Mar 12, 2016
Don't Burn Down the House

From the COLlive inbox: Do the schools see themselves above the law and are the activists vigilantes working outside halacha?

By Sruli Schochet - Los Angeles

Did you read the Newsweek article?

You know, the one by Fareed Zakaria how Bibi Netanayahu is undermining Israel's security, or how everything you know about Iran is wrong.

It must be true, right? After all, it was published in Newsweek. Needless to say, an informed person doesn't believe everything they read. While an article can be a good starting point for gathering information, intellectual honesty behooves a person to do their own due diligence and come to their own conclusions.

There has been much uproar in the Crown Heights community of late, about a Newsweek article by Elijah Wolfson titled: 'Child Abuse Allegations Plague the Hasidic Community'. To be sure, the article discusses an important topic, one that must never be swept under the rug. It is a subject that must be addressed with all the vim and vigor its importance requires.

However, this particular article smacks of a hatchet job. The articles, while purporting to be an expose on the Chassidic community, turns out to be almost entirely focused on Chabad. Even though Chabad makes up less than 10% of the Chassidic community of New York City and probably less than 5% worldwide, 99% of the article is geared towards Chabad and Chabad allegations alone. That is biased reporting.

Imagine an article titled: 'The Rise of Crime in the USA', but then goes on to only discuss the rising crimes in one particular demographic or ethnicity. Such an article would be decried as racist and bigoted. This article should be held to same standard, regardless of the importance of the topic.

Having grown up in Toronto, I never attended any of the schools mentioned and do not know any of the key players on either side of the article. Thus, I cannot properly weigh in or state a personal opinion about the specific stories listed there.

However, I do know one of the victims.

As fate would have it, we crossed paths last week and the article came up. He looked at me and said: "I am never helping [name redacted by author] ever again! I have emails of them showing me exactly how I would be quoted and they took my quote and put it there completely out of context!" He looked at me with such pain in his eyes, like he was just taken advantage of. Again.

I didn't know what to say, so I gave him a hug and changed the subject to happier things. It was a stark reminder to me that things are not always what they seem. Sometimes in the rush for justice, we trample well-meaning people along the way.

The Baal Shem Tov teaches us that everything we see is divine providence and a life lesson. Of late, I have been seeing a lot of billboards advertising 'Superman vs. Batman'. I think there are few people out there that have not heard of these fictional 'superheroes'.

I asked a friend of mine, a self-professed 'comic book geek' to please explain to me why these two 'good guys' would be fighting each other? He explained (the storyline) that the first viewed the second as a vigilante, working outside the normative and accepted rules that society had established. While the second view the first as this elitist, demagogue who was given too much power and respect, not answering to anyone, risking our civil liberties. A war ensues and as is always the case, havoc and destruction was left in its wake.

I think the analogy could not be more apropos. We have one group of people that see the Rabbis and establishment leaders as viewing themselves above the law, not needing to answer to the lowly masses. Perched in their ivory towers, they get to dictate with impunity.

The Rabbis on the other hand, view these groups as vigilantes as working outside the confines of Torah and halacha, the very basis and foundation of Jewish DNA. The war of words ensues and we the common folk, lose out as a result of it.

As Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently said: The old law of 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. Imagine the strength that would come from a unified front, two superheroes working for a common good, built upon the common ground they can find. That force would be unstoppable and we would all applaud it.

Originally I was going to write this anonymously. I know that as a result of this, myself and my family will be subject to personal attacks, ridicule and vitriol, one of the dark underbellies the internet has provided. But I quickly realized that doing so would be to give in to bullying and the fear of verbal abuse, something that should never be the case.

We need to support victims of child abuse to NEVER feel scared or cowered to come forward. We need to support our establishment, that they can state a difference of opinion on certain matters without fear of reprisal. We need to encourage the dialogue. We are a nation of 'hakol kol Yaakov' and it's through our discussions that we reach resolution, not by the silencing of others.

I will end with this:

Imagine you have a rat problem in your house. Nobody wants them and everybody wants to get rid of them. So you buy a trap. You can buy a glue trap, a snap-trap or even a 'cruelty-free' trap. Sometimes the rats come back or other rats pop up in their place. So you keep at it, getting rid of them one by one.

There is another more permanent solution though: you can just burn down the house. That would work in ways the traps never could. But at the end of the day, you will be rat free and homeless.

I think the analogy is clear: We ALL want to eradicate the rats from amongst us. Just don't burn down the house while attempting to do so.


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Opinions and Comments
1
Victim's Perspective
Sruli, once one burns down a house (as Hashem's story reminds us daily re a certain Beis HaMikdash that got burnt down), only then may we rebuild the house WITHOUT all the rat-holes that facilitate the discrete entry and exit of all the rats (and the diseases they carry).

If Hashem can go homeless for 2000 + years, so can the Bnei Yisrael while a new house is rebuilt. Please acknowledge that rats are not the issue. The true threat posed by rats are the undetectable and sometimes untreatable diseases that rats are common carriers for.

Chabad is, without a doubt, the most qualified and capable Chassidic faction to constructively convince abusers to the path of Teshuva WITH DIGNITY. The whole establishment would be doing this already if the Rebbe was here to guide us in this physical realms.

Sruli, you deserve a sincere "Thank you" just for publicizing your name and identity. But the house needs to be burnt down sometimes. Remember, the 9th posuk the Rebbe advised all children to memorize was the posuk of "Yugaitee". Not all of the Rebbe's followers want to fool themselves any longer, which is why we need Moshiach!
(3/11/2016 8:56:25 PM)
2
About the rat traps
Yes if you had rats you could buy a rat trap. But if u tried that and still had rats you'd be stupid to keep trying that one method and each time thinking it will be enough.

If you were really concerned about the rats, and the traps didn't work you'd take further measures. You might call a professional exterminator, find things that rats dont like and cause them to avoid your property, close up any holes or places rats could enter.. you get the drift.

Thats exactly the problem that the "activists" are working to address. For years the schools have been reacting ineffectively to the problem of abuse of children. And they haven't changed.

The "activists" are not trying to destroy the institutions - they are trying to help them, by pointing out exactly that - you have a problem and you methods in dealing with this problem have not been effective. It is a serious problem. Time to address it and look at better methods.

The activists are not the problem and they're not trying to harm institutions. They are just alerting us to the problem and to the fact that past approaches have not been effective. So in your analagy of the rats, they are not coming and saying burn the house down. They are saying you tried the traps, but you still have rats - here, try these other methods of getting rid of rats - they will be more effective and you might actually be able to get rid of the rats this way.

And the institutions, instead of being greatful and taking the advice of people knowledgeable in the field, are more worried about people knowing they have rats, then actually getting rid of the problem. The only thing is, that they didn't realize that in trying to keep their rats a secret, they would end up drawing more attention to their problem, then ever would have happened if they had been open to really addressing their problem when the rat experts first approached them.

Just thought important to clarify those points. Hope this helps you rethink your judgments.

And that was a nice point about working together - something the activists have been trying to do all along with no reciprocation from the institutions.
(3/12/2016 6:13:00 AM)
3
D Herszberg
well said.
(3/12/2016 7:17:02 AM)
4
Thank you
Thanks for pointing out
(3/12/2016 8:55:53 AM)
5
Are you kidding me?
Reporting abuse to a child is in no way outside of the laws of Judiasm or halacha. Our greatest mitzvah is to save a life and the life of these children are lost at the time the abuse begins. We must continue to value our children before the Rabbinate. If a person is proven to be an abuser then "outing" them may save the "life" of another child, or help bring life back to others who may have been abused by the same individual. I realize that Chabad may have been over represented in the article, but with an attitude like this, that reporting the crime is outside of halacha, then Chabad may then just be represented appropriately if we are closeting the abusers.
(3/12/2016 4:09:53 PM)
6
Lulu
Sadly defensive. You also have to prove you caught the rats, all of them, that they're gone for good, and that the traps stay set so no new ones can come back. You kinda left that out.
(3/12/2016 6:50:29 PM)
7
Thank you!
You verbalized my thoughts exactly! When it comes to Middle Eastern politics we are so quick to denounce the media as biased. Why can't we take this article with the same grain of salt and understand there may be another motive (such as sensationalism) for this article?
(3/12/2016 7:10:51 PM)
8
Know ur sources
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" was a statement made by Gandhi, not MLK. But otherwise good article.
(3/12/2016 7:15:53 PM)
9
You are in denial
because the article focuses on chabad to the exclusion of other hasidic sects that means the content is questionable? When will Chabad learn from the what happened to the Catholic Church? Stop denying!
(3/12/2016 7:17:19 PM)
10
Friend
You write many important factors in this entire tragic story. It is awful to be accused of a heinous crime one did not commit, or be misquoted in a national magazine.
However, if public awareness saves one child from the horrors of abuse, it must be told.

By the way, long before this article was published, there have been countless exposes that focus specifically on other Chassidic communities and paint them in a much worse light. We cannot get upset out an article only when it affects our community.
Hopefully , more awareness and learning with remove this scourge from all Jewish communities (if they exist there).
(3/12/2016 7:41:22 PM)
11
It's a lot more complex
The problem is that the traps themselves can be dangerous to innocent people, while smart rats will avoid them. And the media, both the money making type and the social media spread falsehood and breed panic.
Everyone has to join together and get professional advice in seeking real solutions. Instead of focusing on who's to blame, instead of sweeping things under the carpet, instead of panic, instead of distrust, let everyone come together for the sake of our children's safety.
(3/12/2016 7:43:06 PM)
12
Beautifully written.
Very well written. I really appreciated the optimistic tone, rather than complaining. I noticed how the author was especially sensitive and careful not to point fingers. Love the rat Moshul. What I take from hearing this and all the other news reports, articles and conversation, from all the voices on either side and in between, is that there is a severe lack of communication, as there tends to be between someone very passionate and someone who believes they have the situation under control. Both are closed to new ideas/thoughts from the other party. It's so very hard to come to a solution that works. I wish it were clearer. It's a pity it's dividing people.
(3/12/2016 7:51:39 PM)
13
just me
well written.

I get it BUT, Chabad is the most well known in the world and in the USA so obviously it sheds light on us.

To compare to Middle East - there is an explanation here - while we know how biased the media is, Israel for example is always in the news. Lots of good stuff too.

Israel is a small dot on the map and the globe.

Think about that and your analogy.

I will end by stating Newsweek as far as I know is not outwardly biased either to best of my knowledge.

And I commend you for writing and signing your name. You a good guy thats for sure!
(3/12/2016 7:56:06 PM)
14
To 5 and 9
Thanks for proving the author's point on biased media.

The author never said not to report child abuse, nor did he deny that the issue exists.

I'm sure they would gladly hire you at Newsweek...
(3/12/2016 8:00:34 PM)
15
Well Done!
So many people are thinking this, and the Silent Majority is too fearful of speaking out because they will be harassed and intimidated mercilessly by a few vigilantes. Nobody will put their career and reputation at risk to speak out against this nonsense. Thank you Sruli Schochet, and watch your back!
(3/12/2016 8:06:35 PM)
16
activist are out of control
the article assumes the fact that the activists are only interested in the safety of a child wrong! Many of the activists are self serving with their own personal agenda. No one is condoning child abuse except maybe the city itself. Yes the biggest cover up is by acs & other child welfare agencies of city & state. Everyone today is very aware & alert. Many activist including some locally are out of control throwing false allegations against different people & hoping something sticks for personal reasons. Abuse cannot be condoned or covered up. On the other hand The so called activists cannot be allowed to throw around wild accusations that do nothing but destroy good & innocent people!
(3/12/2016 8:18:22 PM)
17
Distraction.
The article in news week is dumb.

It's dumb bc those in power to make a change from the outside and to those who are writers like Sruly got lost and distracted and no one is doing anything to help.

Its dumb bc it lead OT to show off how they too are not doing anything ro help as they published a carefully composed letter that further distracted everyone as a form or reassurance but yet not one that addresses why they still have certain employees there.

And it's dumb bc now many ppl have read this who... won't either do anything further damaging the victims who want closure and are not getting it.
(3/12/2016 8:38:55 PM)
18
Rats?
I would suggest cancer is the better analogy. Unfortunately it has gone unnoticed for decades. The treatment today is therefore more painful and risky.

We will preserver. We will allow the activists to perform the correct treatment as others have failed in the past. Those of us that are not activists will stand on the sidelines and daaven for their success and for the health of our community. Say a kaput al tehilim for: kehilas Chabad ben Adoneinu, Moireinu v'Rabeinu for a quick and painless yeshua from this machla.
(3/12/2016 8:40:58 PM)
19
Didn't understand the author
What are trying to say? What is your message? Not to report molesters? To keep it under the rug? Or are you saying report the molesters, but not to the police? Very confusing.
(3/12/2016 8:59:36 PM)
20
Thank you
Well written and clear article. Thank you for putting your name. What many are thinking but intimidated to speak out
(3/12/2016 9:22:34 PM)
21
Not through revenge!
We must be aware of who's dangerous and let anyone that might be harmed know about it as well, but When someone is running a organization based off revenge, he will attack anyone he thinks is guilty, even if there is no proof for it, (which unfortunately has happened in the past) that's not the Torah way of doing things and not even a logical way of dealing with such issues.
Just like we would turn the world upside down to save the life of a child, we have to be just as careful not to kill innocent people as well.
Thank you for writing your article!
(3/12/2016 9:50:36 PM)
22
instead of writing here...SPEAK UP!!
"The article is geared towards Chabad and Chabad allegations alone. That is biased reporting."

I totally agree...

Please take a moment to call out this reporter by emailing him at:

e.wolfson@newsweek.com
(3/12/2016 10:17:05 PM)
23
Have all recourses been taken?
Yes the old traps did not work. But have all resources been exhausted to get rid of the rats? Pressure the school's donors, parent body, board etc etc. There are no shortage of ways to fight the good fight. A Newsweek article, which is going nuclear, just a huge chillul Hashem which accomplishes nothing, is the equivalent of burning down the house mentioned in the article. Find other traps and means to do this. Don't give up. But don't go nuclear which ultimately hurts everyone, including the victims we are trying to help.
(3/12/2016 10:18:03 PM)
24
Activists in our community are behind Newsweek article
Clearly, many of you did not understand the point of the article.

What the author is saying is that the "activists " in our community are the ones behind the Newsweek piece .

Anyone following this topic on facebook can tell you that the ultimate goal of these "activists" and their supporters is "to burn the house down" r"l . Our moisdos that were built with mesiras nefesh are meaningless and worthless to them.

My fellow lubavitchers, be very careful who you support - these " activists" have their own agenda - they must be stopped before ...
(3/12/2016 10:18:09 PM)
25
The "Article "
Of course the real problem is not the children being abused is that someone pointed it out. Let us continue to Kill the Messenger. Let us just ignore the problem as before and let them house continue to burn.
(3/12/2016 10:18:26 PM)
26
Please take a moment to email the author
"The article is geared towards Chabad and Chabad allegations alone. That is biased reporting."

Please take a moment to email the author:
e.wolfson@newsweek.com
(3/12/2016 10:19:06 PM)
27
The difference...
The difference between burning down your house and burning down our system is that with the house- you'll be left homeless and thus at a major disadvantage the nimshul though doesn't leave you at any personal disadvantage which is why the mashul isn't good in the first place. The end message of the article is entirely unclear. I don't know if this was intentional, but you didn't at all explain your not so obviously understood analogy-- this is not creative writing. It's I suppose an informative/ persuasive article. Care to explain?
(3/12/2016 10:21:34 PM)
28
shame
The yeshivas and Chabad may feel embarrassment by the article but what about the victims of abuse? You may feel upset that the article was focused on Chabad, but everything is hashgacha protis, Hashem's will. Maybe ask why Hashem would want this article which focused on alleged abuse in Chabad and ignoring it. Perhaps it is because the Rebbe said that we must do all we can to bring Moshiach and the children of Tzivos Hashem especially have a spark of Moshiach so by dealing with abuse issues, somehow apologizing for wrongs done in the past if that is even possible, and by perhaps seeing if this is a way that there can be more overview of yeshivas and improvement of discipline in yeshivas, we can help bring the geula.
This week's parsha is Vayikra, the first parsha introduced to children when they enter yeshiva. Our children cannot be the karbonos.
(3/12/2016 11:08:30 PM)
29
front cover?
Is this on the front cover of Newsweek? i hope not, what a chilul Hashem.
Don't get me wrong I'm all for stopping these immoral murderers just don't think Newsweek is being helpful in any way. Although some might feel they are.
(3/12/2016 11:09:47 PM)
30
A victim is in automatic expert?
These so called activists or victims, are running around as if they P.H.D. In the psychology and remedy to this terrible problem?
Stop airing your dirty laundry for the sake of destruction.
(3/12/2016 11:11:34 PM)
31
you can be against CSA and against prejudice
You can be a vocal proponent against CSA and still acknowledge that the article had serious prejudices.

Accusing anyone who dares point out that the article was very flawed, that they are pro covering up child abuse, is ridiculous.
(3/12/2016 11:13:32 PM)
32
Denial and more denial
haaaa.It is hilarious about how the poor innocent are being accused.REALLY????Well how about challenging the activists by taking them to a din torah or suing???You know why not?Because when the victims and their families come forward you know YOU do not want to face them!!!!yes,the evil accusers and the poor tormented sould who were falsely accused...and that is why I support the Newsweek.You remind me of someone who said he with the blue shirt murdered so and so and then someone says no it was a yellow shirt...it is happening and idc if it's this chassidic group or that one,THEY ARE commiting crimes against innocent children.No wonder the activists are so frustrated with the frum communities.Keep hiding.and how do u geniuses know they are innocent?you were there?u witnessed that no abuse took place?really????wow.You people continue to prove that Newsweek is spot on.Thank you for the comments because you prove his point.,!
(3/12/2016 11:46:40 PM)
33
Thank you for perspective
So well written! This article follows the way of Torah which is the middle path. Btw, my friend had a horrendous case of rats and like the author said she did not burn down her beautiful house but spent a whole year getting rid of them. It was not easy but she succeeded by trying many different methods.
(3/13/2016 12:06:21 AM)
34
The greatest devine providence!
The greatest divine providence is that all of this is finally coming out into the open, so it can heal, and change. No more covering up! This shameful system must and will change!
(3/13/2016 12:21:13 AM)
35
Thank you
God bless you sruly
(3/13/2016 12:30:57 AM)
36
Forget the rats
Just because I am paranoid, it doesn't mean people aren't after me.

Yes, the article was a hatchet job... but it doesn't mean it isn't true. The victims who came forward are incredibly brave and their abusers the lowest of the low. I called a teacher relative after I read it and I was told facts I wish I didn't now know.

What I found incredible is the absolute denial by OT in the form of a letter to parents. They don't deny past abuse and insist there is nothing going on now. I don't believe it: what they mean is, either they don't know or victims R"L haven't yet come forward. They cannot be 100% certain, so making a confident statement like that is in my opinion, stupid.

As for the other schools, they are keeping very quiet. With good reason, there are claims of abuse directed at their teachers also.
(3/13/2016 12:36:13 AM)
37
thank you
I fully understand and agree with everything that was written. it seems like some people didn't get one of, or the main point of what the author was trying to write. (and we don't have to analyze every word of his mashal of the rats or the middle east). it was the context. he's not knocking down the importance of taking care of abuse. But the article put a terrible light on chabad, and especially our schools. I'm not knocking that things have to be improved. I"m a parent and I've actually seen and heard several of these incidents. but that doesn't make the whole school and the whole chabad system terrible. in any jewish, and l'havdil goyish school, whether public school or private schools, these issues occur, unfortunately. and they should stop. but to write a whole article and to 'bashmutz' chabad, and its main school is simply WRONG!!! That's not the way that effects change. in the article you can hear the underlying anger of the system, and you can feel how JCW would do anything, no matter what chillul lubavitch it causes, just to have things done the way they think that it should be done. it's true that strong changes have to be done, but there's a mentchlich way to do it.
(3/13/2016 12:37:13 AM)
38
Your friend who was misquoted should sue
That might help him a little bit
(3/13/2016 12:41:51 AM)
39
Fully agree with this article
The vigilantes have tried very hard to destroy Chabad of Melbourne and have done heaps of damage in the process. On the other hand I have personally heard from a seriously hurt victim that gave his story to JCW and was totally ignored for political reasons.
(3/13/2016 1:10:16 AM)
40
The Rabonim of this era paskened
Bsd
The Crown Heights Rabonim of this present era paskened (ruled) to reveal their names as this causes others not to do these bad things to the kids.
(3/13/2016 1:12:30 AM)
41
To number 5
You are 100 %right when it come to the law but if they investigate and say that there is basis to the story don't continue to pursue it you can't decide when you want to use the law and when not
(3/13/2016 1:21:36 AM)
42
Brilliant
Great article. Great point.
(3/13/2016 1:51:20 AM)
43
very sad state of events
My friends son was abused by a teacher. She's not going to report it because of all the reasons written in the article. unfortunately, everything in Lubavitch/and in the world works by who is stronger: has more clout and especially more money. Our only recourse is to pray for Moshiach
(3/13/2016 3:24:28 AM)
44
Despairing
What about when there is a culture of fear to speak out? What then? When those who run the Moisdos actively intimidate people? Or when the authority of Rabbonim undermined? When a community does rise up and object to the lack of authority of Halacha and Rabbonim and are ignored? When they have no one to turn to?
(3/13/2016 3:36:42 AM)
45
SPEAK UP!!!!
If you like this, send it!!! If you don't write your own! But don't remain silent, this reporter is clearly and openly attacking our religious way of life...

e.wolfson@newsweek.com

Dear Elijah Wolfson,

Everyone agrees that CSA is a terrible challenge that we face, however there are more effective ways to solve this issue than by publishing such a biased article.

Your article is simply an expression of your anti religious and hateful views of the ultra orthodox Chabad community.

You should be ashamed. The Chabad movement is the biggest blessing and gift to the entire Jewish people.

How dare you publicly attack an entire movement due to one internal challenge?

You should step down from your post at Newsweek because you deserve to be sued for hate and incitement against our community and religious way of life!


Send to:
e.wolfson@newsweek.com



(3/13/2016 4:00:35 AM)
46
I agree with #22 and 26
We must speak up and stop this anti religious bias!!

CSA must be dealt with but not in this way!!

This is hateful incitement Newsweek must hear it from us
(3/13/2016 4:07:24 AM)
47
Why Chabad was the focus of the Newsweek article
I think the reason Chabad was the focus of the Newsweek article is that we are the group who are fighting CSA. Our Beis Din is the one that says you have to report. So we have admitted that this has rachmonu litzlan occurred in our mosdos and we have taken measures to ensure that it won't happen any more, while other groups' Batei Din are still saying reporting is mesira. So since due to the efforts of the people who have raised our consciousness about this horrible issue and continue publicizing it to ensure we don't have this any more, the reporter already had a nice juicy story and didn't bother investigating any other groups.

I see the suggestions upthread to email the author. What about writing comments on the Newsweek site and/or writing letters to the editor?
(3/13/2016 4:35:56 AM)
48
CH'er
Thank you #43 and many others,

your point is not only a problem in CH it is all over, the truth will always be exposed, sometimes it takes longer sometimes quicker, but eventually it comes out, no matter how much power, money or influence you have in a community, there is a din and dayan, the real one that is justified and will bring justice to those that its coming,,,,,
in addition, there is a "himul geshre" why so many youth are turning their backs to frumkiet, I don't blame them nor think that i will do better in their shoes, I solute and embrace them for their courage,,

What a sad truth this is, may Hashem have pity on those victims to be strong with the ability to maintain a healthy normal lifestyle.....
(3/13/2016 7:15:00 AM)
49
Losing focus
Everybody is getting caught up within the article. Focus on the bigger picture - abuse happened in oour schools. What is being done for the victims? Were there cover ups? Who failed to act in accordance with their position? People should be demanding answers to the real questions ...not get hung about an article that simply serves liftoach hatzinner....
(3/13/2016 9:51:40 AM)
50
To 40
You misquoted the Rabbonim.

They said you can report child abuse to the police. They DIDN'T say you to publicize their names, which JCW likes to do even before the accused goes to trial. It takes one kid to make up a story about you and you're in jail. That's bad enough. Then you have some hothead publicize your name as a child molester without even letting the court hear the evidence.
(3/13/2016 10:00:44 AM)
51
quote the quotes as quoted, without 'circumvolution' just to make a point
In 1958 the major civil rights leader Martin Luther King who was influenced by Gandhian ideals used the aphorism in his book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story [STF]:

Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.
(3/13/2016 10:49:51 AM)
52
Fair reporting
To the author: it seams that while you claim that you do indeed care about the victims of CSA, your outrage lies in the fact that Newsweek was not fair in their reporting, focusing on the "activists" claims. If that is indeed your stance, then I would think I would be expecting a follow up article that now will focus on the other side of the issue, i.e. The victims'/survivors' stories, and the outrage that you feel that they were hurt, some lives ruined, and very few perpetrators have been brought to justice. To be fair right? Why is that side of the story not told on COL? Aren't we supposed to be unbiased and fair reporting?

Sylvia Serraf
(3/13/2016 11:10:58 AM)
53
To #37 and the rest
Oh you want a more civil way of handling the issue??SO DO U HAVE A PLAN OF ACTION of your own?If not, then what are you criticising?You don't like it?Did you have a child that was molested by someone???No???But you still don't like how things are handled?Maybe sweep it all under the rug so chabad doesn't look bad?keep up the good work UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU Gd forbid.
(3/13/2016 12:44:11 PM)
54
To #53
You obviously missed the point of this article.
Your entire comment yells, continue to burn down the house because no one has any better ideas.
(3/13/2016 1:26:39 PM)
55
accomplished chilul hashem
the point is why did they have to go to Newsweek to print it?
(3/13/2016 1:27:03 PM)
56
CHILLUL HASHEM?
The real chillul Hashem is not that it was reported on but that this sad situation exists at all in Chabad.
A
(3/13/2016 3:11:43 PM)
57
CHILLUL HASHEM?
The real chillul Hashem is not that it was reported on but that this sad situation exists at all in Chabad and that their way of taking care of the situation was to just keep moving the perpetrators to different places- all that dealt with children.
You cant keep hiding the dirt under the rug, and the fact is this situation existed for a long time and many people knew about certain situations while there were others that were not even given the opportunity to decided if they wanted their children being taught by someone who had abusive tendencies. It is true that the pressure is on to not report or make a problem so that it can be "handled" by people who have no training or real knowledge about how to handle situations like this as their past actions have shown. Chabad is more worried about how they will come out looking if the spotlight is on them- this will seriously make a dent in donations if people think that they are harboring and aiding individuals that are abusive, and that will in turn affect the Chabad houses and the parnas' of so many shluchim .
While that might be a serious consideration , the welfare of children and adults that are affected by what happened to them in the care of supposedly responsible adults must come first. People might want them to get over it and just go on with their lives - which I'm sure they would love to do, but their experiences have changed their lives forever as well as their outlooks , we need to do what we can to make their lives better not worse. By harassment and disbelief and hiding those that have hurt them.
(3/13/2016 3:26:25 PM)
58
To #55
if all you care about is Chilul Hashem, and not the abused kids, the real Chilul Hashem is the kids being abused, and it doesn't matter who finds out about it a chillul Hashem is a Chillul Hashem,
The real point here is not Hashem it's our kids safety
,
(3/13/2016 3:45:17 PM)
59
To 58
There you go again. Making up positions that nobody holds.

Did anyone say ALL they care about is chilul Hashem, and NOT about kids being abused??

All that's being suggested is WHICH method is the proper way to protect our children, and WHO should be dealing with it.

You people amaze me anew each time.
(3/13/2016 4:02:04 PM)
60
show me!
Where in the article does it say NOT to fire those teachers? It just protests the way some are going about it.
(3/13/2016 5:19:16 PM)
61
Motzei Shem Rah you are all gulty
remember if you agree with the article without investigating if all the people in that article are really guilty then you have to ask forgiveness to those who are wrongfully accused
(3/13/2016 5:34:03 PM)
62
drastic measures are needed to expose falsehood
My son was molested by a teacher in the Lubavitch school system. The administration knew about his problem for many years. I did not - nor did I ever think it could exist in our Mosdos.
He is a brilliant young man; married with beautiful children. Very respected from the outside; very very hurting inside. It is cause for much pain in his life. I think the only way to deal with this is through the newspaper, because many respected people in the community knew about this molester; principle and Rabbonim and they allowed him to continue teaching/molesting for many years. Only something such as this article/publicity can hopefully bring a change.
(3/13/2016 5:49:10 PM)
63
Personal Agenda of NWSWK Author
Thank you Sruli Schochet for a well thought out, well written article on a delicate subject.

When I read the Newsweek article, I realized that the victims were being victimized once again. Unfortunately, you were able to validate that for me.

The author had an agenda. And he used the victims to further his personal views. He is against the education system in Chabad. That is why the house burning example in Sruli's article is so appropriate. The article blames the Chassidic lifestyle for providing fertile ground for CSA.

In an interview, the author is asked why there are only male victims in his article. He answers that Chassidic girls get secular education - so they are less susceptible. Obviously he is wrong. Because unfortunately, there are girl victims. But since his focus was to knock the Chassidic educational system, he ignored the facts and crafted his perspective accordingly.

Aliza
(3/13/2016 5:55:09 PM)
64
DO NOT EMAIL the AUTHOR... UNLESS...
Emailing the author is NOT a good option. Anyone who thinks they can sue a journalist, does not know the extent of freedom of speech. Plus, the author has the Newsweek lawyers to defend him. If it actually came to a legal battle (which it would not) the result would be more publicity for the article and the author. More negative publicity of Chabad.

Even without the threat to sue, emailing the author will show that he wrote an article that got readers excited. That's what the publication wants. Negative feedback is just as good as positive feedback. Maybe better. Controversy sells more magazines.

If you really want to write the author, then tell him that Chabad is a world in itself. It is the strongest force of goodness across the globe.

We have our faults and he found one and ran with it. We would like to inform him of all the changes that have been made in our schools to help prevent this from happening again.

You can add the amazing success of our young graduates from Oholei Menachem who go to college campuses and impress students and professors alike. Obviously, the education they get in Oholei Menachem is relevant and honorable.

A number of years ago, I composed a set of newsletters for Oholei Menachem. I was free to interview staff, teachers and students. I snooped around in classrooms and special events and even went to speak to kids in detention. It could be that CSA was happening when I was there. My point is that the Newsweek article makes a person think that CSA is the focus of Oholei Menachem. It is not. The kids are happy, they are learning, there are amazing educational things going on. I was not welcome at an event for the teachers (because I was not a teacher) - but they gave me the tape. It was amazing.

I am not justifying CSA. I am glad it has been exposed. I am glad the schools are making changes. I hate to hear of the suffering that went on in our schools and the evil cover ups and social ostracizing by our community.

But if you are going to email the author. Let him know he has only seen the scathing blemish. He has not seen the entire entity.

Aliza
(3/13/2016 6:24:23 PM)
65
the pain of one Jewish child
to #64. I am a mother of a child who was molested. numbers mean nothing to me. If one Jewish child is molested, the entire community is responsible. The blood of this one Jewish child cries out to G-d for an answer, and the entire community carries responsibility esp those in power
(3/13/2016 7:53:43 PM)
66
to number 62
Thank YOU for speaking up because I care what You have to say.Your son suffers a life sentence and meanwhile the comments cry about the Newsweek article.Good for those who spoke up and expose the ones who violated and emotionally tortured souls forever.The rest of you don't speak until you are in their shoes.
(3/13/2016 9:16:01 PM)
67
I agree!
I am sorry for what your child went through. There were many in the community who knew this was happening. Where their priorities are, I don't know! It seems to me there comes a point when we have to go beyond the need to protect a group as a whole, in order to protect individuals that are in it when they are victims of such disgusting abuse. Priorities.
(3/13/2016 10:12:06 PM)
68
A point in the News week article
The author in Newsweek was saying that yeshiva students are ignorant of certain matters. Torah that deal with intimate subjects should not be glossed over when teaching children, such as parts of Braishis, the mincha reading of Yom Kippur, mitzvos in sefer hamitzvos, etc.. Rashi taught these subjects to 5 year olds.

(3/14/2016 1:12:31 AM)
69
the others suffering
What about the blood of those children whose families are being shamed? Without a trial, din Torah or any tzedek viyosher? Do those blood not count. If things were done with trial, that's one thing. ... but when there's no such thing. .... Our blood cries out too I assure you.
(3/14/2016 1:16:18 AM)
70
62 - 66 - 67
Burning down the house is an act of revenge.
If you care about the students - think about what happens when the house is burnt to the ground. The students will have to go elsewhere. So why wait until the publicity has worked its evil magic? If the kids are suffering - don't write an article - educate your kids elsewhere!
The parents who feel their children are safe should be allowed to send their children to the schools they trust.
If you sincerely believe your child is in danger - take the kid out! There are alternatives. If you think there is a school that will be safer for your child - that is where your child belongs.
But don't burn the house down for others who consider the changes to protect the children sufficiently - and educate your child at home to be cautious and to speak up.
(3/14/2016 8:35:58 AM)
71
The Ends Do Not Justify the Means
Well written article. Sad to see many comments here professing the belief that the ends justify the means. Unfortunately, that is not Judaism. End of the issue.
(3/14/2016 10:06:07 AM)
72
#70
Great point!

We're sick and tired of this revenge mindset, where we go witch hunting for people who 30 years ago didn't throw out enough teachers. There was no awareness about this horrible issue then as much as there is today.

We, normal parents, understand that 30 years ago people could make such mistakes (I'm not referring to people who actually abused children) and we know that nowadays everyone is dealing with the issue much better.

If you don't like it, take your kid somewhere else. But don't start becoming Mr. Policeman coming to prosecute our principals.
(3/14/2016 12:30:28 PM)
73
The JCW is irresponsible
If a person is alleged to be a child molester, this potential perp should be tried in a court of law, & if found guilty, he/she should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
In contrast, the JCW -- run by a vengeful renegade and supported by well meaning sorely misguided folks-- takes snaphots of accused individuals-- who may or may not be guilty of child molestation-- and plasters their faces on the web-- entitled "Wall of Shame".

Question: What do you honestly think the Rebbe would say about the "Wall of Shame?"

I would like to hear from other readers what they sincerely think the Rebbe's response to the "Wall of Shame" would be.
(3/15/2016 2:43:02 AM)
74
(To Number 72) I'm not sure why you use the term
Firstly, to clarify, there is something in this world called accountability. "Chayav" is the term that the Torah uses to refer to one who has been found "responsible", and therefore, is accountable for a particular happening. As human beings, we are all held to account for the actions we take, and the affects they have on others.
A principal's job comes with a particular job description.
Clearly, the first of which is to be sure that the community of students he is servicing are safe.
Neglecting to think proactively to prevent things is one problem.
Having a continuous stream of live reports from victims, families, fellow students, and concerned community members, and continuing to allow abuse to happen is unfathomable.
How can one possibly be regarded as a "good principal", or a "principal" altogether when he goes against the premise, and definition of his position, and plays G-d, when, clearly, a halachic Jew is mandated to report such abuse, and be sure that the perpetrator never be found on campus to humiliate this child, or any other!
I'm surprised at people's inability to take this issue as seriously as it ought to be taken. If a teacher was clearly responsible for killing a student, would we find a way to let him stay? If there is no physical body found in the middle of the hallway, does that somehow mitigate the damage done to a molested, or abused child???!!!
I can't believe you go ahead and write, "we 'NORMAL' parents understand that 30 years ago people could make such mistakes... and we know that nowadays everyone is dealing with the issue much better. "... Is it normal for a parent to be so le sais faire about the fate of his, or his friend's children???!!!
I'm quite sure most people understand that these principles have not changed the circumstances in their schools. Allegations have continued to come out in the most recent past. There are dozens and dozens and dozens of measures that could be put into place if they had true regret over past abuses, and wanted to be absolutely sure they were upholding the highest standards of abuse prevention. What has been done is not nearly adequate.
No, we are not our brothers policemen, but we are our brothers' keepers.
There are clear laws, both halachic, and legal, that indicate actions that must be taken by staff members in the position to do so.
Attempting to free the hanhalah of their responsibilities does no favor to society.
We hire people to fill a position. We count on people to be accountable, or to abdicate if they find themselves not to be a match for the particular position and circumstance.
Let's call an apple an apple, and see this issue for what it is.
It's about taking care of our children. It's about replacing people who do not belong in a position they are not properly filling. This is not about revenge. It's not even about the principle, it's about our students.
Rivkie Rothman-Gremont.
(3/15/2016 9:17:59 AM)
75
To comment 74
1. If you're going to mix the Torah into this, then the Rabbonim should be making the decision if a principal needs to be fired. If people feel that he acted wrong - take him to din Torah, and whatever the rov paakins is daas Torah. But to start a humiliating public campaign to fire someone, which the very nature of a "campaign" evolves exaggerations, gossip, and involvement of many people who either don't know all the facts or don't know Halacha (without getting into what the facts or Halacha are), is beyond me.

2. You say it's not revenge. Then why is it all about firing him? Why not insist on certain guidelines for the future? It's obviously not about "protecting the children", rather finding korbonos to let out your anger on (this is no way trying to downplay the terrible affect of abuse, rather this is suggesting to be more reasonable instead of emotional).

3. You say principals have not changed the circumstances in the schools. I think you're uninformed. Every mosad that I've seen has taken many prevention steps (you could say you don't think they did enough, but that's a matter of opinion).

4. As other comments pointed out, please don't distort my position. Nobody says to free hanholo from their responsibilities. All that was said was that many years ago there was barely any awareness on this issue and therefore you can't start hanging people for not dealing with it right.

There's more to say, but there's a reason the Rebbe said everything should be run by the Rabonim... (The Rabonim said to report abuse, but they didn't say to fire a principal who didn't deal with it as well as he should 30 years ago. And if they did paskin that, I would completely retract what I wrote. I wonder if you would do the same if they paakind he should keep his position...).

May we merit seeing Moshiach immediately, and not know from any of this.
(3/17/2016 8:12:24 AM)
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