Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pinny Taub abuse survivor - criticizes rabbis for betrayal


  1. He did teshuva more recently. What's the stira?

  2. Pinny Taub responds to criticism of his article.

    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.

    Read more:
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

  3. I was there when Pinny gave this speech. It was so powerful, I cannot describe how his speech transformed the entire conference. May Hashem grant Pinny the strength to continue to heal and be mechazeik others and to keep other children safe.

  4. I posted the following response to Pinny's comment on Cross-Currents
    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.

  5. This is my response to Pinny Taub's latest comments about my comments.

    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.

  6. Michael
    August 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    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 th

    ink 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.

  7. 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.

  8. from Cross-currents
    Rabbi Eidenson,

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. As support for my point about Aguda
    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.”


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