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September 23, 2008
Mr. Ploni Almoni
Dear Mr. Almoni:
After receiving your invitation to participate in Yeshiva Torah Temimah’s Sefer Torah writing campaign, I felt a strong sense of Achrayus to share my feelings with you regarding this campaign and the reasons I am refusing to participate.
As you know, Yeshiva Torah Temimah has been at the forefront of the child abuse scandal that has been rocking the frum community for the last several years. The recent conviction of one of the school’s Rebbeim only serves to underscore the darkest realities about this scandal: the decades-long cover-up which occurred at the hands of the school’s administration. Even more troubling, additional high-ranking individuals in the frum community – referred to by many as “gedolim” – have also been implicated in the cover-up, the intimidation of victims and witnesses, and the maintenance of the status quo.
As both a frum Jew and a member of the law enforcement community, I must tell you how repulsed and outraged I am at the sheer magnitude of the crimes now coming to light. While the actual abuse itself – a criminal act, as well as an obvious manifestation of psychological disturbance – clearly deserves both speedy prosecution and wholesale condemnation, what is to be said for the individuals in authority who clearly knew of the abuse, and allowed it to continue? Which words could we use to describe the evil of the so-called “rabbis” – not abusers themselves – who so completely disregarded the welfare of the untold numbers of children for whom they were responsible? To know of the abuse of even one child, and to disregard it – or worse, to cover it up…..is an unthinkable violation of law, halacha, and simple humanity.
In the eyes of our religion, many comparisons are made between a Jew and a Sefer Torah. Your audacity at heading a drive to write a Sefer Torah to be put into the hands of an individual who covered-up the physical and spiritual abuse of so many precious Jewish children – Sifrei Torah all – is beyond my comprehension. Given the magnitude of the crimes that have been perpetrated, I find such a project to be a Zi’uf Hatorah, and I condemn it wholeheartedly.
Sadly, this topic has generated a great deal of intimidation against many in the frum community, resulting in an eerie silence on this most troubling issue, even from those in leadership positions. In these remaining days before the יום הדין, I refuse to acquiesce to the silence. Please ensure that you never send me any solicitations for support of Yeshiva Torah Temimah again.
Daniel E. Sosnowik
The writer, an Orthodox Jew, has been a member of the New York City Police Department for 25 years.