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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Yeshivot’

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.

Is Learning Torah ‘Sharing the Burden’?

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I have to respectfully disagree with the esteemed Mashgiach of Lakewood, Rav Matisyahu Salomon. An article in YWN quoted him as saying that the statement being made about Haredim in Israel not ‘sharing the burden’ is apikursus – heresy.

I suppose that the way he explains it, it might be heresy to say such a thing. To make the claim that learning Torah is not “sharing the burden” is indeed a slight to learning Torah. Learning Torah does help protect Israel from harm by its enemies just as a physical army does. Those are two necessary components.

But it is a gross misunderstanding to characterize “sharing the burden” in the way Rav Salomon does. The burden that is not shared – is the one that involves putting oneself in harm’s way. I can’t repeat this enough times. Rav Salomon cannot possibly think that yeshiva bachurim (lomdei Torah – those who study Torah) risk their lives in the same way as a solider in combat does. They are nowhere near harm’s way while they are in a Beis HaMedrash being protected by soldiers who do share the burden of risking life and limb.

Once again we see a great rabbinic figure who apparently does not understand what it is that really upsets the non-Haredi public – which includes many observant Jews. To say that our views are apikursus is both false and insulting – even if unintentionally so. Nor does Rav Salomon even attempt to give credit to those who do risk life and limb protecting those lomdei Torah – as did a Gadol of the previous generation, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz.

How sad it is that a leader of such great stature in the Haredi world feels he has to insult so many observant Jews in order to make his point about the importance of learning Torah. Would it not serve Klal Yisroel better if he were to first acknowledge the contributions of those who do serve in the IDF?

And wouldn’t it also serve Klal Yisroel better if he were to understand that “sharing the burden” means participating in the risk to life and limb equally… and not meant to denigrate the contributions of lomdei Torah to our survival as a nation?

Statements such as those made by Rav Salomon are very upsetting. Is there any wonder why there is such a lack of Achdus in Klal Yisroel? But all is not lost. I do in fact agree with his final paragraph:

HaRav Solomon said if there are מקטרגים (opponents; detractors) on the Torah, the Gra teaches us that this is a sign of the תביעות (claims) against us in Shomayim [Heaven] and while today we do not have prophets, one can know this is bases on מידה כנגד מידה (measure for measure) and we must look and see from where the פורענות (troubles) come from and this is the area where the teshuvah [repentance] and מעשים טובים (good deeds) must be focused.

Indeed. Perhaps God is sending a message about an area that needs improvement. And perhaps the first place his community should be looking at is in how they have reacted to this very issue. Perhaps if they would treat those of us who have made this statement (about sharing the burden) with a measure of understanding and respect instead of calling us apikursim, we would return that respect and understanding measure for measure.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

12 Good Reasons Why Secular Israelis Reject Haredim

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Rabbi Dovid Bloch is the official spokesman for the Nahal Haredi, the Netzah Yehuda IDF battalion, was among its founders, and is the spiritual guide (mashgiach ruchani) of its recruits. This part of his record is impeccable, as far as secular Israelis are concerned. Rabbi Bloch studied at Yeshivat Ponivez and for many years served as Rosh Yeshiva of the Midrashia in Pardes Hanah. He currently is a Ram (Rosh Metivta) in Nahora Yeshiva High School and a Rosh Kollel in Jerusalem. That makes his record impeccable for Haredim. This means that his opinion carries a great deal of weight in both camps, and that should give all of us reason to hope for a good resolution of the Equal Burden issue which has been troubling coalition talks these past three weeks.

Now, I ask the reader not to take away from the following text the position that the Haredim are the only ones to blame for the severe gap on so many levels between the two societies inside Israel. But it’s refreshing to read a respected Haredi source with a clear eyed view of the Haredi contribution to the problem.

In an article titled “Maybe the Secular Are Right?” that was published this winter in the Haredi Kikar Hashabbat, Rabbi Bloch asks: “Why is it so common for Haredi pundits and public figures to pin the motives for secular hatred against Haredim only on the formers’ bad qualities, their emptiness, anti-Semitism and the ignorant man’s hatred for the scholar? And another question we should ask ourselves is whether, in some cases, the value benefits from this conduct or another are worth the consequent heavy price of hilul Hashem (desecration of the Holy Name).

Rabbi Bloch then poses 12 questions which he encourages his Haredi readers to ponder.

1. We’ve chosen, for understandable educational reasons, to withdraw and live in exclusively Haredi cities and neighborhoods, avoiding as much as possible any social contact with the secular.

This is legitimate and understandable, but as a result they don’t really know us, amd so they naturally view us as bizarre, in our manner of dress, our behavior, and our language. This creates aversion and alienation. Why, then, we are angry at them for treating us this way?

2. We chose, for educational reasons—although some of us really believe it—to teach our children that all secular Israelis are sinners, vacuous, with no values, and corrupt.

This could possibly be a legitimate view, but, then, why are we shocked when the secular, in return, teach their own children that the Haredim are all primitive, with outdated and despicable values?

3. We have chosen, for the sake of the preservation of Torah in Israel, to prevent our sons from participating in carrying the heavy burden of security, and instead tasked them with learning Torah.

Of course we could not give that up, but why are we outraged and offended when the secular, who do not recognize nor understand this need—or rather most of them are familiar with the issue, but argue that there should be quotas—see us as immoral, and some despise us as a result?

4. We chose for our sons who do not belong, by their personal inclination or learning skills to the group of Torah scholars (Yeshiva bums and worse), to also evade enlistment—including into perfectly kosher army units. And when it comes to the individuals who have joined the Haredi Nahal, we do not praise them, but despise them instead, and we certainly show them no gratitude, while the Haredi press ignores them—in the best case.

Why, then, are we outraged when the secular don’t believe our argument, that the purpose of keeping yeshiva students from enlisting, is to maintain Torah study and not simply the Haredim’s unwillingness to bear the burden?

5. We chose to teach our children not to work for a living, and to devote all their time to Torah study. Clear enough, but, then, why are we shocked when the secular—who do not consider Torah study an all encompassing value—feel that we are an economic burden on their necks, as a mere 38% of us take part in the labor force, and they hate us for it.

6. We chose not to teach our children any labor skills, and we condemn those who do pursue a profession. As a result our kolelim include all of those who do not belong among the scholars and still prefer not to work for a living.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/12-good-reasons-why-secular-israelis-reject-haredim/2013/02/16/

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