Joel Grishaver Molests Little Boys

It’s time for more people to come forward in this matter.

Many leaders in the Jewish community know about this tendency of Joel’s but they believe he’s overcome his sinful inclination.

One of the boys Grishaver molested has grown up to be a powerful member of the Los Angeles Jewish community and he uses his influence to stop Joel from teaching.

One source with first-hand knowledge describes Joel Grishaver molesting or trying to molest, over the course of a summer, an entire bunk of about ten boys aged 13 at Camp Alonim in 1979.

Here’s Joel Lurie Grishaver‘s bio from LimudNY: "Joel Lurie Grishaver is a Jewish writer, teacher, cartoonist, and storyteller. In 1981, he and two friends started Torah Aura Productions, a leader in the publishing of educational Judaica. Joel is a founding board member of CAJE, a consultant to the Whizin Institute, the author of more then 80 books, and a winner of the Covenant Award. His latest work is a series of books for adults on Talmud study. Joel also appears regularly at Limmud in England."

From Grishaver’s website:

Joel Lurie Grishaver is available for scholar-in-residence-weekends and other kinds of teaching experiences. He regularly works with adults, teens, families, intergenerational learning communities, schools age children, and faculties.
His weekend experiences can be for any or all of these audiences.

In the past year Joel has been a:

  • Synagogue scholar-in-residence
  • Family educator-in-residence (both at camp and in a synagogue)
  • Scholar-in-residence in elementary and middle school day schools
  • Community scholar shared by a number of institutions
  • Speaker at UJA and Federation events
  • Guest teacher at Hebrew high schools and other teen settings
  • Keynote speaker at a Regional Biennial of the UAHC and at various regional Jewish teacher training events and a guest scholar at the Festival of Reform Judaism in Great Britain
  • Faculty member at CAJE, LIMMUD, and The Whizin Institute

 Contact: <>

When I emailed Grishaver about what I’d learned about his molesting, I received back this email:

Dear Mr. Ford—

This office is personal legal counsel for Mr. Joel Grishaver. Your email of January 24, 2007, has been forwarded to me.

Please be advised that Mr. Grishaver does not wish to be interviewed, or provide you with any information. We do not understand the purpose or intent of your email, nor do we know who this “man” you reference is.

Mr. Grishaver categorically denies that he was fired from Brandeis Bardin for the reasons you state.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth L. Kazan, Esq.

Robin Shiffrin from Temple Sinai in Rochester testifies on Joel’s website:

What impressed me most about Joel was a sense of genuine caring and interest in the people with whom he taught, particularly the teens. Not only did he teach them much, but he exhibited a real interest in what they had to say and who they were, which will last a lot longer than the texts he taught. He also conveyed an important message—that relationships are the essence of teaching. His actions make him the consummate text person and an important role model for all of us.

Here’s more about Grishaver from his website:

Joel is a co-owner of Torah Aura Productions and the Alef Design Group. He is a writer, a teacher, a cartoonist and a storyteller. He co-edits four weekly publications: Bim Bam, C. Ha (pronounced "seecha"), Learn Torah With…, and the Torah Aura Bulletin Board. He has authored or co-authored more than sixty books including Shema is For Real and Forty Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People.

Joel has degrees from Boston University and the University of Chicago. He has pursued graduate studies at the Hebrew Union College and the University of Southern California. His real education comes from working with Jewish day camps, summer camps, children’s museums and youth groups; and from teaching in Hebrew schools, day schools, Hebrew high schools, and graduate schools. He is a founding board member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, a consultant to the Whizin Institute for Jewish Family Life, and a faculty member of the Department of Continuing Education of the University of Judaism. More than twenty weekends a year, Joel teaches Jewish learners of all ages as a Scholar-in-Residence in communities all over North America and Europe.


Joel Lurie Grishaver is the most prolific writer of non-Orthodox textbooks for kids and probably the most influential non-Orthodox educator in the world.

I plan to write more about this story in the weeks ahead.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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