Photo Credit:
The Skverer Rebbe.

I have to give Rabbi Yakov Horwitz credit. He confronts evil, looks it in the eye, and loudly and clearly tells it like it is.

In his latest essay posted on his website his criticism (…no doubt generated by the video he links to) is directed at the elected officials in the New Square area. He tells us that these officials do little more than give convicted pedophiles a slap on the wrist for multiple counts sex abuse. They serve no time in jail. These pedophiles are then free to roam the streets for more victims.


Rabbi Horowitz doesn’t spell it out. But the implications are obvious in my view. The person really responsible for this is the Skever Rebbe himself. The elected officials of the criminal justice system whose judges mete out sentences to these pedophiles treat them with kid gloves. Because they fear losing their jobs. That fear is genuine.

I recently wrote about the political clout places like this have. And this is a perfect example of how it can be misused. When the Skverer Rebbe tells his Chasidim who to vote for, that is who gets elected. And the Rebbe uses that power to protect those of his Chasidim who are pedophiles and have sexually abused children in his city.

This is a city, once described by Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter, publisher of Ami Magazine as an inspiring and enviable place of holiness. Where Jews celebrate their Judaism in ways rivaled by few if any other. But even as that may be true it is also a very sick society!

This is a society that has no clue about the dangers of pedophiles roaming their city streets. Nor do they understand that a pedophile cannot be disabused of his sexual orientation. They are only attracted sexually to pre-pubescent children. Skvere is a society that is under the complete influence of a single individual, the Skverer Rebbe.

He has taught his Chasidim that one of the worst sins a Jew can do is to be a Moser – informing on a fellow Jew to the government. That the cost of doing so endangers their children doesn’t even occur to them. This is a society that refuses to put pedophiles that are fellow Skverer Chasidim in jail. Pedophiles are even believed when they blame their victims!

Why was Rabbi Frankfurter so inspired? I’m sure it’s very inspiring to spend a Shabbos there. One will see Shabbos spent in unified celebration by the entire town. What a sight it must be to see every single male Chasid Davening in the same large Shul… where the Rebbe himself Davens. Even though it is mandatory for his Chasdidm to do so, no one is ever heard to complain about it. Well… almost never. More about that later.

I’m sure that the vast majority of its citizens more than love their Rebbe. They idolize him. It is very understandable why. He is stern but very giving person. He is very kind to them… spending a lot of time with each Chasid as they come to him for advice on all matters. They consider him wise beyond all other men. His counsel is always accepted. When his advice is followed – which it probably almost always is – it always seems to produce the best results. They must have an inordinate amount of love, respect, and awe for him. They are happy campers.

In fact I don’t think it would be too much of an exaggeration to say that their entire community is camp-like in many ways. It is almost cult-like. A social community matched by few others.

But the price they pay for all that harmony and joy is too high. Veering even slightly from the norm has serious consequences. Sometimes those consequences are life threatening. As they were when one Chasid tried to create a separate Minyan for a friend who was hospitalized. That fellow paid for that with third degree burns all over his body as the result of failed arson attempt by a young man who was an in house servant of the Rebbe. He believed he was protecting the Rebbe’s honor via punishing this man because he violated the rules against separate Minyanim.

But even for those who do not veer from the path set by their Rebbe. They still pay a price. The price of exposing their children to free roaming pedophiles. Who knows how many victims there are that have been told to sweep their abuse under the rug – and just get on with their lives. And how many of those young victims end up with life long suffering, often including depression and sometimes suicide. Not to mention going OTD.

Rabbi Horowitz’s advises writing respectful letters to District Attorney’s office. I agree. But it should be very clear why this office has responded so favorably to pedophiles. They see it as the will of the people that elected them. And that is an electorate controlled by the Rebbe himself. As Rabbi Horowitz says:

Law enforcement officials are human beings just like the rest of us. They get frustrated beyond words when they arrest predators who richly deserve long prison sentences and then watch as political pressure is applied and their dedicated efforts are washed away. After this happens a few times, they just throw up their hands.

Indeed. As I said, Rabbi Horowitz doesn’t say so. But I don’t see how anyone can say that the buck does not stop at the Skverer Rebbe’s desk. It is the political pressure of the Skverer Rebbe through his power over the ballot box that is the source of the problem. And it’s about time the world knew it! Enough Korbonos.

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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at [email protected].