocence cannot be taken seriously since they are "in denial" and incapable of telling the truth.

Aside from these social influences, people by nature often resist seeing themselves as being in error. It can be terribly painful to acknowledge having made a big mistake, particularly when harmful consequences have resulted.

RMT exploits the tendency within each of us to blame others for our problems, and to latch onto simple answers for life's complicated problems. RMT therapists suggest that aside from entirely ruining childhoods, childhood sexual abuse can explain anything and everything that goes wrong during adulthood. RMT becomes the ultimate crybaby therapy.

How Memory Really Works
In Freud's theory of "repression" the mind automatically banishes traumatic events from memory to prevent overwhelming anxiety. Freud further theorized that repressed memories cause "neurosis," which could be cured if the memories were made conscious. While all this is taught in introductory psychology courses and has been taken by novelists and screenwriters to be a truism, Freud's repression theory has never been verified by rigorous scientific proof.
Freud, were he alive today, would be traumatized to see how RMT has redefined his pet concept. While Freud talked of the repression of single traumatic episodes, today's therapists maintain that dozens of similar traumatic episodes occurring over years are repressed with 100% efficiency.

The well known syndrome of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder shows us that verifiable traumatic events, rather than disappearing from memory, leave trauma victims haunted by intrusive memories in which the victim relives the trauma. For those who were in Nazi concentration camps or underwent torture as POWs in Vietnam, this can become a serious lifelong problem.

People forget most of what occurs to them, including some events that were pleasant or significant to them at the time. If an event is lost from memory, there is no scientific way to prove whether it was "repressed" or simply forgotten. And there is no reason that memories of sexual abuse should be handled any differently than childhood memories of physical abuse or of emergency surgery.

Events that have slipped away from memory cannot be recalled with the accuracy of a videotape. Individuals forget not only insignificant events in their entirety, but also significant events. Some events (traumatic or not) are recalled, but with significant details altered.

A study of children whose school was attacked by a sniper showed that some who were not on the school grounds later insisted they had personal recollections of being in school during the attack. These false memories apparently were inspired by exposure to the stories of those who truly experienced the trauma.

Memories can be deliberately distorted in adults by presenting a display of visual information, and later exposing subjects to verbal disinformation about what they saw. This disinformation often becomes incorporated into memory, contaminating the ultimate memories that are recalled.

To be sure, some who enter therapy were abused as children, but they have always remembered this abuse. They do not need special help in "memory recovery" to tell the therapist what happened to them.

Why Recovered Memory Therapy is Bad Therapy
RMT purportedly is undertaken to help patients recover from the effects of sexual abuse from childhood; however, at the onset of RMT there is no evidence that such abuse ever occurred. Thus, instead of a therapist having some evidence for a diagnosis and then adopting a proper treatment plan, RMT therapists use the "treatment" to produce their diagnosis.
Some RMT therapists over-attribute common psychological complaints as signs of forgotten childhood sexual abuse. In their zeal to find memories, these therapists overlook any and all alternative explanations for the patient's complaints.

RMT therapists ignore basic psychological principles that all individuals are suggestible, and that patients in distress seeking psychotherapy are particularly likely to adopt beliefs and biases of their therapist.

Many RMT therapists have studied neither basic sciences related to memory, nor the diagnosis of actual diseases of memory. Their knowledge is often based on a single weekend seminar, as opposed to years of formal training in any graduate program they attended to get their licenses.

Hypnosis and sodium amytal administration ("truth serum") are unacceptable procedures for memory recovery. Courts reject hypnosis as a memory aid. Subjects receiving hypnosis or amytal as general memory aids (even in instances where there is no question of sexual abuse) will often generate false memories. Upon returning to their normal state of consciousness, subjects assume all their refreshed "memories" are equally true.

RMT therapists generally make no attempt to verify "recovered memories" by interviewing third parties, or obtaining pediatric or school records. Some have explained that they do not verify the serious allegations that arise from RMT because their job is simply to help the patient feel "safe" and "recover."

Many patients who have known all their lives that they were mistreated or neglected by their parents, decide as adults to be friends with the offending parents. By contrast, RMT therapists encourage their patients, on the basis of "recovered memories," to break off relationships with the alleged "perpetrators" as well as other relatives who disagree with the patient's views. This is completely at odds with the traditional goals of therapists: to allow competent patients to make their own important decisions, and to improve their patient's relationships with others.

Patients undergoing RMT often undergo an increase of symptoms as their treatment progresses, with corresponding disruption in their personal lives. Few therapists will seek consultation in order to clarify the problem, assuming instead that it is due to sexual abuse having been worse than anyone might have imagined.

Other Kinds of FMS
Some individuals come to believe that they lived "past lives" as a result of having undergone "past life therapy." This phenomenon generally develops in participants who are grounded in the New Age zeitgeist and already open to "discovering" their past lives. They enroll in seminars which can run up to an entire weekend and will involve some measure of group hypnotic induction and guided meditations. This sort of FMS also involves continuing group reinforcement. In contrast to horrific images of sexual abuse, recollections of "past lives" are generally pleasant and interesting. Few participants will recall spending prior lives in lunatic asylums or dungeons. The whole experience is assumed to be therapeutic by helping participants better understand the situation of their present lives.
A small number of individuals develop "recovered memories" of being abducted by aliens from outer space. Almost always these individuals had some curiosity about this area and were hardly skeptics before they fell into an alien abduction FMS.

In contrast to women who are plagued with concerns that they were sexually abused, these varieties of FMS are of a much more benign nature and do not disrupt personal functioning or family life. While some of these individuals suffer the ignominy of being perceived as "kooks," they may receive compensating group support from those who share their beliefs.

A Word About the Future
Increasing numbers of women who claimed to have recovered memories of sexual abuse have retracted their claims and now see themselves as having had FMS. This may spontaneously occur when women relocate to another locale and lose contact with their prior therapists and support group. Without the "positive reinforcement" from others to encourage false memory development and maintenance, some women begin to doubt the veracity of what they had believed was true. While some remain suspended in a twilight of doubt, others have fully recanted.
These retractors may have a profound influence on getting women with an active FMS to re-evaluate their situation. While FMS patients learn from the FMS culture to dismiss critics as either "perpetrators" or their apologists, the voice of a woman who says she is recovering from FMS is more easily heard.

Although most influential among family counselors and social workers, RMT affected the practices of some licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, some of whom were practicing in special "dissociative disorders units" in psychiatric hospitals. These activities have gone on with little challenge, until recently.

The number of women with FMS who have become retractors is increasing. Some have sued their former therapists for malpractice (see Laura Pasley's story in this issue of Skeptic), and others are weighing the possibilities of doing so. One malpractice insurance carrier for clinical psychologists in California recently tripled its rates without explanation; this has led to speculation that the carrier is anticipating increasing numbers of lawsuits alleging that psychologists caused FMS.

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation, formed in 1991, has been contacted by over 7,000 families in the U.S. and Canada who believe their grown children have FMS, and these families let their views be known to state licensing boards and professional organizations. Managed care administrators are starting to question megabills submitted by RMT therapists, some of whom see their patients through lengthy psychiatric hospitalizations. Understandably, all of this has gained the attention of the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association, who are setting up task forces to try to examine the whole phenomenon.

Meanwhile, there is a large FMS subculture consisting of women convinced that their "recovered memories" are accurate, therapists keeping busy doing RMT, and of authors on the "recovery" lecture and talk show circuits. In addition, there are some vocal fringes of the feminist movement that cherish RMT since it is "proof" that men are dangerous and rotten, unless proven otherwise. Skeptical challenges to RMT are met by emotional rejoinders that critics are front groups for perpetrators, and make the ridiculous analogy that "some people even say the Holocaust did not happen."

RMT will eventually disappear, but not next month.

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

"Who are the two midwives?"

Old news. http://www.imamidwives.com/team/

 

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