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Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence

January 30, 2011 – 10:13 pm18 Comments

By Sheiny New

“The Orthodox assume it happens amongst the Reform.  The Reform assume it happens amongst the Orthodox.  The Conservative look in both directions.  The young blame the old saying, ‘This is the way they were raised.  They don’t know any better.’  The old shake their heads at the young.  Those who live in the city say it happens in the suburbs where people lead lives of desperation and those living in the suburbs say it happens in the ugly city.  Middle and upper income people say it happens amongst the poor.  No one say sit happens amongst the wealthy-but it does.  Who better to have the power and privacy to abuse?  The truth is that all of us who are pointing fingers at other groups are right- it does happen there. But, so are those pointing at us.” Sherry Dimarsky, domestic violence expert and attorney, Oct. 1994

The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence was established fifteen years ago in Melbourne. This group of dedicated and committed volunteers worked long hours to put domestic violence on the communal agenda. When we first started, skepticism was the initial reaction of everyone we encountered, “Surely domestic violence does not exist within the Jewish community!” Disbelief that abuse and violence could be taking place behind the picture-perfect image of the often-envied icon, the nice Jewish family.  After all, everyone knows that Jewish men make the best husbands! But it does happen.  Just ask Hatzolah,- the Jewish medical emergency response team.  They’ll tell you about being called back time and time again to the home of the woman who burns herself with a hot iron – on her back. Or the mother who cannot explain how she keeps falling down the same flight of stairs.

Over the years we have chipped away at the doubt by organizing forums on domestic violence for the wider community, by taking creative programs into our schools and reinforcing with our teen-agers that we do not shove out love. We have worked closely with the rabbinate, Jewish Care (the Jewish services provider), the Jewish schools, doctors and psychologists and slowly, very slowly this group of dedicated volunteers has been able to, if not end the denial, then certainly reduce the stigma of domestic violence so that a woman or man who finds themselves in an abusive relationship should not be too filled with shame to seek help. Because if the perception is that no Jewish men hit their wives, (I refer to the man doing the hitting because although it does happen in the reverse, most crimes of abuse are perpetuated by men) the victim of abuse will ask herself, “What is wrong with me?  What did I do to create this nightmare? Obviously it is my fault.”  Now, as a community we tell her, it is not your fault.  You haven’t done anything wrong.  It is never OK for a spouse to raise a hand against the person they have sworn to love and protect, nor is he permitted to insult, denigrate or intimidate her.  We can reassure her that she is not alone.  It happens in our community, and with appropriate assistance things can and have changed for the better.

But there is another subject that is so ugly and so insidious that it is unthinkable.  To acknowledge its existence makes us question all that we hold precious. It shakes our identity as “a light unto nations” to the core. It makes us doubt the love of a parent to its child, the adoring gaze of a youngster into the eyes of its Bubba and Zaida. It changes how we perceive aunts, uncles and cousins coming for Seder night. Suddenly, the extended network of family and friends takes on a whole new dimension. Then of course, there is our teacher, mentor and spiritual guide, our Rabbi. Our family, close friends and spiritual leaders; these are the people we love and even more significantly these are the people we trust. They make up our universe and give us our sense of self worth. They give our lives flavor, texture and color. But what happens when the flavor is acid, the texture feels like shards of broken glass and the color is black?  Unthinkable.

During her recent visit to Melbourne, Debbie Gross, the founder and director of the Crisis Centre for Religious Women in Jerusalem stated that domestic violence is a very serious issue but child sexual assault is an epidemic.  Is she for real? If child sexual assault is an epidemic why do we hear so little about it?  Why is there so little public awareness of the issue? And why has it taken this long for us to finally start talking about it?

We hear so little about it for many reasons but primarily because we don’t want to believe it, and that is what victims come to understand very quickly and what perpetrators are counting on.  The 1995 Child Maltreatment Report states: “over 80 percent of abuse where physical contact is made is perpetrated by either family members or people in the community who are trusted by the family.” Studies show that victims of assault who have the courage to come forward are either disbelieved and accused of lying to stir up trouble or hushed up not to bring shame on the family’s good name.  After all, what good would it do anyway? Victims are afraid to speak up because they know that they may be ostracized rather than the perpetrator.  In the frum (religious) world the match making system is a very real part of day-to-day life. The question, “Is it a nice family?” comes before specific inquiries about the young man or young lady in question.  Violence, abuse and molestation do not a nice family make.

“To be molested as a child makes you different.  Suddenly, you are “outside” yourself and those around you.  Nothing is the same. You are not the person you were the second before it began.  To be compelled to keep this secret widens the gap between you and everyone and everything else.”

These are the words of author, survivor and therapist, Rachel Lev.  She continues: “To be a Jewish child makes you different.  Already “outside” the dominant culture we are taught the importance of not drawing attention to our “differences” not to bring shame or danger to our families or community.  Whether molested or not, the message is clear:  It is not safe to be noticed too much.  We learn, often indirectly, a responsibility to reflect positively upon our people.  We are taught to respect our people, teachers, rabbis, and elders.  But what are we to do when one of them is molesting us?  If we start to tell, who will listen?  Without compassionate listeners to believe us and help us, the gap between us and other widens.  For a Jewish child to be molested adds to any feeling of being alone.  Our loneliness is often profound.”

What about the young boy or girl looking for added spiritual meaning in his or her life?  What happens when she enrolls for shiurim with the charismatic Rabbi and youth director who is adored by all students on campus and he makes inappropriate advances towards her?  Or worse.  Can she take him on?  It becomes her word against his.  In the past, the whitewashing defenses of prominent Rabbis have sounded like this:

“Isn’t she that troubled kid who was always attention seeking?  It was probably her fault! It is our responsibility to ensure that the institution’s good name is not sullied.  And for heaven sake, what happens if the newspapers catch wind of this!  What a scandal!  What a Chilul Hashem, What a transgression of God’s name.  It is best for everyone if we hush it up quickly.”

Tragically, very often nothing is done and the offender is free to continue to commit these crimes against children and teen-agers.  Sometimes they are spirited out of the community into another unsuspecting one and is once again free to continue molesting.  It has actually been said, “We can’t ruin his reputation.  Who will provide for his family?  Besides, if we disclose our suspicions aren’t we guilty of speaking Lashon Hora?” And so a conspiracy of silence descends.

In the Chassidic world, we say to parents,  “Yes, it is a spiritually purifying experience for your sons to routinely go to mikvah but did you stop to think that perhaps not every other attendee is there for Chassidishe reasons?” In all fairness, your response might be a horrified “No!” but be warned [informed] that one in three inappropriate advances to boys are made at the Mikvah.   We want to believe that everyone lives by the same moral code that we do and therefore we have denied for too long that sometimes (even) Jews can do terrible things to each other.

As Jews we are always conscious of the reality that we are tolerated guests in our countries of residence. Anti-Semitism rears its ugly head just often enough for us never to be able to fully ignore its presence.  Therefore we want to be able to say don’t look here, we are different, we are better.  But, as Lev so poignantly asks, “What could be more anti-Semitic then letting Jewish children be destroyed by their families or communities?”  So we deny that children are molested in our communities because it protects us from having to figure out how to fix it.  We can’t solve what we don’t know exists.

Lev says that as a survivor she understands why the community denies.  It is a defense against pain. She says, “Victims deny. Survivors deny.  Witnesses of abuse deny.  Family members deny.  Perpetrators deny. Helpers deny. Friends deny.  And anybody I missed denies.”

Looking away is the greatest gift we can offer child molesters. Therapist Bob Gluck states, “In the 10 years of counseling abusive men, I learned that the single most powerful factor contributing to family violence is the ability to get away with it.”

After being so betrayed twice, first by the trauma of the assault itself followed by reactions ranging from disbelief to minimizing the experience when reaching out for help, a molested child’s self-esteem is so decimated, they start to believe they are not worthy.  Not worthy of assistance, not worthy of a normal life, sometimes not worthy of life, full stop.

But they are worthy and it is our responsibility to remind them.  Each and every one of us is created in the image of G-d and we carry the Divine within us.  If a crime is inflicted on our body it in no way diminishes our worth, it only diminishes the humanity of the abuser.  Although we recoil from him in horror, we may not write the offender off as intrinsically evil-what he has done is evil but all too often it is because evil has been done to him.  We tell mothers who find themselves in abusive relationships that although they think they are doing the right thing for their children by staying in the marriage, “After all the children need a father”, they are almost guaranteeing that their sons will become abusive husbands, that their daughters will look for abusive partners.  Many abusers lash out because they themselves have been wounded and carry terrifying scars.  Abuse is very much a cycle that will continue, unless deliberately interrupted by a process of healing.  There must be a process of healing, first for a victim and then for an abuser.

Debbie Gross told us about a program she coordinated in Israel just a short time ago.  She had been approached by a few women who felt it would be wise to train themselves about the realities of domestic violence and child sexual assault.  They were hoping it would be refua lifnay hamaka, roughly translated as providing the cure before the disease strikes.  Five women were trained by Debbie and she admitted to us that she couldn’t help wondering why they were putting so much energy into this community which had never really shown any indication of either problem.

Yet within weeks, another woman was having a chat to one of the five women and relayed something her son had mentioned to her during bath-time, which sounded a bit worrying.  As you have already figured out, with just a little bit of gentle questioning it came to light that 70 little boys had been molested by a very popular kindergarten aid over a number of years.  Counselors were brought in and these young boys are going to get the help they need to develop into healthy young men capable of healthy relationships.  If this awareness program hadn’t been initiated by these mothers and the children wouldn’t have received appropriate support – not even including any additional victims the offender would have continued to have had access to – statistically each one of those could have gone on to molest other children.  Seventy boys – you do the math.

Where and how can healing begin?

What is our responsibility as a community?  How can we make sure it doesn’t happen?

To be a community, to be a parent, to be a mentch means that it is our responsibility to make sure our children are safe.   We must think about the unthinkable, talk about it and know about it so that we can prevent it.  Silence and denial are not going to protect our children.

The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence has been at the forefront of community education and awareness of the realities of Family Violence and sexual assault in the Jewish Community for over fifteen years. Integral to its multi-faceted approach is culturally sensitive response to victims of abuse, working to give them the courage and tools to rebuild shattered lives, as well as the facilitation of innovative and creative programs working towards the prevention of abuse and violence for all ages.

Our projects have included:

A.       Training programs for communal leaders, rabbonim, rebbetzins, principals, teachers and medical health care providers about the realities of child physical assault and how to provide a proper and sensitive response.  If a victim does not get the support that they so desperately need from one of their own, chances are they will look outside the Jewish community and may never recover from their feelings of rejection.

B.       Age appropriate sessions for children in schools incorporating good touch / bad touch, good secrets / bad secrets (no long-term secret from a parent is a “good” secret), respect, healthy relationships, and who to contact for help if necessary.

The launch of The Jewish Taskforce Support Line is a venture of which we are very proud, as we believe it is of vital importance to address the needs of Jewish victims of family violence and sexual assault.

The Jewish Taskforce Support Line is a safe and confidential service, which allows a vulnerable member of our community the opportunity to reach out for help and understanding without the fear of repercussions.  Too often victims of family violence are either afraid or ashamed to admit their “terrible secret” to people they know.  “Anonymity allows them to reach out for help when under other circumstances they would not do so.” Debbie Gross, Founder and Director of the Crisis Centre for Women in Jerusalem.  The intention of the phone line is to [eventually] empower callers to find solutions to their problems thus reducing the prevalence of family violence and working to end the cycle of violence and sexual assault.

Unfortunately, no community is immune to violence and abuse and it has been the experience of the Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence that open, honest discussion and community education is the most efficient and successful means with which to reduce the stigma of abuse for victims and empower our children with the ability to protect themselves from predators. Ultimately, this leads to happy, healthy relationships and homes.

Sheiny New is a board member and spokesperson for The Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence. The Jewish Taskforce Support Line can be reached on 03 9523-2100

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  • Saved says:

    I don’t think the jewish and wider community have any concept of the fantastic work the taskforce has done for some of us. i often see people write really nasty comments about the religious community on this site about religious people being bigotted or abusive.
    what sheiny writes rings true, the non religious think that abuse is a religious thing and the religious think its only an affliction of the nonreligious.
    maybe some of the people who write those comments need to look at the taskforce. its an organisation founded by RELIGIOUS people!!!!!!!!!
    and its doing good for the whole community. I wouldn’t be alive if not for them.
    from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  • Leo Braun says:

    “The stories of child and sexual abuse are not new. It plagues our world and is most often highlighted by the stories emanating from news about the church and other ‘non-Jewish’ institutions”!

    “We are taught the importance of not drawing attention to our differences, not to bring … danger to our … community”. “The message is clear: It is not safe to be noticed too much”!

    • Because our distinct characteristics are noticeable to the keen observer. Don’t expect for it to occur overnight, but it eventually to happen. As for starters one to begin observation of the non-caucasian people’s rulers and preachers who so amazingly to be found quite distinct from the populace they purportedly represent … http://www.iajv.squarespace.com/michael/2008/12/16/the-finest-statement-i-know-of-intellectual-duties.html#comments

  • The elephant in the room with the issue of domestic violence is the psychological abuse that is perpetrated by families who enforce an intolerance of homosexuality and bisexuality and who further enforce an expectation that every child grows up to be heterosexual, get married and have children.

    The harm this form of abuse causes is severe and has devastating consequences, including mental health issues, self-harm, suicide, family breakup etc.

    I commend the JTFAFV on the great work they do, and would like to see this particular issue given as much importance as the rest of the issues they address. The religious communities they are working in are most at risk of the effects of this form of abuse.


  • Leo Braun says:

    “We want to believe that everyone lives by the same moral code that we do and therefore we have denied for too long that sometimes (even) Jews can do terrible things to each other. As Jews we are always conscious of the reality that we are tolerated guests in our countries of residence”!

    • Manifestly there are none so blind as those who refuse to see the reality. Pertaining to those who know not what they are unable to know, yet incessantly toying at collecting items of the ignorant intellect. Ever expanding the darkness of their cave!

    No wonder for a dismal failure to notice Ghetto Australis enslaved Jew lesser brethren. Out of sight out of mind, courtesy of the jellyback spiteful pollies flair to corral public opinion. Where duped casualties treacherous era of universal deceit were driven always into unthinking conformity for a sole purpose to deflect focus from the insidious doctrine consequences.

    Have a look at the contours Legislative Assembly benches array, resembling Ü shaped silhouette. Moulded into significant menorah image (with a shamash – House Speaker’s throne placed at the helm). When such a candlestick symbol was quoted as given by God to the children of Israel. Alert zionists in a search for the legitimacy symbol, had chosen precisely such a sacrosanct insignia.

  • Leo Braun says:

    “Why do we hear so little about it? Why is there so little public awareness of the issue? And why has it taken this long for us to finally start talking about it”?

    “We hear so little about it for many reasons but primarily because we don’t want to believe it, and that is what victims come to understand very quickly and what perpetrators are counting on”!

    • Yeah, what in fact has been rampant along with the notorious stonewalling by the crook officials in the usurped nation. Run by federal, state and local jellyback spiteful pollies who outperformed each other to pound on their chest within the grandiose gestures of assurance that people’s interest was in their heart. Yet in reality our basic human rights were violated, trampled and obliterated by the treacherous evildoers due to the absence elementary Charter of Rights & Obligations!

    Just as myriad of non-for-profit institutions sprang all over to assist but when I went on 08-03-95 to the Jewish Community Organisation in Brisbane to fax urgent appeal to AJDC Poland Country Director Zvi Feine in Jerusalem within an attempt to established contact with the missing father in Poland, I was confronted by the arrogant Keren Kayemeth Leisrael official, accompanied by the shliha Anat. Who brutally brushed-off, demeaning me even for coming to the JCO (established suposedly for that purpose). “You better off going to the post office”, they humiliate me. So when I emphasised the importance to receive the expected fax in returned via JCO office, I was told to leave $10 to cover the costs. Because JCO couldn’t afford outlay in faxing single page letter.

    Earlier on 11-01-95, Second Secretary Phil Lerer passed a buck to the President Qld Jewish Board of Deputies Laurie Rosenblum, I was unable reach (nor would he respond to my letter dated 13-02-95). Finally appointment was set with the President Qld Zionist Council George Stein, if not for his absence at the office on 19-01-95. Finally, when I got hold of him on the following day, he was reluctant to talk, solely suggesting for me to visit Margaret Street Synagogue. Talk to a rabbi there, or just to jump on the plane in a midst European winter.

    Yid physiognomy endowed Consul Kilmartin of the Polish Consulate in Brisbane insinuated likewise callously. Hence I tried to reach Mr Steve Denenberg, Executive Director of Australian Jewish Welfare Society in Sydney, whose Marina Tretyak advised on 19-01-95 to send them relevant details. Yet on 24-01-95, when I called again AJWS in Sydney apropos progress, I was told by Ms Tretyak of no received mail. Who added that the International Red Cross would be a better alternative. When it was just a phone call away to contact their zionist counterparts in Poland.
    So much for the empathy shown for yehudi be gola!

    Anyway, having faxed duplicate copies on 24-01-95 to AJWS in Sydney. To no avail, just to be told by Marina Tretyak that the “Jewish organisations whichever in Poland, wouldn’t have detectives to investigate it”. Contrary to, what a relief was to receive finally good news on 03-03-95 from the Search & Locate Section Ms Doreen Hermann of the Jewish Community Services (JCS) in Melbourne (I’ve turned to, as a last resort). Whose 28-02-95 dated correspondence assured that my dear father was alive, still living in Legnica while being “taken care of” by the Gmina Wyznaniowa Zydowska, yet soon to be moving to Warsaw.

  • Leo Braun says:

    Years down the track I learned eventually about the predatory practices apparently rampant in the Eastern Europe to the detriment elderly Jews. Targeting particularly single individuals whose family owned property before WWII became redeemable following regime change. Obviously heinous murderers had to stitch-up fictitious spouse onto oblivious prey before slaughter. That’s why my father’s whereabouts were concealed. Ultimately, besieged father was spirited away from his place and people he knew in Legnica to some sort of faraway institution in Warsaw. Just as I appealed desperately to the AJDC Poland Country Director Zvi Feine against the plotted deportation, absolutely in vain.

    In spite of some communication exchange earlier in 1995 with the Director of Social Work, Miriam Suss of JCS in Melbourne, unfortunately contact wasn’t established with my father. So, while being blacklisted and thus without resolution in sight to the unemployable’s status circumstances compelled on me to venture into “safe haven” enclave for persecuted Jews in Galut, only to face nasty officials. While sustaining terrible humiliation and harassment within the ruthless intimidation tactics. As with added insult to the injury I was told on 29-08-00 by the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister’s Counsellor Hana Dvir apropos sought 88 year old father’s birth certificate!

    Instructed to fax it to the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry before they be bothered to proceed. Nevertheless on the following day I was back on my way to Jerusalem. Where already familiar military outpost’s guard let me in without the lengthy interrogation as norm. While I was solely armed with my documented substance, compiled by me since Apr 94. What actually was precluded from submission in spite of pleading for it to be examined en route to establish imperative contact with my father. Solely sought to know about the father’s wellbeing, without any monetary or valued property to be an issue in question.

    So why on earth sought crucial news about my father to be kept from me? I insisted to know, when callous Counsellor Hana Dvir replied chilly in non event manner: “you see, we must be sure, because your father died on 21-12-98, obviously if you wish at $10 cost, you may apply via Israeli Consulate to the Polish Authorities towards being issued with your father’s Death Certificate”! She commented without even looking at me, while scribbling their account number in response to my seeking such a certificate, substantiated in detail with the reasons for my father’s mystifying death.

    Can anyone imagine the extent of my shock?

    Just as I was looking forward to receive finally sought news from the reliable source, being dumbfounded instead by the sudden tragedy claim. Allegedly to occur two years earlier without the next of kin being notified? It didn’t make any sense as numerous authorities were involved at the time with my father’s issue. Most incredibly having even received 21-12-98 dated reply from Swiss Federal Chancellery (written on a day of the purported death). While I was assured that my father’s matter to receive careful attention. Likewise sounded initial 03-09-99 reply from the UN Advocacy & External Relations Unit.

    Notwithstanding with that, none ever endeavoured to notify me about the supposed my father’s death on 21-12-98. Until I finally confronted Israeli Foreign Affairs Department’s Consullor Hana Dvir (second time on 30-08-00) in Jerusalem. Who was totally void of the consoling gesture in helping to cope with a horrific tragedy all of a sudden. Without any empathy, not even a pat on the shoulder in zionist compassion was ever shown. Not even a single glass of water to soothe dry mouth and dispel self-reflexed throat from the impending choking. As in a sheer contradiction with terms so notoriously was absent sympathetic zionist heart. Melodramatically quite often to be staged otherwise — for all to see in the vast spectacles — choreographed meticulously to camouflage the inherent cruelty.

  • Leo Braun says:

    “Those who live in the city say it happens in the suburbs (where people lead lives of desperation) and those living in the suburbs say it happens in the ugly city. Middle and upper income people say it happens amongst the poor. No one say it happens amongst the wealthy — but it does! Who better to have the power and privacy to abuse”?

    • Save a breath for the illusion in participatory “Swiss Democracy”, authored by Wolf Linder. Who surely kept my dream alive apropos as I perused his masterpiece pages. Only to learn subsequently that Swiss women didn’t have a voice until recently, and that their indoctrinated kids were conditioned for the user-pay consequences even in school libraries, equipped with a cash-register. Likewise perplexing was to observe bizarre phenomenon of the deadly smoke atmosphere. Even in confined space habitations, littered with the tolerated cigarette-butts. Equally, no one cared about the wasteful-water-use or abused electricity. Notwithstanding with that, perfidious Swiss authorities portrayed “humanitarian” Switzerland as a world leader in the environmental conservation.

    Having learned hard-way apropos as a political asylum seeker in debauched Switzerland, I took a refuge in (after exhausting all the avenues taken with the Australian and Israeli authorities). Striving naively to invoke warranted investigation into the nature of my persecution which afflicted fatally the next of kin, my innocent father in Poland. Whose shorten-version Death Certificate (Odpis scrócony actu zgonu 1243/1998) issued in Legnica on 21-12-98, featured barely visible “Rigaigna Szezepaniak”, stamped signature. Besides the “Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych” stamp on the back, next to the Embassy of Israel in Warsaw (both dated 27-11-00). Incredibly, A5 size document lacked info on the cause of death, yet shockingly stitched-up status of my father as “married to Rebekka Flagina”, added insult to the injury (what a chutzpah in extreme).

    Manifestly, power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    Preposterously, pathological bloodsuckers imagined to get away with such a crime, just by throwing their weight around. Stopping apparently at nothing in their insatiable lust for dominance over subjugated men, women and children. Their depravity knows no bounds! Sadism and lawlessness is the order of the day as brutalised men, women and children being molested, raped, trafficked, prostituted, held captive and traded for organs!

    Still, heinous perpetrators of crime dare to slander maliciously innocent victims. Have a look at the official correspondence transcribed below, which (apart from the fact that the “written agreement” could not have been made with the illiterate person who opposed deportation) affirmed in reality beyond-any-doubt that my father wasn’t married to any such Rebekka Flagina.

  • Leo Braun says:

    00-950 Warszawa
    ul. Twarda 6
    tel. 20-43-24 wew.24

    March 21, 1995

    Dear Mr. Braun,

    [Above paragraphs of the malicious slander and foul language eliminated]. There is a written agreement of your father in which he on his own free will consents to be placed in the Old Age House in Warsaw where he will find at least clean bed and environment and enough food. I have to underline that it is according to your father’s wishes and not contrary to them. Taking into account that your father has not been interdicted the wishes of his next of kin have not any legal importance in this case.

    I would like only to emphasize that under the circumstances and in the light of the facts ascertained on the spot by the social worker of the Central Jewish Welfare Commission and confirming by the Local Jewish Welfare Commission at Legnica as well as the Board of the Jewish Religious Community at Legnica, leaving your father in the present living conditions and in the present environment in Legnica will be inhuman and inhumane.

    No “breach of your father’s civil rights and depravation of liberty” has taken place. If you are of a different opinion and the above mentioned reports of our social worker and Jewish Welfare Commission as well as Jewish Religious Community in Legnica are not sufficient for you, you could, of course, require “an official inspection to assess the well being and status of your father” under the condition that all costs involved with such an official inspection will be borne by you.

    I have to add that the Jewish Religious Community at Legnica has no hospice and there is no “Aged Care Provider” available at this community in Legnica and even if they were available “why on earth” as you say, all it should be done by them and not by you or at leat at the expense of you. If you suggest that your father should be left in Legnica why not return to live with him in Legnica.

    Your father is a free person and to place him in the Old Age House does not mean any “depravation of liberty” because at any time he can leave the Old Age House according to his own free will.

    Therefore, instead of passing on your own duty on others: the hospice of the Jewish Religious Community in Legnica or the “Aged Care Provider”, why you will not take your father under your care to Australia. It could be real expression of your care about the well being of your father.

    I regret to say it but the title of your letter “Missing father in Legnica” and your claims against the pretended violation of his civil rights seem to me to be a smoke screen covering your longterm indifference toward the fate of your father. I hope that you will rethink this problem and change your attitude as well as appreciate the efforts of the above mentioned people and organisations in order to provide your 83 years old father Moszek (vel Michal) Tenenbaum with conditions of living suitable for a human being for rest of his life.

    Yours faithfully,
    Marian Feldman
    Chairman of the Central Jewish Welfare Commission in Poland.

    Enclosure (CC): Copies of the letters mentioned in the text.

    1) Jewish Welfare Society, 25 Alma Road St.Kilda, Victoria 3183, Australia.
    2) Dr Zvi Feine, The American Joint Distribution Committee, JDC-Hill, P.O.Box 3489, Jerusalem 91034, Israel.
    3) Itzhak Zohar, AJDC, ul Florianska 43/2, Krakow, Poland.
    4) Anatol Kaszen, c/o Gmina Wyznaniowa Zydowska, ul Wlodkowica 9, 50-072 Wroclaw, Poland.
    5) Gmina Wyznaniowa Zydowska, ul. Chojnowska 20, 59-220 Legnica, Poland.

  • Leo Braun says:

    The Ambassador
    of the Republic of Poland
    Canberra 21.04.1995

    Dear Mr Braun,

    Thank you for your letter and transcripts of correspondence concerning your father, Mr Michal Tenenbaum. I understand your concerns but, at the same time, I can not help thinking that several people and a number of organisations do try to help you and ease your father’s pain of old age and loneliness. I hope very much that eventually you will find means to go to Poland and visit your father. Without spending some time with him and talking to him directly you would always be in doubt as to his well being. I also think that Dom Specialny dla Doroslych might be a good solution for a single elderly person. At last your father would find there constant medical help and every day care that he needs. But again, you would think of it with more confidence after a visit to Poland and direct examination of conditions.

    Sincerely yours
    Dr Agnieszka Morawinska

  • Leo Braun says:

    Clearly, above correspondence disclosures attested that the viciously targeted Michal (Moszek) Tenenbaum was in fact single elderly person. Never wed to the mysterious Rebekka Flagina, patently stitched-up impostor within the issued Death Certificate. Authenticated on 27-11-00 by the St. radca Krzysztof Augustyniak of the Polish Forein Affairs Ministry.

    Evidently, increasingly conniving culture of deceit attached itself to what passes as legit documents. Since the contemporary standard is to be loose with the truth. Hell-bent to mislead, to misrepresent and generally try to delude gullible suckers. Manifestly, honesty does not features anymore in govts policies. Instead, concocted distortions and vile besmirchments are all valid and acceptable tactics. Also there is a get square mentality, the actions of which are in a stark contrast to the moral principles. Where the way to handle dissident who laid a glove on the corrupt establishment, was to get such a nonconformist back with even a harder right. Ultimately leaving a bloody trail of the innocent victims.

    Oddly enough, no official Polish govt officeholder to intervene in spite of the repeated petitions dispatched to the President Lech Walesa and subsequently to the President Aleksander Kwasniewski. When Polish Ambassador in Canberra, Dr Agnieszka Morawinska responded in writing on 21-04-95, she suggested that on me was to jump on the plane. Yet no crucial contact with the besieged father in Poland would be established first.

    Was he set as a sacrificial scapegoat to lure me into fait-accompli ambush within the fatal entrapment on me? Along the longed journey, to be reunited with my dear father. When prior to the macabre ordeal, my father claimed to be comparably well, still carrying-on with the shoe repairs. Certainly of a good health, an affordable future and even insisted to assist me, in spite of my reluctance to accept.

    When, all of a sudden my father’s principal source of income, his shoe shop was vandalised, plundered and consequently impounded. Then his old age pension and mail was intercepted. Once they got rid-off of my father’s confidant letter writer colleague Tadeusz Plesniarski in 1994, he became totally isolated. What ultimately plunged him into subsustenance and destitution!

    Ironically, equipped with the intercom system. What availed for the hostile-set-neighbours to keep constant surveillance, while tipping-off the “benevolent caretakers” in regard of any attempt to be made, for anyone to approach my father’s vicinity.

  • Leo Braun says:

    “Ironically, my father was living in a modern block of flats, equipped with the intercom system”! Quoted excerpt represented original version, written by me within the above paragraph. However sloppily plucked-out hypertext-link by the censor, cannibalised the subject matter, I endeavoured to convey.

    Censored due to provided vital link to the entire story!

  • Leo Braun says:

    “A large part of this website is to allow people from various points on the political / religious / philosophical / cultural spectrum to put forward opinion pieces (sometimes those opinions are unpopular or controversial), as well as to allow readers to have a robust (yet hopefully civil) debate on the topic addressed in the article”! [Anthony Frosh]

    Kovi Rose: “People must be allowed to express their opinions freely”!

    • Yeah, if not for the fact that vital hypertext links, forming integral part of my testimonies which meant to play a role in Breaking the Conspiracy of Silence, mysteriously vanished without any justification whatsoever. Owing to the lingered obsessive compulsive disorder, hell-bent to oppress decent Jew dissidents!

  • Malki Rose says:

    Mr Braun you’ll find that the editors’ intention was that opinion pieces of the length and verbosity of what you have posted should be submitted to the editors directly if you would like them considered as an article in its own right.

    It is unfair of you to hijack one authors article responding to it with your own theses of unrelated material.

    You have done this not just once on this thread, but continuously.

    Perhaps you are confusing “expressing one’s opinion” with over self-indulgence.

    This is not a therapist’s couch.

    Furthermore, and with respect to your own heartache, it is important you realise that what you write, although in English, is entirely incomprehensible.

    I am not sure what tool you are using to translate from your mother-tongue, but it is not serving your purpose, and further hinders any discussion on the thread from others.

  • Sam says:

    Hi Malki

    I fully concur with your sentiments regarding.Leo
    hijacking the thread. It should be a subject for Leo and his therapist.

  • Galus Australis says:

    The links removed were links to content on external websites completely unrelated to the topic addressed by Sheiny New’s article.

    Leaving such links is considered a form of ‘spam.’

    The links were removed not as an act of censorship, but as an act of spam control.

    Mr Braun, please refrain from leaving further comments irrelevant to the topic.

  • There’s an article just published in The Guardian that touches on the issues I referred to in my earlier comment.

    The report further says: “It is likely that the social hostility, stigma and discriminations most LGB people experience is at least likely to be part of the reason for the higher rates of psychological morbidity observed. Prejudice against homosexuality is unlike other intolerance in that it can reach into families. Rejection by parents of their own children because of their sexual orientation is likely to have a severe emotional impact.”

    The interview with Fiez Mughal from a religious Muslim family is most relevant.


  • Anon says:

    Manny Waks was quoted in newspaper recently saying the “Jewish Taskforce Against Violence” is just a mouthpiece for the Yeshivah Centre!

    They maybe helping victims BUT they seem to uphold Groner’s old view – that it was OK to sweep everything under the carpet! They want to defend Chabad’s reputation at all costs!

    If u are a desendant of Chabad parents then u will remain BLIND to any faults! If u are a Bal Teshuvah, it should be easy to change to another more sincere stream of Judaism!

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