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Rabbis, Time To Flash Your Badges


I have a badge number, and I’m required to proffer it whenever asked. In 26 years, I’ve always honored that responsibility, and I cherish the accountability it instills in me.

Rabbinical leaders wear a bigger badge than mine – the badge of Torah. That badge may not have a number, but responsibility and accountability reside within it all the same.

It’s time for those who would be leaders to honor that responsibility. And for us in the community to start exercising our right to ask the questions that make the point clearly: Rabbis, your badge makes you accountable, and we’ll demand that accountability – each and every day.

Daniel Sosnowik, an Orthodox Jew, is a captain in the New York City Police Department, where he has served since 1984. He is a member of the board of directors of Survivors for Justice (www.sfjny.org), an advocacy organization for victims of abuse.

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“Officer, what’s your badge number?”

I’ve been asked that question countless times over the last 26 years. Almost always, it followed an unpopular decision. Always, it was accompanied by an unspoken message: “I’m letting you know I will hold you accountable for this decision.” And always, I answer that question in a direct, simple way: I give my badge number.

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