Monday, February 02, 2009

Abuse Scandal Plagues Hasidic Jews In Brooklyn 


Joel Engelman and Joe Diangelo are driving through their old Brooklyn neighborhood. Williamsburg is a place from another time and country. The shop signs are in Hebrew. The men scurry by in long black coats; their hair hangs in cork-screw curls. Married women wear wigs to cover their heads.

Engelman and Diangelo haven't been here in years. They just met a few weeks ago, but as they begin swapping stories and the names of family members, they realize they have a lot in common. Both men are in their 20s, both were raised as strict Hasidic Jews, and both fled their upbringing for the same reason.

"Are you ready for this?" Engelman asks Diangelo, glancing at his friend in the back seat.

"Yeah," Diangelo says, his breath quickening. "Yeah, I'll do it, just a quick pass by."

Diangelo grows quiet as we approach a nondescript brownstone building: a synagogue.

"See the Hebrew sign?" he says, pointing. "You go downstairs, and that's where the mikvah is."

The mikvah is a bathhouse usually used by women for ritual cleansing. But in some Hasidic communities, like this one, fathers bring their young sons on Friday afternoons before Shabbat begins. Twenty-one years ago, when he was 7, Diangelo recalls going to the mikvah with his father to find the place packed with naked men and boys.

"And I was in the tub, and I had my back turned, and somebody raped me while I was in the water," he says. He takes a shaky breath. "And I didn't know what happened. I couldn't make sense of it, really."

Diangelo says he never saw the man who abused him. These days, monitors are posted by the bath to stop any sexual activity. But back then, the boy was on his own. He told no one but began refusing to go to the mikvah. He left Orthodox Judaism when he was 17. He changed his name from Joel Deutsch and cut almost all ties with his family and friends.


i wish there would be someone that could tell me where i can get a hold os these guys
i am in the same boat as them but for different reasons and different story

even though on the street i dont look it

anyone out there please give me info



You can talk to Chaim Glancz from "Our Place" on avenue M in Brooklyn. Any night from 7-11pm.

Or his brother Dovid same location.

Chaim is the Godol HaDor when it comes to this topic.


Of course every problem is heartbreaking and must be dealt with. But the way ppl are exaggerating it is terrible. Like Vicki Polin saying "1 out of every 4 children has been abused." How come from every friend I have not one has been abused??? Come on we got a problem but don't blame it on any single factor. It's still many times better than the rest of the population.


Joe. There should be a zeroo tolerance for any abuse period end of discussion. Just because you have the preception that we do not have it as rampant as others is not a reeason for acceptance. Unfortunatley, many of our leadership wants it swept under the rug. Many parents are afraid to say anything, do anything because of , se vet shattebn far a shidduch, and what are people going to say. I commend Dov Hikind. It is unfortunate that the perps have forced Dr Twerski and Rosenberg out of the loop.


joe, come on idiot, none of my friends know about me being abused, that is exactly what happends when you get abused you don't talk about it but your soul is raped from inside and god these % are true


Yes I didn't say that. Every problem even 1 is a million too much heartbreaking etc. But there is no reason why there are some ppl running to the press and over exaggerating the problem as if it is a widespread problem 1 out of 4 when it's completely almost non existent.
Of course anyone that did these gruesome acts or that protected them should be dealt with severely by all means. But don't go selling the world as if it's like the ca priest problem etc.


That story about the mikvah sounds like real BS. How does an adult rape another male much shorter than him in a pool of water???????? Without anyone even realizing???????? When he claims that the mikvah was packed with naked men and boys.... BS

Personally I think taking boys to a mikva is a crazy thing that should be stopped. While I myself went to mikva from age 10 I never had any problems or saw anything strange going on. But I can say it doesn't help the boy in any positive way. I even heard that some big mechanchim are against taking boys to mikva before age 13. The problem is this guy is probably bitter and justifying all his aveires on his problems and badmouthing everything just to get revenge.


this whole situation is a gigantic mess. i myself was semi-molested. i was about 10 and he was 17. it ended very quickly because i told him off about it.

my question is, is this a reason to go completely off the derech? why do these guys feel that yiddishkeit is null and void because of these incidents? i am not judging any of them, i am only trying to gain an understanding.

all i can think about, is trying to get in touch with these guys, and inviting them to a shabbos meal, so that they can see the beauty again.


are you kidding me.. have you ever been to a mikvah friday afternoon?.touching a boy by "accident" in the water for 30 seconds is called rape and of course the little boy will not scream, out of shock... thank god they have cameras noadays in the major mikvahs and if you dont like it, dont do anything stupid. but this whole molesting thing is very creepy to understand why diffrent people do different things, for example, I got molested a long time in mikvah by this ugly pig and whenever i see him these days i just wanna to kill him flat out... i feel like i wanna rip his dirty beard out and kick him so hard in his you know what... and trust me that one day he'll get whats his not only from hashem, but from me as well. however there was another guy who molested me a long time and he was my rebbe h'y and i just dont feel any anger against him i am his freind to this day - some 20 years later - its like i dont care at all - and beleive me he wasnt prety eiter - i dont understand it. anyway i am now 30yo and i am a normal frum jew working, and learning and havin everyday the time of my life and whenever i make a mistake i blame only my self and i try again and i move on... the golem


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