Michael Salamon, PhD
It was a non-stop Donnybrook on Zev Brenner‘s radio show last night.
The Salamon interview starts at 29 minutes into the show.
It is followed by the long, sometimes screaming fight between Ami Magazine’s publisher Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, a very dishonest man, and Pinny Taub, an abuse survivor who clearly has a form of Stockholm Syndrome and an affinity for Patty Hearst, on one hand and Dr. Salamon (with some brief help from Tzvi Gluck and Mark Meyer Appel) on the other.
Gluck said the 89 arrests of pedophiles since 2009 claimed by the Brooklyn DA (but for which the DA refuses to supply a list of names and case dispositions) are mostly cases that were fixed by haredi community fixers. (Since Gluck, who is a haredi community fixer, apparently did not fix those cases, it could be that Rabbi David Neideman in Williamsburg, Yanky Meyer from Misasskim, Yanky Daskal from the Borough Park Shomrim, Rabbi Shea Hecht from Chabad, and several others did.)
Gluck also told a story of a haredi rabbi who told a victim’s family that because there was no penetration, there was no abuse and police should not be called.
A caller from Borough Park named Avrumele cited cases he knew of where rabbis told people not to call police even though actual child sex abuse clearly happened. And another caller named Esther really challenged Frankfurter, who is truly a disgusting human being.
At the end of a show a person emailed saying he had been abused by his father and grandfather and that he had tried to talk to the rabbis about it but they wouldn’t listen. Because of that, more children were being abused every day, he said.
Brenner asked Salamon if he had any advice for the man. Salamon said he hoped the man was getting help because otherwise the after effects of the abuse could be with him for years, but Salamon did not tell the man to call police.
Frankfurter’s treatment of Salamon was atrocious.
Pinny Taub has a form of Stolkhom Syndrome. Taub likes to tout extremely minor progress by haredi rabbis as if it were major progress, and he likes to forget what had to be done to force that change.
Taub has also been telling victims not to accept help and financial assistance from certain advocates.
When challenged about this, Taub said he did that because the victims who accepted help from a certain advocate were attacked in the community because they did. Taub didn’t blame community leaders or community members for this. Instead, he implied it was the fault of the advocates because they are perceived as being anti-haredi because they have openly criticized rabbinic leaders who have covered up for pedophiles.
In other words, if a victim who needs money for therapy or even for food takes it from an advocate who has worked hard to fight for change, the victim is viewed as a traitor by the community. Taub not only does nothing much to stop this abuse of victims and smearing of advocates, he almost endorsed it.
So what about the fact that until now the haredi community has done nothing to help victims?
Taub is working on that. Why, he’s even starting a program with money given to him by haredim after he started publicly bashing the advocates who are only people who are helping victims.
What a sick little man.
For his part, Salamon didn’t seem to see a problem with rabbis vetting abuse allegations and deciding which allegations warranted calling police, as long as those rabbis were properly trained. When Frankfurter and Taub criticized the Jewish Week and blogs, Salamon said, “I don’t like blogs,” basically throwing bloggers (like me, for example), reporters like Hela Winston and activists under the bus. That didn’t appease Frankfurter, of course, because nothing short of total rejection of anything that makes the haredi community look bad would appease him.
Salamon also said CDC figures show that the rate of child sex abuse is about the same in all communities, and that the cops he deals with concur – which is quite strange, because the cops, social workers, DAs and other professionals everyone else including me deals with seem to think the rate is higher. Salamon then said that he personally thought the level might actually be lower in haredi communities than elsewhere. Later in the show he noted that the haredi community had blocked all attempts to gather information that would give us an accurate rate of child sex abuse in the haredi community.
In other words, there are not statistics for haredi communities, the CDC’s figures do not specifically apply to haredi communities, and Salamon was, at least earlier in the show, apparently fudging the facts a bit to curry favor with Frankfurter & Company.
Oddly, the brief phone calls from Tzvi Gluck and Mark Meyer Appel were some of the most lucid moments of the program and are well worth listening to. (Ben Hirsch of Survivors for Justice also called in. He was fine, pointing out that Rabbi Eyashiv’s written opinion is different from what Agudath Israel of America claims, and that written opinion is clear that police should be called. But Hirsch would have been far stronger if he would have noted that the written opinion agrees with what Tzvi Gluck say Rabbi Elyashiv told him – report to police. And what if your suspicions are wrong, someone nearby asked Rabbi Elyashiv. The police know what to do and know how to investigate these things its their job let them do it is (paraphrased) how Rabbi Elyashiv answered.
My father had a serious amount of distrust for religious leaders and religious communities. Sometimes, when I was doing something to help Chabad or some other Jewish organization, he’d tell me that I was wasting my time and that they would never reciprocate. He viewed them as primarily selfish people whose agendas took precedence over the people they were supposed to be serving, leading and helping.
His father came to this country from Lithuania as a 9 or 10 year old boy. My father’s father was maskil. The maskil’s oldest brother was a rabbi and the rest of his siblings were either traditional or Orthodox.
Even so, my father’s father didn’t have much of a Jewish education. He wasn’t Orthodox, but he wasn’t anti-Orthodox, either. He went to an Orthodox shul but was best described as traditional or traditional-lite.
One day one of St. Paul’s synagogues caught fire. It wasn’t the synagogue my grandfather prayed in.
Even so, even though he wasn’t educated or Orthodox, he ran into the burning building several times and rescued Torah scrolls. Two other men followed him. No one else did. No rabbis. No machers. No scholars.
Later, the rabbis profusely thanked the two men who were considered Orthodox. But they could barely bring themselves to thank the one who wasn’t, even though he was the first man to run into that burning building and he took the greatest risks.
In many ways, that is Orthodoxy in a nutshell.
When reality doesn’t fit the Orthodox fantasy, ignore or downplay the reality, attack the messenger, make up new fantasies to enhance the old ones, lie.
My father learned that lesson early and he learned it often, not because his father complained (he didn’t) or taught it to him (he didn’t) but because he saw it with his own eyes and heard it with his own ears.
The people who “ran into the burning community” (so to speak) to try to save children from unspeakable horror are tossed under the bus by Salamon and (to a much greater extent) Taub because these activists and bloggers don’t fit the Orthodox-haredi fantasy, and publicly being associated with them assures that you will be harassed and attacked for doing so, and that you’ll never be considered a chevramon. (Salamon may also be doing it for business reasons.)
Here’s an audio of the entire show. Salamon and the child sex abuse fight start at about 29 minutes into the broadcast and continue to the end of the show.
The media player TypePad embeds has no controls, so you can’t fast forward. You can download the file by right clicking on the player or you can listen (with controls) and/or download on Zev Brenner’s website.
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