May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

For many, the words “never forget” are associated with the horrors of the Holocaust. Today, however, what I want to discuss is another heinous crime that many in our and other communities would like to bury in the sand, but should never be forgotten.

Once the news was released by a reporter from Ha”Aretz about the horrendous behavior exhibited and perpetrated by Chaim Walder (I refuse to call him by any title), there were many pages written and much commentary. The question is how many have used this atrocity to inculcate into our minds the importance of instilling in every psyche the fact that his crimes have been committed many times over by others. Baruch Hashem when the information divulged the details of his behavior it was finally the Bait Din in Safed that had the gumption to finally bring his atrocities to the fore.

Over the years there have been many abused horrendously by those “pretending to be” frum doctors, rabbis, teachers, uncles, cousins and even fathers. For years there has been total denial by many when concern is voiced by a victim. Over and over we heard that “it just could not be.” Imagine (we really cannot) the unfathomable dilemma of a victim who knows that they have no one to turn to for fear that they will not be believed. “He is so chushiv, so frum, so well known, such a baal chesed, such an amazing therapist, a dynamic rav, etc.”

I am sick to think about how we all allowed this to happen. Every one of us has to take responsibility because it is much easier to stand back and pretend that what we might have heard does not apply to us or does not seem possible.

This mindset of denial needs to cease. What is even more frightening is that many of us who are sure that our children, and even women we know, would come to us if and when anything inappropriate happens, need to know that the evidence is not that clear. At times they are as confused and hurt and frightened and unable to believe that they are not imagining what has happened to them.

My Mordechai was at the forefront in Montreal in addressing the horrors of sexual abuse when few rabbonim would deal with it. I am sorry that he never had the opportunity to meet Rav Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, the rav of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic. From what I have seen from some of Rav Eisenman’s writings, they could have shared a dynamic platform on this subject in particular, and probably many others.

Recently Rav Eisenman wrote in his newsletter entitled “The Short Vort” an unbelievable introduction to a letter written by a victim of Chaim Walder. I would suggest that everyone ready it in its entirety. It is long and mesmerizing. This 12-year-old girl was having issues in school and her family was directed to an agency in Bnei Brak where she could receive personalized therapy to help her work through her problems. The family was elated when they heard that Chaim Walder was going to be her therapist. He had such a glowing reputation. For Rena (not her real name), her lifetime of hell began. As Rena wrote, “I lived in two worlds. At school, I was a Bais Yaakov maidel, saying Tehillim and acting like any other girl. Yet, when CW had me, I became a sex slave, a Zonah, a harlot, a tramp and a concubine to Satan himself.”

In her letter Rena also takes issue with the words of Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller, who shockingly wrote: “Chaim Walder’s 53 books were inspiring, sensitively written and sold 2 million copies, a record for Israel. He lost his balance. I didn’t stand in his shoes. Hashem is called The Place in which the world exists. Pirkei Avos tells you not to judge anyone until you stand in their place where something pure remains.”

As Rena painfully responds to Rebbetzin Heller, “I did stand in Chaim Walder’s shoes; I did stand in his place, too many times than I care to remember. Let me make one thing clear, Mrs Heller, crystal clear. There is no purity in the place of Chaim Walder. Instead, there is filth, wasted seed, abuse, rape, violent humiliation of a 12-year-old girl, evil in its worst form.”

There is so much more and I encourage everyone to read the entire article. One might ask oneself why it is necessary to rehash this news item from several weeks ago, and there is only one answer: Souls have been broken, many have been victimized, and there should never be a drop of compassion for the rasha, no matter what.

Our responsibility is to forever show support to anyone who has been victimized in such a way and not allow an ounce of sympathy to be shown to anyone who dares in whatever role to pretend he is something other than what he is—a total animal.

I strongly suggest that everyone read The Short Vort of January 30 by Rav Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, called “Hearing Voices,” and continue on to “When Weeping Is Not Enough,” by Rena Salomon.

I feel that the only way that I can do anything to preclude these horrors from happening in the future is to publicize what has happened in the past and what is probably going on today somewhere in the Jewish world. We need to do everything we can to ensure that everyone in a leadership role in our communities is on board with never allowing such a horror to manifest itself again, no matter who the perpetrator is.

Rena, I weep for you.

For those who wish to read the entire article by Rav Eisenman as well as Rena, see

https://www.facebook.com/100000294720347/posts/5121978581155249/

By Nina Glick

 

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