Monday, December 11, 2006

Attention Deficit Disorder: Agudath Israel

From Failed Messiah's webpage:

[Go to this link to see the original post with all the hyperlinks intact.]

In a scathing post, DovBear calls for the resignation of Agudath Israel's top man, Rabbi David Zwiebel, and it's mouthpiece, Rabbi Avi Shafran. Here's why. When asked by email to comment on the arrest of rabbi-on-boy sex abuser Rabbi Yehuda Kolko, Avi Shafran wrote:

Why would we have comment about the arrest of an individual? Because he was an employee, more than 30 years ago, of one of the camps we run (that have had thousands of employees over the years)? I don’t think that requires comment on our part. We are not even a party anymore to any lawsuit filed against the accused, as I understand it. The suit of the accuser who included Camp Agudah in his action (John Doe #1) has been dismissed (without prejudice, I believe, so it can still be refiled, but hasn’t been)."

DoveBear responds:

Let's help Avi out. He asks: "Why would we have comment about the arrest of an individual?"

1 - Because he was an employee, more than 30 years ago, of one of the camps you run! (Credit Avi Shafran himself for that one)

2 - Because men closely associated with your organization have been running interference for him for 25 years.…

DovBear goes on to note that Agudah comments on many issues, from Conservative Judaism's grappling with halakha to the latest in Intelligent Design. Why shouldn't they comment on 40 years of rabbi-on-boy sex abuse within their own community?

The answer is obvious. Many leading Agudah rabbis covered for Kolko. Some of them may be sued. Others may be open for criminal prosecution. [But regrettably, I add, most won't be because the community will cringe in fear and shame when threatened and terrorized by the henchmen of these power-mongers.]

But DovBear raises a good point. Zwiebel and Shafran should both be forced to resign, Shafran for his smug dismissals of abuse and Zwiebel for working against mandatory reporting laws and against a centralized system within haredi schools to track abusers.

If you agree with DovBear's call, please post it on your blogs and shout it from your rooftops. I have.

December 11, 2006


OK, here it is.

Real Tzaddikim don't need to hide from the truth, cover-up the truth, or intimidate people who tell the truth. As I have said before, it's time to shine some light on the dark corners of the yeshiva culture. Claiming that outing criminals is a worse sin than molesting children - or scamming the government, insurance companies, and unsuspecting investors - is a hideous distortion of the real teachings of Torah.

And if you or anyone you know has been a victim of child abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of any kind, either boy or girl, I urge you to go to:

which is a Jewish organization dedicated to helping victims of the great ultra-orthodox cover up of sexual crimes against heredi women and children. And if you have had enough of being intimidated, living in fear and shame, and having your family exploited by the heredi rabbis, then contact:

which is an organization by former frum and for frum who want to escape from the thugs of their community and live in a modern, open society that respects whatever relationship with tradition that you choose to have.

The power-mongers who are more concerned with their own reputations and authority and privileges they have given themselves than they are about the victims of abuse can only get away with this as long as the community keeps blindly turning away from their crimes. The sunlight needs to shine on them - with a magnifying glass. And if they can't take the scrutiny, then they're nobody you want anywhere near you or your family.

And furthermore, God never meant for Jews to live under the terrorism and social power now wielded by the rabbis. This is not a healthy or Biblical way to live. Their self-serving incestuous inner circles benefit only themselves, at the expense of all Yisrael. We need to reclaim our communities, and no one can sit on the sidelines now. There is far too much at stake, class. If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.

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