Stamford Hill-born Yehudis Goldsobel was abused from the age of 13 by father-of-six Menachem Mendel Levy, a local Chabad-Lubavitch philanthropist who came to the family home to babysit. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2013.
Among the rabbis Goldsobel sought help from before contacting the police was Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, who held the medical ethics portfolio on the Chief Rabbi’s portfolio. He later acted as a character witness for Levy. Rapaport said Levy was “the embodiment of repentance,” despite Levy pleading not guilty.
In 2013, at the end of a second criminal trial, Goldsobel waived her right to anonymity and spoke out about her abuse, but despite Levy being found guilty, members of Goldsobel’s family were asked not to attend synagogue, while some shopkeepers refused to serve them.
That same year she founded Migdal Emunah, which supports Jewish sexual abuse victims.
“We have a higher number of clients from the Orthodox community, which includes modern Orthodox as well as strictly Orthodox,” she told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).
Levy donated, and had his name engraved on, a giant menorah for the annual Chanukah in the Square celebrations. Still being used years after his conviction, it was only ditched after Goldsobel told Jewish News of her frustrated requests for a new menorah.
“We asked multiple times to accept what this meant for victims and survivors but it never progressed until it was really pushed in the media.”