At Orthodox Sex-Abuse Trial, Little-Known Enforcement Group Comes To Light

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The ultra-Orthodox “modesty committee” has allegedly used intimidation, threats, and even “arrests” to uphold strict community standards—but some won’t even admit it exists. Allison Yarrow reports.


Wearing masks, the men broke into her bedroom after dark to confiscate the evidence. They are not the law or the mafia, and she is neither a criminal nor a rat. Baila Gluck was just a 15-year-old girl, and it was just a cell phone, but to the Vaad Hatznius—the self-appointed arbiters of right and wrong in the Satmar Orthodox Jewish community—Baila might as well have been holding a time bomb.

The Satmars, who live in two extremely insular enclaves in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and in upstate New York, know and fear Vaad Hatznius, which means “modesty committee,” but most people have never heard of the group and its practices, which can include intimidation, threats and even “arrests”—for example, of a girl who attends a party with boys, or a religious man who shaves his beard. While its members have no official permission from the state to engage in law enforcement, Jews who live under the Vaad’s law say beatings, harassment and stolen property are all too common.

“Many within in the community call it the Taliban as a joke,” said Deborah Feldman, who grew up in Satmar Williamsburg and is the author of Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots.

“They answer to no one. They can get away with whatever they want,” Feldman said.

But this week the Vaad is answering to the New York court system, at least indirectly, through the trial of Nechemya Weberman, 54, a counselor charged with 60 counts of child molestation for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl who was under his care for nearly three years. Weberman took the stand this week and vehemently denied the allegations, saying he “never, ever” raped or assaulted the girl. The accuser, now 18, previously testified that, among other things, Weberman locked her in a room and made her re-enact pornographic movies.

Written By: Allison Yarrow
continue to source article at thedailybeast.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. “Baila Gluck was just a 15-year-old girl, and it was just a cell phone, but to the Vaad Hatznius—the self-appointed arbiters of right and wrong in the Satmar Orthodox Jewish community—Baila might as well have been holding a time bomb”

    Baila is to Vaad Hatznius as Vaad Hatznius is to Secular America. I wonder how they would respond to self-appointed arbiters of right and wrong in Secular America swooping into the Satmar Orthodox Jewish community (a member community of  Secular America) and taking their shit. Actually, I think they are going to find out but through a much more ethical approach, the court of law. Bloody menstrual-cycle fearing wackos.

  2. “Many within in the community call it the Taliban as a joke,”

    ?
    Where is the joke?
    If it looks like the Taliban, sounds like the Taliban and acts like the Taliban it is the enemy of civilised society!

  3. One by one religions will collapse or face change due to technology. Either they are exposed by it or challenged by it. Every religion will face scrutiny within the next several years.

    If this group exists in the US, they need to be hunted down and prosecuted.

    I assume that Jews adhere to “not stealing.” It is interesting how they justify their actions of actually stealing by saying it is the best interests of the child.

  4. Whenever there are a group of people that declare themselves to effectively be their own country within a country, this sort of thing is inevitable. THIS very similar article about the Amish just popped up on my homepage today.

  5.  Actually when I first read this article, I was reminded of a fairly local incident in which outcast Amish retaliated by cutting the hair of other Amish. The Amish have always had strict rules and people who do not adhere will face isolation. (What is the comedy in which a Hasidic Jew is dropped into Amish country?)

    The Amish are facing their own demise. They are greatly challenged by physical illnesses due to genetic inbreeding.

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