The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a brief article about Nisson Friedman, the teacher suspected of sexually assaulting at least three boys while employed by Yeshiva Boys School of Pittsburgh. It focused on Friedman’s role as a teacher to first and second grade boys and the time he spent as a summer camp counselor before teaching. However, the report seems to overlook some time that Nisson Friedman worked in Chabad summer camps, and it doesn’t mention that he worked at more than one camp, and in more than one state.
A school official confirmed Tuesday that Nisson Friedman, who had taught boys in the first and second grades at Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, also had worked as a camp counselor from 2007 through 2011. He was paid a “small stipend,” said Shlomo Jacobs, schools president.
Nisson Friedman was a counselor for Chabad’s Camp Gan Israel beyond 2011.
COLlive features a 2012 announcement from when Friedman was appointed as “Learning Director” for Camp Gan Israel of Florida. He was assigned to what was apparently the camp’s primary division (younger children grades 1-8). His name is listed in the article with the spelling “Nissan” but comments below it also use the “Nisson” spelling.
Camp Gan Yisroel of Florida, an overnight camp for Chabad boys, has announced its head staff for the summer of 5772/2012.
Aryeh Leib Hurwitz – Crown Heights
Shimon Simpson – Crown Heights
Nissan Friedman – Minnesota
Older Division Head:
Yossi Rodel – Los Angeles
Older Division Learning Director:
Kopel Chaiten – Johannesburg
“Parents can be at ease with the knowledge that with our head staff, we have B”H secured a group that will continue the ‘personal love and care for every child in a small and Chasidishe environment’ that CGI Florida is known for,” said Executive Director Rabbi Yosef Y. Biston.
See also: CGI Florida Hosts MBP Awards Ceremony
Parents should be informed that, B”H, anyone wishing to arrange for a forensic examination of a child who had contact with Nisson Friedman can contact Det. Bryan Sellers of the city’s Bureau of Police Sex Assault Team, who is investigating the case. Contact telephone: 412-323-7141.
The number above is for the investigator in Pennsylvania. Parents in Florida may need to check with their local authorities. Police have said they are “absolutely certain” there are additional victims. Claims of assault against Friedman are coming from parents in Pittsburgh as well as from other communities.
As one who has learned to be very inquisitive of Chabad, I have to ask, why Florida? Nisson Friedman was already established and serving in Chabad camps in Pennsylvania. Camp Gan Israel Pittsburgh was located at Yeshiva School. Then he went to Florida to work in a summer camp there (2012), only to return to Pennsylvania where he was a teacher’s aid for one year and received a job as a teacher in 2014. Chabad has been known to move alleged predators around after receiving an abuse complaint. Was that the case here? Or is there some other explanation that brought Nisson Friedman to Florida? The school took swift action against Friedman as a teacher after a recent complaint was received and an investigation launched. Would Chabad’s Camp Gan Israel do the same years earlier if a complaint was made against a counselor? Were there earlier complaints about Friedman prior to the one that triggered this investigation? Considering the number of victims in the investigation, and law enforcement’s expectation of discovering more, it’s a possibility worth considering.
Nisson Friedman also has a YouTube channel under the user name NIF18. On it there are several public uploads of videos featuring children. Those videos were uploaded between 2008 and 2016, and include footage of children from: Camp Gan Israel Pittsburgh, The yeshiva boys choir of Pittsburgh, and the 1st Grade of Yeshiva Schools of Pittburgh. Parents may have recourse in removing the public videos if they did not authorize this use of their children’s images. They should contact Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh, Camp Gan Israel Pittsburgh, or YouTube directly.
The NIF18 channel’s user viewing subscriptions is primarily a collection of children’s oriented YouTube channels.
They may have been selected by Nisson Friedman for for his own child to view. However, some channels, like Katie Cutie Kids TV, don’t appear to contain the kind of material that is generally used in teaching a Chabad hasidic baby or toddler. Notably they lack content with Jewish themes and culture. Additionally, some channels feature videos containing elements of other cultures that Orthodox Jews like Chabad-Lubavitch would typically not expose their children to (like Halloween). Some may say that for children under the age of 3 years-old, it’s not a major issue. But it seems odd considering that there is an abundance of Jewish children’s videos on YouTube, appropriate for all stages of development, that offer Jewish values and culture. There is one Chabad related channel link in the subscription list, but it appears to feature videos of children, not videos for children.
As a Jewish parent who uses YouTube for children’s education/entertainment, I know there is a wide range of videos more appropriate for Orthodox Jewish parents to use in their parenting. YouTube features like Shalom Sesame (Jewish Sesame Street), Torah Tots, and playlists compiled by others, make age-appropriate Jewish themed videos easy to access. My own children enjoy shows like the Marvelous Middos Machine.
Among the NIF18 channel’s liked videos are Chabad/Chasidic subjects, assorted children’s videos, a Camp Gan Israel of Florida video, a seemingly out of place MadTV Stuart Kidnapped video, and two videos by Manis Friedman:
How do you teach young children obedience? and
Rabbi Manis Friedman on Molestation and Abuse (a video uploaded as a replacement for the one containing his controversial remarks on child sexual abuse.)
Nisson Friedman is the son of the very well known Chabad personality Rabbi Manis Friedman who in a January 2013 video trivialized the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA) and mocked CSA victims. Manis’ comments received waves of negative publicity, and resulted in the Chabad-Lubavitch organization trying to distance themselves from him.
Manis Friedman is considered by many to be an authority on marriage and intimacy. He is neither a licensed marriage counselor nor a mental health professional.
Nisson Friedman is reportedly staying in Brooklyn, New York during the investigation. It is believed he is in the vicinity of Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights. Nisson Friedman’s baby son is currently in full custody of his mother during the investigation.