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Agudath Israel says to tell Rabbi – not police in cases of abuse

After a lot of hemming and hawing The Agudah (Agudath Israel) has finally come out and said it, they don’t want you going to the police should some form of abuse take place in the frum community. I and almost everyone in the dissident blogging world already knew this – we knew this based on the frum community agenda of “whatever happens in the frum community, stays within the frum community” because God forbid the outside world (any lesser folks who do not wear black hats all the time) see that the frum community has the same issues as any other community. God forbid that we aren’t actually holier than thou.

If my kid was molested by a rabbi God forbid, the last place I would turn to is the Rabbis. I would be calling the police and my lawyers the second I found out that anything funky was going down, but yes many people are stuck in the shtetl mentality, the mentality that everything must be maintained behind closed doors and that the goyim are just out to get us – never to help us.

Some may say that the Agudah has good intentions, they don’t want to be publicly accusing of folks who may not be guilty of anything, but how many times has the Agudah covered up cases such as the famous Kolko thing that have been going on for years? How often is the Agudah and other frum organizations guilty of protecting their own asses instead of the little non-rabbinic people’s.

To me it seems as if the frum community leaders don’t want to admit there’s any sort of issues going on, instead of facing the problems they cover them up, brush them under the rug and act as if there’s a few loose screws here and there, but nothing to tell to any sort of authority – yet every day I’m reading about another arrest and another court date set for another “frum” guy caught molesting, raping or trying to kill someone – but before contacting authorities ask your LOR (local orthodox rabbi) if it’s halachically ok to tell anyone non-Jewish about your child getting raped by his rebbe at the mikvah – it could hurt someone’s shidduch resume and we don’t want that.

{ 62 comments… add one }
  • Julia June 2, 2011, 1:13 AM

    This is sick. It wasn’t too long ago that there was an attempt in Miami to educate the community that they NEED to go to the police and report abuse. This was supported by some of the rabbis in the community, including those who followed Agudah. Now that there’s been so much publicity in recent years, they are changing their tune?

    • OfftheDwannaB June 2, 2011, 1:59 AM

      Not all Rabbis follow Agudah. Your community’s Rabbis probably followed the psakim of those like R’ Eliezer Silver and R’ Noach Y. Oelbaum.

      The problem with organizations heavily involved in chinuch, like Agudah, making guidelines for child abuse is that, given the option, people don’t want to rat out their friends. That’s why they can’t be given the option. The fox can’t guard the henhouse, no matter how holy they are.

      • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 3:00 AM

        Anyone who persecutes victims and defends baby-rapers from justice is not holy.

        • OfftheDwannaB June 2, 2011, 8:43 AM

          No-one’s holy. We’re all just human. Except R’ Nuchem Rosenberg. He’s a tzaddik.

          • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 10:29 PM

            He’s doing God’s work, that’s for sure. And he was willing to continue at risk to his life and to walk to Manhattan to daven when no Orthodox shul in Brooklyn would have him.

            It’s easy to be virtuous when you get a pat on the back for it. It means a lot more when you put everything on the line.

      • Julia June 2, 2011, 5:59 PM

        One of the rabbis definite was an Agudah rabbi, at least at the time.

  • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 1:39 AM

    Screw that and the pig Agudath rode in on. Rabbis are not qualified to investigate crimes, maintain a chain of evidence, evaluate witnesses, judge criminal cases or anything else here. All they can do is hinder the police who do have expertise in these matters and who have the legal responsibility to do so.

    By impeding abuse investigations they are protecting criminals. Child abusers are nearly certain to re-offend unless they are stopped. Turning them into saints, shuffling them off to teach at an out-of-town yeshiva or just stonewalling protects them and allows them to victimize more kids. It makes all Israel party to these crimes.

    Consider the requirements of Jewish Law. Women are not kosher witnesses. Children are not kosher witnesses. There are no witnesses against the accused. Nothing will be done.

    Some say back in the old days a couple stout members of the congregation would administer a little informal justice. That’s just adding more crimes with more coverup and none of the safeguards of the real legal system.

    By telling Jews not to report crimes Agudath is telling legally mandated responders to break the law, in some jurisdictions to commit a felony. This puts Agudath and all affiliated rabbis and congregations in the position of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, accessory before and after the fact, interstate conspiracy to commit same and half a dozen other serious crimes which a righteous or at least politically ambitious prosecutor could lay.

    It runs smack into the RICO statutes in the United States. If the prosecutor can demonstrate a pattern of corrupt behavior – and he or she will certainly be able to – it means enormous fines, triple damages, serious jail time and possibly declaring the organization and its affiliates as criminal organizations.

    It will mean the destruction of the informal, community-based Bes Din system as investigators come through with search warrants and subpoenas, forensic accountants and not a lot of sensitivity or tact.

    It means epic chillul hashem. “Jews protect baby-rapers. Jews hide their crimes from the police while they demand that any swastika-dauber with a spray can gets prison time. Who are these short-eyes hypocrites? Why should they have get out of jail free cards?” And it’s the worst sort because it’s absolutely true. No defense is possible.

    It means families driven off the derech out of Judaism entirely. Victims who come forward and the families who support them are vilified. They are often driven out of their communities. Their relatives find it hard to get shidduchim. They know Judaism cares more for the reputation of the monsters who abused their children than the suffering of innocent children at the hands of monsters. No parent who is worthy of the name will put up with that.

    And it means raped children. Smirking monsters. Tears in the dark. Pain. Broken marriages. Addiction in a desperate attempt to self-medicate. Self-loathing. Suicide.

    To hell with Agudath. No matter how many pages of Talmud they’ve read or how black their hats and long their beards they are scum with the blood of innocents on their hands. They could learn morals from things with too many legs that live at the bottom of ponds.

    • BB June 2, 2011, 4:58 AM

      A. Nuran, you said it. 1000% agree.

    • BoxedWhine June 2, 2011, 5:16 AM

      Nuran, do you have a blog? I would read it.

    • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 9:27 AM

      A pair of YouTube videos on abuse in the Orthodox community:
      Part 1 IXKC6_-rpCo
      Part 2 ktZMx9YAfd0

      • Ijew June 2, 2011, 9:31 AM

        Re-link

        • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 10:15 AM

          If I do it will vanish into the black hole of moderation.
          Stick youtu.be/ in front of the strings.

      • danielGA June 2, 2011, 3:45 PM

        Nuran, thank you for that video did you direct these?

        I can’t believe they banned Rosenberg from every shul in Brooklyn because he wanted to protect children from perverts. I live down in Atlanta and was not aware of the depth of these problems.

        • A. Nuran June 4, 2011, 10:15 PM

          danielGA, I wish I had. Found the links elsewhere in the blogosphere. Wasn’t aware of Rabbi Rosenberg’s situation before this and am sad to say it wasn’t surprising. He’s lost a lot because of this but can take heart. Most of us do work which allows us to stay in our homes and put gas in the tank. He does work which justifies his place in this life and the next.

        • Tova June 7, 2011, 6:58 AM

          Aside from the fact that the Hebrew title was written backwards, the videos are great. And by “great”, I mean eye-opening (not happy).

      • Michaltastik-gyoress June 2, 2011, 9:59 PM

        If you don’t want to write your own blog, you would be more than welcome to guest post on mine. I’m looking for guest posters.

        • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 10:45 PM

          Thanks. I have a blog, but its for construction projects and kitchen experiments. I’d be honored to kill a few innocent electrons on yours.

          • OfftheDwannaB June 2, 2011, 11:56 PM

            Hey I’m always in the mood for guest posters too. (Shakes things up for the folks, getting a little some-something on the side.)

    • UrbanOut June 2, 2011, 12:27 PM

      First sensible comment by A. Nuran. Keep ’em comin:)

      • Aliza T. June 2, 2011, 1:30 PM

        It seems that only things that are so sick that they are incomprehensible to the logical mind (such as this or the new square thing) are the only things that all the commenters can actually agree on

        • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 10:47 PM

          That’s as it should be. The plural of “Jew” is “Argument” after all 🙂
          Seriously, I’m glad to see that we do all agree on things like this. Even on the much more Orthodox forums it’s good to see an emerging consensus that things like this are right over the line.

  • Realistically Speaking June 2, 2011, 5:40 AM

    I agree that Agudath Israel is a useless organization that and should be disbanded. As we know,they haven’t done $h!t to protect the victims of child molesters and rapists. Hell, if I were violated within my own community, I wouldn’t hesitate to contact the local authorities rather than giving a damn about ruining one’s shidduch prospects because I exposed his/her father/brother/uncle/cousin for being the criminal that he is. Its the villain who committed this felonious act who you should be griping about; not the victim who is merely defending him/herself.The notion of consulting a Rabbi before contacting the police would never cross my mind. I am not going to cover my attacker’s ass just because he is a well respected prominent member of the community.

    • Aliza T. June 2, 2011, 1:31 PM

      Well you can’t call them useless they have protected many molesters and rapists wonderfully

    • Michaltastik June 2, 2011, 10:03 PM

      I know of another sort of incident where the question was there as to whether

      • Michaltastik June 2, 2011, 10:08 PM

        where it was a question whether or not to protect a Jew against the authorities. This wasn’t a molestation thing, but the situation went away on its own. The rabbi was later asked, “just out of curiosity, would you have said call or don’t call.” The rabbi looking surprised said, “CALL.”

        I don’t think the rabbi was Agudah though. It happened to someone I know.

  • Tevy June 2, 2011, 8:42 AM

    No one entity, individual or collective is perfect.
    It’s about time the Agudah admits this when it comes to dealing with sexual abuse in the frum community. Can’t they see that not admitting it is just an act of arrogance in the face of G-d?

  • Avrumy June 2, 2011, 8:43 AM

    Who are these people? What planet are they from?

  • Yoreh K'chetz June 2, 2011, 9:05 AM

    Read the article, this post is twisting the truth. Aguda did not say to avoid going to the police. They said that in cases were people have a question if going to the authorities is considered mesira, they should check with their rabbi first.

    Important to note that R. Elyashiv ruled that going to the police in case of abuse is NOT mesira, and recommended that people do so. Very different than what this post is implying.

    I know of cases where people in our community went to the police because the school/principal wasn’t doing anything about years of bullying. The police put an end to it quickly and efficiently, much to the embarassement of the principal.

    • Avrumy June 2, 2011, 9:51 AM

      “Rabbi David Zwiebel, Agudahs executive vice president, said that only rabbis who are specialists in the area of abuse should be consulted, though he acknowledged that no registry or designation of such rabbis currently exists.”
      Lotta good that does anyone.

      • OfftheDwannaB June 2, 2011, 5:09 PM

        Exactly. they don’t care to keep our children safe. The priority is to save the possible molesters.

    • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 10:12 AM

      And the Rabbis and Bes Din have NEVER said “Go to the police.” When pressed Agudath couldn’t come up with a single case. Not. One. Ever.

      They’re enabling and protecting rapists. Little boys bleeding from their rectums and committing suicide are small prices to pay to protect the good name of abusers.

      And you wonder why I say the Ethics of the Fathers is crap. You said it yourself. We’re supposed to respect and fear these scumbag child molesters and their pious pimps as we would God Himself. If you – a father – can’t stand up to them how the hell can a six year old boy when the “special court” works him over and tells him God will punish him if he doesn’t recant?

      • Yoreh K'chetz June 2, 2011, 11:27 AM

        Nuran,

        Quote R. Elyashiv’s ruling (from the article):
        Elyashiv recently decreed that Jews with reasonable suspicions that a case of s*xual abuse has occurred are permitted to go to secular law enforcement authorities, notwithstanding traditional religious prohibitions against mesirah, or informing on fellow Jews.

        Agudah merely said that if people aren’t sure on what “reasonable suspicions” are, ask your local rabbi.

        To understand the background behind mesira (informing on other Jews to non Jews), one must look at the context on where, why and when those laws were put in place. Once upon a time, informants wreaked havoc on the rest of us. Some did it for money, others for power, and others out of pure hatred. It was considered a mitzvah to kill informants, as their actions often led to the mass murder and expulsion of Jews. The destruction of the 2nd beit hamikdash was a direct result of an informant (story of kamtza and bar kamtza).

        R. Elyashiv seems to have enough clout to rightly determine that in our modern times (in democratic countries), going to the police will solve the situation rather than aggravate it. Therefore, he’s overruled the law against mesira in this case.

        As with anything else, there should be reasonable doubt before sending the police after anyone, especially a rabbi or community leader. As some frum Jews may unfortunately have a problem doing so, they are being told to ask their rabbi’s if unsure.

        This post seems to imply that aguda is telling people to avoid going to the police and go to rabbis instead, which is clearly not the case. That is all I’m trying to point out.

        Rest assured, that if ever I were informed that anything remotely resembling any of these acts ever happened with my kids, I’d go straight to the police after taking the into my own hands first.

        • A. Nuran June 3, 2011, 9:16 AM

          You’ll notice there are two circumstances where they permit going to the police.
          1) When you actually witness the crime
          2) When the rabbi says you can.

          In other words, every case has to be approved by your rabbi unless you’re an actual eyewitness.

          So far they’ve never said it’s alright to do so.

          It’s coverup, pure and simple.

    • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 10:13 AM

      And you ignore the parts that are right out front. They tell MANDATED REPORTERS to ask the rabbis first. That means they are instructing people to commit serious crimes. Mandated reporters go to the police. Period.

  • FFB-OTD-BBO (but back on) June 2, 2011, 11:07 AM

    How come more females aren’t molesting? When’s the last time you heard about a rebetzin or one of the bais yaakov teachers touching her students? Are the hot chanies too busy with their own kids and the kitchen and laundry to do some touching Jackson style? You can’t tell me that’s never happened before. The whole concept of mikvah lady is a tad perverted. It’s like a gynecologist; honest profession, but why do that when there are soooooo may other options?

    • Michaltastik June 2, 2011, 10:13 PM

      They get housing and it’s prestigious. Plus, women who do it are probably like most receptionists that they love knowing people’s business

    • A. Nuran June 4, 2011, 10:25 PM

      What’s “perverted” about being a gynecologist? It’s a medical specialty, not a peep show.

      My dad says he might have been happier being an OB/GYN instead of a surgical specialty. Instead of patching people up and second-guessing himself when he lost a patient he’d usually give a happy couple a baby to take home.

    • Lirehagi June 12, 2011, 3:24 PM

      Seems to me that girls think about consequences more? And feelings? Guys, don’t kill me please

  • Steve June 2, 2011, 12:17 PM

    Lol who cares about what these big organizations say? Even the gedolim; does anyone outside of meah shearim actually abide by what they say? Give me a break. All of the gedolim banned smoking (even if you were “grandfathered” in), and everyone knows how many Israelis smoke. Lol on rosh hashanah you’ll see people with shtreimls smoking.

  • Telz Angel June 2, 2011, 12:23 PM

    I just noticed that The Awareness Center website is gone — not enough funds. What a shame. That was a resource for victims of this kind of abuse. Perhaps Vicki (if she reads this) can suggest the current go-to resources (other than going to the Agudah, of course ) .

    • Michaltastik June 2, 2011, 10:15 PM

      send her a FB message.

      • Telz Angel June 3, 2011, 9:53 AM

        Visit youtube and search for the user named NoMoreAbuseVideos. Two videos were just uploaded there — they are important to view. I know one of the people in the video — this is real. It is not the case that this happened to every kid, every school, every community. But it does happen at a rate that is not statistically less than in any other community. Therefore must be addressed. We must do everything we can to prevent it happening to ANYONE.

  • Garduan of Emmunah June 2, 2011, 1:51 PM

    You know, I think all this is just because the Agudistn are modernish. This is the consequence of all these Goyishe and influences. And I’m not even joking, because such things do not happen where I come from, I mean by the Yidden.

    • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 2:17 PM

      Keep telling yourself that

      • Guardian of Emunah June 2, 2011, 4:15 PM

        Well, I don’t have to, because a Yid just has to do and think what the Torah and his rabbis say.

        • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 8:38 PM

          Let’s be serious for a moment. Orthodox Jews molest children just like everyone else. Dead-treif-animal-on-the-head only speak Yiddish Jews molest children just like everyone else. Christians and Muslims with strong emunah and even stricter rules than Charedim molest like everyone else. The difference is that in the strict insular communities it’s hidden away because the reputation of the cult is more important than protecting its children.

          In recent years the most Torah-saturated Jewish towns like Kiryas Joel and New Square build their economies on theft and fraud from the entire country through Section 8, Medicaid, WIC, religious-only marriages and so on. All the time they spend patting themselves on the back doesn’t alter it.

          Your sort is no better or worse than anyone else. But criminals of all sorts can operate freely knowing that the entire community will happily be accessories to the crimes.

        • A. Nuran June 2, 2011, 8:46 PM

          Treating your rabbis like God does not mean you get a pass. You are responsible for your actions. When you break the law you can’t say “But my rabbi said it was fine.” The Law recognizes you are a free man, not a slave, a child, a lunatic or mentally deficient.

          When the rabbi is fallible and gives flawed human advice, which he does just like everyone else, you can’t say “It’s not my fault. I obeyed the rabbi.” You are a conscious, thinking, free-willed human being. You might take someone’s advice, but you will have to answer for your own actions in the end. You’re a Jew, not a Catholic who believes the priest can order God around and sell him an indulgence.

  • Gardian of Emmunah June 2, 2011, 1:51 PM

    You know, I think all this is just because the Agudistn are modernish. This is the consequence of all these Goyishe and influences. And I’m not even joking, because such things do not happen where I come from, I mean by the Yidden.

  • Yishai June 2, 2011, 2:05 PM

    Okay, but a growing number of Orthodox rabbis, including Charedim, now argue that one should report molesters to secular authorities right away. See here for some examples of related rulings. It’s from the blog of R’ Eidensohn, a charedi rav who has written a book on issues of abuse in Jewish law.

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2011/06/reporting-even-suspected-abuser-to.html

    • A. Nuran June 3, 2011, 1:58 PM

      An excellent start. This will save lives.

  • Dan June 2, 2011, 4:44 PM

    Where is the source for this story? I’d like to see it.

    • Cheerleader June 2, 2011, 6:21 PM

      Now that’s a good start, everyone! I think we are in for a fight. The mercenaries are arriving at the scene.

      cheers from a bystander

  • Devora June 2, 2011, 5:24 PM

    Yoreh-By saying go to the rabbi if you’re not sure, they’re making sure this continues. How did this happen in the first place? Rabbis were the middle-men, and too many chose to look the other way. I would add that, unfortunately, the more I think about it, the more I think R Elyashiv has to come out strongly against this and articulate his position better.

    • Yoreh K'chetz June 3, 2011, 4:24 AM

      Devora,

      Even though I disagree with Agudah, you’re missing my point:
      Agudah NEVER said not to go to the police in case of molestation, and this post seems to say that they did.

      Had I not read the quoted article, I would have believed that Agudah was on the molesters side.

      • A. Nuran June 3, 2011, 9:18 AM

        I read the quoted article and several others. Look again. They say you can go if you’re an eyewitness. All other cases are “questionable” and require rabbinical permission which is never given.

        • Yoreh K'chetz June 3, 2011, 9:29 AM

          I don’t see anything about eyewitness in that article. All I see is “reasonable suspicion”, whatever that is supposed to mean.
          Do you have any other articles that say that one must eyewitness the crime?

          As for going to a rabbi, don’t paint all rabbis with the same brush. Yes, their have been some hideous creeps that attempt to cover everything up, but there are also heroes like R. Rosenberg who put his life at risk fighting these criminals. I’d bet my boots that if you went to him with reasonable suspicion, he’d tell you to go to the cops in a second.

  • Dan June 3, 2011, 10:33 AM

    Seriously? I just read the article.
    The main storyline which should be coming out of this article is that you are allowed to go to the police pursuant to Rav Elyashiv’s ruling, if you have reasonable suspicion.

    Why would you read this article and only see bad?

    • Yoreh K'chetz June 3, 2011, 10:44 AM

      Dan,

      It seems that the author of the article (or the paper) has something against frum Jews or rabbis. See the related articles, not one positive attitude towards rabbis.

      Hesh seems to share his views on this one, as do many of the readers here, but I’m with you on this one.

    • Julia June 3, 2011, 10:52 AM

      I don’t think it’s that difficult to follow. R. Elyashiv said to go to the authorities if you have a “reasonable suspicion.” Great! R. Elyashiv cares about the well-being of the people. The Agudah then “cautioned” that R. Elyashiv did not define what “reasonable suspicion” is, and therefore you should go to a rabbi, not the authorities, to rule whether your suspcions are actually reasonable or not.

  • Devora June 4, 2011, 8:43 PM

    While you’re right that not all rabbis would say not to go to the cops, history has shown too many have and will. And people won’t always go to the ones who would say to go to the authorities. Why do rabbis have more of a sense of what reasonable is than anyone else? I’m sure they have even less than the cops do.

  • FrumInTheUSA July 5, 2012, 5:55 PM

    OK….I’m changing my post from this morning. I ADORE Chabad. Let’s not hide it, but remove the offenders who use religion as a license for perversion.

    From the NY Times: In Crown Heights, where the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement has its headquarters, there has been more significant change. In July 2011, a religious court declared that the traditional prohibition against mesirah did not apply in cases with evidence of abuse. One is forbidden to remain silent in such situations, said the ruling, signed by two of the courts three judges.

    See the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?pagewanted=all

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