The Penn State Chusid

The Penn State Chusid

Weberman and Sandusky together in prison

Guest commentary by Frimet Goldberger:

Nechemya Weberman is back in the limelight. After a long postponement of his trial, he’s finally reclaimed his celebrity status amongst Hasidim.

We now know—as most of us always did—that sexual predators are everywhere. Indeed, the proverbial piety surrounding the Hasidim does not render their world impermeable to molesters. Yes, Nechemya Weberman shook the Orthodox world at large, and the Hasidic world in particular, out of their “we are the best” stupor. His case pulled the rug from underneath the rebeini tam clad feat, and created a lateral earth plate move of extreme magnitude, revealing some very scary ghosts the community is not quite ready to confront.

But why him? Why, after countless victims have come forward with hair-raising stories of molestation at the hands of chushive yidden; after rebbes, hiding beneath their zadene bekitches, have consistently denied the existence of goyishe problems within their communities; after perpetrators were shipped to Israel with half their peyos and beard missing; and after the DA’s offices (the lone non-anti-Semites left standing, mind you), lured into oblivion by the block vote the Hasidic communities provide, failed miserably to prosecute such heinous crimes; why did Nechemya merit celebrity status?

Ask Pennsylvania State University.

Oh, no! You cannot possibly evoke that comparison, can you? Well, if you will be so kind and allow me to indulge in my own gibberish, I will explain further.

On November 5, 2011, the world awoke to blaring headlines of an unthinkable scandal coming out of Happy Valley: Jerry Sandusky, the retired 67-year-old Penn State assistant football coach—with two championships beneath his dirty belt, and a reputation to match—was arrested and charged on 40 counts of horrendous sexual abuse committed over a fifteen-year period.

America was inconsolable. Not only was Sandusky’s name emblematic of a college football team’s success, and the dramatic effects on the University’s overall ratings it manifested, but it also invoked the image of an altruistic man—a fatherly figure, who, failing to spread his seed biologically, spearheaded The Second Mile, a charity foundation intended to help at-risk children. He and his wife in crime, Dottie, also adopted and fostered several children over the years.

The scandal unfolded gradually, but the shock hit like a tornado. Close friends, colleagues, and former pupils refused to believe their beloved neighbor and former star of a renowned football team was capable of the heinous crimes charged.

And why would they? By all accounts, Jerry Sandusky was a chushive mensch.

One neighbor of 30 years even speculated that the rambunctious kids the sheina family, the Sandusky’s, adopted and had to let go over the years were just looking for revenge—by claiming, of all things, that Mr. Sandusky fondled, sodomized, performed oral sex, etc.!

Harav Joe Paterno, the now-deceased, legendary, and infamous figure Sandusky served under, purportedly told his Hasidim, the Penn State community, on the day the news broke, “…to continue to trust in what that name represents, continue to pursue their lives every day with high ideals and not let these events shake their beliefs nor who they are.”

The initial charges presented on behalf of eight young victims were so utterly disturbing—particularly the deliberate cover-ups by Penn State rabbonim, whose interest of the sport, and the University’s reputability it ensued, obviously trumped the safety of vulnerable children.

On June 11, 2012, prosecutors opened the trial, accusing Sandusky of 50 criminal counts of sexual abuse. The first victim to take the witness stand recounted years of sexual assault, starting in 1997, when he was a mere thirteen years old.

Ironically, and quite tragically too, Sandusky met this victim through his charity organization; the boy was recommended to Second Mile by no other than his school guidance counselor!

As the excruciating and damning evidence from the June 2012 FBI investigation of the scandal rolled in, one thing was as clear as day: the Grand Rebbe, Joe Paterno, was aware of Sandusky’s crimes for over ten years prior to his arrest. According to Louis Freeh, Paterno and three other top university officials were sitting on critical evidence for years. The reason: fear of bad publicity. As the vice president of Penn State wrote in a 1998 briefing on a mother’s complaint of Sandusky assaulting her son in the university showers, “Is this the opening of Pandora’s box? Other children?”

The scathing report also indicates that Harav Paterno called the shots: In February 2001, Graham Spanier, the University president, Tim Curley, the athletic director, and Gary Schultz, the University vice president, agreed to report the allegations to the Department of Public Welfare. However, two days later, Joe Paterno advised a different course of action: offer Mr. Sandusky “professional help”! When the now-famous whistleblower coach, Mike McQueary, related the assault he witnessed in the coach’s shower room to Paterno, he not only failed to report the horrific crime to trusted authority for further investigation, but he took the liberty to deliberately cover it up!

Paterno got away with death. He can no longer answer to a court of law; but in the court of public opinion, his celebrity image will always remain mired in his complicity of despicable child abuse at the hands of a trusted chusid—an integral part of the Penn State Hasidus.

And this, my fellow readers (are you still here?), is the reason Nechemya Weberman gained celebrity status: he is an indispensable member of Satmar, an altruistic man who spearheaded an organization to prevent at-risk adolescences from straying off the beaten path and into the police headquarter. Above all, he is a chushiver yid who raised a sheina mishpacha, and deserves to be shielded under those dirty zadene bekitches of the rebbes from the purported allegations.

Like Jerry Sandusky, Mr. Weberman has fans who will vouch for his innocence. But unlike Sandusky—whose defense team opened their counter-arguments to the victims’ testimonies by suggesting their motivation for pressing charges is money—Nechemya Weberman has an entire community crying foul on these unfounded and absurd rumors of a get-rich scheme!

Admittedly, the scope of Sandusky’s crimes is vastly different than that of Nechemya Weberman’s: Sandusky has ten victims, while only one victim is accusing Mr. Weberman. (According to Pearl Engleman—the courageous activist from within, who was privy to hearing first-hand accounts—there are at least another two victims too afraid to come forward.)

However, the nature of the allegations, the core values and beliefs of this community, and the severe ramifications for the victims’ well-being, all of which directly contribute to the silence of others, cannot adequately explain the show of unconditional support the Hasidic community has shown for an alleged abuser—something unthinkable for a Penn State Hasidus.

Except, of course, the fact that he is a chushiver yid. Which also implies that he still needs shiddichum for his children, his wife needs a reliable source of income, and, let’s not forget, those slutty teenagers desperately need a person to put them in place. Why should they be subjected to the horrors of living in the margins, huh?

Those who have lived this life (or perhaps still do) understand this thinking. Let’s not exaggerate our distance from the not-so-distant past; saying “what the heck is wrong with these people?” when we participated in this behavior at some point, just comes off as self-aggrandizing. Let us instead remember that sfardim are marginalized for being trilingual and eating warm fish on Shabbos instead of kotchenyu. In these communities, it doesn’t take much to become the subject of nebechdom.

Therefore, it is beneficial to everyone if the victim is gaged with a bribe (which she wanted anyhow), and shipped off to Israel.

As for the perpetrator, he will be dethroned and shipped over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Shulem al yisroel.

Back to my thesis: Pennsylvania State University took a hard hit with the Sandusky saga, and got slapped with astronomical fines and severe bans. They were hit badly, and experts say, they may/won’t/will recover from it. However, I suspect a guilty verdict for Weberman will forever alter the pattern of predictable Hasidic behavior; the backstreet treatment of at-risk teens will begin to come apart at its seams.

As for the community, they will survive the second coming of the dinosaurs.

All differences and similarities aside, Jerry Sandusky, sentenced for 30-60 years in prison, and Nechemya Weberman (if convicted) should spend the rest of their lives in prison—in one cell. They can benefit from each other.

  • Geraight
    Posted at 23:56h, 13 November Reply

    Nicely written…
    You touched on a pressure point when you mentioned the sefardim situation which always angered me for forcing them in the community where they could never fit in (not because of their faults of course)…. as they (the Ekstein family) would say on the sefardim “zei darfen zich intervarfen”…
    What is most frustrating to me is that THESE PEOPLE (I know its inappropriate to group people like this) truly believe that they are after all the perfect human beings / family / community…
    When something happens in the community, first they deny, then they try to keep it shut, then they say its one person who everyone knows he is not normal etc…. but the rest is all so beautiful!

  • Ant Tics
    Posted at 00:24h, 14 November Reply

    I would strongly urge you to err on the side of caution and to hide this toon until after the verdict. This man is innocent until proven otherwise, that is not to say that he is innocent, or guilty, but the depiction and the commentary is tilted strongly in the guilty direction. And if he is found guilty I hope he does get what he deserves.

  • Sam
    Posted at 08:28h, 14 November Reply

    The jewry is still out on this one Ms. Goldberger, you should’ve kept this post for another month or so when the verdict is in. Unlike in the Sandusky there are no witnesses here and only one acuser who has a real motive to get back at Weberman, namely he worked with her father to tape her having sex with a 21 year old while she was in her teens and the BF was arrested as a result.It will all come down to he says she says.

  • S.
    Posted at 09:28h, 14 November Reply

    Then Weberman should be on trial for conspiring to produce child pornography. I’m not sure on what planet this constitutes motive on the part of the girl; her “therapist” worked with her father to tape her having sex. Uh, okay.
    He is either innocent or guilty already; the presumption of innocence is in court, so he can have a fair trial where evidence is shown and the state must prove their case.

  • Sam
    Posted at 11:44h, 14 November Reply

    S. you are not that stupid as you present yourself here. This girl had a BF of 21 while she was 13 or 14 the idea (agreeably awkward) was to document him having sex with her so he can be charged with underage sex. In fact the BF was arrested as a result not Weberman for pornography. The charges were dropped when the girl threatened with suicide. Motive is pretty obvious.

  • Ant Tics
    Posted at 11:50h, 14 November Reply

    S, the imperfect system which is the courts is the only one we have. Don’t disrespect it otherwise you are left with the jungle law that fosters the same perversion you and i both despise.
    I hate censorship, but I would hate to see the authors of this excellent and refreshing blog come to harm even more. However remote the chances of that may be, they are arguably on the wrong side of defamation law as things stand. Even failedmessiah is careful in the way he words his articles.

  • Ant Tics
    Posted at 12:03h, 14 November Reply

    And Sam, same goes to you. Justice John Ingram found that argument

  • S.
    Posted at 12:08h, 14 November Reply

    Oh, Sam, when you put it like that it is perfectly reasonable. The “therapist” and the tatti cook up a plan to provide foolproof illegal – and invasive and disrespectful – evidence for a conviction of the boyfriend. This is how most statutory rape convictions happen, right? Or not. Did they discuss this with a lawyer first? Give me a break. Weberman is a creep, for sure. The question is whether he is guilty of what he is charged? Yes, that is up to the jury. Did you post comments someplace asking people to wait for Sandusky’s conviction?
    Ant Tics, indeed. That is why I do not advocate for a anyone doing anything to him, regardless of his guilt or innocence and regardless if he acquitted or found guilty – mistakes happen in both directions.
    However, how does this compel me or anyone not to have any kind of opinion? That is an instruction for the jury, that’s all. If Weberman wants to make a fool out of himself and sue Frieda or Frimet, won’t that be a party. I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • S.
    Posted at 12:15h, 14 November Reply

    I will say that some of the extra antipathy *may* be rooted in his and his crowd’s decision to ask people to judge her rather than let each have their say in court. A little less chutzpah. I get it – if he is innocent then he wants to defend himself (he’s still a creep though, that is established). Next time a different strategy should be employed rather than coming out to defend the powerful, connected guy who wants people to instead judge and defame a powerless, unconnected young woman.

  • misnaged
    Posted at 15:19h, 14 November Reply

    if regardless if this story is true or not and/or too early to judge, the essence of this article of how such maters r being reported, handled and viwed by the “oilem” is true and same goes to what chet hayediah wrote…

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