Lessons From The Rav Bina Story

Hundreds of responses speak to insecurity in Modern Orthodox community.

Wed, 02/08/2012
Editor and Publisher

In the wake of the article he and I co-authored (Jan. 27) on Rav Aharon Bina of Netiv Aryeh, a yeshiva for American students in the Old City of Jerusalem, Yedidya Gorsetman received a message on Facebook from Rabbi Ari Fuld.

“I don’t know who you are and I am not trying to threaten you in any way,” the rabbi began. “I see that you are friends on FB [Facebook] with many Netiv guys and I hope they come to their senses and drop you like a dead fish.

“I truly believe you are an evil person” for “trying to murder Rav Bina with your pen,” the rabbi continued, speculating that Yedidya, a senior at Yeshiva University and an editor of the school newspaper, “is not frum [observant]” and that he wrote the article because “you hate the fact that Rav Bina has such a positive effect on his kids [students].

“You are an evil immoral individual” whose intention “wasn’t the safety of the kids but how you can hurt Rav Bina.”

Rabbi Fuld wrote that he hopes one day Yedidya will have sons who will realize how “sick and immoral” their father is and run away to Rav Bina, who will take them in.

I cite Rabbi Fuld’s comments here because he is a rebbe at Netiv Aryeh, headed by Rav Bina, and which has the largest group of American boys spending their post-high school gap year in an Israeli yeshiva.

And while I suspect defenders of the yeshiva will rationalize Rabbi Fuld’s deeply disturbing comments as an aberration, as they do decades’ worth of complaints about Rav Bina’s treatment of some students, I worry that this rebbe’s comments reflect, at the very least, the antithesis not only of rabbinic behavior, but of the foremost Torah value of seeing each and every person as created in God’s image.

Yet Rabbi Fuld’s inflammatory words resonate with a large number of the comments posted online on our website from defenders of Rav Bina, who tend either to describe him in reverential terms and deny any wrongdoing on his part, or insist that his unique form of pedagogy — which includes publicly humiliating students, cursing them and expelling them without warning — is a misunderstood act of love for the good of the targeted students, who deserve his disapproval and often benefit from it.

I urge you to take the time to scroll through and read some of the literally hundreds of comments posted online on our website in response to the Rav Bina article — more than 55 printed pages worth, at last count — confirming the polarizing effect he has on students and parents who view the 63-year-old rabbi as either an extraordinarily compassionate, warm and insightful rebbe or a man using the power of his position to break down a minority of students emotionally, sometimes with long-lasting and disturbing effect.

As I read through the comments, many of them deeply personal, with a kind of morbid fascination, I worried for the health and stability of an insecure Modern Orthodox community that, consciously or not, seems to have struck a Faustian bargain with the Rav Binas of the world: do what you have to do to ensure that our sons remain observant, even at the risk of losing a few along the way to emotional distress.

As one woman whose son attended Rav Bina’s yeshiva wrote on our site: “Take the facts — we have a Rav who sometimes abuses his students and that’s OK? If we had babysitters that only behaved with one of our children that way, we would be OK? I don’t think so. … The question becomes, can we look at ourselves in the mirror when tolerating only a little abuse?”

Steven Bayme, national director of contemporary American Jewish life at the American Jewish Committee, notes that “Orthodox leaders intent on justifying Rav Bina’s approach and behavior are saying ‘what works, works.’ That is the moral equivalent of saying ‘the ends justifies the means.’ That’s Machiavelli, not Orthodox Judaism.”

Bayme wonders why Modern Orthodox parents and institutions “encourage day school graduates to attend institutions that not only are unsympathetic to Modern Orthodoxy but determined to undermine it.”

Michael Salamon, an Orthodox clinical psychologist and author of the book, “Abuse in the Jewish Community,” applies the term “cognitive dissonance” in observing how some Modern Orthodox Jews send their children to schools that offer a more rigid worldview, often teaching students to avoid intellectual encounters with modernity.

Salamon says that, consciously or subconsciously, these parents see a society around them with increasingly lax morals and feel it is better to put their children in an environment with fewer choices, even with the attendant risks.

“They’re looking for magic,” he says, expecting the year in Israel to suddenly transform their child into an adult firm in his or her religious beliefs.

Therapist colleagues in Israel complain to Salamon that American parents expect them “to fix all of their kids’ problems,” he said.

Salamon also applies cognitive dissonance to Rav Bina students who passively observe classmates humiliated in public, and rabbis and other defenders of Rav Bina who focus on his many good deeds rather than acknowledge the harm done to a significant minority of young men.

The psychologist suggests that it may be healthier emotionally for young Orthodox Jews to attend yeshivas in Israel after a year or two of college rather than right after high school. But he notes that the Israeli yeshivas “want them when they are malleable.”

In my conversations with a number of rabbis and others I respect in the community I found a willful ignorance on their part in discussing Rav Bina. They either didn’t want to believe the many stories over the years of young men who say they were emotionally scarred from the experience or suggested that everyone should know by now that Netiv Aryeh was a kind of Talmudic boot camp where “tough love” is doled out for the good of the students.

If that’s the case, maybe Netiv Aryeh should let visitors to its website know its methodology rather than trumpet its “warm diverse staff,” which includes Rabbi Ari Fuld.

In the wake of the Jan. 27 article and the hundreds of letters and posted comments we received, it should be noted that Yeshiva University chose not to comment on whether it would review its association with Netiv Aryeh, one of its largest feeder schools from Israel.

The issue is bigger than Rav Bina. It’s about parents taking greater responsibility for their children’s emotional as well as spiritual growth, and it’s about a community determining whether it wants to create strong, independent and morally confident young men and women willing and able to grapple with the complexity of blending tradition and modernity. Or not.

E-mail:  Gary@jewishweek.org
 

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Comments

Shalom Gary,
Let me give you a pearl of wisdom that was given to me by a Rabbi during my year in Israel. Don't be stupid. Apparently life hasn't merited you with this important lesson yet. B"h you will be zocheh to do teshuva on the whole Rav Aharon Bina slander article. One of the reasons Shmirat HaLashon is so important is because of the fact that your thoughts, words, and actions are all connected. "Sof Ma'aseh Machshava Techilla"- the end result [I.e. Your actions] begins with just a thought (with Dibur-speech- being the connection between the two). Once a person learns to keep his bad thoughts to himself, and as a result keeping his words clear of slander or anything of the like- only then will his actions become as pure as his thoughts.

Shabbat shalom,
Sheh Tizkeh Leshanim Tovim Eem Lashon Tahor,

Your fellow Jew,
Ben Yehoshua
Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh 5772

A 'Son' of MY RAV, HaRav Aharon Bina shlit"a

Pathetic. Big deal. Ari Fuld went to war like thousands of other Israelis. He smiles when he gets his draft notice. Because he is a sick mother who loves violence. Too bad the students at Netiv have to be in his vicinity when he is not in milium. He and Bina should go into therapy together for a very very long time far far away from 18 year old kids. Lebanon perhaps.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT -- PLEASE READ!!!!!

Not only this, but look what else Rabbi Ari Fuld did!

http://www.aish.com/h/imd/48971601.html

what i would like to say about the revered and notorious rav bina is
as a student who went there almost ten years ago i cannot fathom a more harmful person other than rav elon. the man's ego is bigger than his kippah. i went there because i love israel and judaism. from the first moment when i met him as every student has a meeting at the beginning of the year he humiliated me and hurt me deeply. he takes authority over students which all heads of yeshivas do which is understandable but he does it instantaneously and brutish. i would like to say that he hurts human being's spirit, teenagers! who are in search of manhood and throw their hopes in the land of israel in the old city into ashes. in my opinion i did not have my future planned out as some students do so he berated me for it. i was ordinary and that was not acceptable.

SRe: Submitted by Sorry GD

You’ve missed my point, and perhaps it is my long-windedness that is at fault.

I am not commenting on the veracity of the information in the article nor the allegations, nor am I questioning whether people who claim abuse really were abused. I am simply stating that the initial article presents itself as investigative journalism but is really an opinion piece. Gary’s follow up column merely confirms my suspicions. The lead on the story wasn’t, “I think there may be a significant problem at one of the yeshivas” it was, “Rav Bina is a problem and should be exposed.” When you start from the latter, you have already assumed a position on the matter, which is what an opinion piece is and not an investigative piece. That is my beef – I take no issue with the conclusion, if validated, that Rav Bina is a problematic Rosh Yeshiva, particularly if it is shown that the concerns raised about him are significantly different from those raised about other Roshei Yeshiva.

This was my point about lashon hara. The article is not lashon hara because it says negative things about Rav Bina or his yeshiva. If such information will inform people and help them make good decisions, the negative information is critical. Indeed, by its very definition, lashon hara must be true, otherwise it is either motzei shem ra or rechilut, depending on the circumstances. What makes this lashon hara is that it purports to be objective, when I think the agenda – to expose Rav Bina – was determined from the outset. The article reads like a prosecutors brief and not an even-handed story, which would be fine except for the fact that it presents itself as an objective story. Content does not make something lashon hara it is the insinuation that makes it such.

My comment suggesting Gary lose his job (admittedly unnecessarily extreme) was meant to be in the context of his role as editor. An editor of a newspaper should impose certain journalistic standards on a paper. I do not think the standards were applied here. Indeed, if the original article was positioned the way the follow up piece was, I would have no objection whatsoever. But it wasn’t and as such, it is terribly problematic because it takes liberties with objectivity that subtly and not so subtly present an uneven picture. If an editor cannot keep his paper objective, then he is not excelling at his job.

After reading your first article, I felt that it was written with an agenda, but I felt it could still be seen as investigative journalism by some. After reading this "article," I no longer had any doubt that your intentions were pure lashon hara and I found this article to be completely unnecessary and purely a continuation of your personal attack on Rav Bina and his institution. As a journalist I am sure that you are well aware that you did not say anything new in this article, you simply clarified to readers that your only intention was to harm others.
Whatever Rabbi Fuld wrote to you in his letter, this article is like a child who wants to tattle on someone who he felt wronged him. I feel sorry for you that you took his letter so to heart that you felt the need to publicize it. He wrote an emotional letter privately to you after you publicly bashed someone who he cares deeply about for the sake of "journalism". All I can think to say is grow up.

A previous post by "duker" claimed to have posted something online in Rav Fuld's name. Has "The Jewish Week" investigated this allegation? If so, what is the outcome? I find it disturbing that Rav Fuld was quoted for something he might never have said. By the way, I have no prejudices either way. If what the Jewish Week wrote is in any way true, they did the public a service warning parents to be wary of Netiv Aryeh. And judging from the comments posted, there seems to be some truth in what they wrote.

GD, if you are so concerned about a "hatchet" job perhaps you should have proofread your post instead of making yourself look like a brainwashed fool.

You wrote "Gary Rosenblatt should lose his job for this post... [because it is a] ...glorified opinion column as a piece of investigative journalism." Ummmm... actually I think this piece IS an opinion piece. Did you mean the first article? If yes that one was most certainly a "piece of investigative journalism" and not an opinion piece.

You mentioned that this was a "hatchet job" since the facts were not presented in an "even handed way" and you then explained how the allegations might not be true and even if, for the sake of the argument, they are true the allegations only amount to questioning his " questionable techniques." I could go on explaining how you misrepresented (or just misunderstood from the outset) allegations such as verbal abuse and allegedly hitting a student into "questionable techniques" rather than allegations of abuse, however, instead I will just say this: That victims requested anonymity does not make their allegations false nor does that fact that other rabbis in history may have done the same things does not prevent this behavior from being labeled abusive.

It's easy to read through the horrifying stories that were detailed in the comments of the original article and say "these are all anonymous and they are probably all made up also," however, people not under the sway of a cult leader are able to parse through a critical mass of anonymous accounts and discern when something has a basis in reality and when something is manufactured out of thin air.

There are large swaths of people- many that I know- that were at weddings where Rav Bina said something disgusting about the groom's family in front of 500-700 people. That alone would not have caused this article to come about but, it should come as no surprise, that the same sick person that makes offensive comments about grooms at their weddings is the same person who gets complaints made about what they say in their own tent.

I have never met anyone as vile as Rav Bina in my life and I have never personally witnessed someone (adult, child, college professor, rabbi, bus driver, athlete etc...) do things as disgusting as the things I watched Rav Bina do to his students. Therefore I am sure that almost every one of the stories featured in the article or its comments is 100% accurate.

I would argue that this article, rather then being the "loshon hara" that you stated emphatically it is, is both a huge mitzva and a great service to the Jewish community to identify the dangers in our midst that have not yet been properly neutralized.

In response to the comments from "Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:46" Thank you for that long list of "chushuva" rabbanim who visit the yeshiva, but I would assume that when men of this stature visit the school Rav Bina does refrains from the coarse language that even his biggest supporters maintain he uses. When the principal visits the classroom even the teacher sits up straight.

In response to the comments from "Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 13:19."

You'd be surprised. R Bina doesn't hide his style, and speaks his mind despite "the truth hurting" (hence the many allegations by many who couldn't "handle the truth").

When R Bina introduces R Shacter every year, he unabashedly and strongly introduces him as (this is a paraphrase, but about right), "someone who is making a big mistake by staying in America and not making aliyah to our homeland," which of course, R Shacter merely blushes at.

His ways are not secretive, and pretty much everyone who heads to netiv aryeh knows what to expect coming in, and often are enticed by that style and come for that reason (to shape up, so to speak, from a straight shooter pull no punches type. The ones who do, are R Binas many loyal grateful students. The ones who realize, that maybe they prefer not to, are the ones libeling it abuse).

And while those "chashuva" rabbonim might not know of R bina's style firsthand (and I believe that at least some of them have an inkling, their hands are not in the sand, R Binas father was a famed educator in Israel with a similar rough style, and R Bina had a highly public controversial split with Yeshivat Hakotel in 2003 after he could not get along with Takana forum identified sex offendor R Moti Alon and those who sided with him, and at that point also much mud was slung at R Bina publicly, so his style is not a secret), that doesn't address my point. Who was consulted about this sensitive article before publishing it? If you went to most of the rabbonim on that list with all the allegations, and they asked R Bina about it, R Bina would not deny what he really does, and the source of the naysaying. I doubt any would than sign off on this article being permissible within the halchic realms of lashon hara and rechilut. If you doubt me, call those rabbonim and ask them. I'd love to hear.

Gary Rosenblatt should lose his job for this post. It was bad enough that he lent his name as a co-author to the original piece but to outright stand behind it so emphatically proves he is no journalist in the correct sense of the term. The problem here is not a crude depiction of a revered rabbi but passing off a glorified opinion column as a piece of investigative journalism.

If I were the editor of the Jewish Week and an undergraduate came to me with his stories about potentially questionable pedagogical practices of a renown rabbi, I'd thank him for the lead. Then I'd pass the information on to one of my reporters. I'd tell the reporter to look into several Israel programs, not ones where the lead might have an ax to grind. If Rav Bina really turned out to be doing something inappropriate, then fine, the facts would stand. Instead, the Jewish Week published a hatchet job, determined to make the case against Rav Bina, rather than present the facts in an even-handed way.

The key point in this story is that Rav Bina allegedly employs questionable techniques in an effort to inculcate certain students with a particular sense of Jewish Orthodoxy. The article is peppered with quotes and anecdotes shared by people who were purportedly wronged by the rabbi. No independent verification of the stories is ever provided, only people commenting on the implication of the stories as told by those alleging wrongdoing.

Moreover, there is no means to compare these stories with other influential rabbis in other programs. Is Rav Bina an aberration or does he merely represent a more colorful version of the unchecked rabbinical charisma influencing hosts of students thousands of miles away from the purview of their parents?

It also is not clear what the article is suggesting as problematic with Rav Bina's behavior. Is the issue alleged physical abuse? mental abuse? political incorrectness? arrogance? Each of these is raised briefly but none is explored in any coherent way that would afford a reader to understand the true problem. And again, a comparison to other schools would be instructive. Do other schools have influential rabbis who have purportedly acted in similar ways? Are students in other schools being impacted by similar practices?

And here, definition of the problem is critical. Assuming the issue is physical abuse, is this something prevalent in other schools? If it is mental abuse, is Rav Bina acting in a wholly different way than his peers? Is there a reasonable difference between telling a student that his actions will result one day in marrying a gentile as opposed to saying such actions will result in a loss of eternity? Both could be rather intimidating and seen as coercive to an impressionable teen, so why is this particular rabbi’s technique singled out?

In an article like this, readers have to place a lot of trust in the authors. We have to trust that sources were interviewed fairly and the answers that were provided were not solicited merely to confirm biases. We have to trust that sources were granted anonymity for good reason - not because they had an axe to grind. And most importantly, we have to trust that the authors looked for evidence to undermine their thesis, and if it didn't appear in the article, it's because none could be found. These are a lot of assumptions to make.

The problem with this article is that the Jewish Week would have readers believe this is the most egregious misuse of rabbinical power reported since its last big splash article, as if all other post-high school institutions are so benign. And as readers, we've been set us up to draw such conclusions because opinion has been represented as fact, and any other institution represents a better alternative because, well, at least it is not Netiv Aryeh. If Gary Rosenblatt wants to write an opinion column, next time he should do so under appropriate cover. As it is it, this article is pure lashon hara. Not because the information is false – by definition, lashon hara is true – but because it is attempting to influence the opinion of its readers under the guise of objectivity.

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, wasn’t that the lesson learned from the French revolution? Mr. Rosenblatt's article gives everyone in our Jewish community a heads up. Absolute religious power can corrupt as well. When we hand over our thinking, bechira, and our children over to yeshivot who feel they have an absolute mandate that process in and of itself corrupts people and institutions.

We as a community, individuals and families do it to ourselves. People, no matter who they are Rabbis, Politicians, and Protestors get power from other peoples consensus.

We should send our kids out in to the world to learn, but also instill in them NEVER to ever relinquish their power to keep thinking and deliberating independently. If every individual in the yeshiva would turn around and walk out of the room and out of the school when a fellow student is called, "cancer" than these individuals, and institutions would not have the power to abuse.

Kudos to Jewish week for having the moral high ground to ask the painful questions.

As far as the people who use fear of gehinom, and the word "shame" repeatedly, to get people to basically be quiet, its very revealing about your own view of the world.

We have an instinct to protect those we love without question. The unfortunate reality is that once those we love are attacked, are immediate response is to attack back. I guess that's the only way I can explain the vicious defense of Bina.
Unfortunately, nobody seems to get that abuse, however minor, is wrong. Defending Bina under the guise of Lashon Hara, or saying it didn't happen is ignorance at best. Sometimes you have to take a step back to see the whole picture, and not just the person you idolize.

Considering the sensitivity of the topic, I am wondering which posek the jewish Week consulted with before publishing their materials which may effect many lives negatively?

R Nebenzahl, chief rabbi of the old city emeritus and talmid muvhak of r shlomo zalman auerbach who learns daily in netiv aryeh and holds highly of r bina?

R lichtenstein, rosh yeshiva of yeshivat har etzion and son in law of r soloveitchik, who sent his sons to study with r binas father (after whom r bina patterns his educational career, r aryeh bina), in the elder binas hs?

R hershel shacter, rosh yeshiva of YU, who comes to netiv aryeh for shabbos almost every yr and has warm exchanges with r bina?

R Ovadia Yosef, sephardi posek hador and former chief rabbi, who speaks in netiv aryeh every few yrs, and also warmly greets r bina?

R Lau, chief rabbi of tel aviv, former chief rabbi of israel, who attends netiv aryehs yearly hachnasat sefet torah celebrations, and also greets r bina warmly?

R Yaakov Shapira, rosh yeshiva of yeshivat mercaz harav who also attends the hachnassat sifrei torah?

R dovid abuchatzeira, grandson and spiritual heir of the baba sali, and huge admirer of r bina?

R avraham Levine, grandson of r aryeh levine "a tzaddik in our time" who used to visit netiv aryeh one night a week every week when in good health?

R Blau, masgiach ruchani at YU, and close friend friend with of gary Rosenblatt?

Please share.

A few issues with the article (aside from being sickened with the topic to begin with):

There is a claim that he expells students "without warning." These are all 18-year-olds who understand the rules when they sign up for the year. The warning was the reading of the rules.

The article also says that the "deal" to send their boys there is "Faustian." Are you honestly calling Rav Bina the devil? I hope to read a retraction of that poorly chosen phrase very soon.

It's already been said that Rav Bina is not for everyone, so I won't make the same point here. What I will do is provide an analogy: if a patient is given penicillin, only to later find that they are allergic to it, would you call penicillin evil? Or would you perhaps say that more care should have been taken prior to the administering of the medication to see if it was the best option?

המבין יבין

Pretty remarkable that nobody who is willing to hurl epithets at Gary Rosenblatt while at the same time preaching about loshon hara is also willing to address the substance of the allegations. Maybe after you clean the foam off your lips you should actually contemplate the possibility that there is a "rabbi" out there who actually has repeatedly said things to his students so hurtful that it cause long term psychological damage. As someone who personally knows another person that this happened too I find it nauseating that you would be so quick to condemn Gary Roseblatt to hell while actively assisting (through your posts that are intended to protect this monster) in the mistreatment of innocent impressionable Jewish youth.

Seriously folks......this Rav is a human being, that means he is not G-d. He is capable of human frailties, even with being learned. After reading about
him for the last two weeks, coupled with a personal experience a family member had with him, I believe he is an unbalanced person to put it mildly. To put it less mildly I believe he is a megalomaniac with sadistic tendencies.

So, the Jewish Week continues to perpetuate this Chilul Hashem, embarrassing someone in public (if you really had altruistic motives here, you would have contacted Israeli authorities to look into the issues - but that doesn't sell newspapers). and attempting to hurt the Yeshiva at this time of year when high school seniors are making their decisions for next year. You then continue this disgusting action with additional Lashan Harah comments.

The only proper action that is most appropriate is to end my subscription when the renewal comes up later this year. I hope and encourage others to do likewise.

I just don't get the repeated assaults on Orthodoxy from the Federation/Rosenblatt types. In this one issue alone we have a defense of the attack on a gap-year Yeshiva Rebbe in Israel and the tragic story of a Satmar fallout eating crabcakes. These liberal Jews who are behind publicizing these "really important" stories have collectively steered their own liberal Jews smack on to the rocks. Their boat is capsizing. The survivors are running around like chickens with their heads cut off looking in all the worng places for "solutions" and anwers to the question why they are not surviving - and the best they can do is lash out at other Jews? Is that really their agenda - they are going down so they want to drag observant Jews with them? So a Yeshiva Rebbe is tough on kids that need "tough love". If you don't like the show get up and change the channel! So a girl from a broken home falls out of the Satmar clutches and writes about it and the NY Post and media eats it up. So what! Does this really say anything relevant about Satmar Chassidim or haredi Jews? Both of these incidents are complete non-sories and serve merely to place this periodical firmly on the same newsrack with the National Enquirer- Great Job Gary!

Gary is an awesome journalist who seeks the truth. He is one of s rare type that is willing to confront real issues in orthodoxy and the cover ups. With all of that said I am disappointed that he failed to follow up with a definition of abuse and guidelines on how to deal with such situations. Rav Bina had friends he has enemies and if he did what he is accused of I would hope he finds the strength to admit it express remorse and seek forgiveness. If the Rabbi can express his shortcomings I think he could inspire people to change. Name calling ie fatso Is wrong if it was done he should apologize teshuva is bit easy it requires ego reduction but it is only option we have if we did wrong.

It seems to me that this painful issue can be very much simplified. We don't have to consider why Modern Orthodox parents send their children to certain schools in Israel. We don't have to consider what constitutes abuse, or how many people it is OK to abuse in the course of perhaps doing some good, or how many people someone has pulled onto or pushed off of the derech. I believe we can boil this down to a much simpler issue - namely, what kind of leaders do we want in our communities and schools, and what kind of role models do we want for our children? I was once told of an incident where Rav Bina rebuked a student for having a girlfriend - he indicated that he would understand the boy's actions if the girl were pretty, but she was ugly! I don't think we have to try to figure out if this student was abused or even embarrassed, or whether he became more or less observant. I think it is enough to consider the following: is this - and the many other reported examples of things Rav Bina has said - the kind of language that we want to hear from people who are teaching, and serving as role models for, our children? Don't we want, and deserve, leaders with somewhat better midos? I don't think these questions should be very difficult to answer.

I have been an internal medicine doctor for 28 years and I have a Masters in medieval philosiphy so I think I know a thing or 2 more than most of the people commenting here.

My opinion is as follows: This guy Bina needs to go on a plane to Islamabad to see what its like to be abused and Gary Rosenblatt needs to be appointed to a full time position on the RCA to bring down more of these so-called Rabbis.

thanks for letting us know about your amazing degrees and IQ;

my opinion is as follows: don't judge unless your asked to- who appointed you as a dayan? secondly, don't judge unless you know the facts; sounds like your judging a person whom you never even met once, based on a one sided article.

I went to Hakotel 11 years ago. I was caught drinking on Ben Yehuda (after a devestating breakup with my girlfriend - I suspected at the time that she was hanging out with my best friend behind my back and I was later proven correct). Bina called my parents about my drinking without telling me he was gonna do that. Is this a type of person who loves his talmidim?
And BTW, to all those bashing drinking, its a mitzvah to drink on Purim. Because thats when at our highest level. Some of us try to be at our highest level the whole year. And I've never heard of anyone dying from drinking.

uri,
this is how many people die from drinking: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6089353/ns/health-addictions/t/alcohol-linked-us-deaths-year/#.Ue3w_45ZDYk

Netiv is a cult in every sense of the word. Rav Bina humiliktes kids and puts fear into all the others so they they are scared to disobey him. Then he makes that fear turn into love by singing songs in the dark and then he feeds them and comes to their weddings. If you look at the sichology books, this is the exact process that cult leaders follow.

For those of you who know Ari Fuld or his family would know that he is passionate and full of love for Judaism and the land of Israel. Sometimes a bit too passionate but his heart is in the right place. Born, raised and currently modern orthodox if you think he would sit idle watching the abuse some of the comments have described, couldnt be further from the truth! This is a man whose second nature is to defend Jews no matter who the assailant is.

For those of you who know Gary Rosenblatt know he is merely a man looking to print whatever article he can write which will help him sell newspapers. Oh he can criticize and smear peoples names, but if you criticize him or a subject he is writing about beware because you too will become the victim of his pen! The Jewish Week should be called the Jewish Enquirer!

What good has come from the Jewish Week? What good has come from a decorated soldier of the IDF who now splits his time with educating children in a yeshiva? Yes a yeshiva which isnt fit for all students and possibly the parents should know their children and the institutions better before pairing the two. AND - Yes a Rav who might not be perfect for all students and personalities... If your kid doesnt fit the mold for MTA then you send him to Ramaz or SAR, do you force your kid to go to MTA just because you want him to or so he can be with friends?

To now turn your hatred against another Jewish person - Gary why are you so full of hate and anger?

But all of this smearing of peoples names and pure loshon harah (for the sake of selling papers) - might just be one of the key factors preventing us from seeing the rebuilding of the beit hamikdash.

Hopefully Gary doesnt reveal my identity and write a hack article about my defending a passionate Rabbi and defender of Israel!

I went to Hakotel 13 years ago and I was overweight. And Bina "obligated" me to lose 12 pounds by Pesach. He said it was a "mitzvah" to do it. First of all, what kind of mitzvah is that? Not one that I've ever heard of. Secondly, he shouldn't be one to talk. And finally, what kind of democratic system is this. I'll eat what I want to (and I'll even make brochos on the food). We need to get rid of this guy.

Gary Rosenblatt is a saint. For all those of you calling him a malshin and all the other things, why don't you look at all the good things his done. He's a first rate journalist and borderline Talmid Chochom (as you can see if you're a regular reader). I've had very good experiences with him and I veiw him like a 2nd father (even though I've never met him personally).
So if your gonna attack him for this "lashon hara," be fair and point out all the good things I've done also.

To D.D.,

I hear your point that Michelle Freidman quote actually blames the parents of the victims. I actually didn't realize that when I read it the first time.

However, the general article is very good and even though the Freidman quote was a little out of place the intention was to further condemn Rav Bina and thats what you should take out of it, that we have an expert psychologist condemning Rav Bina (even though the words of the quote are actually condemning the parents of the victims).

Gary and Yedidyah, keep up the good work!

I attended Hakotel in 85/86. No question in my mind that the behaviour at that time of Rav Bina was often completely inappropritate and harmful to many of his students. People change. I hope he has.

Isn't it curious that all the non-Netiv employed defenders of Rav Bina (Rabbi Billet, Rabbi Lookstein and Sandy Eisenstat) all have a 30 year friendship with Rav Bina? You don't find one objective rabbi, psychologist, or educator weighing in and defending Rabbi Bina saying his behavior is acceptable in Jewish education, saying his victims are a necessary evil to produce other fine upstanding frum boys. It seems to me these three defenders of Rav Bina have let their friendship cloud their judgement.

In addition, KJ and YIW are the two largest Modern Orthodox shuls in America so it has been very very important for Rav Bina to keep up great relationships to these feeder institutions.

And where is Richard Joel and Kenny Brander voices? The two "great leaders" of Jewish education. Why are they keeping quiet? All financial donors to YU should stop giving money to YU until it appoints an independent committee of inquiry to investigate whether or not YU should stop taking credit from Netiv thus enabling Bina abuse.

I think we should start publishing the names of all the members of the YU investment and finance committees, names that are well known in the Jewish community. Aren't they, by supporting YU, indirectly enabling Bina Abuse. If YU stops taking Netiv credit most all parents will stop sending their boys to Netiv and dry up his school. Stay tuned.

To "Isn't it curious" --

Your statement makes no sense: "Isn't it curious that all the non-Netiv employed defenders of Rav Bina (Rabbi Billet, Rabbi Lookstein and Sandy Eisenstat) all have a 30 year friendship with Rav Bina? You don't find one objective rabbi, psychologist, or educator weighing in and defending Rabbi Bina saying his behavior is acceptable in Jewish education, saying his victims are a necessary evil to produce other fine upstanding frum boys. It seems to me these three defenders of Rav Bina have let their friendship cloud their judgement."

Actually, I think it is quite telling that those defending Rav Bina are well known leaders of our larger community, who know Rav Bina extremely well and have a 30 year friendship with Rav Bina. They know the man a lot better than those assaulting him, who never met Rav Bina and are instead basing their claims off what a 18 year old who got in trouble for getting drunk on Ben Yehuda claims. Their opinions should be weighed much heavier.

And actually, Rabbi Dr. Krug who is quoted in the article defending Rav Bina is a "rabbi, psychologist and an educator."

Perhaps you can't read.

I wrote "objective"

Krug has a friendship with Bina

How could anybody say a bad word about Gary Rosenblatt? Yes, he may have made some mistakes in his personal life but that is not what this forum is about and those attacking his personal failures are just trying to sidestep the real issues.

Despite his unproven personal failings, he is a great leader of the Jewish people (much like Bill Clinton and JFK are considered great presidents despite their personal lives).

I know his son and he's a very nice boy who wears a yarmulke which is more than you can say for many Netiv Aryeh boys.

What was the point of the quote of Michelle Friedman in the article? To try to hurt the victims? She says that she doesn't understand why parents don't look into the emotional atmosphere at the yeshivos? I assume she's not blaming the parents whose children were successful at Netiv because their parents obviously chose wisely. So her quote was to blame the parents of "Andrew" and the other victims who were the wrong fit? How dare you Jewish Week and how dare you Michelle Friedman. You people shouldn't be blaming the victims (or parents of victims) but encouraging them to speak out.

GarY Rosendorf should be the mashioch. I wnet to Rabbi Bina yeshiva 15 years ago and rabbi bina meade go to davening every day and if i didn't i could not go to the shiur. I couldn't wake up every day because my roomate was snoring all nite. So basically i was punished because my roomate was snoring. Is that what Judaosm is all abt?

Thank you Jewish Week. i can't speak for how it is now, but when i went to Hakotel it had horrible food because Bina spent all the money on the friday night onegs so there was no money left for other food during the week. All those who support him are equally as guilty as he is for giving these boys bad unhealthy food.

I witnessed first hand much of the inappropriate
behaviour mentioned so far in 85/86. No agenda
here whatsoever-and it was 25+ years ago-impressed
with those who have the courage to speak out and feel
impelled to do the same.

Who's everybody gonna side with here? Bina, a guy who never went to college and leaned in a chareidi yeshiva for 10 years or Gary Rosenblot, a respected zionist journalist.

Its seems very suprising that with all the people that Rav Bina has abused, not one psychologist or social worker can be found that would be able to say that they treated a Netiv kid as a result.

All you have is Michelle Friedman and others who make some general statements of abuse based on some disturbing stories that they've heard.

I know Michelle isn't exactly considered the top of her field but you'd think from all these abused kids, at least one would end up with her.

I never said you were like a cult but you are all blindly following your leader. That is all. Worst of all you are hurting the people wanting to come forward.

to those bashing Gary: I know him very very well and he's a nice man. You all accuse him of lashon hara and none of you discuss his positive side. For one thing he publishes the Jewish Week which gives enjoyment to many Jews. And even if there is lashon hara, the gemara says thta everyone speaks lashon hara. Besides if lashon hara about one Jew gives enjoyment to many Jews, is it not worth it?

to quote :
"And even if there is lashon hara, the gemara says thta everyone speaks lashon hara. Besides if lashon hara about one Jew gives enjoyment to many Jews, is it not worth it?"

I don't think anyone needs to respond to this form of idiocy. If people enjoy reading about the attack on another person, it's ok? You don't have to go beyond intuition to answer this question.

Comments on here (including mine) have absolutely no legitimacy or credibility.

No where in the torah does it say you have to learn EVERY single day. Bina made that up. Shabbos is supposed to be a day of rest. God will smite bina probably

"The issue is bigger than Rav Bina. It’s about parents taking greater responsibility for their children’s emotional as well as spiritual growth, and it’s about a community determining whether it wants to create strong, independent and morally confident young men and women willing and able to grapple with the complexity of blending tradition and modernity. Or not."

Nicely said.

I seem to recall that people spoke the same way to Gary Rosenblatt when he blew the lid off of the Lanner abuse sky high and single handedly saved many children from abuse. Now look back ten years and tell me was he wrong to do so? People said these same exact things about him at the time he wrote the article. I am not saying necessarily that Bina = Lanner, but these are serious allegations of abuse confirmed by many sources. Shooting the messenger does not alleviate the problem and saying nasty things about "Andrew" does not help much either.

Mr./Mrs. Anonymous at 1:26 PM on Thursday:

If someone put out an article bashing your father or closest friend, making claims you know to be extremely exaggerated and/or false -- would you be so quick to "let the issue go?" Does it not "speak loud" for Rav Bina's yeshiva that his past and present talmidim took this as a personal insult, as if to a close relative or friend, and therefore feel the need to defend their Rav?

And then there are comments calling us a brainwashed cult -- because we disagree with the claims of those bashing someone we feel close to. I'm not sure why that makes us brainwashed or part of a cult -- maybe we just have tremendous hakarat hatov to our Rav and feel an obligation to come to his defense when we feel he is getting unfair treatment.

Since this article was brought to my attention I find it my obligation to protest!
I personally know R Ari Fuld and he's one of the most honest, Emmes seeking and authentic religous jews I've ever met!!
This article is pure de'oryssa loshon horo at best. Moytzie shem ra is more like it.
No need to repeat what the Chofetz Chaim writes about that.

The fact that you believe that there are different levels of honesty and authenticity among religious Jews is disturbing. You can use all the fancy Hebrew terms you want to describe the article, but it does change the fact that a rebbe offensively disparaged a yeshiva student, but hey, if he works for Bina, he learned at the feet of the master.

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