Leading the War against Sexual Abuse in the Orthodox Community

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com user Martin Gommel


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JewishMOM.com salutes two revolutionary organizations that are in the front lines of the holy war against sexual abuse in the Orthodox community :

1. For the past 7 years, “Forum Takanah” has been fighting sexual harassment and misconduct by authority figures (i.e. rabbis, teachers, principals etc.) in Israel’s religious community.

Rabbanit Tami Samet (who provided last week’s “3 Rules to Prevent Sexual Abuse”) is an active member of the organization’s adjudicating board along with Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel shlit”a, and many other of Israel’s leading rabbis, rabbaniot, and community leaders.

Through Forum Takanah, victims of abuse can present their complaints to the organization’s board, which then takes appropriate action. In a high-profile case last year, it was revealed that Forum Takanah had forced a prominent Rosh Yeshiva with a long-standing history of sexual relationships with young students to resign from his position and forbade him from conducting personal counseling sessions in the future.

Forum Takanah’s ethical code starts with the stirring words, “There is an obligation to purify our camp from sexual misconduct. There is an obligation because of the mitzvah “Your camp should be holy” and also because of the mitzvah to save oppressed people from their oppressors, as it says “Do not stand on your brother’s blood.”

Jewish moms, say “Amen!”

Learn more about Forum Takanah here.

2. In the US, one of the leaders in fighting sexual abuse in the Orthodox community is OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services serving the New York area, Northern New Jersey, Southern Florida, and the worldwide Jewish communitythrough their website.

Ohel’s website describes the organization’s innovative “RESPECT Program on Sexual Abuse”

“Ohel Specialists provide counseling for victim and survivors of abuse, ranging in age from young children to adults. Ohel also provides education, treatment and consultation services to victims, survivors, parents, educators, schools and community leaders. The RESPECT program engages in outreach to yeshivas and day schools in the greater New York metropolitan area, providing child safety education and training to students, parents, and teachers in a sensitive manner. OHEL also provides consultation and seminars on the issues to communities across the country.”

Watch Ohel’s video featuring Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski and others speaking out against sexual abuse in the religious community:

Learn more about Ohel’s programs here:


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  1. Chana Jenny, I am proud to report that the N’shei Chabad Newsletter has been including articles about the sexual abuse of children in the frum community since 2006, despite vast and strong opposition. It is difficult for me to understand the opposition. (Why protect molesters?) But it is there. I am so glad this important website is joining the war against needless suffering.
    David Pelcovitz has said that three out of four child-victims recover totally, with acceptance and proper treatment. But then there’s that one of out four… who might be damaged for life chas v’sholom.
    Every type of media, from websites to magazines, is obligated to speak out on this topic and educate parents to protect their children. To remain silent out of some misguided sense of tznius or “propriety” is to protect and promote molesters and molestation.
    In my 30 years of working for the N’shei Chabad Newsletter, I am most proud of these articles that we have printed. One day when I face the beis din shel myloh and I am being judged, with my mitzvos and aveiros on the scale, I’ll put those articles on the mitzvah side and thank G-d the magazines are very heavy.

  2. miriam futterman

    as i had mentioned in the previous e-mail…i recommend parents getting the booklet and or the video ” A Time To Tell” from the boy and Girls scouts of America. Parents need to educated themselves and their children. you can work with the booklet and adjust it to your family…and see if you feel the video is appropriate for your child. i think that education in this form is an effective preventative… we are not with our children 24hrs and the information is constructive for life. they talk about the 3 R’s…Resist, Report and i forgot the 3rd… probably run… also they said that 80-90% of the perpetrators are people that know the child.

  3. Thanks for openng this subject. I think the whole frum community desesperately needs it and deserves it!

  4. Dear Jenny, BH for your website and your vidoes. Please send me the names of all the pedophiles so I can publish them. These pedophiles unfortunately will not be in jail for ever. They will get sentences of 4 years or so and then they will be in our communities again. Please send me photos and names of all of them. So far I have 6 names and 3 photos.keep up the good work, the only way to beat these predators is to have an army of watchful Moms on the prowl all day in every neighborhood. This is the biggest case in Israel and BH you have each other. However the are 1000s of children in other neighborhoods dealing with their terrible secret alone. This case is the tip of the iceberg. Pedophilia is happening 24/7 in every chareidi neighborhood non stop in Israel. Shabbos and the Chagim are prime time for it. The predators move from one neighborhood to the other and so we must know who they are, and what they look like

    Leah Amdur

  5. OHEL is not exactly the best organization. They do not fully help bringing pedophiles to justice. See http://survivorsforjustice.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=568%3Anewsletter-ohel-responds&catid=8&Itemid=64

  6. Mother of five

    Chana Jenny, I feel you should take this down. How can you promote ohel when for thirty years children have been abused under ohels care? Mondrowitz was first an ohel ‘counsellor’ and abused children there. They have notoriously covered up for the perps, and still discourage people from going to the police. This is widely known and you can find lots of info on the Internet about it. Now that you are more aware, because of what is happening in nachlaot and your own involvement, surely you can understand how it hurts their victims to promote them, when they have refused to be accountable, stop abuse within their organization, and give over the pedophiles to the police.

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