Aired May 12, on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: Arresting the Molesting
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of May 13th, 2012.
Did you see the New York Times article on Thursday about Jewish men and children in the ultra-Orthodox community? Very touching story. Very touching – the men were touching the boys, the men were touching themselves. Years of molestation and abuse – just as it’s been in the Catholic Church, just as it’s been in every community, religious or otherwise.
And what the newspaper article points out, alas, is that not only do fear and shame keep victims from coming forward – not to mention coming – but intimidation from neighbors and even rabbis has protected the guilty and rendered the innocent helpless. Some kid will get molested, he tells his parents – if he has the guts – and do they go to the police? No. They go to the school, to the rabbinate. And for the sake of keeping the community isolated, everything is hushed up. Maybe the perpetrator is reprimanded, maybe not. In some cases the parents are offered literal hush money, so the child can pay for therapy but otherwise keep his mouth shut. Well, unless it’s around the shlong of his Rebbe.
These Jewish leaders are so afraid of the outside world, so loathe to put one of their own in the hands of a goyische tribunal, they will beg families not to press charges, not to do anything that might reflect badly on their little shtetl. Even worse, threats are used. Jews who speak up are ostracized by their neighbors, harassed by phone calls, evicted by their landlords, warned that if they continue to prosecute, their children will be expelled from school and forced to wear their payes in the shape of a vagina.
As I said, this is no different from the Catholic priests, who close ranks around a pervert, move him to another parish, and spend their afternoons draining splooge out of the holy water. It is no different from black ghettoes, with the crack and the meth and shootings and the stabbings and the grape soda. Do they work with the cops? No, police are “the man,” or, to be more grammatically correct, “the men.” To be fair, police brutality, racism and corruption have not exactly earned the trust of the schvartz community. So approaching them is like a chicken saying, “Hey, Mr. Fox. We have a fire in the hen house; come fix!” But what happens is – by refusing to cooperate with a former enemy, black neighborhoods crumble from the enemy within.
Jewish Lubavitch and Satmer communities may not be falling apart on the outside – in fact they’re booming – but if they refuse to address hurtful criminal activity, they will shrivel morally into something so ugly, Carrot Top will look normal by comparison.
Quoted in the Times article is Rabbi Tzvi Gluck, one of the good guys, who urges teenagers to report their abuse to the police. Says Rabbi Gluck, quote, “If a guy in our community gets diagnosed with cancer, the whole community will come running to help him. But if someone says they were a victim of abuse, the community looks at them and says, `Go jump in the lake.’” And swimming in that lake would be a naked rabbi.
Okay, I added that last part, but this is disgusting and disgraceful behavior on the part of my Jewish brethren. Sexual molestation of children is not just a crime, it is an act of evil. And if the tribe is too uptight about sex and the human body to punish the offenders, you put down the Torah and you pick up the goddamn phone. Because the little girl who comes home with blood in her Underoos, or the little boy who starts pissing himself in synagogue because he was fingered in the Mikvah – they are not to blame. Middle-aged men with shmeckels are to blame. And if they happen to be deeply religious, respected members of a religious Orthodox enclave – shame on them double-double. All the more reason to investigate, substantiate and incarcerate so he won’t make a child of eight masturbate on a seder plate.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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pictured: Yehuda Kolko – indicted for molestation but in a plea deal was given a probationary sentence for child endangerment. Photograph: New York Daily News/Getty Images