Convicted sex offender Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt and the Vaad of Baltimore
Rabbi Stanley Z Levitt | August 1, 2012 | By: Vicki Polin
Earlier today Rabbi Stanley Levitt plead guilty to sexually assaulting several young boys back in the 1970s. The assaults occurred in a Boston area hospital and another at a sleepover in his Brighton, MA home.
Tomorrow morning 66 year-old Levitt could face up to 40 years in prison on the four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. According to reports, prosecutors on this case say they are seeking prison time.
Over the last several years Rabbi Stanley Levitt resided in both Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Since 2009, The Awareness Center (International Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault), started warning the Vaad Harabonim Baltimore (Jewish Religious Court) of the serious nature of allegations made against Rabbi Levitt. The organization requested that the Vaad help to warn community members of the dangers . . . and also publish suggested protocols in hopes of protecting unsuspecting children from becoming the next victim of this (now convicted) sexual predator. Unfortunately, nothing was done.
On July 15th an article was written and published stating that Baltimore Vaad member ‑ Rabbi Moshe Hauer wrote a letter to the community warning them about Rabbi Stanley Z. Levitt. Unfortunately, due to political games often played by rabbonim in the ultra-orthodox world ‑ the scheduled letter was never mailed.
According to a reliable source at the last minute, due to political pressures, Rabbi Hauer decided not to send the letter to community members, and later appeared to be holding the letter hostage as a means of having the article removed from the internet. At the time there were numerous phone calls and emails in which threats were made against the author of the article. Some of these threats were made by a highly respected social worker who runs the Shofar Coalition, which is an organization connected with the Jewish Federation of Baltimore.
The truth is that like in many other ultra-orthodox Jewish communities, religious leaders in Baltimore have an extended history of protecting alleged and convicted sex offenders and then shaming, blaming and harassing survivors and their family members who make police reports without their permission or speak out.
It is well known in Baltimore’s religious circles, that Shearith Israel Congregation (also known as the Glenn Ave. Shul), is the “Davening Headquarters” for both alleged and convicted sex offenders.
Besides Rabbi Levitt calling this synagogue home, so does Cantor Stuart Friedman, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau and from time to time Rabbi Moshe Eisemann.
The “Glenn Avenue Shul” is under the leadership of Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer, who is also the long time president of the Vaad Harbonim of Baltimore.
Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer is also known as the “go to rabbi” when it comes to protecting sexual predators. A perfect example of this was seen in the case of Samuel (Shmuel) Juravel, a young man who was caught in an internet sting back in 2005.
When Shmuel was younger it was known by the Vaad that he was molesting younger boys within the Baltimore community. Instead of making police or hotline reports, the Vaad “monitored his behavior” and also assisted in helping him find a bride when he was old enough to marry.
According to a reliable source, after Shmuel Juravel left Baltimore and relocated to Atlanta ‑ Rabbi Hopfer contacted the Atlanta area Vaad, and informed them of the allegations of child molestation. No hotline or police reports were ever made. Instead the Atlanta rabbis felt they could monitor Juravel on their own. Their monitoring included allowing this sexual predator to teach bar mitzvah lessons to eleven-year-old boys from within their community.
Knowing how the Vaad of Baltimore operated, it was not a big surprise that Rabbi Stanley Levitt made Baltimore his second home.
Posted by Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg at 8/02/2012
Stanley Levitt plead guilty to sexual assault
Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg