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Bleach thrown in face of Williamsburg rabbi who protected children from sexual abuse

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg had bleach thrown in his face on Tuesday in Williamsburg, suffering chemical burns. Photo from Facebook

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

A Hasidic rabbi who has campaigned against the sexual abuse of children in his community was attacked in Williamsburg on Tuesday afternoon, reportedly by a man who threw bleach in his face.

The assault on Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, first reported by the Failed Messiah blog, was confirmed to the Brooklyn Eagle by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

Rosenberg, 62, was taken to Woodhull Hospital after being attacked on Roebling Street, a DA spokesperson said.

NYPD Detective Kelly Ort said Rosenberg suffered “chemical burns.” Failed Messiah said that Rosenberg had been blinded were inaccurate.

Rosenberg has supported efforts by the district attorney's office to combat child abuse in the insular ultra-Orthodox community, the DA's spokesperson added.

Tuesday's assault followed the conviction on Monday of Satmar Hasidic Rabbi Nechemya Weberman for repeatedly sexually abusing a young girl over several years. Satmar community leaders sided with Weberman and denounced the girl.

Over years, law enforcement officials have faced resistence by members of some Hasidic groups to legal efforts at dealing with sex-abuse in their communities. Community leaders have reportedly ostracized members who brought such charges to authorities.

Rosenberg, who has a Yiddish-language hotline for victims (951-262-3714), comes across on the web as a deeply religious man who has two causes. The first is to build mikva’ot (women’s ritual baths) all over the world, and the second is to fight child sexual abuse within the community.

His blog carried a statement by the Rabbinical Council of America, a mainstream Orthodox Jewish group, applauding Weberman’s conviction. The Satmar, however, don’t acknowledge the authority of the RCA.

Rosenberg's supporters in the community have their own blog, Nuchem Is Right, that says, “Rabbi Nuchem’s hotline along with his websites creates approximately 45,000 hits and phone calls a month. It is the average person who wants to hear the truth and knows this is the only place to hear it.

“Rabbi Nuchem is fighting for us because no one else has the guts to do it, but still he deserves credit that we are not capable of ever repaying him.”

Rosenberg has long known that his work has put him in danger.

The Daily News of Nov. 17, 2008, quoted Rosenberg as saying he had received death threats after opening his help line. He also displayed a cut on his forehead, which he said was the result of being hit on the forehead on Berry Street on Oct. 17, 2008.

In July 2008, according to the Vos is Neias (What's News) blog, Rosenberg was accosted by “dozens of angry Chasidim” in London’s Stamford Hill neighborhood, and had to flee to a passing police car.

December 11, 2012 - 4:41pm


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