It is with great sadness that I write about this issue. I know the family and I respect the great Talmid Chacham that is his father. In fact let me say a bit about this huge Talmid Chacham. He wrote, and later published (in 1965) a Sefer on Mikvaos entitled “Mei Me-Ayin”. It has approbations from the following people: Rav Yitzchak Zev HaLevi Soloveitchik (The Brisker Rav), Rav Issar Zalmen Meltzer, R Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, and Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank.
He is a holocaust survivor from Lodz, Poland and a Gerrer Chasid. He was one of those who spent most of the war years in Shanghai with Talmidim of the Mir. He is also a very successful businessman here in Chicago... an honored man. Back in the seventies was asked by the Mikva association to be on their Halacha committee, along with Telzer Rosh HaYeshiva, Rav A.C. Levin, and Rav Aaron Soloveichik, when they were building a new “state of the art” Mikva facility in West Rogers Park. He turned them down. Why he turned them down is the rest of the story.
His name is Harav Yitzchok Mondrowitz. If that name sounds vaguely familiar it is probably not because of his Sefer but because of his son, Avrohom.
Avrohom Mondrowitz is a wanted man. The United States government, through the Brooklyn district attorney's office is seeking his extradition from Israel on sex charges: Four counts of Sodomy; eight counts sexual abuse.
I knew this fellow. We were in Telshe together. We are about the same age and were in the same Shiur there. His friends and family called called him Avremiel. He was always an upbeat person with a completely positive attitude toward Judaism. He was very careful in his Mitzva observance, and he learned well. And was well thought of by his Rebbeim. He is about the last person one would associate with sex abuse.
I left Telshe after tenth grade. The next time I saw him he was married, living in Chicago, and had become much closer to Ger, adopting all of their Minhagim, including the Levush… their style of dress, Shpoduk (Gerrer style Shtreimel) and all. My father davened in the same Sheeble with his father, Rav Yitzchok, who used to give Shiurim there. It was Rabbi Perlow’s Shteeble (The Novominsker Rebbe) before he moved to New York.
I saw Avrohom there occasionally, always smiling, always making others smile. After living in Chicago for a few years in the early seventies, he moved to Brooklyn so he could live in more of a Ger-style community which was practically non-existent in Chicago back then. I lost touch with him.
A few years later I saw an ad in the Jewish Press aimed at children with psychological problems: “Psychology Al Pi Halacha” it said, listing Dr. Avrohom Mondrowitz as the psychologist who would provide therapy… and it gave his phone number. I remember thinking, how wonderful that this Chasid that I knew… with an upbeat personality had gone to college, received a degree in psychology and was now treating young children with emotional problems.
Boy… was I ever wrong! It wasn’t quite that wonderful. It was in fact a shocking horror story that was then, of unheard of proportion.
I am told by various sources that he had no real degree. It was entirely made up… or it was one of those phony baloney ones you can buy. I don't really know. But in any case,instead of providing therapy for children with emotional problems he was causing permanent psychological damage to… who knows how many… children. He had found a way draw into seclusion and sexually abuse many victims. And he had the best cover one could devise, in case of being accused of wrongdoing: These were sick children! He has denied and continues to deny all charges. But the evidence is overwhelming. He realized that and “skipped town”. Ever since the early eighties he has been living in Israel.
This is real tough one for me to understand. He was from the best of families… well to do …Yerei Shamyim. He had a brilliant Talmid Chacham for a father, a real role model. His mother was a working registered nurse. And he had a younger brother who is wonderful human being with a family of his own. Outwardly Avrohom was a paragon of virtue, but secretly he was an uncontrollably perverted man who violated major Issurim in the Torah continuously for many years and hurt many people in the process.
I do not know if his wife and his many children are still a part of his life. I can only imagine the kind of terrible emotional pain they must constantly be in. I know his parents have not shown their faces in public ever since the story broke in the mid eighties. They are broken people. What a human tragedy it is for so many people... his family, his parents, his brothers, and most of all his victims.
Why do I bring this up now? Because this coming Monday, October 9th at 11:35 p.m. E.D.T he will be featured on ABC’s Nightline in the context of Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community. I don’t know how they are going to present it, but Rabbi Mark Dratch of JSafe, will appear on the program to talk about it. I urge all those who are able, to watch the program. It should be quite informative.
I have been informed that the date of the ABC broadcast has yet again been changed from Thursday, October 5th to Monday, October 9th.