Two weeks ago, Rebecca Pastor, a 46-year-old woman from Essex County, N.J., found out that the man she alleges raped her in Baltimore on Christmas Day, 1990, was not in jail, as she had long believed, but was living in nearby West Orange. And that he was passing himself off as a righteous rabbi amid concern he may be seeking vulnerable young women.
Since then, with the help of several Orthodox rabbis and a handful of congregants in West Orange, she has found information that strongly suggests David (Yeshaya Dovid) Kaye has a long history of complaints against him. The information portrays him as psychologically and religiously manipulating naïve and trusting women, seeking to use their deep faith in him to engage in sexual relations.
While the other women who claim to have been preyed on by Kaye have requested anonymity, Pastor, who said therapy has given her strength, plans to travel to Baltimore soon to meet with sex crime officials in hopes of seeing Kaye prosecuted.
Maryland has no statute of limitations for rape.
“I’m a survivor, not a victim,” she said, “and I believe in the motto that you can choose courage or comfort, but you can’t have both.”
Meanwhile, a 28-year-old New York woman who says Kaye convinced her in the past year that he had a nevua (religious prophecy) that she would suffer a tragic death if she did not “cleanse” her “neshama” [soul] by submitting to him, which she did for several months, is weighing legal action. She said she contacted members of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office earlier this year but they were unresponsive.
Several rabbis actively seeking to alert people to Kaye’s background and behavior told The Jewish Week they were particularly repulsed by allegations that his modus operandi was to convince women that his actions were based on serving God when it appeared he was focused on serving himself.
The attention on Kaye came about in recent days when Rabbi Yosef Blau, who has long been an advocate for victims of abuse and knew of allegations against Kaye for years, notified Rabbis Eliezer Zwickler and Mark Spivak, who lead two Orthodox congregations in West Orange, that Kaye was believed to have recently moved back to West Orange, his hometown.
After appointing a small committee of congregational leaders to look into the allegations, the rabbis sent out an advisory to their congregants on Sept. 18. It warned of “the presence of a potential perpetrator in order that” members “may protect themselves and their families.” It said that due to “serious allegations,” they had advised Kaye, whom they named, not to attend their shuls “for the foreseeable future.”
They learned that Kaye, who is 50, married with five children between the ages of 6 and 18, and claiming to be a rabbi, had a series of stints in various capacities over the years.
He was, among other posts, an Air Force chaplain overseas, nursing home chaplain in New Hyde Park, Jewish day school teacher in Long Island, and most recently pulpit rabbi in upstate Liberty.
Those appear to have been short-lived and ended abruptly amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with young women. Kaye is currently unemployed and believed to be living at his parents’ home.
While emphasizing that no legal proceedings had been initiated and praising Kaye’s parents as “respected and beloved members of this community for decades,” the statement noted that allegations concerning Kaye related to his “allegedly exploiting his title as rabbi to enable him to take or to attempt to take liberties with various females in past years.” It cites reports from Israel, Germany, South Africa and the U.S.
The statement added that “a number of women involved have submitted to very reputable and prominent rabbis written statements recording the occurrences. If found to be true, the facts recounted have potential serious implications.”
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