Cheap shots

I was sent a post from Tzedek where its founder wrote (amongst other things)

Rabbi Hershel Schachter, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University’s rabbinical school, who said he didn’t try to stop child sex abuse at the high school because he could not be sure the allegations met halackic threshold for truth;

This is a gross lie and misinterpretation of the facts designed to besmirch a respected Rabbi whose position on these matters has been published in writing many times. What R’ Schachter did do, was suggest the kid go immediately to see the School psychologist.

But let’s not let truth get in the way of those whose agenda, while noble, sometimes impedes their Yashrus.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

12 thoughts on “Cheap shots”

  1. Why am I not surprised about this post? When one seeks out only the orthodox, and in particular the rabbis, who are not perpetrators but simply have no idea how to deal with such matters and then make it public to the press, one wonders what the real agenda is.


    1. There isn’t so much an agenda. It’s a display of an induced condition perhaps. That’s understandable but people in that situation also need expert help.


  2. Sorry but if someone tells a Rosh Yeshivah that sex abuse is going on in the Yeshivah then why would the person in charge ie the Rosh Yeshivah tell the person to go to the psychologist? Why not go to the cleaner or cook? And if someone was murdered should he also go to the psychologist? Especially if he knew who done it. Or if a large sum of money was stolen do you go to the psychologist? And in the end nothing was done?


    1. Steven,
      You really don’t have the full perspective. Many years ago, in a School environment, a child made complaints. They asked R’ Hershel what to do (if I’m not mistaken he was there, I could be wrong). His first reaction was to immediately send the kid to the School psychologist, who was highly skilled and regarded (with a PhD). This is something that happens in schools all the time, on lesser matters and on greater matters. Thank God, they have specialist staff on board now in most schools. Some schools don’t; they should.

      R’ Hershel, on the contrary, was one of the first Poskim who came out against Mesirah. He did this long before the Melbourne issues blew up.

      I have LOTS of issues with the way Tzedek does its business, but I have refrained from commenting because they also do good in the sense that they seem to have been successful in encouraging past victims to come forward. I hope they approach each alleged victim through a psychologist INITIALLY—these are not just a matter of untrained past victims knocking on doors and saying “come on, we will support you, there’s a community of us”. That has its place, but its place is after the psychiatrist or psychologist has assessed whether serious damage may be incurred by bringing the issues to the fore. My own preference would be for Tzedek to not undertake the role of training or outing of victims. I see Tzedek as an incredibly useful ARM of a community wide organisation (with affiliates perhaps) that oversees, through an impartial board of experts and lay, a program which has education, awareness, and victim support as its main aims. It is in the last two areas that Tzedek can be most useful. They may be privy to information, which they should submit to experts. They WILL be in a situation to strongly support other alleged victims ONCE THOSE VICTIMS have been seen by professionals and agree to it!

      Unfortunately, but understandably, there are some victims, who also have other agendas. These agendas most certainly are nourished by the experience of someone close who has been a victim, but they really need to separate the issues. In some cases, those with an Agenda have not come forth about their own abuse. In other cases, those with an Agenda, have been abusers of a different type. Everyone needs to seek professional help, first and for most. Coupled with proper education and staff development, I for one am VERY confident that Melbourne has turned the corner, and the rest of the world is following suit. This is an enormous achievement. No doubt much of the kudos goes to those who have spoken out. That being said, using toilet blogs, like that of Scott Rosenberg, adds ZERO respectability to their cause, thanks to the vile and venomous comments that Scott loves so much, and encourages. He bans people who write against him. As a news source, it is often excellent, but the commentary is an unadulterated chillul hashem, and I wonder if people should go to the mikvah after reading comments. (and yes, I have written that Mikvas should be re-architectured).


      1. I still don’t understand why you think it’s OK for the CEO to send a victim (or witness) of sexual abuse to a third party (psychologist) when it’s his responsibility to deal with it. What happens once the psychologist finds there was sexual abuse. (Is that when the victim gets sent to the cook?) Or back to the CEO and then back to the psychologist. Not understanding what you are saying.


        1. It’s not a CEO. Picture the Scene. A kid is distressed/making claims. Rabbi is asked what to do. Says send him straight to the School Psychologist a respected trained person with a PhD. Remember, this is a Rabbi who came out publicly well before and said thou shalt contact the police. This is a Rabbi who has given the green light to protest outside recalcitrant husbands houses who don’t give a Get.

          In the excitement, some paint everyone with a broad brush.


          1. You are euphemising. Your article starts with ‘sexual abuse’ and ends with ‘distressed or making claims’. Also, it’s not just any psychologist – this one has a PhD!

            I am not criticising Rabbi Schachter. I am talking generally. Surely Rabbi or Rosh Yeshivah is at the top of the moisod. They should have dealt with it personally the whole way through. Sure, go with him to the psychologist, sit in on the meeting and then call the police if somethng did happen. Not rocket science. Otherwise the abuse will continue with more and more victims.


            1. Not at all. R’ Schachter would have considered that Shas and Poskim aren’t going to help him when in comparison, the School has a trained expert on staff. I was talking about the R’ Schachter case, because Tzedek besmirched him, and I resent that. He can occasionally be a bit loose with his expression, but he is a moral compass, and when he said take the kid to Dr XYZ, he was doing so because Dr XYZ will know exactly what to do next, not the least of which would be to ensure the kid is supported. I’m not aware that this was in fact one of those cases that were “swept under the carpet”.


            2. “because Dr XYZ will know exactly what to do next” – the correct thing to do next is call the police.

              I think the best therapy for a victim is to support the victim by putting the abuser in jail, not like in the Weberman case where the victim and whole family was persecuted.


            3. That did not happen here. The responsible psychologist did the rest. This was not a hick excuse for a school. They have trained staff whose job it is to oversee the process.


  3. People of all religions and all subgroups within those religions or people of no particular religion have been perpetrators of sexual abuse against children and the vulnerable since time immemorial.
    All these evil people need to be condemned, charged and when found guilty in a court of law gaoled for the maximum period permitted under legislation.
    I appreciate that the present circumstances includes perpetrators from the Orthodox Community the issue is of universal concern, a myopic view is disingenuous.
    Any whiff of a witch hunt is both counterproductive and misplaced.


  4. Thank G-d he didn’t tell the student to visit Nechemya Weberman! who is now serving a 103 year prison sentence.


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