Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A disturbing postscript to the Sanhedria allegations of Satanic abuse

This morning while attending a family simcha I had the opportunity to speak with relatives who live in the Sanhedria community. In particular I was interested in the status of the wild allegations of Satanic child abuse ring which created panic and fear in that community - after Rav Berkowitz went public with his claims and "evidence".

One response I got was something I never expected. It came from a kollel member. After listening to the discussion I was having with another relative - he commented the following.

"What are you getting involved in this matter. It is none of your business. Rav Berkowitz is great talmid chachom who knows his community very well. You are not part of the Sanhedria community, You have no children there. Why are you getting involved? Rav Berkowitz has consulted experts, he has gathered testimony. You have no basis to disagree with him.

I pointed out that the Satanic abuse accusations have been made hundreds of times over the last few decades - and not one case and been proven to be true. That alone should give pause to any responsible person from make such accusations. In addition I noted that I have in fact spoken to people regarding the evidence - including professional in the field of abuse. None of these people believed Rav Berkowitz' claims.

He responded, "Just because no proof has been found so far - it doesn't mean it there is no such thing. Rav Berkowitz has seen the evidence and he clearly disagrees with you. What are you getting involved in this issue for?

I responded - "The mitzva of not standing idly by the blood of your fellow" says nothing about having to belong to a community in order to get involved. Rav Berkowitz is a wondeful person but he is not an expert in these matters and the people he has consulted don't seem to be experts either. The experts seem to be afraid to get involved in this matter in a public fashion"

I obviously had no influence on him. The discussion continued for sometime - but I was struck by the incredible blindness to reality and reliance on rabbinic authority (when it clearly was inappropriate and even harmful)

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