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December 12th, 2012
01:02 PM ET

Chemical thrown on rabbi who advocated for abuse victims, lawyer says

By Rande Iaboni, CNN

New York (CNN) – An outspoken advocate for child sexual abuse victims in a tightknit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood was assaulted this week when a chemical he believes to be bleach was thrown in his face, according to his attorney.

Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg was walking the streets of his Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg on Tuesday when a man threw the chemical on his face, causing his eyes and face to burn, said Abe George, the rabbi's attorney.

The assault happened a day after the conviction of Nechemya Weberman, a prominent community member in the conservative Satmar Hasidic community, was found guilty of sexually abusing a girl over a period of three years.

Rosenberg runs a website and telephone call-in line that publicizes claims of sexual abuse in the Hasidic community, and he believes this attack was an attempt to “silence” him, according to George.

Rosenberg said he knew who doused him, describing him as the son of a man he had reported on in the past as being allegedly involved in sexual abuse in the community, the lawyer said.

Weberman's conviction has put the spotlight on the insular Satmar Hasidic community, many of whom live in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Williamsburg.

Joel Engelman, another advocate against sexual abuse among Orthodox Jews, describes himself as a survivor of such abuse. It is rare for respected members of the community to face such allegations in court, he said.

In the past, members of the community have intimidated and pressured those who have accused their leaders of sexual abuse, he said.

Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, is investigating what happened to the rabbi, according to his spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer. It would be speculative to say the incident is connected to Weberman’s conviction, Schmetterer said, "because the rabbi is a well-known activist for certain causes in the community."

No arrests have been made, according to the New York Police Department.

Rosenberg’s vision is still blurry, but his attorney said he believes the rabbi will fully recover.

CNN’s Nina Melendez contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Faith Now • Judaism • Sex abuse

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Topher

    Don't think so ... doesn't sound familiar.

    December 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Response below.

      T, are you married? Kids?

      December 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Topher

      Married. No kids yet.

      December 13, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • End Religion

      Topher, time to get on the good foot and start churning out puppies. BTW, sorry for your loss the other day.

      December 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  2. Topher

    Hey, everyone.

    December 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hey T, ready to save some souls? Are you home from work?

      December 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Topher

      Hey, Apple.

      Just got home from a funeral visitation. How are you?

      December 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sorry to hear of your loss. I am just fine, thanks.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Topher

      Thank you.

      Have I missed anything on the boards in the last few days?

      December 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      It has been very slow my friend. Not that things really ever change in here.

      December 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I am watching a movie called "Blitz" starring Jason Statham (I am a big fan of his). The actor who plays the villian reminds me a lot of a young Gary Oldman. Good flick!

      December 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Topher

      Just finished Christmas Vacation as my wife wraps a few gifts.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I loves me some Chevy Vacation movies!

      December 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Topher, have you ever watched the movie, "Sid and Nancy" ?

      December 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Topher

      Don't think so ... doesn't sound familiar.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Great flick. Gary Oldman is amazing as Sid Vicious from the SeX PiStols.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      Oldman is great in whatever role he plays. My fave was Drexl Spivey in True Romance

      December 13, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  3. End Religion

    Could this "bleach attack" have been a cover story for his love of receiving facials? His family kept asking him why he smelled like Clorox all the time.

    December 12, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Then perhaps it was just a misunderstanding.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  4. Apple Bush

    Oy! You should see what the do to goyim, my goodness!

    December 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  5. Bootyfunk

    that'll teach him to put victims before his religion...

    December 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  6. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    throw bleach on my face, goons, I am ashamed to be a muslim

    December 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  7. Moby Schtick

    Because nothing says "I have the moral high ground" like throwing bleach in another person's face.

    December 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Moral means limit of truth absolute, and hindu Jew's, filthy secular deny it in their hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism as their faith, Way of hindu Jew;s, criminal secular s to justify their hinduism, illegality against others.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  8. Chick-a-dee

    My dear boyfriend was a victim of priest abuse. He is ruined for life since he has a serious drinking problem which causes him to see flying saucers in the night sky.

    December 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Yeah, I have that too.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Blessed by holy sanatan, filthy goon man god, every hindu ignorant stands in line to be blessed by his pot head hindu sanatan, filthy man god in a temple to be able to see flying soccer's, sign of the blessed one's in line to be a hindu sanantan, filthy goon man god of hindu's, ignorant s.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Akira

      Flying soccers?

      December 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      one of my co-worker always talked about flying horse, I wonder he was abused too!

      December 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  9. There's no god, so get over your delusions already.

    That's all, folks.

    December 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      hinduism, stupidity of a hindu atheist, ignorant self centered, secular, in his mantel sickness CALLED hindu Judaism, self center ism, UNABLE TO READ REST OF THE POST.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      hindu-bot Translator:

      Dr. Williamsport, please report to ER.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      Dr. Williamsport, cancel that. I no longer need you.

      December 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Apple Bush

    Are Orthodox Jews attracted to other Orthodox Jews in the same way that Naked Mole Rats are attracted to each other?

    December 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      by hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism every thing is justified, end justifies the means, even a hind pig, filthy secular is permissible to be koshered to please a hindu filthy desire.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      hindu-bot Translation:

      The Defense Support Program satellites are programmed to pick up the infrared signature of a man made or natural event.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Reason they work so good is, they are manufactured according to designated truth or function, having no capacity to malfunction to be in hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secular ism, like hindu Jew's, filthy self centered, secular human by faith.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      hindu-bot Translation:

      Now, garlic bread and peanut butter are back on the plate.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Akira

      Hey, Apple, you translate really well...

      My daughter used to watch a show in which a naked mole rat was one of the central characters...Kim Possible.
      Never had a love interest, though.
      The mole rat, I mean.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      spit on my face, I am ashamed to be a bad writer

      December 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Stupid mole rats.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  11. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    Not a surprise, action justified by hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secularism, faith of hindu ignorant preacher victim of hinduism, illegality of his own hindu, denial of truth absolute, hindu Jew, filthy secular kind.

    December 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      hindu-bot Translation:

      Sniping by both sides in the fiscal cliff talks shows little movement on the core issue - higher taxes on the wealthy.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Only one allowed to be sacrifice are gentiles, slaves, not hindu sananta's, filthy goon man god's on receiving end of sacrifice. Do not touch hindu sanatan Jew, filthy self centered man god of followers of hindu Mithra ism, filthy savior ism called fundamentalist Christians.

      December 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      hindu-bot Translation:

      Most House GOP members are giving the speaker some room to get a deal done.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  12. Colin

    Oh how the religious hate having their fragile bubbles that protect them from reality burst!

    December 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Spongebob

      First go like this, spin around. Stop! Double take three times. One, two three. Then pelvic thrust. Whooooooo, whooooooo. Stop on your right foot, don't forget it! Now it's time to bring it around town. Bring-it-a-round-town. Then you do this, then this, and this, then this, then that, then this and that, and then...

      December 12, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Akira

      Now Cha-Cha.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  13. Apple Bush

    Well, the bottom line is if the kids and young adults in this assisnine community want to be free, they will have to tell these goons to shove it up there asses. Take freedom, don't wait.

    December 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  14. George Patton

    No arrests have been made, and there won't be any, case close.

    December 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Did you read?

      They are investigating, Einstein. Do you really think that flinging bleach into someone's face is going to go unpunished?

      December 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • son of a man he had reported on in the past as being allegedly involved in s' exual abuse?

      @Did You Read, call me with good news.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Did you read?

      I didn't say he wasn't a dickhead – he probably is. But I don't see how any provocation could legally justify throwing bleach into someones face, unless the rabbi was physically assaulting him.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Was the assailant doing laundry at the time?

      December 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • George Patton

      I enjoy hot cocoa at bedtime.

      December 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Akira

      We need more Calgon...

      December 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Ancient Chinese secret huh?

      December 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      December 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      And here I thought I was the only one who remembered that commercial.

      December 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  15. Chuckles

    I'm glad to see that some Hasidic members are trying to stand up and shine a light on this issue, and the greater issue at large – which is how insular the hasidic community is and the need for more communication within and outside of the community.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • End Religion

      Clearly the larger issue is: Redskins or Ravens?

      December 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  16. Apple Bush

    I will go ahead and assume there was much spitting.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  17. Martin

    Other news sources claim the two (bleach thrower and Rosenberg) had a long time personal fight and that Rosenberg went to the fish store to instigate.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bobby Snickman Beyond Thunderdome!

      Does that somehow justify bleach throwing?

      December 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      Rosenburg run Barter Town!

      December 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  18. Badda Bing

    Acidic Hasidics?

    Ever notice that the crazier the religion, the more likely it is they are wearing weird hats?

    December 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • End Religion

      (P.S. – i saw what you did there. Approved!)

      December 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  19. Hmmmmm

    Are we sure this wasn't just a cheap attempt to whiten teeth?...

    December 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  20. Akira

    If the Rabbi knows who did it, why hasn't be arrested yet?
    Doesn't matter the speculative reasons as to why he did it; a crime was committed and the jerk should be arrested.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      I could be wrong on this, but I think their tradition is to take care of crimes within their own community rather than involve external authorities. Not sure if that is just custom or if it is part of the law.

      December 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Akira

      If it is tradition, it cannot be taken care of by the community anymore; this kind of intimidation, abuse, and the community taking care of these kinds of problems internally needs to stop...it's precisely this mindset that sweeps priest abuse under the carpet.
      It's reprehensible.

      December 12, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
1 2

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.