Sodomy in the synagogue
by Michael A. Hoffman II and Alan R. Critchley.
From a report published in the Hebrew language Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz
"...for many years, (Talmud scribe) Yaakov Yitzhak Brizel...sodomized ultra-Orthodox boys. The greatest rabbis knew - and did nothing...
"At the age of 11, Moisheleh, the strongest fellow in the talmud torah (school for ultra-Orthodox boys), went up to Shaiya Brizel and said to him: 'Kid, I want you know that your father is not the holy man you think he is. He is a homo.' ...Brizel was a scion of the Brizel family, which founded ...the mysterious organization that imposes moral order on the ultra-Orthodox ghetto...
"Had the father, Yaakov Yitzhak Brizel ...contented himself with homosexual relations with adults, it is reasonable to suppose that we would never have heard his son's story.
"However, in his book, The Silence of the Ultra-Orthodox, published a few weeks ago, the son claims that for decades his father ...sodomized yeshiva students. He committed the act in empty synagogues during the hours between prayers and in other places.
"The greatest of the ultra-Orthodox rabbis...like Rabbi Landau and the halachic sage Shmuel Halevi Hausner of Bnei Brak, knew and kept silent. The father was a Hasid heart and soul, and went to a number of rebbes.... the twin brother of the rebbe from Rehovot, the Rebbe of Kretschnif in Kiryat Gat, was happy to accept the father among his followers. Ultimately, claims Brizel, it was not easy for the Rebbe from Kiryat Gat to be picky when he could win such a respected adherent.
"...The proud father with the look of an honored rebbe, who observed all the commandments from the slightest to the most important, used to pray at a certain yeshiva with the young boys. There, claims Shaiya Brizel, he hunted his victims. When the head of the yeshiva discovered the true reason that the respected Torah scribe was praying fervently at his yeshiva, he did not contact the police...
"Before the publication of his book, Shaiya Brizel met with the yeshiva head. 'You are right that we covered up for him,' admitted the man. 'I and a few other rabbis...I was busy trying to calm things down and hushing up the affair so that it would not get publicized.'
"(The son) published the book using real names. His entire family and almost all the rabbis appear under their own names. Only the names of some of the localities and the head of the yeshiva are disguised. To protect himself from a legal point of view, Brizel held a series of conversations with members of his family and rabbis, in which he demanded explanations of why they had covered up for his father's misbehavior. He secretly recorded all these conversations, even with his mother.
"If I had written without the names it would have been fiction and this certainly did not suit me," he explained. 'I wanted things to change, for ultra-Orthodox society to know that it can attempt to hide things and be hidden, but even if it takes 30 years, a Golem will always rise up against its creator and reveal everything. In this case, I was the Golem.'
"When Rachel Brizel, the daughter of a good Bnei Brak family, married an arranged match from the glorious Brizel family, she had no idea that she was destroying her own life. After six months, she caught her husband having sex with another man. In that case, at least it was with an adult.
"Shaiya Brizel relates that some of the boys with whom his father had relations sent letters of complaint to their own fathers; in the discreet ultra-Orthodox society they had no one else to whom they could complain.
"When she read these letters, my mother went out of her mind,' writes Brizel. 'Every such letter made her want to demand a divorce. Again and again batteries of mediators, the Brizel rabbis, would show up, whose job it was to calm her down so that, heaven forbid, she would not destroy the good name of the Brizel family.
"They could live with the fact that one of their own had raped minors, but for them divorce was an impossible situation.'
"...Twice, once during prayers in a synagogue, and once during a Gemara (Talmud) study hour at Rabbi Eliezer Shach's Ponevezh Yeshiva, ultra-Orthodox men who were strangers to him touched his sexual organ, presumably on the assumption that he followed in his father's footsteps. The first time, he made a fuss, only to discover that the only thing that interested the people there was to hush the whole thing up. The second time, he made do with a whispered warning to the man.
"Shaiya Brizel is now 36 and the father of three; he works as an accountant.
"His father, 65, was forced to leave home several years ago and return to his elderly parents' apartment. Shaiya wrote this book after a suicide attempt in June.
'For all those years I was half dead. For the past five years I have been getting psychological treatment. During my talks with the psychologist I decided that I was going to spew out all this ugliness in the form of a book.'
"He took into account that there would be violent reactions to the book...which only came out a few weeks ago...Brizel suffers from a serious heart defect, which could cause his death. As a way of protecting himself, he has deposited a letter with three lawyers that contains serious allegations about the Eda Haredit, and he has informed the relevant people.
"Recently, he has moved to a new apartment, and he lives in the National Religious sector of a mixed community of National Religious and ultra-Orthodox families. Naturally, he started praying at the only Hasidic synagogue in the settlement. After the book came out, associates of the local rebbe (rabbi) informed him that he was persona non grata.
"Ironically, this same rebbe had come to the area after being compelled to leave several other communities on suspicion of having sodomized his pupils. In ultra-Orthodox society, revealing that acts of sodomy have been committed is a far graver offense than committing them.
"On the day the book was published, Brizel met with the head of the Hachemei Lublin Yeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Vazner. 'He told me that publishing the book was a million times worse than what my father had done...'
"Ha'aretz has been unable to obtain a response from Rabbi Yaakov Yitzhak Brizel. At his parents' home, a woman replied: "We don't care. Shaiya is a liar and there is nothing more to be said."
"Ha'aretz also requested the Brizels' response through the Eda Haredit activist Yehuda Meshi- Zahav. By the time the article went to press, there was no response through this channel either.
"Several weeks ago the father responded to the women's magazine La'isha, saying that he would sue the publishers, which has not yet happened. It is unlikely that it will happen.
"Shaiya Brizel was ready to put off publication of the book, on condition that the family sue him in a rabbinical court, in which the affair would be aired. He has said that no one in the family was prepared to take up the challenge.
"In the conversation with La'isha, the father said that he was indeed a homosexual, 'But I have had treatment and today I am no longer like that. All this is behind me.'
"In reply to a question as to whether he had sexual relations with minors, he replied: 'Perhaps I will talk about that some other time.' He accused his son Shaiya of being 'the only one who is after me. He has destroyed my life...He wrote this only for the money. He wanted money from me...Because of him I separated from my wife.'
"Shaiya's sister, Rivka Hubert, spoke with great anger to the La'isha reporter about the fact that her brother had revealed the names of the persons involved, and declared: 'We deny everything it says in the book."
Source: Ha'aretz, "Israel's Leading Daily Newspaper," Shevat 25, 5760 (Feb. 1, 2000).
Christianity is the only true religion of the Bible. It was founded by Israelites who adhered to the Torah (Pentateuch) and who recognized in Christ's gospel of salvation through grace, the fulfillment of the Old Testament. It is the followers of Jesus who constitute the holy nation and the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).
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