Chilling Video Released by Amudim: This is Not Us

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By: Zvi Gluck

This past year has been the most difficult year that I can remember. Like everyone else, my life has always had its ups and downs, but this year has been exceptionally trying. My mentor, my friend, a person who served as a father figure and taught me so much about life and family, left us suddenly. Unexpectedly. And tragically.

Five years ago, a giant of a man named Mendy Klein z’l came into my life. With his boundless compassion, support and encouragement for the work that I had been doing as a lone soldier, Mendy gave me wings to fly.  He was the heartbeat of Amudim, challenging me beyond my limits, forcing me to aim higher and do more and with him pushing us all ever further, Amudim has the ability to do more than anyone could have ever imagined.

The list of things that Mendy taught me, and the way my life has changed since our first meeting, is limitless.

Here I stand, facing Mendy’s first yahrtzeit.

Naturally, on this day, I am overwhelmed by sadness and grief, I know in my heart of hearts that Mendy would insist that I use his yahrtzeit as an opportunity to do something meaningful. In addition to his generous contributions to Amudim, Mendy’s main priority was getting out in the trenches and championing the cause without mincing any words. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard him say, “We need to end this mageifa” and “This problem is everywhere.”

In tribute to a man who bridged the gap between all segments of the Jewish community, a person who dedicated his life to creating lasting peace and working relationships and an individual who cared more deeply than anyone I know, Amudim is releasing its newest PSA (Public Service Announcement) video titled This is Not Us. This video personifies but one of Mendy’s missions and it seemed fitting to release this PSA both on his yahrtzeit and Lag B’Omer, a day that marks the end of a period of mourning for 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students who died prematurely because they lacked respect for their fellow man.  There can be no greater lack of respect than ignoring the cries of those who are in pain, and the notion that someone could turn their back on someone who is suffering ran counter to everything that Mendy believed in.

May the neshama of Menachem Moshe ben Naftali Herzka have an aliyah.

Miss you my friend,

Zvi Gluck

If you would like to make a donation to Amudim in memory of Mendy Z”L, please click here: https://donate.amudim.org/

Zvi Gluck is the director of Amudim, an organization dedicated to helping abuse victims and those suffering with addiction within the Jewish community and has been heavily involved in crisis intervention and management for the past 19 years.  For more information go to www.amudim.org

15 COMMENTS

  1. We must be more aggressive in these very dangerous “quick-sand” of abuse.
    Properly trained investigators (not Rabbonim, principals, etc.), should be brought in to investigate every allegation.
    Should also work on legislators to remove all time constraints.

    • Agreed.
      The video does a fantastic job of illustrating the horrible shock and betrayal a victim feels when after they’re brave enough to come forward and tell their story, the powers that be close ranks, defend the abuser, and accuse, smear and ostracize the victim.

      The legal presumption of innocence, and the halachik obligation to judge one favorably mean that we do not convict based on an accusation, nor do we unquestioningly accept what someone who says they were victimized says. Unfortunately, for far too many years, this was taken to the extreme, and abusers who had multiple credible accusers were vehemently defended by those who should’ve known better.

      Fight on, Reb Tzvi. You have fought with every last drop of your strength and energy, and then you fought some more. B”H, after years of sweeping abuse under the rug and not believing abuse victims, the tide has turned. A respected title is no longer a cloak of invulnerability for these wolves, and this only happened because of those who were courageous enough to fight for righteousness.

      • I do not intend to take anything away from the importance of this message and will certainly not deny both the problem and the lack action exist.

        What I do want to do is point out the less discussed, yet more prevalent and possibly equally as destructive yet ignored behavior of ignoring the frustration of the 80 percent of the class who are not in the top 20 percent of the class, who are ignored by staff, who are embarrassingly pulled out of class for tutors and remedial work and resource room sessions which often is the root of the bullying they become victims of. They are viewed as failures (in spite of the fact they hear countless classes and divrei Torah on lifum tzarah agra). Who does the Rebbe learn with? Who does he call on? Who gets the best chavrusos? Who speaks at the mesibos?

  2. WOW. So powerful and truthfully chilling. It is RL something all circles of Judaism must deal with. The indication from this video seems to point at an educator being the accused abuser. The reality is that anyone can be an abuser. Educator, family member, friend, stranger. The statistics are heart wrenching. The realities of those suffering is real and impossible to fully understand.

    Just an absolutely incredible video and BH Amudim, which is an organization that follows the direction or great leaders put this out. Thank you Amudim

  3. or perhaps we can properly and professionally train rabbanim and principals, whos integrity is, many a time, way above what some arrogant credentialed ambitious individual possess. #compliance abuse

  4. Part 2 – Rebbeim / Moros need to be trained how to reach as many of his/her charges as possible, to see (actively look for and find) the strength in each talmid/ah, praise them, honor them, reward them, and encourage them.

  5. What a powerful message! It’s about time our community acknowledges that this type of thing happens, even in the best families.
    About 26 years ago I was approached by a bochur who attended a well known, east coast Yeshiva. He couldn’t speak to his parents so he came to my house to speak to me. I’ve known him since he was born. He told me that he was contemplating suicide. A Rebbi in his Yeshiva had molested him. He was so ashamed and confused. He cried. We walked around the block many time as we talked. By talking about his situation he must have felt some sort of relief and he assured me that he won’t commit suicide. I called his Yeshiva and made an appointment to meet with the (well known, highly respected) Rosh Yeshiva. I flew back east and went to see the Rosh Yeshiva. They must have thought that I was going to give them a donation or something like that. I was quickly ushered into the Rosh Yeshiva’s office. He walked in and greeted me as I stood up. Without mentioning the bochur’s name I told him that a Rebbi in this Yeshiva had molested a student. He looked irritated and silently squirmed around in his chair. As he extinguished his half smoked cigarette in the ashtray on his desk, he said “That doesn’t happen here!” He got up and walked out. He left me sitting there alone, staring at the wall. I flew home.
    The bochur didn’t return to that Yeshiva. He is now married and has, Burich Hashem, many children and is a very successful businessman. He comes to my house to visit me every once in awhile whenever he visits Los Angeles. We can look back and joke about this situation that almost ended his life.

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