January 22, 2015
The Dirty Secrets of Rabbi Karp's Accusers
Summary: How blackmail and a publicity stunt may be behind the destruction of the life of a rabbi and his family.
    On the evening of January 20, 2015, Cleveland, Ohio and the Jewish world for that matter, was stunned to see a report on the Fox 8 Cleveland newscast about the arrest of a rabbi who works at the Menorah Park Center for Senior Living for multiple counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. According to articles in the Cleveland Jewish News and Baltimore's Jewish Times, the arrest occurred on January 15th at the JFK airport in New York City as Rabbi Frederick Karp was heading to a conference in Israel. The TV newscast made it sound like Rabbi Karp was attempting to escape justice by running away to Israel.

    People who know Rabbi Karp, including me, all had the same reaction - it is not his nature. In fact, many of us speculated if there was some kind of setup. While the television news story focused heavily on Rabbi Karp as someone who "fancies himself a comedian," many people, including myself, appreciate Rabbi Karp's sense of humor in tough situations. His title at Menorah Park was Spiritual Living Director, but he has since been suspended.

    While I immediately doubted the validity of the claim, within 24 hours I realized there was far more to the claim than anyone realized. The story began to unravel when the following posting appeared in a Facebook conversation: "you people should NOT even try to judge/ my grandson was one of the victims. my daughter is one of the speakers in cleveland on the 8th of feb. you should all go and listen."

    The quote above, typos included, were in reference to an event by a group called Jewish Community Watch which is hosting an event at Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland and lead by Rabbi Binyomin Blau. The comment indicates one of the speakers is the accuser of Rabbi Karp. That begs the question, is the timing of the sexual misconduct charge related to the speaking event? If the alleged incident is a 2013 event as the Cleveland and Baltimore newspapers article state, why did it take so long for the charges to be filed?

    The news articles state the alleged incident was not at the event itself. According to my sources, the Karp family has, or perhaps had, close friends in Baltimore. If Rabbi Karp was at the conference in Baltimore in 2013, he either stayed at a hotel or was a guest at the home of a friend. One would think if such an event happened at a home, there would have been a police report filed at the time, but that does not appear to have been the case.

    Regardless, the accusation surrounding an event rang alarm bells in my head. It made me think of a person who would post accusation of child molestation on her website, then demand letters of apology to have that person's name removed. I know because I saw the name of someone I know on that website, I contacted that person and after much deliberation with lawyers, a decision was made to ignore her complaint because the demands of a signed confession to remedy a situation that never happened would only make the situation worse. The accused person decided to remain anonymous and I have to respect those wishes. I interpret that as blackmail, and submitting to the demands would also inherently create an even worse situation for the accused, a letter that could result in further blackmail, including for cash indefinitely.

    That accuser is Vicki Polin who ran something called The Awareness Center, an organization which appears to be defunct since the website is no longer active. Polin has also been known to make countless claims of being raped. She now goes by Victoria Polin and has a new organization called Dancing Tree Wellness. Before all that, Vicki Polin was on the Oprah Winfrey show where she claimed Jews sacrifice babies as part of traditional Jewish satanic cannibalism rituals. I am not making that up. You can watch her on YouTube here.

    Believe it or not, that is not where the story gets scary. Guess who worked with Vicki Polin at her "Awareness Center"? None other than Rabbi Yosef Blau who is the first director listed on the website of Jewish Community Watch, the same organization sponsoring the Cleveland event, and as I understand it, he is the father of Rabbi Binyomin Blau, the rabbi at Green Road Synagogue. A 2005 article in Jewish Magazine.com lists the connection between Rabbi Yosef Blau and Vicki Polin as follows: "Two such people holding molesters and communities that harbor them accountable are The Awareness Center's Rabbi Yosef Blau and his colleague, Vicki Polin. Rabbi Blau is a member of the RCA, a graduate of Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Polin, establishing a network of Jewish practitioners experienced with sexual victimization issues and Judaism, is familiar with special needs of Jewish sexual abuse survivors. She advocated empathetic support for victims prior to starting her own Center."

    That is clearly the same Rabbi Yosef Blau listed as a board member of Jewish Community Watch. This makes me wonder if we are seeing more of the classic practices of Rabbi Blau and Vicki Polin. I therefore have to wonder if Rabbi Karp was ever blackmailed with the accusations the way Vicki Polin and company are known for, and if Rabbi Karp is being falsely accused as a publicity stunt. After all, a charge against a prominent local rabbi at the same time as a lecture, especially when one of the speakers is the parent of the alleged victim, can result in tens of thousands of additional dollars when fundraising - the claim against Rabbi Karp put a face to the faceless criminals. Money is a motivation, including for non-profits which use money raised to pay salaries.

    Guidestar, an organization that tracks and report non-profits, lists Jewish Community Watch but has no financial information about it, perhaps because they have not filed anything. So I checked Charity Navigator, but that site does not even have Jewish Community Watch listed.. This raises more questions about Jewish Community Watch which does ask for donations.

    So, if you want to know what the accusation about Rabbi Karp are really all about, just look at the circle of the accusers. The fact is there are serious questions about the connection to the February 8, 2015 event in Cleveland, the organizers and the accusations against Rabbi Karp. This all is not to say that there are any connection between Rabbi Binyomin Blau and the allegations against Rabbi Karp. I am also stating that we do not blame a child or any other family member for the conduct of another so I am not accusing Rabbi Binyomin Blau of anything, but he and the board of Green Road Synagogue need to re-evaluate their participation and hosting of the Jewish Community Watch event in light of this new information.

    I personally do not believe the allegations against Rabbi Karp. Only two people know exactly what happened, but the timing and connections here bring the charges into question. There is also enough doubt presented here to question the motives of the accusers, and for that matter their affiliated organization. Even more so, there is enough doubt here to force every jury to acquit Rabbi Karp.

    I urge the Baltimore Police Department to investigate the practices of Jewish Community Watch, and for Green Road Synagogue to suspend the February 8th event pending a full investigation. While I recognize Menorah Park had no legal choice but to suspend Rabbi Karp, the allegations against him are full of so many holes that his salary must be maintained while the investigation continues. Otherwise, his wife and children will also become victims in this case.

Boycoting Peace
by Fred Taub
President, Boycott Watch

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