Pedophiles and Chanukah

Pedophiles and Chanukah

Week after week, pedophiles are continuing to sexually assault Nachlaot children.

But while the situation here remains tense and scary, over recent weeks it has given me a new burst of hope to see local rabbis, community leaders, and residents gathering forces to use every legal means at their disposal to fight the pedophiles and to keep all of Nachlaot’s children safe.

And the truth is that, even though it’s not simple to be a JewishMOM living in Nachlaot right now, It has been truly inspirational for me to witness this sleeping bear rising up out of her slumber and start roaring.

Nachlaot is known as a neighborhood that doesn’t have its feet completely on the ground. This is a neighborhood with a disproportionately large percentage of hippy artists and neo-Chassidic musicians and newly-BT massage therapists and idealistic rabbis and spiritual JewishMOMs.

In other words, we Nachlaoters tend to be people who are more comfortable dreaming about the spiritual significance of the Chanukah candles than going to battle with the Greeks within our midst.

And this is what I thought of when I received an Email this morning from JewishMOM Chaya Cohen with the subject line “Pedophiles and Chanukah.”

Chaya pointed out that the battle between the forces of purity and the forces of holiness that we are facing in Nachlaot today is the exact same battle that our forefathers and foremothers fought in the Chanukah story.

The Greeks, like the Nachlaot pedophiles, tried to uproot the holiness of the Jewish people through sexual assault and rape. And then, like now, this sexual violation was the final straw that pushed the Maccabees to finally launch an all-out war against the Greek Empire.

Rabbi Ari Kahn writes for “The Midrash explains that the Jewish uprising was a response to one of the famous Greek laws imposed upon the Jews…[that granted] the authority of the Greek Governor to deflower virgin brides on their wedding night before they could join their husbands.

The Midrash relates that Chana, a daughter of Matityahu the High Priest, demonstratively disrobed at her wedding celebration. Her outraged brothers took up their swords to end the outrage via “honor killing”, but Chana protested: “I disrobed before righteous people, and you are incensed. But this evening I will be taken to the Governor, and not to my husband, and you are silent!”

Chana exhorts them to action, and convinces them to take up arms against the true enemy. Thus, according to this Midrash, the battle of Chanukah ensued.”

IY”H, in this month of miracles, may the forces of purity be victorious as well in my beloved Nachlaot as they were “In those days, at this time.”

Image courtesy of user slgckgc


  1. Sharon Saunders

    We are going to bring them to justice. Justice not only has to be done, but must be seen to be done.

  2. I say we need to start beating them up when we see them in public. If you have a wooden baseball bat, so much the better.

    • A woman after my own heart. Good thing I don’t know who these people are or I probably would’ve been thrown in jail by now!!

  3. “Week after week, pedophiles are continuing to sexually assault Nachlaot children.”

    This is still going on and people are aware of it?!?!

    • yes. The police are aware and the hardest-hit section of nachlaot is aware. But there are quite a few pedophiles involved, which is what makes the case so unusual. Pedophiles almost always work alone. So even after three arrests, the attacks are continuing. Hope to have more good news to share sometime soon…

      • oy! sounds like a nest of vipers, you have taken three out of action but they continue to proliferate. I had never heard the story of the maccabee’s sister before. Probably not something that was taught in school to young women!

  4. Also keep in mind that the Greek culture praised pederasty, sexual involvement with young boys, as a legitimate lifestyle choice, although these boys were of course under the age of consent. There is no doubt that the Greeks tried to push this way of life onto us, and is another way we can connect with our history as we fight this modern day plague.

  5. can you post the link to the maariv article? thanks and my heart hurts for those innocent children and their families. May Hashem give them strength and assist them in a full recovery.

    • Elchanan Cohen

      The following article by Yossi Elli was published November 23rd in Maariv Newspaper:

      The large pedophile case that was exposed two months ago by Maariv, and is causing a storm in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood, refuses to die.

      Approximately a month ago “S,” who is suspected of initiating the establishment of a new playground in the neighborhood in order to use it as a “hunting ground” to sexually assault children, was released from prison. It has just been revealed to Maariv that about a week ago additional complaints against “S” were made to police detectives of the Tsion district, under the suspicion that he has sexually assaulted additional children since his release.

      “S,” a man in his 70s, is suspected of serving as the mastermind of the case involving the sexual assault and rape of over 60 children between the ages of 3-11.

      However, “S” was released from prison after the District Attorney determined that the evidence against him was insufficient to put him on trial.

      It is suspected that once the distancing order against him ended, “S” returned to the neighborhood, approached one of the girls, brought her by force into his apartment, and committed severe sexual crimes against her.

      Sources familiar with the details of the investigation told Maariv that the treatment of the abused children has been passed over to the Social Service Authorities who interrogated the children, and at present the police is waiting for the results of the reliability test of their testimony. In addition, after it was decided to release “S” without an indictment, four families whose children were apparently assaulted decided to leave the neighborhood and move to other neighborhoods in Jerusalem. “We feel like we are under house arrest since “S” returned to the neighborhood” another resident, a mother of 3 children, told Maariv.

      The case exploded around 2 months ago when the Jerusalem police arrested 4 men suspected of sexually assaulting and raping more than 60 children who are residents of the neighborhood. The police succeeded in bringing about the indictment of 3 of the suspects, including seduction through candy and money, and afterwards [graphic description of rape and torture of children]. Even though the majority of children interrogated identified “S” as the person who headed the pedophile ring, the District Attorney chose not to have him stand trial because he claimed that the police had collected insufficient proof to justify an indictment.

      “We view with severity and concern the fact that people who were involved on different levels in the performance of such heinous crimes were released by the police and returned to the scene of the crime without even informing the victims and their families,” said lawyer Eitan Lehman, who is representing the families of the assaulted children.

      The Jerusalem police confirmed that they have received complaints of suspected sexual assaults in the Nachlaot neighborhood, and they are currently being investigated by the juvenile investigators of the Department of Social Welfare Services. The lawyer representing one of the accused pedophiles in the case, Roee Poleetee, stated: “the case is being discussed by the court.”

      [Local residents] have demanded that the case be handled immediately in order to protect neighborhood families that are, in effect, being placed under house arrest rather than arresting the people who assaulted over 60 neighborhood children.

  6. even though these terrible crimes have already happened, maybe you can arrange some type of get together, and teach more pple and neighbors what to be on the lookout for .and if they notice any strange behavior in their children, and very open communication.

  7. Look at the http://www.besheket site and all who know names of these pedophiles or any other pedophiles even those who are serving sentences can send them to the site
    I have translated a file into English of the symptoms when a child is being abused and also what to do to prevent abuase

  8. Disturbing Data
    (Illustration) Photo: Shutterstock
    click here to enlarge text

    Report: Sexual abuse by school kids up

    Knesset commissioned report suggests disconcerting increase of sexual abuse of minors by minors
    Omri Efraim

    A significant percentage of Israel’s children are exposed to violence and sexual abuse, a new report commissioned by the Knesset’s Committee on the Rights of the Child revealed.

    While the report suggests an overall drop in violence among children, it states that the number of children subjected to sexual abuse by other children is on the rise.

    Related stories:
    Report: Rise in domestic homicides
    Sexual abuse: Report to police or rabbi?

    According to the data, in 2010 the Education Ministry’s psychological service recorded 627 cases of sexual abuse of children by their peers and 663 investigations were launched into cases involving sexual offenses committed by minors.

    Social Services’ data noted 2,918 reports of sexual abuse of minors by minors in 2010 – a rise from 2,811 cases in 2009.

    (Illustration: Shutterstock)

    Another report, by the Knesset’s Research Center, reviewed violence in schools, saying that over 20% of fifth-graders reported suffering from violence of some kind in school, or being the victim of vandalism or theft.

    The report, which will also be reviewed by the Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee, also states that there has been a disconcerting rise in overall violence in schools over the past five years.

    Police data, however, suggests that fewer such cases have resulted in criminal records for minors.

    ‘Abuse is sign of great distress’
    Hanna Slotzki, of the Youth Division in the Ministry of Social Services, told Ynet that “every report of sexual violence in schools is recorded. It doesn’t necessarily mean that children are abusing other children – sometimes it means that some children are exhibiting odd sexual behavior, which doesn’t necessarily require an intervention by Social Services.”

    Nevertheless, Slotzki did confirm a rise in violence among school children: “It has a lot to do with the social environment kids live in today, their increased exposure to television and the internet and insufficient parental involvement.”

    MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who heads the Committee on the Rights of the Child, said: “This report is just the tip of the iceberg and it reflects the system’s poor handling of minors who are sexual offenders..

    “This kind of failure will only invite future cases. Treating the offenders is just as important as treating the victims. A child who commits such acts is a ‘ticking time bomb’ for future offenses.”

    Neta Shafran, a clinical criminologist and head of the Elem violence prevention center for at-risk youth, stressed that “there is a higher awareness today for cases of sexual abuse of children by children, but one must remember that such cases are rarely about sexual gratification. In children, sexual offenses are usually an expression of great personal distress.”

    Tomer Velmer contributed to this report

    (This article first appeared in NEFESH)
    By Rabbi Yosef Blau
    It is no longer possible to ignore the tragic reality that sexual, physical and emotional
    abuse exists within the Orthodox community. Recent revelations about rabbis and
    teachers abusing adolescents, often continuing to abuse for decades, dramatically remind
    us that our existing mechanisms are failing to deal with the problem. I am not aware of
    any statistics which clarify whether the numbers of offenders is substantial, but even a
    small number can traumatize hundreds of victims.
    The full measure of the horrendous nature of abuse is not always apparent from a
    technical halakhic perspective. Two teenagers touching each other inappropriately are
    guilty of the same sin as a forty-year old rabbi touching a thirteen- year old female
    student. We intuitively recognize that the rabbi has used his position as an authority
    figure to manipulate a vulnerable child, though she is an adult according to halakha. A
    pedophile who abuses minors even if he gets their approval is halakhicly a rapist but not
    if he does the same with an adolescent boy or girl.
    It is even more difficult to pinpoint the sin when dealing with emotional abuse and
    manipulation. While one can make similar technical arguments in other areas of halakha,
    its significance in this context is its use as cover for the many who do not want to deal
    with the full implications of confronting rabbinical abuse. Not wanting to see themselves
    as lacking sympathy for victims, people can claim to be concerned about preserving
    halkhic standards. How rare it is to have two witnesses who saw the abuse.
    Even when the pattern of abuse is clear the question remains how to effectively deal with
    the abuser in a way that at least limits his ability to move elsewhere and continue to abuse
    new people. Schools fire abusive teachers who then move to another community and
    start teaching (and abusing) in the new yeshiva. Going public is seen as causing a chilul
    Hashem and going to secular authorities as mesira.
    Virtually all poskim agree that if there is danger to future victims then there is no
    halakhic issue of mesira but practically the taboo of mesira remains. Victims are
    discouraged from coming forward on other grounds as well. It will hurt potential
    shidduchim, not only for the victim but for members of his family as well. Compassion
    is expressed for the reputations of members of the abuser’s family as well. The
    probability that the family members may have suffered abuse themselves and suffer from
    being in ongoing contact with the abuser, is not understood.
    Taking the accusation to a Beis Din unfortunately is rarely effective. Few rabbis have
    any training in recognizing abuse and the rabbinical courts have no investigative arm.
    Some abusers are charismatic leaders and have followers who will say whatever they ask
    them to say. Perjury to a Beis Din is not punished and in many cases the witness, in
    support of his mentor, has no difficulty with distorting what occurred. The cultic element
    in the guru’s leadership is hard for us to acknowledge. A rabbi promoting Judaism is
    seen as incapable of being a cult leader.
    Newspapers, particularly Jewish newspapers are assumed to be anti-Orthodox. Speaking
    to them is almost the act of a traitor. Yet at the present time the media has played a
    primary role in the increased awareness of this problem and an abuser whose name that
    has appeared in the media is unlikely to be hired by a new school or youth movement.
    Two recent cases point to differing approaches now being used. In one story from Israel
    a commission including a rabbi, a psychologist and a judge evaluated allegations and the
    accused was fired from his teaching position. He hired a lawyer and is fighting for
    reinstatement. The Israeli media have picked up the story. A recent article in Maariv
    broadened the discussion to quote varying views about rabbis counseling married women.
    The other case involved allegations that had been investigated twenty years ago and a
    resulting agreement that an individual would leave Jewish education, which was not
    effectively enforced. After two decades it became difficult to reconstruct what had
    occurred. Supporters of the accused spoke freely to the media while victims used
    pseudonyms. New allegations surfaced and a major expose appeared in the papers and a
    new Beit Din was formed to decide how to deal with the accusations. While no formal
    announcement has been made, their apparent decision was to send the case to a religious
    court in Israel that will deal with the charges.
    Despite growing awareness and concern no consensus has yet emerged. Rabbis are not
    trained to recognize abuse nor given an approach to aid them in responding when they
    realize that it is occurring. Principals are not equipped to respond to accusations against
    teachers in their schools. Rabbinical organizations do not have rules of appropriate
    conduct. Accused abusers retain memberships in these organizations without any process
    to remove their names.
    Our community has not been educated to recognize abuse nor to appreciate the ongoing
    trauma of victims. Headlines in newspapers are not effective educational tools. Often
    the response is to express anger at the paper and then ignore the abuse. Until the
    mentality of the community changes little progress will be made.
    Even if a method will be developed to get rabbinical approval for victims to go to the
    police much of the problem will remain. Not every manifestation of abuse involves
    criminal behavior. “Rabbis” who seduce women as part of outreach or marital therapy
    are not guilty of a punishable offence. Proper utilization of secular authorities is a
    necessary step but clearly not a total solution.
    In Chicago, after there were a number of serious incidents, a special Beit Din, whose
    members are respected across the Orthodox spectrum, was established to deal with
    accusations of abuse. Similar rabbinical courts in other major cities, whose judges would
    be trained to recognize abuse and would have appropriate mental health professionals as
    consultants, should be introduced. Creating special rabbinical courts is a powerful
    statement that a serious problem needs to be addressed.
    Nefesh professionals have a critical role to play in educating the Orthodox community,
    in treating and supporting victims and in serving as consultants for schools and
    organizations. Only people who are trained can lead a systematic campaign explaining
    the nature of abuse and the need to confront it openly. Stigma has to be removed from
    victims. Invariably when the identity of an abuser is revealed the response of far too
    many is “We have known that for years.” Enabling abusers to continue, covering their
    crimes to protect the image of the community, contribute to innocents being traumatized.
    Judith Herman in her book on trauma points out that both the abuser and the victims turn
    to others for support. The victim needs action while the abuser only asks for our silence.
    It is time to stop the silence. The true chilul Hashem is that we allow victims to continue
    to suffer in order to preserve our community’s image.

  10. the kids being abused should not be left alone at any time! where are their parents?!?! every kid in Nachlaot should be at home. if outside, then with supervision!

    • this is exactly what I wanted to say. No children should get out without adult supervision. How on earth can anyone let their children out to the streat alone after such terrible crimes happened?!
      I never heard about Chana’s story but its relly mooving.

  11. I read this comment on another website:

    My daughter went to to gan there and I saw for many months what was going on there. Many small girls not even 4 year olds walked back home by themselves. Children played unsupervised in that courtyard. Small 5 year old girls would babysit their younger brothers and sisters. I am sure now parents are scared and are not allowing their kids out of their sight after such a tragedy [YH I wish!] But what about the other haredi communities? what about Meah Shearim, Geula, Sorotzkin, Givat Shaul? Are parents aware in these communities of what is going on in Nachlaot? Most haredim do not read newspapers. Have these news been published in haredi magazines or anywhere that you know?

    A couple of days ago I spoke to a very dear Rebetzin I know for many years. I asked her how it it possible that in our community we are so careful with keeping the purity of our chidlren, we do not expose them to unmodest anything,we protect them from the outside influence in all kinds of ways but on the other hand all over haredi neighborhoods we see small children playing unsupervised either at the park or downstairs of their buildings or going shopping, etc.

    She answered me the most interesting thing “What is wrong with that?” It is a frum neighborhood why not?”

    I did not wanted to tell her what happened in our neighborhood because it was just not the right time to speak about that. So I just said but things can happen to the children,maybe they can get hurt or they can meet bad people that can hurt them.

    She said to me “What do you mean? in a frum neighborhood 99 per cent chances the kids are safe and you have nothing to worry about.

    I could not believe what I was hearing so I asked her “Do you know what happened in my neighborhood?” she didn’t . She lives 10 minute walk from us and she had no idea of what happened to all these innocent children.

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