Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Isaac Hersh Saga Continues...Updates...

I recently posted an article about possible lies that were being told in relation to the Isaac Hersh story. A personal friend of mine has spoken to me and he's deeply involved in the case. Evidently anyone who dares to take the side of Michael Hersh and his family are going to have their names dragged through the mud and called the most hideous names. Case in point is Zvi who I know personally to be a great person and has helped my family as well as many others. Yet in comments made elsehwere people would like like to condemn him and it makes me sad to see it. In my humble opinion the truth has yet to present itself and I think the media has been to some degree one sided in smearing the name of the Hersh's ( which of course they feel is quite deserving). I'm only presenting the side that's not getting much of a voice as they should have a right to be heard.

Here are some updates:

Regarding the allegation that Mr. Hersh was running from abuse charges in Israel, here is a quote from an insider to the whole case:

"The charges of abuse in Israel were made by the same anonymous person or people that have filed a number of complaints against the Hersh’s in NY and Michael can give you the documents, if you would like to have them. The case in Israel was closed and ended in favor of Michael. Note that anybody of organization can be accused it’s the outcome that counts."

Regarding the issues of Kosher food and the allegations about abuse in the camp:

"An attorney for the Hersh family, Shlomo Mostofsky, who became involved in the case at the request of Agudath Israel of America, maintained in an interview that “the child was in a number of different places. Every single place he was at sent him home. At times he was suicidal. He would attack his siblings in the house. “Someone who knows [the parents] since childhood is prepared to testify that he saw the kid go after his mother with a broom,” Mostofsky said, adding that psychiatric evaluations impacted the family’s decision to take drastic action. Friends of the Hershes, who know the family well, called The Jewish Star on Monday, eager to vouch for the parents, saying that they had witnessed Isaac’s behavioral problems and observed firsthand his strained relationship with the family. Isaac’s mother survived cancer a number of years ago while the family lived in Israel. That may have led to problems at home for Isaac and his twin brother, Sol, who also does not live with his parents today. Mr. Mostofsky said that according to his client, “Rav Aharon knew the place wasn’t kosher, that there was no Judaism there, and the feeling was that he needed a place like this or he wasn’t necessarily going to get through life –– that it was pikuach nefesh.”


SephardiLady said...

I have not written a single comment about this case although I've tried to read about it because it is just so extremely bizarre. But, I finally have to say something:

If the child was assulting others, including his mother, the parents could have called the police to make an arrest and he could have been tried and convicted and he could have received services he needed in a local juvinile facility.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I deeply involved in the case and I want you to know that the parents were always hoping that it would pass and that they would be able to find the right psychiatric doctor for him.

Not very long ago he was admitted to a facility in the USA that kept him for 2 weeks and then released him since he showed some improvement, but it did not last.

They sent him to a foster family in Texas but after a couple of moths sent him back home because he was too difficult to handle. That is when Rav Aharon gave the green light to send him to a boot camp as he was deemed a danger to himself and to his family.

I hope I cleared this up a bit. if you have any questions I will always be happy to provide the answer.

Hidden motives said...

SephardiLady: YOU are 100% correct but you fail to realize that, as now seems clear from the totally ruthless way Isaac Hersh was eventually handled by being KIDNAPED SECRETLY in the middle of the night a la Gestapo and KGB style, handcuffed and shipped off screaming by Mormon "security" thugs, that there was a deeper motive at work, and that, while it's hard and harsh to say it, his parents with Rabbi Shechter's foreknowledge and blessings probably wanted and hoped that they would get a call in the middle of the night that Isaac had "jumped out a window" or died inexplicably it has with these places all the time, see about "Teen Boot Camps" and they would have been relieved and satisfied that a "ben sorer umoreh" (which they obviously paskened on him) was gone and done with, WHEREAS your obvious and just solution of calling the NYC cops would have had Isaac sent to a monitered facility for troubled teens in the US and the parents would have had to answer to local social work and social services authorities who could then decide to take away all the Hersh kids and put them into foster care and that was an embarrrasment and humiliation that Michael Hersh and Rabbi Shechter wanted to avoid at all costs and that is why they acted as tough as they did and even moved to arrest the rescue team that went down to take Isaac Hersh. Every single gadol was horrified by what Rabbi Shechter had done and was doing and opposed him vehemently and that led to Isaac Hersh's release.

It is still not too late to dial the local 911 if anyone who knows what is going on has the guts!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I deeply involved in the case but I will quote Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz since his comment needs no explanation.

"With all the talk in the news about the unfortunate saga of Isaac Hersh, who is, according to media reports, in a ‘boot camp’ named Tranquility Bay in Jamaica, I have been inundated with emails asking for my comments on this incident. I will respectfully take a pass and reserve judgment on the sad story of this young man as I know nothing about the particulars. However, I hope I can be of some help in shedding light – and perspective – on the overall dynamics of alternative settings such as boot camps or wilderness programs.

What drives people to consider these settings is the fact that some teenagers are simply ‘out-of-control.’ They cannot or will not live within the rules and framework of society. They self-destruct; use drugs, engage in reckless and dangerous promiscuous activity, commit crimes against others (theft, violence, etc.), and often harm themselves (self-mutilation such as ‘cutting,’ even suicide attempts). Trying to raise a child who is going through a phase like this is sheer gehenom. With that in mind, if you have never spent all or part of a night with terrified parents of a child like this, wondering where he is, or even if he is still alive, please don’t be quick to pass judgment on them for considering any type of program or setting that offers some glimmer of hope for improvement.

The concept of alternative settings is for kids who cannot seem to live within the confines of society need a different type of structure in order to get their bearings and resume a productive life.

Wilderness programs, for example, can be very helpful. They get kids out into nature – away from the prying eyes of society. They place them in an environment where they can learn about self-sufficiency and teamwork, bond with peers and superiors in a productive setting, and enjoy the wonderful feeling of accomplishment that may have heretofore eluded them. Reaching the summit of a 4,000 foot mountain peak, or warming himself (herself) on a cool, starlit evening with a fire he made himself, is a magnificent feeling for a kid who never enjoyed applied physics, Shakespeare, or his school’s dress code.

Boot camps are an entirely different kettle of fish. Their entire raison d’ĂȘtre is about enforcing a set of predetermined rules – often with brute force – over kids. The danger there is that there is such a thin line between appropriate implementation of firm-but-reasonable rules in a setting such as ‘Basic Training’ in the Marines and a totalitarian boot camp where sadistic individuals crush whatever is left of the self-esteem of these kids and rule over them like petty dictators.

For this reason, over the years, I have never suggested a boot camp for any child that I have worked with, while I have made recommendations for wilderness programs. That is not to say that there are not effective boot camps, only that the concept itself frightens me.

Please note that wilderness and especially boot camp programs need to be run by or with the oversight of trained mental health professionals. If due to lack of training one confuses low self-esteem with defiance, clinical depression with ‘laziness,’ or the effects of sexual abuse (so many of these kids were abused. See The Monster Inside) with social awkwardness – he frankly should not be anywhere near kids who need a fresh start. And I have found many programs run by very decent, well-meaning individuals that fall under that category.

I have heard all the questions people are asking. How could Isaac’s parents send him to such a horrible program? How was this allowed to happen? Who advised them to do this? On and on. Well, these are all fair and valid questions. But before we sit in judgment over decisions made by desperate parents faced with few or no options, how about asking ourselves some questions in the comfort of our homes and offices? Here are just a few:What are we doing about the hundreds more nameless and faceless kids like Isaac in our community? We can pat ourselves on the back and blame his parents for sending him to Tranquility Bay, but what are we doing to squarely address the societal issues that increase the numbers of kids like him (and her)?

When in the world are we going to start ‘getting real’ and realize that if we do not start providing our children with safe, enjoyable recreation, we are courting with disaster? When are we going to realize that one-size-fits-all parenting/chinuch and the rejection of normal, ‘average’ kids from our mainstream school system (read this and weep) is swelling the ranks of kids like Isaac who are drifting and feeling rejected? When are we going to finally realize that the molesters and abusers in our community are rodfim and evil monsters (I don’t know if Isaac was molested, but my work with kids like him tells me that a huge percentage of them were) that must be reported, arrested, and l’maan Hashem locked up with the key thrown away? When are we going to stop our preoccupation with the red-herring non-issues that seem to grab our attention while the real issues of the day fester and remain unaddressed?

These are the real questions, my friends. And we are running out of time to finally answer them."

Anonymous said...

hidden motives...

How on earth do you know that the parents wanted him to commit suicide?
Or that they diagnosed him as a ben sorer u moreh?
Or any of the otehr nonsense you wrote- like ALL other rabanim are against them...

Since when did you become a yodea ta-alumos?

Hate to burst the bubble, but your ego's suffocating me, Hang on while I go get my needle...

yiddishe survivor said...

I think this needs to pointed out again,

Tranquility Bay is not a Licensed facility for any sort of mental ailments. They do not staff a single psychologist or pschiatrist, all they have is a "general manager' of sorts who oversees all their facilitys, 11 of them.
If somebody has a mental illness which includes being suicidal he needs to be sent to a psychiatric facility not a boot camp. there are plenty of great facilitis in the USA which are quite capable of helping suicidal or abusive behaviour.

Anonymous said...

I can't rest while this choshuve family is getting swallowed alive.

I remember months go, when the Wolbe's in Texas called up the Hershs apologizing for not being able to continue hosting Isaac. They were at their wits end with him. They couldn't control him and he was making their lives very difficult. He was kicked out of the school there too and had gotten in trouble too many times. THEY BEGGED MICHAEL TO COME AND GET HIM. I remember this because at the time, I was contemplating taking him in. I didn't tho, because my family was opposed to a dangerous teenage boy living with us.

Anonymous said...

TB itself is not at all what ppl are saying it is. Its known that people who don't complete the program there are very angry and messed up. Thats what landed them there in the first place. But Mr. and Mrs. Hersh have spoken to MANY people who graduated from TB and they say it has drastically changed their lives for the positive. The sickening things we're hearing about it are false.

We're not being fair to these parents. I know what they had to live with. Its not proper to publicize too much, but Ive seen one of the twins physically abusing his mother- she was panicked and humiliated.
The situation isn't so simple. We're talking about psychological illness.

The boys are brilliant, manipulative and charismatic... but their story of abuse is fabricated. By them. In fact,I'm so sure of the parents innocence that I'm willing to go against the whole frum oilam- and testify in court.

Please encourage your readers to realize that there might be another side and they shouldn't believe e/t they see or hear without learning the facts.

The biting comments and accusations, the hate, the name calling... are making me sick to my stomach.

Why is klal yisrael so quick to judge each other?

I'm crying for my fellow Jews who are so quick to drink up this hot button gossip and destroy the name of a Torah family, rather than -at the least- be dan l'kaf z'chus.

Do you know how guilty we are of shfichas domim? We are killing the reputation of a Torahdik family.

99% of you DO NOT know the story and its a chutzpah to comment, let alone make the father out to be a rasha. Chas v'sholom!
And to involve the members of hatzalah? To harass them like this? How low have we fallen? This is NOT l'shem shomayim. Theres too much chillul Hashem for it to have been lishmah.

Do you know that the mishmah calls someone who is m'vazeh talmidei chachamim an APIKORES? And there's no chelek in Olam habbah for them.
People are being m'vazeh R' Aaron Shechter- people who dont even reach his ankles in gadlus- in public forums all over the internet. Oy lonu!
We have a lot of t'shuva to do.
There is definitely another side to this story. There has to be.
Michael Hersh, based on the many wonderful things we've heard about him, has a chazakah for being an ehrlich, straight man.
Please lets not be m'kabel this- its motzi shem ra.

Anonymous said...

To answer the question of a few posters...
"Why did they send him to a boot camp if he was happy in his foster home"?

I'll try to stay away from loshon horah, but what the foster family is saying now is NOT THE EMES.
Im close with Hersh's and Ive been following this story since waaay before it exploded.
I remember clearly that sometime last year the foster family called Mr. Hersh BEGGING him to take back their son. He threatened that if he doesn't come quick he's sending him back to Brooklyn alone.
A short while b4 that the foster mother called up crying that he's totally out of control and shes at her wits end with him. He also got kicked out of the school in Texas, which was school # 20 that didn't want him.
Now, suddenly, there's an opportunity to become a macher, and to ride in a private plane, and to have his heroic name all over the internet... so the foster family found it convenient to change their story.

Had Mr. Hersh ever dreamt that such a scandal would occur he would've recorded that conversation with foster daddy. What a shame he didn't.

Anonymous said...

VIN refused to post this response to a very valid set of questions from a single poster. His/her questions are in quotes.

"Mental illness is just that an illness. A choleh is not treated to harsh and unusual punishment, a choleh is treated with compassion and understanding. And if the parents came to the end of their capacity of compassion and understanding they should have taken "the patient" to the hospital where he could be treated for his illness under the proper supervision."

With all due have many valid points, however. A choleh with a physical problem such as a major injury needs to go through painful Physical and rehabilitation to get better.
A person with a serious metal disease will need the same painful rehabilitation if traditional psychology and Psychiatric treatment do not it happened in this case. There are reams of documents to support anything I am saying here and will be available to anyone that needs them.

"The fact that his parents were able to raise 6 others and keep them under control is not an answer to why these boys have issues. Could it be that the family dynamic changed after these two were born?"

You need to know that the twins were not the oldest children in the family. The older sibling is doing great as are all of the younger ones.

"Were there issues that cropped up after these two came on the scene?"

A family member was stricken with a terrible illness but B"H, survived

"Maybe these parents were not equipped for the challenge of twins added on to an already large family."

The twins were among the older children and the younger ones are fine and well adjusted.

"Was it too much for them to handle? Was there something else going on in the home?"

When Isaac became extremely difficult they started sending him to traditional psychology and Psychiatric treatment...and they tried to send him to a yeshiva that he would feel comfortable in. Did you know that he was kicked out of more than 20 different Yeshiva's?
Did you know that the foster family in Texas forced Michael to take him back saying "If you don't take him back, I will dump him in the street of New York City"?

What did you expect the Hersh family to do? Do you know that Isaac not only terrorized his sibling but he terrorized his mother too. A witness saw him chasing his mother around the house with a broom stick while screaming profanities at her at the age of 11.

Anonymous said...

To Rabbi Blau, a very respected and knowledgeable Rav.
Joshua Ambush has family that is a member of the community. Joshua is not listed in the frum directory and none of his actions were sanctioned by anyone. Even though Hatzala was initially happy about his initiative the backed away from his because he went way, way too far. There is only one agudah in Baltimore and he does not daven there.

Anonymous said...

"I am very happy to hear that Zvi Gluck is following in the footsteps of his father."

Tzvi was attacked for merely trying to defend RAS and one let him say anything in a positive way.

Anonymous said...

A shul that has a group that protests outside the home of people that do not give a get should not glorify the jet donated by someone who left his wife an agunah for years… Yosef Shereshevsky

Please read the last paragraph.

Protocol Regarding Certain Recalcitrant Husbands of Agunot

The Supreme Rabbinic Court of America, founded in 5735 (1974) by
disciples of the Moetzet Gdolai HaTorah (Council of Sages); to consider
and adjudicate extraordinary Jewish problems and issues, has also
addressed itself since 5739 (1979) to cases involving recalcitrant
husbands who refuse to grant divorces to their wives, when Jewish law
has clearly dictated that they must be coerced. The Court's Chief
Justice has written a definitive legal text dealing with the Court's
halachic resolution of such matters, entitled "Lifdot Mechakai Gait" (To
Release Those Awaiting a Divorce, Second Edition, Yaron Golan) Tel Aviv
5754 (1994) 416pp 8.5 x 11). In addition he has just completed, his
soon to be published "The Great Agunah Debate" in English.
During the past year the Court has dealt with a new situation which
arose in a case where parties had previously sought our advise, namely
the attempt by a husband to arrange "kidushai ktana" ie betroth a minor
as a further act of extortion against his oppressed Aguna wife. While
that case is formally before a Rabbinic Court; and the husband ignored
the decrees of said Court, our Court decided to invoke extraordinary
halachic measures if there is a clear and present danger to the Jewish
Community, as when "kiddushai ktana" appeared to be adopted by other
unscrupulous recalcitrant husbands as a nefarious addition to their

Accordingly, our Bet Din has gleaned from its rank and file a "Sanhedrin
Ktana" being a body of 23 justices comprising Rabbanin and Dayanim, to
deal with all cases of "kidushai ktana" in general and two husbands in
particular who attempted to implement it. Furthermore, we are also
addressing the case of one recalcitrant husband, whose aggravated
treatment of his Aguna wife has been barbaric and a burden to the Jewish
community. We invoke, by edict "universal jurisdiction where igun is
involved (Rashbash 46)".

Applying the principle of "Even though the Sanhedrin was discontinued,
its four capital punishments still persist (Sanhedrin 37b)," our minor
Sanhedrin acting under the rubric of Horaat Shaah -emergency measures-
as articulated in the Shulchan Aruch Choshen Ha Mishpat (Title 2) and
its enabling statues to execute capital punishment in extenuating
circumstances; hereby:

1.Serves warning that our Court is prepared to sentence to death any
husband who within the next 30 days fails to release his Aguna wife
voluntarily with a "gait", who has been involved directly, or indirectly
by threat, in actuality and/or innuendo in kidushai ktana. More
specifically, we identify two such husbands, Israel Goldstein and Yosef
Shereshevsky. The latter has been in contempt of the Gedolai Torah Bet
Din since Sivan 5753 (1993).

Anonymous said...

FYI: Mr. Shereshevsky has made full amends for the actions you mentioned. I recommend that you call the Bais Din that you quoted and ask if he is still in contempt.