web analytics
March 7, 2015 / 16 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Who Has The Moral High Ground?

Joe Paterno running out with football team

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/the-moral-high-ground.html

Witnessing the fall from grace of Joe Paterno, the once iconic football coach of Penn State has been breathtaking. Not because I was any kind of college football fan. I’m not. But because he had a decades-long  status as a model for mentoring students as both football coach and life coach.  So iconic was he that he had a statue placed on the school campus to symbolize what Penn State was all about.

That statue has now been removed – right along with his reputation. The literally thousands of students who saw him as some kind if surrogate father figure that taught them valuable lessons about life are probably all dumbfounded. Except of course for those students of his that were sexually abused by his top coaching assistant, Jerry Sandusky, Who was convicted on multiple counts of sex abuse and faces spending the rest of his life in prison.

Paterno was not a sex offender himself. I would go so far as to say that his reputation for mentoring his students was well deserved in almost every respect if not for his part in the cover-up of the abuse. But that cover-up has destroyed any claim he might have had to being a moral authority. And it should remove any respect from him. How sad that a life time of good works can so easily be destroyed by some seriously bad judgement. Nonetheless his reputation deserves to be destroyed.

Which brings me to the parallel world of Jewish education. We too have our Joe Paternos. Only they are not football coaches. They are rabbis who have been just as guilty in cover-ups as Paterno was. In at least one case, a Rosh Yeshiva tolerated sex abuse by one of his Rebbeim for many years and did nothing about it. He knew it was going on and yet allowed that teacher to continue teaching and continue abusing his students. He is still around – as is his Yeshiva. His moral authority seems to not be questioned. I recently saw his name on a list of prominent Roshei Yeshiva promoting some event.

Is the Torah world on a lower level than Penn State? Do the non-Jewish officials at Penn State understand better the devastation caused by the cover-up of sex abuse than our own rabbinic leaders? It would seem so.

There was a time when sex abuse was not as understood as it is today.  There was a time where sex abuse was “swept under the rug”- thinking that the victim should just “get over it.”  But this is no longer the case.

With the exception of some hard core Chasidic enclaves, most of the Orthodox world understands that the sexual abuse of a child is tantamount to mental and spiritual murder! In some cases even actual murder when a victim ends up committing suicide because of it. How in good conscience can we permit a man who allowed this spiritual murder right under his nose continue to be given honor, let alone allow his Yeshiva to remain open under his leadership?

The Penn State situation has also taught us another lesson. One which explains why the Agudah Moetzes opposed the Markey Bill. That was a bill to allow a one time extension of the statute of limitations whereby a victim of abuse can sue an institution for covering up sex abuse and allowing it to continue. Victims could sue both their abusers and the institutions that employed them.

Penn State was hit with a whopping  60 million dollar fine (among other sanctions) by the NCAA! If the Jewish educational system was hit with these kinds of numbers in lawsuits by victims, it would destroy them.

So they are afraid…Very afraid! And are therefore vehemently opposed to the possibility of this kind of financial assault! Understandably so – especially considering the tuition crisis. If Yeshivos are running deficits in spite of record high tuitions, parents being squeezed for every dime and maximum fundraising – a financial blow like this could be beyond devastating to the entire Jewish community.

But that does not take away from the injustice to victims resulting from such opposition. Let me quickly add that there are States where a Markey type extension to the statute of limitations has not destroyed Jewish education at all. So fears about the destruction of Jewish education by passing that bill in New York may be a bit overblown. But understandable nonetheless.

That said, it is to Penn State’s credit that they have accepted responsibility for their actions (or lack of them) in their own sex abuse scandal. They are going to bite the $60 million dollar bullet and have admitted that they were wrong to cover it up. They have also taken away any honor they had given to a man once identified as the epitome of their value system. I only wish that Orthodox rabbinic leaders would do the same. I don’t think we should concede the moral high ground to Penn State.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Who Has The Moral High Ground?”

  1. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    So what? Aren't the children worth more that mere money?

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Blogs Stories
Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of the English-language Al Arabiya

When evil threatens to conquer the world, it’s the duty of free nations to endeavor to prevent it.

Megillat Esther

There are many questions surrounding Purim, here are a few answers….

Palestinian Authority Funded Terror

The Palestinian Authority, led by the “moderate” Abbas, and murderous terrorism are synonyms.

Obama Bedelia

Kerry…and Bide…and EVERY DEMOCRAT just happened to be unavailable to meet with Netanyahu.

Why is it necessary to be accountable in business and in life? And how does it differ from guilt?

I’d rather you label me a concerned Jew, an Israeli. Someone who cares about the future of my nation

Goldberg chose to believe two impossible things before I had breakfast this morning.

The State Department claims Bibi revealing details of the bad Iranian deal to Americans would be a “betrayal”.

“Please stop shushing me” They kept shushing! Shushing seems to be how Leftists do Israeli politics!

Labor-Livni post-Zionist party’s campaign based on their claim they know how to keep the US happy

Mentioning genocide in the same breath as Susan Rice crosses a redline about Obama’s foreign policy

What are the ramifications of giving up your US citizenship? Would it effect your visiting the US?

Chasidim believe that Metzitza B’Peh (MbP) is an essential part of the circumcision ritual.

AMERICAN INTERFERENCE in ISRAELI ELECTIONS is IMMORAL and 1000% CHUTZPADIK!

Extremism from Jews is considered a “danger;” Arab extremism and anti-Jewish terror is “legitimate”

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of the English-language Al Arabiya

When evil threatens to conquer the world, it’s the duty of free nations to endeavor to prevent it.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Mentioning genocide in the same breath as Susan Rice crosses a redline about Obama’s foreign policy

Chasidim believe that Metzitza B’Peh (MbP) is an essential part of the circumcision ritual.

Lapid is not anti-Haredi; He’s pro-Haredi in his way, wanting them to flourish. and join society

If Bibi is in the US already Pres. Obama MUST meet with the leader of America’s closest ally!

Sherut Leumi is the national service many women choose in lieu of military service-

My understanding of Footsteps is that they have no religious – or anti-religious agenda.

A violent confrontation between 2 groups erupted at the Ponevezh Yeshiva; dozens injured

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/who-has-the-moral-high-ground/2012/07/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: