Thursday, January 20, 2022

Is This How Sex Abuse is Treated by the Eida?

The Eida Hacharedis (DIN)
No. I do not hate Chasidim. Far from it. But I am sure I will be accused of that by some after they read this post. The fact is I count a number of honorable Chasidim among my closest friends and confidants. In fact I would venture to say that not a single Chasid here in Chicago that reflects what I am about to say in this post. The Chasidic people I know here are nothing like that. But Chicago is not where the vast majority of Chasidim can be found. Certainly not extremist Chasidim. That would be in New York and Israel.

And another thing. Honestly - I do not like using DIN as a news source. Generally speaking I studiously avoid relying on that website since the writer on DIN (who I believe is or was Charedi himself) wears his anti Charedi bias on his sleeve. So when I see a story like the one published there recently, I try and seek other sources for corroboration. 

In this instance I did not find any other than a story in the Jerusalem Post about yet another Charedi rabbi being arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor. They did not identify him or go into much detail about it.

Unfortunately, it is no longer news that there are sexual abusers  in all segments of Orthodoxy. Experts tell us that the percentage of abusers among Orthodox Jews mirrors that of society in general.

This is not an indictment of Orthodoxy. It does however tell us that the incidence of sexual abuse has nothing to do with how religious a community is - despite the tendency by some to believe that

Sadly - as I indicated - when yet another Orthodox rabbi gets arrested for something like this, it isn’t news anymore. Which is why when I read this story, I just shook my head and said, 'What else is new?' Not that I don’t care deeply about the victims. I absolutely do. But there are just so many times I can repeat myself, before I become completely ignored.

What made me change my mind is that - what was revealed by DIN about this guy has a ring of truth about it. He said not only was he is a rebbe of note whom he identifies as the Chister Rebbe. But that Eida HaChaeredis has known him as a serial molester for 30 years and did little to stop him:

The Eida Hachreidis knew for 30 years that the Chister Rebbe is a serial Sex Abuser and not only did they enable this vile creature to continue as rebbe they actually supported him.

30 years ago this fiend opened up a Yeshiva and of course a mikva in Givat Shaul after he was kicked out of Bobov because he was a danger to the boys in Yeshiva.

In Givat Shaul over 15 boys complained to the Eida Hachreidis Bais Din that the Chistar Rebbe was a dangerous serial sexual predator .

So what did the Eida Hachreidis do after they investigated and found all the boys credible? 

They banished him from Givat Shaul and told him to move to the town of  Emanual.

But he couldn't stay there too long ; when he continued doing "Maaseh Sdom"  the parents wanted to kill him. 

The Eida was notified and said they can no longer control him, but refused to publicize and warn the Chareidie communities of  this murderer of children. They said it was " mesirah." He also didn't own a "smartphone" so he was still a Tzaddik.

Meanwhile the monster moved to Elad and opened a chassidishe court and continued to molest countless children with the full knowledge of the Eida!

After the Elad community got wind of the fact that they have a murderer in their midst they started to make his life miserable and so he moved to Beit Shemesh. Beit Shemesh has enough of Chassidishe and non-Chassidishe molesters and didn't need  another one, so they sent him packing.

He then settled in Ramat Shlomo in Yerushalayim, his familiar hunting grounds, and continued to fulfil his sexual fantasies, taking advantage of young innocent children.

Finally one of them after getting fed up with the Gedoilim looking away and covering up for these murderers, and making Walder a martyr, made a complaint in the Beit Shemesh Police Department, and he was finally arrested! 

It is no secret that the Eida is considered to be one of the pillars of the Charedi world – in both Yeshiva and Chasidic circles. It is also true that the Eida is not exclusively Chasidic. But it does seem to have a similiar Hashkafa in cases of abuse. If what DIN said is true then the way they treated this case is pretty much the same way it is treated in the extremist segments of the Chasidic community. Where the majority of Chasidim lie.

This is not to say that the Yeshiva world and modern Orthodoxy didn’t have problems in the past. Some of which were similar to the problems of the Edia. But the difference is that there has been recognizable change in how MO and the Yeshiva world are both now dealing with it. It may not be perfect. But it is much better than it was before. Especially after Walder. There is a long  way to go before we all get it right. But clearly there is movement in the right direction.

Not so the Eida and like minded extremist Chasidc factions. They still believe reporting a sexual abuser to the police qualifies as Mesirah. And therefore prefer not telling the police and instead just shuttling these molesters around to other communities. As long as they are removed from the one in which they are currently abusing victims - that seems to satisfy them.

Why does this have a ring of truth to it? Because of similar cases that were handled pretty much the same way – for example the case of Nechemya Weberman. They still believe in his innocence – even after he was sentenced to what amounts to a life sentence in prison.

Like I said. I have no way of verifying what DIN reports. So take what it says as you will. And I realize that these large swathes of extremist Chasidim are not the only ones like this. But it seems to me that this is by far the way sexual abuse is treated the Eida and Chasidic communities like Satmar and Skvere. There are just too many examples for it to be the exception rather than the rule.

Why that might in fact be the case is huge discussion far beyond the scope of this post. Although I’m sure that their insistence on living isolated from the rest of the world might have something to do with it.