Perhaps the most troubling commentary on the breaking news related to the sexual abuse of children in the Ultra-Orthodox or Haredi Jewish community, is the absence of coverage about this sickening phenomenon in the community’s leading sources of news. That there has not been a single story on Voz Iz Neias, (Yiddish for “What’s News”) which calls itself “The Voice of the Orthodox Community and really is very popular, is horrifying.
Silence kills, and however painful it is to confront this tragedy, failing to do so will only aggravate the problem. And when silence from within combines with less than aggressive pursuit of the criminals by the justice system, it destroys even more lives.
I don’t know if everything The Catholic League’s Bill Donahue says is correct, but he raises some very important questions about the possibility of an unfair double standard to which Catholics are held, when it come to child abuse.
Reporter Paul Vitello shows the shocking extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. He also details the cover-ups that have long been aided and abetted by law enforcement.
Where have all the church-and-state advocates been all these years when Orthodox rabbis were allowed by the D.A.’s office to settle these cases “internally”? Where have all the professional victims’ groups been in staging protests outside synagogues? Where have all the sue-happy lawyers been seeking to plunder the Orthodox? Where have all the comedians and late-night entertainers been in cracking jokes about rabbis raping kids?
It’s not just Orthodox Jews who have been given a pass: no group has gotten away easier than public school employees. Consider this. Because public school students have only 90 days to file suit, it is already too late to prosecute a teacher–in virtually every state–who molested a minor as recently as last spring. But if the offense took place in a Catholic school, the student has years to file suit. Not only that, molesting teachers are still shuffled from one school district to another; it’s called “passing the trash.”
To be sure, the issues are more complex than my friend Mr. Donahue describes, having to do with the size of the Church and the power it possesses in America compared to the Haredi community among other things, but he is right that no group should get a pass on these issues, no matter what, and all cases of sexual abuse are equally awful.
Without disparaging an entire group, or using these events to vent long-held anger at a particular community, people must raise their voices, stand up for kids, and demonstrate that there is no greater defense of our faith than to care for the most vulnerable among us. Raise your voice!