Monday, October 29, 2012

Accepting a pedophile rabbi as a congregant?

washington post                  [see previous post video]
 [...] in February, David Kaye, a longtime Montgomery County rabbi and registered sex offender, started attending Saturday services.

Adat Shalom’s three clergy had quickly agreed to a request from Kaye to pray at the synagogue, believing his presence to be in keeping with Adat Shalom’s identity as an open, diverse spiritual community where all are welcome.

Through the spring and early summer, Kaye was a part of the congregation. He came for Sabbath and oneg, the post-service lunch. He stood with other mourners to say the communal prayer for the dead, for his parents. He went to the silent retreat.

But over the months, discomfort with Kaye’s presence in some quarters of the 500-family congregation grew. Finally, he was asked to leave.

The matter came to a head last month in the days before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days of the Jewish calendar, a time when Jews pray desperately for forgiveness, for themselves and others.[....]


  1. I would like to know what the basis is to exclude anyone from davening in a shul. If an individual is disruptive to the tzibbur, talks during davening, endangers others there, then he needs to leave. But if he enters, davens, and minds his own business, what's the problem? Are we so certain that every individual there is a tzaddik? Who are we to judge? How do we know we are judging accurately? What would be the result if each of us were to be judged?

    I am not looking to defend molesters. I could not care a bit whether a molester has what to eat or not. I am inquiring about us. Are we appropriate to be sitting judges on this?

    1. The issue is the safety of the children associated with the synagogue as is clearly stated in the article. He now has a chazaka that he is a rodef - and so yes there is a need to judge this man who represents a present and future danger to children.

    2. This man broke no halacha whatsoever. He was setup by a TV crew posing as a child seeking sex. He fell for the ruse but committed no sin.

      His chazaka has no changed whatsoever.

    3. It comes nowhere near being halachicly considered a rodef.

    4. And that is even while he was falling for the TV ruse.

      Now, after the fact, he certainly is no rodef as he is currently engaging in nothing untoward whatsoever.

    5. If he poses danger or is disturbing to anyone, then he should be banned. The article sounded to me (may have read too quickly) that it was the fact that others just did not "like" to have someone with this history among them. My reaction was based on the Chazal - כל תפילה שאין בה מפושעי ישראל אינה תפילה (I may have gotten the exact wording inaccurate). I did note that a situation that poses any danger is grounds to bar this fellow from entry.

    6. Pat if you want to disagree with me - present some justification. What you have presented on this issue is simply mistaken. A person who clearly has shown that they have pedophile urges that they will act on is not to be trusted. It doesn't matter if due to no fault of his own that he didn't commit an actual crime. His rodef status comes from that he has demonstrated what is in him. Since a lust for sex with kids can be presumed to be permanent - there is no trusting him even if he apparently behaves for a couple of years. Such a person can not be a teacher or any position where he has opportunity to be alone with kids. Merely being in the synagogue and building up trust - makes him a threat to children.

    7. RDE: If you disagree with me, it is you who should be presenting Torah proofs -- should you have any.

      Also, in this case the guy was tricked into thinking he was going to have sex with a consenting 13 year old. Under Halacha, intending to having sex with a consenting 13 year old, is no different than intending to having sex with a consenting 31 year old. This wouldn't have been pedophilia -- under Halacha -- even if it were real not fake and actually occurred rather than being all a setup. A 13 year old is an adult under Halacha.

      Do you propose banning from shuls people who had extramarital sex with a consenting 31 year old?

    8. Pat you totally missed the point and are showing you know nothing about these issues.

      An adult who seeks out sex with a child of 13 in this society is a pervert. It is clear that his lusts are for children. As I have explained many times protection against child abuse is governed primarily by the issue of rodef and protecting self and others from the trauma of sexual abuse. And no a person does not need to rape 3 different children to have the status of rodef in child abuse issues.

      It is not a question of whether there are two kosher witnesses. It is not a question of whether there was penetration. It is not an issue of whether he accomplished his desires - it is the fact that he is clearly a pervert who is a danger to kids and can destroy them through psychological trauma. Torah expects you to use commonsense to safeguard others. If you don't want to buy my books you can read the teshuvos in Yeshurin volume 15 and 22.

      Your analysis is utter nonsense.

    9. RDE: You still haven't brought any Torah proofs.

      There are three issues in this specific case:

      1) The person is 13 years old.

      2) The person consented to sex.

      3) The whole episode was a setup and entirely fake. There was no actual child involved altogether.

      The fact of the matter is that a 13 year old is an adult not a child, under Jewish Law. Secondly, consensual sex -- even with an actual child 12 years old & under -- is not considered pedophilia in Jewish Law.

      The strongest point is the fact we are dealing with a 13 year old ADULT. (And, actually, a 45 year old adult who pretended to be 13.) AND THAT IS WAS COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY CONSENSUAL.

      Now, of course, goyish law treats this issue much differently. But that is irrelevant as we are dealing with Jewish Law.

      This fact is that this individual, David Kaye, has ABSOLUTELY NO HISTORY of sex abuse other than this setup case.

      He is not a rodef. Not even close.

    10. Pat you keep missing the point - rodef is not a area of judgment reserved for beis din but of for a person or society which feels threatened by his dangerous characteristics. When a person is chasing you with a knife - you don't go to beis din before you act to protect yourself. If a person drives a car wildly he is a rodef. If he drives with impaired vision he is a rodef. If he has been caught in a sting operation to blow up a yeshiva - he is a rodef - even though he has not done anything yet. If he brags about how he plans to torture, kill and eat chldren - he is a rodef - even though there is no explicit Torah prohibition to say such things.

      In the area of sexual abuse - we are by and large not dealing with cases described in Shulchan Aruch. There is no simon describing some who shows children pornography or who touches a child in private areas. The literature is primarily based on the new awareness from psychology and trauma - that sexual abuse destroys a person. A male teacher who has young girls sitting on his lap should be fired. A neighbor who takes pictures of naked children and puts them on the internet - is a danger to children. A neighbor who has young kids sleep with him in his bed - is a danger to those kids.

      Kay's behavior shows that he has the perverted sexual urges of a pedophile and he is willing to act on them. That fact makes him a danger to children and society can act to protect their children - including denying him membership in a synagogue.

      As I said you are not aware of the field and you are spouting nonsense.

    11. Your definition of a rodef is far too large. If we went like this, we could go around and kill people just like this, the way the murderer Igal Amir killed itzhak Rabin. He also pretended it was rodef.

      Rodef does only count
      1) when he has the intention to murder or commit Gilui arayot
      2) When there is no other possibility to stop him but kill him.

      When he has a vague intention to murder, but he is not yet there with the colt to kill a person, there are other means than killing him to prevent him from acting, like putting him in prison, refusing him access to weapons, etc.

      So therefore, a child molester who is not inot giluy arayot cannot fall into the category of "rodef" in the sense that it is allowed to kill him. However, he might be a danger, and the community must act to prevent him form molesting.

      This case at hand is a difficult question and I would not know how to answer it. I would prefer for him NOT to daven in my shul.

      So this might be a case of "herem", where you say that because of his indecent acts (which were consesual, I believe) he is to be held away from communities.

    12. you should study a bit more- your understanding of rodef is mistaken. In fact one is not allowed to kill a rodef if he can be stopped by lesser means. That was an important point that Rav Klein raised in his tshuva on child abuse.

      Therefore pronouncing someone to be a rodef does not mean that you can kill him. Read the various teshuva about wild drivers. They haven't hurt anybody nor do they want to hurt anybody - but since they potential severely endanger the welfare of others they are considered rodef.

      Rav Sternbuch (1:850): Question: A Jewish driver who normal speeds or doesn’t have a license – is it permitted to report him to the police? Answer: It states explicitly in Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 388:12) that if someone is engaged in counterfeiting and is thus a danger to the community – he should be warned to stop. If he doesn’t listen to the warning it is possible to report him to the police. The Gra there says that the counterfeiter has the status of a rodef (pursuer) even though he does not intend to harm others and even though the harm is an indirect result of his actions and even though the danger is only a possibility not a certainty. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless driver who is speeding or one who has no knowledge of proper driving skills - as indicated by the fact he has no license. Such people are likely to kill other, chas v’shalom and therefore they have the halachic status of rodef (pursuer). That is why in fact the secular law that requires a skilled driver with a license is in fact a just and obvious law for the welfare of society and we are fully obligated to observe these laws. Anyone who treats these laws with contempt and disobeys them, we are concerned that such a person can come to kill and therefore he deserves serious punishment – even imprisonment

      Minchas Yitzchok (8:148): Is it permitted to report to the police reckless drivers who are a danger to other motorists and pedestrians? Concerning the question regarding motorists who drive their vehicles in a manner which endangers all those who are on the road with them by means of the means different scenarios that are described in his letter. Is it permitted to report them to the police? This will typically result in a monetary punishment or the cancellation of their driver’s license for a fixed period or incarceration in jail and it serves as a deterrent to actions which endanger others. Answer: Even though halacha prohibits causing a Jew to be given bodily or financially to the secular justice system, nevertheless a Jew who endangers other people is not included in this prohibition. This is explicitly stated by the Rambam (Hilchos Chovel u’Mazik 8:11) and Shulchan Aruch (C.M. 388:12): “All those who disturb the community and cause it distress it is permitted to give them over to the secular government to be punished whether by beating, imprisonment or fines…” It is obvious that all those who drive carelessly and in a wild manner, endanger the lives of all those are near them. We in fact have been commanded to avoid danger and to prevent it from happening. Perhaps by taking actions against these drivers it will prevent danger and reduce the number of accidents. … Therefore those who are involved in this mitzva of life saving should first go to beis din and to present their claims before them…

      Rav Yosef Eliashiv (Nishmas Avraham 4:208-211): Rav Eliashiv told me that there is in fact no difference in halacha between a teacher who is molesting boys or girls since in both cases we are talking about severe mental damages and danger to the public. He cited the Beis Yosef who cites the Rashba regarding R’ Eliezar ben Rav Shimon (Bava Metzia 83a) who reported thieves to the government… Regarding this Rav Eliashiv said that we learn from this that surely in the case of child abuse which is more severe then theft that it would be permitted to first report it to the principal of the school and if he doesn’t do anything to report the matter to the police even in the Diaspora.

    13. "Therefore those who are involved in this mitzva of life saving should first go to beis din and to present their claims before them…"

      Well in this case, he is not considered a rodef, since if he is a rodef, it is allowed to take measures without going to a beith din first...

      But, overall, we agree: just because someone is a reckless driver, you are not allowed to kill him, but it is appropriate to withdraw the driving licence and limit his access to cars.

      The same goes for child molesters: yes, we should try and limit his access to children he can molest, but we are not allowed to kill him.

      However, I find it quite strange that it should be necessary to qualify someone as a rodef in order to engage criminal or civil pursuits against him.

      If I know about someone that he is a drug dealer (not selling to jews), I should not be allowed to report him, just because he is jewish? strange, strange...

    14. RDE: Please show ANY Torah source differentiating between consensual sex with a 13 year compared to a 31 year old.

      At what age do you draw the line? And why at that age? You MUST draw the line at a certain age - to differentiate between child and adult.

      The Torah draws that line at age 12 or 13 depending on the persons gender. Where do YOU draw the line? You must specify a specific age. And why that age? And why do you disagree with the Torah?

    15. Pat you are still missing the point and it seems to be a waste of time repeating it but I'll try one more time. We are dealing with a person who has a lust for children - he didn't pick out the child because they were halachic adults. Once we have someone who is clearly a pedophile who is willing to act on his lusts not in the context of socially acceptable marriage - we have a dangerous person. As I have repeated stated this is not talking about the halachos of the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch dealing with arayos. This is dealing with a rodef - a danger to society. There is no halacha in Shulchan Aruch saying that cigarette smoking or driving a car without a license is prohibited. The prohibition comes from our modern knowledge in the context of modern society to which we apply halachic categories. In Talmudic times if a man married a 13 year girl or even a 5 year old girl it might have been considered normal behavior and there was no necessity of saying that he would harm or molest other children. He could have a stable marriage. In our society a person who has lust for children and shown he is willing to act on it in a way that will cause harm to children - is a danger and is treated as such. A person who did what he did is not normal and you can't defend him by saying that his intended sexual adventure was with a halachic adult and therefore he is a tzadik.

    16. "We are dealing with a person who has a lust for children"

      Says who? We are dealing with a person who has a lust for adults, not children. He NEVER did anything untoward with any child anywhere, ever.

    17. Pat I give up trying to explaining it to you.

      I assume you would have no problem having him babysit your kids or being your kids teacher or being their camp counselor since he never did anything inappropriate - that we know of - with kids.

    18. Of course I would have a problem with him babysitting. He is a proven sex addict. I would have a problem with him being near adults too. He tries to seduce adults to have sex with him. No one would want him near their wife. Or mother. Or sister.'

      But none of that make him a "pedophile". He is a sex addict. And an immoral person. Who wants to have sex with people other than his wife.


    The ICD-10 defines pedophilia as "a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of prepubertal or early pubertal age."[6] Under this system's criteria, a person 16 years of age or older meets the definition if they have a persistent or predominant sexual preference for prepubescent children at least five years younger than them.[6]

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) outlines specific criteria for use in the diagnosis of this disorder. These include the presence of sexually arousing fantasies, behaviors or urges that involve some kind of sexual activity with a prepubescent child (age 13 or younger, though onset of puberty may vary) for six months or more, and that the subject has acted on these urges or suffers from distress as a result of having these feelings. The criteria also indicate that the subject should be 16 or older and that the child or children they fantasize about are at least five years younger than them, though ongoing sexual relationships between a 12–13 year old and a late adolescent are advised to be excluded. A diagnosis is further specified by the sex of the children the person is attracted to, if the impulses or acts are limited to incest, and if the attraction is "exclusive" or "nonexclusive".[1]

    1. I asked about Jewish Law. The ICD-10's opinion of what AGE constitutes pedophilia does not necessarily make that the Torah's definition of what AGE a person goes from being a CHILD to being an ADULT.

      There has to be a definitive age cutoff. The APA might provide the secular legal definition. But not the age cutoff for the Torah.

    2. Obviously there is no comparable Torah law concerning pedophilia - which simply means you simply don't understand the material I posted.

    3. It simply means your reverence for secular sciences is greater than your reverence for the supremacy of Jewish law.

    4. Nope. It means you have no understanding of the issue. I assume you would claim the same about Rav Eliashiv zt"l since he said that child abuse is pikuach nefesh - something which is not in any standard Jewish source and means he was relying on the testimony of mental health professionals.

    5. I understand the issue quite well.

      The teshuva you brought from Nishmas Avraham citing Rav Eliashev's position is about molestation not about consensual sex. It is against everything to molest a child OR to molest an adult.

      There is nothing wrong with considering the testimony of mental health professionals. But that is not the issue at hand.

    6. Shalom rabbi. It seems to me that the scientific parameters you quoted also make a distinction with regards to age for defining "pedophilia." Rather than a set in stone number, they use the term "prepubescent" and state that age of onset of puberty can vary. But they even give "under 13" as a general guideline. So its not even far off from how our sources define children and adults.

      But everyone involved in this discussion should be honest with themselves. First, can people admit that even if it does not fit the term "pedofilia" (suppose the boy was 14) isn't Kaye still a danger?

      Secondly, Kaye did not inquire whether this 13 year old had begun puberty to decide whether he was going to meet him for sexual acts. Isn't it obvious he has the urges of a pedofile and is therefore a danger to society, even if you feel he was entrapped by undercover agents? Why would it make a difference if the kid was 15, 14, 13, or 12?

      And to pat, where did you see a professional diagnosis of kaye as a "sex addict" which you so readily define him as?

    7. no name: I used that term colloquially not clinically.

      If Kaye had a one-night stand with someone's wife, he then too should be shunned. He should in such a case be treated the same way he should be treated for the incident he was charged with.

    8. Someone who cavorts with women is not the same kind of danger to society that someone with pedofillic urges willing to act out, is. Its really not the same. You don't comprehend that sexual abuse of a child destroys the person? A wife who slept around, while evil, is not psychologically harmed; she is not even a victim. An abused child is a victim. How do you not understand that?

    9. Under Jewish Law, someone who cavorts with an eishes ish (married woman) is far far worse. Him and her.

    10. Worse in terms of what? We are talking about causing emotional trauma to children.

    11. Whatever acts you suggest be taken by a shul or Jewish community against David Kaye, should certainly be taken against a man who had (consensual) sex with someone else's wife (eishes ish).

      At least as much.


  3. Also, in this case the guy was tricked into thinking he was going to have sex with a consenting 13 year old.

    I hope RDE has your IP address and hope that the law enforcement authorities know about you.

  4. RDE, I enjoy reading your blog very much. I am not usually one to comment, but I have to concur with Eli, I hope you give law enforcement authorities the IP address of the poster named "Pat". At first I thought his comments merely provocative, trying to show his prowess in Torah knowledge. Now however, I fear he is a pervert and his identity should be revealed to the correct authorities.

    1. Blogger doesn't show IP address

    2. lol. pat is not a pervert, and i dont understand where you are getting that from any of his comments!

      he is right to challenge the ba'al ha'blog here about what is considered an aveira, or a rodef, etc. mr. baal hablog cannot just make up stuff, which is exactly what he is doing.

    3. really ksil, who else but a pervert could say that there is no difference between a married woman having consensual, out-of-marriage relations and a child being sexually abused. (And yes, 12, 13, 14, 15 year-old are children) The wife may be a criminal against her husband and Hashem, but the abuser is a criminal to society at large. In order to inflict someone else the woman would have to divorce and remarry a potential victim, whereas with the pedophile, every child is a potential victim. You really cannot differentiate that one is an all-around dangerous individual and the other cruel to one specific person? The woman also is primarily hurting herself by doing the aveirah. It may devastate her husband, but the main problem is between her and Hashem. The pedophile is irrevocably damaging an innocent child. I cannot believe I seriously have to write this, nothing could be more obvious.

  5. I am getting confused here. If the question is about the risk and danger posed to others, there is a major difference between a pedophile and someone who has a consensual relationship with an eishes ish. The former is a predator, the latter is not. The second guy (similar to the first fellow) is an immoral jerk. I would also be offended by his presence, though I would not experience fear or threat to anyone's safety. Just what is the issue here?

    1. You are 100% correct that the issue is the risk and danger posed to others - not what punishment is appropriate or how immoral he is.

    2. Kaye's relationship was consensual too. And it was not with a halachic adult. They are both equally guilty. The risk/danger is equal.

    3. Pat, you don't seem to have a correct definition of the word risk. (or danger).


    4. See my lastest posting


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