Monday, December 27, 2021

Walder Speaks ... ""Listen to me, if this [affair] is publicized I will shoot myself" then Kills Himself


Haredi author and educator Chaim Walder was found dead in a cemetery near his son's grave on Monday, in what is suspected to have been suicide. Walder was facing multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault of minors since a Haaretz expose last month.
Walder was a well-known author of children and young adults books in the ultra-Orthodox world, with his series Kids Speak (in Hebrew - Yeladim Mesaprim Al Atzmam) selling over two million copies in communities across Israel and the Diaspora. The first book in the series became one of the top five best-selling books in Israel of all time.
He was accused of raping minors and young adults, all of whom he met in his line of work as a therapist and children's author. In November of this year, two anonymous women spoke to Haaretz and shared their accounts of their experiences with Walder, and a third anonymous account from a 20-year-old woman was also shared. 

Following the news of his death, Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu, who had been presiding over a Beit Din (rabbinical court) regarding the alleged sexual abuse suffered by victims at the hands of Walder, released a statement. 
"It is too bad he chose this path, we had offered him the option to fix what he had broken. To apologize to his victims. To change his ways. To ensure that no more women would be harmed," Eliyahu said. "We send strength to the many victims in these difficult times, their lives precede his life."
A total of 22 people came forward to date to testify before the rabbinical court, Haaretz reported on Sunday.
Based on the evidence of the testimonies, which have since been cross-examined and determined to be in line with other testimonies and evidence, Eliyahu, one of the leading figures in the fight against sexual assault in Israel's ultra-Orthodox communities, summoned Walder to his court.  Walder declined, stating that the outcome of the case was predetermined before his version of events was even heard.
A Rabbinical court can be established for a variety of reasons and is generally comprised of three rabbis who are required to be experts in relevant Jewish law. In this instance, serving alongside Eliyahu were Rabbi Reuven Nakar and Rabbi Aharon Yirchi.

While Rabbinical courts are generally established for matters pertaining to Jewish law such as conversion, kosher slaughter, and more, they can also be established for civil affairs, such as in the case of the allegations against Walder.
Although the Rabbinical court has no legal power in this instance as it is outside of the powers granted to them by the State (conversion, marriage, and divorce), decisions made by the court hold immense significance and influence in ultra-Orthodox society. 
Walder was accused of exploiting young women who came to him for therapeutic treatment. 
In the testimony shared with Haaretz, Talia (not her real name) recounted the first time she met Walder, at the age of 12, more than 20 years ago. 
Upon meeting her, Walder told the girl that she was "very mature," and that he liked the way she looked. "He was very smart and manipulative," Talia told the newspaper. "He did it very slowly, so as not to stress me out."
Over time, Talia said, these overt comments became more explicit, and Walder would ask her frequently if she had begun menstruating yet, repeatedly over several months. When she reached the age of 13 and began menstruating, Walder, she said, began to engage in full sexual intercourse with her.
"I remember the trauma afterwards, I remember crying," she said in her testimony. 

The court heard testimonies from the victims themselves and reviewed relevant documents and recordings of Walder, all of which seemed to corroborate the allegations of those testifying.

"We are not judging [Walder] based on a newspaper article," Rabbi Eliyahu clarified in a Facebook post. "We have received a lot of evidence. All those involved in this matter have been in contact with therapists and professionals who have testified before us that over the years many people who had been hurt by Walder came to them. I know these people well. They are completely credible and their testimonies match what was published in Haaretz."

The earliest testimony against Walder dates back 25 years, and the most recent is from a mere six months ago. All allege that Walder's attacks on his victims would take place in his bookstore in Bnei Brak, his office, his car, or in various hotels.

Among the testimonies given in court and shared with the publication was one woman who alleged that while she was working at an ultra-Orthodox summer camp, Walder forcibly assaulted a camper under her care. She also testified for a woman who had been raped by Walder after coming to him seeking treatment.

Others alleged that women who had been assaulted by Walder during sessions had been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreements to make sure that they stayed silent about their experiences.

Evidence was also presented of both a 12-year-old and a nine-year-old allegedly assaulted by Walder, one at his summer camp and the other after coming to him for treatment. 

Other evidence presented and later reported on by Haaretz focused on a consensual affair between Walder and a married woman.

In a recording, Walder can be heard urging the woman, who admitted to having the affair, to take back her confession and conceal evidence relating to him from the Rabbinical court. 

"Come and learn something," he can be heard saying to the woman. "In life, everything can be concealed...even if they were to present a photograph of me next to you I would deny it. I would say it was photoshopped. I will never admit to it, never."

Walder urged the woman to retract her testimony of the affair, telling her to say her husband threatened her into reporting a fake event. Nevertheless, the woman continued to relay her version of the events in front of the court. As heard on a recording, Walder threatened the woman, saying he would end his own life.

"Listen to me, if this [affair] is publicized I will shoot myself. Let this be clear to you and don't have any doubts. This would mean the end of my own life," he says in the recording.

Since the allegations were first reported in Haaretz almost two months ago, many people in ultra-Orthodox communities worldwide have taken action to remove his books from their stores and shelves, and he has been dropped by Feldheim, the publishing company he has worked with on his Kids Speak series for many years.

Both Israeli supermarket chain Osher Ad and American Jewish bookstore Eichler's have removed his books from their shelves, and his weekly column in the haredi Yated Ne'eman newspaper and his radio talk show have both been indefinitely suspended. 

Walder continued to deny the allegations against him, with his representatives saying he passed a polygraph test as evidence that he is telling the truth. 

"We will make it clear that a self-appointed court that decides a person is guilty and only then invites him to tell his version is a sham court to which truth is foreign and the rules of justice do not apply," read the statement from Walder's representatives.

"Our client will not give up and he is ready to fight for his good name, until the end."


LES AYM said...

I'm glad a beis din was taking this seriously, but how come there was no Israeli court case going on, which would've had the power to imprison him, unlike a beis din?

Zako said...

To LES AYM 4:00 PM

"How come there was no Israeli court case going on" ?
Precisely because there never was a single official complaint filed against him from any of the self-appointed victims. Not a single guilty plea or court case. Some book editors went public against him, and the media vultures finished the job.

Dusiznies said...

The victims were all Chareidie and 21 lived in Bnei-Brak in his own community.
Chareidim are not allowed to go to secular courts or report abuse. Also at least 6 of them were married, they in fact testified in Bais Din in private as not wanting their husbands to find out.
The exact same thing happened with Mashi Zahav ...
There are now 3 Roshei Yeshiva facing rape and molestation charges, one of them had relations with his own daughters. Bais Din knew about this for years, it was only after his wife couldn't take it anymore that she went to police.
The Eida Hachreidis knew that Walder was a rapist years ago and banned his books, but they never explained why, as chareidim defend the rapists, molesters and let the victims get destroyed.

Chareidim are defending Berland, a rapist and adulterer who was caught with his pants down screwing his closest Talmud's wife. Berland admitted in court all this yet he is being defended by Motta Frank and is visited by the Spinka Rebbe.

Just yesterday, the victims of Walder testified in Rabbinical court and produced recordings of him begging one of his victims to keep quiet or he will have to shoot himself.

I feel for his family but I feel more for his victims and the world is better off without him.

Bnei-Brak Neighbor said...

There were a lot more victims but only 22 came to Bais Din. His crimes go back 25 years and here in Bnei-Brak this was an open secret.
Because chareidim by in large avoid social media and will not go to police, guys like Walder and Mashi Zehav get away with murder. Untold families were torn asunder because of this Walder and the after effects will not be known for years.
Interesting that the same people who rant against going to secular court are now defending Walder because the victims went to Bais Din instead, there is no satisfying defenders of rapists and molesters.
I wonder how they would feel if their own daughters were raped.

Anonymous said...

Walder's suicide is tragic beyond words. A talented genius who could have used this moment to take responsibility and usher in a new era of safety for Chareidie children but instead chose to end his life in a petty ploy to torment his victims. I live in Bne Brak and I can tell you that there is a sigh of relief that he is gone. None of his victims would have ever gone to secular court because they would have had to leave the community, the fact that they went to a Sfardie Bais Din was because no Bais Din in town would take their case. The Police did open a case last week but no victim so far as we now know approached them.
Some of the victims will sue his estate so more info will come out as this unfolds
The Chillul Hashem is not even Walder's crimes, the Chillul Hashem is that there are people defending this Rasha Me'Rusha

Anonymous said...

please post all information
re walder
I know he is dead
but his victims need to know we believe them
and the frum community needs to know that it is all true
including the recording or how you know

Mendel said...

Totally agree with you

Mendel said...

Totally agree, the Rabbonim that knew about his abuse for years also have a big part of responsibility for the victims, his death and the massive chilul hashem

Curious said...

Mendel - Which rabbanim knew about his abuse for years? And how do you know they knew?

BB Neighbor - how long has this been an open secret? When did you know about it? If it was an open secret, why were people still going to him for therapy? I'm just confused about this timeline and what happened here.

Happy Tree said...

Because the Rabbi's said "How could you take away this great man's parnasah?"
So sad and so true.They want to beleive it didn't exist.
The victims have to live with this their entire life victimized twice.Once by Walder .Then by their own community.
Time to wake up!!!

Yanki L. said...

Anyone that might molest children (or anybody for that matter) SHOULD better KILL HIMSELF than sexually abuse others

Zako said...

Orleans, France, 1971.
A widespread rumor broke out in the whole country. Jewish-owned dress shops in the city of Orleans were drugging their women customers and were abducting them into the white slave trade, smuggling them through tunnels under the shops. The media was at its highest. Some people even testified about a submarine navigating in the Loire river (technically impossible) and conveying the "slaves" towards the Atlantic ocean. The rumor was a fabrication: No woman had disappeared, but locals accepted the rumor at face value.

Google / YouTube : Orleans rumor

Dusiznies said...

Are you comparing a rumor to 22 victims with recordings testifying in a Bais Din?
There were hundreds .... hundreds more that didn't come forward and didn't want their families destroyed.
The Eida Hacreidis banned his books a long time ago because they knew that he was a pervert and of course they didn't allow the women to go to the police.

Zako said...

"Hundreds more" ? Who can beleive this for even one second ? That fabulation alone is sufficient to call this whole story a real bad sad tragic hoax.

Dusiznies said...

Yes hundreds ..this has been going on for 25 years. A lady in my building was a victim of this pathetic monster.
Even if it was only one, he would be a monster.
It is tragic because now victims will be silenced because of people like you
The Rabbanim who said not a word about any of the victims are עתיד לתת דין וחשבין
Did Rabbi Edelstein ask to speak to any of the accusers? Did he?
This monster refused to go to Bais Din and he knew that the victims would not go to police and secular court and like the coward that he was, he killed himself so that they would also have guilt with no closure the killed by his son's kever to garner sympathy to continue to torment his victims . The world is far better without him.

Anonymous said...

DIN was conservative when he wrote hundreds, because it's actually thousands.
Each victim has parents, siblings, children or a spouse and when one victim is traumatized because of abuse it effects the entire family. In Bnei-Brak, at least 7 families broke up because of this fiend and the Bnei-Brak rabbanim knew and know this. My very own grandchild was abused by this sickie when he was in camp, and he went OTD 10 years ago. The parents wouldn't believe him when he told his story, this was before people talked about this.
Rabbi Edelstein knows many other mechanchim that are abusers and he is terrified of the cork finally popping off so this statement by him is a warning to other victims to kept their mouths shut! What a sick world out there, and to think that there are supporters of this fiend commenting and doubting the veracity of his crimes is very disheartning!

Anonymous said...

I don’t know either way here but if dusiznias knows a actual story personally about chaim walden maybe he should report it here with all the details and why didn’t he report it years ago when it happened or maybe he just found out would appreciate if you can clarify these points