Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Judging the Judges – Part 2: Kangaroo Courts and the Boomerang Effect

Author’s Note – This is the second portion of the current multi-part post about how to think like a defense advocate. To appreciate this post, it is essential to first read the previous post – Part 1.

In the previous post we were discussing the importance of looking at the whole picture and we were analyzing case examples. It’s time for Episode 2.

Episode 2 – Malka Leifer

There is no need for me to recap the entire episode. You can get the complete rundown (and all important links) in my keynote post: There is No Extradition in our Tradition.

Let me summarize as briefly as possible.

Malka Leifer is an Israeli woman who was a school principal in Melbourne, Australia for about seven years. At some point she was accused of seksual misconduct against a number of the female students. She was promptly sent back to Eretz Yisrael (in 2008) and has been living here ever since; presumably, with no further accusations of any continuation of these activities. She has not admitted guilt, nor has she stood trial in any kind of court.

As of 2012, there has been an active campaign championed by at least one “victim” and a slew of “child abuse advocates” to extradite Mrs. Leifer back to Australia for the exclusive purpose of “facing justice” for her crimes. The climax of it all, and the point where I came in, was when at least two advocacy groups initiated on-line petitions to have her extradited back to Australia. These petitions were “signed” by thousands of people. (The petitions are currently closed with a final total tally of 12,807 and 4,044 for a total of 16,851 signatures. No doubt, there were plenty of duplicates and multiples yet it’s an astounding quantity).

What this was saying is that the accused was judged without trial and found guilty by thousands of uninvolved people based on nothing except what was spoon-fed to them on the Internet. Swallowed whole without anybody asking if it has any kind of a hechsher, let alone a reliable one.

Talk about Kangaroo courts!

As my posts indicate, I was appalled on two accounts:

On first account, I was writing while wearing my “preacher’s” uniform as was the case throughout the entire Mesira series. In that capacity I wrote that you can judge however you like and she may be as guilty as or even guiltier than all sin and she may be the devil’s accomplice or anything else you want to think. She still cannot be extradited to Australia. It is assur. Strictly forbidden. Verboten.


Because Halacha gives us guidelines under what circumstances we are allowed to be moser a Jew to the gentiles, and when these guidelines are not in effect, there is no hetter whatsoever. Also, there is no toelles. Consequently, any aggressive or punitive actions turn into the gravest of Halachic transgressions.

If you believe she deserves to be punished, go ahead and pursue “justice” here in Eretz Yisrael. But extradition out of the country is Halachically out of the question. If it is done, anyone who participates with or contributes to it will have to answer for it.

It’s simply mind boggling that thousands of uninvolved spectators are so quick to put their Olam Haba on the line by signing this petition.

So much for the preaching.

For the second account, I put on my “defense attorney” uniform and did some whitewashing. I eventually encased that portion of my post in a segment that I called “the Twilight Zone”.

I noted previously that the petitions indicate that thousands of people – the lion’s share of whom are Jews - have summarily judged Mrs. Leifer to be irredeemably guilty. Lest you think that these are all uneducated misguided secular minded Jews, let me assure you that this crowd is joined by such learned people as Mr. Daas Torah himself, Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn (may he have a refuah shleima, b’karov), Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz and some other very chashuva Jews (whom I cannot name because, unlike all those whom I have named, these have not publicly stated their position on the Internet.)

At first I noted the obvious - the accused Mrs. Leifer has not formally confessed to anything and there are no objective witnesses (unlike the Miriam Shear bus incident) to even confirm that the activities happened at all. Nor is there any physical evidence. Outside of the accusations of the accusers there is absolutely nothing of substance. At the very most, there may be a valid raglayim l’davar.

All this means that, from a Halachic perspective, nobody has any legitimate basis to consider the accused guilty of the accusations and in no way can she be treated by the masses as a guilty person. We have the right to be “choshesh” (suspect) that she is guilty and thus to prevent her from being able to administrate over young women, but to extradite her to Australia for punishment? On what grounds?

Now, for the “forensics” (context).

In this case, I also noted that there is no known history of even any accusations of wrongdoing for any time before she arrived in Australia; likewise for the period following her return from Australia. The only accusations that exist are for over the time span of her tenure in Australia. There are likewise indications that her family life in Australia was deficient because her husband spent much of his time in E”Y. All this indicated to me that her misdeeds were limited to her time in Australia and came about as a result of social and environmental pressures that she couldn’t handle.

The impact of this is twofold: (1) She is not to be considered a danger at present back in E”Y and (2) she is not incorrigible as people like to portray all seks offenders, but rather her stint as a predator was rather “temporary insanity” (רוח שטות). With this, I was not trying to exonerate her and make her into a saint. I was merely arguing that, under these circumstances, to send her to Australia to sit in jail is wanton, purposeless, and way beyond the call of “justice”. The upshot of it all is to try to be מגיע למקומו.

After pointing all this out, I am ready to play my “Trump” card, the same one I played in the Miriam Shear episode and the same one I intend to play in Episode 3. This is the advanced level of מגיע למקומו - to understand where this person is coming from.  Do we know where she’s been? Do we know what she has gone through?

How can we “judge” her if we don’t?

And here, just as in Episode 1, I did some speculating on pure conjecture. But here, as well, I based it on probabilities. There seems to be a well acknowledged statistic that a large portion of seksual offenders were previously molested by others. Have any of the thousands who passed judgment investigated as to whether or not this applies to our accused villain? Does anybody have the right to pass judgment without investigating this issue?

Note, the issue on hand is not whether she should be allowed to have a position of authority over young women from here on. That’s past history. Nor is the issue to make the streets and playgrounds of Australia a safer place. Sending her to Australia is not going to help a single person on Earth. The issue now is, all issurim aside, does she really deserve to be punished for nobody’s gain? If my conjecture is true, is she any less a victim than Dassi Erlich, her accuser (we will get to her very shortly)?

Since I don’t know enough, I can’t be sure. The fact that thousands of mindless lynch-mob Jews who haven’t looked at half as much detail and context as I have are all calling to devour her flesh -
    והאספסף אשר בקרבו התאוו תאוה וישבו ויבכו גם בני ישראל ויאמרו מי יאכלנו בשר 
- is worse than appalling.(I’m being a preacher again.) 

The Miriam Shear episode is behind us but, apparently, the Malka Leifer episode is not. I know for certain that my keynote post reached the eyes of some key players. Full disclosure: I personally emailed some copies to places like Tzedek, The Age in Australia, and to the Rabbinical Council of Victoria. It seems highly unlikely that it didn’t reach the eyes of the main accuser and her supporters. My hopes were to convince the players to end this travesty and to move on with life or, at least, to focus on the more imminently dangerous career predators.

I do not think that I succeeded.

The main accuser in this story is a 29 year old woman named Dassi Erlich. She seems to be a very troubled woman.

[Before I go on, I want to repeat what I wrote in my keynote post that my personal feeling is that the abuse did indeed occur. I am not assuming or charging that these accusations are made up. My main point is that the perpetrator cannot be extradited regardless. To this I added that we do not have the grounds to establish guilt despite how we feel and that, lastly, our perpetrator may be just as much a victim. But I still think that it happened.]

So I truly do sympathize with Dassi Erlich in that she has been through a lot and it is no surprise that she is so troubled. But, as I wrote in my much-read post Victim Turned Predator, if Ms. Erlich cannot excuse Mrs. Leifer’s predatory behavior on the grounds that she (Mrs. Leifer) may also be a victim of molestation, then there is no reason for anybody to excuse Ms. Erlich’s current predatory behavior just because she was a victim of molestation.

Dassi Erlich has lost a lot. She is currently a single mother with a daughter. This means that she lost her marriage. But it looks like she wants to lose more. She is currently on a very destructive path by which she stands to lose everything else. She is on a personal vendetta to “get” Malka Leifer. To “bring her to justice”.

Currently, Dassi cannot make peace with the fact that Malka Leifer has not been convicted of anything. Despite what she may have done, there is not any real evidence against her. So she is very free to go places like to Meron on Lag B’Omer. Dassi has no life of her own any more, she is living her life for one purpose: to get Malka Leifer extradited to Australia. Her Facebook page is titled: #Bring Leifer Back. So she seems to be monitoring her every move and she, or somebody, is taking time out of their life to follow Mrs. Leifer around with a camera. (Did the camera-person at least spend some time davening at the tziyun?) She is obsessed with this and she is killing herself. Seeing Mrs. Leifer walking around in Meron (who told her to look?) is just unbearable. She must let the media know about this travesty!

Getting back at Malka Leifer is her only life and she is absolutely making a [lucrative] career out of it.

She has already fleeced the school for over $1M for all the abuse she suffered by not telling anybody at the school that she was being abused. Get that? I wonder if she collected. Now, she is selling her story to newspapers and perhaps writing a book. I suppose her thinking is that at least she can let it pay her bills.

But to be really serious, she is flirting with danger. Clearly this episode is eating her up and the one who is not stopping it is Dassi Erlich. My suspicion is that she is no longer religious. I say this because a religious person understands all of what I wrote that the hetter for mesira to non-Jews only applies to a current and active rodef. When this is not in effect, there is no longer a hetter for mesira. But, as I wrote, we are not just dealing with mesira. There is Lo Tasgir, Gonev Ish U’Mecharo, preventing a Jew from keeping mitzvos (I have no term for this), and a host of other heavy-duty transgressions at stake. To top it all off, once there is no personal gain or compensation involved, this extradition serves no purpose other than to “get back at her”. In other words, it’s nekama plain and simple. On top of all else.

All of these issurim, if ch”v they are actualized, plus the nekama itself will destroy her. It doesn’t matter what will happen to Mrs. Leifer. They will destroy Dassi Erlich. Nekama always destroys its master. It’s a boomerang!

I wonder if anybody in Australia knows what a boomerang is.

I mentioned in my post another reason not to go so hard on Malka Leifer. According to the Internet news reports, Malka Leifer was not the first person to abuse Dassi Erlich. At least three reports indicated that she had already been living in an abusive home. This means that she was physically and emotionally abused by her own parents. After that came Malka Leifer.

So I truly feel sorry for Dassi Erlich. She has been abused her whole life. Prior to Malka Leifer she was abused by her parents for 15 years . Then she was (allegedly) abused by Malka for another four. But now she is being abused again. This time by somebody named Dassi Erlich. If she doesn’t find a way to let go, it will continue till the end.

Why am I writing all this?

Because, as I wrote way earlier, contrary to all appearances, I really do have a lot of ahavas Yisroel. I don’t want to see Malka Leifer destroyed and I don’t want to see Dassi Erlich destroyed. There is no need for it. As far as I know, they are both victims. I think it's a better idea to try to fix wounded people than to try to break them. But I have yet to hear a single voice echo mine!

What I find mind boggling is that there are people out there that are actually helping her! They are cheering her on and actively assisting her quest for nekama. They can call it “justice” but it will destroy her just the same. They are helping her destroy herself. Some friends they are!

So if this post does reach Dassi Erlich, directly or second hand, let her know that she is only 29 and she has a daughter. It’s not too late to save herself, if she can only let it go.

End of Part 2...


Anonymous said...

I am very suprised that you try to defend Leifer with all your incorrect information.
Her crimes are much worse than you can imagine.
Many korbonas are suffering badly. One girl tried to take her life. 4 are no longer frum, something unheard of in this kehilla. 4 divorces.
And she did molest while she was at Gur in Bnei Brak before she came to Australia. The current Gerrer Rebetzin has first hand knowledge.
There are many world class bposkim who have given a psak that Leifer has a din of Rodef. She may be requested to face a secular court according to 100's of chareidi poskim.
It is people like you who stop innocent kinderlach being protected from monsters.

If chollila it would happen to your own children I think you would not be supporting this monster.
Shmiel Pinchas Kohn

achas v'achas said...

SPK can you name or at least give initials of your "many korbanos"?

4 divorces??? We only know of 1 Dassi.

Who wanted to take her life? Again never heard this before.

As to the claim about the Gerrer rebetzen, it is a rumor and maybe it should be investigated. If found to be true there should be consequences.

The only people who went OTD was Dassi and her siblings-and obviously little to do with Leifer's disgusting behavior.

How do I know this?
Simple. Because her 2 brothers - who never ever had ANYTHING to do with Leifer also went totally OTD.

As anyone involved with this sad case, knows about their family and home life, realizes that 99% of their problems stem from home.

Leifer herself is an abuse victim (not and excuse - but a fact).

The real victims here (in addition to Dassi and her sister - are the Leifer children.

They continue to suffer international shame in addition to a home life of total poverty.

No way do I wish to be seen as a defender of Leifer, but as this blogmaster posted, there are many aspects to this story which have not be touched in in this age of "Lynch Leifer."

James said...

I can only assume that the author of this blog, Mr Hirshman, has no idea of the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse. That is the only explanation for how he can dismiss the catastrophic trauma of the victims, and how he can dare to equate their desire for justice with the evil that was done to them.

He might also be unaware of the unimaginable scale of the hillul hashem that this denial of justice, and the fact that there are actually "frum" people who support such a denial, is causing.

On the other hand, there is no possible explanation as to how a supposedly "frum" blog like this can justify such l'shon hara and r'chilus.

Henry the Third said...

James, I have lived in Melbourne for the past 6 years and have closely followed these horrible cases.

It seems quite clear that Manny Waks and Dassi are making a 'career' of their past abuse - money and fame.

But that doesn't bother me too much. Maybe they deserve that much benefit for their pain.

However the way Waks is pursuing and hounding Yeshiva with the obvious aim of destroying it totally, is despicable.

I am not sure if Dassi is planning the same for Adass, I sure hope not.

The tzad hashaveh between then is
1) their parents treated them horribly - and they should have faced charges of child abuse,
2) Both families had ALL their children educated by these schools- WITHOUT A PENNY TUITION PAID ON THEIR BEHALF.

Has anyone heard MN or DE ever say a thank you ? Not that I know of.

Anonymous said...

James, btw, is rabbi James Kennard of Melb - principal of Mount Scopus Collge. He often publicly states brave and even controversial opinions to the Australian community

However he seems to have remained conspicuously silent about one of his "Orthodox" rabbinical colleagues who is "importing" an openly gay "rabbi" to speak in his Shul.

I was and still am hoping that as a principled person, his voice will be heard loud and clear about the Torah's views on Mishkav Zachar.
But I am now hearing that the school he heads - a so-called Orthodox school will be allowing this homosexual fraud rabbi to address students.

I hope it's not true.

But in any case Melbourne's orthodox Jewry is waiting for your strongest condemnation of this propagation of Toeva

Anonymous said...

A person who has already been destroyed cannot be destroyed by nekama.