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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Rabbi William Handler’

The ‘Them Vs. Us’ Shtetl Mentality Protects Sexual Predators

Friday, May 31st, 2013

In an op-ed piece by Rabbi William Handler published by The Jewish Press May 26, 2013, he warns that secular authorities, in particular New York child protection services and law enforcement, engage in overzealous investigations of reports of child maltreatment within the Orthodox communities, and persecute those accused of sexual crimes against children. With the same breath he offers his “sincere” concern that no one should minimize the harm done by sexual abuse of a child. His solution—let the gedolei Yisroel (true experts in matters of the laws of marriage and divorce) handle it.

This position is naïve at best, and dangerous if taken seriously.

The sexual abuse of children in our society is a national epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-6 boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 years old. This is not a problem unique to the Orthodox Jewish Community, it crosses all social, religious and economic strata of our society.

For at least the past decade, since the exposure of the depth and breadth of the problem with Catholic Priest abuse, this issue has been in the forefront of our collective consciousness. We have learned, in great detail, how predators engage and groom their prey; about the incurable nature of the psychological disorders of pedophilia (abuse of pre-pubescent children) and ephebophilia (abuse of post pubescent children); about the latent and delayed psychological injuries that manifest later in adult life; and about the cost to our society in general. These issues have been the subject of studies by leading authorities in the field of child maltreatment who engage in scientific methodologies and peer reviewed presentations.

To suggest that the work of these experts should be rejected in favor of someone who has studied the biblical laws of marriage and divorce belies any sense of reason. To conjure up fear of persecution and advocate a “them against us,” this Shtetl mentality as a way of protecting sexual predators is criminal.

This kind of advocacy within the Jewish Community by community leaders such as Rabbi Handler does a disservice to the community, makes the Orthodox community suspect in the eyes of law enforcement, and provokes distrust within the larger national community. This kind of approach becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you have more concern about avoiding scandal and protecting sexual predators than you do for the welfare of children, you can be sure that the world will come to disrespect you. Ask the Catholic Church how it feels about that.

Jewish Rabbis Fail at Stopping Child Abuse

Monday, May 27th, 2013

A note from the Editor:

On Sunday we published an article by Rabbi William Handler, warning against automatically turning over cases of suspected child abuse to the authorities, where he argues that said authorities had been incompetent at handling these cases and, in fact, had a vested interest in spotting abuse where there may be none.

The discussion of that article has been exemplary in terms of the civility and seriousness of the comments. Not one reader agreed with the author’s opinion, and still the discussion was—and is—being conducted among adults, who are able to distinguish between message and messenger. It made me proud to serve our readers.

Since we encouraged response articles, we received a few, which we’re in the process of processing, so to speak (line editor, heal thyself?). The one you’ve clicked to, was submitted by Moshe Handler (no idea if the two authors are related) who hosts a weekly talk show at jewishtalkradio.com.

Interestingly, while this author rebukes the yeshiva system for shuffling their “perv” rebbes from one location to another, his recommendation is to improve and enhance the yeshivas’ ability to dig up their bad apples, rather than to turn abuse cases to the authorities. To be fair, he was focusing on the failures of the system, but it is interesting that calling in outside agencies is not part of his solution.

Your submitted articles are welcome, and I urge everyone to continue and maintain the civil conduct which have become synonymous with The Jewish Press online.

Too many Jewish Rabbis and institutions turn a blind eye towards child abuse even when it’s obvious that it’s occurred. I know this from experience not opinion.

When I was a young counselor working in Camp Kol Ree Nah (a great camp run by Rabbi Yaakov Greenwald), I was warned that on my days off, when I would visit another popular camp, I should stay away from its head counselor who was a known child abuser. Remarkably, even though it was virtually public knowledge that this man was a creep who should have never been allowed near children, he was not exposed until more than thirty years had passed and parents complained about his behavior around their children.

Just last week, that same Rabbi’s nephew admitted his guilt in court as a child molester in a Lakewood Yeshiva. The Sunday before his admission, a very prominent rabbi released a public letter declaring that he investigated the case and declared Rabbi Yosef Kolko to be 100% innocent. Even more, he accused the parents of the child of being the actual molesters and of trying to get Rabbi Kolko in trouble to cover up their misdeeds.

I understand how it is that good people cannot accept the evil and sick deeds that are done by some in our community. When you yourself are a good person you think of others as good. Unfortunately, in real life defending creeps without investigating the facts is a dangerous road to travel. When the creeps are not punished and are actually defended, you are not doing anyone a favor. Worse, these people will molest others and those victims may be damaged for life. For the sake of these victims, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Rabbi Kolko used to be a rebbe in a much respected Yeshiva in Brooklyn. When his true character came to light, they got rid of the problem by promising him a letter of recommendation if he would resign. That’s how he got to be a rebbe in Lakewood. This case is not an exception. I know of many yeshivot that shifted their problems this way.

It’s sort of like a game we used to play called “Bomb.” You would wind up a Plastic “bomb” and it would start ticking. The game players would stand in a circle and keep throwing the toy bomb to one another. If you dropped the bomb or if the bell would go off while it was in your hands, you lost the game. The yeshivot are, unfortunately, busy protecting their reputations by playing “bomb” with dangerous, live pervert rebbes who are destructive even when they are still ticking. But they quickly pass these rebbes around before it is revealed they have such a person on their staff.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jewish-rabbis-fail-at-stopping-child-abuse/2013/05/27/

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