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Monday, June 27, 2016

If you haven’t read (or heard of) the Newsweek expose on abuse coverups in the Orthodox community, it’s time you climbed out from under that cozy rock and joined the rest of us in facing this disturbing reality. Sexual abuse is no longer a secret, and the religious world needs to pick up the pace...

Sexual Abuse & Where the Torah Stands

 
Why won’t the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) require rabbis to ban child sex offenders from Orthodox institutions?
As global psychological sophistication moves ever forward, the religious Jewish world is one small step behind — carefully weighing Torah values, always desperately trying to reconcile halacha with the current ideals of Western culture. Orthodoxy is currently in the lime-light for a very specific issue, one that is causing a storm in even the most insular religious communities. If you haven’t read (or heard of) the Newsweek expose on abuse coverups in the Orthodox community, it’s time you climbed out from under that cozy rock and joined the rest of us in facing this disturbing reality. Sexual abuse is no longer a secret, and the religious world needs to pick up the pace.

I’d like to give a round of applause for… The Internet. Despite “kosher” phones and filters, even the Chareidi world is an active participant in public opinion, and is much more influenced by Western culture. Aish.com has upped their voice in social media, black hats frequent Facebook, and Chabad blogs are available on every topic you could imagine. 

We are starting to see case after case emerging from these communities, with organizations and advocates rising at an equally remarkable speed. The shift has been nothing short of miraculous — bringing justice and long-awaited validation to the countless victims of abuse within the religious world. And yet, the resistance that advocates have to face, seems unimaginable. Ask any advocate in the world of sexual abuse, and they will tell you about hate mail, threats, or even worse, complete apathy and disdain from various individuals in the religious world.

Over the last few years we watched Meyer Seewald and the Jewish Community Watch take the religious community by storm, destroying the webs of lies and abuse that sexual predators had carefully woven, using the Orthodox system, thinking that they were unbreakable. We watched Manny Waks bring down the Chabad Yeshiva Centre in Melbourne, forcing them to take public responsibility for their horrendous role in the abuse of dozens of children. The rise of TzedekMagen, the Israeli Lo Lishtok (Don’t Be Silent), and many others, has made a huge statement that many in the religious world are ready to take a stand against sexual abuse.

Last week, a huge case was exposed, and this time not by Newsweek, but by a Chareidi Beis Din in Ramat Bet Shemesh. “Rabbi” Meir Pogrow was labeled a “rasha” in a psak from the Beis Din, signed by extremely renowned and universally respected Rabbis of the Chareidi community. His prestige and power as a “brilliant” Torah scholar brought him no refuge, and his community has now completely shunned him, going so far as to “forbid” members from communicating with him in any way.

Here comes the “but.”

There is a force that is quiet, but still effective, rearing its ugly head in the face of this incredible progress. They are the naysayers, the doubters, and the defenders. They are covering their ears and closing their eyes. They are busy worrying about Loshon Hora and halachic technicalities that may or may not indicate the guilt of a said-predator. There is always backlash when the religious community embraces a value or a movement that is seen as “goyish,” and this is not an exception. There could not be a more important reason for us to unite and clarify that sexual abuse is against the Torah — there is no gray area, this is black and white. Pun intended.

The more involved that I become in this cause, the more evil I am exposed to, which in turn fuels my growing passion for it. Why was Malka Leifer, wanted by Australian police for 74 counts of child-sex offenses, helped to flee to Israel by the very community that she betrayed? And why has our Israeli court system allowed her to evade the justice of standing trial by acquitting the request for her extradition? Why did it take Pogrow’s community years to publicly denounce him, when victims had painstakingly come forward so much earlier? Why won’t the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) require rabbis to ban child sex offenders from Orthodox institutions?

There is a blogger who claims to be the “Chareidi Response,” who has described in meticulous detail, why technically Malka Leifer wasn’t breaking halacha “even if” she is guilty of her alleged crimes. The resistance to change in the religious world is bad enough, but to try to use Torah to justify abuse, is too much to bear. This is personal. This is our Torah. These are our children. It doesn’t matter which denomination we are, or how “observant” we are, because if we believe that our core values are rooted in Torah, then we can’t watch it be distorted and twisted in order to defend horrific behavior.

My wish and plea is for all Jews to pick a side. The right side. The side that says “NO” to abusers and “YES” to victims. Our loyalty should lie unequivocally with the abused, with no hesitation, and certainly no justification for the abuser. I was feeling rather hopeless, seeing the steady stream of accusatory questions and doubts in the Chareidi world about sexual abuse. My hope was restored by a Facebook comment. Genendy Radoff, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, in response to the blog defending Malka Leifer wrote:

This blog is important as it gives insight into how someone who is an intelligent talmid chacham can molest a child without remorse. The blog writer says many times, he ‘thinks like a Jew.’ The sad truth is, the author of this blog thinks like a Jewish child molester. My grandfather, who was a Rosh Yeshiva and molested me, was also a respected talmid chacham. I imagine his rationalizations were similar to the ones on this blog. A close chareidi friend recently reported her husband for molesting their daughter. He insisted he didn’t do anything against Halacha so it wasn’t so bad. Hashem created man on the sixth day and Shabbos only after that to teach us something very important. You must be a whole person first in order to absorb Torah in the way it was intended. Learning Torah can not make an emotionally and psychologically limited person healthy and whole. The person has to come first. First man. Then Shabbos.

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/sexual-abuse-where-the-torah-stands/

14 comments:

Yechezkel said...

Hello Reb Paul, LOY"T

1. The link to my blog that was inserted in this post only reaches the home page of the blog, not the blog post under discussion. I have since added another post.
The full URL for the post being referenced is: http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/2016/06/mesira-xiv-we-have-to-kill-beastie.html

2. I am slightly perturbed that if you are going to reprint this blog post, you should have included the comment that I immediately posted on site. The comment reads as follows:

Thank you, Lia, for referencing my blog.

For the record, there was not a word in the entire post that justifies abuse. The post was claiming that there is no Halachic justification to prosecute a Jew in Australia if they are no longer a menace in Australia. Once there is no justification, all of the fire and brimstone aspects about mesira and other severe Torah prohibitions reassert themselves.

As I write at the end of the post, nobody has to listen to me…but, if you are a believer, ignore my words at your own risk.

Also for the record, there is nothing in Halacha that is a technicality.

Shavua tov.

Y. Hirshman

3. I also wanted to post a second comment on site but for some reason, it was not printed. This is what the second comment said:

Incidentally, I sent the Times of Israel a copy of this blog post on June 22, 2016. Here is the reply I received:
Thanks for offering this article to us but it doesn't fit our guidelines and I'll have to pass on it.
All the best,
Miriam
For those who want to see the blog post in its entirety, it is actually a three part series and can be found here: http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/search/label/Malka%20Leifer

4. After the blog appeared I sent an official complaint to TOI as follows:

Nowhere in my post did I ever justify or rationalize abuse. read it over. Even in the one paragraph where I conjectured a "Limud zechus" for Mrs. Leifer I used the term "temporary predator".This post by Lia Veffer mentions "Justify abuse" or "justification of abuse" twice and the term "rationalization" once, all with the implication that this "Justify" or "rationalization of abuse" was in my post. This constitutes libel. I am formally putting you and TOI, and Lia Veffer, and Genendy Radoff on notice.

I am putting you on notice, as well.

5. This morning I sent TOI a copy of my current post demanding equal time. The current post is:

http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/2016/06/mesira-xv-victim-turned-predator.html

6. Currently the Veffer blog post is still accessible by direct link and on your site but it has been taken down from the Blog Roll at TOI. I so far received no response from TOI.

I repeat that nowhere in blog did I even justify any abuse. Please make this clear in your blog.

Hatzlacha,

Y. Hirshman

Vegemite Sandwich said...

Hirshman, are you aware that big poskim among the Rishonim hold that beis din must hand over criminals to non-Jews if the crime is serious enough to create chilul Hashem & backlash if the criminals are protected?

And are you so naive & sheltered to be unaware of politically powerful Gerrers who tamper with the Israeli legal system to make sure there is no incarceration in Israel either?

Anonymous said...

An eagle eyed Brisker has figured out that Superbowl 2013 was on a Sunday and the Rechnitz-Reichberg Znus Express Jet left Teterboro on Saturday.

The zoyna was posing on the Teterboro tarmac in front of the plane before take off when the sun was still bright. How many hours early could she have arrived already before take off?

Reichberg cannot drive out of Boro Park before Rabbeinu Tam's 90 minutes after Tzais, which would be an inconvenience for the cops, as Teterboro is not close and then there is a long flight. Did Reichberg perhaps tell his wife he is going away for Shabbos only to stay near the airport? Was Reichberg then mechalel Shabbos or get in a car before Rabbeinu Tam?

Reporters discovered that kosher food was ordered for the return flight but not for Teterboro to Vegas. Certainly no respectable kosher caterer is going to be caught dead delivering on Shabbos.

Yechezkel said...

To Vegemite:

>>Hirshman, are you aware that big poskim among the Rishonim hold that beis din must hand over criminals to non-Jews if the crime is serious enough to create chilul Hashem & backlash if the criminals are protected?<<

You are probably referring to a number of teshuvos brought down in BY ChM 388. (Any Rishon is a big posek!)
In any case they were all referring to local menaces. My argument is that since this lady has left Aussie land for good, there is no heter to bring her back, reinstate a chillul Hashem and then to turn her in on this pretense.
Please find me one rishon (or achron or contemporary) who permits this.
As for your second issue, it looks like many people want to be moreh hetter for lo tasgir and gonev ish and mesira because the Gerrers protect people from incarceration. I don't see the hetter.
The important thing is the two main fugitives that are being referred now do not seem to be threats to anybody in EY at present. Thus the only toeles for getting g them becomes some form of communal nekama. I don't subscribe to it.
In general, I am not a fan of incarceration. Obviously, if one needs to be taken out of circulation, all right. But nut for punitive reasons.
Lastly, I eat fleishigs.

Kol Tuv,

Hirshman

Vegemite Sandwich said...

Very shvache parsing about "local" chilul Hashem.

Any country would be furious if another country sheltered someone who committed a crime on their soil. If the criminal is a Jew, they become even more enraged altz vehayisa leshama lemoshol velishnina bechol ha'amim.

The Maharam miRuttenburg writes that a chilul Hashem in England from a few Jewish ganovim even caused slaughter of many French Jews, none of whom had any connection whatsoever to England.

In the same breath while misapplying gonev ish you ask for even contemporary poskim. R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach said Western democracies generally do not punish people unless it is warranted. R' Zelig Epstein said on crooks it is better they sit in jail where they can no longer steal from anyone.

The recidivist rate of pedophiles is almost 100% so take your rubbish about Malka Leifer not being a threat and jump in the Great Barrier Reef.

Down Under said...

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x102uc_men-at-work-land-down-under_music

Me furt gezinteh heit in zetzed-out Kombis
On a heimishe trail, full of molester zombies
I met a strange Menaheles, she made me nervous
She takes girls in & eats them for breakfast
And she said:

"Do you come from a land down under
Where women glow from Adas Yisroel plunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder
You better run, you better take cover."

Farkoying broit from a Gerrorist in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscle
I said, "Do you speak-a my language?"
He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich
And he said:

"I come from a land down under
Where protekzia does flow mit helf fin Sol Werdiger
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder
Malka Leifer, you better run to Israel, you better take cover." (yeah)

Yechezkel said...

To Vegemite:

I wrote in my blog post (did you read it?):

"Call me a pompous hothead, radical, rabble rouser, lunatic, nutcase, crankshaft, meshugenah, am haaretz, Chossid shoteh, misnaged shoteh, or anything you want But…
…ignore my words at your own peril, Shmerel.
"

If you want to be someich on the shitos that you bring, gezundtaheit. It's your skin. My objective is to warn people to be careful about this one. For their own good.

Nobody has to listen to me. Anybody who wants can put their neshama on the line.

>>The recidivist rate of pedophiles is almost 100%<<

A pedophile is one who lusts after prepubescent children (Maximum 13 y/o). Geveret Leifer has not even been suspected of touching anybody below 15. She is not a pedophile.

>>so take your rubbish about Malka Leifer not being a threat and jump in the Great Barrier Reef.<<

Losing your cool doesn't really enhance your credibility.

Kol Tuv,

Chezkel

Yechezkel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Malka Leifer has 10 victims that are known. Girls in the school can be as young as 13. What's to say she never made a move on a 13 year old?

"It's your skin"

What about the skin & neshomos of victims & potential future victims? Take your baloney "frumma" cheshbonos elsewhere.

Yechezkel said...

>>Malka Leifer has 10 victims that are known. Girls in the school can be as young as 13. What's to say she never made a move on a 13 year old?<<

The issue is recidivism. Clinical pedophilia ends at 13, not starts. So the "100%" recidivism figure that, if it is real, relates to honest to goodness pedophilia does not apply here. Further, this extreme statistic can obviously only apply to male pedophiles. Women pedophiles, aside from being an extremely rare species, are made of different stuff. These figures are not relevant.
As I wrote in my blog post, I have yet to see a single report of wrongdoing since 2008 nor of anything prior to 2001 (or 2003) for that matter.

>>What about the skin & neshomos of victims & potential future victims? Take your baloney "frumma" cheshbonos elsewhere.<<

So go ahead and be masser. Just, you better hope my frumma chshbonos are baloney. If not you are toast.
Do what you think is right.

"It's your skin"

What about the skin & neshomos of victims & potential future victims? Take your baloney "frumma" cheshbonos elsewhere.

ZZ Top said...

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/zz-top-bill-ham/

Men at Work may not LOOK heimish but the lead singer has a heimish sounding accent.

Brisker said...

Who cares if her psychopathy is "clinical"?

She proved many times she wants badly to be oyver issurim. Issurim in znus are yehurag v'al yaavor. Even if you say like that daas yochid that maaseh eretz Mitzrayim is usually deRabonon, R' Mendel Zaks has a shtikel Tayreh printed in the shver's kisvei Chofetz Chaim that deRabonons in znus are also yehurag v'al yaavor. She also has a din roidef because these are assaults on children that messes them up in the head as per Rav Wosner's beis din. Rav Elyashev brings a teshuvas Rashba that it is tikun oylam to incarcerate her away from victims.

Who is Y. Hirshman? Does the Bungalow guy Neuhoff have a follower in Australia now? "I am against molestation (of any kind)" but allow me to give a kruma pshettl why there is no case against any molester who is actually identified.

Yechezkel said...

To Brisker, LOY"T

You don't seem to have read any of the related Achas L"Maala blog posts. This one may help you:

http://achaslmaala.blogspot.com/2016/06/mesira-xiii-thinking-like-jew.html

Let's look at your comment:

>>Who cares if her psychopathy is "clinical"?<<

If it isn’t there cannot be any claims of high recidivism rates. This was already discussed.

>>She proved many times she wants badly to be oyver issurim.<<

She didn’t prove anything. She has been denying all allegations. Her accusers haven’t proved anything either. Just accused without any proof.

>> Issurim in znus are yehurag v'al yaavor.<<

As you concede in your next sentence, this isn’t znus (and it still isn’t proven).

>>Even if you say like that daas yochid that maaseh eretz Mitzrayim is usually deRabonon, <<
Rambam (Issurei Biah 21:8) is not a Daas Yachid.

>>R' Mendel Zaks has a shtikel Tayreh printed in the shver's kisvei Chofetz Chaim that deRabonons in znus are also yehurag v'al yaavor.<<

She can taana “kim li” not like R. Mendel Zaks.  In any case, yehareg v’al yaavor is just a yardstick to rate the severity of a transgression before it’s done to dissuade pious pepole from transgressing. After something is done, we have a Torah, Ramam and Shu”A to tell us what punishments people desrve bidei adam.

>>She also has a din roidef because these are assaults on children that messes them up in the head as per Rav Wosner's beis din.<<

She might have had a din rodef but she has been gone from Australia for over 8 years. Rodef is only “shaas maaseh” (shaas redifah).(Rambam Rotzeach 1:12)

>> Rav Elyashev brings a teshuvas Rashba that it is tikun oylam to incarcerate her away from victims.<<
This would only be after it is established that she has victims. Incidentally, my blog post was saying that it is forbidden to extradite a Jew out of eretz yisrael even a rasha gamur as a poel yotzeh of Lo Tasgir. Did you see a teshuva from R. Elyashiv that mattirs it?

>>Who is Y. Hirshman?<<

Who is Brisker?

>>Does the Bungalow guy Neuhoff have a follower in Australia now?<<

I live in Yerushalayim.

>> "I am against molestation (of any kind)" but allow me to give a kruma pshettl why there is no case against any molester who is actually identified.<<

The only ones who identified this “molester” are the accusers. The Torah says: Lo Yakum eid echad b’ish. But I suppose HKBH is a daas yachid!

Please read the material. You may actually learn something.

Anonymous said...

Genendy Radoff is a known liar and a disgrace to all true victims. See the Beitshemeshonline forum about her.