It is never too late, and it is usually the sign of a good person when they publicly apologise. I received a copy of the apology
I want to apologize for my completely inappropriate use of language when discussing sexual abuse. I have always believed in the importance of empowering victims of all kinds to move forward in building their lives. In my zeal to reinforce that belief, I came across as being dismissive of one of the worst crimes imaginable.
For that I am deeply sorry.
Molestation is a devastating crime, violating the intimacy and innocence of the pure and defenseless. The victim is left feeling that there is something wrong with the world in which they live. Perpetrators of molestation should be reported to the police and prosecuted appropriately. Any person, organization or entity that stands by silently is abetting in the crime.
From now on, I will make sure to make those points absolutely clear. This is about more than regret. The subject can’t be neglected.
I hope over time to earn the forgiveness of those who were hurt by my words.
I also received some comments attributed to Manny Waks of Tzedek where Manny was alleged to have said:
It is regrettable that Rabbi Friedman waited until now to issue this apology – but it is nonetheless a welcome development.
I do not understand this back-hander. If it takes a week of world-wide condemnation for someone to realise their wrong and express it, why focus on that week and give them a slap? People don’t always act immediately for a variety of reasons. There is all manner of reason for this, but I see absolutely no value whatsoever in being hypercritical about such. When victims take years and years to realise that going to the police is the right thing to do, would anyone dare say, “Oh that’s a good first step, but we regret that you took so long?”. Rabbi Friedman is not a victim. One week really isn’t an eternity, and Manny’s attack over this aspect really is unnecessary and mean-spirited.
I have no issue with Manny’s organisation Tzedek pursuing the issue, and I am on record as being critical of Rabbi Friedman. That being said, he was very foolish, but he isn’t a fool. I have every confidence that he will turn this incident into a launching pad to assist in shaking out the cobwebs and helping those who have experienced trauma. Sadly, some groups, such as Satmar and the supporters of Rabbi Halpern and Rabbi Padwa are not within cooee of even coming close to changing their attitude to the (correct) Torah view, let alone addressing the issue properly within their communities. Hopefully, Manny’s organisation can make some incursions into these two topical infamous cases. I’d encourage Tzedek and other similar organisations, however, to be a little more temperate in their language. When someone apologises, don’t give them a back-hander; it serves nothing.