Pedophile Patience

Pedophile Patience

Moriah runs over to me and clings to my arm in fear…

I look at my 7-year-old daughter with confusion when, with her scared eyes, she indicates the pedophile who lives a few houses down from us who is passing by the playground on his way home. I stick out my tongue in a spontaneous gag and shake my head in disgust. The pedophile sees my reaction, and appears to look to the side with a sad look, but continues walking homeward.

The moment the pedophile is gone, Moriah goes back to playing catch with her brother. I watch her carefully for the rest of the day for lingering effects of the scary encounter. But there are none. The moment the pedophile’s passage through our playground ended Moriah is back to her regular cheerful, bouncy self. I am surprised by how resilient she is, but then again, I guess she has to be.

Pedophiles have become an unfortunate but permanent fixture of our life here in Nachlaot.

My children are well aware that we share our small block with several pedophiles, and in the rest of Nachlaot there are many more.

A few of those pedophiles are awaiting trial, and many more of them (like the pedophile who walked by the playground yesterday) have been interrogated and severely threatened by police, but because the pedophiles molested and raped children whom they had drugged or who were too young to give what the courts consider reliable testimony and because the police have been negligent in their handling of the investigation (in addition to a few other issues) today there is almost no way to convict them.

And so, for the time being, it appears that this is the way things are going to remain for the foreseeable future. A neighborhood with over 400 children living side by side with a whole bunch of pedophiles.

So why do we stay here? Good question.

First of all, we stay because my rabbi said we should. “It’s not good to run away from evil,” he told me. He also helped me to come up with a list of serious steps we have taken in order to protect our children and ourselves.

My rabbi’s advice, while very challenging, makes me feel certain that there is a reason Hashem wants us Weisbergs here.

Maybe Hashem wants us here because my family and I have a role to play in fighting the Nachlaot pedophiles and assisting their victims?

And maybe Hashem wants us here because He knows that this crisis is giving my family something we need… As terrible and traumatic as this year has been for us in many ways, overall this crisis has also been incredibly good for my family. This crisis has brought my family closer, has made me a more vigilant and generally better mother, and has forced me to become a much stronger and dramatically more G-d-focused human being.

Secondly, we are staying because my mom is a psychiatrist who has spent several decades treating victims of sexual abuse as well as numerous pedophiles, and she has adamantly told me again and again that we should definitely not leave Nachlaot. “Jenny, believe me, there are perverts EVERYWHERE. At least now, in Nachlaot, you know who they are, more or less. You have built a wonderful life for yourselves here over the past 16 years, and it would take you years to acclimate to a new neighborhood. There is no such thing as a perfect neighborhood, just be very careful with your younger kids, but don’t move because of this!”

Thirdly, and this is based on a strong feeling rather than expert advice, but I am terrified of moving to a “safe” neighborhood where the general atmosphere of safety would cause me to stop being so vigilant and maximum-security with my kids, only to discover in a few years that my new neighborhood was only as safe as all of us parents thought Nachlaot was a year ago.

So what keeps me going? What gives me hope when the pedophile prognosis is so bleak, and fleeing is not an option right now?

It’s going to sound funny, but what gives me hope is my nightmarish memories of the terrible Second Intifada that started in the year 2000 and that cost over 1100 Jewish lives.

At my most hopeless moments during the current pedophile crisis, I remember how back then, also, Nachlaot was a truly terrifying place to live. During its bloodiest months, I heard several bombs exploding a month…on Jaffa Rd., at the Shuk, on the Ben Yehuda Mall, even on Nachlaot’s teensy Shomron Street. The feeling here was so hopeless and scary that real estate prices fell by nearly half. On a personal level, I remember the regular panic I felt as I walked through the neighborhood, and how my husband and I would trade off staying at home with our young daughters when the other went shopping at the Shuk, so that if one of us was killed in a terror attack, G-d forbid, at least our children would still have one parent left alive.

And then, one day in 2005, I was walking through the Ben Yehuda Mall which had been a wasteland for 5 terror-filled years, when I saw a group of American tourists with their large Nokias and Cannons hanging from their necks. And seeing these tourists, I felt like Noah did when the dove returned with the olive twig in this beak. After the destruction, peace and hope had returned to the land. And I was right, the Intifada was over and has never returned.

So at the moment, what I’m focusing on is having patience. I want arrests and indictments and convictions and imprisonments (and I wouldn’t mind a few pedophile suicides as well) and I want them NOW! But Hashem has His plan. And Hashem does what needs to be done at the right time.

And in the meantime, my job is to do what I can to help and also to remember that Hashem is in charge. And that I need to be patient. Very patient.

Until I see that dove flying in with that olive twig in his beak. Please God, I pray You will be sending him our way really soon.

Click here to see the newest media coverage of the Nachlaot Pedophile Crisis.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user Stuart Caie

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13 comments

  1. You have a beautiful, empowering perspective on a challenging situation. Thank you for sharing this hopeful message. May you be blessed to see a time of complete peace and security very soon.

  2. Bracha Goetz

    Chana Jenny, you are so right about not being able to determine who are perpetrators, so we must all carefully guard our children, in addition to proactively teaching them about personal safety and praying for their safety. Perpetrators of abuse can appear outwardly to be extremely kind and solicitous. and they are frequently more than willing to do acts of chesed that others wouldn’t.

  3. Wow! I went to the most recent link you posted (New York Post article). Is he one of the pedophiles in Nachlaot? That is so crazy that he fled scott free from America and ended up here in Israel. If this is the case, why weren’t parents / people who live in the area warned about him. Does such a program exist where people can find out if pedophiles are living in their neighborhood? I heard such a program does exist in America.

    • JewishMom

      I heard that in America a pedophile released from jail is required by law to tell his landlord and neighbors that he is a pedophile. But I don’t think anything like that exists in Israel, and I also don’t think it’s possible to get information regarding pedophiles living in your neighborhood. I, for example, would find it helpful to know if some of the people accused of being pedophiles have criminal records as sex offenders in order to confirm the suspicion about them.

  4. If you speak to the Crisis clinics and rape clinics you will see that there are no places in Israel free of pedophiles. Sarah Cohen, you have pedophiles in your neighborhood, you don’t know them. I unearthed 2 pedophiles, Daniel Sunray and Howard Tzvi Dorn. Dorn lives in Nachlaot. Jenny is correct. B’H we now know the problem exists and many children have been educated. I was told about a case where a young religious girl was walking up the stairs in her building. A young religious boy came up behind her and started touching her all over. She ran. She to this day doesn’t understand what he was doing. She still asks, what was he looking for? Mondrowitz is still on the loose. Rabbis have to be educated. They think that after all these years he is old and harmless. The legal system has to be educated. B”H we are fighting them. Every day I pray to Hashem to wipe them out. I also hope they all commit suicide. A CEO of a computer company appeared in court this week. He was “know to the police” he communicated over the internet with more than 2000 victims. He tried to commit suicide and they stopped him. He repeated the mantra over and over, I can’t control myself. I will do it again. 90% of them do. We have to demand that the victim and those who have not been harmed be protected. The pedophile does not have rights

  5. JewishMom

    An apology to a bunch of comment writers whose comments I deleted. Let me explain. I usually welcome pretty much all comments. But I got a bunch of comments on this post from people who feel really strongly that I totally nuts and that I should be packing my bags ASAP. I understand you JewishMOMs, and if the situation was reversed, I would probably be giving YOU the same well-intentioned advice. But at the moment, even though it’s a tough decision, we are staying. And it’s just too painful for me to deal with a whole bunch of comments criticizing that very difficult and personal decision right now. Thanks for your understanding and for all your caring about me and my family.

  6. I applaud you all for standing your ground! You cannot let criminals overrun your area! It’s up to the community to create the community they want by holding the local authorities, representatives & citizens accountable…by insisting early & often that something be done.

    We have a handful of registered pedophiles in just a 5 mile radius but we aren’t moving(we use an online family watchdog service which reports them all, where they live, work & when they move in or out). We had another attempted kidnapping of a 13 year old girl this spring, but no one’s moving.

    What amazes me is not that there are evil people, but the ignorance or carelessness displayed by parents! I see young kids riding their bikes along the road by themselves or standing at the end of a road in the dark alone, waiting for the bus in the morning. I just don’t understand how a parent can do that. I still watch from the window as mine wait for their bus or check the mail and they’re 13 & 16!

    You never ever know who pedophiles are. It always comes out in the news that it was a very nice person that no one would have suspected! I assume EVERYONE is a potential pedophile in other words I have a healthy distrust of people who are around my children, something akin to a mama bear. In the world we live, we must be so cautious with our precious gifts!

  7. Hadassah

    Sorry to hear that people are telling you to move and in unkind ways. We all need to be vigilant with our children because this problem exists everywhere and in the best neighborhoods but people just don’t know about it! At least you know who to watch out for.

  8. I think you’re mom was right. Pedophiles are everywhere. I come from Melbourne, where past sexual abuse in the Chabad community recently came to light in a big way (i.e. splashed all over the media). This followed a scandalous sexual abuse case a few years ago in the Adass community (Melbourne’s ‘ultra Orthodox’ community) that also reached the front page of mainstream newspapers and shook people up in a big way.

    I happen to live across the street from the school in which the abuse occurred (we are talking about two perpetrators from around 20 years ago). The school is adjacent to the main shule, where we daven and which houses the kindergarten I send my kids too. If anything, the abuse cases have taught me to be 100% more vigilant. I’ve started educating my small children who are only 3 and 4 (in appropriate ways) about what is safe touch and not, etc. I’m very careful with where they go and who they are left alone with, etc, etc.

    Your mom was 100% spot on. Pedophiles are everywhere and the best we can do is work on shalom bayis (to build security in children and an innate understanding of what constitutes healthy relationships), having an open relationship in them where we help them feel safe to talk about anything, to build their confidence and educate them in age appropriate ways about what behaviour is okay and what behaviour isn’t. We have to know where our children are at all times and who they are with. We need to ask schools and camps what their policies on sexual abuse are and if they don’t have one, we need to rally them to have one.

    As parents we should attend educational seminars and evenings on sexual abuse and we cannot put our heads in the sand. Unfortunately, it is everywhere, but through education and awareness we can help break the walls of silence and ignorance in certain religious communities that surround these unforgivable crimes.

    I pray the molestors that are walking around in your neighbourhood are kept far, far away from children, at all costs. I pray for the healing of those children and families who have had to endure such horrendous acts and I pray that Orthodox communities WAKE UP and realise that they cannot continue to sweep such issues under the carpet, ship off, or protect abusers. Crimes should be reported to police right away. Schools and people in positions of authority need to care more about the welfare of children, then they names of institutions or financial assets they think they are protecting.

    Melbourne is just one example of how leaders who thought they were saving the community from a chillul hashem, by not allowing such issues to be dealt with properly or brought to light, in the end, brought the most HORRIBLE chillul Hashem on their community.

  9. I would also just like to add in relation to the last paragraph that I wrote, that I am not referring to any one leader in particular, but to all the teachers, rabbi’s and people in positions of authority and power at the time, who knew about what was happening.

    And the truth is that we cannot judge anyone from those times who faced the most difficult moral decisions, but I do know one thing, that WE today have to learn from past mistakes and make sure they are not repeated again!

  10. May I ‘umbly suggest that perhaps your mother’s very good advice should be number one, and one’s rabbi’s advice in this case: a) does not necessarily belong high on the list and b) is not necessarily the word of Hashem.

    • No one said it is the word of Hashem. I could be wrong, but you strike me as speaking from a point of pain? My impression is that Chana Jenny trusts and respects her rabbi, perhaps because of how she sees him leading their community, a personal relationship, etc. While it’s good to honor our mothers, not all give good advice- some very, very bad advice. I have this impression that you are biased for mothers and against rabbis for some reason. Just a thought. 🙂

  11. I live in Nachlaot as well and have a very difficult time grasping the situation. Of course, I only have a one year old, so I haven’t really had to “deal” with it yet, and I’m not sure how I will or if I’ll stay. I appreciate your point of view though, although I don’t know if I could make the same decision myself when the time comes.
    Right now, I am furious that these people are allowed to live her peacefully and even participate as Gabbai in shul. I’m surprised the community has not gotten together to plaster their faces in parks , etc.

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