Brooklyn, NY – Rabbis: Tranquility Bay Not An Option For Any Jewish Child


    Brooklyn, NY – In a forceful strongly worded letter Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky writes that in no way should tranquility bay be an option for troubled teens.

    the letter appears in the Jewish press of this week on page 15.

    VIN news has learned that the letter was made public, after a few parents with troubled teens came forward and where leaning to send their teens to tranquility bay, even with all the recent negative press about it.

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    1. The public should know that there was resistance to this letter being publicized even though it was written by Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky and signed by Drs. Twerski and Pelkovitz. Perhaps there are some individuals with power who feel really guilty about the positions they took in trying to keep the Hersh boy in the conditions that exist in that facility in Jamaica. Boruch Hashem it was released for the world to see.

      For those who need to hear a different expression of the message, it is “ossur” to place any Jewish child in such “sakanah”.

    2. Why publish in the Jewish Press only, it should be in the YATED and the HAMODIA……plus a few of the yiddish papers also..
      Do not keep it a secret!

    3. Yated and Hamodia do not care about snything that pertains to saving a yiddishe neshoma. The Hamodia constantly puts things under the rugs. Instead of hamodia having the attitude of printing kosher news they take sides and stick their own opions and have their own agendas.

      As the years go on we surely miss Rabbi Moshe Sherer. Rabbi M. Sherer did everything in his power and with the help of the previuos generation of gedolim to HELP all of klal yisroel no matter how frum they were.

      A jew is a jew and when will hamodia understand this?

    4. Why do you conclude that this monster of a kid should be afforded any type of human decency let alone awarded any protection by toirah, that it (this monster) despises. Why do you think that because this seems shocking it deserves your knee-jerk reaction. Why don’t you just put your little innocent children in this subhuman’s way and see what conclusion you’ll come to! This pesack is really a shocker but the gedoilim have the last work, however every case need be evaluated on its own merits, and a shailas chochom made.

    5. To anonymous of April 16, 2008 9:01 PM: If Rav Aron Shechter, of the American Agudath Israel’s Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah can turn to lawyer Steve Mostofsky president of the Modern Orthodox’s National Council of Young Israel to defend Michael Hersh, then Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, also of Agudath Israel’s Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah can turn to the modern Jewish Press to defend Isaac Hersh, when both the Yated and the Modia behave like ostriches and avoid reporting and commenting on real news important to the frum NY community, leaving it to blogs to let people know what’s going on and express and opinion.

    6. To anonymous of April 16, 2008 11:51 PM: What do you say? That Isaac Hersh is a “monster of a kid”? Is that how Klal Yisroel is now going to deal with problem kids and problem people, send them of to “penal colonies” like Dreyfus got sent to Devils Island to suffer and chas veshlom maybe die a horrible death “by accident”?

      You say that Isaac Hersh should not be afforded “human decency” and since when did he stop being a “human” and he is a Yid yet, the son of a successful Baal Teshuva and a Talmid Chochem yet who should know better than to be roidef his own flesh and blood kids?

      You know, this is all very weird because Rav Aron Shechter is always seen supporting all sorts of kiruv projects and he has many almuni working in kiruv, not the magidei shiur in the yeshiva, but people out in the boondaks who deal with all sorts of “monster” Jews, young and old, and make them frum yet and why is there no indication that Rav Aron asked any of the kiruv mumchim what to do?

      Rav Aron is also on the Toirah UmeSoirah board of rabbis and he is an example to many people, so will it now be part of the “policy” of day schools and yeshivas that all the drop-outs and the bums are going to be kidnapped and put on planes to places that are hell-holes, because the people who Baruch H-shem don’t have problems can’t deal with so-called “monsters”? How cruel, krum and retarded is that?

      This is getting crazier by the day. In the Toirah, Yitzchok Ovinu was give the ultimate test to see what to do with a real monster Esov Harasha, and he tried to mekarev him and even gave him REAL brochas to help him stay on the derech and be a mentsch…To teach that that is the way to deal with “monsters” and not to destroy them on the spot as if they were vermin infesting our lives!

      This whole attitude of “going to war” with kids is crazy. If a parent cannot deal with a kid they should release the kid to a legitimate child welfare service in the USA, it’s better in the USA than in the “Tranquility Bay” in JAMAICA (it’s as “tranquil” as gehinom !!!), or to other Orthodox and frum families, it’s done all the time, but to send a Yiddishe neshoma to a hell hole and justify it saying he is a “monster” isd plain crazy. Jews call real monsters like Hitler and Stalin but never to one of their own.

      The halacha is that it is assur to say “yemach shmo” even about even the worst Jew, and likewise to say a Yid is a “monster” is a violation of all the priniples of Ahavas Yisroel, Kiruv rechokim, chinuch, parenting, counseling, you name it. It is just plain wrong and Rav Shmuel is a HERO for standing up for the rights of this downtroden nebech of a kid, and he is more of a nebech than anything else.

    7. Since we don’t know the real story, I certainly would not judge the parents, but I am very glad to see this letter from Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky that these non-Jewish hell-holes are not to be used on Jews.

      I think it makes sense to inform the JP readership what Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky holds.

      I presume there is no reason to drag this family into public view, which is why yated/hamodia didn’t report it.

    8. This is why R’ Shmuel is The godol Hodor. he is willing to do what is unpopular by the “yeshivishe oilam” when he knows it’s the right thing to do. ( I know of many other instances as well , which I will not publicize)

      I wonder where Isaac will be for the sedorim? when we say “Kol dichfin” are we also inviting in all the youth at risk, or are we just paying lip service. Please have a child at risk for the Sedorim they need warm loving homes.

    9. I wonder how far the isur extends. Pashut that according to R’ Kaminetzky, kids can’t go to TBay. What about Retorno, Hidden Lake Academy, 3 Springs, and other behavioral mod institutions which are nowhere near as hardcore as Tbay?

      (I myself am an alumnus of HLA, but I’m a baal teshuva)

    10. Am I the only one who is shocked and saddened that we live amongst people who need rabbonim to tell them not to send a child to such a place?

      What next? A kol korai telling women not to give the baby a bath by putting him in the washing machine with the laundry? Don’t throw your children under moving tractor-trailers? Don’t feed them large doses of rat poison? Don’t use rusty pliars to try removing your child’s inflamed tonsils?

    11. A while ago, I heard Rabbi Bentzion Twersky speak about building self esteem in children. His first suggestion was “Don’t murder them.” How interesting. It is obvious that there needs to be an issur on a program that exists in a lawless land and without licensed professionals. The behavior modification they claim to use is based on the experience of a gas station owner. How dare they claim to anything beneficial for children. How dare parents sacrifice their children to these barbaric facilities. How dare anyone prevent the rescue of a Jewish child from a place like that. Rav Kaminetzky is simply proclaiming this Jamaica place a murder camp, and notice that he acknowledges the need in the community for treatment programs.

      And, yes, it is quite tragic that the obvious needs to be stated as a psak halacha. We never needed to ask whether there was a hetter for murder (or other obvious issurim). The trouble is that there are still people out there who seek to legitimize the whole Isaac Hersh affair. How low some people have stooped.

    12. Every time I read someone posting about “I would not judge the parents”, I feel like getting sick. It is truly beyond the dictates of halacha to extend the “dan lefak zechus” advantage to those who perpetrated and supported Isaac Hersh’s imprisonment and torture sentence at Tranquility Bay. The issue is not the judgment of the parents. It is the rescue of anyone at TB and the annihilation of the criminals that abuse the kids there. It is about the federal government prosecuting the corporation that allows this to be done to US citizens. It is about the prevention of cruelty to humans. Yes, there are evil people in the world. But we need to insure that we do not allow our children to be victimized. If anyone invests time, energy, and money in protecting the parents and their supporters, I feel really bad for them. Such resources need to be devoted to victims. Gosh, we do more to protect animals from abuse.


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