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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
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The Jewish Week And Allegations Of Abuse

The Jewish Press’ continuing coverage, in our Family Matters section, of students’ claims of abuse at the hands of unidentified teachers in our yeshivos, attests to the significance we attach to the problem. Yet we are constrained to note our serious reservations about how the issue has been treated in The Jewish Week.

For the past two weeks, that publication has carried extraordinarily long stories, beginning on its front page, concerning allegations against a prominent Rosh Yeshiva which are being brought before a rabbinic panel that will determine whether a full-blown Beth Din should be convened. Although at this point there have been no findings, both stories treat the accusations as fact and contain the grossest of descriptive language and salacious imagery.

The stories are strikingly similar in content – along the lines of: this is what will transpire at the panel meeting/this is what did take place. They also contain, as a central theme, the idea that nobody is doing anything about the problem.

Given their repetitiveness and patently gratuitous graphic descriptions, one suspects that a conscious effort is being made to sensationalize and, yes, to bash, in addition to merely informing the public.

Moreover, fact that The Jewish Week was reporting on the convening of the investigative rabbinic panel concerning the assertions, surely belies the notion that nobody is interested in dealing with the issue of abuse.

It seems to us that there is reason enough to pursue possible abuse of our young by those in sensitive positions and able to do great harm without, at the same time, seeking to further a separate agenda. Indeed, as we have pointed out in the past, The Jewish Week regularly has given short shrift to even admitted adultery and proven murder when committed by non-Orthodox leaders, who were not even so identified.

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