Monday, June 4, 2012

Saving kids: Lashon harah is "high price to pay"?!

The following is an excerpt from an interview Mishpacha [May 2012] recently conducted with Rabbi Zweibel executive vice president of the Aguda. The man who actually runs the Aguda. It shows a good man with true generosity of spirit. An intelligent and idealistic man who has  devoted his life to help the Jewish people by working with gedolei Yisroel. A humble man who cares deeply about others.

Unfortunately what he says is one of the most incredible and disgusting perversions of Yiddishkeit that I have ever read. It shows not the slightest awareness of the halachic issues or the horrible consequences of abuse. He is totally clueless as to what a chilul hashem his words are as well lacking any understanding of why the Aguda's handling of this issue - including the actions of their gedolim - is so incredibly shameful. And despite the egregious errors of judgment that he unwitting reveals about the Aguda's gedolim he concludes "that the process of decision-making through the Moetzes is as close to perfect as can be."
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Rabbi Zwiebel speaks with his characteristic softness, but there is fire in his eyes. "Look, I don't write off the bloggers as leitzanim and reshaim, because they will be judged, as we all will, after 120 years for their motivations and techniques. I'm not a condemner, by nature. "I do believe that among them there are people who are deeply pained about certain issues and feel that this is the way they can express their pain. I will even go a step further and say that through the pressure they've created, communal issues that needed to be confronted were moved to the front burner and taken seriously. A case in point is abuse and molestation issues. The question is, if the fact that they've created some degree of change is worth the cost. At the very least, it's rechilus, lashon hara, and bittulzman. That's a high price to pay. "Then there is the damage wrought to the hierarchy of Klal Yisrael. We've always been a talmid chacham-centered nation, and it's dangerous to ruin the fabric of Klal Yisrael by denigrating the ideal of daas Torah and by allowing personal attacks on gedolei Torah." What about personal attacks against Rabbi Zwiebel himself? He shrugs. "Rabbi Sherer used to say that a nail that sticks out of the wall gets hammered. When you're in the public eye, criticism is inevitable. It's not pleasant, but it comes with the territory." He readily concedes that Agudah hasn't done a great job of spreading its message. "It's part of our mandate to communicate the perspective of gedolim on contemporary issues, and we are aware that we have been handicapped since the Jewish Observer closed down. We take the challenge seriously, and are constantly working on improving our communications." Reb Chaim Dovid believes that the process of decision-making through the Moetzes is as close to perfect as can be. "It's a homogeneous group of the most intelligent, empathetic individuals — all great talmidei chachamim — and they grasp all aspects of an issue right away."   

42 comments :

  1. Responding to statements like this has become like debating a member of the flat earth society. There is no common perception of reality between us to allow any discussion. I can only read it and weep.

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  2. Are you ready for a knitted kippa yet?

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  3. "If I were human, I believe I would say: 'Go to hell'. If I were human." Spock, Star Trek VI

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  4. At least he's honest. I don't have any reason to believe he is lying about his position on the matter.

    Others have lied.

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  5. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is Ursula K. Le Guin's allegorical tale about a Utopian society in which Omelas' happiness is made possible by the sacrifice of one child for the sake of the group. In an allegory, many symbols and images are used in an attempt to illustrate universal truths about life. ''Omelas'' was first published in the magazine New Directions in 1973, and the following year it won Le Guin the prestigious Hugo Award for best short story.

    KT
    Joel RIch

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    1. Thank-you for reminding me of that short story. I just re-read it. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/dunnweb/rprnts.omelas.pdf

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    2. Thank-you for reminding me of this wonderful short story. I just re-read and recommend others do likewise -- http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/dunnweb/rprnts.omelas.pdf

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  6. Everyone has been so upset at Zweibel and Agudah, that they have failed to recognize that Mishpacha magazine, praised as a "step in the right direction for the Charedi community" by Rabbi Slifkin, is publishing these "hashkafas" as "Daas Torah" without any critique or questioning at all of the sick and immoral statements.

    I fail to see how any Jew with a shred of decency can still support the magazine which has knowingly sold out to the forces of evil. I do not know how to call them out in a way that would make them reconsider. If somebody here knows Rabbi Gerylak or anybody else at that publication, perhaps you would have a suggestion.

    Asher Lipner, Ph.D.

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  7. I don't read Mishpacha so I don't know what the full context of this excerpt is. From what you have provided, it sounds like he is talking about blogging in general (well, blogging about the Orthodox Jewish community in general), which he feels is generally "rechilus, lashon hara, and bittul zman" and does harm to the traditional hierarchy of the Jewish community. He only mentioned the issue of child abuse as a counter-example where the "J-blogosphere" has actually made a positive impact.

    While I think Zwiebel's choice of words ("worth the cost", "high price to pay") is unfortunate, his basic point is valid. While bloggers have had a positive impact in certain important areas of Jewish life, they also have a very harmful impact in many critical ways.

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  8. Lazer,

    The question is whether the harmful aspect of blogging such as bittul zman, is really a consideration when dealing with pikuach nefesh. It is not.

    Secondly, the hierarchy of "daas torah" that he feels should not be harmed, is one of the biggest reasons for the molestation of thousands of Jewish children, as can be seen quite clearly by Zweibel's other public statements that the DA should not make a power grab from the rabbis who have the right to obstruct justice when people are alleged to have molested children.

    And the rechillus and Lashon Harah of the bloggers, applies just as much to his own hypocritical words as he does not feel it is lashon hara to attack those who have helped protect children.

    What he says here is indefensible.

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  9. That anyone is surprised at zwiebel's tipshus is itself tipshus. The agudah represents a totally corrrupt elite so devoid from rreality that as each day goes by it becomes at best irrelevant and reality more and more part of the problem.

    It does not represent daas torah as there are no gedolim in the usa. All it represents is its own narrow, selfish interests,

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  10. Ps: look who was on the dias at the recent asifa: a man who allegedly advocates murder when one of his chaassidim davens in an unappproved minyan, a man who was lo tzias dina when summonsed to reb moshe, another self appointed godol who nefariously told people he lived in boro park and hence couldnt get involved in flatbush molestation and the big speaker whom refused to repair his posul bedieved woman's mikveh. Sick.

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    1. "big speaker whom refused to repair his posul bedieved woman's mikveh."

      huh???

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  11. This group of people are still in a "denial" phase.

    If one looks into Biblical history, the Neviim had a duty to do Tzedek and tell the truth - and this sometimes meant imprisonment or death - at the hands of other Jews. Maintaining inertia is the easy way out, but changing is the difficult part.

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  12. James call nochum rosenberg who is an expert in mikvaos

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    1. Who is Nochum Rosenberg and what do you propose I ask him?

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  13. The New York Post reports http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/and_another_who_may_walk_too_OEyWZbQJCqpgVOKJVoQEeM?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=Brooklyn:

    "Brooklyn 'perv' rabbi Gershon Kranczer and son on the lam in Israel

    By SUSAN EDELMAN

    Last Updated: 9:50 AM, June 3, 2012

    Posted: 1:00 AM, June 3, 2012

    They may run, and it seems they can hide.

    Brooklyn rabbi Gershon Kranczer, 58, hopped a JFK flight to Tel Aviv on Nov. 29, 2010, running away just days before cops went to his Midwood house of horrors to arrest him on charges of repeatedly raping several female relatives. One of his sons, Asher, 21, facing similar charges, joined his dad on the plane.

    More than 18 months later, their Brooklyn indictments are sealed from public view and authorities won’t discuss any efforts to bring them to justice.

    A spokesman for Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes said he asked the US Justice Department to extradite the Kranczers in early 2011, a move purportedly in the works.

    The feds refused to comment.

    “We don’t confirm or deny extradition requests,” said Laura Seal, a State Department spokeswoman.

    The NYPD opened the sickening case when a 20-year-old woman confided in a co-worker that the respected rabbi, who ran Yeshiva Tehila L’Dovid, had sexually assaulted her for years. Cops later learned that three of her female relatives, ages 8, 17 and 19, were also allegedly abused.

    “If there was a real desire to get these guys back, DA Hynes would be pushing for it, and he would be successful,” said Ben Hirsch, president of Survivors For Justice."

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    1. Mr. Hirsch:

      Your true colors are showing, and that should be shameful. Extradition efforts are much more difficult than you think, and the DA office has done its part in making the request. There is another party on the other side of the ocean that must follow through, and is not doing its part. Same goes for Monster Mondrowitz. In the Monster case, the DA had let us down back then, only waking up later to seek extradition. That's being blocked on the Israeli end. We don't know what the holdup in this case is, but it is dishonest to blame Hynes for this. There are some true complaints about how he handled issues in the past. If you stick to the truth, we might listen to you. Meanwhile, you are enveloped in your hatred for too many people, blaming everyone in the world indiscriminately. Cool it. There's lots of work to do.

      Delete
  14. a disappointed rabbiJune 5, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    i couldn't sleep from this interview..

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  15. thanks for sharing! your critique is very precisely on target. they are
    in "LALA land"

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  16. can't believe he said itJune 5, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Thank you for posting. I originally thought the Mishpacha article was a satirical comedy piece that somebody put together to be mean to the Agudah. Little did I realize this was actually real.

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  17. >The NYPD opened the sickening case when a 20-year-old woman confided in a co-worker that the respected rabbi, who ran Yeshiva Tehila L’Dovid, had sexually assaulted her for years. Cops later learned that three of her female relatives, ages 8, 17 and 19, were also allegedly abused.<

    Wasn't it his own daughters he was raping??? That's much worse than some strangers as the above seems to make it out to be. Why the coverup?

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    1. Dovy,

      Papers do try to protect the identity of the victims in sex abuse cases. Your comment doesn't.

      That's why.

      Delete
  18. this is request for Rabbi Eidensohn to speak clearly and explicate exactly what he maintains is the perversion of Yiddishkeit that he is saying Zweibel and the Rabbis of the moetsis gedolei torah have done that is shameful? Could Rabbi Eidensohn refer us to what the moetses has done that is so shameful and a chillul Hashem so that we don't need to grab at strays trying to figure it out?

    And is Rabbi Eidensohn saying that the Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel also disagree with the American Agudah on how they have acted regarding abuse?? If so, would you, Rabbi Eidensohn, care to list some of the top gedolim who disagree with how the gedolim of the agudah have acted ( ie. shamelessly) in the matter of abuse?

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  19. what exactly is the shamefulness that you Rabbi Zweibel refers to with regard to the Agudah in America ? What gedolim in Eretz Yisroel have suggested the Agudah in America act differently? since it is such an important issue you, Rabbi Eidensohn, ought to not refrain from telling us the names of Eretz Yisroel Gedolim that said x,y, or z and tell us what x,y, and z is. Otherwise it's all bluster.

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  20. why dont you confront zweibel and the head of mishpacha directly as well

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  21. Outraged - you obviously are unaware of what has been happening in the area of child abuse for many years. I really don't see the need to review the last few years postings on the subject because you have had your head in the sand. I also wrote 3 books on the subject. How can you be so naive and ignorant. Did you at least read the recent New York Times articles? Are you familiar with the Kolko case - both of them. Did you ever hear of Mondrowitz? What about the Weinberg incest case in Monsey. etc etc etc.


    But a simple question to you - why did it take the activities of bloggers to get the gedolim to pay attention to the issue of child abuse? Why did R Zwiebel acknowledge that the gedolim were ignoring and not taking seriously the issue of child abuse? Why were the lowly bloggers pained by a child being raped by his rebbe or father - but not the gedolim!?

    I'm not a condemner, by nature. "I do believe that among them there are people who are deeply pained about certain issues and feel that this is the way they can express their pain. I will even go a step further and say that through the pressure they've created, communal issues that needed to be confronted were moved to the front burner and taken seriously. A case in point is abuse and molestation issues.

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    1. I am asking you what it is TODAY that you are criticizing in harsh terms the rabbis on the moetses for currently handling abuse cases wrongly ( i am quite aware that prior to NOW the frum community dealt with these issues internally without ultimately going to the police) I'm not asking for a general repeat of the last 10 years but rather exactly what the moetses is NOW doing that warrants your CURRENT massive criticism of the moetses today. I am not asking about Zweibel now, I am asking only about the moetses. And of course aside from wanting to get to the bottom of what you are mean regarding NOW.

      Secondly you didnt comment on what the gedolim in EY have to say NOW about the CURRENT behaviro/handling of the had to say about the in somore thmore has tried to deal with these issues community.
      TY

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  22. Outraged - I have a clear policy not to publish anonymous comments - I made an exception in your case this time - but I will simply block all future comments if you don't put a name on them.

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  23. Rabbi Eidensohn, is so on target when he says "It shows not the slightest awareness of the halachic issues or the horrible consequences of abuse". I will bring a current example: For the past few years Williamsburg has been plagued by a serial child molester named Moshe Zecharya Rosenbaum. The Williamsburg Vaad Hatzniyus, headed by several very respected Baalei Batim, circulated in the Mikvas, posters with his name and photo! Several of his victims have unfortunately gone off the derech. (Forget about the nightmares they have to live with). After the Vaad, acting on a tip, broke down the door to his apartment and finding him with a young bochur, they gave him a good beating. This past April, he again molested a young bochur with a new twist - he made the bochur SIGN a consent form!! (This time the Vaad sent letters to the Batei Medrashim).

    I want to believe that had the Vaad clearly been educated to understand the lifelong consequences of abuse, both to the victims emotions and more importantly to his Neshama, Halacha would have forced them to see Rosenbaum as a Rodef and therefore a deadly threat, and one who should have been turned over to the police. Instead, they FORCED HIS FAMILY TO SHIP HIM OFF TO ISRAEL!!!

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  24. I do recall a quote from R. Aaron Kotler " to save the fingernail of a Jewish child I would kiss the ring of the Pope."Why do people who claim to be his spiritual heirs act in a way to negate his attitude?

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  25. Yasher koach, spaced out BT. The Rav Ahron Kotler quote was heard by two witnesses, one was his daughter, Rebbitzin Schwartzman, and I don't recall the other. The quote appears in the Holocaust sefer, "Thy Brother's Blood", authored by Dr. David Kranzler. The quote, which I think I almost perfectly recall, is, "I would prostrate myself before the Pope to save the fingernail of one Jewish child." Rav Kotler spoke in Yiddish, and that is the translation in the book. Rav Kotler, of course, was very active in Vaad Hatzolah, from the time he arrived in America erev Pesach 1942, until the conclusion of the war. From what I understand, Rav Kotler did not immerse himself full time in founding and opening his yeshiva until the conclusion of the war, first, in White Plain, I believe, and shortly thereafter in Lakewood.

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  26. Rabbi Eidensohn,

    Without diminishing an iota the pain you (and I) feel over this terrible situation, I believe you are either misunderstanding Rabbi Zwiebel's point or giving it short shrift.

    He was not addressing bloggers as it pertains to the issue of abuse, but rather their role in general. I go into detail at my blog: http://harediandproud.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/rabbi-zwiebel-is-right/

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    1. hareidiandproud is absolutely correct in his reading of Zweibels comment on Rabbi Eidensohn's blog above ( that criticizes Zweibels words). The portion of the Zweibel comment that shows that hareidiandproud is correct: namely, "A case in point is abuse and molestation issues."

      So it seems that Rabbi Eidensohn needs to retract his words insofar as they apply to the paragraph of Zweibel's words noted above ( of course this comment is not directed to Rabbi Eidensohns comments about other PAST words of Zweibel)

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    2. @outrageous:

      YOU should apologize, since you consistently mispell the name ZWIEBEL, (like onion in German).

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    3. With this clarification (which is probably right) Rabbi Zweibel is still clearly arguing that the harm caused by the existence of a critical blogging community that refuses to give the gedolim their due respect may outweigh the benefit from those few cases (including the molestation example) where the bloggers caused a positive change in the gedolim's attitude. So, to Rabbi Zweibel the harm of a few children being raped with impunity may be secondary to what he views as possibly the greater harm of open challenge to the as-close-to-perfect authority of the Moetzes. Rabbi Eidensohn's point is not diminished by this clarification.

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    4. the fact is that Zwiebel is how he spells it

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  27. I think you need to remove your comments and apologize to Zweibel for assuming he made the comments regarding molestation. You made an error, anyone could, its no big deal but you need to circulate the retraction.

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  28. Elsewhere, on Facebook, I wrote, Yasher koach, Rabbi Eidensohn, for speaking the truth.

    Dovid Zwiebel's blanket accusation that "the bloggers" are guilty of the serious sins of rechilus, loshon hara, and bittul zman are well beyond the norm of civilized public discourse. He is both lawyer and rabbi, and the chief executive of a Jewish organization, and possesses no ethical nor religious right to denigrate "the bloggers" in such a manner. These "bloggers" are sex abuse victims. They deserve our commendation, our friendship, and our support. Dovid Zwiebel, and other Aguda rabbis, have made Aguda into, basically, a hate group. Their annual convention speakers shout hate at anybody who is different from them, and periodically, in the year between conventions, we read comments like these in magazines and elsewhere. It is deplorable, and I also condemn these hate comments.

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  29. While David Zwiebel can be commended for his conciliatory statements the real litmus test here to gauge any change in the Aguda agenda would be if they modified their stand on resistance to the Markey legislation and on mandated reporting to law enforcement.

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  30. Filthy bastards condoning child abuse, the rabbis and perverts all need reportin g!

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  31. Self Loathing LiberalJanuary 20, 2019 at 9:12 AM

    Your prophet Big Mo was a pedophile.

    ReplyDelete

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