Rav Berkovits Breaks Silence on Abuse In Community

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[COOMUNICATED

Rav Yitzchok Berkovits released a very direct video address this week, in response to an urgent crisis in his community:

[FULL VIDEO & HASCAMAS BELOW]

“For years, our neighborhood Sanhedria Murchevet was plagued with burglaries. Friday nights if someone was out you could be sure someone would break in to the apartment. Just a lot of loss of property, belongings. Aside from the financial loss, personal items that mean a lot to people. So we got together and set up a system of cameras, security cameras.

But in the process, we realized that there was something else going on. Perhaps Hashem had sent us the burglaries, for the sake of being able to discover. Throughout the week, all sorts of individuals from outside the neighborhood are driving in and did awful things to children. We had absolutely no awareness of anything like this going on.

Catching this on camera of course, meant that these people could be identified. People are in prison. The police appreciated it. But this is going on, on a constant basis.

The cameras, maintaining them, is quite expensive. Beyond anything we are able to afford. We are not a neighborhood for people that are really of means. At a certain point, the cameras were actually turned off because we just couldn’t afford to pay. Money was borrowed, and we’re trying to get the inhabitants to pay whatever they can, but it’s really beyond us.

This is the safety of our children. The safety of grandchildren for so many of you out there. Or children of friends.

We really cannot handle this on our own. We need your help. I ask all those who can to please help Sanhedria Murchevet protect their children. Keep our cameras up! It will serve as a deterrent and also get rid of perpetrators once they’re identified.

Hashem should watch over all of us. Hashem should watch over you, and children and families and grandchildren. There should be no need for all of this, im yirtzeh Hashem. In the merit of you all becoming partners in keeping our neighborhood safe. Thank you so much.”

Rav Berkovits’s message is powerful and direct. He is joined by Rav Morgenstern and Rav Soloveitchik in the founding of their grassroots effort ‘Jerusalem Eye,’ aimed at keeping Jerusalem’s children safe through surveillance. At the time of Jerusalem Eye’s founding in 2018 there were between 7-5 incidents of assault per month in the neighborhoods of Sanhedria. Since they installed cameras (cost of $750,000) they have seen a reduction in about 90% of the incidents, now only about 1 every three months. This shows clearly that the installation of the cameras is effective in stopping abuse.

Various other community rabbanim lend their public support to this effort. Without financial assistance, the cameras will remain off, and many children will be at risk. The far-reaching ripple effects of abuse are well known – contributions to this very important cause are an investment not just in the safety of kids today, but in the stability of future generations. Donations are being accepted via The Chesed Fund.


20 COMMENTS

  1. stop sensationalizing a thing that has zero basis to it. It has caused more damage than good in peoples lives. There’s a reason they are having such a hard time raising money for this. If there would be enough proof and true then surely the gvirim on Ramat Hagolan street etc wouldve done something about it.

  2. bring us the videos as proof, blur the faces but show proof. Too much fear being instilled in mothers and fathers based on zero proof in the meantime. Unless if you produce evidence. PPle have moved back to chul from all this fear. The fearmongering has got to stop.

  3. I agree with the above. Post a blurred out video proving your case, and the money will be raised in no time, if unable to do so this is no different that the thousands of ppl soliciting donations on that site

  4. This has gone to the other extreme to the extent that we are kissing up to kids , and this is the most disrestpectful , mechutzofim bunch of disgusting brats we’ve ever seen. I’m a teacher and see this every day. The little brats are now are bosses. You gave birth to them. Keep them home and teach them there.

    • You sound bitter, overworked and underpaid. I am sorry about that. The children in your charge are precious Jewish neshamot and you have the opportunity to have a life-long influence on them.

  5. So basically all the above comments are calling rav berkowitz a liar. Nice. You can’t even say he’s misinformed because he lives there and I know him to be very well informed.

  6. @Anon21, noone is calling him a liar. Seems a bit exaggerated at the minimum, and a million dollars for camera upkeep… reallly????. If you want ppl to open their wallets keep it real…. too many causes sound blown out of proportion…….

  7. You get what you reaped. Non of you or few of you cane out to protest the toeiva parade in Jerusalem 18 years ago when it started despite Rabbi chaim Kanefsky urging people to come out and protest. Now you have this evil effecting frum society.

  8. I live a ten minute walk from Ramat Eshkol and in middle of shabbos afternoon, while walking on a public street, someone made an obscene gesture and started following me. It was clear he had very bad intentions. BH my friend lived half a minute walk away on the ground floor and her door was actually open when I passed by so I ran inside.

    After that episode, I was afraid to leave my house for weeks.

    I have spoken to friends who grew up in the neighborhood and they say that many of them and many of their friends were touched inappropriately in the parks.

    It’s definitely a real problem. I’m not planning to move because of it but it has made me realize that it is crucial to talk to my kids and to teach them what to do in case someone does have bad intentions.

    • Dear Chaim,
      1) Your video links don’t have English subtitles.
      2) Who is allegedly harassing whom?
      3) If there is harassment in parks, it would be done by hardened or insane criminals, who will not be necessarily scared of cameras, and whom the Israeli police is likely to ignore, as they did up until now. Therefore, the only way to stop it, would be by setting up community patrols, and some unfortunate accidents just may befall some caught pervs. You don’t need millions for that.

  9. Unfortunately, we don’t have the Smicha now. The real one, going back to Moshe Rabeinu. We don’t have it for the last fifteen hundred years. Due to the confusion it causes in the contemporary time period, it seems that it’s about time to stop using the title for those who haven’t received the real Smicha. Wait for Eliyahu haNovi to reinstate the Smicha and the title Rabbi.

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