In a Baltimore shul, pictures are regularly posted of convicted sex offenders living in the neighborhood – but the pictures of the Jewish offenders are removed. In Lakewood, a chain phone call recently went out warning parents that a molester had moved into their neighborhood, but he was not identified because “it is lashon hara.”
Some may argue that the government’s Megan’s Law registry of sex offenders has not proved effective in decreasing child sex abuse. But in our tight-knit frum community, where an individual who is caught selling treif chicken is tarred and feathered, thus assuring that nobody will ever trust him to sell meat again, a rabbinic pronouncement that Ploni and Almoni are “not recommended” as safe to be alone with children would surely give parents a fighting chance. It would at the very least assist schools, camps and youth groups that earnestly want to screen out known molesters from being hired.
Child molestation may be an illness, but covering it up is just plain wrong.
Dr. Asher Lipner is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice who specializes in treating survivors of sexual abuse and their families in the Orthodox community. He is executive vice president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children and can be reached at email@example.com.
About the Author:Rabbi Asher Lipner, Ph.D., is vice president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children. This essay was adapted from a speech he gave at Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s March 1 Boro Park rally in support of victims of abuse.
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“Whoeverhas mercy on cruel people will in the end act cruelly to merciful people.” So the Midrash deduces from the story of Shaul HaMelech – King Saul. When commanded to kill out the wicked nation of Amalek, the king had mercy on its monarch, Agag, sparing his life. As evidence that Saul eventually acted with cruelty to merciful people, the Gemara quotes the Navi that years later Saul showed no such compassion when he killed out an entire city of Kohanim because they had given shelter to his nemesis David.
The stories of Moshe Rabbeinu and Esther HaMalkah are very similar. Both lived in luxurious conditions while their people were suffering. Moshe was raised in the house of King Pharaoh; Esther was the queen of King Achashveirosh. But each felt so connected to their brothers and sisters that they risked their lives to protect and save them, even though they themselves were neither suffering nor in danger.