Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Protecting our Women and Restoring Our Honor

My admiration for his courage knows no bounds.

Once again Rabbi Yakov Horowitz has risen to the occasion. He has taken yet another courageous step in trying to right the some of the more serious wrongs that exist in the world of Orthodoxy.

In an op-ed published in today’s Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Horowitz has written words that are almost an exact reflection of what I believe – words I might have written myself. But he goes further than I did - or than I could have done. He has called on members of his own Charedi community to stand up and do something concrete.

Here are some excerpts from a truly trailblazing article:

I appeal to all haredi Knesset members to display moxie and genuine leadership by calling a joint press conference where they repudiate all forms of violence and vow to bring to justice all those who perpetrate these types of attacks from this day forward. They should bring all law enforcement resources to bear to bring law and order to the streets of Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak and other areas where these people operate. If elected officials cannot commit themselves to protecting innocent women from vicious beatings, they should all resign and be replaced by people who will.

I would only add that the rabbinic leaders who guide these Knesset join them at that press conference.

Here is more of his sentiment which is amazingly similar to my own:

From my vantage point, it is unfortunate that all those who participated in the vicious beating of a defenseless woman are not facing long prison sentences. But it is a great step forward and hopefully will mark a turning point in the attitude of law enforcement officials to these thugs.

The time has come for us to speak out, telling our children and students in unequivocal terms, "These people are criminals and sinners - and do not represent us!" Our publications should begin reporting these incidents in the news sections of our papers, condemn them in our editorials and call upon the police to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

Here is what he thinks the proper attitude should be – rather than what some people think it should be:

Many members of our community are reluctant to speak out publicly, fearing that doing so will cause a hillul Hashem, a desecration of God's name. However, I propose that remaining silent in the face of violent and lawless acts perpetrated by individuals purporting to represent Torah values is the greatest hillul Hashem of all.

There is more – so much more. But rather than republishing the entire article - I ask that all who care about the future of Torah Judaism to go and read his article. It is available at either the Jerusalem Post or at his website. I will end this post with his last two paragraphs of his column and urge everyone to go to his website and sign on. I did.

I am posting this column on my Web site ( and I respectfully call upon haredim worldwide to post a comment at the bottom with your name and the city where you live supporting the sentiments expressed here.

If enough Torah-observant individuals stand up, distance ourselves from these criminals and demand action from our elected officials, we might affect changes which will restore honor to God's name and end these acts of terror that plague us.