Friday, March 6, 2009

Abuse - Action not talk is needed

Jewish Week

by David Framowitz
Special To The Jewish Week

When I arrived at the Boro Park Y last Sunday for Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s morning of chizuk (strength) for survivors of sexual abuse, I really didn’t know what to expect. But my first reaction upon hearing about the event was that victims don’t need a day of prayer; we are not the sick ones. What we do need is for the community leadership to publicly acknowledge that there is a problem and to direct the victims of abuse and their families to the police. It is only by doing this that we can protect our children and obtain justice.

But my curiosity got the better of me and I went. After all, since I came forward three years ago with my story charging abuse at the hands of Yehuda Kolko, numerous other victims of child sexual abuse have come forward to tell theirs — some of them most recently to Dov Hikind. Hikind began speaking about the issue on his radio show last summer and, to his self-confessed horror, the broadcasts prompted a flood of calls and visits to his office by victims. This ultimately led him to form a task force to address the problem he says is of epidemic proportions. I wanted to hear what he had to say.

I listened as speaker after speaker said nice things about Hikind’s role in bringing this issue to the forefront, and also about the need to protect our children. One rabbi even gave specifics, claiming that one of the solutions to this problem lies in our making sure that all classroom doors have unblocked windows and that no student is ever alone with a teacher.

All fine and good. But not one speaker actually uttered the words “sexual abuse.” And, even more amazing and disturbing, particularly considering Hikind’s claims that he has collected information about thousands of cases of sexual abuse, there was no mention of the imperative to report suspected molesters to the police. Instead, there was talk of balancing Jewish law and civil law and the need to work with rabbis in order to address the problem.

I am no scholar. But even I know that Jewish law dictates that it is incumbent upon anyone with knowledge of the existence of an abuser to report the abuser to the police. This is not my opinion. This is undisputed halacha as recently publicized in the written opinion of the most revered fervently Orthodox rabbinic leader alive today, Harav Elyashiv. [...]


  1. The spinmeisters of the abuse in the haredi community such as Avi Shafan and Marvin Schick never use the term ‘Sexual Abuse’ they use the term ‘Child Abuse’ , makes you think about parents who spank their children too strong or serve them margarita.

    Kyle of South Park said it better than many rabbis when he said: "...we are talking about people who like to have sex with children".


    What is truly the problem, why are rabbis/parents/shuls hiding behind closed doors and not reporting publicly the incidents of 'sexual abuse'? Why is everyone afraid and what are they afraid of?

  3. Dov Hikind has said on his show more than once that he encourages anyone who is up to it to go to the police.


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