This whistleblower rabbi’s been battling against child sexual abuse within the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which has been going on a long time. Naturally, the abusers are accusing HIM of wrongdoing such as being a “traitor.” Notice how they don’t blame THEMSELVES for their own evil behaviors.
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg—who is 63 with a long, graying beard—recently sat down with me to explain what he described as a “child-rape assembly line” among sects of fundamentalist Jews. He cleared his throat. “I’m going to be graphic,” he said.
A member of Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidim fundamentalist branch of Orthodox Judaism, Nuchem designs and repairs mikvahs in compliance with Torah Law. The mikvah is a ritual Jewish bathhouse used for purification. Devout Jews are required to cleanse themselves in the mikvah on a variety of occasions: women must visit following menstruation, and men have to make an appearance before the High Holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Many of the devout also purify themselves before and after the act of sex, and before the Sabbath.
On a visit to Jerusalem in 2005, Rabbi Rosenberg entered into a mikvah in one of the holiest neighborhoods in the city, Mea She’arim. “I opened a door that entered into a schvitz,” he told me. “Vapors everywhere, I can barely see. My eyes adjust, and I see an old man, my age, long white beard, a holy-looking man, sitting in the vapors. On his lap, facing away from him, is a boy, maybe seven years old. And the old man is having anal sex with this boy.”…
Here the rabbi describes the scene and indicates the elderly child rapist was angry at him for catching him in the act of a sin and hit Rosenberg in the face with a sponge on a stick for interrupting his rape of the little boy. Rosenberg states that he’d heard about such behaviors for a long time. The article continues:
The child sex abuse crisis in ultra-Orthodox Judaism, like that in the Catholic Church, has produced its share of shocking headlines in recent years. In New York, and in the prominent Orthodox communities of Israel and London, allegations of child molestation and rape have been rampant. The alleged abusers are schoolteachers, rabbis, fathers, uncles—figures of male authority. The victims, like those of Catholic priests, are mostly boys. Rabbi Rosenberg believes around half of young males in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community—the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world—have been victims of sexual assault perpetrated by their elders. Ben Hirsch, director of Survivors for Justice, a Brooklyn organization that advocates for Orthodox sex abuse victims, thinks the real number is higher. “From anecdotal evidence, we’re looking at over 50 percent. It has almost become a rite of passage.”
Ultra-Orthodox Jews who speak out about these abuses are ruined and condemned to exile by their own community. Dr. Amy Neustein, a nonfundamentalist Orthodox Jewish sociologist and editor of Tempest in the Temple: Jewish Communities and Child Sex Scandals, told me the story of a series of Hasidic mothers in Brooklyn she got to know who complained that their children were being preyed on by their husbands.
In these cases, the accused men “very quickly and effectively engage the rabbis, the Orthodox politicians, and powerful Orthodox rabbis who donate handsomely to political clubs.” The goal, she told me, is “to excise the mother from the child’s life.” Rabbinical courts cast the mothers aside, and the effects are permanent. The mother is “amputated.” One woman befriended by Dr. Neustein, a music student at a college outside New York, lost contact with all six of her children, including an infant she was breastfeeding at the time of their separation.The child sex abuse crisis in ultra-Orthodox Judaism, like that in the Catholic Church, has produced its share of shocking headlines in recent years….
Seven years ago, Rabbi Rosenberg started blogging about sex abuse in his community and opened a New York City hotline to field sex abuse complaints. He has posted appeals on YouTube, appeared on CNN, and given speeches across the US, Canada, Israel, and Australia. Today, he is the lone whistleblower among the Satmar. For this he is reviled, slandered, hated, feared. He receives death threats on a regular basis….
I had a very good (deceased) friend who was raised an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, a female who endured sexist and misogynistic abuse, so I have some insider knowledge about the issues within this highly xenophobic (and inbred) community. This business about separating the mother from her child is EXACTLY what my Ultra-Orthodox friend told me. It’s a major reason she fled the community. Her son was ripped from her arms and had his penis mutilated against her will. She said she knew that “they” were doing it in order to destroy the mother-child bond, as she felt like she had betrayed her baby by failing to protect him from harm.
Of course, Rosenberg’s sordid tale doesn’t end there, as there is more at the article, including the sad reality that this cult keeps its members ignorant about the outside world, displaying the worst form of xenophobia. In this way, the educated rabbis remain rich and powerful and prey on the less educated and impoverished members. For his honest endeavors in helping save children from this heinous abuse, which is estimated to affect at least half of all the boys in the community, Rosenberg himself has been abused widely, including having bleach thrown in his face, chemically burning it and temporarily blinding him.
Hopefully, the exposure of this disgraceful and shameful child rape/pedophilia will prove too embarrassing for this fanatical community, and its members will do something about it. However, the good rabbi is not very hopeful, since the closed ranks of Ultra-Orthodox Jewish child rapists remain powerful.