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Abuse and Pedophilia at Jerusalem Haredi Elementary School

Haredi organization Din Ve’Cheshbon claims Jerusalem school Talmud Torah Kaminetz covered up physical and sexual abuse for years.



A lawsuit filed against a venerated haredi elementary school Talmud Torah Kaminetz in Jerusalem, exposes a long tradition of physical and sexual abuse within the institution.

The lawsuit filed yesterday (Tuesday) documents one senior faculty member’s repeated sexual and emotional abuse of a student as well as extreme physical violence on the part of the principal of the venerated institution. Talmud Torah Kaminetz carries almost mythical status among the Lithuanian stream of the Haredi education system.

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The lawsuit was prepared and filed on behalf of the survivor by Din Ve’Cheshbon, a Haredi organization fighting the scourge of sexual abuse cases and institutional cover-ups within the sector. The defendants in the lawsuit are named as a teacher, the principal, and the institution itself. According to the court documents, significant evidence was gathered, including recorded admissions, prior to the filing.

According to the lawsuit, the story began approximately eighteen years ago. It exposes a litany of abuses against a nine year old third grade boy by a teacher, who had the job of being the official tester in the school, as well as subsequent violence and shaming on the part of the principal.

The tester allegedly assaulted the victim including pinching his sexual organs on multiple occasions. When the boy failed to appear volitionally for testing, the teacher would stalk the hallways of the school until he found him and command him to appear at the designated private testing room, where he would repeat the acts. The principal is alleged to have called the victim to his office, where he would hit the child, sometimes with a stick. On one occasion, according to the documents, it was with such force that the stick snapped in two on the victim’s body.

When the victim was in sixth grade, he approached one of the Rabbis in the school, hoping that speaking up would bring an end to the repeated abuse. He quickly learned, however, that that was not the case. The following day the victim’s mother received a call from the school accusing the child of spreading lies about the Rabbis in the school, demanding that she “deal with her son,” as, citing a midrashic aphorism, “one does not throw a stone into the well from which one drinks.” She was enjoined that she should be grateful that her son was accepted to the prestigious institution, even though the family is of Sephardic descent, and that if they continue to complain the boy and his brothers will be expelled from the school.

The victim’s mother did not relent and confronted the school’s administration.

In the presence of the principal and a senior Rabbi, she revealed that the tester had touched her son’s private parts and that the school must take attend to the matter. According to the lawsuit, her complaint was dismissed, and the Rabbi slammed the door in her face, telling her that her appearing at the school is a, “violation of modesty,” and, “she should get out.”

The lawsuit emphasizes that both of the perpetrators of the abuse, the teacher and the principal, are still currently employed by the institution, even though the acts were reported many years ago. There was no inquiry into the allegations.

According to the plaintiffs, there is much evidence supporting their claims. “One defendant, in conversation with the victim, admitted that the events had transpired and was recorded, which should be considered a full admission of guilt by the perpetrator.”

Din V’Cheshbon offers victims of sexual abuse help by funding civil lawsuits against perpetrators as well as institutions whose silence enables abuse. In addition to a professional cadre of lawyers, the organization provides the victim with free counseling throughout the process, and retains expert private investigators to source the evidence needed to create an airtight case.

The emphasis of the organization in specifically targeting community institutions that cover up and enable sexual abuse is born of the belief that this is what will turn the tide on the prevalent phenomenon of sexual crimes.

Lawyer Rotem Aloni Davidov, who directs the legal efforts of Din V’Cheshbon, asserted, “The lawsuit documents an extremely harsh saga of continuous physical and sexual abuse of a young child by the faculty at the Talmud Torah at which he learned. Even worse, every appeal for relief was totally and immediately silenced. We are engaging all of our resources to reveal the truth so as to create desperately needed societal repair, thereby guaranteeing all children a safer world.”

Nachman Rosenberg, who represents the private Haredi donors behind Din V’Cheshbon, stated, “We need to recognize that institutional “silencers” pose a threat far more broad and vast than predators do. They endanger the lives of thousands of families and spill the blood of countless innocent Jewish children. Din V’Cheshbon is bringing an end to this criminal and shameful pattern. Heads of institutions who turn a blind eye to abuse will pay a severe price for their cruel and reckless behavior. “



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