Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kolko abuse case: Justice for son came at steep price for family

Asbury Park Press   The choice before a deeply religious father was one he never wanted to make.

His son had been molested by a fellow Orthodox Jew, and the local rabbis to whom he reported the abuse did nothing to remove the offender from his positions as camp counselor and schoolteacher.

The father had to choose: He could follow Orthodox tradition and allow the local rabbis to continue to handle the matter, or he could go to the police.

The father went to the police. Now the molester, Yosef Kolko, is headed to state prison.

But some in the community saw the father as the offender for involving the secular authorities in an Orthodox matter. He was ostracized from his community in Lakewood, where he was a respected rabbi, Ocean County prosecutors said. He resigned from his job at Lakewood’s prestigious rabbinical college and moved his family to the Midwest.

Now, debate swirls around the wisdom of the religious taboo that protects suspected abusers from authorities and defies state law.

The ancient taboo, known as “mesirah,” forbids Jews from turning over fellow Jews to secular authorities, but some say the concept is no longer relevant in today’s society.“The bottom line is there’s no justification for not participating in the process for reporting these crimes,” said Rabbi Daniel Eidensohn, a psychologist in Jerusalem who has written three reference books on child and domestic abuse in the Jewish community. [...]


  1. Bit that's what we've come to: an ethnic group that does what it thinks its law should be, not what the law actually is.

  2. You mean like our justice department

  3. Well stated Reb Daniel. Hopefully Lakewood can become a safer place for children.

  4. This is shameful. Despite the fact that most of the people in Lakewood I know agree with you, you shouldn't be giving interviews to the local version of Der Sturmer. The asbury park press publishes one anti semitic article a month with many of the comments containing extreme anti semitism. Why must you add fuel to their hatred? They are using you to further their anti semitic agenda even if you are right in this instance.

    1. Where have I heard this before/ Don't go to the police because it is a chilul hashem - the community will handle it because what will the goyim say.

      The article was well written and balanced. The frum papers didn't carry the story.

      So your objection boils down to - well the comments to the story are anti-Semetic. If there was no story then there would be no comments. Thus you are shooting the messenger.

      Obviously when frum Jews do something horrible - publicity will bring comments that are not flattery to Jews. So we have two choices - to stop the behavior or to cover it up.

      Are you advocating coverups? Do though the Hamodia or the Yated might run the story? Maybe Mishpacha magazine will do a cover story on Kolko and Rav Belsky?!

      You don't think people who are antagonistic to Jews read this blog? You want me to shut this blog down also?

      Please tell me your alternative plan of how to inform the Jewish community of the abuse problem and at the same time keep it secret from the world. I will even pubish it as guest post!

  5. Rabbi Eidonsohn, maybe try reading what I wrote. I never said to cover anything up, nor did I say one word about chilul Hashem, nor did I say to shut down your blog, nor did I say not to report it. SO CALM DOWN!! What I wrote was - and I stand by this - that you shouldn't be doing interviews to the Asbury Park Press because it and its readership have an extreme anti semitic agenda as anyone in Lakewood knows. So write this stuff on your own blog or in other places all you want, but stop giving direct interviews to anti semites.
    Oh by the way, the picture they published of you is none too flattering either. Think that was by accident?

    1. I did read what you wrote and you are misunderstand my comment. The article was good and there were no alternatives to deliver the message. The responses I have seen to the article don't differ significantly to what goes on Jewish blogs on this topic. We live in internet age and we can't keep secrets. You seem to be agreeing with Rabbi Zwiebel of the Aguda that even though the publishing of this information has been critical to improving the situation - he wasn't sure whether the associated lashon harah was worth the price.

      Regarding the picture - I supplied it to them. I agree it is a poor picture - but it was the only one I had available at that time.


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