Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ten Challenging Questions

The following article was brought to my attention via Rabbi Yakov Horowitz’s website. It follows in its entirety:

Police on Wednesday arrested two teen brothers from Bnei Brak - aged 16 and 17 - on suspicion that they raped and molested their three younger sisters, aged 9, 10 and 11.

A social worker who had been treating the family filed a complaint with police after she became suspicious that the girls were being molested, and following a conversation she had with the girls that confirmed those fears.

The two have been questioned, and police have also recorded testimonies from the girls, who repeated the allegations of rape and molestation. The deeds were allegedly committed over a period of several years.

The two brothers were brought to the Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday for an extension of their remand.

Another similar story was reported in Ha’aretz.

For those who always like to say, ‘This is just more Charedi bashing from a secular newspaper - the kind I feed off of’ - here is what Rabbi Horowitz had to say about it:

This was just in last week's papers. I predict that there will be many more cases like this with all the attention given to the 3 high profle charedi abuse cases. I guess people will now write letters -- like the guy did to Mishpacha – that I caused it since I've been writing about abuse. I guess that these boys knew with ruach hakodesh that I would write about abuse when they allegedly did these horrible, unspeakable things to their sisters years ago.

Is Rabbi Horowitz a Charedi Basher? Obviously not. Rabbi Horowitz is a Charedi hero. He is the wave of the future. His - is the kind of thinking that has been sorely lacking in some of the Charedi leadership. Having witnessed first hand many of the problems he writes about, he is a man who stands up for truth and justice- a man who truly cares about every Jewish Neshama, not just those of the elite among us. Time and again he publishes articles with often piercing insight and analysis - challenging his own community to be more aware and responsive.

It is with that in mind that I direct my own challenge to him. I have forwarded him the following questions to which I hope he responds.

1. What 3 high proifle Charedi abuse cases are you referring to?

2. Why do you predict that there will be many more cases like the one reported about in this Jerusalem Post article?

3. Do you think the kind of thing can be found in the same proportion in the Modern Orthodox world?

4. Why ...or why not?

5. Do you think percentage of this type of behavior in the Torah world is reflective of the percentages in the general population?

6. If so, why? If not, why not? And does that matter?

7. Do you think incidents like this in the Charedi world are related to the acid thrower types? In other words, is there a core problem that results in abberative behavior?

8. Do you think this is problem is related to poor prioritizing of issues by Charedi Askanim and leaders?

9. How will you deal with this in the public arena?

I know your basic attitude here and I know how carefully you frame these issues in public - and why. I totally understand your limitations. And I agree that you must be guided by them in your public response in order to be a more effective voice from within. Bearing that in mind:

10. Won’t that water down what you really need to say?