Sunday, June 17, 2018

Another Orthodox Sexual Predator

Yaakov Shapiro
I remember my reaction to Frumteens when I happened upon it a few years ago. Frumteens was a website that catered to troubled teens seeking answers to difficult questions about Judaism. I recall being put off by the over-the-top authoritarian way he answered those questions. I was outraged at the bashing and delegitimizing of Hashkafos that were different from hard core right wing view of the moderator.  

I couldn’t believe that someone had the nerve to set himself up as the expert on all matters Jewish without the slightest bit of humility. I thought - what terrible way of reaching out to young people. How dare he speak that way about other legitimate Hashkafos?!

The moderator did not identify himself.  I remember thinking that he must have known he would get negative feedback and simply wanted to avoid that – and focus on the ‘Kiruv’ work he was doing. He must have truly believed in what he was doing, I thought. We now know who that moderator was. His name is Yaakov Shapiro. 

Frumteens no longer exists. But Shapiro did not go away. He found a new niche: Supporting the anti Israel views of Satmar. They found out about his position on this and both factions of Satmar (Zalman and Aharon) hired him as a spokesmen for their views.  From a website called Hasidic News: 
In recent years Satmars got wind of his peculiar anti-zionism and picked him as the ideal public relations spokesperson for the Satmar shittoh (opinion). Satmar adherents founded True Torah Jews for the purpose of disseminating PR material that is antithetical to Zionism. The movement has a website, professionally produced videos, Facebook page, Youtube channel, etc.
An important objective for Satmar was to differentiate itself from the Palestinian-allied Neturei Karta: True Torah Jews makes it clear that Zionism does not represent Judaism, but it does not hold hands with Israel’s enemies as the more radical Neturei Karta does. Unlike Satmar adherents, R. Shapiro is eloquent, well-spoken, well-groomed and able to persuasively and succinctly explain the shittoh to the uninitiated in fluent English.
Zalmanite moguls contribute financially to True Torah Jews –but so do the Aaronite masses. In the Aaronite anti-Zionist convention this past Sunday, R. Shapiro can be seen in a professionally-produced video reporting from the scene. 
I have seen some of his stuff and suffice it to say, it made my stomach crawl. 

It has now been revealed that Shapiro has been accused of being a sexual predator. New accusers are coming forward. He joins a list of other ‘distinguished rabbis’ who have done the same thing. I have to agree with Rabbi Natan Slifkin, who made the following observation on his blog: 
I believe  a disproportionately high number of predators in roles that put them in contact with vulnerable females - counselors, to'anim, etc. - because they recognize that these lines of work are likely to provide many opportunities. 
This aligns with the view of experts in the field of sex abuse that say the same thing about pedophiles. They tend to be charismatic and find jobs around children – as teachers, camp councilors, and outreach. They place themselves into an environment rich with the targets of their abnormal desires - targets vulnerable to their predation. They befriend; pay lots of attention to them; and develop deep and trusting relationships. This is called ‘grooming’. The sexual abuse that follows is a result of that trust. Rabbi Slifkin notes that Shapiro used that technique for his victims - young teenage girls:
Shapiro would drive around in a red Camaro, picking up teenage girls for counseling sessions 
I suppose I should feel a sense of being vindicated about my original negative impressions of him. He disgusted me long before he was discovered to be a sexual predator. But that is not what I am feeling now. 

He still disgusts me. But now I am just plain angry that he has been able to carry out all of  these nefarious acts with impunity. The damage this man has done incalculable. He has poisoned the minds of young people with his hateful rhetoric about Hashkafos other than his own; he has preached hatred of  Israel to countless numbers of people... And now we are finding out he is a sexual predator with – who knows how many victims under his belt.