A letter from Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz:
We’d like to share with our friends and supporters some of the details of the jaw-dropping story of Yona Weinberg, a convicted, registered, New York State Level 3 Sex Offender, who is suing me for slander in Israel. The story became public when it was reported in Yediyot Achronot, a popular Israeli newspaper.
As you know, our mission at The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES is and has always been to protect children wherever they are, around the world. This was the reason I utilized Twitter to send an online warning to the residents of Har Nof in January, 2015, that Mr. Weinberg, who had just moved to their neighborhood was a convicted registered Level 3 Sex Offender who presents a clear and continuing danger to their children. The NYS Division of Criminal Justice website describes a Level 3 registered sex offender, their highest level, as one who has a “high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists”.
In June 2015, I was served with papers at my home in Monsey, informing me that a summary judgement was issued against me in an Israeli court.The judgement obligated me to pay Mr. Weinberg 200,000 shekel (about $55,000) for slandering him, plus court costs.
My Israeli attorney had that judgement set aside, but as things stand today, I am still facing the specter of a lawsuit for Mr. Weinberg’s 200,000 shekel claim against me. Upon my attorney’s advice, I maintained total silence regarding this matter until the judgement was set aside, but now that it has, I will vigorously and publicly defend the right of everyone to warn parents about the presence of registered sex offenders in their neighborhoods and the danger they pose.
Bringing awareness about registered sex offenders to parents who may not have access to that information, is congruent with the Halachic guidance we at Project YES received over the years.
Hagaon Horav Shmuel Kaminetsky shlit’a, who has served as Posek (Rabbinic Advisor) for Project YES for nearly 20 years, personally told me that one is not only permitted, but is obligated, to share information about registered sex offenders with others. This is due to their high recidivism rate, which makes them an imminent Sakana (danger) to children. (I called the Rosh Yeshiva yesterday to be sure that my memory of our previous conversations was correct. He confirmed that it was, and gave me permission to share this P’sak (ruling) in his name with our readers.)
We hope that sanity will prevail in the Israeli courts, and that the publicity of the Yediyot article will result in the termination of this frivolous and disgraceful lawsuit.We at Project YES will not be deterred or intimidated. We will continue to advocate for the safety of our children.Gut Shabbos and best wishes for a g’mar chasima tova
For more information Click Here for Yona Weinberg’s listing on the wall of shame.