This post easily wins for most times I’ve started writing something, deleted it, and started again. I am at a loss for words, and the anger is surpassed only by deep disappointment.
The smiling fellow on the left in this picture is Yisrael Draiman, a chareidi askan who was recently convicted of numerous sex crimes against four female minors. To be abundantly clear, he was charged with tens of counts of molestation, indecent sexual acts, and sodomy of four little girls each around 12 years old.
The man to his right is Yanky Kanievsky, grandson of Reb Chaim Kanievsky. This wouldn't be exceptionally noteworthy except that Yanky is the leading gabbai of Reb Chaim, which means he is one of those who decides who is allowed in, who gets seen and heard, and whose letters gets signed by Reb Chaim. Which means, he is arguably one of the most powerful singular individuals in chareidi litvish Jewry today.
This festive gathering, which took place in the last week, was a party in honor of Draiman, who will be beginning his prison sentence shortly.
Let that sink in for a minute. (Maybe more than a minute, I found out about this hours ago and I’m still trying to process it).
The party was two nights ago, hosted by Tzvi Cohen of Bnei Brak, owner of Maafiat Hatzvi. One of JCW's team members spoke to one of the askanim who was present, who confirmed the specifics. I have attached a second photo of the party.
There was a brief mention of it yesterday on Rotter, and it was quickly pulled down. I have attached a screenshot.
As to Draiman's conviction, the details are not public because the case was conducted in a sealed court room, as is typical in Israel in cases involving minors. We (JCW) do have a copy of the original indictment, and one additional court document which is on a public website, which I posted above in the comments.
Many are asking what can be done... I can think of two things. One, if you can get access, call or visit Yanky Kanievsky. You may be yelling at a brick wall, but I do believe that if he hears from enough people, and enough survivors, it may impact the decisions he makes in the future. Second, I believe it's important to acknowledge that change here is coming from the bottom up, not the top down. Make the hard decisions. If you hear about a sexual abuse incident in your religious school, shul, institution- get involved. Don't leave the survivor and his/her family to be the ones fighting by themselves.