Saturday, May 19, 2012

This is why the Internet Asifa is important for K’lal Yisroel: by Judy Brown, author of Hush.

This post is in reference to a counter rally/protest taking place outside citified "The Internet is NOT the Problem"
In 25 years, when your grandchild asks you "mom,dad where were you when the big asifa took place?". Will you say you were inside citifield with the masses who ignored the cries of the abused children or were you demonstrating with the small group outside that was trying hard to make a difference". Your conscious.
"The ban on the internet isn't so much about keeping the schmutz out, as keeping it in."
Guest post by
Judy Brown, author of Hush.

This is why the Internet Asifa is important for K’lal Yisroel: because a wholesome lie is better than any broken truth; because denial must be protected at all costs; because ignorance is sacred in a world whose existence depends on it.

And this is why it is important that we be there on Sunday: because we hold the broken truth, the one we experienced firsthand when our rebbis, teachers, and leaders ripped their own lie piece by piece, life by life, in front of our eyes, and then intimidated, threatened, brutalized and suppressed any victim or witness who dared speak out, warning that they would destroy us and our broken truth if we did not accept their lie.


The Internet is an enormous threat to the ultra-orthodox world for the same reason it is a threat in Syria , Iran and Russia; a population that is aware is a population difficult to control. They say that they must fight the Internet for it brings moral decay. What they do not say, even to themselves, is that they must fight the Internet so they can conceal moral decay. That the only thing they fear more than the outside corruption the Internet brought inside, is the inside corruption the Internet has revealed to the outside.

The Internet is terrifying to the rabbanim perhaps because of porn, perhaps because it exposes youth to foreign ideas, but even more importantly, because it enables open dialogue and an honesty they cannot afford if they are to survive as a community, the community they insist they are; pure, innocent, and above their own frailties. And if a few children must be sacrificed for this wholesome lie, then so be it. It is better than any broken truth.

In the last few years, the Internet has served as a crucial tool for victims of sexual abuse. It is through blogs and online discussions that many victims first realized they are not alone, that this is a communal problem. The silence that has kept victims in such utter isolation, unable to connect with others, has been broken by the anonymity and connectivity of the Internet. It was there victims could finally speak honestly without fear. It was there they could hear of so many similar experiences, and reach out to other victims. The Internet played a large role in tapping at the wall of denial, and for the communal authorities this was a dangerous thing.

Denial is a terrible thing to lose. We know. For many victims it takes years to face their own traumas, to break away from the security and warmth of a well taught lie. But no one knows like we do that it is never technology that corrupts man, but man that corrupts technology. Because decades before there was Internet or computers, there was sexual molestation and the worst forms of moral decay. We were there when it happened, when men who did not have access to the Internet turned into beasts, groping, fondling, and raping boys and girls half their size and strength, then terrorizing them into silence.

Tomorrow we will stand outside Citifield with our cardboard signs. There will be thousands of orthodox men walking past us. Some will look quickly away, some will laugh in pity, some will wish they were standing with us. We’ll stand for the first time as a united voice, in public, telling them that we are no longer afraid; that we, who have seen the darkest parts of their world, will never be silenced again; that we will make as big a ‘Chillul Hashem’ as we need to, and for as long as we need to, because there are basic morals and there are cultural traditions and for too long the ultra-orthodox world has confused one for the other.

The Citifield rally is so important to the community because it is another form of denial, another excuse they can point to. It allows them to avoid confronting the most dangerous enemy of all: themselves. The Internet does not molest, only people do; they always have. But if they can just persist on blaming internal problems on evil outside forces they can continue to remain blind to what they refuse to see: themselves. And that is why we will be there tomorrow, because this is the broken truth.

-Judy Brown, Hush

27 comments:

  1. I have been saying this for years. The author that you are says it articulately. Thanks.

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  2. I wish some of the 1600 dais Rabbonim, machers askonim, big shots, mafiosas, attention seekers, gaboim, & delusionals, will take a minute to cross the road,to adress the crowd of neshomos, who say they left us, but evidently are still with us, and just want to be heard. Of course no one can rectify the damage it is meuvas loi yuchal liskon, but at least say a few words to show some moral support for the victims.
    BTW there are many hurt victims who will be botul beshishim inside the stadium, yes many go because they have to, many believe taht this is the biggest mitzvah possible, and some just want to with so many yidden, even though they know that the mafia arranged it.
    There used to be asaying the whole of Russia is scared of a mouse, why?
    Because they all fear the Zahr who fears his wife who fears a mouse.
    Same here some mafia & some of the Robonei mafia, forced others to join who forced others to attend etc.
    Bottom line there is a massive tzibur going to be there, some real tzadikim, on the dais & on the bleaches, we will have a zechus rabim, including those on the other side of the road who are part of us, and we will open some of the shaarei shomayim .

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  3. While not denigrating at all the pain of the OP, not everything has to be about this one issue, abuse.

    Next guest column: Jews gathering for Siyum Hashas? No way, not while the abuse problem has not been taken care of.

    One issue has NOTHING to do with the other. The internet has ripped apart and destroyed many more families and neshamas than abuse has. So while they both need fixing, attaching and conflating the two is the work of the usual suspects, who want to bring down Haredi Judaism. They're free to try and we're free to ignore them.

    BTW, the counter-Asifa is quite damaging to your cause in the eyes of the average Charedi. But I suspect you don't care, it's the media your angling for anyway...

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  4. I think this is where we disagree completely. You write "
    The internet has ripped apart and destroyed many more families and neshamas than abuse has". You could not be more wrong then that. If you take sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse there is no comparison in numbers. Stop perpetration your lies.

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  5. Her name is Judy Brown, not Judy Braun.

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  6. Thanks, I know but I get it that way. I thought maybe she uses both names.

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  7. You could not be any more wrong. The internet is a tool that can give everyone a voice. The Frum leadership does not want any voice or opinion other than theirs to be heard. Sexual abuse gives them a black eye. Confronting it means that they need to admit that it is rampant in their community under their watch. It makes them look bad. The internet puts their failings in the spotlight. The Rabbonim could plainly say that it is an obligation incumbent on every member of Klal Yisroel to root out and report molesters. Mesira is non existant by molesters. The route the Rabbonim took was to try and take away the only tool that victims of abuse have in order to silence them. Yes, there are problems with the internet. Nobody is denying it. However, the problem with sexual abuse and abuse in general is much older than the internet and there is little effort to help the victims. The victims are re victimized while the Rabbonim watch. The victims allow the world to see that on the internet. They want the frum community to see the injustice and sympathize with their plight. The Rabbonim don't want you to see their dismal record on handling the abuse going on right under their noses. So instead of manning up and taking on an issue which is killing children they would rather kill the messenger that is telling them that the emperors have no clothes.

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  9. They will not be botul bshishim as statisticly speaking if the place is actually full there eill be about 12,000 individuals who were sexually abused at one time in their life.

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  10. Judy was raised as a scion of the Gerrer Rebbe's family. Growing up in the Boro Park Ger community she knows a thing or 2 about rabbinic sexual abuse and the system's enabling and cover up. Mondrowits was a high profile gerrer chussid in BP with his own radio dhow and a prominent spot during tefillos in the Gerrer Shteeble. Turns out he was perhaps the most prolific shild molester and rapist the American Jewish coomunity ever had. This indiscriminate molester went after frum boys & GIRLS as well as Italian kids from his block on 60th Street. I should know. I was his victim and am 1 of many who have retained Attorney Michael Lesher of NJ to represent us in our bid to oust Charles "Joe" Hynes as Brooklyn Prosecutor & have Mondrowitz returned from Israel to stand trial.

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  11. Loshon Hara MameshMay 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Absolute nonsense

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  12. Loshon Hara MameshMay 20, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    All those counter protestors are welcome to come anytime anytime to any Rabbis home to talk it out.

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  13.  You did not address my point at all. I never said it wasn't an issue just that the Internet is one as well and a bigger one, which it is.

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  14.  Oh, so sexual abuse now became all other abuses. And you KNOW that those cause more charbanos then the Internet.

    And HOW do you know that? Because you know..... and I'm  a liar.... because you know.

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  15.  A complete non-sequitur. I am truly sorry for your pain and Mondrowitz is an animal. We have not dealt with this issue as we should and NEITHER has any other community faced with it. I hope we get better at it and soon.

    Having said that both the perpetrators and the victims of abuse are a very small percentage of Charedi Jews, unlike the internet which affects us all. There is no reason to mach avek the Internet problem in order to highlight the abuse problem.

    You just lose credibility by those you're trying to influence when you do so.

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  16. My letter to Hershel of Lakewood:

    Hershel, when you were on the ballot on Election Day, there was electricity in the air the likes that Lakewood hasn't seen in decades. There were your election posters all over town. Yungerleit by the thousands came out to vote for you. It was the first time that we were going to vote against the Va'ad and the corruption, and the excitement was palpable. Lakewood had hope. Lakewood had a future. In the end, dear Hershel, you lost and the battle was lost. But the war was not over. It was only the beginning. By putting your name on the ballot, you opened up a pandora's box, and the ball started rolling. There is change in Lakewood, and we are winning the war against the old guard and the corruption. A major victory was the school board election, in which 123 won. We are winning Hershel, thanks to you. The excitement and electricity in the air on Election Day subsided that evening, but it has carried us forward, and will continue to carry us forward into a brighter future.Dear Hershel, the same is true about today's asifah. The excitement and electricity that we all feel in the air is because we all know that we are going to an historic event. An event that will bring together more than 60,000 ehrliche yidden from all walks of life, to battle the number one nisayon of our generation - the last generation before the Geulah Shleimah - and we have already hit the 49th level of tumah.And yes, Hershel, the excitement and electricity that we feel today will continue to guide us into the future, as Klal Yisroel goes through one of its worst crises in its history: The dangers of the internet and what it has wrought on pure innocent Yiddishe kinderlach and Yiddishe families. There will be battles won and lost, but ultimately we will win the war. Because we have to. There is no other choice. When Mordechai Hatzadik warned his generation about the evils of participating in Achashveirush's party, he was laughed at. Is the party the problem, they asked? Surely there are worse problems! We need to join the party for business purposes, they said. How many thousands of business deals were closed at the party?? And it was all for the lofty goals of parnassah for klal yisroel!! Was Mordechai really the godol hador, they asked. Surely there was some ulterior motive to stop Yidden from going to the party, the people reasoned.Mordechai was laughed at and ridiculed. And the Yidden went to the party. And evil Haman of Persia plotted.......................... And it took a huge asifah - "Lech Knos es kol Hayehudim" - for the Yidden to do teshuvah, and the ultimate sulvation.Today, evil Ahmadinejad of Iran-Persia plots. We all know that things will blow up very soon. News reports are predicting that things will heat up over the next few months................"Lech Knos es kol hayehudim" - we need to do teshuvah from the modern day seudas Achasveirosh - the internet.So yes, Hershel, I am going to the asifah. Proudly!

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  17. Wow, that is huge. Thanks!

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  18. Hahahahaha reporting live from citi field!!

    Went to see those lunatics protesting but no one is there!!! They have a bunch of barricades with signs in them but no people!!! Looks like they all overdosed today!!!!

    Hahahahaha!!! Losers!!!!

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  19. "The internet has ripped apart and destroyed many more families and neshamas than abuse has."

    Excuse me, but that is absolute nonsense. It is the kind of stuff that the propagandists for the Nazis and the Communists used to put out. I've not been particularly interested in condemning the asifa because there IS a lot of trash on the internet, but your attitude belongs in the Ministry of Truth of some totalitarian state.

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  20. Thanks for the apology. 
    Have the Rabbonim apologized as well?

    One of those involved in not doing anything about Mondrowitz was prominent voice behind the asifa and has a prominent spot on the Citifield Dais.

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  21. I regularly get criticized, shunned, or otherwise shut up b/c I speak out against the blindness that is going on in the 'observant' world. Yotu are right; the issue is about taking responsibility for what we can or can't do - not blaming people or things external to us.

    Too bad the current 'leadership' doesn't see this. If they did, then _that_ would be a giant step to solving our problems (as any psychologist, or social worker could tell you, recognizing that you are ultimately responsible for how you choose to handle whatever happens).

    Abuse of children, spouses, both physical & emotional is regularly ignored & sometimes even in the name of frumkeit… Parents & singles are brow-beaten, abused, & manipulated if they don't fit in, or fit into the shadchan's agenda. Kids in yeshivas are daily turned off because they have questions, or simply don't conform.

    When will it stop? When the indivual is valued more than the idea of the 'need' to conform at all costs.

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  22. Practically every single victim of abuse has been to a rav already. The rabbonim do not help.

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  23. It's true that "the perpetrators and the victims of abuse are a very small percentage of Charedi Jews," but guess what: those who cover up the abuse, those who deny it, those who intimidate the victims - that's not a small percentage at all. And neither are they just the average Joe baal habos, they are also the leadership, the rabbonim, and the gedolim.

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  24. Wasn't Dovid Teitelbaum's father a life-long close friend and colleague of Kolko?

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  25. Is that the best you got?

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  26.  Until victims have legitimate channels to have their wrongs addressed, it's inappropriate to discuss the dangers of the most successful channel they do have. If the leadership isn't or can't act, then they need to reach the grass roots. How? I don't know. There are few meaningful venues that focus on solutions rather than enjoying a good game of "Ain't It Awful" at the expense of the frum community. (Is there an easier way to feel holy than to invest time convincing yourself everyone else is worse?)

    That's the connection. I wouldn't accuse the organizers of being Machiavellian, doing all this for the purpose of silencing those who provide perspectives other than the one they endorse. But that is an inevitable side effect. And so you can't tell people to keep their internet use to earning money and paying bills until after you reassure victims that they aren't being silenced.

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  27. I don't believe this propaganda about the internet destroying families. Sure, there are some horror stories. They may or may not be true, but an anecdote is not a trend.

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When posting please be careful about Loshon Hara