Vicki Polin says that she was a victim in a family of Jews who worshipped the
Devil. She said this on the Oprah Winfrey show. Has her family sued her for
Libel? I fancy not. Did they escape to Israel? Quite possibly. That is what
Israel was set up for, a refuge from righteous indignation or even unrighteous
ditto. Did she tell the truth? She founded
Awareness Centre to expose sexual perverts who are Jews. She found plenty.
There is plenty of smoke and doubtless fire too.
PS It is claimed that she used anonymous reports to finger alleged perpetrators. Damage limitation is the name of the game. Now she is off line making it difficult to assess the strength of her stories. Happily the Failed Messiah took up where she left off. He is digging for dirt; dirt there is aplenty.
From Jews And Devil Worship Comment and other sources are at Incest Survivor Exposed Satanists.
Vicki Polin's Feb. 6, 2008 testimony to the Colorado state legislature Vicki Polin's Jan. 16, 2008 testimony on a Wisconsin senate bill
Web Site Tracks Sexual Abusers
Debra Nussbaum Cohen writes 3/26/04 in The Jewish Week:
From an apartment in a fervently religious section of Baltimore sits a nonobservant Jewish woman working fervently herself on a project that has become the center of her life and is making an impact — for good or bad, depending on whom you ask — in the Jewish community internationally.
Vicki Polin, 44, created and runs The Awareness Center, an organization devoted to the issue of sexual abuse in the Jewish community. Essentially a one-woman operation, the center exists only on-line, through its Web site, www.theawarenesscenter.org, and over the phone. Polin and her board members, who include prominent rabbis and professionals knowledgeable about issues of sexual trauma, consult with people who turn to the organization for help.
All sorts of Jews, from all over the world, contact The Awareness Center for advice, counseling and referrals, says Polin, who puts in 60 to 80 hours a week on the project.
She says the Web site is visited by about 15,000 people each month — victims of abuse, called “survivors” in the sexual trauma community, their family members, rabbis, lawyers, law enforcement officials and others concerned about the issue.
"She founded resource for sex abuse victims" By Bryna Zumer Owings Mills Times - January 24, 2008
Vicki Polin, a counselor specializing in sexual violence, noticed years ago that there seemed to be no Jewish resources for sex abuse victims, and she was uncomfortable referring them to Christian organizations, which she felt might proselytize them or be unable to speak to Jewish issues.
Before relocating to Israel in 2001, she attended Neve Yerushalayim, a women's college in Jerusalem, and saw that people who had been sexually abused had no place to turn.
"All these young women started telling me what happened to them," Polin said. "I started seeing what a problem it was."
A Chicago native, she moved to Baltimore in 2002 and, in 2003, launched the nonprofit International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault, now known as The Awareness Center. The organization's goal is to provide resources to victims and educate the general community, but Polin, an incest survivor herself, has also drawn controversy for posting information on alleged offenders, including many prominent rabbis, on the center's Web site.
"Our goal is education. It's not just about, 'Get this guy, get that guy,'" she said, explaining that many in the Orthodox world do not watch TV or read secular news, but have gained information from the center's Web site.
After she, together with a volunteer board of directors, began posting information on offenders, "survivors started saying, 'Why don't you have my story?' The same (victims) were talking about the same (offenders), and we started putting the pieces together."
Although more than 250 rabbis worldwide support The Awareness Center, critics have accused Polin of "lashon ha'ra," derogatory or damaging speech against another person, which Jewish tradition condemns.
"In some places, we're seen as heroes and in some we're seen as crazy or vindictive," she said.
After Polin received allegations against rabbis by a group that turned out to be linked to al-Qaida and was anti-Semitic, she posted resources on abuse for Christians and Muslims as well. She also works with groups like The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, and, in addition to running the non-profit almost single-handedly, regularly testifies in court on behalf of victims of sexual violence.
The goal is not just to educate and reach out to victims, Polin said, but also to help abusers. "There's no proven treatment for offenders. We don't know what to do, how to stop them," she said.
Vicki Polin's 1989 Appearance On Oprah
Here is page one of the complete transcript Page Two Page Three Page Four Page Five Page Six Page Seven Vicki Polin's 1989 letter to the ADL as "Rachel"
The following is an excerpt of the May 1, 1989 Oprah Show. Vicki Polin confirms that she was "Rachel." Yori Yanover sent me this first (5/10/05).
OPRAH: As a child, my next guest was used also in worshipping the devil, participated in human sacrifice rituals and cannibalism. She says her family has been involved in rituals for generations. She is currently in extensive therapy, suffers from multiple personality disorder, meaning she's blocked out many of the terrifying and painful memories of her childhood. Meet "Rachel," who is also in disguise to protect her identity. You come from generations of ritualistic abuse?
"RACHEL", Was Used In Satan Worship Rituals: Yes, my family has an extensive family tree, and they keep track of who's been involved and who hasn't been involved, and it’s gone back to like 1700.
OPRAH: And so you were ritually abused.
"RACHEL": Right. I was born into a family that believes in this.
OPRAH: Does everyone else think it's a nice Jewish family? From the outside, you appear to be a nice Jewish girl?
OPRAH: And you all are worshipping the devil inside the home?
"RACHEL": Right. There's other Jewish families
across the country. It's not just my own family.
OPRAH: Really? And so who knows about it? Lots of people now.
"RACHEL": Well, I talked to a police detective in the Chicago area, and several of my friends know, and I've spoke publicly before, and…
OPRAH: So when you were brought up in this kind of evilness, did you just think it was normal?
"RACHEL': I blocked out a lot of the memories I had because of my multiple personality disorder, but, yes. I mean, it's like if you grow up with something, you think it’s normal. I always thought something…
OPRAH: So what kinds of things? You don't have to give us the gory details, but what kinds of things went on in the family?
"RACHEL": Well, there would be rituals in which babies would be sacrificed, and you would have to, you know…
OPRAH: Whose babies?
"RACHEL": There were people who bred babies in our family. No one would know about it. A lot of people were overweight, so you couldn't tell if they were pregnant or not, or they would supposedly go away for awhile and then come back…
"RACHEL": The other thing I want to point out not all Jewish people sacrifice babies. I mean, it's not a very typical thing.
OPRAH: I think we kind of know that.
"RACHEL": I just want to point that out.
OPRAH: This is the first time I heard of any Jewish people sacrificing babies, but anyway--so you witnessed the sacrifice.
"RACHEL": Right. When I was very young, I was forced to participate in that-- in which I had to sacrifice an infant.
OPRAH: And the purpose of sacrifice is to what? Is to bring you what? What are you sacrificing for?
"RACHEL": For power...
OPRAH: Power. And so were you ever used? Were you ever used yourself?
"RACHEL": I was molested. I was raped several times.
OPRAH: What's your mother doing in all of this? What's her role in all of this?
"RACHEL": What is-- I'm not exactly- -what her role is-- I haven't, you know, recovered all of my memories, but her family was extremely involved. You know, she brought me to it. Both of my parents brought me to it.
OPRAH: And where is she now?
"RACHEL": She lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. She's on the human relations commission of the town that she lives in, and she's an upstanding citizen. Nobody would suspect her. Nobody would suspect anybody involved in it. There's police officers involved in it. There's, you know, doctors, lawyers, Indiana chiefs involved in it.
OPRAH: Are you kidding?
"RACHEL": I mean, it's not the person, you know, who looks scummy that's involved in it. It's someone who looks normal.…
OPRAH: Were you raised with a sense of right and wrong, “Rachel?”
“RACHEL: Yes. I mean, it’s like we, I had both. I mean, to the outside world, everything we did was proper and right, and then there were the nights that things changed, that things just got turned around. What was wrong was right, and what was right was wrong. That’s what helps to create some of theto develop MPD.
OPRAH: Multiple personality disorder.
“RACHEL”: Right, right.
OPRAH: I know a lot of people are shaking their heads here, and I'm sure that when you go back home, I mean, everyone's going to try to make you look like you're crazy.
"RACHEL": Oh, definitely.
"RACHEL": They do that all the time.
OPRAH: It's very difficult to believe, so how is it that you come to believe these people, Tina?
Ms. GROSSMAN: Well, I've treated over 40 survivors of ritual abuse. Adult patients with multiple personality disorder, and from many states in this country as well as Canada. What we've seen and heard and gone through in the abreactions which is the remembered experiences of that- we are hearing the identical same things from these adults. Okay. These are not children that are three years old, and you can, as an adult, perhaps rationalize that this is fantasy material. These adults are saying things. They have never met each other before. They are describing identical rituals, just the same as, since I'm Jewish, you could go to New York or California and describe a seder in one state or another and, as a Jew, you would recognize it. This is the belief system in evil and the power that evil gives you, and so it has these certain rituals, so they are very similar with all of the survivors.
OPRAH: See, but I am very surprised because the Jewish faith is the Jewish faith. and worshipping the devil is not a part of the Jewish faith. I mean, Jewish people do not worship the devil.
Ms. GROSSMAN: But before there was Christ and before there was a system of one God, there was Paganism- and it still exists in the world, and in many cultures, you still find the belief that there is strength and power in the actual consumption of human flesh or animals' flesh.
OPRAH: Now in your family. did you all call it worshipping the devil, "Rachel?”
OPRAH: Or did you…
"RACHEL": I don't know.
OPRAH: It was just evil. these things you did.
"RACHEL": It was-- right.
"RACHEL": Well, I said it was evil, and they said it was good. There's a book that I had just come across called [Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural by Howard Schwartz, New York, Oxford University Press, 1988] which is a book of Jewish mysticism and supernatural, and there's a lot in that book that relates to what I endured when I was a child.
OPRAH: I want to stop right here, though.
because you know how people build prejudices. I want to make it very clear this
is one Jewish person, so don't go around now saying to people, you know, "Those
Jewish people, they're worshipping--'. This is just one person. Okay.
"RACHEL": Most Jewish people do not do what my family did.
OPRAH: Okay. Thank you very much.
"RACHEL": I mean, I don't know very many other Jewish people who would do what I did.
OPRAH: But you know how people hear one thing, and then go off and they say, "I heard on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' today that…”
To this day, Vicki stands behind what she said on Oprah (she intentionally twisted some minor details on Oprah to disguise herself and her family.) She now says she can only trace her family back to the 1800s.
If you Google ""ritual abuse" Oprah," you will see how many anti-semitic websites used Vicki's appearance as fodder to perpetuate the myth that Jews sacrifice children.
On May 11, 2005, I speak by phone to someone close to Vicki Polin's family.
This source is someone Vicki likes and respects.
My source says: This is my opinion, but it is the opinion of her family. That the claims were unfounded. I think she was led to make those claims through the investigator she had worked with (Jerry Simendl) who wanted to prove a theory of suppressed memory syndrome. And her therapist Tina Grossman. They had a theory they wanted her to prove and they found her to be a susceptible person to suggestion.
A lot of us have questions we want to answer about our lives. They had a theory that repressed memory is a big thing. As most people of Jewish background would attest, most people who survived the Holocaust saw horrible atrocities too, but they don't have these repressed memories in the same fashion.
Luke: Vicki claims she had five abortions as a result of being impregnated by her father.
Source: I've known Vicki since she was about ten years old. I can't say that in those early years, I was a best friend of the family, but I've been around for a while. Neither I, nor her sisters, saw evidence for that. I don't think that something like that would be hush-hush.
Luke: She claims her family is part of a cult that goes back to the 1700s of ritual abuse.
Source: Honestly, I think it is all bulls---. She makes accusations about her aunts and uncles as well. I've known them for as long as I've known her. I never had an inkling that anything like that could've been happening. It's possible that it happened and I was oblivious but [members of Vicki's family] were they completely oblivious? If they had any clue that something like that could've been happening, could they stand idly by? I don't think so.
We saw the show. There was no mistaking who that person was. I got in the car and went down to talk with her. I said we need to have a cup of coffee. We had a cup of coffee. She completely denied being on the show. I said, I know it was you. I watched the show. She told me all these stories. I don't understand where that came from. Has she ever given us any kind of proof or validation that it was true? Not one bit.
Luke: Was she a stable girl as a teenager?
Source: As stable as any other teenager.
A sexual predator is obviously a horrible person. A person who sacrifices baby is a whole other animal. She's made claims in the past that go way beyond sexual predators. I don't doubt that she believes this.
[Vicki is not a responsible person. A member of her family] said to her pointblank -- 'Give me some evidence. Give me some idea why you said all these things.' To the best of my knowledge, Vicki never came forward to say this or that. She basically said, 'This is what I believe. You've got to believe it or don't believe it.'
Luke: Did Vicki confess that was her on the Oprah show?
Source: I don't know if she ever said yes, but it was an accepted fact that it was.
After that, [her sister] was really pissed off at her. They couldn't talk without ending up screaming at each other.
I questioned everything. Maybe they are all part of this cult and I was suckered in to provide whatever they need. I did meet with Vicki, Jerry and Tina to find out... In those meetings, they said, we have accounts of this and that. But nothing hard and concrete ever came out. I said, 'Give me something that I can latch on to.' Nothing was presented. That's why I had to dismiss it as not true.
When I was a little kid, I would lie in my bed and stare at my closet door, which was open two-or-three inches. The more I'd stare at it, the more I was convinced that the door would open and the bogey man would come out. Those were the types of answers that I got too -- that she feels this way or that way.
Feelings are one thing. They may be right or wrong. We have to go beyond just feelings.
If there was any validity to any of these things, the whole world should know about it. Back in 1989 and 1990, I did all the research I could do and I found that it wasn't true.
If you talk to leaders of most of the major religions, few of them would condone some of the things she has said as a policy of religion. There are always going to be the goofballs here and there...
Vicki's definitely a brilliant woman. She knows how to use the system. She knows how to do what she needs to do. She's not just a flake. She knew how to turn some heads.
Over the past ten years, I've had little contact with Vicki. She doesn't have much contact with [her family].
I told Vicki that if anything she told me was true, I'd divorce my wife and take my kids to the other side of the world. There is nothing more disgusting than that possibility. I pleaded with Vicki - help me save these kids. But she wouldn't give me anything beyond what we had already heard. She would not elaborate. Just to say that these people are horrible. Did she ever contact me again to say that she was worried about the kids? Not one time.
Unfortunately, I had to keep a close eye for years. I never saw any evidence of that. To the contrary.
But she's become a watchdog for the community, huh?
Maybe someone who made those claims, got her name out there, got her publicity, be it bad or good, made their place in life, has to live that story, and stay with that story to maintain her credibility. We all do things at an earlier age that we regret...
Luke: Vicki often says she's on the edge of death with her [health] problems.
Source: She's been dying for the last ten years. She's been on the verge of one surgery or another. She's been about to kick the bucket for a long time. Her claims are always followed up a couple of days later with a request for cash.
Luke: She complains that she needs money for surgery and her family won't help her.
Source: When was the last time she had a paying job?
Luke: She's been on disability for ten years?
Source: Forever. If you research Illinois's public aid and her past record, she is no stranger to the system.
Luke: She knows how to work the system.
Source: She really knows how to work the system. That's why in our eyes she lost credibility because she knows how to work the system.
On the day she went on Oprah, she got a lot of attention. Was it credible? I don't know. I asked her specifically. I asked Tina, Jerry. Give me something. They were giving generalities. 'We've done research and we know that these things do occur.' Well, is it something she experienced or something she fabricated? 'This is the way she feels.'
Here's Vicki's letter to the ADL in the summer of 1989. I publish it verbatim:
July 18, 1989
To whom it may concern:
In my eyes and the eyes of other Jewish Survivors of Ritual Abuse, you attempted to discredit us the same way the Revisonism Movement trys to discredit the fact that the Holocaust occured.
I feel you owe each and every Jewish Survivor of Ritual Abuse an apology. I believe the Jewish Community needs to take it's head out of the sand and open it's eyes!!! Incest, Child Sexual, and Ritual Abuse happens in Jewish Families. Jews are not exempt from perpetrating these crimes.
I understand that you feel that Oprah Winfrey was being Anti-Semitic by bringing up the issue I was from "A Nice Jewish Family". I believe she was as shocked as you were. Our society believes the myth that Jews can't be pedophiles, or abuse their own children. This is a "MYTH", they do abuse children. There are even those who practice cannibalism, and perform human sacrifices. Believe me I saw it with my own eyes. I've come to the point in my life were I feel I need to bare-witness. I have and will continue to until I'm sure what I had to endure as a child is believed by you and others like you. I will do what ever is possible so what happened to me doesn't happen to anyone else!
CC. Oprah Winfrey, Believe The Children, Det. Simandl, Dale Griffin, PhD., Many Voice's, Voice's In Action, Inc., Healing Hearts, YWCA-Women's Serv. NOW-National Organization of Women, Fr. James Labre
Vicki Polin's Story In Her Own Words
To this day, Vicki stands behind the substance of what she said on the Oprah show May 1, 1989.
Vicki's family rejects her allegations that she was abused, sexually or otherwise. They say she has no credibility with them. Some members of her family have no contact with her and others have only limited contact.
I have no independent verification of Vicki's story but I will be talking to people who knew her as a child, teenager, and young woman.
The Story of A (Sexual Violence) Victim's Advocate
By Vicki Polin
It has always been very difficult for me to talk about my life. Not because I have anything to hide, but because it has always been very complicated.
From a very early age I always knew there was something different about me. I never knew exactly what it was until some where between 1979-1980. It was at that time I was diagnosed as having a Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) -- which is now called a Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
I was between the ages of nineteen and twenty, when I finally learned about the coping mechanism that I developed. Since then I had gone through extensive psychotherapy, and have not dissociated in years.
MPD is caused by severe repeated traumatic events in early childhood. The trauma's usually occur within the first three years of life. The majority of individuals who carry this diagnosis were sexually abused, often in their own home.
For a long time my memories of my childhood were extremely fragmented. As a child I would have periods of time that I would blank out -- having periods of amnesia. I used to have different parts of myself that would go by different names, have different friends, and basically take on different responsibilities and lifestyles. Often the various parts would not communicate with each other, leaving me with periods of amnesia. It was sort of like time sharing my body with different people, yet in reality they were all different aspects of my personality.
My story is very similar to other survivors who have developed MPD as a coping mechanism to deal with the insanity going on in their lives as children. Like other survivors, I come from a family where the use of extreme corporal punishment was the norm.
Over the years as I've been going along in my healing journey, I've tried to figure out where the abusive patterns started in my family. I've done my best to try to figure it all out, which I finally realized was an impossible task. People who know me have always told me I should write a book about my life, yet it's something I have never been sure I wanted to do. Due to the current political pressures, I've realized that my silence is hurting more then helping, so I'm sharing the following with you.
When I was sixteen, I attempted suicide for the first time. To this day, I don't know why I did it, but I did. The whole event still seems very surreal. It was April 27, 1976. I went shopping for prom dresses and tuxedos with my high school boyfriend, and two friends at a local shopping mall. We turned the corner and there was a Walgreens pharmacy. I told my boyfriend that I needed to go in to get something. I went in and bought over the counter sleeping pills.
The next day at school I overdosed. I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital. At first my mother refused to allow the doctors to care for me. A relative who was a doctor on staff at the hospital, came down and convinced my mother that she needed to sign the papers so the hospital staff could save my life.
I was put into ICU over night and the next day my mother signed me out of the hospital AMA (Against Medical Advice). I was grounded for a month, and driven directly back to school. My school was shocked that I was back so soon, and that I had not received any psychological help. If it wasn't for the intervention of my Grandmother, I would not have been allowed to go to my Junior Prom.
The school forced my parents to take me to counseling. I went to a few sessions and then started to refuse to go. I couldn't handle the interrogations I would get when I would return home.
You have to realize that prior to and also after my suicide attempt that I was an average student, who was active in several after-school activities. I had many friends. I had a regular boyfriend. To the outside world I looked like the typical American teenager. A few of my close friends knew there was a lot of stress for me at home, but that was about it.
During my senior year I was the only child still living at home. The abuse had intensified. One of the only respites I had was hang out in my high school guidance counselor's office. I knew this was a safe place for me. My guidance counselor knew something was wrong, but didn't know what it was. He referred me to the school psychologist, hoping I would disclose my family's secrets. I didn't, yet continued going back to my guidance counselors office.
As time went on, I told the guidance counselor a little bit about the violence going on in my home. He also had me tell the school psychologist. I showed them my arms which were swollen and the marks on them from being grabbed. At one point I was asked to show the markings on my body to the school nurse, who responded "your bruises won't photograph well enough, there's nothing anyone can do." I never told anyone about anything else. I would only say that "it was crazy at home again."
Growing up, when my father's temper would get out of control, me and my siblings would place our bodies between our parents. We felt it was better for us to get hit instead of my mother. During my senior year of high school, my father's behavior got so crazy that my mother said, if you don't want to live here, then move out.
My boyfriend came with his mother's station wagon, filled the car with all my belongings, and I went to stay with a girlfriend (with the permission of her mother). As I unloaded the car I thought, wow, finally I'm free.
The next day at school I was summoned to the school psychologist office who was made aware that I left my parents home. He warned me that I needed to go to the police department prior to my family calling me in as a runaway. I had to be "missing" for twenty-four hours before the police would take a report. If they did, I would be seen as a juvenile delinquent and sent to a detention center. My goal was to live in a safe place so that I could finish high school and go on to college. I didn't want to live out of my school district because my friends were so important to me.
When I got to the police department, the Juvenile Officer started making arrangements for me to stay at a Jewish group home. While he was doing this, my mother made the call to report me missing. He let her know I was there, and let her know my wishes were to go to the group home. I never knew what she said to him, yet the next thing that happened was he told me my mother was going to come to pick me up and take me home.
There was another time that the school psychologist tried to arrange for me to go to a respite group home for teens. I remember my boyfriend taking me there, and going through the intake. My parents refused to sign legal papers so I had no option but to return back home.
Towards the end of my senior year I was a nominee for prom queen. Most people in my school saw me as being a typical kid. No one would have guessed what was going on in my home.
[Vicki says she was pregnant at the time but didn't know who the father was -- either her boyfriend or her father. She says she quit SIU after a month or two and got an abortion from her cousin, an OBGYN.]
November 11, 1983, I was sexually assaulted by someone I knew. I was 23 at the time. I ended up getting pregnant from the rape. The pregnancy was ectopic (in my fallopian tube). I had emergency surgery January 6, 1984. It ended the pregnancy and saved my life. About every other year since, I've had to have major abdominal surgery to remove uterine fibroid tumors. The first surgery was in 1986. That first tumor was a little smaller than a basketball. Due to the size of the tumor and it's location permanent damage to my muscles and tendons.
I went to court on the initial case of sexual assault back in 1983. The charges were later reduced to harassing phone calls. My offender kept calling me, leaving messages that he "loved me and wanted to marry me". He was always sitting in his car out side my apartment waiting for me. "He wanted to talk". This was November - December,1983. There was no legal definition for the term stalking at the time. He got a one year suspended sentence for harassing calls. I was raped in November and the court hearing was in December. I found out I was pregnant in January, 1984.
After this whole ordeal, I learned that because I had a psychiatric history anyone could get away with raping me. It was my word against anyone's. In this case my rapist carried the diagnosis of having Schizophrenia. I had the diagnosis of having MPD. I realized that I had to do something to protect myself. That is when I decided to go back to school and get my degrees. I needed to make myself as creditable as possible. I didn't want the fact that I was sexually abused as a child and entered into treatment to overcome my abuse that I was now an easy target for another rapist. I was twenty-five when I went back to college.
The first anniversary of the sexual assault after my rapists suspended sentence was up, my offender left a message on my answering machine stating that he was coming back. Fortunately I was out of town at the time. When I got the message I called the police immediately. There were new laws on the books and rape crisis centers were in place. I was referred by the states attorneys office to one, and my life began to come back together. My case was used to get the stalking laws on the books in Illinois. It was because of my rape counselor that I realized that what happened to me was happening to others. That I was not alone. She motivated me in ways that I could never thank her enough. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be doing the work that I am doing today.
So much happened during the time period between 1983-1986 that it would make anyone's head spin. I was dealing with being sexually assaulted (going to court, being stalked, the ectopic pregnancy, etc.). I was dealing with my childhood abuse issues, and I was also attempting to go back to school.
Prior to going back to school I was seeing a therapist who basically told me I had to do something with my time. I could go into a day treatment program, go back to school, or volunteer time some where. I didn't want to be in a treatment program. It was in the middle of the school year, so I could start right away. I opted to volunteer my time.
It was January, 1985. I had just learned about a self-help group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse that was offered at Ravenswood Hospital in Chicago, and so I went. I will never forget the first meeting I went to.
I really was afraid that because of my dissociative disorder the other members of the self-help group for survivors wouldn't want me. I was afraid they would see me as a lunatic. I remember everyone going around the room taking turns introducing themselves to each other. Suddenly it was my turn. I remember saying my name and that I was abused as a child. I then went on to describe my symptoms of dissociating, without saying I had MPD.
The group leader "Judy", smiled and asked "You have MPD?". I was terrified. I was sure she would ask me to leave. Instead she said, welcome. She continued by letting me know that had been others in the self-help group that also had it. Finally I felt like I was seen as something more then a mental patient. I was being seen as a person.
During that first meeting the leader handed out a pamphlet for an organization called VOICES in Action (Victims Of Incest Can Emerge Survivors). It was a new organization that formed a few months prior. Judy told us that she ran the office and was looking for volunteers. The next day I called and within a month I started volunteering my time.
I will never forget the first day I started at VOICES. My sense of self-worth and self-esteem was at an all time low. I had spent so much time in therapy, that I could only see myself as someone crazy.
I remember Judy handing me a stack of mail and said answer them. I was completely puzzled, and asked her how? I couldn't believe that she would trust my judgement enough to answer them. Judy smiled at me and said open them one at a time, read what is writen and find out what the survivors want. I followed her instructions (while thinking to myself that my judgment was poor, and that I had no business doing what she asked).
I open the first envelope. The letter was from a survivor residing out of state. I read the letter out loud. He was looking for a therapist. Judy handed me a folder that had resources in it and an atlas.
She told me to find a therapist close to where the survivor lived. She suggested that I try to send the survivor at least 3 resources, so they would have a choice. VOICES had a pamphlet called "How to find a Therapist." Judy told me to send it along with the resources. It was at that time I finally could see myself as possibly being something other then a psychiatric patient.
Volunteering my time at VOICES changed my life forever. It gave me the courage to go back to school, to change the way I saw myself, and to realize that there were other survivors out there just like me. It was during my time working there that I started to become the victims advocate that I am today.
There are many reasons why I go by my middle name. One had to do with the fact that I had a stalker, who had threatened to rape me again, and also kill me. I couldn't get away from him. That was one of the reasons I started using my middle name. The other reason was I had MPD. Some of the names of my personalities included Susan, Victoria and Vicki. My father never used the name "Vicki" in any form of abuse. It was a name that had no relationship with violence. For me it was a name of empowerment.
From my telephone conversation with Vicki which I promised not to publish until Vicki gave her approval and had the opportunity to edit her words.
Vicki: "I was on the Oprah show just about 16 years ago. All hell broke out in my life after the show. I had been working for an organization called VOICES in Action (Victims Of Incest Can Emerge Survivors) at the time, and was finishing up my bachelor's degree I had told my story tons of time because of the work I did. I had spoken at national conferences, been on TV before and also on radio talk shows.
"Oprah was fairly new at being a national talk show at the time, and I had no idea how public being on that show was going to be. I went on like I did other TV show's with the intention of educating people on the ramifications sexual abuse has on survivors and their communities.
"I was in a disguise, but there's a lot more to it. I was on the show with the therapist I was seeing at the time. I was extremely dissociative back then, and was not aware until afterwards of how unprofessional and inappropriate my therapist was. I realized this after the chief of police of a small town outside of Chicago contacted me. He's become a trusted friend over the years.
"After I was on the show the ADL came after my family. Oprah didn't even know my real name, so I was amazed that in less then 24 hours that they did. I was stopped on the streets by holocaust survivors on my way to school, telling me that "I was going to start another holocaust" by saying what I did.
"The ADL called my parents in to some sort of meeting. I learned of this months later. You have to understand that I have had really little to do with my family since I was in my late teens - early 20's."
Vicki writes in early May, 2005:
The little I am sharing with you about my life, you can see how complicated it all has been. I was seen as a typical teenager to the outside world. A few people knew about the physical abuse, but nothing about anything else.
Once I was able to move away from home, it was safe enough for me to have an "emotional melt down" of sorts. I had no choice but to entered into therapy when that happened. I desperately needed help coming to terms with my childhood.
I'll admit that I've lost a great deal in my life, but with every loss I have also gained a great deal. I always try to see things that happen as "life learning lessons." I've always strive to find good in the most horrendous situations. It's not always that easy, but it's something I try to do.
I was once a victim of abuse. I am now far more then just a "survivor." I've done my best to take the bad and turn it into something positive, something that will help others.
As I'm sure you must be aware by now -- I have dedicated my life to helping others who have been sexually violated. They too deserve to have a voice and be heard.
I wanted to share [a] photo with you. It's from a colleague's book I did back in 1985 or 86. It's basically how it feels for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to be silenced. The title of the piece is called "Silencing the Victim." It was in the book "Shine The Light."
Is Vicki Polin a confessed murderer?
Larry Yudelson writes:
Folks, this discussion actually *is* about Vicki Polin, not any of the various rabbis. Whatever the truth may be about the sex life of your particular rabbi, the charges regarding Vicki Polin are serious in the extreme.
If, as alleged, she appeared on the Oprah show, she is either (1) seriously confused / disturbed / etc or (2) guilty of homicide and (morally at least) failure to help investigate a crime which has no statute of limitations. Were Jewish babies killed in Chicago by a cult which raped 'Rachel' on the Torah scroll?
Jaundice posts to Yudelline.com:
First caveat: I'm not a psychiatrist. Second caveat: I've never met this woman.
And while I can see the interest in the "blood libel" angle, I think the forests are being missed for the trees. Vicki, from what I've seen, fits the classic profile of the 1980s Satanic Ritual Abuse craze.
1. She claims (all these insane and highly improbable things--satanic mass, blood libel, ritualized rape, etc.). This despite the fact that the courts have thrown out almost every single one of the 1980s Satanic Ritual Abuse cases, and it is largely interpreted now to have been the work of mass hysteria, terrible therapists and, in a surprising number of cases, initial complaints filed by people with serious mental health issues (Judy Johnson in the McMartin Preschool case; Mary Anne Barbour in another, etc.)
2. She claims that she has or had multi-personality disorder. This too has fallen on hard times, much like SRA claims. But don't miss the link between these two. MPD (now referred to by the few psychiatrists who still believe in it as DID) often appeared in ritual abuse victims. The link is in what psychiatric reformers who have put this beast almost to rest have claimed: that MPD is most often the result of bad therapists implanting the notion that a patient has "more than one person in there"--including even the case of Sybil of Hollywood fame. The same was true of SRA.
I'd consider it possible that Vicki, given her reference to her years of therapy, had both of these sketchy diagnoses brought out in therapy: her "repressed memories" of the baby-eating came in concert with her "discovery" of multiple personalities.
3. On the subject of the Awareness Center itself, I was shocked to see that among their "types of crimes" they include the subject of Satanic Ritual Abuse.
Note that this is included with Rape, Child Pornography, etc. Whether this makes a mockery of real violent crimes or not, it's inexcusable that this organization has (or had) well-respected board members that signed off on this. What were they thinking?
Read that page. You'll notice that just about all of the information comes from something called "Believe the Children," the diehard remnants of SRA proponents in the 1980s. When they list convictions for SRA, note that nearly *every single one of them* have had their convictions overturned.
People have been hurt badly by this stuff. It sounds like Vicki's parents (whose names I object to having circulated) have been terribly maligned by this woman's fantasies. They didn't serve a decade or more in jail, like Alvin and Deborah McCuan (see the webpage above), but then they also haven't had their now-adult child *recant every word* to get their conviction overturned (which you won't find on the webpage above).
I have no idea about the truth of her accusations of others (or accusations by others that she's printed), but this alone makes her dangerous. If her therapists brought out this erroneous information, as other therapists did in SRA and MPD cases, she, as a therapist herself and a true believer, is likely to bring it out of other "victims" herself.
That webpage above has been on her site for years. How could this have escaped the attention of the board members and others working with her? That more than anything is what's troubling me.
Oprah, the Jews, and Blood Libel
From CultWatch Response Vol. 2, Issue 3:
By Vicki Copeland
In the course of investigating "occult related crime", I have often alleged that the "survivors" who appear on TV and radio shows and in the printed media are likely to arouse hysteria which results in harm to a number of people. Recently, several pieces of information have come across the CWR desk which have confirmed these fears.
In May of 1989, a woman calling herself "Rachel" and claiming to be a survivor of ritualistic child abuse appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. What made Rachel different was that she claimed to be a member of a Jewish family. Among the accusations made by Rachel was ritual child sacrifice.
Jews were unimpressed with Ms. Winfrey's show. Winfrey and her producers met with Jewish leaders and admitted that the remarks could be construed as "grievous misconceptions" and apologized.
End of story? Not hardly. "Rachel" was sponsored by a group calling itself Victims of Incest Can Emerge Survivors (VOICES in Action). In an undated VOICES newsletter, "Rachel" responded to the incident by saying "Recently I had enough courage to share some of my story ... I revealed that I am a Jewish survivor of a multi-generational family who practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism.
"The response from the Anti-Defamation League was to call several meetings with Oprah. They said that she was anti-semitic and I was a crazy person.No one is going to get away with calling me crazy anymore ..."
Unfortunately, someone else agreed with Rachel. In the June, 1989, issue of "America's Promise Newsletter", the story is picked up and enhanced. This publication is printed by one of the anti-Semitic groups in America, and uses Rachel's story as a springboard for a 3-page article justifying all of the blood libel stories concerning the Jews and human sacrifice that have been circulated through the centuries. I wonder how long it will be before someone gets REALLY hurt as a result of these wild accusations?
For further information on this issue, the reader is referred to the following: "Oprah, the Jews, and Ritual Murder", by Bob Hallstron, "America's Promise Newsletter, June 1989. "Jews protest sacrifice tale on Oprah show", Chicago Tribune, May 7, 1989. Section 1, page 26. "The Courage to Show Up and Tell the Truth" and "Rachel Speaks Out", VOICES in Action, Inc. THE NEWSLETTER, undated.
Author Naomi Ragen On Vicki Polin
Naomi writes me 5/22/05:
I am doing some research and came across your website. To my shock and surprise, I read the material about Vicki Polin. Considering the serious allegations that she's made, I think it's important for me to add the following information.
I met Vicki Polin on the internet when she and I were both actively fighting CNN's biased reporting. Vicky started CNNwatch. I found her work very useful to my own. When she wrote me that she was planning on making Aliyah, but she had no place to stay until she could rent an apartment, I offered her my home. She stayed with me for several weeks.
I got to talk with Vicki and I was shocked at both her behavior and her appearance. I am very sympathetic to women claiming sexual abuse in the Jewish world, and have met many bonafide victims. Vicki did not seem to me to be mentally stable and I did not believe a word she said. Moreover, after introducing her to many other activists against CNN, she took serious loans from them and never paid them back. She ran up a large phone bill in my home and never paid me. I believe she also took the aliyah package from the Jewish Agency, even though she skipped town soon afterwards. This kind of dishonesty shows character, and I do not think Ms. Polin, for all her intelligence and for [all] the good work that she does do, can be believed and trusted.
I email Naomi Ragen:
Approximately how much money did Vicki owe you for your phone bill? Vicki says she paid you the $25 she owed you, and if she owed you more, you never told her.
How many dollars in loans did Vicki rack up? Approximately?
Naomi doesn't reply.
On June 3, 2005, Olga in Baltimore writes:
In January 2003 Vicki wanted to buy a new computer. She told me that her credit was bad, that while in Israel her identity had been stolen and her credit has been ruined. She asked me to take out a loan into my name to purchase the computer. Vicki promised to sign a written agreement, as well as made a verbal agreement that she would make regular payments, swearing that the entire amount would be paid off within six months. I agreed and we went to the store together, where $1500 loan was opened into my name for an Apple laptop computer. Needless to say, Vicki never signed any agreement, hiding behind “Don’t worry, we still have the time. Don’t you trust me?” statements/questions.
In February 2003 I was out of the country for an extended trip. While away I applied for a credit card increase, but was declined due to a negative credit. I could not understand that, since I had regularly paid off my monthly bills without fail. The only thing I could have think was the Apple loan. I emailed Vicki telling her about the situation, her reply was she’d been paying off all the payments. I contacted MBNA directly, they said that the payments weren’t being made and the late fees and interest payments were rising.
Therein followed 2-1/2 years of incredible stress and hassle for me as I tried unsuccessfully to get Vicki to pay off the loan. Vicki either avoided her or blatantly lied about the amount she was paying. Vicki was doing her best avoiding me, and she finally turned the whole situation over to her lawyer (Renee Canella), which led to another round of futile pursuit and disagreements. After Vicki’s continuous denial about the loan payments, late fees, and bounced checks, I took steps to take Vicki to a Beit Din, at that point the amount was finally paid off only a couple of months ago. Although Vicki still refuses to pay the extra money I needed to put out to cover the late fees.
Olga provided supporting documentation for her claims. When I raised the matter with Vicki Polin, she had no comment.
Naomi Regan subsequently emails Olga:
I'd be happy to back you up concerning Ms. Polin's dishonesty. She ran out of Israel having used the Jewish Agency money given to new immigrants, and she used my phone and never paid the bill (hundreds of shekels). This after I was kind enough to allow her tolive rent free to help her with her "aliyah." There are many people who helped her when she was in Israel. One told me that he lent her alot of money when she was in Israel, and he was never paid back (but I don't remember his name). You can forward this, and I stand behind it.
I speak Thursday afternoon, May 12, 2005, with a woman who was in the audience of Vicki's appearance on the May 1, 1989 Oprah show.
Woman: "I had already heard everything before from Vicki so that wasn't shocking to me. Oprah was the one who mentioned that Vicki came from a Jewish family. I know that that was not something that Vicki wanted to put forward on the show. I knew that that would blow up."
Luke: "What do you think about the veracity of what Vicki said? Most people would find it hard to believe."
Woman: "In 1984, I learned that my little girl, who was four-years-old, was being sexually abused at a Jewish preschool in Chicago [Rogers Park JCC]. I was the whistleblower on that case. They interviewed over 80 children and found that as many as 20 had been sexually abused.
"Once I found out what had happened to my child, we took her out of school and got her into therapy. My daughter and several other children began making allegations against their teachers and widespread pervasive abuse involving child pornography and bizarre ritualistic activity.
"When I met Vicki, we met through her connection with VOICES in Action (Victims Of Incest Can Emerge Survivors). I was getting involved with the organization Believe The Children, which had been founded by some parents in California who were involved in similar cases, in daycare center, even though they were not Jewish preschools.
"I was hearing bizarre accusations from my child and Vicki was recalling similar events from her childhood. I had no reason to doubt [Vicki]."
Luke: "You have no doubts there was definitely this type of ritual abuse at the school?"
Woman: "There was definitely sexual abuse and physical abuse of the children. As far as the ritual abuse, it's hard to say. Did they really kill babies? I don't know. I do know that the children were convinced that they were killing babies. It may be that they were acting something out with dolls or maybe the children were drugged and led to believe things were happening. There was costuming and special effects involved. I can't say for a fact that they killed a baby. I can say for a fact that my daughter believed that they did."
Luke: "Do you find Vicki's reports about her childhood ritual abuse credible?"
Woman: "I do because they are not inconsistent with what I heard from my own daughter and what I also heard from a lot of other survivors."
Luke: "Isn't there a whole movement against this type of testimony? Something about repressed memory?"
Woman: "Definitely. During the eighties, when my case and similar cases came to light, the cases got a lot of publicity, people were arrested, and then they couldn't convict the people because the children were too young to testify or too traumatized. So, from that, developed this huge backlash against those who were making the allegations. The people who were accused got organized. They banded against the idea that anybody could repress a memory of something and concluded that the children were fantasizing and the parents were hysterical. I can only speak from my own experience. I can't say what may have happened in other cases. I can say that the last thing I wanted to believe was that my child had been abused. I tried to talk her out of it and to find other explanations for what I was hearing. But there wasn't any other explanation.
"I heard horrible things from the mouth of my own four-year-old, bizarre things that I had never heard of doing to a child or an adult. My child had a sheltered life aside from going to that preschool. We didn't even have a VCR at the time or cable TV. Where did she get this information if it didn't happen? She didn't get it from me because I didn't have any abuse in my background."
Luke: "The stuff about killing babies is so hard to put your mind around."
Woman: "There are several theories about that. You can say it was a satanic cult and it was part of their belief system to do this. I know that Vicki's case is especially inflammatory because of her coming from a Jewish family.
"In my child's case, it is possible that all these satanic trappings were part of the effort to terrorize the children, intimidate them, keep them from telling. If you take a small child and kill an animal in front of them, or kill a baby or pretend to kill a baby in front of the child, and then say to the child, if you tell, this is what will happen to you, that's an effective threat. It works to keep the kids shut down.
"With the pornography they were making, perhaps this was part of the pornographic script?"
The woman says her daughter retains few of these shocking memories and has gone on to a normal life.
Vicki Polin writes 5/13/05:
The following affidavit I believe to be written by Rabbi Hershy Worch.
When I first moved to Baltimore I was looking for a rabbi. I had met Rabbi Porter, yet within a few weeks of our first meeting, his learning center burnt down (due to an arson fire). Needless to say he was dealing with a major crisis and wasn't available.
A friend of mine [Olga, she is probably the second affidavit] was aware of some of the confusion I had about Judaism. I had shared some details of my life, as she did about her own abuse history. She suggested I call a rabbi friend of hers who lived in Chicago. My friend told me she had known him for sometime, that he was an orthodox rabbi, and found him to be very knowledgeable and ethical.
I made the mistake of trusting her judgment and made the call to Rabbi Hershy Worch. He assured me that the conversation I had with him was confidential and that he was more then willing to help me understand the spiritual connection to what happened to me as a child. So I started to disclose some of the issues I had with him.
I was just reading the following statement that is on your web page and am 99.9% positive that the anonymous writer is Rabbi Hershy Worch. If I am correct he violated the expressed confidentiality of a rabbi and someone coming to him for counsel. I also feel the need to point out that his statement is filled with a lot of inaccurate information. Two examples include the his statement saying I was asking him for an exorcism. Another is that my parents were NEVER members of the EZRA-HABONIM. I really don't' remember much of the conversation I had with him, but reading the statement below I can tell you it's him.
The friend who originally referred me to Worch made some pretty bizarre suggestions to me after my initial contact with him. It was because of those statements and suggestions that I started backing away from her as a friend.
When the first Worch survivor contacted The Awareness Center I knew immediately who she was talking about. I immediately referred her to a rape crisis center in Chicago.
From Yori Yanover's USAJewish.com page:
Name to be provided to the appropriate legal authority.
November 19th, 2004
About two years ago Ms. Vicki Polin called me on the telephone from Baltimore asking me to perform a ritual of exorcism on her. When I asked why she felt she needed an exorcism, she told me that she was a survivor of a Jewish devil-worshipping cult and felt herself invaded by its baleful influence.
She had heard from a friend that I am a student of kabbalah, so, after her request was refused by rabbis in Baltimore she was turning to me for help with an exorcism.
She told me that her parents were members of the EZRA-HABONIM synagogue on Dempster St. in Skokie, Illinois [Vicki says this is not true]. The essence of her story was that there are currently many rabbis involved in this cult who brought their satanic rituals with them to the USA from Europe. That she was born into one of the Jewish families owing allegiance to the cult. She claimed to have been used as part of an organized child sexual abuse ring organized by the rabbi of her synagogue, and that the sexual abuse took place on Sifrei Torah Scrolls laid out on the floor of the synagogue. That the abuse began in early childhood and continued over a period of many years, through her teen years and into adulthood, and that she was only one of the many young children, boys and girls used in this manner. I did not ask for specifics of the rituals but she mentioned cannibalism, defecation and the sacrilege of sacred objects.
I told her that if she feels herself Tameh, unclean she ought to go to the mikveh - ritual baths.
All the above is what she told me during our single phone conversation. I have not spoken or corresponded with her since then.
I believe the following affidavit probably comes from a woman named Olga, who has been a close friend with rabbi Worch and was friendly with Vicki two years ago.
Name to be provided to the appropriate legal authority.
November 17, 2004
Vicki Polin told me that she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show using the name Rachel.
In that appearance and in private conversations to me she made the following claims:
That her family belonged to a satanic ritual cult in which she was regularly sexually abused from the time she was a baby.
That she was forced to murder babies and eat their flesh as part of this cult.
She was raped on Torah scrolls in a synagogue in Chicago.
That she had five abortions as a result of incest with her father.
That she suffers from multiple personality disorder.
Vicki made it very clear that she believes that there is a large satanic cult with many professional people as members who are regularly involved in sex abuse and murdering babies.
She told me that she believes that this satanic cult dates back to Jacob Frank:
She told me she was afraid to eat chicken bones because they reminded her of the murdered babies’ bones.
All of this information Vicki claimed to me to have recovered in memories instigated through therapy.
Vicki Polin Equals Shauna Green
Vicki is the "Shauna Green" in Rachel Lev's 2002 book Shine the Light: Sexual Abuse and Healing in the Jewish Community. Vicki is described this way: "Shauna is a 40-something artist, therapist, and survivor of ritual abuse, who over the years recovered from a dissociative identity disorder."
From page 175: "As a teenager I lived in a car for a while," said Shauna Green. "I was certain my parents were going to kill me. I wish there had been a safe house to go to -- to get away from my parents. I wish there had been some way to force them into treatment. It was my word against theirs. No one did anything. The schools made it into a behavioral problem. Family decided I was a discipline problem. I was molested in my temple by the rabbi and others. What do I want the Jewish community to do now? Instead of belittling, educate. Learn the symptoms of abuse. Learn what to do. Learn how you can reach out."
The book contains some of Vicki's art work and on the back features an endorsement from rabbi Mark Dratch.
Vicki Polin writes:
FYI: This quote isn't completely accurate. As a few other quotes in the book.
When I was either 19 or 20 I lived in my car for short time. There were times when I was in high school that I would sneak out at night when I was afraid I was going to be attacked and sleep in a barrel at a local playground. I felt safer there then I did in my own home. A few of my friends and my high school guidance counselor was aware of the fact that I was doing this.
There was a time that the school psychologist attempted to get me into a respite home for teens. My parents refused to sign the papers giving me permission and I had no choice but to return back to my families home.
My parents made my actions into a behavioral problem, NOT the school. The school was lacking in action once I disclosed the physically abuse. I was told by the school nurse that my bruises wouldn't photograph well enough, so there was nothing they could do. I never told them about anything else, since I felt they didn't do anything with the allegations of physical abuse, even though there was evidence.
This quote is wrong: "I was molested in my temple by the rabbi and others." I was molested in a temple.
For years, Vicki used the pen name "Shauna Green." Here is an article she wrote under that name in 1992: "Questions to Ask Yourself Before Disclosing, Confronting or Going Public." It's on The Awareness Center website.
Another error in the Rachel Lev book is that Vicki's parents did not belong to a Reform synagogue.
I call rabbi Yosef Blau at Yeshiva University at 7:45am PST, Friday, May 13, 2005.
Rabbi Blau: "I just walked out of giving a class."
Luke: "The essential question that is being posted anonymously is that rabbi Blau was blackmailed into leaving The Awareness Center because there was damaging information about his son's divorce that he wanted to hide?"
Rabbi Blau: "That's nonsense. I've heard different versions of it.
"Number one. Anything that has has to do with my son's divorce is public record. There's nothing there. It was very unpleasant business. Life has unpleasant business."
Luke: "Were you blackmailed in any way to leave The Awareness Center?"
Rabbi Blau laughs. "I would not describe it as such.
"The other version of the story is that I was blackballed into joining it because of my son's story. Which way do they want it? That was in JWB2.
"Being on The Awareness Center is a complex thing because it is not an Orthodox organization. It takes on some difficult situations. It does some extraordinarily good work, and I'm not talking about what's written on the net [theawarenesscenter.org]. I'm talking about how it has really helped survivors of abuse. That certainly has affected me as well. My wife has always wanted me to get out [of The Awareness Center]. I'm taking on a new area of responsibility starting Sunday. They're going to try to stop that too, I assume. I just don't have the koach (strength) to do it anymore.
"This is part of the desperate campaign to divert attention... I don't think there's any question about who's orchestrating this campaign. It's a desperation campaign. If they claim that people are being blackmailed, it doesn't say too much good about them.
"If you would ask Vicki Polin, she understands what is going on.
"That people are bringing this [his son's divorce] up on blogs is a sign of desperation. It's unpleasant."
Luke: "Is it true that you were going to leave anyway within a week?"
Rabbi Blau: "Yes, I had promised my wife that I would leave anyway when I became president of the RZA (Religious Zionists of America), which was this Sunday [May 15]."
Luke: "Have you lost a lot of friends over your being in The Awareness Center?"
Rabbi Blau: "I don't think so. You'd have to define who are friends. Eversince I got involved with dealing with these kind of situations, the people whose accusations I feel are totally inappropriate have always had supporters. Their supporters have not been major fans of mine. This was before I even heard of The Awareness Center. I only heard about it a couple of years ago. That's a price one has to pay for this kind of thing. In the net of things, I don't think I've lost more friends than I've gained."
Luke: "How long have you known about Vicki's appearance on the Oprah Show in 1989?"
Rabbi Blau: "She told me right at the beginning."
Luke: "And did that cause you trepidation about aligning with such a person who made such claims?"
Rabbi Blau: "My sense of what it means to be a survivor of abuse, and what one goes through, and the process of healing, is such that I don't judge such people who did something like that."
Luke: "I don't think people understand that Vicki can be competent in her job and still be completely wrong in what she said on Oprah?"
Rabbi Blau: "Ok."
Luke: "What do you think?"
Rabbi Blau: "I made my statement.
"She comes from a non-observant [secular] background. Her knowledge of Judaism is only what she gained in the past couple of years. At that time , was stuff she had only gotten from strange sources. That she had a distorted view then has nothing to do with what she's doing now."
In January 2005, Vicki Polin showed rabbi Blau the tape of her Oprah appearance. "It was clear that someone at some point was going to try to use it against her. I told her to speak to a reporter directly and have him view the tape. She did that [with Phil Jacobs, the editor of the Baltimore Jewish Times] but he never wrote the article.
"This [stuff such as Blaufacts.com] is all coming from people with an agenda to protect people who've appeared there [theawarenesscenter.org]. They're swinging wildly. They've done it to you as well. You know it."
Luke: "Would you agree that people with no agenda who read a transcript of that tape would think that Vicki was nuts?"
Rabbi Blau: "Very possibly, if they didn't know the whole picture. That's why I told her to speak to a reporter."
I email Vicki for the date rabbi Blau joined The Awareness Center. She replies: "I don't remember the exact date, but it was when I first moved to Baltimore. I remember this because I had asked Rabbi Porter who rabbi blau was, and if he thought he was ethical and I should invite him to be on the board. Rabbi Porter said yes, and laughed because I didn't know who he was. I get that a lot from people."
Later, Vicki wrote me that rabbi Blau joined TAC board in February 2002. Vicki says she moved to Baltimore in October, 2001. She met rabbi Porter in December 2001 and rabbi Blau in early 2002.
I call Vicki Polin Wednesday night, December 15, 2004. She runs The Awareness Center.
Luke: "Tell me why you started The Awareness Center?"
Vicki: "I've been working in the sexual victimization field since 1985. I started as a volunteer, and then went back to school to get my degrees. As time has gone on, I've gotten more in touch with my Jewish identity. I started to realize that there was nothing out there for the Jewish survivors of sexual violence. For years I told other people to start something, no one did, so I ended up creating The Awareness Center.
"It was a gradual process. In April of 1999, I started changing my private practice web page into The Awareness Center as it is now.
"Back in the early 1990's, I was working in a rape crisis center on the South side of Chicago. I was a clinical sex abuse therapist, working with kids who were sexually abused. I was the fifth Caucasian hired and the first Jew. As I worked with the kids, I had to learn about black history, Kwanzaa, and black power. I started realizing that I knew more about their heritage than I did about my own. That's when I started learning about Judaism."
Luke: "How did you start getting support for The Awareness Center, particularly from Orthodox rabbis?"
Vicki: "As I was recreating the web page, I was also googling Jewish web pages finding e-mail addresses and sending notes to everyone who had an e-mail address listed -- letting them know what I was doing and asking if they were interested in joining forces. That's how I met Na'ama Yehuda, Dr. Michael Salamon and rabbi [Yosef] Blau and rabbi [Mark] Dratch. I'll never forget when I got an e-mail back from rabbi Blau, I didn't know who he was. I had to ask someone who he was. My friend told me he was OK and I should contact him. I did that immediately and the rest is history."
Luke: "What have been the typical areas of conflict between you and Orthodox rabbis regarding the center?"
Vicki: "It seems that everybody has a different perspective on halacha and the way we deal with cases. It all depends on which case we're dealing with, what the halacha seems to be."
Luke: "Why did rabbi Dratch leave the center?"
Vicki: "He was under a great deal of pressure with his position with the RCA. It was a conflict of interest between the two organizations. You would have to ask him."
Luke: "How is dealing with sexual abuse different in the Orthodox world than outside of it?"
Vicki: "First of all, the Awareness Center is not an Orthodox organization. It is a Jewish organization. We have individuals calling us from all affiliations and including those from no affiliation. On our web page we have cases of alleged and convicted rabbi abuse from every affiliation.
"In the secular world, people read newspapers and watch TV. They tend to be pretty progressive in the way they see individuals who have been sexually victimized, especially children. In the Orthodox world, it is often so insulated, that I feel that I am back in the 1980s trying to educate them on the basics. Many just don't have the information available to them that they need."
Luke: "How do you tell the truth when someone alleges sexual abuse?"
Vicki: "One of the myths that people have is that the majority of claims individuals make of sexual violence are made up. You have to realize that it is only 1-2 percent of cases where there might be false allegations. If and when there is a case of false allegations -- it is usually a cry for help, something else is going on in the life of the individual. Either way, the individual needs help.
"One of the things The Awareness Center does is to look for consistency in what a caller is saying.
"The statistics of occurrences of childhood sexual abuse is the same in the Orthodox world as it is in the secular world. I even read a study some time ago saying the statistics are the same in rural China. Basically one out of three-to-five women and one out of every five-to-seven men have been sexually abused by their 18th birthday."
Luke: "Don't you think the Jewish community is taking this more seriously than it has in the past?"
Vicki: "It depends on which community you are talking about. I was recently talking to a rabbi from an extremely insulated community -- he basically was saying that anybody who makes these kind of allegations is crazy. It appeared that he bought into the myth that 'Jewish people don't abuse their children.' It enraged me, and made me more determined to do what ever I could to make sure our rabbinic leaders become educated."
Luke: "What is rabbi Saul Berman's complaint with the center?"
Vicki: "His complaint has mainly to do with our handling of the case of rabbi Mordechai Gafni. From the beginning, I've had no idea where he was coming from and why he is trying to protect an individual who confessed to statuary rape a 13-year old girl. Rabbi Gafni has never shown any signs of remorse. He has never made teshuva [repentance] to the individual he assaulted. Rabbi Berman has sent The Awareness Center several long elaborate letters of complaint. No matter what we did or said, he just wasn't satisfied. It's obvious that he is lacking the needed education so that he could have a better understanding of sex offenders and in working with survivors of sexual violence. It saddens and scares me that a man of his statute is not willing to learn."
Luke: "Do you feel like you need to educate these rabbis?"
Vicki: "Definitely. I'd love to do training with them. One of the long-term goals of The Awareness Center is to have some kind of certification program for rabbis. Once they are educated we would be able to use them as referral sources for survivors, their family members and those who offend."
Luke: "How much training does a rabbi need?"
Vicki: "When I worked as a rape victims advocate, I had to undergo a 40-hour training on some of the basics. That's what I wanted to start out with. Rabbis need to understand what the symptoms are of someone who has been sexually violated (both adults and children). They need to know about the different types of sex offenders, and how to help families members of sex offenders. They also need to know what to do when an alleged or convicted sex offender comes to their minyan. They need to know some of the basics of how to make their minyans safe for everyone."
Luke: "What role does rabbi Blau play with the center?"
Vicki: "He's my partner in crime. He is our halachic advisor, does a lot of hands on work -- doing a lot of case management. And most important, he's always explaining to me -- who's who in the Orthodox world."
Luke: "Do you believe that God called you to be a sex abuse victims advocate?"
Vicki: "It's hard for me to say that it comes from God. Please remember that I come from an atheist background. I'm really learning as I go along. What I feel comfortable saying is that the universe has opened its doors in this direction for me. Every time I try to walk away, it just doesn't let me."
Luke: "Have you ever been romantically or sexually involved with someone you were [counseling]?"
Luke: "What do you think about suppressed memories, are they valid?"
Vicki: "Instead of me answering this question, I would like to refer you to a dynamic web page that discusses all of the relevant information on the topic."
Luke: "Is the center a one woman show?"
Vicki: "The Awareness Center is a coalition of several different individuals who are dedicated to ending sexual victimization in Jewish communities around the world. We currently are all volunteers (I can't wait until the day we have the funding we need to hire staff). I may be the most visable, but we have a team effort going on. We would not be able to do the work I'm doing without Rabbi Yosef Blau, Na'ama Yehuda, Dr. Michael Salamon, Renee Cannella, San, Adam and a slew of other people.
Luke: "Are you the poster “Me”?"
Vicki: "I am NOT the individual who posted on the Protocols blog, who used the name of "ME". I wish I was as intellegent and as articulate. The "ME" poster has a vast knowledge of Hebrew and Torah. I don't."
Vicki's deaf cousin Robin was active in Jews for Jesus and featured in a court case.
Larry Yudelson writes: "Having a relative who is a Jew for Jesus would explain TAC's fixation on cult membership as a symptom of abuse."
Tendlers Vs Blaus Vs Polin
My sources say: What Mordecai Tendler needed was psychological/moral/religious help. He has big problems. He thinks he's above the Torah. He gave permission to people who are a Cohen to marry a divorcee. It is in this week's Torah reading that a Cohen can not marry a woman who is divorced.
He was freeing women from their marriages on flawed and questionable grounds. One woman was warned by several people about marrying a particular guy. She married him anyway. It was exactly as predicted. She was abused in every way. Then, when she wanted a divorce, he wouldn't give her a get. She went to Mordecai Tendler. He knew that she was warned before the marriage but he dissolved her marriage on the basis that she had married without knowing whom she married. It was taking something by mistake.
People who have analyzed the things Mordecai Tendler has said on behalf of his grandfather Reb Moshe Feinstein are about to come out with a study showing that Mordecai's rulings are at variance with things his grandfather said. At the end of Reb Moshe Feinstein's life, when Mordecai Tendler was put in charge of his apartment and his ailing grandfather, his grandmother was afraid of him. He was rude to people who came to see Reb Moshe Feinstein. Mordecai has problems. It's a shame that the family did not deal with these problems.
Mordecai Tendler did something outrageous 12 years ago. Rabbi Yosef Blau spoke to his father Rabbi Moshe Tendler, who said that "Mordecai was a strange kid. He's always been a strange kid. He does idiotic things."
The Tendlers hired Hank Sheinkopf as a fixer/publicist.
Mrs. Blau was always unhappy with The Awareness Center (TAC) and she told her husband exactly why she did not approve of TAC. Mrs. Blau saw no reason to post those profiles. Just the names of people who should not be hired. That would've been enough.
Mrs. Blau told rabbi Blau that Vicki Polin went overboard, that Vicki was sensationalist, and that there was no way of controlling her. Mrs. Blau didn't like the Tendler family page on The Awareness Center website (recently removed but can be found here). She saw no reason to bring in the names of the people related to Mordecai Tendler. Why mention that Mordecai was Moshe Feinstein's grandson? Why is that part of the story? Why is that Vicki's place to put that on the internet? Though rabbi Blau was on TAC board, there was no telling Vicki what to do.
Mrs Blau told rabbi Blau: It can't be both ways. You can't cover for everything she's doing while she's doing her own thing. Mrs. Blau was very upset. Every time she sees an Awareness Center email, which come several times a day, she deletes it immediately. Mrs. Blau asked her husband -- what is accomplished by reading in the United States that someone in Netanya, Israel, is accused of something? To carry every report from around the world would make one think that sexual perversion has run amok in the Jewish community.
Rabbi Blau said that even though Vicki made mistakes, she was doing more good than harm, and if he was to leave TAC, it would be open season for sexual predators. Such predators need the fear of exposure in addition to the fear of G-d.
Mrs. Blau predicated Rabbi Blau's taking the RZA (Religious Zionists of America) presidency on his leaving TAC.
Rabbi Berman and Telushkin's crusade against rabbi Blau and TAC is to save Mordecai Gafni. Why they are protecting Gafni? Who knows? Saul has a blind eye and a deaf ear on this matter. Otherwise, Saul is wonderful.
Rabbi Yosef Blau's son was married to a disturbed woman. Therefore, the divorce was protracted and bitter. The civil divorce was quick. It was the Jewish divorce that she did not want to accept. If the Blaus gave out the papers on the divorce, the divorced woman's family would be shamed.
The Blaus will go to a wedding and people will turn away from rabbi Blau and say hello his rebbetzin. They shun rabbi Blau because of his role in TAC.
Mrs. Blau said that Vicki was the wrong intermediary for the community on this issue. She has a checkered past (that 1989 Oprah appearance) and she remains a loose cannon.
On the other hand, I've been getting calls and email from women who are profoundly grateful to Vicki Polin for the help she's given them in rebuilding their lives. This help has been far more important to them than whatever Vicki said on Oprah in 1989.
I talk Thursday morning, May 19, by phone with Orthodox rabbi Ze'ev Smason or the Nusach Hari Bnai Zion synagogue in St. Louis, MO.
Luke: "Did Vicki tell you about her 1989 appearance on the Oprah show?"
Rabbi Smason: "Yes, she did mention that to me. I've known Vicki for at least six years. I met Vicki on the internet in a Jewish chatroom, as I have done many other individuals, as a rabbi and as a person. I've made many pleasant associations with people throughout the world. At one time, we had a get together in St. Louis. I invited a number of people from around the country to come to our house over the weekend to spend Shabbos with myself, my wife, and my family. Vicki was one of the people who came. I got to know Vicki better. I've maintained contact with her over the years."
Luke: "What do you know about her 1989 appearance on the Oprah show?"
Rabbi Smason: "I only know what I've seen in the articles she sent me about it. I don't know any more than what she has said publicly about it."
Luke: "Does she strike you as someone who is mentally stable?"
Rabbi Smason: "Yes, she does."
Luke: "What do you know about her work on the issue of sex abuse?"
Rabbi Smason: "I know about her work with The Awareness Center and it is a one-woman show publicizing specific instances of abuse as well as disseminating information to people on how to respond properly to abuse. She's a voice in the wilderness raising people's consciousness about it. She's at the forefront."
Luke: "When Vicki went on Oprah in 1989, she said her family was part of a cult that ritually sacrificed children going back to the 1700s. As a rabbi who is aware of how this sort of charge has been used against Jews since the Middle Ages, that they sacrifice children..."
Rabbi Smason: "To say such a thing is abhorrent. It's appalling. I don't know what prompted her to say that. I don't know what her state of mind was at the time. I've never asked her if she still believes that that is so."
Luke: "She does."
Rabbi Smason: "I haven't spoken to her about that issue. I have related to her as she has appeared to me from the moment I met her. When I first met her, she indicated that she had spoken on Oprah and that there was some controversy involved with that. She said she had a troubled background and spoke with me in some detail about the problems she had with her family. I just related to her as a friend and on a case-by-case basis of what she is doing now in raising consciousness about sexual abuse."
Luke: "How closely have you been following The Awareness Center (TAC)?"
Rabbi Smason: "Fairly closely. She keeps me in touch via emails and I see The Awareness Center being mentioned in other people's emails. There have been issues that have come to light through the Rabbinical Council of America about a certain member who was expelled. Some of the things that have never been discussed in the Jewish community, such as sexual abuse by rabbis, are now being more freely discussed."
Luke: "From what you know, do you think The Awareness Center is doing more good than harm?"
Rabbi Smason: "It's hard for me to answer that question. There's a lot of good that they do and there are things that they do that I object to. There has to be a careful calculation made when exposing the names of individuals. We have issues in Jewish law that prevent us from defaming, slandering and maligning individuals. It could well be that a competent posek [a decisor of Jewish law] could decide that the individual's name needs to be publicized because the individual is a danger. But to make that decision requires broad shoulders, to take upon oneself the decision to publicize this individual. I question the criteria by which certain individuals' names are mentioned [on TAC]."
Luke: "How would you describe Vicki's knowledge of Judaism when you met her?"
Rabbi Smason: "She was not well-versed in Judaism and traditional Jewish sources."
The Sholom Polin Family
Vicki Polin writes:
Dr. Sholom Polin was married to Sara (Shashaka) Rivka (Chernick), who was the daughter of Dr. Yehudah Leib Chernick. Sholom was known in Motol as “Sholom der Rofeh” which means Sholom the Doctor.
Sholom and Sarah had 12 children, of which six survived and migrated to Chicago in 1912. The Polin children included: Anuta (Sadkin), Abraham, Rose, Oscar, Emma (Fleishman) and Herbert.
The family name Polin is not related to the country Poland nor to the personal name Polina. According to Rabbi Milton Polin (son of Abraham, who was born in the nearby town of Pohost), the name was “conferred” upon his great grandfather Mordechai who was a very pious person. He was always available to help others so they used to say, “Go to Reb Mordechai, and you will accomplish (payln in Yiddish) whatever it is you need.” A Hebrew translation might be Poel Yeshuot (English translation would be “savior.”)
Rose Polin was the first female pharmacist in Chicago, and the first female pharmacist to own her own drug store. Herbert J. Polin was born in Motol in 1900. He was a past president of the Chicago Pharmacy Association.
Rabbi Milton H. Polin is the Rabbi Emeritus of Kingsway Jewish Center of Brooklyn, NY, and a past president of the Rabbinical Council of America. A speech honoring Rabbi Polin by the Honorable Charles E. Schumer can be found in the records of the House of Representatives dated Thursday, October 2, 1997.
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