I’d hate to see Tzedek disappear

I have a lecture to prepare. I don’t really have the time to deal with scurrilous nonsense, so I will be brief.

Tzedek was set up with the best intentions. I am confident that the financial and non financial backers are good people whose final and laudable aim is to help our society deal with past ills and (perhaps even more importantly) create an awareness so that the horrible crime of abuse is seriously minimised etc

Organisations, though, need to be very careful with their words and claims. It is relatively easy to lose credibility very quickly. That’s not to say they shouldn’t speak out. That’s an entirely different matter.

I don’t allow ad hominem attacks on this blog. The purpose of this blog is multifarious as can be seen by the range of topics I choose to write about.

In trying to discredit me, however, I had to laugh with angst at claims and  descriptions put out by Tzedek.

  1. I’m ultra-orthodox. Well, let’s see. Where do I start. My Rabbi isn’t. He advises me on halachic matters. He is shunned by the ultra-orthodox and described as modern orthodox or centrist orthodox. He is a world-class Talmid Chacham but the Aguda don’t even let him speak or sit on a dias at Daf Hayomi Siyumim. He sits at the back on a normal table. It’s a bizayon Talmidei Chachomim. He can learn better than most of them on the dias, but because he is not considered ultra-orthodox, he has no place! I have a PhD, which means I spent many years of my life studying in a University. That’s a no no. Worse, I’m still there. I teach secular topics—Science. I even use the internet, constantly. I use social media. I have a blog. All these are forbidden by ultra orthodox. But wait, it gets even worse. I run a band which plays non-Jewish music and this is to crowds who are mixed dancing. Guests aren’t dressed modestly either, especially in the warmer months. Read my posts on Israel and related matters and see if I’m closer to Zionism than “non” or “anti” Zionism—hallmarks of ultra orthodox. Read my critique of the extreme groups. Yes, I have to unashamedly try to keep Torah and Mitzvos, but if that’s the definition of ultra-orthodox, then I guess many of us are damned by Tzedek. Tzedek’s CEO’s own father is “ultra-orthodox”. Does he describe him as “my ultra orthodox father”. Why do I say, “damned”? Because it is entirely irrelevant what shade of white, black or grey somebody is unless you believe in strange conspiracy theories that people who are lumped by Tzedek into some category (which they don’t define) are likely to be so dumb and stupid, that they will hide the truth or protect people from that same  “Tzedek category”. Sorry, this type of characterisation is Grade 1 level. Does the CEO preface his remarks about someone defending homosexuality as saying “Homosexual Joe Jones said …” that’s simply boorish. It has no credibility as far as debating logic is concerned, let alone, in my case any resemblance to fact. It is a transparent and poor attempt to deflect from the lack of research conducted by Tzedek on the matter of Rabbi Brander’s visit to our shores. Did Tzedek actually ring a roof body, all of whom reacted with probity after reading some of the toilet blog posts and their comments? At the risk of repeating myself, there is no such thing as a Gzera Shava for people, to the extent that if one  does belong to a group, that they are thereby tarnished ipso facto and have lost their independence of thought and action. There is no better proof of that than Tzedek’s CEO’s own father. Is he tarnished because he is Chabad? Why not? Answer: he has his own views and expresses them. A contradiction to the implied thesis in the CEO’s hyperbole. But …. maybe I am ultra orthodox in Galus Australis style, simply because I don’t eat at Lord of the Fries or similar establishments? The mind boggles.
  2. I’ve been criticised because I sit on a Shule board, one of whose ex-members is now facing proceedings. I understand that the CEO of Tzedek is alleged to be one of the victims of said ex-member. Well, hello there Tzedek. Your CEO and his father (and indeed readers of my blog) know very well that it was me who initiated the removal of said ex-member from the board. Do you not remember my father הכ’’מ asking me to take a post down because he thought I should not get involved! Let’s go further. I even had an attempted intervention order (later withdrawn) placed out on me by the aforementioned ex-board member now facing trial, because I was “in his face” so to speak. Tzedek, you have the wrong address. But it’s worse than simply having the wrong address. What’s really worrying, is that (a) you actually know you have the wrong address on such matters, and (b) had you even bothered to ring a single board member of my Shule, they would have told you this. Indeed, ring the accused’s father! Go on, do us all a favour and return with your findings.
  3. On the matter of the COSV and the accused’s membership, again, Tzedek is so far off the mark, it’s really sad that this fact demeans Tzedek terribly. I was present when the conundrum was raised, and frankly, Tzedek ought to have been proud, of the attitude of each member of that executive and individual Shule Presidents. But, let us not let the truth get in the way of Tzedek’s tirades, hyperbole, and one liners in the press.

A pattern is emerging with Tzedek, and it’s a very sad one. It is turning people off Tzedek; people who used to look up to them. Their raison detre is brave and important, but their execution (sic) due to poor research, questionable leadership and the emotive untruths expressed by its leader(ship) is damaging its credibility. That would be a great shame.

I don’t have a clue if any member of Tzedek’s board read my blog, so my words may be in vain. By all means, someone please pass on this blog post to each and everyone of Tzedek’s board members. I would be most happy to meet them in my house at a time of their choosing, and properly explain what is wrong and my thoughts on how it can be fixed.

Have a nice day, everyone. I hope to!

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

8 thoughts on “I’d hate to see Tzedek disappear”

  1. stop kidding yourself.

    one can see from it’s actions what its intentions and agenda really were in being set up.

    (Slightly edited by me)

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    1. There are unfortunately people who need encouragement to come forward. It’s not a trivial matter, clearly. Conceptually, Tzedek is a good thing.

      Its actualisation though can be greatly improved.

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  2. tzedek itself – yes. tzedek tzedek tirdoif! This weeks parshah.

    but the organization which calls itself by that name?

    it should be renamed “nekama” or “tikom” because that’s what they are really about.

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    1. It’s not what it is ALL about. It does though exhibit (too many times in the guise of human headlines) a preponderance of past issues which appear to be the haphazard and or knee jerk and or simply uneducated reactions to incidents. One needs to carefully weigh up the notion of an organisational policy as opposed to errors or omissions by individuals who were working in an environment of great ignorance. Certainly individual victims have a right to pursue civil claims where there appears to be a case, but when one knows that organisations across the board are much better informed and have proper law abiding protocols it ought not be an agenda to now continually paint those organisations as rotten. That being said, an organisation needs to be very careful … the main aim must always be to not only bring past victims forward but to ensure that all our children and grandchildren are in organisations that now recognise and have implemented significant change and realisation. I for one think that Melbourne has changed.

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  3. Regarding Manny’s retort-I have it on good information that both COSV and Elwood did all they could to have Cyprys removed from their respective Boards and sought proper legal advice in terms of how to do so. Lets not forget that to date-he has not been convicted. Indeed his trial is due to commence shortly.

    What Manny does not tell his readers is that until victims approach the police and report such cases, there is nothing organisations can do in response to whispered allegations.

    Manny’s credentials would be further damaged if as most suspect, the police never acted on Cyprys until Manny himeslf came forward and revealed his sordid ordeal in the Australian which was the trigger that faciliated moves by COSV and Elwood to remove him.

    So Manny gives the term “disingenuous” new meaning.

    It is a shame that those who operate forums such as Frum Follies and Failed Messiah employ almost Stalinist like approaches to discussions on this issue and seem to be blinkered by their agenda to smash into rabbis and orthodox institutions without regard to the possibility that in the curent environment, EVERY institution and those rabbis that serve them are now being properly trained and prepared in terms of how to deal with sexual abuse cases. Manny would be far better served using his Tzedek forum not to disseminate falsities and allegations which bear no substance. Rather he should use tzedek as a forum to educate all in the fight against sexual abuse

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  4. While I get the feeling that many of the original supporters no longer have the time of day for him, it is time for ALL sane and decent people to stop any support for Tzedek while Manny is in charge.

    The way he and his father are behaving will eventually do a lot of harm to the cause of fighting abuse.

    Attacking everyone who disagrees with him as “ultra-orthodox” is so childish that I am surprised that Isaac even replies. (Not that I consider being called UO as an insult, just like I don’t get upset when some anti-semite driving past me of Shabbos calls me a “Jew”) but the intent is there to try a nd besmirch most of the community in any way that he can.

    I wonder if all those honorable people who are ‘on the board’ of Tzedek know about all these matters.

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    1. I replied to show the blatant lie. This was for truth. I do contend that the board members need to re-examine the organisation’s leadership.

      There already is an excellent organisation, the Taskforce, and in my opinion the community should get behind that in a big way. They are honourable, professional and very effective without enormous fanfare.

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