A Survivor Speaks Out
by Pinny Taub
I reached a point that I cannot sit idly by and watch how the Jewish people are being stepped on, day in and day out, by none other than people who call themselves Orthodox Jews. The chillul Hashem (Desecration of G-d’s Name) that is being created is beyond words. The kind of garbage that is being thrown on our gedolim (leading Rabbis) and holy organizations has not happened since the days of the pogroms and it’s all coming from within. It hurts me to write this to the very same people I once believed were protectors of abuse victims in the Jewish community. It hurts me even more to write to the very same people I once called very dear friends and believed were helping my brothers and sisters in pain.
What is important is the truth coming from my broken heart.
I am Pinny Taub, who is a survivor of one of the most horrific crimes that has happened to a Jew by a Jew. My story is known and is not important to repeat at this time. Despite all that, I decided that I would not be a victim anymore and I would survive. Ever since I made this decision I have taken on a new role, by helping other victims and by educating those who don’t understand. I have spoken publicly, have done interviews, and have met with rabbonim (Rabbis), gedolim, leaders, policy-makers, law enforcement officials, and private citizens. While it was very painful for me to see how people have a hard time understanding this subject, I learned that I have a lot to understand about other people, as well. I have realized that change does not come overnight, but change will come when you present the truth and nothing but the truth. When I began reaching out to the leaders and our rabbonim, it was done with a great deal of anger and resentment. What I’ve learned by reaching out to them with respect is that they really do understand and do share the pain of those who were victimized, and show anger towards the criminals who destroyed so many precious lives. All of them want change in how we treat victims, deal with perpetrators, and implement prevention. Yes, there are major differences of opinion on certain subjects. There is no subject on the face of the earth on which all participating parties are of the same opinion, especially something as complicated as abuse, which involves understanding the long-term effects on a victim, legal issues, and halacha.
The tragedy that happened just a few weeks ago has affected all of Klal Yisrael (the Congregation of Israel) and beyond. The pain of this wound is still fresh. No one can make sense of it, and as fancy of an article as anybody may attempt to write, one cannot possibly explain why it happened. But one thing every righteous human being will agree about concerning Leiby: he united us all, regardless of our affiliation. There was complete unity in the outpouring of manpower that came out to look for Leiby—men, women, the elderly, and kids. There were charedim and non-charedim. Jews and non-Jews. There were organizations like Shomrim that showed a dedication and cooperation never seen before. They were praised by every NYPD agency, from the local police precinct commander to the police commissioner, for the great job they did. To have anti-Semites from within quote “anonymous police sources” that don’t have the guts to give their name to besmirch an organization that the community depends on and that the police use as their eye and ear is beyond chutzpah.
I will say it the way it is. All these hate-filled articles on the blogs and in the non-Jewish press and the Jewish Week have very little to do with Shomrim or Agudah; they have everything to do with charedi (traditional Orthodox) Judaism. Has anyone noticed that while the issue of abuse still needs a lot of work in every circle, every single article implies that the problem exists only in the ultra-Orthodox community? Aren’t you the same bunch running around with a study that says that one in four girls and one in six boys will be abused by the age of 18, and that Jews are no different? Then why do you make it sound that it is a problem in the ultra-Orthodox community only? Oh, it must be because of the Agudah who said that one should not follow the law. Wait, the recording is online for everyone to listen to, and I was there throughout the entire shiur. Within the first three minutes the presenter said he was not there to pasken shailos (issue Halachic rulings), only to go over the shailos he had asked of the leading poskim (decisors) — and that it is clear that halacha and secular law on this matter do not contradict. So where did this hateful lie regarding the Agudah come from? Since when do these people, who have absolutely no respect for Daas Torah (Torah knowledge) anyway, care about what our Torah giants are saying?
Another excuse for the charedi-bashing goes as follows: the only group that still does not report to the legal authorities are the chareidim. Really? Last I checked there have been more than 40 arrests in the charedi Brooklyn community alone and I know for a fact that there are 40 or more open investigations (I am not saying this with pride). You say that as long as we don’t have mandatory reporting, you won’t be satisfied, but in the State of New Jersey every single adult is a mandated reporter. It makes no difference. When was the last time an arrest was made in connection with the one-in-four and one-in-six study in non-charedi neighborhoods? Last I checked, the leading poskim have said that every single Jew is a mandated reporter. As frustrating as it is and as painful as it is, change takes time.
Have you yet realized that the ones who are cruel are not the ones in the community who have done something positive on this issue without media attention? It is the ones who are shaming Torah and Yiddishkeit at every opportunity that are cruel. Unlike you, who are tackling this issue with raw emotions and bashing, we try to face it with understanding. As a survivor, my raw emotion also says that a perpetrator should be shot in the public square, but as a fellow Jew I still remember that we are an “Am Achad,” one nation—one body—one soul. When someone destroys someone else’s life we have a responsibility to do something and that may require reporting a fellow Jew, but at the same time we are one nation and one body. When a doctor tells someone that a foot has to be amputated because the infection or tumor growing there may cause further harm to the rest of the body, you know what you have to do, as painful as it is, but it’s not a time to party and celebrate. You will have to live without a foot for the rest of your life. It is sometimes a necessity to report someone from our own communities, but he or she is still a part of us.
As victim advocates, why be so cruel to my fellow victims, who are suffering enough and are angry enough about what has happened to them, by feeding them non-stop false information saying that nobody cares about them and nothing is being done? Would you tell a victim of a drunk driver that you feel their pain, but they have to understand that where you live nobody cares, or that there are so many drunks and drunk driving is rampant, that as long as the sale of alcohol isn’t prohibited it will not stop? Of course you wouldn’t.
Reach out to them with the truth. There is still a lot that has to be done, but more than you can think has changed.
I just hope and pray that you will come to realize the amount of damage you have caused on this issue for our community. I also hope you will come to realize that you are repeating history by feeding your brethren to the hungry mouths of the anti-Semites.
In the memory of Leiby, I hope you can go back and take another look at this story and see the beauty of achdus that has been on display.
This letter was edited by and published in Ami Magazine, and we appreciate their permission to use their edited version.
PINNY TAUB WROTE: Oh, it must be because of the Agudah who said that one should not follow the law. Wait, the recording is online for everyone to listen to, and I was there throughout the entire shiur. Within the first three minutes the presenter said he was not there to pasken shailos (issue Halachic rulings), only to go over the shailos he had asked of the leading poskim (decisors) — and that it is clear that halacha and secular law on this matter do not contradict.
What he actually said was that where they appear to contradict, he thinks a workable system can be worked out. He says later in the shiur that a posek decides on criteria non-poskim are unaware of if reporting constitutes raglayim ledavar and explicitly at the end of the shiur, he is explicit that a posek makes the determination of if a mandated reporter must break the law and not report. Rabbi Zwiebel has speculated that clashes between secular law’s demands and the posek’s decision will be “few and far between” but it may well be that a person will be told by his rabbi to break the law.
Thank you for your article!
While there is large room for improvement in the tackling and handling of this issue; nevertheless at the same time, we must beware that MOST of our critics are not interested in our lot. some of them get money from a side in a quarrel to write yellow journalism just to beshmootz ANY frum Jew. All they are interested is to use any problem to state that the rabbis are bunch of immoral people. And the next stop is to say that the Torah and the Rabbis of yore is a immoral body. I would say that while we fight abuse we should not give one iota to any blog or critic whose talk is to demean rabbis and the Torah.
I’m not really following Pinny here. It is my opinion that Chareidei Judaism lags almost all other groups when it comes to dealing with issues of abuse and that is why they are a frequent target of people who are victims advocates.
As Shanks has cogently presented, Pinny does not seem to understand the Aguda’s position. It is also strange that Pinny is tarring all those who are criticizing the Aguda in very unflattering terms and attributing base motivation to all of them. As one of Pinny’s admirers for his courage in speaking out against the inaction and coverups of the establishment, I am truly saddened that he has taken the extreme and unhelpful position in the present essay.
As one of the the Aguda’s critics – on my blog Daas Torah – I assume he intends to include me in the group of those he is denouncing. As someone who has published several seforim dealing with the topic [Child & Domestic Abuse in 3 volumes]-including one which Pinny Taub contributed a chapter – I strongly urge him to reconsider his defamation of all critics. This issue needs rational discourse – not automatic slander of those who disagree with a particular rabbinic organization.
Pinny, I think you are reading too many controversial articles with their attached hate filled comments. You need to calm down and look again at your friends. Because those articles and comments don’t represent the whole community of advocates and survivors. All those changes that are happening in our community are because of us, who are educating and advocating for the children, in a respectful manner.
Rocky at http://www.shomrimyeladim.com, an organization for charedi parents, advocates and survivors, providing information and education “in a respectful manner”.
What Pinny is saying is not accurate, there are cases now where people who are victims and there families are being persecuted and being forced out of there homes this doesnt happen in any other community in the world. i know of a case recently of a family that was victimized by abuse and went to the authorities and in court. a Prominent Rabbi sat with part of his congregation on the side of the suspect and this was recent. While I agree that the rabbis would never chas Veshalom do anything purposely to hurt people,but they are making mistakes on this issue. The big chilul Hashem is the constant coverup over many years of this horrific crime and allowing these people to continue to destroy huoman lives.These Perpeturators are Killers and need to be treated as such. The 40 cases that are being prosecuted that Pinny mentioned have nothing to do with the support of Agudah it is the product of people with common sense that are coming forward and are still being persecuted for doing so. We as Am yisrael have to come together and realize the gravity of this crime right away and eliminate this from our midst and that would be the biggest Kiddush Hashem.The last I heard was to save 1 jewish life is to save the whole world on this Al Achad Kama Va Kama. So Pinny if you really were a victim and do know what was is going on as you say its time for a change. We cant control what left wing newspapers say, there are always going to be distracters but we have to do whats right. Thank you
Halacha takes precedence over secular law, when in conflict.
Eventually survivors come to a point where they have to make a decision about their dysfunctional family. Do they want to accept and forgive and see the good, an individual decision which depends on ones personal relatioships and whether it is worth it to them. Some relationships are so dysfunctional, they require the survivor to overlook and minimize problems which would otherwise be intolerable, but if they need their family or just don’t want to walk away, they may have to choose subconsciously to agree to the dysfunctional familiy’s rules (which often includes minimization and other defense tactics put in place to keep everyone under control.) To agree to stay or rejoin the family is one thing, even to accept that they are doing the best they can, but to be the family’s voice against those who are trying to fight for accountability…that seems a bit much.
If Pinny disagrees how some are handling this fight, then he has a right to confront them, but this just didn’t seem any better a way than the way the other side is handling things.
Who is going to throw the next punch? And why is Pinny the one throwing it for the very community that has in the past let the survivors down? How could he attack the lot of us because some advocates attacked shomrim and agudah? Let shomrim and agudah defend themselves. I can understand being upset at the apikorsim who are enjoying nivel peh at every opportunity, (but those guys are mentally ill and who really pays attention to them). But to attack the whole community of survivor advocates because he disagrees with a few, is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
it may well be that a person will be told by his rabbi to break the law
There is nothing wrong with this concept. Are you prepared to give up circumcising your sons if the law prohibits it? The government of San Francisco came close to declaring it a form of child abuse.
The Government will not always accommodate religion, certainly if it decides there is a religion-neutral compelling interest to legislate otherwise.
1) There seems to a misunderstanding about the issue of halacha where government requires reporting and some think that this is a case of government versus religion. However, this is not black and white. The Posskim from Rav elyashiv to Rav Wosner and others (see yeshurun vol. 15 and 22) cite the Talmud in BM 83 and the ritva there that in such a case it is permitted according to Shulchan Oruch to report (perhaps some hold that then it is required by Halacha).
2) While not all bloggers are filled with apikorssim who want to use this and other avenues to bash Torah (in contradictory situations); nevertheless there seems to have pervaded even in frum blogs an air of total disrespect and derision of Rabbonim. Even though I think the Rabbonim may not have the facts and may be wrong in these situations and we have the obligation to enlighten them etc. there is no excuse for the total lack of respect and worse of attributing to them bad motives. furthermore, it may be possible that even if the aguda’s position is wrong and that the experts should be consulted first, there may be room for discussion that talknig to a rov in certain situations is alsd advised or important. If you see the teshuvas in yeshurun from the Rabbonim (Rav Elyashiv etc.) one sees this idea aired out. While it may be the right approach that experts should be the most important avenue and address, nevertheless there might be situations where rabbis can or should be consulted.
Some critics pooh pooh the observation by Pinny that 40 people have been charged and other 40 are being investigatied as rabbonim have no part in it. Perhaps, Pinny knows that in some instances rabbonim have been part and pivotal to charge the suspect?
And are the allegations raised in the Tablet article been completely dismissed that actually there might be some cases where there are false allegations?
It’s interesting that all of the blogs which are so quick to condemn the Agudah, and which pride themselves on talking about the things they say are “censored” by Hamodia/Yated/Mishpacha … have all ignored this article. Who’s afraid to talk about the issue from all sides? What hypocrites!
Daniel Eidensohn and others here seem to be the exceptions that prove the rule. Yes, there’s such a thing as respectful disagreement. But we can all be like Dovid and suddenly challenge whether Pinny Taub was “really” a victim because what he has to say isn’t politically correct, or we can say that maybe he’s really talked to the rabbonim and he’s got a point about their critics.
I’m pretty sure Dovy is wrong, and the reason Charedi Judaism is a frequent target is the same reason why it’s a frequent target about everything else: Charedi Judaism is the target, not the issue. Until the past decade, no one was running background checks on teachers before letting them in a classroom. The frum community has certainly been no worse… we were just no better equipped than anyone else. I don’t believe for a moment that one in four frum girls and one in six frum boys are abused by age 18. One is one too many, but to say that we are worse than other communities is to throw both observation and logic to the wind. Our community tells men (and women) to control their instincts, while Madison Ave. is encouraging vulgar behavior at every turn.
The rabbis know that a false accusation of abuse can also ruin someone’s life. That’s why they say you should talk to someone before you report a whiff of suspicion to police as if it were real. People have had their children taken away for months because CPS decided a broken arm meant there was abuse. But there are people who won’t be satisfied until we’ve run a witch hunt.
One case of abuse is one too many, but Pinny Taub isn’t wrong — he’s just doubly brave.
Since my English and grammar aren’t the best I’ll try to make myself as clear as possible.
1) I do not represent any organization.
2) I think I was pretty clear in my letter that I am writing only to the people behind the hate-filled articles. I have no problem when people ask questions or write constructive criticism.
3) I apologize to non-Charedim who saw my letter as an attack on non-Charedim by showing that we have done more (arrests) then non-Charedim. As I said before, I was writing it to the haters who are not Charedi that they should take another look at both communities and see how much we have accomplished. I reached out to leaders and Rabbonim in our community and saw the results; so should they. I believe in their communities much more has been done, more victims are coming forward and more arrests have been made, but I don’t have the information. All I see in their articles are about Charedim and factual lies. I have a great deal of respect for the Modern Orthodox community and their Rabbis. I spent Shabbos and other occasions as a guest in their houses and shuls and saw first hand their love and respect for another Jew.
To me affiliation does not matter at all. Some will say that we can learn from each other, I’ll take it a step further. I strongly believe we should work together on issues like this just like we work together on all other issues like cancer, special ed, fertility and many others.
You may not be satisfied with the Aguda policy. I don’t represent Aguda and I don’t have to answer for them. I just pointed out the lie that Aguda said not to follow the law. There is a very big difference between not following the law and breaking the law in “few and far between” cases. If a professional mandated reporter does not know if something really happened then he shouldn’t even go to a rav, he should consult with another professional and if they are still not sure, why run to the police? And I am one of the strongest advocates in my community regarding going to police.
I respect your right to your opinion. I did not write opinion. I wrote based on my personal involvement. Again I am not saying the Charedim are better or worse. We have much more work then what we have accomplished and perhaps you can help me. I’ll ask you what I’ve asked others. Since I am not very familiar what’s going on in other communities. Bring me a list of cases and how they were handled in other communities so I can present to the leaders in the Charedi community how to do a better job. I have already over 90 cases that has been dealt with in the Charedi community with rabbinic and law enforcement together.
RE: Rabbi Eidensohn
I really have a lot of respect for you. I did not include you in my letter and I did not include most activists. I specifically wrote hate-filled. I agree that whatever has changed for the better came because of the constructive criticism and you deserve a great deal of credit for that. Regarding your book I have no regret that I added my story. If my story helped only one person become more aware, then I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
I have nothing against activists. I think we don’t have enough and working together in a positive way would be even better. I will check out the website and give you feedback in private if you like. My email address is [email protected]
If you want to prove that cover-ups exist, I can probably beat you at that. Take my personal story for example. What I am doing is taking the past and use the lessons to move forward. There will always be criminals and there will always be cover-ups. We have to highlight the good changes even though they are few and work on improving and encouraging to do more and when we see something is not right, a good activist will reach out and get involved, not hang our dirty laundry for all to see.
I will never question victims of abuse and nobody should. I commend those victims who share their story and bring awareness. Again I encourage more activism. I am speaking out against a noisy minority of activists who are writing factual lies against our Gedolim, Organizations and the Tzibur as a whole in the name of advocacy. Besides the fact that it is wrong I feel it is counter productive.
RE: Samuel Treppe
I agree there is so much that needs to be done. Regarding the arrests, I’ve done a lot of homework. Most of it has been done with Rabbinical involvement. That is not to say that there isn’t opposition, but I am glad because of the changes.
Pinny I appreciate your clarification and agree with the points that you are now making. I hope you realize that what you had published in Ami Magazine/Croos-Currents created a strong impression that you were attacking all critics – in the same way that the Aguda i.e., Rabbi Shafran has done. It would have been helpful if you had given this essay to one of your associates for review and comment before you allowed it to be published. It looks like you were used by Ami magazine as a club to attack critics. Your friends were shocked by what you said. Ami Magazine and the Aguda have a clear pattern of overblown attacks on critics and you should have been more cautious.
I am a “tomavata yid” (a simple minded jew). Could you please explain to me why the “gedolim” and other Rabunim scream “chai v’kaiyim” and have major tshuva/tehillim rallies on tzneius and don’t have any tefilla rallies in regards to child molestation ???
If a boy “chas v’sholom” speaks to a girl, there is a very good chance that he will get kicked out of the yeshiva. The rosh yeshiva will tell the parents that it was done because the yeshiva runs “al taharas hakoidesh”. I know one thing that if a moisad or a chassidic sect preaches constantly “al taharas hakoidesh” there is defintely a high amount of child abuse – ESPECIALLY AGAINST BOYS !!!
Whatever their views are why don’t they have a tefilla rally for all of the “yiddishe kinder” that have gone through child abuse ???
Re: Rabbi Eidensohn,
I respectfully disagree with you. I don’t think I shocked anyone or offended anyone. If a critic or advocate does not fit the description I wrote in the letter why would he/she be offended? I’ve gotten many phone calls and emails from advocates and victims alike and I am still being stopped on the street by people. Most thanked me for the article and some had question but they weren’t offended.
I also disagree in your statement regarding Rabbi Shafran and Ami. Whenever I spoke out or did an interview for print I was asked to do it and it was my independent decision to do it. Nobody asked me to write this letter and it was my own decision to give it to Ami. I gave it to them because I felt Rabbi Frankfurter and Rabbi Shafran are doing a public service in confronting the bashers. I don’t recall Rabbi Shafran attacking the critics. I don’t read everything Rabbi Shafran wrote but when it comes to Ami he was always very specific of whom he is criticizing and which article. I do not feel used at all, quite the opposite I am proud of what I did. As an outspoken person on abuse I felt I have an obligation to speak out against those individuals who are covering up on the progress that we have done with lies.
Malach of the Movies,
Thank you so much for that fine example of the type of comments Mr. Taub was talking about. If it had been unclear to anyone before, it is no longer.
I am glad to hear that your article was favorable received and that apparently everyone you have talked with gave you favorable feedback. However I heard a different response. Contrary to the impression that your article makes – not all critics of the Aguda are hate filled people, not all are bashers of the system. There are serious legal and halacha questions involved that good men can disagree about.
The issues I am referring to have been the subject of several recent posts on my blog. They are not minor issues. One example was the statement of Rabbi Frankfurter that while protecting children was important but respecting rabbis [by first consulting them before going to the police] was paramount i.e. more important. The Aguda’s position has been shifting every time it is reexplained – but it still gives priority to rabbinic control – rather than to the welfare of the child. It still insists that mandated reporting is not an issue – though they give no evidence that any judge or court ruling agrees with them. The analogy they gave that it is like a doctor consulting a senior doctor – is utterly false. A rabbi is not a mumcheh in abuse and no court would accept the excuse of a psychologist who said he didn’t report an abuser because his rabbi told him not to so. In short while to is true that Rabbi Gottesman said what you say he said – there is no basis in law for his view and he offered no meaninful justification. Thus when the Aguda is criticized for making such a claim – they are criticized by people like me.
Both Rabbi Frankfurter and Rabbi Shafran are extremely proficient in the English language. They are experts in fine tuning a sentence or picking words that say exactly what they want it to say and what they want to imply. It would not have taken much effort for them to edit your article to make sure that the message you have just explained was clear. The way it reads now it is completely consistent with a blanket attack on critics. For example using a term like “hate-filled articles” can mean one of two things. 1) all critics of the Aguda position are motivated by hate and thus all critical are hate-filled. or 2) There are some critics who are motivated by hate but that there are clearly legitimate critics who have legitimate differences and your quarrel is only with the former and not the latter. You
In sum – there are legitimate questions about the view of the Aguda – both in halacha and law. Your essay does not acknowledge that fact. You have been very courageous in speaking out against abuse – but that doesn’t give you credentials to make judgments regarding the halacha or legal issues or the validity of criticisms address at rabbis and community leaders. Your desire for respectfully working together is also mine. Hopefully this discussion will lead to greater protection for our children and greater achdus.
At this point I don’t see that we have any substantive points of disagreement. I do feel that the essay – along the the important message of working together to improve things – conveys a gratuitous attack on those who disagree with the Aguda rabbis. I don’t think that is what you intended but that is the way it reads.
The fact remains that there is in the diaspora not a single rabbi, much less a beit din, that has the power or training to investigate an abuse case. No rabbi can compel witnesses to testify, no rabbi can compel collection of evidence, no rabbi even knows how to properly store evidence so that it may be later used in a legal proceding.
And it is easy to tell OTHERS that they must break the law. The rabbis who posken that a mandated reporter must not report are not the people who will risk losing their professional licenses and possibly get prosecuted for not reporting.
Fortunately, there are great rabbis who have publicly paskened differently from the AI rabbis and they can be relied upon.
Rabbi Eidensohn, I think you are too close to the issue to be objective. I read Pinny Taub’s article here and it was obvious he didn’t mean anyone who criticizes the Aguda. He said “all these hate-filled articles.” Is every critic of Shomrim hate-filled? No, but the Jewish Week’s writer is. And there are a whole slew of blogs, we all know who they are, who are very happy to publicize anything they can say negatively about Charedim. They are the same cowards who won’t say a word about this article. They are the people who refused to write about any improvements in the system, and Pinny says they betrayed him and all the victims.
But you are also unreasonable in your criticism. If someone does a clarification, you should accept the clarification. And the Agudah has made it clear that the only time they want a person to go to a Rabbi is when the person doesn’t know if there is “raglayim l’davar.” Now I don’t know the laws for mandated reporters, all I see is what I can go find on the Internet. But what I see is that there has to be a suspicion of abuse — a “safek” and not “s’feik s’feikah,” suspicion of suspicion. I don’t think a reasonable person goes and reports when they aren’t sure. All the Agudah said is, don’t rely on your own judgment, because your posek certainly is mumcheh in weighing facts objectively. He can help you tell if it’s a “safek” or a “s’feik s’feikah.”
Because of the potency of this issue, accusations can be used to destroy innocent lives, too. If the law requires that every whiff of suspicion be reported, it’s inviting abuses similar to those of CPS, which takes kids from their parents without any real evidence. Do you know that an anonymous tip, by a person with no name and no evidence whatsoever, can force you to spend an entire day with CPS? When it comes to a schoolteacher or someone like that, that alone could be enough to destroy a career if it became public knowledge.
Rational people want rational answers and not a witch hunt like I said earlier. The Agudah is being very rational, balancing the lives of innocent children and innocent teachers, which is a balance some of Agudah’s critics clearly lack.
Even though your criticism of AI (and Rabbis therein and outside) does not reach to the level of bizuy of the heretic or some others (like malachmovies comment’s all over the blogs); yet you do not only focus on an ad hoc enterprise to fix certain problems and make your case in a respectful manner; you sometimes go overboard and attack them on ideological grounds that sounds like you deligitimize their existence. For instance, you just put on your blog a post that reads that AI is a modern innovation needed to fight individualism. Even when I read your translation it does not justify this heading. It is obvious that the intent of the PY was that listening to Gedoyley Yisrael would keep them being G-d fearing men and observing the path of Hashem. It is clear that was the meaning of listening to authority, but your caption reads in a way that makes them sound that they want to “fight” the “inidividuality” of people (incidentally, I didn’t see this sentence in the works of PY). This shows that you have an long standing fight with AI over so many other issues (many ideological and not pragmatic ones) that it clouds your objective ability to discuss the issue at hand’ how to address molestation (from the most important issues at hand in the O community that needs a complete overhaul) rationally to point at the faults of the present system and at the same to listen to the position of the opponents and try to find a consensus or to convince others in the justice of your position while it addresses the concerns of your opponents.
For instance, the people at AI make a claim that there are many false claims and tthose destroy people and their families. The advocates for change do not seem to pay attention to this claim and just ignore these claims or state that these are not true and that almost most of cases happen to be true. At the end people are not completely persuaded that your position answers all the question or that it does not bring a new set of problems. This does not bring positive results to your position.
Michael – your words are calm and rational – but unfortunately your facts are wrong. You are incorrectly describing the Aguda’s position. If you listened to Rabbi Gottesman’s presentation he said that only a rabbi can determine raglayim l’davar. He said Rav Eliashiv did not give a clarification of what it means and thus it is necessary to ask a rabbi. He also claimed that there is a way of reconciling this with mandated reporting laws. But there isn’t. Mandated reporting laws do not say you can report suspicions of abuse to a rabbi for him to decide. They don’t say that a doctor or lawyer is exempt from reporting suspected abuse because their rabbi told them not to do it. furthermore your asssumption seems to be that the Aguda is stating THE view of halacha and therefore other opinions are against halacha. That is not true also. The views of Rav Silman and Rav Wosner as well as the Igros Moshe say otherwise. Review BM 83. The Aguda is denying the relevancy of Mandated laws. You are not going to find a secular court that will accept that approach. The halachic sources clearly acknowledge the status and obligation to follow mandated reporting laws – it is not a contradiction to halacha. The Aguda also says the issues of rodef is not relevant- though most poskim clearly disagree. See Rav Silman’s discussion of sofek rodef.
I am well aware of the issue of false reporting – as is anyone else working in the area. No one is encouraging a witch hunt. I am also very much aware of what has happened in many cases where a rabbi was asked whether to report and he prohibited it- to the detriment of many children. It is the Aguda that is succumbing to pressure to give more protection to the children. The Aguda is not and has not provided a rational balance of the rights of the individuals and protection of the children.
In sum, you do not know the halachic issues or legal issues or what the Aguda has been doing and what they are now advocating.
Yeschurun – it is interesting that you are trying to change the focus away from the issues to personal attack on me and my psychological motivations and supposed distortions of the sources. The historic opposition to Aguda was from Rabbis who were concerned that they were being forced to conform to a Daas Torah rather than what they felt was the correct halacha. They were concerned with the loss of automomy of the local rav. There was the real concern for results of the destruction of the kehila and the rise in individualism – which presented challeges which Aguda was attempting to deal with. There were good men on both sides of the issue.
The Aguada’s status is not that of the Sanhedrin nor is there an obligation of an individual Jew to accept their view – especially when presented by Rabbi Zweibel who is not a posek or even a major talmid chachom – but an executive and lawyer. The Aguda has displayed an embarrassing lack of moral and community leadership in this issue as well as failing to address significant halachic issues. The fact that I have discussed this on my blog obviously bothers you – but it really is halachically acceptable to disagree with the Aguda.
As I have presented on my blog there are other views by major poskim. Disagreement with Aguda does not imply what you are trying to darshon.
Rabbi Eidensohn, why do you believe that I said the Agudah is the only view of Halacha? I don’t believe it and I didn’t say it, and between that and your reaction to Pinny Taub’s article I think you’ve developed a habit on this issue about reading things that simply aren’t there.
I’m not a mandated reporter. This isn’t personally relevant, and I’m not going to listen to an 80-minute lecture when Rabbi Shafran published the Agudah’s official position right here for everyone to see: http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/07/22/agudath-israel-statement-on-reporting-suspicions-of-child-abuse/
The only line the Agudah draws is between “reason to believe” and “mere conjecture,” and yes, they say you should ask you Rav for help. You’re playing with people’s lives here — Torah Jews ask Daas Torah, and I don’t mean your blog. The Agudah doesn’t say you present your concerns to just any rabbi… only to “someone who is fully sensitive both to the gravity of the halachic considerations and the urgent need to protect children.”
Now you claim Rabbi Gottesman said “only a rabbi can determine raglayim l’davar.” Why don’t you go ask him… let’s imagine you see it happen with your own eyes. You really think he’s going to tell you that you need to make an appointment with your rabbi? You ask Daas Torah when you have a question, not when it’s obvious.
Mandated reporting laws do not say that you must report “mere conjecture.” “Reason to believe” is suspected abuse — conjecture is not. Seeking out someone with experience in this area — as the Agudah recommends — means getting solid advice. The bottom line is that you seem to think all Rabbis are out to protect guilty people from accusations, and that a person shouldn’t consult Daas Torah before reporting speculation to the authorities that has the ability to destroy a career.
Have a little bit of compassion for the victims of false accusations, and your perspective will be entirely different. No one should find that more difficult than Pinny Taub.
As support for my point – the following is a quote form the Jewish Daily of Oct 2008
Rabbi David Zweibel executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America The Jewish Daily, October 10, 2008
“Until not terribly long ago, the issue was very much in the shadows,” said David Zwiebel, director of government affairs and general counsel of Agudath Israel of America. “The fact that there were isolated reports here and there of cases arising in yeshiva settings, it was known, but they were very isolated.”
“Sometimes they were dealt with correctly and sometimes incorrectly,” Zwiebel added, “but the severity of the problem and the possible magnitude were really things that most people, including myself, just didn’t understand.”
Michael you are obviously sincere but you simply are not familiar with the issues – either from halacha or legal. To say you don’t have to listen to Rabbi Gottesman – only makes sense if the abreviated version contains the same information – but it doesn’t. You claim that you are not a mandated reporter – but in some states such as New Jeresy – everyone is a mandated reported.
I was not stating that no one is allowed to argue with Aguda or that no one argued with AI. I said that you put a inflammatory heading and read into PY something that was not there. Whether AI was right or not was not so much the issue; the issue was over your interpretation of PY or your insinuation over the motivation of AI. PY did not say that they wanted to quell individuality per se; he felt that that this was the way to keep people to be G-d fearing men and shomer torah and mitzvot. He implies that without a strong central authority they would not listen to anyone (even the local authority), which the opponents may have felt that the local authority or rov were more suited to this result. I’m sure that there were and are good men in both sides of the aisle with good motives. It’s a pity that one criticizes the position of the opponent in a way that projects the lack of good motives to their opponents and worse, and also that does not listen to the concerns of the opponents (like addressing the concern of false allegations which does exist under the current system. Lawyers and other experts do state that the are allegations are highly suspect and in their experience jurors tend to believe children no matter what . Saying that you are aware about it is not equal to attempting to offer solutions and your opponent may say that actually they are the ones that attempt to strike a balance between protecting the victims and the false suspicions). You would be far more effective if you would make your cogent points focused only on the issue at hand and also while you are able to propose practical solutions for the concerns of your opponents (and leave the ideological issues out of these discussions).
Btw: Just as you say that one can argue with AI (and we mean the Halachik Rabbis at the AI), so can the Halachik Rabbis at AI argue with Rav Silman with his position on Safek Rodef. (Rav Elyashiv and Rav Wosner have not addressed it as far as I recall. I may be wrong though).
In 18 states everyone is a mandated reporter
Can someone please tell me the requirements that rabbaim are using to determine reglayim ladover? Are there specific questions that the rav will be asking? Will he speak with the child or just the parent? And for parents, what specific questions should parents ask their children if a child reports that something not-tznuis happened to him?
Yeshurun you are just generating pilpul at this point and are avoiding the central issues that I raised. Your imaginations about my wording of a heading in a posting on my blog is a red herring. I don’t really want to repeat in detail the discussion that I have posted on my blog. You are welcome to continue this discussion there: daattorah.blogspot.com
All in all i am not interest to discuss with you there (and neither here! for that matter), because I think that you are doing a great service to Klal Yisroel in explaining and alerting and imploring to all about the great need to act correctly and justly on the main issue of molestation and may Hashem give you strength to continue in this holy work and Hashem will grant you success and may you see the fruits of your work in praactice.