Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Child Abuse - Calling Police/ Rav Eliashiv shlita

From Yeshurin in an article by R' Tzvi Gartner regarding calling the police in child abuse
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  1. 1.
    RYSE shlita is saying:
    Clearly guilty: go to police (i.e. don't try to handle it yourself with tznius police or other methods)
    No evidence (raglayim ledavar) other than accusation: Cannot go to police.

    what if there is a "raglayim ledavar" but it is not "barur"?

    Is this not the situation of most accusations?
    The teshuva avoids dealing with that.

    2. What would be the proper course of action where there is an accusation but we don't see evidence (ein raglayim ledavar)?
    Then should we not investigate?
    The rav's concern here is the torture and shame of undergoing the police investigation etc.
    But, if it is possible to investigate, shouldn't it be done?
    Do the rabbanim have anyone who is qualified to investigate?
    Is it responsible as a rav or leader to dismiss an accusation where the evidence is not in front of them instead of actually looking for evidence (which can only be done adequately by trained, experienced professional investigators and mental health professionals)?

  2. "Then should we not investigate?"

    He doesn't even imply that.
    Definitely, you need to investigate.

  3. "Curious" raises an important issue; the teshuva does not address the very large gap between "הדבר ברור שאכן ידו במעל" and "באופן שאין אפי' רגלים לדבר".

    Experience has shown that relying on local rabbis and community leaders to conduct the "investigation" frequently leads to unsatisfactory results.

    Another issue: The teshuva appears to be addressing a beis din or rabbinic authority. He does not appear to be permitting a "private citizen" to report such a crime to the police. Again, there have been cases where the local rabbinic authorities have been actively involved in covering up such scandals. In such a case, what should the ordinary person do?

    Rav Elyashiv is clearly concerned about false accusations. This is a genuine and serious problem and his concern is justified. On the other hand, in some cases serious crimes have been covered up, causing immense harm both to the victims and to the community as a whole.

    Recently, a friend of mine, with young children, told me that these problems have caused him to become suspicious of everyone. In our conversation we concluded that one of the reasons he and many others have become so hyper-suspicious is that they no longer feel that the communal leadership is working in their best interest. They feel they must exercise extreme caution on their own, because they cannot rely on the communal leadership to protect them.

    R' Elyashiv's teshuva would be perfectly acceptable if people could be confident that their local community rabbis and leaders were primarily interested in the best interests of the ordinary people in their community. Being that increasing numbers of people no longer feel this way (in my opinion, with good reason), the teshuva does not solve any of the real problems.

    The real problem we are dealing with is not sexual predators. The real problem is a collapse of the Jewish community. Many very frum people have more confidence in the non-Jewish police and government to act in their best interests than they do in their own community leaders.

  4. "The real problem is a collapse of the Jewish community. Many very frum people have more confidence in the non-Jewish police and government to act in their best interests than they do in their own community leaders."

    And why should ANYONE have confidence in our community leaders.

    What do you do when you go to the men's mikveh and see one of the local Rabbis (who happens to be married to a woman who was converted for marriage) sitting there a state of arousal with a 13 year old boy who is learning disabled?

    A. Do you call the Dayyan who converted his Gentile wife so he could marry her?

    B. Do you call the Rabbi who supervises the mikveh whose hul youth director just got fired for fondling a teenage girl?

    C. Do you tell the boy's parents who are good friends and avid supporters of the Rabbi you saw with their son?

    D. Or do you just do nothing and stop toiveling because it is a minhag and not a halachic requirement and this is the second mikveh in your neighborhood in which you have seen homosexual or pedophilic activity?

    For me, the answer was D). And I am also very paranoid about my children. My son's Bar Mitzvah teacher is "Trop Tutor".

  5. More about conversos. You all have got to read this remarkable story from beginning to end.


    Isn't he that Russian immigrant?
    By Lily Galili
    Tags: Prisoners of Zion, insurance

    During the same week that Israel, represented by Absorption Minister Eli Aflalo and National Insurance Institute Director General Esther Dominisini, officially honored the Prisoners of Zion, one of the most famous such prisoners, Edouard Kuznetsov, received a letter from that very same NII demanding that he repay NIS 437 to which, in the NII's unexplained opinion, he was not entitled. This letter was preceded by a demand that he return NIS 14,194 that he had received in disability payments last year, on account of disabilities that, so the letter stated, he does not have. In other words, the state, in whose name he was once declared a Prisoner of Zion, now sees him as a little thief who is swindling it.

    The truth is that Kuznetsov, 69, is a big thief. In 1970, he was the leader of the Leningrad Group, which sought to hijack a Soviet plane in order to reach Israel. He knew the chances were slim, but believed that a scandal of that magnitude would arouse world public opinion to act against the Kremlin's emigration policy.

    The group was caught at the airport by two KGB units that vied to take credit for the big accomplishment, even going so far as to strike each other in front of the shocked hijackers. Kuznetsov was sentenced to death in a lightning trial. He only discovered much later why he did not die.

    Around 10 years ago, he said, Yitzhak Rager, a former mayor of Be'er Sheva and active participant in the struggle for Soviet Jewry, showed up at his Jerusalem home. This happened shortly before Rager's death. Rager told him the following story, which is being published here for the first time: In the days before Kuznetsov's scheduled execution, Generalissimo Francisco Franco was preparing to execute three Basque terrorists. The world was enraged. Then-prime minister Golda Meir summoned Rager to her office. "Go to Franco and tell him: 'We know that you come from a family of converts and that you already helped Spanish Jews by refusing to hand them over to Hitler; now, help the Jews again. Grant a pardon to the Basques in order to put pressure on [Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev."

    And so it was. Brezhnev apparently would have been uncomfortable having the world view fascism as more humane than communism. Thus Kuznetsov's sentence was commuted to 15 years in jail.

    To serve his sentence, he was brought back to the gulag where he had previously served a seven-year sentence as a political prisoner. "It was like going home," he laughs. Nine years later, he was released in exchange for two Soviet spies, and in 1979, he arrived in Israel.

    In the meantime, the Kremlin's emigration policy had changed. Kuznetsov is convinced that his hijacking played a crucial role.

    It is hard to say that he fell in love with the homeland he had yearned for, but he certainly has had an effect on it. He became the backbone of the Russian-language press that flourished following the massive wave of immigration in the 1990s, and has edited Vremya, Vesty and Mig News. After a few scandals that are stories in their own right, he started publishing an intellectual journal called Nota Bene, which was ranked one of the best of its kind in the world by a prestigious Russian journal. However, it closed due to lack of funds.

    Since then he has hardly worked. He lives off his old age pension and the NIS 338 a month he receives as a former Prisoner of Zion. This situation leaves him a lot of time to think, some of which is dedicated to despairing critiques of the state's weakness and what he sees as its lack of pride.

    Pride and stubbornness are important qualities for him. Sometimes they get him into trouble, but sometimes they save him. Coming out of a catheterization with bleeding fingers, caused by gripping the metal bars of the bed due to the intensity of the pain, rather than display weakness in front of the nurses is a bad idea. Stubbornly trying to save his leg from amputation turned out to be an excellent idea.

    In 2001, a severe problem was discovered with the blood vessels in his legs, and the doctor recommended amputating one leg above the knee and the other at the ankle. Kuznetsov says he felt as if he had been sentenced to death a second time. He therefore went for alternative treatment to a Russian expert who made him cocktails and ordered him to walk daily. At first he walked just a few meters, with much pain, but eventually he reached five kilometers a day, in all weather. The walking was a fight for life.

    The NII initially declared him 70 percent disabled and gave him a commensurate allowance. A year ago, he went back, as required, to the medical committee, which discovered that his legs had improved. However, he was not asked to do anything, and the allowance continued to arrive.

    Then, a month ago, the demand arrived that he return the money, for reasons he was unable to understand. The insult was terrible. Kuznetsov says he is pained solely by the injustice, but his wife, Larissa Gerstein, a gifted singer and former Jerusalem city councilwoman, is not sure that is all there is to it. His pride has been hurt, she said; his honor has been trampled without explanation. She believes he actually deserves a medal for having once again evaded his sentence - and saved the state lots of money in the process, by not becoming a wheelchair-bound invalid. In any case, he is very offended.

    Haaretz submitted a query to the NII, which responded with uncharacteristic speed. NII officials mumbled something about a mistake, a misunderstanding. Once again, Kuznetsov received a pardon: He will not have to repay the money.

    "Tell me," an NII official then asked. "Kuznetsov? Isn't he the one from the [Russian] immigration?"


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